I was determined to do everything it took to get on that flight even if it meant hijacking the plane, so I dragged Nonso’s hand and pulled him all the way to the front of the queue before he could even object and informed the airline staff that Check in for our flight would be closing soon and we couldn’t afford to miss it. To cut the long story short, we were allowed to check in and proceed for security checks much to the dismay of the other passengers still standing on the queue.
An hour later, we were seating on board our flight to Calabar; I bullied Nonso into sitting in the middle chair so I could sit by the window, I wanted to be the first to catch a glimpse of the beautiful city of Calabar from a bird’s eye view as we landed.
As usual the air hostesses started their safety demonstrations as the plane taxied to the runway, I had seen them do it so many times but I never really paid close attention.
I hated taking off and landing because they always give me goosebumps, I always imagined a strong wind might just blow the plane down or the pilot might fall asleep and stop pressing the button that was supposed to make the plane go up; forgive my ignorance, I’ve never flown a plane before. Somehow, the pilot on this flight had managed to win my trust and calm my nerves with his smooth takeoff; I was so relaxed that I had time to focus on other things like the air hostesses in their short skirts who wouldn’t stop wriggling their waists while they walked up an down the aisle. I really don’t understand why they are made to wear skirts that are so short, you’d think they were on a husband snatching mission. I’m pretty sure there must be an unwritten rule that states that shorter and tighter skirts bring more customers for the airline, that’s the only reasonable explanation to the short skirt syndrome. I kept looking through the corner of my eyes to make sure Nonso wasn’t staring at any of them and luckily for him, he wasn’t.
When I felt it was safe to stop monitoring him, I looked out of the window to watch the huge buildings and landmarks surrounding the airport become miniature figures as we were lifted up into the clouds, I bid Lagos a silent goodbye as we went higher and higher till it was almost difficult to see anything below us.
I allowed my mind to drift, unfortunately, I didn’t have any pleasant thoughts in my subconscious, I kept thinking about mum and the hurt she must be going through and couldn’t help but think of how heartless dad was being by bringing another woman into their home.
It brought tears to my eyes whenever I remembered how our once happy home was being ruined by Dad’s lustful desires. No one who knew what was going on between them would ever believe that Dad was currently surviving on mum’s kidney. I’m sure I must’ve mentioned how mum sacrificed so much for Dad in the past, but I never mentioned this before because it was something I didn’t like to remember.
Dad had developed End stage renal disease commonly known as kidney failure as a result of his long standing, poorly controlled hypertension. Being the stubborn man that he was, he had refused to take the anti- hypertensive drugs prescribed to him by the doctor to control his high blood pressure despite everything mum had to make him adhere to the prescription. Mum on the other hand always took her drugs and so her high blood pressure had been well controlled. Unfortunately for Dad, his two kidneys eventually failed and he had to go for regular dialysis sessions to filter out the waste products that his kidneys had failed to remove.
The kidneys are organs in your body that filter out waste products and extra fluid from the body; when kidney failure occurs, the kidneys will no longer be able to filter out these waste products and dialysis using a machine to filter out these waste products is usually required before a kidney transplant is eventually done to replace the damaged kidneys. A person who receives kidneys from a donor will need to be placed on drugs for life to prevent his body from rejecting the transplanted kidneys. Hypertension is one of the causes of kidney failure, other causes include diabetes, recurrent kidney infections, conditions such as kidney stones or enlarged prostrate gland in men which cause prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract.
The kidney failure phase happened at a time when we were barely comfortable, I had just started my career in movie producing & directing and wasn’t making much money at the time; my brother hadn’t started his business and mum was basically the one providing most of the finances with contract jobs she was getting to supply various goods to different government organisations. After what seemed like numerous dialysis sessions, the doctor advised that the best thing was for Dad to get a kidney transplant. It so happened that after all the necessary tests were carried out, Mum was found to be a perfect match and she didn’t think twice about volunteering to donate her kidneys to her husband despite numerous pleas from her siblings and family members not to do so; they were afraid she might not make it out of the surgery alive and I had to admit that I shared their fears, I wasn’t ready to lose both my parents and if I had to pick anyone, it’d be my mum.
She loved dad so much that all pleas from her siblings to make her reconsider her decision fell on deaf ears; she went ahead to donate her kidney and it took a while for her to recover from the surgery, as a matter of fact, she almost lost her life after she developed a serious infection following the surgery; but she survived.
Now, many years later, the man who she sacrificed all these for had now abandoned her even though she gave him a second chance to live.
My heart wept for my mother, I knew that the only thing that could make her happy again was to have her husband back. She clearly loved him very much, it was quite obvious that she loved him more than he loved her; I think that was her major mistakes. No wonder she would always say to me, “Sonia, when choosing a husband, make sure you marry someone that loves you much more than you love him, because men can be very funny” , I wonder how true that statement is, I’d heard many women say it in the past, but I never thought much of it till I heard it from her.
I was suddenly brought snapped out of my thoughts by screaming from the other passengers, the plane had started shaking vigorously, I felt my stomach sink as strong winds began to blow the plane in all directions making it bob up and down and from side to side like a yo-yo just, my earlier fears had suddenly become reality, it seemed like we were encountering major turbulence, the only problem was that the pilot seemed to have lost control of the plane. I turned to look at Nonso when the plane suddenly dropped again, he struggled to remain calm but I could see the fear in his eyes, “what’s happening?” I asked squeezing his hands as tightly as I could as if it would stop the plane from dropping any further, “I’m not sure what’s going on” he said “but I know we’ll be…” the plane dropped again before he could finish his sentence, by this time everyone on board was panicking including the air hostesses, they had initially been trying to calm us down but by now they had run for cover and were sitting down with their seat belts fastened; luggages began to drop out of the overhead compartments, almost falling on innocent passengers as the plane dropped further.
Finally there was an announcement from the pilot who had been silent since the turbulence started, “Ladies and gentlemen” his voice sounded through the speakers amidst screams from numerous frightened passengers, “this aircraft is going to make an emergency landing, you’re advised to take the brace position NOW” he shouted into the speakers, “brace position?” I thought to myself, I didn’t even know how to take the position because I never watched any of the safety demonstrations, I was beginning to regret not paying attention when I had the chance as I watched people around assume all sorts of awkward positions they considered to be the brace position, from putting heads between their knees to putting hands on their head to even crouching between their chairs. One woman in front of me looked like she was attempting to shrink herself to fit under her chair, if I wasn’t about to crash with the plane myself, I’d have had a good laugh watching her make a fool of herself; it was a really chaotic situation.
With his head between his knees, Nonso turned to face me and began his “last goodbye” speech, “Sonia, you know I love you with all my heart” he began with tears in his eyes, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done to hurt you and I promise to change if we ever make it out of this alive”, “if we ever make it out alive?” I thought to myself, hearing those words made me realise that I really was going to die,I’d always known I would die one day but I just never knew the day would come so soon. I looked around at everyone still screaming and shouting, some were even crying as the plane continued to drop further with unimaginably high speed, my head began to feel light like it was floating while my ears became totally blocked. So this was it? this was how my life was going to end? My mind immediately flashed back to when I pulled Nonso and made him jump the queue with me and I realised I had made a terrible mistake, all these would never have happened if I had just gone to the back of the queue and allowed us miss our flight.
“God if you give me one more chance, I promise never to jump any queue again in my life” I silently prayed, “please just one more chance” I whispered shutting my eyes tight….