I love her
All his family members and friends watched him dying, dying in agony murmuring “I love her; I love her; I lov…h….r….r”.
Samuel was only six months old when he was attacked by the crippling disease of POLIO. Both his legs, from the hips downwards were affected. He was the fifth born. He had 6 siblings-four of them elder to him and 2 younger ones.
When he was about 3 years old his hand muscles developed strong enough to drag his body up to few meters. His mother was busy with her own work- household choirs and petty businesses to earn a little living. The other siblings used to help each other and help their mother. Samuel waited for their mercy. He started crawling when he was 5 yrs old. Since then Samuel had been on his fours only, he could only sit straight but not stand.
He did not attend any school because there was nobody to take him to school and bring him back from school. He used to force his brothers and sisters show him how to write and read. With his determinations and own efforts, he managed at least to be able to read news papers and write letters.
As he grew up, he became more and more frustrated and depressed. The only person who inspired him to reach the stage where he had reached was the one whom he hated most. He was the only one who spoke the truth. He could strangle him at that moment but when he looked back, Samuel knew he really owed the man all the gratitude.
Samuel was waiting for his brother to bring some water to wash his hands after eating food. The remains of the food in his hand started drying up; the flies were hovering around his hand. A loud-mouth neighbour came to borrow a hand hoe from their house. Samuel requested him to bring some water as his brother was taking a long time.
“The hands with which you are pushing the food in your mouth are normal. Let them work. Why do you demoralize yourself so much? Drag yourself, go out and see the others who are even less fortunate than you.”-the man told him and went away without giving water to Samuel. He cursed the man, wept, cried and refused to eat in the evening. He could not sleep at night.
The next day early morning, Samuel woke up and decided to let his hands take him as far as it could. He met people on the way; some looked at him with pity; some ignored him; some looked with horror “a cripple is crawling on the road”; some offered help. His elder brother’s friend gave him a lift in his bike.
For the first time in his life, Samuel reached the bus stand which was half a kilometer from his house. He was sitting in one corner, resting. He was enjoying the scene and envying the people who were running around. Suddenly a 100 shillings coin came flying to him. Samuel looked at the lady who threw the coin to him, but she simply walked away without even looking at him. He did not pick up the coin, it was lying near his feet. He thought the lady might come back to pick it up. But no; instead another coin, more coins were dropped near his feet by the people who were passing near him. Another person who was hurrying to climb the bus handed over his unfinished coke bottle to him.
By noon Samuel had received more money than he could count. First time in his life, he bought food for himself. He wanted to come back home quickly and show his mother the money he got and tell his siblings all about the day’s happenings.
“Hey you! We were searching for you everywhere. Everybody was so worried and here you are enjoying your fried potato chips all alone. “How did you come up to here, who brought you here”-his young brother was shouting at him.
“I have got hands, good and strong hands; the hands which push food in my mouth will also look for food. I came all by myself and I will go back all by myself. Now I know the road’-Samuel answered. While they were still arguing, his younger brother saw two-three more people dropping coins for Samuel.
In the evening when Samuel reached home, everybody was waiting for him.
“He was begging in the streets”-his younger brother commented. Others joined the young brother and gave their disgusting impressions about what Samuel did. They demanded an explanation from Samuel. The young brother repeated what Samuel told him “The hands which push food in the mouth will also look for food”. Another brother said “To have a cripple brother is enough shame by itself and now you go to beg also, shaming us more.”
His knees were bleeding from crawling. He wanted to use the piece of cloth which he used to wrap all the coins he received. Everybody looked at the amount of the coins rolled out from the piece of cloth. Together they counted and recounted the money-five thousand six hundred and fifty Shillings. Nobody in the family had earned that much money in a day, that too without working. “He had already spent some money, I saw him eating chips”-the young brother complained.
From that time onwards nobody objected Samuel from going to beg, they rather waited for him to come back with bigger amounts. Some of his siblings even begged for some money from Samuel, the beggar.
Slowly things started moving in the wrong direction. Samuel became the main bread earner. Most of his other siblings had finished primary school but nobody managed to go to secondary schools. The number of family members was also increasing. One of the sisters had 2 children already, not married yet and one brother brought a wife. Another brother had been sent to jail for getting involved in a robbery. Samuel went on with his life.
He found a girl ready to marry him. After the marriage, he moved out of their house with his wife and rented a room near a roadside. They got married because each of them needed a companion, a partner to share all the ups and downs of life, not necessarily for sex. Samuel –cripple from the waist downwards and Mary with ambiguous sex organ. They understood and loved each other well. Mary worked as a house helper; she earned enough to support herself. Samuel loved watching Mary getting dressed with the newest fashion, he always bought cloths for her. Once in a while they would visit disco halls.
From their savings, they managed to buy a small second hand TV set and a pocket radio. Life was peaceful.
But their peaceful life disturbed the minds of their relatives. Samuel’s younger brother came to stay with them. He saw the luxurious cloths Mary was wearing. News was conveyed to other relatives that Mary was reaping all the money Samuel earned; while Samuel was begging on the road in the rain and sun, Mary was enjoying the company of other people; she did not like to cook and serve Samuel’s relatives…..endless stories. The sister dumped her children on Samuel and disappeared from their sight- she had found a new boy friend. Mary could not tolerate anymore. She left Samuel and went back to her parents. Samuel did not stop her; he wanted her to be free from the insults and burdens. It was becoming too much for her.
One day Samuel requested all his relatives and friends to gather and hear an important announcement. He informed everybody that whosoever would be present, would be receiving a bonus prize. Not surprisingly everybody except Mary came.
“Thank you all for coming. I want to show you a magic. I am going to be a normal person now like any one of you. When my body starts wriggling and twisting, do not touch me otherwise the magic spell will disappear. You should watch me till the end in silence.”
He raised the cup high in the air, then drank and emptied all the contents which he had prepared since the day Mary left him. He had bought 90 Chloroquine tablets from different pharmacies in the past one week, crushed to make powder and stored for that day.
“I have lost the only one person who truly loved and cared for me. I really love her. I l…o…”
All his relatives waited in silence for the magic spell to take place and get their bonuses.
Samuel relieved himself forever from the unfair world.
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