Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Survived the Shoah 04
She had begun to feel better, without knowing how much joy her recuperation gave to her mother. Mrs Cole had sourced for funds.
She had called Kola Cole's phone number. Somehow, she had been able to get it but he didn't pick up. She finally decided to go to his office. His secretary refused to let her see him so she sat at the reception with the long list of psychophants who wanted his help too. She hated that she was there in the first place but she needed the money!
The secretary finally let her into his office after Mrs Cole had threatened that she would barge in on him herself. Mrs Cole hissed as the girl said "You can enter now o." sarcastically. She shook her head, wondering why the girl had not even bothered to inform Kola that she was there in the first place.
Kola was surprised to see her. Despite how good he looked in his nicely starched white Atiku buba and sokoto which was obviously bespoke and customized for him, she could tell that he maybe still had some emotions about his first family. She didn't have time for sentiments or catching up. She went straight to the point and told him that Derin was lying ill at the hospital. He hesitated at first, explaining that he had a family now and that he didn't want his wife to find out. Mrs Cole was hurt. He made it sound like she was the concubine and Derin was the bastard child. And when he wrote the cheque of Five hundred thousand Naira, she had wanted to decline and walk out of his office, especially because he had said "Please I don't want you to come back asking for more. The Press is really breathing down my neck because of my political exposure." But she needed the money. She had to choose between her dignity, and Derin's life. She chose the obvious.
She knew Derin would be very angry if she found out that she had gotten the money from him. Since Derin was about eleven years old, she had sworn that she would never accept him as her father, and that she never wanted to have anything to do with him.
Derin had checked her phone, expecting to see loads of messages from Tobi, but the only messages she saw were from her colleagues at work, and some random texts from her service provider. She asked her mom if he had come by but Mrs Cole hadn't even gotten the chance to talk to him. She had been in a terrible situation the day he came to the hospital, and he had left barely after five minutes. Derin was scared at first. Maybe he had found out she was an SS sufferer. Maybe he was upset that she had lied to him. She tried to think of what to do. Then she decided she would give it some time so that he could cool off.
She resumed at work the following week with a myriad of sympathies and pity-faces which she detested above everything else. She rolled her eyes. She wasn't handicapped, for crying out louder than she could. Some who had not bothered to drop a line of care via text, or to even give her a missed call, were the ones who approached her with the longest speeches saying how sorry they were and how they had planned to visit her but they had been so busy with work. One of them even said; I have been praying for God to keep your life. Derin smiled sarcastically, replying the person without words, that she wasn't about to die.
As Derin sat at her desk, the morning she resumed, before all the sympathizers came to work, she reclined in her seat and thought about what she had seen at the hospital...
There had been a young woman who had been admitted in the hospital. She had met her one evening when her mother had gone home to prepare food. Derin had been bored and decided to take a stroll around. She saw the young woman's door open. She tried to take her eyes away but the lady caught her eyes and replied with a contagious smile then said a loud hello. Derin had smiled back and walked away. The next day, the lady came over to Derin's ward. She had said she was bored and wanted to talk with someone. She had introduced herself as Mercy. She was an undergraduate student at a private University. It was when she mentioned her surname that Derin realized she was the daughter of a popular and wealthy Lagos business man. Mercy had everything she wanted. She was an only child and her parents dotted on her. They had to. She was also a sickle cell sufferer. Derin felt that temporary bond...because she was an only child too, and her father was wealthy. She even just heard that her dad, Kola Cole, was an active member of a political party and the Umbrella was considering him for a position in Legislature. The difference however was just that she didn't fall under the umbrella of his fatherhood and care.
Mercy talked about her dreams of becoming a professional photographer, with or without her father's support or approval. She showed some of her captured pictures which she had on her Laptop to Derin. Derin teased her that she would call on her to capture her wedding in the nearest future. That topic brought up questions from Mercy. Derin was hesitant at first but then she told Mercy about Tobi and how she was in love with him and wanted to get married to him.
"He's not going to marry you. It's only logical." Mercy had said.
Derin had frowned and then decided it was time Mercy left. She wondered why she even allowed the girl into her private life. She suddenly became cold, curtly answering Mercy's chatter of endless questions. Mercy finally got the message and left, telling her she was happy to meet her.
When Derin woke up the next morning, she walked down to Mercy's ward to apologize. She knew she hadn't been nice at the latter part of their conversation. And she knew Mercy had only been logical to have told her that Tobi wasn't going to marry her.
Mercy's ward was empty.
She saw the popular Lagos business man, Mercy's father, holding a chubby woman, whom she believed was Mercy's mother. The woman was weeping. She saw a nurse pass by and she asked what the problem was.
Derin had started to cry again, remembering the friend she had made for less than 24 hours. She never got the chance to apologize for being cold to her. The poor girl had been so full of life...the very life that left her that night.
Although Derin felt bad about Mercy's death, what shook her was that Mercy had also fallen ill and as strong as she was, she had not survived. What hope did she have? That she had survived all the crises from childhood? That she had crossed age 21? That what? She was afraid. She had to admit it.
Anita nudged her. Before Anita did, she already could sense the latter's presence because of her overpowering perfume.
"How do you feel , Love? If you're not strong enough please go home o." Anita said, dropping her bag and bringing out her heels from her plastic bag.
"I'm good jo. I was just thinking about things..." Derin said, sitting up straight.
"Is it Tobi?" Anita asked.
"I haven't heard from him since I was at the hospital. My mom said he came and left immediately..."
"Yes oh. Maybe he couldn't stand seeing you in that condition..."
"But he should at least have called me!"
"I was so caught up with talking to your mom that I no even notice when he comot."
"Should I call him?" She asked.
"Should I call her?" Tobi asked his mother. He didn't know who else to talk to about this. He was still in love with Derin but he just was too scared. Everything he had psyched himself up about wasn't working. He knew his mother was going to say No, but he just wanted to share his thoughts with someone who could think for him.
His mother replied. Not with words, but with her knees, going down on them. Tobi was confused and rushed to her side so she would get up.
"I beg you, please don't kill me before my time. Please, Tobiloba!" His mother said.
"Mummy, what's this now?"
"Don't call her again. You will get over her in no time. Please think with your head, my dear. Do you want to get married to liability?"
"She's not liability!"
"Okay. Ma binu. But please, think of me. I can't handle running helter skelter in my old age. Jo, oko mi."
Just then, his phone began to ring. It was Derin again. He wanted to pick up the phone to hear her voice again. He was glad for some time...that she was okay. But he was upset that she had lied to him.
Days passed and she kept on calling and sending text messages. It was when surprisingly she came to his office, that he had to face the situation in the face, literally.
She was pretty in her high waist skirt and cream blouse as she sat at the reception. He wanted to hug her and tell her he was happy that she was feeling well, but he had to think, like his mother had said. He couldn't do this. He had to put love aside. He sat beside her but there were other people there, sitting too. He decided they went out to talk in his car so they could have some privacy.
"Tobi, what's going on. You're turning me to a stalker." She said, angry.
"How do you feel now? You're sure you're okay?" He asked.
She hissed, shaking her head.
"Seriously? My boyfriend is asking me this? Tobl how could you leave me there to die?"
She wasn't making this easier for him talking about dying.
"I'm sorry." He said.
"I'm so disappointed in you."
"Disappointed?!" He sparked all of a sudden. "I am amazed! You lied to me!"
"Is that enough reason to abandon me?"
"Look, I'm sorry I did, but it doesn't change the fact about what you did."
She nodded her head in agreement. She knew she was wrong to have lied to him.
"I was afraid you would leave me if i told you I am SS." She said. She leaned over and hugged him and wanted to kiss him but he tilted his head away.
"What's wrong? I'm sorry now, Tobi. You should even be the one apologizing."
Tobi was going to say something, but then he went quiet. He didn't want to say something that would upset her. He gave her some money to take a cab back to the office and then promised he would call her later. As she left, Tobi decided he would wait till close of business. At close of business, he finally sent the text message he had composed, telling Derin that he was sorry and he couldn't go on with the relationship because she had lied to him and he could not trust her.
He couldn't tell her that the true reason was because of her genotype.
He didn't check his phone. He didn't want to see her response. He had purposely sent the text after she had left so she wouldn't faint or something.
Derin saw the text, but she didn't shed half of a tear. She smiled, showing it to Anita. Anita hugged her and told her not to worry that God would give her "a Persian rug to replace the local woven mat called Tobi."
It was about six months after Tobi had broken up with her. She had eventually cried her eyes out, and finally promised herself never to let her heart fall in love again. It wasn't worth it. They would always run away once they got to know her genotype. She began to calculate how she would channel all her energy into her work, and maybe if she got older, she would adopt a child.
That Sunday, after the church service which she didn't bother to attend with her mom, she got a text message from Anita. Her fiance that lived in Canada, whom no one had ever met, and whom Derin was already starting to advice her against, had finally come home and wanted to get married.
The text was to inform her that the wedding would be holding in about two weeks.
Derin was happy for her friend, but she couldn't also deny that she was envious. Envious that she might never have a man, not to talk of one in diaspora.
*Survived the Shoah
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