Truth Rating : 76.63%
Every fibre of her feeble being echoed songs of debilitation but she was utterly indifferent to their call. Her tired body was the least of her worries as she had just descended a flight of poorly-constructed steps and had been walking on a reddish-brown path for what seemed close to an hour. Her body was screaming “stop” but it seemed only her mind was with her on this; this in turn aggravated the deposition of lactic acid to her muscles.
It was February and the chilly dust-laden winds from the Sahara formed dense fogs on the road and blocked out visibility almost completely. The rustle of the leaves never failed to break the dying silence she needed to think. She just had an appointment with her doctor in effect to the issue with her husband whose last wish as at the time was another child. From his perspective, the timing of such an event was absolutely wrong because he just got retrenched from his workplace for a crime he knew nothing about. He depended solely on his meager savings and his wife’s paltry income to sustain the family.
Myriads of thought raced through her mind as she moved slowly to the bus stop. To further worsen the situation, she already had a child who was only a few months old and still relied heavily on breast milk. They must have allowed the exuberance of nascent marital life lead them to such dead end. Left to her, she would have succumbed to abortion as clearly exuded by her husband’s actions; but it took the re-assuring words of the doctor to talk her out of such heinous crime. “I am going to have this baby” she said to herself.
Amidst the confusion, the chaos, and the pain, his estimated time of arrival was the last day of August but the reason he delayed for close to 48 hours still posed an enigma to most people. His birth wasn’t greeted with so much celebration like that of his elder sibling. In fact, the name given him by his parents further bolstered the fact that he wasn’t planned for and only God’s will was done
With his father’s seemingly large nuclear family and the burden of numerous dependent relatives, the pressure to secure another job intensified by the minute; but it appeared as though his cloud had no silver lining and his tunnel of hope had anything but light at its end. His wife never for once relented in supporting the family. She took to part-time teaching as a way to increase cash flow; but it takes more than one wing for an eagle to soar. Moreover, her position in her work place had been reeking in absolute stagnation for close to 5 years. All her contemporaries were way ahead of her in office rank; She instantly became an object of ridicule and an example in a prayer point people prayed against.
Then, his parents dreaded holidays because it reminded them of the school fees they were to pay in a couple of weeks to come. Most times, the minuscule fees were paid in installments and help had to be sought from supportive family friends and his mother’s colleagues at work. But in spite of being cocooned in the sticky webs of apparent hardship, the seed of contentment was sown in the hearts of these children for they seemed to understand the situation perfectly; they weren’t too overbearing.
Another thing which brought respite to their parents was the exceptional intellectual gift displayed by these children; Some owed it to the genetic transfer of intelligence from parents while others ascribed it as a way of consolation adopted by the children to their parents. They beamed like stars wherever they went. In fact, on some occasions, their parents had to change their schools to ascertain the children’s consistency upon hearing a lot of sinister words from jealous parents. Despite this, their positions in their respective classes never experienced an increase in ordinality; it was ever-constant like the density of mercury.
The family’s ship eventually made it to the calm shores of the turbulent waters of life’s vicissitudes after 4 years of battle with the raging tides. His father got a job and alleviated the burden his wife had been shouldering for the better part of half a decade.
But as he grew up, he noticed that his elder sibling was his father’s favourite and almost similar action put up by them generated different reactions from his father. Perhaps, the circumstances around his birth, the father-daughter bond, his striking resemblance with his mother or his inability to spontaneously read his books were the most probable causes. He usually got scolded and compared to his sister occasionally and most times it served as an impregnable barrier between him and things he needed from his father. All these pained him to the very marrow of his bones but he usually found consolation in his mother. Then, his family got divided into 2 distinct teams. And as the obvious underdog, his mother had no choice than to root for him against the strong family opposition.
He didn’t only inherit superficial looks from his doting mother, he also made sure he got some resilience and determination from her. These were either lacking or not prioritized in his sister’s repertoire of virtues; these virtues gave him the fighting chance that enabled him narrow the gap despite his sister’s academic giant strides.
Meanwhile, the massive concrete wall that dammed his mother’s river of promotion had been fractured at the base and the river flowed almost without restraint. She got series of double promotions to compensate for the acrimonious years of stagnation. Some years later, the family relocated to its permanent residence in Lagos which took close to 5 years to build due to incessant financial hiccups. Everything was finding its place just like pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle. Also worth mentioning is the fact that some being later came in not only to increase the family size but also to swim in the tranquil lake of relative luxury.
Time had a profound effect on his resilience as well as his determination; he not only mastered effectively the spontaneous reading culture, he also smashed most of his sibling’s academic record. Upon seeing the numerous achievements of Team Underdog, his father had no choice than to completely obliterate the family division and encourage the children equally. With assiduous studying by both the children, they made landmark achievements and unalloyed success in national competitions; nothing pleased their father more. This invariably made the already large shoes even more colossal for the last child who is also doing fine at her own pace.
Being someone who relishes nocturnal solitude, one chilly Thursday night, he took time to playback the memories of long gone days. He sure had a story to tell now that things were as normal as snow in December. There was so much to be thankful for. He muttered a silent ‘Thank you Lord’ and instantly obeyed his drowsy eyes into the dark confines of dreamland.