Zita was getting married soon and Nnamdi was not looking forward to the now imminent time when he would be the only child at home.
Her husband, Stanley and his people were due in Mbaise for their traditional wedding in a fortnight.
“I am going to be so bored when Zita leaves this house.” He said
The family was having their Sunday dinner. It was an unwritten rule that they all had their Sunday evening meal together to bond as a family and Nnamdi was worried about he would cope without his only sister.
“Nnam, you talk as if your sister is going to fall off the face of the earth. It’s true that she’s getting married, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to see her again.” Their mum replied.
“Nnamdi, I have told you to stop talking like this. The only thing that changes is that I will not live here anymore. But, you’ll still be able to reach me anytime you want, and after some time you’ll even come and visit me.”
The staggering 16-year age difference between Chizitara and Nnamdi meant that Nnamdi saw his big sister as his second mother. The 10-year old had always looked up to his only sibling and had grown to depend on her.
The wedding was not one of the biggest in their community, but it was not without its own unique flair.
“I think you should bring him home.” Stanley’s lean jaw tightened as he said the words.
“What are you saying? My parents would be devastated!” A scandalised Zita responded.
“I can’t believe you’re still holding brief for people who should be arrested.”
“You shouldn’t have read my journal.”
“I didn’t do it deliberately. It was opened. You fell asleep with it wide open and I couldn’t help but catch the words.”
“Call them, write a letter to them, do something, anything…just bring him home. He may hold the key to our own redemption.”
The community postmaster came by on Thursdays to deliver letters.
Mr Harry cut the figure of a clown with his trousers pulled way above his above navel and the suspenders he clipped on them to keep the too-big pants in place.
“Ah, Nnamdi, you are home already? Where are your parents?” He asked, peering at the little boy over the rim of his conical frames.
“They have gone out,” Nnamdi replied
“Okay, sign for this letter. Looks like it is from Obodo Oyinbo.”
Nnamdi’s trembling hands tried to make out the origin of the postage stamp.
It had to be from Z. They hadn’t heard from her in ages. I
If it is Zita, mum and dad wouldn’t mind if I open it.
He reached for the pair of scissors on his mum’s old dressing table. He would cut off the flap of the envelope as neatly as possible so his dad wouldn’t call him a ruffian.
The words that first caught his eye were the words that would see him motionless until he parents came in almost an hour later, they were the words that would make him abandon his belongings and leave in the dead of the night three days later.
They were the words that would haunt him for the rest of his life.
…mum, dad. I need my son now.
It’s time for Nnamdi to know he is mine.