Apparently, my face must have echoed my exact thoughts of horror and confusion. Immediately straightened my face and quickly released her. “Yeah…”

Unconvinced but choosing not to delve further, Dabo sighed heavily and glanced over to the clock which gave me time to calm my heart from its racing beat. “What are you going to wear?” she then asked, now wiping the side of her face.

“I don’t know,” I responded honestly, not even sure why I was dressing up. “You?”

Dabo shrugged, “Mom and Dad said anything black and a bit formal would be alright… I think I’ll just wear a black top and my pinstriped pants–not that it really matters.” She sounded so bitter at the last comment and I nodded, already making a note of what to wear. “Well, I better go get dressed… See you downstairs.”

“Hmm,” I answered her, half-lost in my thoughts.

Once she walked towards the door, Dabo then paused and said in a feeble voice, “Dee?”

I turned towards her back, “Yeah Dabo?”

“We’re going to be alright, aren’t we?” she begged hoping that I’d agree with her but from my silence, she then sighed and walked out the door.

I stood there with my mouth open as if I was about to respond but once the door closed behind her, I jolted for the empty bathroom and prepared to take a shower.

As the hot water from the shower-head fell down my face, I was forced to close my eyes and the images came back once again, even more clearer this time.

However, the wails and screaming were suddenly muted and the only sounds I could hear were the loud beatings of a heart going “thump, thump, thump.”

Peeking over my father’s bent head to see the third person’s face, I was horrified at the sight of my brother, Tonye, lying there with his eyes closed and mouth lax. His hands were splayed over to his sides and as my father bent even closer to perform CPR, I suddenly realized that the nightmare from last night was not a nightmare at all–this had truly happened.

The wails and screams were not my imagination as I watched stupefied in my mind’s eye as my father struggled to rouse my brother from his deep sleep.

Suddenly, I saw myself clad in my nightwear kneeling down, with my arms clasped in supplication as I begged God to bring my brother back. I could hear myself pleading over and over again, “Please God… He’s not ready yet! Please take me instead, please God–not now!”

The chorused cries came from the sitting area where my three siblings wept bitterly, watching with tear-filled eyes as my mother screamed at my father to keep trying.

I watched as the paramedics rushed past me into the house and pushed my father aside as they tried to revive my brother.

With the water rushing down my face, my knees suddenly buckled and I gave in to my bitter sobs, the salty tears mingling with the water as I cried openly for my brother.

end of Chapter V