“Sweetheart, I don't know if I should keep calling you that because if you don't tell me what is wrong and why you wouldn't tell me, it's over. We're done. Don't call me if you're not ready to talk.”
Sometimes the farthest distance seems so short when you try to remember how you got here-where you are, and how you're going back down the rabbit hole and how seemingly short the bottom is.
I keep asking myself the same questions,
“why is climbing up so difficult and falling so easy?”
Even after studying Biology to a great extent I still come up short on why I would feel pains in my bone when my brother doesn't feel any. I remember my silent sobs and how I'd try not to wake my parents when the pain grips me at night. Most of all, I remember my mother, her comforting hands, her tender touch and her bright smile that has always snapped me out of my suicidal thoughts.
It's always hard having to forgo and stop the things you love doing because if your health. I loved playing football and I had to stop because every time I had to nurse pains in my body for days. Once I abandoned my assignment to go play football, I was like a young adult who eloped with his lover. I played to my heart's content, but I didn't know the pains only waited for the midnight clock. It started as a small pain in my back then graduated to another degree, it felt like there's a volcano trying to erupt from my bones. I wept, wailed even my siblings could feel the pain with me, I could read it on their faces. This affected my academics because I couldn't go to school for weeks.
I wonder sometimes if this is karma, but who did I offend and what did I do in the past life that has made this the best punishment for me. Sometimes I would think long and hard about why alphabets determine our fate. My fate and what I can do and can't. I remember how I enjoyed playing football only to get back home to endure pains and pills with their nauseating smell. The pills I could still endure than the frequent visits to the hospital where I had become a lab rat surrounded by clowns in nose masks and white coats, sometimes they're up to twenty just there staring at the first boy with the sickle cell variant—SC. The doctors were worse. Always asking the same questions hoping for a different answer, I think.
The first time I stepped into the hospital, I had been feeling some pains in my left leg around the hip bone, I was limping which caused my mom a great deal of sorrow. Getting the X-ray done was my first ordeal, as reserved and protective of my body, I had to strip down to my underpants, then the woman in charge kept pushing my legs apart not even thinking of the discomfort and pain I was feeling. I got the X-ray and had to come back after a few days to book an appointment with the doctor.
I had already visited more than three hospitals and was hoping my solution was here. I wanted answers, My mom, a cure. She kept pushing me to try when I get tired. The stress was too much for me an eight-year-old boy subjected to stairs too much for my age.
This hospital was the worst, even to the previous ones where boys like me walked around with syringes on their head. I was always afraid each time I had an appointment because I feared I'm next and a syringe would be placed in my head. Even with this fear in my heart, this new hospital got the highest point for giving me fear I can't handle. Every appointment I'm pricked on my fingers with small needles and in a very quick movement I'll cringe and then my blood smeared on a slide. I get sore fingers when I get home, eventually, I got accustomed to it.
I remember sleepwalking and blabbing about losing the appointment tag without which you can't see the Doctor, I cried out of my sleep till my mom calmed me down, this was after spending twelve hours in the hospital and returning home late, the things I saw scared me than every other thing I've seen. There was a boy who left the Doctor's office before I went in, he was limping too, a few years younger than me. We had the same Doctor, a black man with signs of a badly shaved beard, he always had a long tie and his voice was always calm which scares me too. He sees and mentions what's wrong with me like it's a normal thing that happens, he said I had to undergo the same surgery as the boy that just left his office. I never knew we had the same predicament, a part of the ball on the hip bone had worn out which reduced the length and flexibility due to exertion, part of which I still faced in the hospital twice in a week. Even though he spoke calmly I was still afraid because the other boy was still limping.
My Mom and I left unhappy because our lives were about to change. We couldn't afford the fees for the surgery, one which I didn't want.
My life did change. When I started limping, my classmates left me out of the team to play. It was getting worse, I couldn't lift anything without it falling. You would always find me alone, I was being pampered which was sweet sometimes and annoying for the most. I became everyone's topic for a joke: ‘the boy with one and a half leg’. Every time I was called that it hurts me, I always ran home crying to my mom's comfort. I questioned God when the pain becomes unbearable. I wondered if life was worth living with the segregation, the pain and having to listen to examples of how it's bad being a sickler in class. Watching how the genotype is formed in Genetics class. I had to Starr hiding my health status because no one looks at me the same way after getting to know what made me sick every time.
The day I healed I had been called a half legged boy and I ran home to my Mom but she was tired of it that she started calling me that as well. Sometimes she'll be like “half legged boy! Help me lift this kettle”. She started training me how to lift things, from the easiest then gradually I could lift anything and if anyone calls me a half legged Man, we'll both laugh it off together.
But good things don't seem to last forever. I'm now Twenty-seven, a Biology teacher, I also had a beautiful girlfriend who was always wondering why I limped and why I got sick often. She was everything I ever asked of, a mirror of my Mother in her kindness and comforting words and touch. She was like the sun in how she just brightens my day even during my numerous crisisHer genotype is AS and she has been trying to get me to go check mine in a hospital which I skipped every time. Last week making it the tenth in almost a year of dating.
A Few days back, we quarreled. She spat in my face, I guess she was getting tired of my excuses She demanded to know what I was hiding and why I was hiding it. I think she already figured it out, what I was and how it couldn't work. She was the world to me and I wasn't ready to let some alphabets determine my fate. I've Been reading her last message for the past three days. “Sweetheart, I don't know if I should keep calling you that because if you don't tell me what is wrong and why you wouldn't tell me, it's over. We're done. Don't call me if you're not ready to talk.”
I've been spiraling back down, my heart racing for no reason.
My room is a mess, spilled water and broken pieces of glass from our fight remained can't even pick up my phone without it falling. How do I tell her I scared of Her leaving me after knowing the truth? The pain is getting more intense and I've abandoned my meds. I'm not committing suicide, but this is killing me slowly.