Hello guys, sorry for my inability to post this last week. I decided to make this episode a bit long to make up for last week.
Hope I’m Forgiven!
She was lost in thought. Looking back at her impeccable career as a reputable psychiatrist for the past 28 years, she could not reconcile that with her inability to help her only child who had over the past week become a shadow of herself. She was worried and sad. She was helpless as she couldn’t evaluate or analyse her daughter. She knew she was losing it. She was trying to stay sane as a mother. She refused to question God. She mourned for the many things her daughter will never get to experience in life. Like getting married and having a child. The joy of motherhood.
Hmmm…If only she had heeded their advice and gotten married to that handsome fiancé of hers, maybe, just maybe she would have experienced all this and more but she was so stubborn. Maybe she got that from her. She preferred to pursue her career first before thinking of marriage.
“Baby, please not again.” Mr Solomon said as he brought his wife back from her reverie. He had seen her like this ever since their daughter came home crying to them as she broke the news about their doctor’s diagnosis that she had Heart cancer (primary cardiac tumour) which she said was very rare and to crown it all up she was said to have just about three more months to live. The news had broken them as a family. They also prayed for a miracle.
They had both insisted that she get a second opinion outside the country which she did but the diagnosis remained, never changing. Sometimes life was not just fair, being one of the richest families in Africa whose name Forbes had brandished each year on their magazine for their contribution towards safe and clean water and low scheme housing and giving grants to young African entrepreneurs to invest in mostly agriculture, knowing all the important people in the world and being friends with government of many countries round the globe was not going to help them.
This was their own cross to bear.
She bashed into my office crying and it was strange because I rarely see my best friend cry. She was more strong willed than most and thus she almost never broke down because according to her, “We are working in a terrain full of men who think it’s their birth right to be decision makers and the only creative creatures God created. We don’t need to show any sign of weakness as women so my dear when you are in this office you stop being a woman.”
“Babe what’s wrong?” I asked alarmed and concerned.
She won’t stop crying, rather at some point she started heaving and panting heavily as if she was short of breath which was actually very scary. Though I was rubbing her back trying to salve whatever pain she was going through, my mind went on a wild west trip trying to figure out what might have caused her this much misery.
Yes, I did think of her fiancé but he was so in love with her to break up or maybe she caught him cheating on her, after all it was what men had a talent for, but be that as it may, I will be shocked to my marrow. You know this thing about some people being so perfect to a fault, Tito was in that class. No! He was a Saint. So apart from him being the cause for her pain maybe there was trouble at home.
“Babe please calm down and talk to me” I said as I watched her cry. She suddenly stops crying, looks at me and gave me the most chilling news I have ever heard, “I have only about three months to live” she said in a hoarse voice as she let herself go to another heart wrenching tears. “God forbid!” I almost screamed. “It’s true.” she said in between sobs.
“How can that be?” I asked too flabbergasted to believe what I was hearing. I took the envelope I saw her clutch in her hand. It left me more confused than I was as the medical jargon was upsetting; but in between all the nonsense I did see it, it was written in bold black ink, ‘Heart Cancer (primary cardiac tumour)’. To say I was speechless will be an understatement. I could not comprehend it and I can’t still comprehend it till today.
This is a young beautiful lady with cogitation, a beautiful mind and a vivacious God lover. She has contributed so much to humanity through her various charities and foundations powered by her family’s enormous wealth. She was just too brilliant a light to be deemed by this cancer.
I can’t remember how we made it through the day because I cried my heart out that day. She didn’t even look ill, she had just complained of chest pains some weeks back before she went for her routine medical check up and now I was watching her life fold up in front of me.
Life was all vain.
“Promise me that you will keep this just between the two of us” she said with pleading eyes. Of course I was going to keep it between us or what did she think I was going to do. She is my best friend for crying out loud.
I wasn’t however prepared for the bombshell that she dropped when I asked “When are you telling Tito?”
“I’m not telling him, I’m breaking up with him next week when he returns from his business trip to London.” she said sotto voce.
“What? Are you out of your mind?” “Why would you do that to him?” “Don’t you know what that will do to him? It will kill him” “God!” “Please don’t even think about it” I reeled.
The look in her eyes was frightening, I did not want to believe she meant what she just told me but knowing my friend, I knew her mind had been made up and nothing I was going to say to her will make her change her stance. When she told me her many very stupid reasons to me why she was breaking up with her fiancé of five years, I felt sorry for the young man.
My friend can sometimes be a douche bag.
She was now wearing that mean bitch look that said ‘it has to be done’.
Since when did telling someone you love how ill you are become a means of robbing him of his life’s happiness, this was my friend’s theory.
As far as I was concerned, she hadn’t really understood the real meaning of love nor the string of sacrifice that comes with it. She was doing the young man a great disservice because he won’t understand why the woman he treats like a god dump him after five years. And to think that they were going to get married in seven months.
Hmmmm…the twist and turns of life. It’s so not fair to him.
BOLATITO (Cambridge University)
I met her during my final year in college. The school café was crowded as I got in but I needed to take a bite at anything to help assuage the hunger that was haunting me. It was after getting my food that I finally thought of where to seat. That was when I spotted her inviting smile and the sound of her beautiful voice as she laughed with her friends.
I was popular with the ladies since God had decided to bless me with a 6.4ft height and a body to kill for. Well, being an athlete did help my physique too. I did hear that some ladies did fight over me in my absence, it was always funny but sounded dumb to me because I believe that what is yours will be yours. I had my fare share of girls but my studies were my top priority. So I refused to be distracted by them fine babes everywhere.
But today was different, I just told myself “I must have her for myself”. So the wooing started, after all, the women always did fall like a pack of cards at my feet. I knew there was something different about her though, I just couldn’t figure it out.
“Hello Ladies! Hope you don’t mind my sharing your table” I said as I took a seat opposite her without their consent. I didn’t mind if they did mind. They looked at me with their lustful eyes, something I was now very used to as I proceeded to devour he food in front of me. “What’s your name?” I heard one of them ask. Without looking up from my food I answered, “Tito”.
“Wow, that’s a cool and sexy name. The petite Asian lady who I later got to know as Ann gushed.
“Sorry dear, you are the wrong person to be hitting on me, it’s not you I want” I said to myself as I said “Thanks”.
I felt her gaze on me before I looked up to meet her stare. This face was unsmiling and bland. I smiled. The girl on her left, Tracy who was English asked, “Where are you from?”
“He is Nigerian, that’s if I’m not wrong” she said as she stood abruptly leaving her friends confused as to her reaction. “Girls, I’m leaving” she announced airily as she continued to give me that hostile look that made me wonder what I had done wrong. I never stopped smiling. It was obvious that she was the leader of the pack because the so called ‘girls’ rose to their feet flashing their displeasure at her as they made their way out of the café.
Okay! So that did not go well, I thought to myself. I refused to run out after her. I just knew I was going to see her again.
Now fast forward seven months later, she is sitting in my living room eating pop-corn as we watched Arsenal lift the Champions league trophy for the second time in a row. “Where are all those anti-Arsenal fans now” she squealed excitedly as she gave me a kiss.
Now I was distracted. Arsenal have won a trophy and I have me the perfect girlfriend. She was my trophy.
I sat down there watching her jump up and down in celebration as I reminisced about how we finally got here. It was hell trying to woo her but we are here now.
“Hey love, what’s wrong with you?” she asked as she jumped on me laughing.
“Oh! Please; do you want to crush me with your weight?”
“Are you going to tell me what’s up with you or you want me to crush you with my weight” she said as she winked at me with a mischievously smile.
“God! You must be a very naughty girl” She laughed. “Oya! Tell me already.”
“Can’t you guess?”
“Guess?” she furrowed her brows as she looked at me. “Please don’t tell me you are pregnant” she smirked as we both burst out laughing. “You must be crazy. How can I be pregnant. What will you be doing if I’m pregnant?”
“I will take care of you and our baby” she said as she scattered my hair.
“I have been thinking of how lucky I am to have you in my life ” I said as I stroked her long brown hair. She just loved carrying her natural hair.
“Hmmm…and I am thinking how lucky our kids will be for having us as their parents.” she said whimsically.
“Wow! You have gone Far!” I said smiling. We have been talking of getting married and raising our kids but I never knew she took it this serious. I was glad she was thinking this far but we had agreed not to rush things, to build our relationship brick by brick, chip by chip and every other thing will fall into place when the time came.
“And I am also thinking how lucky we are to have each other” she said huskily as we osculated.
FIVE YEARS LATER-TODAY
I don’t know what I have done to deserve this. She was so cold and direct. Was she seeing someone else? No! She can’t do that. I know her well enough. I haven’t neglected her in any way. We call and hang out as often as we can. I can’t take this. She is my life.
I need to write David a note before I sleep off. I hope they will all understand.
* * *
I am a twenty-five year old young lady bubbling with life and gusto; well, that was until a week and four days ago when I was diagnosed of Heart cancer. Something the doctors say is very rare. So now my life is a ticking time bomb filled with continuous and unbearable pain.
I am now a young woman who will not achieve any of her many dreams in life. Dreams like getting married to the only man that I have ever loved, the man that waltzed into my life and took the place of oxygen. I know you think it’s weird considering what you think you know of me but that’s what love does to you once your ‘love button or what most Nigerians refer to as ‘mumu-button’ have been pushed.
I have always guarded my emotions so well but I did not know when and how I fell for the ‘handsome hulk’ (that’s what my friends back in college used to call him). I remember one of those many conversations we had during our walk date in Cambridge when he said “…I don’t care what they say, for me, it will be a privilege to have my heart broken by you…”.
Wow! He was as crazy about me as much as I was about him. Now, that made the two of us.
Just yesterday my parents who are taking the news of my cancer in their strides did talk me down on why I need to tell him about my cancer. This did not go well, it rather led to a verbal altercation. “What’s your reason for keeping him in the dark about this” My dad asked petulantly.
“Honey don’t talk to her like that.” My mum said coming to my rescue. “I know you don’t understand that I am no longer the same. I am like a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties” a quote from ‘the fault in our stars’ a book written by John Green which I had absorbed internally spilled out effortlessly but with so much pain. I don’t know why they want me to heap this pain on my love. I know him so well, he does not have the capacity to bear this news, but my beloved parents say I’m selfish and wicked. So much for a supporting family during my time of pain. Even my best friend Tosin supports them.
At this point I don’t know who is right or wrong but I just don’t feel it’s right to put him through this pain with me. God! I’m crying at the thought of him. But think about it; how will he feel when he realises that he will not see me again, that we won’t get married, that our kids will only exist in his head. That all our plans for the future will dissipate to nothingness.
And talking of pain, I believe that ‘ignorance is bliss’ because before now I never really thought of these multitude of sharp striking pain as cancer thus I never really focused on it but now it’s worse. All these prescribed drugs to alleviate the pain only work but for a while. I now understand what Hazel Grace went through in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ when she said “Pain demands to be felt…It possess you and wills you to do its every bid…” because this pain is sometimes so intense, I feel so weak and short of breathe. It just won’t stop manipulating me. Now I have to take a break from work as the pain wave will hit me at random. They doctors say it is necessary to take a break, and trust my parents to ensure that I stay home. I know they try to mask the pain in their eyes and faces about the thought of losing their only child. I imagine their waking up to find that their jewel is dead and it breaks my heart. I see them pray for a miracle which I can’t bring myself to believe in at this time. I don’t know why. Maybe there’s no need to put on a forlorn hope.
Life is unfair. Why did life decide to chose me out of the billions of people on earth to be the recipient of this cancer. My mum has told me not to question God but I should rather thank Him and pray for healing.
Hmmm…How do I begin to thank God for cancer. That’s just insane. This is cancer we are talking about, in fact not just any cancer, it’s Heart cancer where no surgery can be performed. I know God is not wicked. I don’t question Him but I can’t thank Him either. The pain from this thing is crazy.
Just imagine how vain life is. With all the wealth that we have amassed as a family, I still have to die in pain and yet the Bible says “Money answers all things”. Very funny.
There’s a knock on my door as my mum sashays into my room.
“My jewel, how are you?” “Has the pain gone down?” “Have you taken your drugs?” “Have you eaten?” She asks.
Rolling my eyes, God! I’m not an invalid I think to myself.
“Hi mum” I said good-naturedly. “Now, which of your questions do you want me to answer because they are all a handful you know” I said as I shot her a smile. Is my mum suddenly growing old? Because she looked twice her age already. This is all because of me. God! She looks tired too. “Baby just answer all of them jor” she said as she laughed. Ha! Thank God, my smile got to her. She laughed.
“I’m fine and yes the pain has gone down a notch. I have taken all those colourful, awful tasting and smelling drugs. Oh! I loved the chicken and chips” I reeled out cheerfully with another dashing smile. She sat on my bed stroking my hair, reminding me of Tito who was animated with my hair.
“You don’t want to grow up. How many times have I told you that chicken and chips is no food for a healthy human being.” she scolded me with not much of a scowl.
“Has Tito called you?” she asks just as Tosin dashes into the room. Thank God. I didn’t want to have this Tito talk with her again.
“Good afternoon ma” She curtsied as she knelt down in greeting to my mum. “How are you dear?” “Fine thank you ma”. She stands up to leave paused at the door and says “Tosin dear, talk to your friend to eat well. Maybe she will listen to you.”
“I sure will ma but you know this one is very stubborn” she said as she shot me a smile.
“You see? Everybody knows you. You had better change” she said cheekily. “Ermmm, just so you know, your dad went to see Mrs Onifade” she said as she disappeared from the room.
“What?” I exclaimed but she was already gone. I was left fuming with Tosin giving me the ‘I don’t care what you think and good for you’ look.
I went up the stairs to Tito’s room to find him sleeping on his king size bed. Why is he sleeping now when he called me and sounded as if his world had all but collapsed on him. He had better wake up and talk to me. As I walked towards the bed to wake him, I spotted the bottle with a note neatly folded in two. I knew what the bottle contained because I had bought it for him three months back. I called out his name as I paused and walked gingerly towards his bedside table to take a look at the note which I instinctively believed was for me. “Please God No!” I exclaimed as I read the scrawled note.
*To be Continued!
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