“What do you mean you don’t know the address?” I scream into the phone.
“Honey calm down, I know the place is in Surule…” my husband replies.
“Is Surulere an address? I don’t even know why we let her go in the first place!”
“Dear I need to put my phone off, the plane is about to take off, call the principal and ask her please. Rita will be fine, I promise.”
We shouldn’t have let her go on that excursion. But my Rita has her daddy tied around her little finger, and when he says yes, I’d look like the bad guy if I say no. “Tschew…what excursion is worth risking a child’s life for? Right now, I would not mind being the bad guy for the rest of my life if it would save my asthmatic daughter from being trapped in a fire.
I try dialing the Principal’s number again as I drive out of my compound.
“Mrs. Nwabueze, I am still waiting for the address!”
I do not care what her response is, I hang up and drive faster. She had better send the address before I get to Surulere.
You have a tiny tiny text message.
I am in no mood for the cheery tone of my phone’s text alert, but I need this text message urgently. I’m at a red light, so I check my phone.
“Ile Anu home for physically challenged children. No 5B Adamorisha street, off Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere Lagos.”
I want the ground to open up and swallow me. Let the earth stop spinning, and let this slow painful death be replaced by a sharp painless one.
I know that place too well. It was there I dropped it. The midwife would not enter my room again for fear of catching the curse, but she slipped my mother the address.
We took it to this address the next day, and I never looked back.
It was in the early hours of the morning I dropped it at the front door. It was not crying, but mother and I wept still.
Mother put a piece of paper in its crib.
“Let her at least go with her name,” she said.
We left it at this same address years ago.
I have finally found Rita in the smoke. She is breathing really funny, and cannot tell me what is wrong. There is no noise from the classroom downstairs.
Where has everyone gone, and why is there smoke everywhere? As fast as I can, I try to run down the stairs. Perhaps I can get someone to come and help Rita breathe well again. I do not go all the way down when I notice the red flames. The flames are coming towards me. Rita! I find my way back to my newfound friend, She looks like she wants to sleep. I want to tell her that it is too hot to sleep, but I cannot.
To be continued…
Don’t miss the fourth and final episode of Aritesioma next Tuesday!
Please don’t leave without dropping a comment, I would love to know what you think about this part and how you think it will end.