He wants to get you a Dog.
Hannah had left the dining table where she was having dinner with my parent and hers, just to let me in on the most recent secret kept in her care. She is my cousin but I’d rather say she is my sister, or sometimes I call her my best friend. She and her parent came to visit us as they usually do from time to time. She stepped into my room stretching out her left hand to the side of the wall, searching for where the light switch was planted.
It’s been three days since I got back from the hospital, and for 12 days now I have been down with malaria since I got back from Africa about four weeks ago. The doctor had suggested that in 4 days’ time – Friday, I should be out of bed already. I really couldn’t wait.
“Hey… – If you pretend to be asleep just for me to leave, I’ll smack you!” What Hannah said as she dramatically prowled into my room, with a sinister look on her face.
“At least you know how far I’d go to get rid of you,” I responded with a blush on my face. Hannah is crazy, but I love her. I love that she loves me and does crazy things around me. Once when we were both grounded in our homes, no cell or computer for a week because we lied about studying at each other’s place when we had actually gone for a night party. On the 3rd day of the seven days punishment, Hannah heard from her neighbor who attends the same school like us that Debra, a Togolese citizen who had been in America for seven years got deported. Even though no one was sure about what really led to it – or it could not be true, Hannah snuck out through her window — and like every other grounded teenager, she had no cash or credit card, so she walked down more than 8 blocks to my house just to let me in on the latest news in our school. What would I do without her right?
“It’s a dog…” She said with a proud look on her face like she just completed a mission. She walked across the room dramatically tilting her shoulder until she got to the other side of the bed.
“What is?” I inquired.
“My dad is planning to get you a dog for your birthday,” She responded with a smile on her face right after she poked my left cheek facing her. “He wasn’t sure of the breed you’d like so He asked me, and I told him I would get back to him -”
“– Good girl, you know me so well. Don’t worry, when I’m rich, I will employ you so you won’t use your best talent for free.”
“And what is my best talent?”
“Knowing me,” I said, with a wink on my face.
“Whatever! So what breed is your favorite? — I wonder why we have never had this conversation through”
“There is always a first time for everything, and I am not sure what breed I want” I responded.
“Well, you have till tomorrow, or I will decide for you.” Hannah said as she jumped off the bed, “Now I’ll have to explain why I spent so long in the loo.”
“Just tell them you also checked on me.”
“Na, that means you will be taking the glory, and I won’t let you,” She responded with a sinister smile on her face as she walked backward to the door with her chest raised high. “I am the star of this quest.”
“I have seen so many dogs, and I am not sure what breed to choose,” I thought to myself. “But of all the dogs I have loved, only one has left a mark.”
It was about two years back, my first time in Africa. It was Nigeria to be exact, and it was in a village called Sabisa Village, in Borno state. There was a dog, around the camp, always helping in any way it could. His name was Guide, and he was given that name as it used to stay at the entrance of where the footpath that led to the camp was (it is now a road), and it would guide visitors waiting for escorts through the footpath, to the camp. It sits in a posture like it is waiting for you, while also giving this blissful stare that makes you trust, and eventually follow him.
Members of the camp did well to feed and take care of him. The dog was just always happy to be around, and like the dog, I was so excited about being abroad for the first time that I took part in about every activity that came my way. I loved the fact that I had a purpose and I forgot about me for a while. Guide and I crossed path a few times and every time this happened, and I would notice it wiggling its tail as it walked by like it had no worries (which I suppose he didn’t). It would always accompany someone or sit and keep the company of someone working or resting in the garage or clinic or park.
After a few weeks of strenuous activities in a new and intense environment, and few days till we will be packing up to leave for the Christmas holiday, I experienced burnout and I was bedridden in the clinic for a while. After few days in the clinic, I began to notice that around noon, Guide would walk in and around the tent, sitting and spending few minutes with some of the people sleeping or just sitting alone, including me. I would smile and wink at him, and however he responded, I believed he was winking back in his way. It was almost time for me to get on my bus, everyone had left camp with the other buses, and even though I feeling better, I didn’t have enough strength to go back to being on my own so that I would leave with the last bus taking the matrons to the airport.
It was noon, and as usual, Guide walked into the tent and sat with me as I laid in my bed. I was busy imagining scenarios of what could happen when I got home, I heard Guide growling (which happened rarely). As I slowly turned to look at Guide, I noticed it trying to pull down a snake curled on the leg of the bunk which I laid. I jumped off the bed as I saw the snake, which also reacted to my movement by letting its head out in the open for Guide to pounce on and grind. My scream called the Matrons out, and by the time they got there, Guide had saved me from the snake which now laid dead on the floor.
“That is the type of Dog I want, A Beagle Dog.”