I was shocked to see the doctor who had broken the bad news of my illness to me, at the AIDS Survivor Support Group. So he had been talking about himself on that fateful day! but he had altered the story to give me hope, to give Chiboy hope. Hope was all i had left…… I clung to it desperately in the middle of the night when my bones aches, when a part of my face starts swelling for no reason. I hoped that death won’t sneak up on me when i least expected it.
That was why i had given my dad a call. I had picked up my phone and dialed his number before i could get cold feet. I felt like a little girl again……..i wanted approval. I want love and hugs. I wanted my dad to accept me.
” Hello. Who is this?” he answered in his thick ibo accent.
” Dad” i whispered.
There was silence in the background until i heard a scratching sound, a distant sound of tears and laughter.
” Nne, Ify? ”
” Yes it’s me.”
He was crying now and i felt awkward not knowing what to say.
” Nne where are you? i want to see you “.
I disconnect the call and switched off my phone.
But after my discussion with doctor Debola who had contracted the virus through a needle stick injury at work, i realized just how much i had missed my dad. I texted him my address as Ebere drove us back home that night.
Early the next morning a knock sounded at the door, i walked slowly, my breath was coming out in pants. I opened the door and froze.
” My baby!”
Dad enveloped me into his arms crying like a baby. Mom stood awkwardly, she tried to touch me but i drew back.
” Ify…… am sorry” she said.
I gave a little tired laugh. Dad sat down still holding me in his arms. Mom went on her knees.
” I know i have lost the right to call you my child and i don’t except you to forgive me but please give me another chance. Please don’t push me away,i did my best combing everywhere for you.”
” Yea when Toby died! you were looking for a replacement! please stand up! i have nothing against you and you are right! you have lost the right to be my mother!”
She sobbed silently on her knees.
Ify please…… i know we have wronged you greatly but please forgive us. Your mother has been through a lot and she is a changed person now.”
I stood up angrily.” She has been through a lot!?,do you have any idea what i have been through?! I was raped and kicked out in the middle of the night!”
They both gasped and mom’ s sobs became louder.
” Do you have any idea what have even been through?! how i managed to survive for the past ten years! you both ruined my life! I will never get married! i will never become a mother! i won’t get to see my children graduate! I won’t even live to see my 30th birthday! ”
Dad got up and took me into his arms, we were both crying.
” What happened to you Ify? are you sick? I will fly you overseas for treatment, am so sorry my child. Don’t talk about death Nne, you are still so young and there is no illness without cure as long as there is money.”
” This one has no cure dad”
” Ify we will fly you oversea, you will be OK” mom said.
I shook my head. ” I am HIV_ positive”
Their eyes widened in shock, Fear, horror and denial.