Through the hole in piles of old blocks, Chima peeped at his friend who searched frantically for him.
He stifled a chuckle as he saw his frustration.
Chima’s pebbles had hit him twice and his had hit him only once. If he could hit him one more time, he would win the game. His friend needed to hit him twice to win and he wasn’t going to let him.
A couple of minutes later, he didn’t see nor hear him anymore. He needed to see what he was up to. So, he raised his head above the blocks with caution to see. But what he saw was a pebble flying towards him at a close range . Before he could duck, it had caught his right eye.
He felt the pang and at the same time saw seven stars!
“Ahaah! Got you, ” his friend laughed.
Chima moaned as another pebble caught his neck with a milder impact.
The sound of his scream forced his friend to drop the handful of pebbles he planed to throw at him and froze by his side.
“What happened? Are you alright? Did I hurt you?”
“My eye, my eye, ” Chima cried.
His friend stooped and raised his face. What he saw terrified him. Chima’s right eye discharged bloody tears. He let out a scream and ran home to get help.
Chima’s mother rushed to the scene with her heart in her hands. Chima was rushed to the emergency section. When she saw the state of her son, she went limp.
What she had feared had happened. She had always disliked her son’s friendship with her neighbour’s son.
Chima was his exact opposite – gentle, soft-hearted and two years younger than the fifteen year old rough cob of a friend.
She had always tried to protect her son from him but couldn’t. How could she with her son making it difficult. He would always hang out with him.
“The only thing you can do is tell your son to be careful with him. You can’t stop the river from flowing in certain direction.” Her friend had told her when she complained to her.
“I could. It’s simple for me to do!”
“Tell me how.”
“I could build a strong wall between them, “
Chima’s mother was sure that if she took a drastic measure, she could end their friendship.
Moving out was one of her best options but she couldn’t possibly move out just to keep a neighbours son away from her son. That sounded ridiculous. Finally, she decided to let them be.
Ever since, she had lived in constant fear that one day, he would hurt her son.
Now that it had happened, she knew she would never to her son and would never come to terms with the cause of her son’s blindness.
When Chima’s friend and his parents visited him in the hospital, his mother refused them access to him. She had been embittered by the incident and was determined to keep the boy and his family as far away from her son as she could. That was what she had always wanted to do.
Two months later, Chima’s friend and his parents visited him at school. They apologised to him for the first time since the incident.
“We are so sorry for what happened to you, Chima. I have punished your friend repeatedly for being so careless and insensitive. It pains us his parents to think that our son has made someone’s son blind. ”
Chima’s eyes moistened. He wasn’t happy he got punished. His extended a hand to his friend and a hug followed.
Looking at his eyes which was now deep-set and half-closed with the iris seemingly lost, he wept silently. Chima consoled him.
“You know I didn’t mean to hurt you right?” Chima nodded.
“I can’t believe I did this to you,” his tears dropped, Chima dabbed his eyes with his handkerchief.
“You didn’t do this on purpose. Don’t worry about it?”
“Ever since this happened, I’ve wished we didn’t play with pebbles.”
“It’s my ill luck. It could have been you instead of me.”
That visit renewed their friendship. Until one day, his mother saw them playing together. She picked a stick and drove them apart. A few days later, Chima saw a big truck in front of his friend’s house. Soon, movers moved furnitures into the truck.
They were moving out! He ran towards their house, to say goodbye to his friend who
“Chima! Chima! Come back here!”
Chima paused, hesitated and walked back home. His mother took him inside the house.