Samuel Antwi allowed his knees to hit the cemented ground which served as the entrance to the church. He couldn’t take the pain in his chest anymore. This wasn’t how everything was supposed to turn out. He grabbed his chest as the pain increased and groaned softly at first. The pain intensified giving way to louder groans before he finally passed out.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Samuel could hear beeping and the shuffling of peoples feet. It felt distant at first but drew nearer. He didnt want anyone knowing he was awake- Samuel was in need of no fuss. His mind began to wander to the happeningof the past few months and how in a bid to regain respect from his wife and children, he had gone more than the extra mile. Samuel had not told anyone of his ordeal or why he had been off the grid for so long. Some months back, while he stood beside a coconut vendor, he had met an old time friend and had partially narrated his current crisis to him highlighting how he had become jobless and divorced. Samuel had been desperate since all his friends had shunned him after his job loss. Paa Kwesi, his friend, had assured Samuel he would get him to Italy with no passport so he could begin making some good money again. On the spur of the moment, Samuel had laughed at the idea but had still stretched out his hand to grab Paa Kwesi’s business card.
Upon returning to his ramshackle apartment, he had looked around and at himself. His clothes were all old and he lived on minial jobs which honestly didn’t provide much. His daughter Andrea and son Nana seemed to be a bit out of touch. He wished all this conspiracy had never happened- he felt so inadequate everytime he had to appear in his wife’s house to visit his children or grace an occasion in connection with them- he wanted to do more.Taking out Paa Kwesi’s card from his back pocket- he had looked intently and finally decided to call and enquire how exactly Paa Kwesi was going to help him get to Italy. His visa had expired a long time ago and he remembered visiting Italy a couple of times during his numerous business trips while he worked with his former company.
A few days passed and Samuel paid a visit to Paa Kwesi’s office. There he had found out he didn’t need a visa afterall because they would use an alternate route. The mention of alternate route hadn’t made him any comfortable but he knew he had to leave the country if he wanted to make some money. Paa Kwesi had informed him the last batch of people would be leaving within the next three days and that if Samuel wanted to join, he had to pay quickly to ensure he went along with them. The only alternative if he couldn’t pay quickly was to wait another six months while they gathered the next batch of immigrants. Samuel didn’t think he could spend another six months in the country going through the same sad routine which barely fetched him anything.
He had left Paa Kwesi’s office and headed to the bank to empty his last savings account, sold his phone and a couple of appliances in his room as well in order to gather money to pay.
Twenty- four hours to the deadline, he had barged into PK’s office and dropped off all the money. Everytime Samuel had sat to reconsider this decision- he remembered Lydia and how she thought low of him and how his children didn’t seem to be able to look into his eyes.
The pit in his stomach grew larger as the journey continued but true regret about his decision began when they got to Niger and he saw the expanse of sand and the scorching sun. Paa Kwesi had not accompanied them but had left them in the hands of another dark, bulky gentleman.
Samuel had approached the gentleman to enquire if continuing the journey was safe but that hadn’t gone too well. The bulky gentleman felt Samuel was questionung authority and had meted out some slaps to Samuel’s sunken cheeks. Samuel had withdrawn and refused to continue the journey. A couple of the immigrants tried convincing him to stop being a coward but he had refused. The immigrants moved on, leaving a malnourished Samuel stranded in Niger with no money, phone or means of transport back home.
*** *** ***
Samuel struggled to open his eyes-there seemed to be too much light wherever he was. And the place smelt funny.
He blinked a couple of times so his eyes could get used to the light.
‘I see you are awake now.’ He heard a male voice say.
‘Where am I.’ He struggled to say without turning his head.
‘At the hospital. I brought you here after you collapsed in front of the church.’
‘What happened to me?’ Samuel asked.
‘You had a mild heart attack.’
To be continued…
God bless you
Photo courtesy: thyblackman.com