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[STORY] IMPERSONATION (Episode 12)

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IMPERSONATION by Moshood Avidiime _ AllNaijaEntertainment
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Episode 12.

I grew up seeing Aunty Haj as my mother.

Since everyone practically called every elderly female, “Aunty”, where I’m from, it wasn’t so awkward thinking about it.
.
Aunty Haj had always been there for me (literally). She was there from my conception; to inception; and then all through my various stages of growth.
.
Growing up, my mother traveled a lot, so it was just natural for me to have inclined towards Aunty Haj the way I grew up to. Loving her so much, even my heart aches from it.
.
Aunty Haj and my mother were best of friends. I mean, you’d never know that they weren’t “blood sisters”. They practically “shared” everything.

There was no keeping secrets between those two.
.
If I wanted to get anything from my mum, Aunty Haj was usually the one to meet.

If I’d done something terribly wrong and needed a shield from the strokes of cane that my mother was assured to rain down on me upon discovery, I could always count on Aunty Haj to be that shield.
.
And yeah, I guess you can say that she spoiled me silly.
.
All through my time with Aunty Haj, I’d never heard her exchange vulgar words with anyone before, not even with my mum (and trust me, that woman can be very difficult, sometimes).
.
A couple of times, I’ve had to wipe Aunty Haj’s face as rivulets rolled down her cheeks. These were mostly after an admonishment from my mother. But you’ll never catch Aunty Haj retorting, no matter how much she’d thought she was on the right side of things and my mother, on the wrong.
.
Aunty Haj is the most selfless person I know. She’d always put the affairs of other people ahead of her own. And every time anyone tries to lecture her against any of these acts, she’d usually smile and respond, saying, “I do these things primarily for God’s sake”.
.
I know how very easy it is to speak good about a deceased, even if some of these supposed nice attributes are actually far from what these deceased actually possessed, but with Aunty Haj, I swear, one can never over emphasize.
.
I was later to find out that my mother took Aunty Haj in, when she was only fifteen. And they’ve been inseparable ever since.
.
I honestly didn’t expect my mother to survive the loss of Aunty Haj. I mean, they were too tight to have imagined that one of them could go another day, without the other.

The thought of it alone was sickening.
.
And to think that I actually knew the beginning of this sad end.
.
When Aunty Haj fell sick and the Doctor told me, to my face, that my mother (Aunty Haj) had just a few weeks to live, it took a special grace of God to keep me functional.

I tried to, but I just couldn’t hold back the tears from falling.

The doctor kept trying to console me, but how? How do you really console a son, whom you’ve just told that his mother only had days (if you’re counting) to live? How do you get a son, to come to terms with the reality that is the countdown to a “till we meet to part no more? I mean, it’s not like he’d just told me that Aunty Haj will be embarking on a trip, a trip to get better, only to be back at a later date.
.
It took me a while to accept this reality and as strange as it was, Aunty Haj actually played a major role in this acceptance.
.
Until her last breath, Aunty Haj never let go of her faith; trust and beliefs in her maker.
.
Even in her frail state, Aunty Haj was hopeful. This woman was still making future plans with me.

“As soon as I get back on my feet, Moshood, I’ll come over to Keffi and spend at least, one month with you” She’ll often assure me, as I hold her hand to my face.
.
Even though I knew that what Aunty Haj was hoping for, was medically impossible, even when at some point, I’d secretly prayed and hoped that her suffering “ends already”, I’ll always feign a smile and tell her “I can’t wait to have you over, ma”.
.
My “once upon a time”, very beautiful aunty, gradually began to look a shadow of herself. She grew weaker and thinner by the day.
.
Aunty Haj whom I’ve always known to have a large appetite for food, could no longer eat anything no matter how much detail went into the preparation.

“I’m trying, Moshood. I just can’t force it down my throat any longer”. She’d always tell me.
.
Kate watched as I struggled through my story.

She watched as rivulets of tears had already begun rolling down my cheeks, effortlessly.
.
Kate was kind enough to have just allowed me to be expressive. Because she’d met Aunty Haj and knew her first hand, it was not so difficult to get her connected, to feeling half the way I was feeling, relieving the experience.
.
I was not surprised when I looked up to discover that Kate had now began to wail too. Then the first chance she got, she had me doubling back.
.
“Take a deep breath, Moshood. Tell me, what exactly happened to Aunty Haj?” Kate asked, muttering. Her makeup had already been ruined from crying. “I know Aunty Haj died from cancer but I want to know how it all began.”

To be continued…


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