My phone rang. I sluggishly rolled to the side of the bed to pick my phone from the bedside table. I had twenty five missed calls and five messages. Reading Margaret’s message reminded that it was my birthday. I couldn’t help but smile reading the message.
“The one who lights up my soul, today is your day. You happened and my life got filled with happiness, joy and life. I can’t trade you for anything. Happy birthday my love. We’d celebrate the rest of your birthdays happily together. Happy birthday my love. Come to school early enough today….”
After reading all the messages, I had to go through Margaret’s message over and over again. I kept smiling while reading. The feeling it gave me that moment couldn’t be quantified with anything. I could literarily feel my heart leaping.
It was already 6:30 am, I turned on my Bluetooth speaker and played my afro pop gospel playlist to help time pass while preparing for school.
“Michael! Michael!….” I faintly heard my mother belting. I had to quickly put my towel on as I was already about to take my bath, went to turn off the Bluetooth speaker and dashed to the door to open it.
“Good morning ma….” I prostrated, just to pacify her. I was afraid she may start another nagging episode.
“Your song was too loud. I’ve warned you to keep it low” She said looking through my room as if she was looking for something. Her eyes stayed on the poster I hung which had the image of a popular singer, Beyoncé. She wanted to spit out fire on it, I could sense but probably she decided to let the sleeping dog lie.
“And your song, was it Christian?….” She asked.
“Really? And it has all these worldly beats! All these gbo gbo gbi gbi songs you people listen to these days ehn” She retorted.
“It’s just groovy ni, it has good lyrics….” I replied frustrated but in a calm way. I was trying to just do nothing but keep my cool with her as I didn’t want any problem that morning.
“Bi won se ma n so niyen (that’s how they say). Well, I think I told you about your Dad and I going to Bot…….”
“Botswana for a 2-week ministration, we’ll be leaving this evening and your aunt, Gloria will be coming over to babysit you” I cut in laying more emphasis on the word ‘babysit’.
She gave me this look, “She’s not coming to babysit you, she’d just keep your company to make sure you are doing well.”
“You see, for the past 7 days since you guys got back, I’ve barely spent one hour with you and Dad. You just came back from a 1-month trip last week for God’s sake! I have been staying with Dad’s friend all this while. Why can’t I just go back there? And you guys don’t even seem to care about me. It’s just about your ministry!” My mum watched me spit all my words, she probably felt guilty but couldn’t help it.
“Look I’m sorry, you need to understand your Dad and I. We are trying our best to….”
“Build a future for you. You’ve always said that. You guys don’t even remember that……”
She cut in, not letting me finish with what I had to say. “It’s alright, we’d make it up to you. I promise. We’d make sure to spend enough time with you when we’re back.”
“That’s what she’d always say” I murmured, walking to the bathroom.
I was angry at her, she didn’t even remember my birthday. Even with the love I had received from friends that morning, I still felt unloved. The world around me remembered my birthday but my parents did not.
“I’ll be downstairs, I’ll drop you off at school.”
“You don’t need to bother mum. I’d find my way to school, you should prepare for your trip.” I yelled from the bathroom so she could hear me.
There was no response from her, the only thing I heard was the door creak and then it was slammed shut. She left.
It was a different story in school, my girlfriend already prepared a surprise package for me.
To be candid, I was surprised. The love was so much. I really forgot the fact that my own parents forgot about my birthday. My heart bubbled throughout the day.
I got to school quite early, which was unusual. It was because Margaret asked me to be in school early. I kept thinking of what she could have gotten for me, a thousand thoughts ran through my mind.
The classroom door was closed, “I got to class first? You really must be kidding me! I just hope the door is not locked” That was my thought until I opened the door and then my classmates chorused a birthday song.
The classroom was beautifully littered with rose petals and birthday cards on the lockers. I was literally dumbfounded, I was just smiling. Margaret gave me a big hug and whispered to my ears, “the grand surprise is on the way”.
This kept me wondering, “what other surprise could be bigger than this?”