My Sister Promised Me Not To Die by Moshkur Ajikobi
I have always wanted to write about my adorable sister. I wanted to express my endless gratitude for the strong bond that binds us together. For the unmatched brotherhood that unites us. For the pure blood we share together. For the selfless love we grant each other. And for how she promised me not to die.
The day was the most difficult moment out of many others that we had sailed through together holding hands like couples. It was a turbulent time that I thought I would lose her, the second part of me, to the cold hands of Grim Reaper. I was in an intense fight with death. We were dragging her poor soul like she and I used to drag rope in tug of war as children. I was fighting with my sweat and my tears. I didn't want to lose a darling sister like her even if I'm surrounded by many.
She promised me something on that unfortunate day when a doctor had to operate on her and remove the silly appendix that had seized her cheerful health. Because I was still young, I thought any surgery in Nigerian hospitals, as depicted by the Nollywood films, was between life and death. And in the end, the doctor would tell the patient's family that he had tried his best, but we were from God and unto Him we shall return. Several scenes like that in the films I had seen together with her were visiting my mind in a fiery recurrence, and I got sunk in my tears. So before the operation, she held my hand and said, “Boda Shina, stop crying. I promise you not to die”.
I didn't want to lean too much on the promise even though I had always believed her whenever she promised to do something. I thought it was a fake promise because she didn't want me to know the Angel of Death was waiting for her in the theater room.
I saw the Angel of Death, too. It was the doctor on duty that bad day. He wore his white coat holding the different knives he would use to expose my sister's intestines before killing her off, and there she was feeding me false hope. She was sad because the thought of losing her enslaved my heart. I was crying because I could see my sister being unconsciously dragged into the den of death. Then I remembered that those who died in the film promised not to die too. So I didn't buy the promise from her. I was waiting for the doctor to call our father and embolden him to take heart like in the films.
For some hours, I became a prayer warrior. I had dropped our senseless fights and childish arguments in the bin of forgetfulness. I faced the Qibla to have a one-on-one conversation with her Creator. I believed that I was facing Allah directly without any obstruction. Then I bowed down in sujood, pleading with Him to guide the doctor. I told Him how much I would miss her should He instruct Malakul Maut to take her sole soul to Him. I told Him about our poor parents and how hard it would be for them to bear the loss. I reminded Him that our mother struggled to have just four of us, she would not like to bury one like a plant. I didn't receive any response from her Creator except the usual silence but I believed He had answered my sincere prayer.
Few hours later, the doctor called our father. My heart was beating fast, echoing; I could hear it loud and clear. I thought it was time to announce her demise, but alhamdulillah, the announcement was about the success of the surgery. I rushed in to check what was going on. I found my sister lying on the bed helplessly. She held my hand again and said, “Boda Shina, stop crying. I promised you not to die”.