The Sweet Flower of Love
Stuff of Dreams
It was 1999 and a cold Wednesday morning in Idoko, a small town, four hundred and fifty miles from Port Douglas, right outside Madaka city. A light fog caused limited visibility as the yellow sun gradually rose from the horizon. A lonely wind blew dry leaves about on the road. There were no vehicles. Every two or three minutes, a pedestrian walked by to tend to some unknown personal matter. In a nearby home, one could hear a goat bleat due to hunger or merely seeking attention.
Mrs. Anne Walton woke up very early. She stopped sleeping well the day she lost her husband of twenty-five years three years before. Since then, it has been dreams, visions, and nightmares. There was no end to them. At first, it was difficult to differentiate between the different things she saw when she went to bed but recently, it is becoming clearer. She was fifty-six years old and had lived in Idoko for three decades. Even though she was not originally from there, through the years, her neighbors had become her friends and family. Their children had grown up in front of her. She was Auntie Anne to them.
Most mornings Mrs. Anne Walton woke up, prepared breakfast for herself and her last son John, 17 years old, then she went to the local high school where she was engaged after retirement to continue teaching. But this morning, Anne was all alone. John was home during the weekend but he returned to school at a University in Port Douglas.
Children have the unforgivable habit of growing up - Bjarne Reuter
This morning, Anne woke up with a start. Another dream? She took the silk robe coat nightgown on top of her pile of suitcases and wrapped herself with it. With unusual quick steps, she hurried off to the corrugated iron gate of her home. She did not open it. She just stood there in the cold. The road was still empty and the neighborhood was quiet. The time was 6: 48 am.
Mrs. Walton watched the road intently. Her face was taut and she trembled a little, perhaps from the cold wind. She had a black hair with a few white strands on the side and front. She looked younger than her age would suggest. At exactly 7:15 am, a hearse pulled up at the building across the road. Accompanying it were two Toyota Hiace buses filled with passengers. She watched them alight one after the other.
Someone from the building must have seen the vehicles pull up because the front gate presently opened and a smallish woman came out. It was Mrs. Sarah Ocean. She was about the same age as Anne. Soon another person came out, an older woman, Mrs. Nne Ocean, Sarah's co-wife. Theirs was a polygamous family. As soon as they realized what was happening, their screams pierced the quiet air of Idoko. From all the neighboring houses, people came and there were more screams. Chase, Mrs. Sarah Ocean's first son was dead.
Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. Stevie Wonder
He had died suddenly the day before at the city of Nos from unknown causes. He was unmarried so his friends and fellow townsmen arranged to bring his body home to be buried in his family's cemetery since the people of Idoko did not bury their dead outside their home.
Mrs. Anne Walton did not move. She could not move. She stood very still and watched the events unfold exactly as she had seen them about an hour ago. Then suddenly a lone tear rolled down her face as she struggled to control her emotions. She wished she was wrong about the dream but she seldom was. Now she knew what she had to do.
Mrs. Anne Walton had five children. Three of them (Kanu, Johnson, and Alice) lived in Port Douglas. The first son lived in Atlanta Georgia, USA. The last, John was in school at Port Douglas. She missed them all the time and sometimes she took a tour of all their homes in her old Mercedes-Benz. Her journey this morning was not a tour.
The Necessary Trip
She quickly packed a bag, had her usual warm bath and got dressed. She wore one of her flowing gowns with patch pockets. She was a woman who liked the comfort and she had made all her gowns with that particular type of pocket where she could keep and easily access her chocolates, nuts, bitter cola and other things. She was ready in twenty minutes.
She drove out her car, locked the gates and began her four hours drive to visit Johnson. She listened to her favorite music tracks as she drove: Marvin Gaye, Smokie Robinson, Mary Mckee, ABBA, The Temptations and so on. She liked to drive. Her children always warned her about driving long distances but she paid them no attention. They think I'm old, she thought.
She arrived the offices of Onoh, James & Walton law firm at Suwe Business District in Port Douglas. She walked straight to her son's office and walked in before the secretary could stop her.
"Hey, Mom. What a pleasant surprise! You did not call," he stood up to hug her while motioning the confused secretary to go back to her desk.
"We don't have phones down there, remember?
How are you, Jay? You look well," she said, looking him over.
"Yes mom, I'm fabulous. You look awesome and it is wonderful to see you. Plus, did you see, I made partner?" he asked pointing at the name on the glass door.
"I can see that, sweetheart. Congratulations. I'm very proud."
My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. Mark Twain
He wondered why his mom decided to visit him in the office. He was not worried because he knew that she had her reason.
"Mommy, let me get you coffee or tea."
"Water is fine. They say that coffee is no longer good for me because of the high blood pressure. God knows I've had my fill of the stuff," she said, attempting to sound carefree. But Johnson knew there was something off and that worried him.
"Okay, mom. Did you get to the house first? Maggie is on one week vacation," He said, pouring her a cup of water and handing it to her.
"No, I came here straight. We shall go home later. How are she and Larry?" she paused. "Now listen. You have to do exactly as I tell you. You will close from work now and let me drive you to Willis Memorial where they will conduct a series of tests on you after which we shall go home and see your beautiful and my handsome grandson," she stated calmly as if she was narrating an unimportant event that happened years ago.
Johnson had seen his mom like this more times than he cared to recall. There was no use fighting it. The woman was a force of nature.
"But, I'm fine, mom," he said weakly, trying to ensure that she understood that he is not saying no. Her voice rang like a bell and he did not want to enter into an argument with her, not here. He took his jacket hanging on a hanger, swung it across his back and wore it. Her mom stood up and went to the door. He quickly opened it for her and they headed for the stairs.
"Cancel my last appointment, please," he said to his secretary, mouthing the word "captured by my mom" and placing his hand together as if it was tied. Amy, his secretary, smiled. They had been working together for three years now and she understands her goofy boss perfectly.
Mrs. Anne Walton drove straight to Willis Memorial. She knew her way around town like the back of her hands, having gone to school and worked there for a few years before relocating to Idoko. She had made an appointment with Dr. Nash, a neurosurgeon the night before. Johnson was shocked to learn how detailed her plan was. But this was not out of character so he just resigned himself to the whole thing.
The doctor quickly saw them. He was a forty-something-year-old, tall black-haired Indian that spoke English with a Nigerian accent. He was quite friendly and after checking his vitals and asking a lot of questions about his medical records, he referred them to the Neuroradiology lab for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans.
It was 5:25 pm before the doctor was ready to discuss the results with them.
"I have no idea how you spotted this," he began. "Usually, this condition can only be spotted during other checks. Or when a patient complains of unusual headaches. As you can see from these images, this is a normal image of the brain," he said, pointing one of the images he hung against the light. "Here is an image of your brain, Mr. Walton," He said pointing to the second image. "You have a ruptured aneurysm in your brain, sir. A bleeding. And the pressure is compressing your brain as you can see here," he pointed at a third image.
"If we don't act quickly, this could lead to a lot of serious complications including loss of consciousness and death. We have to do an emergency surgery to release the blood then we can discuss treatment strategy. You just saved your son's life, Mrs. Walton."
The mother and son were silent. Mrs. Walton went to the reception to call Maggie, while the nurses prepped her son for surgery. She did not want to be right about this dream but for the first time, she was able to do something about her dreams.
This is dedicated to all the mothers. Their job is a difficult one
Images were obtained from pixabay
Authored by @churchboy