My name is Ada. Well, my name was Ada up until strange family members began clustering round my tiny white bed. In the past year, I’ve heard people call me all sorts of names. ‘Adaugo’ ‘Adaobi’ ‘Adamma’ ‘Adanna’ ‘Adaaku’ and many more names that I’m not familiar with but I answer because it might be rude to ignore.
I guess I should tell you more about why I am on a tiny white bed or why I have family surrounding me. So here it goes…
In the beginning I only had slight headaches. The type my friends and I get when we play out in the garden for too long. Then my bones started to hurt. I thought this meant I was secretly turning into a superhero so, I kept my little secret. It wasn’t until I couldn’t get out of bed that mother rushed me to the doctors and ever since then, things got worse. I’ve had nose bleeds and heartaches. I always thought only boys could break your heart but I guess I was wrong. I’ve heard the television lies anyway so, I’m not surprised.
Month after month, I kept getting worse and nobody could do anything but hope. I hoped too that one day, I would stop hurting. Soon, I started changing. My eyes were yellowing and my skin got paler. My chubby cheeks went so thin; I could see my skull. We learnt about skulls in science class so I would know. I was skinny…’lepashandi’ as we usually called it. My cousins would always say I looked like Agbani and once I got better, I would win Miss World. Being a beauty queen was one of my dreams. After that, I would also want to be a lawyer like my mummy and an economist like my daddy when I grow up. I want to have three jobs so that I could be rich and smart.
While the number of family members who visited decreased, mother stayed by my side all day, everyday. She mostly cried which hurt me but I had to be strong because I was the Ada. The first daughter of my family, our family. I know mummy might be ten hundred thousand years older than me but she was not the first daughter so, she never grew strength like I did and I don’t blame her. I will never blame her which is why I have to stay strong for us.
I always wondered why mummy never left because back at home, she would not go near daddy when he had germs. She said germs were contagious – a word I forgot to look up in the dictionary. She also said she didn’t like going close to germs. I have always known her to run away from germs only, I have the germ too and mine is deadly. I know this because Jeremy, my doctor said so and I was scared of giving it to mummy. Jeremy also says it’s hard to explain germs to 9 year olds but he named my germ ‘Cancer’. What an odd name. I mean, I’d have preferred Emeka or Uchenna…maybe Uchendu. Those were the names of all the naughty boys in my class and mother always said bad behaved children had germs so I had to stay away from them if I didn’t want to be naughty too. I guess I got a different type of germ because I am far from being a naughty child.
Being on this white bed has come with constant weeping, prayers and forced smiles. I slept through most of it so, it was all just background noise to me. Noise I wish they would have stopped but, I understand. I also went through complicated procedures (a new word I leant and would use in my next English essay). I wish I could have told you about my experience but, it was all a blur to me because my brain was too focused on the pain to make memories.
It wasn’t until time stood still and my pain was no longer constant that I knew things were different. I had left my tiny hospital bed.
I know I said my name is Ada but that really isn’t my name anymore. This may sound strange but my name changed the day I slept and woke up here. Here in heaven, the grown ups call me Marvelous and it has a nice ring to it. I’ve always wanted a longer name, always wanted an English name too.
It’s beautiful here and Elohim says I can stay forever which is perfect seeing as my little germ is completely gone. How do I know this? Well, I can sing and dance and pray out loud without pain. Nobody here has germs so I’m not scared of catching bad behaviour from naughty children. Mother must be so proud.
Sometimes I miss my mummy but I can always look down on her and tell her how much I love her. Sometimes she looks back at me and smiles like she sees me. I miss her very much but Elohim says she’ll be joining us soon and I can’t wait because I can’t bear to see mother suffer alone without her Ada.