The ride home had been as quiet as silence itself. Her head spun around, in rythm with the constant thumps of her heart. She didn't want to lose Tobi. She had allowed her self, and her heart to get this deep into loving him.
Tobi wondered what the problem was. He didn't understand the sudden change in attitude.
"Did I say or do something wrong, Derin?" He asked, confused.
"You didn't." She responded, avoiding his eyes.
"Then what's up with you?"
She swallowed, shutting her eyes and reclining the car seat.
"Em...my ex left me too, cos I'm AS." She told a lie.
"Wow. So we're both AS. I see." He said.
She tried to read his expressions. She couldn't really tell but she knew the information she had given him didn't quite go down well with him. He tried to stomach his true feelings but his fallen face betrayed him.
The ride home was as quiet as silence itself. This time, it was Tobi who had gone quiet. He kept his eyes on the road and she could almost swear that he didn't blink once.
She was worried. She hadn't even told him the truth, and he had started to react otherwise.
That night, Tobi called her.
"How are you?" He asked. She knew he was trying to break the ice that was starting to form from the coldness between them.
"Great." She said. She wasn't going to let this get to her. She had always built a wall aroud her heart and just because she had started to bring down the walls didn't mean she was entirely vulnerable and defenseless.
"What are you doing?" He asked.
"Playing very fun games on my phone before you called me."
She heard his silence.
"Aren't you bothered about what happened today?" He said.
"Nope. Your reaction already helped me understand things better."
"What do you mean?"
"Tobi, life is not hard. Our genotypes are not compatible. It makes no sense getting into a relationship maybe even worse than your last." She hissed.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get you worried. It's just...I don't know what to do." He said.
"I don't know either."
She hadn't heard from him for about two days. She couldn't deny that she was bothered but she decided not to call him either. She wasn't going to throw herself begging for his attention just because she was "genotype short".
Anita caught Derin checking her phone again for the billionth time. She stood up and went over to her desk to chat.
"How's lover boy?" Anita asked, pulling Derin's cheeks. Derin laughed.
"He should be good." She said dryly.
"What God has joined together.." Anita started singing with a meaningless rhyme.
Derin wasn't one to talk about her problems to people. The only person she'd shared that kind of relationship with was Osas. But unfortunately, that was impossible now.
Tobi found himself googling info about genotypes. He wanted this relationship to work. He really did. But he was scared. He had talked to a close friend about this and he'd been advised to follow his heart. "Follow your heart" wasn't exactly what he wanted to hear. He wanted something concrete.
He heard his phone ring. It was his mom. She was the last person on earth to talk to about the situation. He already knew the answer she would give. An outright No.
By the next day, he had finally made a decision. He had prayed about it but he wasn't getting any answers. Then he remembered a book he had read, written by a popular man of God. The author had written his testimony about how he had gotten married to another AS woman; the same as him, just because God had given him the instruction to go ahead with it. And they had given birth to four children, with no SS sufferer.
Maybe that was the answer he needed. Maybe God was speaking to him through that book, even though he had read it when he had been dating his ex, and the testimony hadn't convinced ber to stay with him.
It had been over two days since he last heard from Derin. He picked up his phone and dialed her number.
The number you have dialed is not reachable at the moment. Please try again later.
The auto response command repeated, with each dial. He sighed and gave up calling.
Mrs Cole sat on the chair in Derin's ward, hands on her head. It had been a while since Derin's crisis struck, and she had thought perhaps God had finally heard her prayers and Derin had been healed finally. But then that morning, Derin had started complaining about severe pains in her joints and bones. She had started to feel feverish again and had to be rushed to the hospital.
She sat down, crying and looking at Derin as the nurse pierced her vein with the needle for the IV catheter. They said she was dehydrated and needed fluid. That was about the fifth attempt at piercing her. They hadn't been able to find a good vein. The nurse kept on slapping the back of her hands as though she had a problem with the unresponsive veins.
What scared her was the sudden cough accompanied with some blood. She had never seen that happen with Derin. The doctor had explained that it was the effect of Acute chest syndrome. Mrs Cole didn't care about the medical names of the ailment. She just wanted it cured.
She thought about the bill. She had just finished repaying a loan from her colleague at work. She thought about the ajo collection she was into with her friends. She couldn't even ask them to allow her get the contributions for that month. She had collected a large sum of money the month before.
Kola Cole. He was a wealthy man. She saw his name almost every day in the tabloids. He worked as special assistant on Finance to the Governor of the state.
The day he walked out on their child and their marriage, she swore she would never go to him for help. Now, she didn't want to, but she didn't have a choice...
Anita looked over at Derin's table. She saw the roses that her boyfriend had sent as usual. But Derin's seat was empty, because she was lying in the hospital. She missed her already. She had planned to go see her after work. She had been able to speak with Mrs. Cole and gotten the address, right before the phone went flat.
Almost inmediately, she saw Tobi walk in. No wonder Derin wanted to die there. The man was good looking!
"Hi, Tobi." Anita said smiling. She recognized him from Derin's many display pictures on her BBM.
"Hello. Please is Derin Cole at work? I've been trying to call her but her phone's switched off." He said, looking very bothered.
Anita knew something was wrong between them... even if she didn't know what it was. Poor boy. He didn't know she was in the hospital, maybe, because they'd had a fight.
"Well," Anita sighed. "She had the crises thing again. She's at the hospital."
"I really feel bad for her. It seems serious this time." Anita continued. "She's like the strongest SS girl i've ever met."
Tobi stared at Anita. Obviously, she was talking about Derin, because her other colleague had been listening to their conversation and now said pele to him with a sympathetic face.
Anita got into his Hyundai and he drove down to the hospital she had described. He didn't understand how he was feeling. First, he was shocked. He was still dealing with her being AS only for him to find out she was SS. She had lied to him.
Seeing her on the hospital bed broke his heart. She lay there, looking helpless. He finally met her mother, a pretty woman stripped of beauty by the predicament of her child.
At that point, he knew he wanted to walk away. He didn't want to wait till she opened her eyes and saw him. It was best he checked out now. He couldn't bear it if he had to deal with something worse than this...something fatal.
And slowly, he walked out of the ward.
*Survived the Shoah
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Photo credit : http://www.goodenoughmother.com