It’s been three months. Life was slowly returning back to normal. The virus was still present in certain areas of the country, but the Nigerian government finally realized that unlike their global counterparts, they could not manage the lockdown effectively. Moreover, a vast number of Nigerians did not particularly understand the idea of working from home, since most of their hustles were on the street. Collins had returned to Ibadan, and Aunt Rose to Abeokuta, but they both visited from time to time. Dúrójaiye’s calls came in more often than not these past few months, and Túnmikẹ still found it quite hard to get used to. Sade had lost her job, or as the firm put it, ‘it was on hold’ until she was fit to carry on with the job. That was also how life felt for Túnmikẹ – ‘on hold.’
She had put everything – especially her school, on hold, so she could commit full time to helping her sister regain her memory. She had to continue reminding herself that it was her turn to take care of her sister, to pull the strings of the family tied together like her sister had done all those years, even though she depended largely on Dúrójaiye’s money. Collins offered to help financially as well, but she turned it down. She was anxious about what the future held. What if Sade never remembered anything. It wasn’t as though they couldn’t live without her memories – in fact, Sade was doing well memorizing new facts and creating new memories but, it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t fill the hole Túnmikẹ felt in her heart even though in reality, it was impossible for Sade recovering her memories to mend the hole that was found in Tunmike’s heart three months ago.
While Sade was at the hospital, Dúrójaiye decided to take over all medical affairs in the family. He completely shut out the doctor who took up the position of being the family doctor after the divorce between Dúrójaiye and Abimbola happened. Dúrójaiye considered him grossly incompetent. As though to confirm his thought, a week after Sade was discharged from the hospital, a hole was discovered in Túnmi’s heart which was declared the major cause of the arrythmia she was had been diagnosed with.
She had refused to go for surgery on countless occasions out of fear that something bad could happen to her, and Sade would be left alone. “Not now that she is finally starting to remember little important things like her favourite series, or her favourite dish bowl she uses ever so often, or her favourite drink.” Túnmikẹ always found something new and important Sade was finally remembering every time the surgery talk was brought up. Unfortunately, it seemed like the more Sade remembered, the more she forgot. “How was school today?” She’d ask Túnmi, “Why is mom not with you? Where is she?” She’d ask Dúrójaiye, she’d put on her NYSC uniform on some Thursdays, and announce she was going for CDS. “So, you are telling me this hotness of a man is my boyfriend?” She’d giggle with Túnmikẹ when Collins wasn’t looking.
After much pressure from Dúrójaiye and Aunty Rose, Túnmikẹ finally agreed to do the heart surgery. She had been assured that the surgery was going to be a simple one because the hole was very small and could have gone unnoticed if not for the arrythmia and the fainting she was beginning to experience quite often. On their way to the hospital, Sade sat in the front passenger seat watching a movie, while Túnmikẹ sat with Dúrójaiye at the back. They were both discussing the high rating of the heart surgeon that was going to treat Túnmikẹ’s condition. “I used to have a boyfriend once, he cheated on me with my sister.” Sade said, interrupting Túnmikẹ and Dúrójaiye’s conversation. Túnmikẹ froze in the back seat after hearing what Sade had just spilled. “What is she talking about?” Dúrójaiye threw the question into the air.
“Oh, I am just seeing this movie, and one of the characters just said that” Sade replied. “Although…it does seem familiar to me.” She turned to look at Dúrójaiye and Túnmikẹ in the back seat “Do you think this is one of those things I should remember?” She asked. “Of course not.” Túnmikẹ jumped in to answer the question quickly – too quickly, Dúrójaiye noticed. “Oh, okay.” Sade said turning back around. Dúrójaiye gave Túnmikẹ a look which she completely ignored by looking outside the window. She noticed the clouds were beginning to darken. “Seems like it is going to rain heavily today.” She said.
After meeting with the surgeon, the Johnsons headed back home. The rain started to fall heavily. Soon afterwards, a fierce storm broke out followed by violent wind with thunder and lightning. This all felt very familiar to Sade. She could feel that there was something to remember from this trigger caused by the storm, and it had something to do with what she had been wanting to tell her mom since she was at the hospital. “What was it? What was it?” She kept muttering to herself, determined to remember this time because a storm like this occurred rarely. She tried hard all through the ride home, but nothing came. She sighed in resignation and was ready to give up again. But as fate would have it, after Dúrójaiye dropped the girls in their apartment, he said the exact words he told them when he left them for good the last time – ‘I would have to leave now…’
Sade didn’t wait to hear the rest of his words when something clicked, and she uttered “I remember” barely in a whisper. She looked at Túnmikẹ and Dúrójaiye and said it again with more confidence as the memories kept rushing in “I remember!”
<to be continued.
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