If Tomorrow Never Comes
A Memoir for Henry Kojo Kpodo
It was a little past eleven in the evening when I finally turned in for the night. I sat gingerly on the bed in my room in my boxers and felt a little lost and tired.
I felt the strongest urge to call my sister, the one directly after me. I simply call her Effe and we share a bond that is humbling and strengthening at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I share a unique bond with each of my sisters. But since she was the first among the lot, I guess I sort of usually seek her first before the others and that is not to say that I don’t love them, I do, with everything I have.
Usually, I get these urgent urges to call when she is either in a spot of distress or something bad is going to happen to a member of our noble family.
But looking at the time, I fought the urge convincing myself that she may be deeply asleep and knowing her, if she wakes by my call, she would not be able to go back to sleep for the rest of the night. I have the same problem too. When my sleep is interrupted, no matter the time and the reason, I will never go back to sleep.
I stretched on the freshly made bed making sure my hands were folded under my head as I stared at the ceiling of the empty room.
It has been another eventful day and I was grateful it was gradually coming to an end. I had moved up and about on different errands and I was happy I got to sleep off the tiredness that came with it.
I knelt by my bedside and started to pray, something I do every day before I go to sleep.
I ended my thirty-minute prayer and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
An unusual smell assailed my nose and woke me up two hours or so later. I looked around in the darkness but saw nothing. Suddenly, I felt a strong urge to throw up. I got to my feet and rushed outside. It took a while since I had to completely unlock the bars and bolts I had used to secure our home but I was able to hold it in somehow. I felt much better after I vomited but my legs wobbled as I made for my room. I checked on my wife and kids on my way to my bedroom and saw them sleeping soundly. This was like a routine thing ever since they got a separate room and my wife slept with them to keep an eye on them.
My first girl had tilted her neck in an awkward angle so I repositioned her and looked down at their peaceful faces for a while. I suddenly felt lonely and wished there was extra space for me to just slide in but there was none. I left for my room a little after I shook off the blues but stopped halfway through and returned to the room where my family was sleeping. This time, I stood in the doorway and just looked at them, as if it was the last time I was going to see them. There was this sudden feeling of déjà vu I could not place a hand on and grudgingly, I walked to my room after a third check on my immediate family.
I felt a bit uncomfortable as I lay down but didn’t know what was causing the discomfort. It was as if I was losing consciousness rapidly or something. It was like feeling light-headed and floating at the same time. I was seeing colours of different shades and my breath came in wheezes too. I took a deep breath and managed to lie down with the hope that I would feel much better when I took the weight off my feet.
It helped a little and I might have slipped into sleep or something.
Then much later, not really sure how long it was, it felt like someone had switched on the brightest light ever in my room. It was so bright I had to squint at first by the rude intrusion of the light.
Then I realized I couldn’t move any part of my body.
I strove to move but could not. I tried to open my eyes but the light was too bright. I could not see anything but that brightness coming from a very big ray of light. I wondered where the light was coming from and checked the door in my room, it was dead shut.
Then, slowly I was looking at a big live screen of sorts, as if from a projector. I could turn only my head to a small angle so I did, trying to convince myself I was alone in my bedroom, but all I saw was nothing, only the white background thrown by the light source.
Then, I saw myself on the screen opening the door to my bedroom, dressed in the pyjamas I was still wearing.
I saw myself coming to sit dejectedly on my bed and rubbing my forehead as if I was doing that to numb a pain of sorts.
And I knew this was just the night before. What time koraa was it? Was it still night or it was already day?
To be continued…