Showing on the large plasma screen television was the movie—Blended.
Yerima shifted uneasily in the sofa as his eyes darted away from the screen. The movie was rousing emotions that he had tried unsuccessfully to repress.
Aisha sipped water from a tumbler and her eyes drifted to her son for the umpteenth time. She had asked him to come live with her after three weeks admission in the hospital.
“Mum,” he stood. “I need to nap.”
“Nap?” Her voice was calm. “It’s barely an hour you woke up.”
He shifted from one foot to another and glanced at the screen of his phone willing it to ring or beep. “That’s not my kind of movie, mum.”
“So, you can’t stand family drama, comedy, love and its sparks because that—that girl decided you’re too good for her.” She stood, bracing up to talk sense into his head. “Whose loss, tell me?”
“Mum please…you don’t know anything about Jean.” He met her gaze.
“I’m surprised that the doctor has not declared me hypertensive. Do you know how I felt watching you lie on the hospital bed not sure if you will survive the shock or not.” Her voice rose in hysteria. “How dare you allow a woman send you to the hospital when there are better ones out there? Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten what you’re worth, Yerima? Have you forgotten what this family has been through?” She closed in on the distance between them. “How dare you allow a girl send you to the hospital? How dare you allow her manipulate your life still?” Her eyes flashed in anger laced with disappointment.
“I’m sorry, mum, but she is not any girl, she is my heart beat.” He massaged his forehead with a finger.
Aisha grimaced and glared at her son. “We, your family are your foot sole, abi? I swear on my…” She heaved, deciding against swearing on anything. “If you don’t get hold of your emotions, I’ll kill myself for you!”
He strode away. “Thank God I have a son already. I won’t consider getting married ever.”
“Ehen…” She stood rooted at his statement and when she decided to go after him, the door bust open.
“My sweet mummy…” Kafayat drawled, grinning from ear to ear bouncing into room.
“Yes, baby.” She beamed as she faced her welcoming the new aura to the previously tensed atmosphere.
“Tada…” she raised her left palm.
She gasped at the diamond-cut 14karat white gold engagement band that sat gracefully on her engagement finger. “Wow! Congratulations, baby.” She embraced her.
“Oh mummy, I’m so excited, it’s like I’m going to explode with happiness.” She fanned herself with her right palm.
“I know, baby… I know.” Her mother laughed and took her hand to examine the ring. “It’s so beautiful. Soon I’ll have to stop calling you baby.” Brimming with happiness, she looked into her daughter sparkling eyes.
Kafayat chuckled. “Where is big brother? I need to tell him.”
“Not so fast, darling, I need to hear all the juicy details.” Aisha pulled her daughter to the sofa.
She was an ex winner of the big brother Africa show and one of Africa most celebrated models.
“Doctor, I’ve to get to the company and put things in order. I’ll be back in the afternoon.” Kelvin slid both hands into his pocket.
“That’s okay, Mr Sigismund.” Doctor Clem smiled at him. He was the doctor in charge of Katherine health and they stood past the door of her private room.
“I’ll to like to have a nurse by her side till I return.”
“In this hospital that is our policy, each patient is entitled to the care of a nurse. You don’t need to ask. Besides, she is the business administrative personality and is a great honour for us to see to her speedy recovery.” He beamed.
Assured, Kelvin extended his hand and the doctor took it. “I’ll hold you accountable to your words. Thank you, Doctor.”
“My pleasure.” The doctor left for his office.
Kelvin stepped past the door and looked down at her face. “Katherine, I have to go but I promise to be back by noon.” He waited as though anticipating a response, even if only a flick of movement.
He kissed her cheeks, felt her forehead before striding to the door. At the door, he gave a final glance before leaving.
It was a Monday morning and Katherine had remained unconscious since she’d been rushed in.
Kelvin had left her bedside on Sunday to freshen up. He had scrolled through her phone contact in search of the number of the gatekeeper and informed him of Katherine welfare. The doctor had told him she had suffered syncope due to low blood pressure and depression.
He took the palm free of cannula and influx of infusion in his hands. He glanced at the equipment that had been connected to her and then at her face.
Dark circles had formed around her eyes and her face now looked pale compared to how white it had been in the first twenty four hours, when the foot of her bed had been elevated to increase blood flow to the brain.
His mind flashed to some of the things she had told him.
“I slumped into unconsciousness severally…”
“…I longed for death as though it was natural.”
Was this very last of unconsciousness? Would this unconsciousness make her desire come through?
He knew that some people passed on after revealing personal secret. His heart sank.
He had seen the doctor’s expression when he had come earlier to examine her, he probably didn’t expect that she will still be drifting in and out of consciousness.
Oh my God… He groaned.
“Kathy, I’m optimistic you will live, darling.” His grip on her palm tightened. “I don’t believe God is through with writing your life story. I don’t believe you’ve completed your purpose on earth.” He shut his eyes. “Besides before isn’t like now darling, you are not alone. You have me and I care about you.”
Katherine eyes fluttered open, through misty eyes, she tried to make out his face but couldn’t. She closed her eyes and decided to listen to the voice that kept bringing her back even when she was dressed in white and swirling away.
“God, you are the great healer, you heal all broken hearts. I plead with you to heal her. She has been a bounty of blessing to me and an example of selflessness despite all she has been through. Father I plea for your mercy and strength…” He sobered. “For years I’ve trusted you and you’ve not disappointed me. You said in your word dear Jesus that by your stripes we are healed. Please heal her…she is your precious child, she has trusted in you despite her loss and scars.” Tears welled in his eyes.
He was engrossed reading a business journal when Katherine opened her eyes.
She blinked severally and after a couple of minutes, she had a clear vision of the journal and the face doing the reading.
“Hello.” She said but couldn’t hear herself. She swallowed hard and cleared her voice. “Hello.”
Kelvin cast the journal aside to look at her.
She managed a smile. “Hi, boss.”
“Hey, you.” He grinned and could have embraced her but for fear of her wincing in pain or disconnecting any of the monitoring device. “I’m so glad you’re awake, you scared me.”
She lifted the hand void of cannula. “Help me up.”
He obliged her and arranged the pillows behind.
“How do you feel?”
“My body aches. How long has it been?”
“Today is Wednesday.”
Her gaze lingered on his face before she took in the ward. “Thanks for staying with me.” Before he could reply, she laughed cushioning her stomach with a palm. “Don’t I sound like a frog?”
Kelvin burst into bouts into laughter and was still laughing when the doctor and nurse came in for observations.
“I’m so glad you’re better for all of our sake and for Kelvin too.”
“How do you mean?” She glanced at Kelvin who was munching a red apple and had his attention on the cartoon showing on TV.
“When I called him two days back, his voice was all shaky like he had been weeping. I was brow beaten myself.” Kenneth told her.
Kelvin directed his attention to them for a moment. Were they gossiping about him?
“How do you feel now?”
“I feel better, at least I’m no more sounding as croaky as a frog.” Katherine pressed the phone against her ear. “Besides, your friend has been treating me like if I attempt to snap my fingers, my bones will fracture into unfixable pieces.”
Kelvin rolled his eyes while Kenneth laughed.
“I don’t expect him to treat you any less except he wants me to whisk you away from Nigeria.”
“You and your bestie are making me feel like a flab.”
“You can prove us wrong, stand from the bed and leave for outside unaided.”
“Oh no…” She cried. “I still feel dizzy and my abdomen aches.”
“You see, dear. Never to worry, you will be splendid in no time.”
“I’m grateful, Ken. How’ve you been?” She flexed a leg on the bed.
“Very well. God’s grace has been sufficient in my life on daily basis.”
She rounded off with him and handed Kelvin his phone.
“I wonder where my phone is…” Her gaze settled on her hand bag
“Who do you want to call?” He reached for the bag and handed it to her.
“Lanre, my gatekeeper, he must be worried sick. I’m surprised I didn’t remember to call him yesterday.”
“I already did.”
She looked at him, flabbergasted, then her worried expression was replaced with a beautiful smile. The best he had seen since she became conscious the day before.
“Thank you, you’re such a darling.”
“And…?” His eyes shone in delight.
“Thoughtful and kind hearted.” She indulged him grinning. “You’re so wise, I’m surprised you don’t grey hairs.”
“My heart is beating fast…” He fanned himself with his phone. “I’m having palpitation, please call the doctor, I need to be admitted beside you.”
Katherine cushioned her abdomen with both palms as she bend over in laughter.
Olaide kissed her on the cheek. “You look as though you’ve lost 10kg.”
“Haba, Laide!” She chided.
“I’m serious as a man aiming an arrow at a hair breath.” He sat at the edge of her bed. “Whoever said illness is not a bad thing need to undergo electroconvulsive therapy.”
Katherine and Kelvin exchanged glances while he shrugged.
“Oga, what does that mean?” She narrowed her brows.
“I don’t know myself…” He scratched his head. “It’s some word my fiancée says, she is a psychiatric nurse.”
“Wow.” Kelvin exclaimed.
“You should be flogged for committing that to memory without finding out its meaning.” Katherine joked and sipped water. “How’s everyone at work?”
“They’re fine, Anita suggested we prayed for you and majority of us gathered and did for ten minutes yesterday.”
She placed a palm on her chest. “Thank you.”
“I’m very sorry for not coming to see you earlier. With you and the boss away…”
“I understand, Olaide, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill that is not even existing.”
He dropped a polythene bag on her cupboard. “I brought you some fruits.” He opened another carton. “When I announced I’ll be coming to see you today, I began to receive—get well cards and flowers for you.”
Tears stung her eyes as she collected the first card. It was from the head of the cleaning department.
Kelvin stood to help out with the other carton. “Let’s decorate the room with everything.”
While they busied themselves, she dabbed her eyes and tried not to sniff to avoid attracting their attention.