Saving poor Jimmy
Jimmy was my best friend and our friendship was a profound one bestowed with love, respect and understanding which so many people especially those who were so close to me failed to understand because nothing good was expected of him simply because he was deaf and dumb but for me, I saw his qualities from the very first day we met and understood how special he was. His mother, our full time house keeper worked hard to take care of him because he was her only child and the light in her life and what she earned from my parents enabled her kept food in her own table. Grace was a humble hardworking woman and was highly dedicated to her work perhaps that helped built a very strong tie with my family, she sometimes stayed late just to help my mother in things aside her regular house keeping work and the fact that she always talked about her son and how special he was made me developed an affection for him even without meeting him.
Everybody liked Grace and I must admit that she had my entire family rapped in her arm and my Father sometimes joked and called her the unfortunate model because she looked so beautiful at forty and was like a mother to me and my younger sister Lucy so we made it a must that she brought Jimmy to Lucy’s birthday and she agreed. The birthday party was full of surprises and Tito, one of the most famous musicians in the country was present but the only guest who no one ever forgot was the dummy that wore an oversize slipper and danced off beat to every music played and that was Jimmy. He wasn’t shy at his appearance and did not showed any sign of been intimidated even when I introduced him to my friend Abel and he snubbed him when he wanted to shake his hands but like Edwin a friend of mine too and the son of the country’s Attorney general said; “That boy is not our class”. Of course he wasn’t our class, he was the son of my family’s house help so at sixteen I understood everything about class, rich and poor.
Jimmy and his mother were the last people that left the party because they stayed back to help clean up the left over(s) but before they left, I asked Jimmy to come along the next day after all school was on break but the fact was that I didn’t knew how he understood everything I intended to tell him because I was not good at sign language. Anyway, he showed up the next day even before his mother arrived for work and she was surprised when she saw us playing the table tennis. I was a good Tennis player and had won many youth competitions so teaching my friends how to play was like a hubby to me so it was fun teaching Jimmy and the fact that he was deaf and dumb brought out my best as a coach; imagine a sixteen years old boy teaching a deaf and dump kid how to play the table tennis. Learning how to play the table tennis was the beginning of our friendship and Jimmy proved to be a natural learner so he mastered most skills within weeks and by the time the school break was over, my coaching skills was telling itself on him.
We were like brothers and were always together, he even made it a point of duty to always come by the school gate every given day to fetch me. However, we became fond of each other and that enabled me saw the golden heart of that poor deaf and dumb boy who wanted to be somebody someday yet the world around him failed to see his dreams but I did and that why I gave him few of my cloths and sneakers, my parents didn’t mind my gestures at the initial stage but my mother showed me the beast she was the day she saw Jimmy wearing my three piece suit. It was on my graduation day and every body I knew would look great so there was no way my brother Jimmy would be left aside but my mother did not understood it that same way. Honestly, she would have asked him to pull off the suit right there at the graduation ground,the looks in her eyes were enough to strip him naked, her anger was visible on her face.
But something that would change the essence of our friendship happened five years later, the very year I was to graduate from the University and join my father’s real estate corporation. My best friend got sick and was diagonized of Acute pyelonephritis and within months, he began to deteriorate, he was always weak and lost appetite because his two kidneys were infected. However, he needed an urgent kidney transplant to stay alive but that was not just the only problem even if a donor was found, the fund for the operation was exorbitant.
One hundred and twenty thousand dollars was needed for the kidney transplant even if a donor was found.
I asked myself so many times where on earth a donor would come from because that of the only available donor, ‘his mother’ who wanted him to stay alive as much as I did was an irregular match so where do we go for help because as he suffered I suffered too. I came over one evening to see him and saw his mother wiping because the light of her life was about to shut forever so I felt on my knees and cried to God…
“…O God where are you?” I cried. Where is thy love? I seek thy face but saw nothing, stretched my hands to reach thee but you were far, is this your work? Why must you allow Jimmy to suffer this way? you gave him tongue but he could not speak, ears but he could not hear and now you watch as pains want to take his life, why are you far away o God, be not far from us for death is about to take my brother.”
As a matter of fact, it became obvious that God was simply sleeping if he ever existed because no one cared to help not even our church pastor but there was this particular voice which kept saying inside me “You alone can save Jimmy”. Of course it must be hallucination if not partial madness I thought but the voice became stronger and stronger the more I sort for a way to help my brother. I knew nothing else to do for Jimmy but a part of me which belonged to him knew exactly what to do perhaps that alone motivated me that fateful day to visit Dr Martin the chief surgeon and asked him to check if I will be a match. The test he did proved me to be a perfect donor and that was a relief to me and Grace but my parents did not in any way understood it the same way. My father even filed a law suit against the hospital to stop me from donating one of my kidneys to Jimmy but there was no where the law states that a life cannot be saved so the jury granted me the right to donate my kidney to save my brother and best friend Jimmy. However, my father became outrageous with the court ruling,he threatened to disown me should I ever visit Jimmy again but "why would my parents not understand the situation"? Jimmy was sent home from the hospital when his mother could no longer afford to pay for his dialysis which had also crippled my savings.
Honestly, if it was the other way round, guess Jimmy would have been their God sent Angel or even a god therefore I chose to be Jimmy’s God sent Angel and that made me moved out of my father’s house and abandoned whatever position he had for me in his company. I moved in with Jimmy and his mother in their one bedroom besides if saving poor Jimmy was all I could achieve as a man then believe me, I lived a worthy life. I slept on the floor every day and managed to get him few of his medications which I could afford but moving in with them was the epicenter of the whole situation because Charles and Rebecca my two good friends showed that they cared too and that was how we began the campaign to save Jimmy. We printed out leaflets and distributed it to the public then matched from house to house, church to church to raise the fund for the transplant. Our campaign caught the attention of a journalist who took Jimmy’s ordeal personal and helped us reached a wider audience and one of the audience was Big Ben, the producer of Big Wild West talk show, one of the most popular talk shows in the country, I was invited to the show to talk about Jimmy so I had the chance to challenge everybody both rich and poor, government and even religious leaders.
“This is a poor young man whom my own parents considered a nobody because he is deaf and dumb and thus failed to support even when it was discovered that my kidney was a good match for him yet with their abundance, they turned a deaf ear to what my own mother preached every given day…'Love'. Where is the love she kept preaching about? Believe me, love is caring for each other and there is no love in the world any more because everyone that suppose to love Jimmy turned away and that left me questioning what Jesus himself meant when he asked us to Love our neighbors the same way we love ourselves therefore, I challenge everybody in this country to show Jimmy some love and call on every man and woman to join us in this campaign to save poor Jimmy, it is just one hundred and twenty grand. If I can give him one of my kidneys then we all can come up with the fund…
Practice what my mother preach.Love”
That was what I had for the public and those whom it was meant for actually got it including Big Ben himself and by the end of the week of that TV appearance, the account set up for Jimmy was tripled,we had to even put up a public announcement in the newspaper to let the public know that the money had been raised yet donations continued coming and by the time the operation was set, we had a total of Four Hundred thousand dollars in the account and that alone proved that God works in his own ways. I was very happy not because Jimmy was going to be saved but because my own kidney would be implanted in him.
O! brother Jimmy, what a wonder you are.
The operation was a success and within months, we were both back on our feet and began practicing the game we loved most; Table tennis. Jimmy was much better than i was. However. we both won many international competitions and represented the country in many contests therefore it wasn’t a surprise when Gladys and Alice came into our lives, it was during one of our tennis contests, we met them at the airport and it was a dream come true for them because they had been our fans and even donated one hundred dollars seven years back to help save poor Jimmy.
“We were so touched about you guys” Alice said.
Anyway, they both later became the two most important people in our lives but that did not changed what I shared with Jimmy because I made it clear to my wife Gladys that Jimmy comes first in my life and she understood perhaps the fact that they were twins helped them understood everything about us and within years of our marriages, we were all blessed with kids. Jimmy and Alice had two kids a boy and a girl while I and Gladys were blessed with one daughter. We made sure that our families stayed together and we did everything together even when the kids were all grown ups. Jimmy wrote me a poem during my 60th birthday celebration and he titled it Beautiful. Honestly, that was the most important and special thing I ever received in my entire life…
Without you there would be no God
Without you there would be no good
Without you there would be no beauty
Without you there would be nothing
O beautiful thou art my brother’s heart
Nothing would be without you
Everything is because of you
The star shines in your heart
What a beautiful soul thou art
O beautiful thou alone made me whole
A flower that continued growing in my garden
That which gave me the voice people heard
You taught me how to love and how to speak
My brother, the beauty of the whole world; CLEMENT.
!!!HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER!!!
I would consider myself a lucky man to have known Jimmy, he was the brother I never had and I was the brother he never had,we learned from each other because I taught him how to play the table tennis and he taught me the sigh language besides if the twins had not shown up in our lives, we would have remained single if no one agreed to marry Jimmy because I promised him that we would wed on the same day and God sent us two sweet Angels to fulfill it. There are two celebrations we made sure that we had annually; our wedding annivesaries and our birthdays, the first time we celebrated Jimmy’s birthday was when he turned thirty four, it was a classic celebration because by then we were both professional table tennis players. However, I celebrated my eighty fourth birthday this year on the 12th of Jan 2011 but something was missing.
This story was written and dedicated to the evergreen memory of Mr. Jimmy Anderson who passed on after a brief illness at the age of eighty two on the 20th of October 2010.