My name is Sifon Inyang, I was born into a perfect family of three, part of my childhood was good, even though my parents weren't wealthy, they still made things happen and I was happy because I had my mom and dad by my side.
I grew up in the city Uyo which is the capital of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. When I turned ten, my father who was a business man that dealt on agricultural products made it big.
We moved to our own house in a wealthy and secluded neighborhood and that was when all the problems began.
My father would always come home from work late and if my mom asked, he'd say he had been preoccupied with a lot of work.
My mother was a teacher in a government primary school at that time. Even when things had become better she insisted on keeping her job. I adored my mom, she took pride in teaching children. And that alone made me feel lucky to be her daughter.
My father started growing distant. At times he wouldn't come home for weeks and that had my mom worrying.
Even when he was home we no longer went on our usual family outings on weekends, something that had been a tradition ever since I could remember.
Some days, I would overhear my dad yelling at my mom and my mom trying to calm him down.
I would curl up under the duvet and cry myself to sleep because I hated it when they quarreled.
Days turned to weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Bags could be spotted under my mom's eyes. One could clearly see that she had not been sleeping.
But when I was with her, she'd always put up a happy façade, but I wasn't fooled. It got to the point where I'd see my father and run to embrace him but he'd brush me off with a barely visible nod in my direction.
Things never improved for my family and all went down hill for me when I was in my second year of junior high, my mom became really ill. I'd spend hours in the hospital with my mom but the only thing my dad ever cared about were the hospital bills.
Don't get me wrong, they were important for my mom's recovery but he wouldn't spend close to a whole thirty minutes with my mom.
I could tell she was dying but couldn't bring myself to accept it. She was losing so much weight and her light complexion was slowly but surely getting dimmed, even then she'd still smile and ask me about school.
Her eyes always held a spark that lifted my spirits when I was sad and feeling lonely.
One day, I had just come out of my mom's ward at the hospital, when I overheard two nurses gossiping about how sorry they felt for me.
I didn't need their pity, I needed my mom to be healthy again. That was when they revealed that my mom was diagnosed of Chronic Leukemia.
At first I didn't know what it meant, but after looking it up in the internet I realized that my mom had a minimal chance at survival.
Tears blurred my vision as I dialed my granny's number. Although, my dad had specifically warned me not to call her, she was the only one I had to turn to besides my mom.
My granny, Juliana resided in Calabar which was a four hours drive to Uyo. I had explained everything over the phone to her and she was on her way.
As I sat patiently waiting at the lobby of the hospital, the entrance glass door was pushed open rather roughly and a frantic granny stormed in, her forehead covered in small beads of sweat.
I hastily sprung up from my seated position and ran into her arms.
She gently rubbed soothing circles on my back as I held tightly unto her. I pulled away a minute later and she caressed my face all the while wiping all the tears away.
I quietly led her to my mom's room. Shutting the door behind me, I stood rooted on the spot close to the door. I watched as she inched closer to her daughter, my mom, pain evident on her soft aging features.
She turned to me with tear filled eyes motioning for me to come closer.
I still stood rooted to the spot. My heart was aching, there was only so much a twelve year old could handle.
"Adanne, bia". She spoke softly in her native Igbo dialect which I could clearly understand telling me to come to her.
I let my legs guide me closer until I was standing beside my mother's hospital bed. As I let my gaze drop down to her, I could see the faint rise and fall of her chest as she slept.
An IV, a heart monitor and an oxygen mask was hooked on her. My heart ached the more at the sight.
Granny pulled me on her laps as she sat quietly on the chair by the bed. I nuzzled closer into her warmth trying to stop the tears from soaking granny's Ankara outfit.
"Adanne where is your father?". She asked in a clipped tone
"I don't know granny, he's hardly ever home and rarely visits mom". I answered quietly.
"Granny?", I called quietly after a few minutes of silence and she answered with a hum.
"Does dad hate mom and I?", I asked sitting up on her lap to see her reaction. She gasped and shook her head vehemently saying:
"Of course not".
"But why doesn't he care about us anymore?", I pushed.
"Don't say such things Adanne", she spoke caressing my cheeks softly.
"He cares so much about you and your mother
but maybe he's really busy with work". I nuzzled myself back into her embrace seeking comfort and that was what I got.
"I wish he never had that business in the first place". I mumbled as I fell deeper into an uncontrollable slumber, safe in my granny's arms.