Posted in Books

Kamsi – Episode 11

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Sometimes we fail to appreciate those who stand with us through everything, who make sure to be present even if they have space only in the background. It was Christmas Eve and my dream came true, I was with my family.

Adora, Cheta and I were cooking and talking. Actually, we were listening to Cheta talk and boss us around. She would pause from her conversation and say “Bring the salt.” “Move the pot.” I didn’t mind to an extent, we were beginning to be sisters and I was trying to understand that Cheta would never be nice. She is authoritative, commanding, strict and funny. And she loves me in her own unique way. Even Adora, with her silence, shyness, meekness, love me and I understand she may not express it or stand on the rooftop to shout it. I was beginning to explore the world outside my head. Earlier in the day, I supervised a photo shoot on behalf on Tinu for Exquisite. It went well! I didn’t restrict myself. Even my colleagues were surprised.

We made wheat and vegetable soup. Ryan was excited when he saw the food. Nnamdi looked like he was going to faint any moment, I still think about how Adora copes with him. He is nice, caring but he was too dull, slow, child-like for me to take him seriously but he is my sister’s husband and my nephew’s father so I had to find space for him in my heart. My mom helped arranged the table, we sang Christmas carols, prayed and started eating.
“Grandpa was here last Christmas.”
Until Ryan brought it up, we had managed to successfully evade him, his death, his betrayal.
“Ryan, grandpa will always be here,” I said it and it sounded a bit true. We may not see him physically but he will be felt within us. I thought about my brother, and how he would feel if he knows he was born merely to carry a name.
I overate, I could hardly breathe well. We looked at the family album and told childhood stories. Nnamdi claimed he was deceived when he saw a picture of Adora at five years old with oil stained shirt and eyes swollen from crying. My mom in Adora’s defence said she was crying because she wanted to eat before taking the picture and food was given to her hence the look. We opened our gifts. We gave each other our gifts. We didn’t leave it under the tree
.

After Adora and her family left, Cheta and I cleaned up before going to the room.
“I’m going to see Tega’s parents tomorrow.”
“Wow! That’s good.”
I sat on the bed. “Hmm……. Cheta?”
“Yes?”
“Do you feel somehow about me being in a relationship leading to marriage?”
“Of course. I’m not elated that you will get married before me. I’m seven years older than you Kamsi. I will be thirty in two months. But right now, I’m trying not to care, to channel that negative feeling into something productive. I’m happy you are happy with Tega and the direction it’s going but it makes me question myself. That is not your fault or mine. Just know I’m happy with and for you even if it doesn’t make me glow from within.”
“Thank you for answering.”
“Seriously? Kamsi please sleep.”

After church on Christmas day, Tega and I went to visit his parents. He is an only child so we were the only ones going to keep them company. Tega is the exact copy of his mom but he talked and moved like his father. Tega’s mom was too hyper and jumpy. The food she served was tasteless and she said it was a special recipe for me. But Tega and his father devoured it with happiness. I joined them, swallowing the food only because I imagined I was licking honey. The food apart, his parents were amazing and they kept teasing us. His mother was particularly happy to see me. I had fun.

While I still struggle with my father’s death and betrayal, I try to understand him – pressure from family and trying to prevent us from getting hurt by hiding it. We still haven’t talked about it, maybe one day we will but the wound is still fresh and we can only afford to deal with his death and find strength in each other for now.

So on Christmas day, as fireworks were lighting up in the sky, I joined in because I was happy, floating, soaring because, with all the disappointments and imperfections, all that mattered was complete.

Author:

I'm OnyinyeOlufunmi, a visual artist, writer and psychologist from Lagos, Nigeria.

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