Mgborie’s voice resonated through the courtyard. Worry lines drew the map of Africa on her forehead as she coughed up dark sputum beside the furnace. Her only hope had gone to the stream to fetch some water and should be back by now. A fortuitous smile eked its way out through the agonised face of this pale woman as she recollected the joy she felt earlier in the day, on hearing the best news of the year. Uzodimma would go to Lagos, to the great King’s College, on scholarship! God truly remembers the widow and the fatherless.
But the news also stirred up Mgborie’s greatest fear. The fear of being alone. Who would help her fetch firewood and water from the stream when Uzo leaves the house? Who would she sing lullaby to at night? To whom would she recount all her stories about Onwuatuegwu’s fierceness in battle and weaknesses in death? All she could do was sigh, a sigh Uzo had become accustomed to in his eleven years on this side of eternity. He crept in on her as she startled, jolted back into reality by the pure innocence in his brown eyes. “ọ ga-adị mma, Mama” he said with a smile that could melt Everest if it were made of ice.
Five years passed so quickly like a week. Uzodimma was truly a gifted chap. A true reflection of his father, just a wiser reflection. Mgborie’s tales of Onwuatuegwu would make any child run from danger at the slightest smell of it. Talk of avoiding boarding school drama, Uzo was a pro. He knew how to pally with the right seniors for protection and how to inspire his juniors with stunning academic performances. And on Graduation Day from K.C., with his mother in her two stepped wrapper and white blouse, Uzodimma brought joy to the whole of Afikpo town. The Best Graduating Student that year, he was awarded many offers, top of which was a scholarship to University College, London, to study Medicine. Mgborie’s joy knew no bounds as she danced forward to receive the gifts from the School’s Principal. “nwa m ga-aga emelika“. The thought of it was exciting. Her very own Uzodimma would go to the white man’s land. It must be a dream. She had conquered he fears over the years by dipping into soliloquies once and again. A true sight to behold whenever she started her conversations with herself. All in all, she was so proud of her son.
But no one seemed to ask Onwuatuegwu’s son how he felt that day. Was he really happy? Definitely not! This wasn’t what he wanted to do. Had he a confidant all along, maybe someone would have known Uzo’s deepest desires. What a man wants can sometimes be difficult to articulate, yet so pounding on one’s heart that it could tear the rib cage apart. Uzo’s heart raced away into oblivion as he contemplated the thought of London. Maybe it could help his long-bred dream in the long run. “Medicine in London”, he thought to himself, “not a bad idea!”
It didn’t take long before he found himself on Gower Street, in the beautiful city of Bloomsbury, London. He would struggle daily with angry eyes peering at him like he was a beast from Neptune for the next few weeks until a colleague told him in clear Irish accent “Go get some clothes Man, you stink in those rags”
Did he just call his clothes rags? The same clothes Mgborie sold her grinding machine so she buy him. Good God Gracious! That was when life truly began for Uzodimma. His scholarship covered his tuition and a little stipend. Dare he buy clothes and not have anything to eat for the next year? Uzo was wiser than that. He quickly applied with the school’s work-study programme and soon, the peering eyes waned significantly. Six months into Preclinicals and Uzo already knew that wasn’t his path. He wasn’t cut for Medicine at all. Mr Barnes Williams was particularly helpful in Uzo’s transition to Bioinformatics. One week in Professor Lindsay’s Genomics Classes and Uzo knew he had found his heart’s true desire. Proteins and Genes were his best of friends. In no time, the black beast from Neptune became the talk of town in the Faculty of Sciences. Every class he attended ended with professors struggling to answer his genuine questions. How he ate books like a praying mantis devouring grass. His innermost desire was being unleashed. Astounding was the word to describe his thesis papers.
Cellular Mimicry: the Science of Ressurection
He might not have been able to save Ijeagha from įba or even his father from the uneventful suicide, but Uzo was ready to prove to the world that no one needed to be afraid of death. His thesis would open new doors to treatment of otherwise incurable diseases. Everyone wanted to associate with the man who dared to defy diseass and death in itself. But trust life to give you a bubble-burster when things are going good for you. Uzodimma got to his room at Ramsay Hall on Maple Street. The buzzing voices of students was quickly doused by the sight of the letter on his doorpost. This could only mean one thing. A letter from Nigeria! This could only mean one thing… Mgborie!!!
Stay connected as we find out Mgborie ‘s fate, Uzo’s reaction and the ensuing succession of events. Unfolding only on this blog tomorrow…