In Poland, we were given temporary accommodation in a sports hall and I met most of my colleagues again including Raj. He told me how he was nearly harassed by some Russian soldiers but was rescued by Ukrainian soldiers. When Osei informed me that the Ghanaian government was arranging a flight for us to return home, I was beyond elated. I called my mother and when she recognized my voice she began crying and singing praises to God.
“I thought you were dead, my son.”
“Ma—” I choked on those words and my voice became hoarse.
“It’s okay my son. Just come, I will be waiting for you,” she sobbed. I hung up and buried my head in my palms. Memories of Lavra flooded my mind and now that I was calm, her final words echoed in my mind. I tried remembering where and when I had saved her before but could not recollect any memory. Just as I was about to give up trying, I remembered.

It was about a year ago. I had gone to a restaurant located in the outskirts of Kyiv one night and Lavra was the waitress who attended to me. I was the last customer to leave and on my way back to school, I met four teenagers harassing a young woman with a gun. I took an iron bar I found on the ground and shouted that they let go of her. They immediately dispersed in fright and Lavra ran to me. I walked her home and never set eyes on her again. I’m sure I didn’t recognize her when we met again because she had dyed her hair blonde, from the black I saw her with that day.

The flight back to Ghana filled me with so much uncertainty and anxiety. I was scared of what I would meet back home. I was scared of starting all over again. And most of all, I was scared of meeting my mother. I had failed her terribly, though I knew it wasn’t my fault and I knew she wasn’t going to blame me for it. The flight landed at the Kotoka International Airport and I felt my heart landing alongside.

When my colleagues and I walked out of the airport, their parents and relatives, rushed to them, engulfing them in hugs and kisses. I moved reluctantly while staring around. So many things had changed since the last time I was in Ghana. I inhaled the fresh air and for the first time in many days, I smiled. A taxi driver asked where I was heading and before I could answer, I saw her. She wore a long Ankara dress with her headgear tilted to her right, like someone who had hastily dressed up. I walked slowly to her as tears formed in my eyes. She ran to me and hugged me.
“My son, you are back. God has brought you back to me.”
“Ma…” I choked on my words again.
She held my face in her palms and hugged me again. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine,” she assured me. Her warmth made me forget about everything I had encountered in the war. But the only thing I couldn’t forget and was certain I wouldn’t forget for a long time, was Lavra.

The End!

© Nasreen Zankawah,2024

Written by : Nasreen Zankawah

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