The hottest day of February was coming to an end and drowsy silence covered the whole Asam estate as the news of the former Chief Judge of the state’s demise made everyone cold.
They’d just seen him jog on the streets that morning. Two hummer jeeps drove behind him as he managed to jog through. He did this every other morning.
He had cardiac arrest, caused by arrhythmia.
Etta, his first daughter had just stepped out from court where she had a case when her phone rang.
It was her younger sister Ekaette who had called to inform her of their father’s demise.
“Etta, Daddy is gone. He is dead…” Ekaette cried over the phone.
“How?” Etta gasped. Her hands were shaking, her heart was beating so fast she couldn’t move her feet from where she stood.
“Are you okay?” her colleague and friend Nameh asked as she approached her immediately she noticed something had gone wrong with her friend.
“My father is dead. My father…” she stuttered.
“We were together this morning, he sent me to get newspapers at the plaza before coming back home. I can’t believe this. I can’t just believe it.” Tears ran out of her eyes.
Nameh held her hands. “Give me the car keys, let me drive you home.”
Etta managed to walk into the American spec Camry her father had bought for her on her 26th birthday, in her black pencil skirt and her white collarless shirt. Her fair skin had suddenly turned red from the sad news she had just heard.
“You have to calm down Etta, breathe in and out,” Nameh said calmly as she started the car and drove into the main road.
“My father can’t be dead,” Etta said as she ran her hands through her soft braided hair.
As Nameh drove into the compound, she could tell that something had gone wrong. There were lots of people standing outside the house, their hands on their heads in amazement.
Etta rushed out of the car and ran toward her mother who was sitting on the floor of the verandah, dressed in a blue jean and black blouse. Her sister Ekaette was sitting by her mother’s feet.
“Tell me it’s not true mom, tell me it’s not true,” she cried out.
“The ambulance just took him away,” her mother said tearily.
Another car drove into the compound, and when Etta saw who it was, she left her mother and ran into his arms.
“Bobby, my father is gone! He is gone!” she cried in his arms.
His huge hands snaked round her, and she was diminished by his size.
Nameh sighed and turned her head pitifully. Etta’s father had once given her money before when she visited their house for the first time.
She was chubby and had big legs that everyone jokingly called yam legs.
“Husband of my youth! He is gone oooo,” Etta’s mom cried out so loudly.