#WBC2020: Writing Prompt – By the time he woke up, I was dying.
It started as a game. How did we end up playing it in the first place? The lights had gone off and recent occurrences suggested that it would take a while for it to come back on. A while meaning, a whole working day’s hours’ worth. Why, simple: boredom.
I am the third girl with two older brothers. I’ve a baby sister; she feels safe nowhere other than our mother’s armpit. Surprisingly, my mother seems to enjoy it. When I was little enough to follow her all around, she’d send me away. “Play with your brothers,” she said. “It’s time to grow up.”
But it seems she loves my baby sister’s company more than she did mine. All jealousy aside, she’s older than I was when she got tired of my babyish ways. Well, I guess, she’s much cuter than I ever was.
Why was I thinking of my mother and baby sister during my final seconds of consciousness? Perhaps I blamed them for my predicament. Perhaps not.
Back to the game. It started with a tug-of-war. Pretty harmless. My brothers had a neighbor friend whom they played with. Fingers, they called him. He was pretty rough but that was to be expected. And in my bid to prove myself as a worthy playmate, I had to learn how to play rough. And rough I played.
On some days, it ended with my father separating two fighting parties and ordering Fingers back home and us straight to the bathroom. Other days, it ended with burst lips, bruised egos and ugly teared-faces.
Today, it ended terribly.
When we grew tired of the tug-of-war, my brother suggested a sword fight…with sticks. After it went on for a while, it became boring for me so I started jeering at Fingers. That angered him and he grew more aggressive. My other brother also began taunting him. Out of frustration, Fingers hit my brother’s face with the stick whose impact took him down in pain.
My other brother who was terrible at standing up to anyone and yet great at snitching, threatened to go report him to ‘Bra Boat’ who, a body builder who prided himself in his muscles and thick tall figure. Fingers called my wailing brother a big baby and a fight ensued.
I initially got excited and started cheering my brother on. But when I realized he was losing, I threw myself on top of Fingers so he could lose his grip on my poor brother. He shrugged me off, took the stick he was fighting with and whacked my brother on the head. He passed out.
I screamed, calling out for my brother. What was taking him so long?
Without thinking, I threw myself at him. Unfortunately, it ended with me down and him on top of me.
“You think you’re so tough, huh? Say sorry.” Unfortunately, if there was one word my mother failed to teach me to say and mean it, it was that word: sorry. It just didn’t sit well with me so my tongue never learned how to properly say it.
But maybe this time, I should have let go of my stubborn pride and just said it.
What happened next happened fast…my mind couldn’t capture everything. I remember biting his hand and he hitting me across the face. He picked something next to us.
“No…” I felt blackness covering me. Fingers realizing he had gone too far, ran away.
Where was my coward brother when we needed him? I tried reaching out to my brother but I was too weak. I was bleeding on the side of my head. I crawled to him and shook him with every ounce of strength I had left. Then I collapsed next to him, heaving.
I was beginning to lose consciousness but I was determined to fight it. By the time he woke up, I was dying. He called out for help and tapped my cheeks, trying to keep me awake. When I realized he was okay to find help for me, I stopped fighting to keep myself awake.
I woke up on a hospital bed with my two brothers next to me.
“Where did you go? What kept you so long?” I asked weakly.
“You won’t believe it. Can you imagine that he forgot all about us because of that flat-chested girl he has been crushing on? He escorted her to buy roasted corn.”
“I’m sorry, sister. I didn’t think it would get this far.”
I nodded and succumbed to sleep. We were going to be fine.
© Josephine Amoako 2020