A/N: Another chapter
"Come on" I urged my father on.
He groaned as he continues to walk in short and slow strides in his hospital gown along the hospital corridor.
He had his surgery yesterday and the doctors ordered him to take a walk around the hospital to exercise in order to prevent the likelihood of two potential complications which are the DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis – a clot in the leg as a result of being stationary for too long) and PE (Pulmonary Embolus – when a DVT clot travels to the lung).
It was a beautiful Saturday morning, the sun was high up in the sky and the weather was a little warm which was a nice break from the constant rain from two days ago. Although, this is Nigeria weather and it is very unpredictable therefore it could still rain later in the day.
Luckily, today I didn't have to work and so I was here early in the morning along with Zozo. There was no need to leave her at home because I would be able to keep a close eye on her and also because weekends were our mother-daughter bonding day.
"Okay, I think that's enough" I said to my father once we got to the end of the corridor. "Let's head back to your room"
He let out another groan as he slowly turned around and began his journey back to his room. Zozo was looking around the whole place in fascination; she watched every doctor, nurse, and patient that passed by us as we walked hand in hand with my dad to his room.
Noah was working today and was busy with his morning rounds which were why he wasn't here with us. Although, he popped into my dad's room to say 'hi' when he got into the hospital earlier in the morning. Zozo wanted to go with him but I had to hold her back telling her that he was going to be working and wouldn't have time for her.
My father was so emotional when he first saw Zozo; he was still in shock that his baby girl has a baby girl of her own. He wanted to hold her but I didn't want to risk him getting injured because I knew how rough Zozo could be when she played and he just got out of surgery, I didn't need him lifting anything or anyone. We settled on her just sitting on the bed with him next to her, I was surprised that she didn't oppose it because they had just met. I guess she just likes the fact that she had a grandpa and that there were more people in her life than just me.
We walked into my father's room and we were faced with the two people I hadn't seen for close to three years now.
My mother and sister Kamsi.
My mother looked a lot older than she did three years ago; she looked really stressed out with dark shades around her eyes and her eyes sunken in their sockets like someone who wasn't had proper sleep in a long time.
My sister on the other hand looked a lot bigger and fresher than she did when I last saw her. She was skinny, bony, and had close to nothing in the chest area the last time we saw but now it was like I was viewing a totally different person. The only thing that looked familiar to me was her face; her full eyebrows and her chin that jutted out in defiance were her prominent facial features and they were features she shared with my mom.
I stood in my spot transfixed with shock: I knew they were coming in today but I just never thought about how it would feel seeing them after such a long time especially on the basis of which I left. As I stood there contemplating my next choice of action, my sister's eye jammed with mine and she let out a loud ear-piercing scream before rushing towards me and threw herself at me.
I almost lost my balance as I wasn't expecting the sudden rush but I managed to stabilize myself and return the hug she was giving me. We broke apart and I noticed my mom had moved closer to where we were, she quickly enveloped me in a hug.
Tears pooled my eyes blurring my vision before leaking out and escaping down my cheeks. The signature scent of my mother's Nivea deodorant filled my nostrils bringing back nostalgic memories. I tightened my hold on her, I didn't realize how much I missed her warm hugs until now.
My sister joined on the hug once again turning it into a group hug and I don't how long we stayed in that position before pulling apart.
"Kedu?" My mother asked running her eyes over my body. (How are you?)
"A di-m mma" I said with a smile as I wiped my eyes. (I'm fine)
"Nwam oo" she exclaimed pulling me into another hug and then released me, It was like she couldn't believe her eyes. (My child)
"O kwo munwa melu surgery?" my dad pointed out as he gently got into his bed. (Is it not me that had surgery?)
"Gini?" my mother quickly turned to face him. "Biko hapulum kam makua nwam afurum eri-oge" (What? Please leave me to hug the child, I haven't seen in a long time)
"Ndo. Makuba nu" He said raising his hands in surrender. (Sorry. Keep hugging)
We all laughed at that.
"O nwa gi bu nka?" my mother asked pointing at Zozo who was sitting on the couch at the corner watching us. (Is that your child?)
"Yes" I nodded my head and then beckoned on Zozo to join us.
Zozo slowly got up from her seat and walked up to me hiding behind my leg. I gently pulled her forward so they could see her properly.
"Zozo, this is grandma and this is aunty Kamsi" I said introducing them.
"O maka" my mother gushed (She's beautiful). "Nwam kedu?" my mother said to Zozo but she just hid her face in my jeans.
"O na nu Igbo?" my mother asked. (Does she understand Igbo?)
"Obele, she's just shy" I explained. (A little)
"Onye ki na ju? O ijeoma amaro asu Igbo?" My father added. (Who are you asking? Is it Ijeoma who doesn't know how to speak Igbo?)
"Ah ah, daddy. Amam asu Igbo, at least I'm trying" I exclaimed. (I can speak Igbo)
"Well, when she gets married, her husband will teach her" my mother said.
I turned to my mother quickly, I almost got whiplash from my braids. "Which husband are you talking about?"
"Ah ah, the doctor now" my mother stated as a matter of fact.
I turned to my father and squinted my eyes at him.
"O gini? Was it a secret or have you forgotten that I tell your mother everything?" my father said. (What is it?)
"By the way, I don't think he will be able to teach Ijeoma anything. He doesn't even look Nigerian" my father added.
"He can actually. He's half Nigerian" I stated
"Ehn, is it his mother or father?" my mother asked.
"His mother. She's from Anambra" I replied
"Oh wow, that's good" my mother said.
A soft knock sounded at the door and Noah poked his head into the room before fully walking into the room.
Speak of the devil. More like an angel in his case. I thought
Zozo left my side and ran up to him raising her hands in the air indicating he picked her up. He picked and threw her up into the air before placing a big peck on her cheek making her laugh. He turned to my parents and greeted them then the introductions followed suite.
My mother was so impressed at how well he could speak Igbo for someone who grew up abroad. The fact that Zozo loved him so much added to my mother's like for him.
"Look at someone who was brought up abroad, he can speak Igbo so well and you people who were brought up here in Nigeria can't even speak it" my mother said. "Kamsi is even worse, she can't speak one single thing in Igbo. She's there saying Igbo isn't sweet to speak"
"Mummy, leave me o" Kamsi muttered.
"Mechie onu egba nwa" my mother shot back. (Keep quiet there)
We all chuckled at the expense of my sister
The next day
I walked into my father's room with my boho tassel crotched bag slung across my shoulder. I was dressed in flower-patterned sundress which I wore to church earlier in the morning and also due to the heat that filled the environment outside.
Zozo who was walking ahead of me ran towards my mum to hug her, she began to warm up to my mum and sister after spending the whole of yesterday with them. Zozo was also clad in a cute flower-patterned church gown that had a big bow on the front of the gown.
Noah wasn't here with us because he had some errands to run for his family who by the way had returned to America. He was going to come later in the day when he was done with whatever he was doing to pick Zozo and me.
"Good afternoon" I greeted both my mum and dad.
"Afternoon" my dad said
"Good afternoon, my dear. How was church?" my mother said.
"It was fine" I turned to my dad. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, just a few pains here and there" he replied
"That's normal, thank God" I said taking a seat on the couch.
"Kamsi, take Chizolum to that Ice cream place we saw across the hospital" My mother ordered my sister.
I raised my eyebrow at my sister as if asking her 'what's up' but she shrugged her shoulder indicating she was as clueless as me. My parents always sent us on errands whenever they wanted to discuss something important that they didn't want us to hear and my mother sending Kamsi and Zozo on an ice cream expenditure was starting to feel familiar.
Once they were out the door, my mother turned to me with a serious expression on her face. "Ijeoma, your father and I were talking yesterday and we wanted to know if you would want to come along with us to Lagos ... you know ... you can go back to school and we would be happy to watch Chizolum while you're in school till you get back. They are releasing your father tomorrow and we would be staying in a hotel for a few days till the catheter (a soft hollow tube which is passed into the bladder to drain urine) can be removed and then we would go back to Lagos" my mother said gently.
"Whatever you decide we would support you" she added quickly.
"Oh wow" was the only thing I could say.
I didn't even think of going back to Lagos with them but now that they brought it up, I was going to be thinking about it. I didn't know what to say, there were so many factors I needed to consider before deciding whether I should go back with them or remain here.
Whatever I decided would either make or break my relationship with Noah and I had to admit I was torn.
I took a deep breath before replying. "Can you give me some time to think about it?"
Your thoughts, please.
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