Thursday, 24 March 2016

BEFORE OUR EYES - EPISODE 4

EPISODE FOUR







Retro

Lolade took the brown leather laptop bag and the blazer from Lanre’s driver. She had just gotten into the house about fifteen minutes ago as well. She had just returned from her evening run and was running herself a bath when she heard the hoot of his Camry. He bent and kissed her on the lips but she would not let him hug her because she was still sticky from the work out sweat.

“What did the cook make for dinner?” He asked. She heard his stomach growl and she knew he was hungry.

“I gave him the day off actually. He had to get his father to the hospital. Besides, I felt like cooking. Made Egusi soup and bush meat. Will boil some water for the semo now.” She replied.

Lanre smiled and this time, hugged her forcefully. He loved that she loved and enjoyed cooking. Not that he liked to compare her with his ex-wife but Nike had retired from the kitchen a long time ago. Lolade had argued with him on hiring a chef but he had insisted. He loved to explore his taste buds with international cuisines.

As she stepped out of the bathroom, she saw him wearing his shoes. He looked like he was heading out again.

“Are you going somewhere?” She asked, drying her weave with the white towel in her right hand.
He nodded. She knew he had just gotten off the phone with someone because she heard the sound of his voice from the bathroom.

“Where?” She asked.

“It’s Nike. I think she is sick. It’s someone from the hospital.” He said, avoiding her eyes and further arguments.

“But why are they calling you? Doesn’t she have friends or family?” Lolade said, looking puzzled.

He shrugged.

“I have to go. She is technically still my wife and the mother of my boys.” He said, kissing her cheek and heading for the stair case.







She was welcomed with a sharp throb in her temples. As she opened her eyes, she blinked repeatedly before she her gaze rested on the two men that were discussing beside her bed. She realized she was at the hospital, looking around. At the back of her right hand was an intravenous needle passing fluid to her body. Her hand had also been bandaged from the cuts and bruises.

“Mmmmhhh…” She winced as she tried to sit up straight. The doctor; the one dressed in a white medical coat rushed to her side.

“Hello Madam.” He said, looking at her and observing her every move.

“Hi…” She said. She noticed her breath was stale.

“Akpan?” She said, looking at the other man; the shorter one. He was the brother of the security man at her office building. The one who had come to meet her two weeks ago that he needed a job…any kind.

“Good evening Madam.” Akpan said, bowing his head a little. “Thank God say you don wake.”

She nodded, smiled and then looked at the doctor.

“Am I okay? I feel a bad headache at the side of my head.” She said.

“You will be fine…you just…” The doctor started.

She looked at Akpan.

“Please excuse us for a while.” She said to Akpan. She didn’t want her confidential information disclosed in his presence.

As Akpan headed for the door, the nurse accompanied by a tall and light skinned man walked into the ward.  Akpan recognized Lanre and bowed his head a lot, almost prostrating.

“Good evening sir.” He said.

Lanre ignored him and approached the doctor. He looked at Nike for a few seconds.

“I am Lanre Akingbile. I was called by your hospital. Is she okay?” Lanre said, bringing out his hand for a handshake.

The doctor returned the gesture.

“Yes. Your wife had a fall and unfortunately she sustained some injury and bruises.” He said.

“Ex.” Lanre said.

“I beg your pardon?” The doctor said. He had repeated he exact words in Nike’s head. How could Lanre do that in front of a complete stranger?

“She is my ex wife.” He explained further.

“Oh. I see. I apologize for my earlier comment.” He said.

Nike shook her head and looked away. She saw her phone on the bedside table and stretched out her left arm to reach for it but she screamed with exceeding pain. The doctor rushed to her side and examined her.

“We need to run an x-ray on you.” He said. He suspected that she had a fracture. “Excuse me, please.” The doctor said and left the couple in the ward to be back after some time.

Nike looked at the man she once called husband. Her heart still skipped a beat when he walked into a room as it had done now at the hospital room but she couldn’t decipher if her heart skipped in love or from fear or in anxiety.

He looked at her too for a little while, then shifted his gaze to her handbag.

“How did you fall?” He asked eventually.

She sighed.

“I don’t really recall. I was at the office and then I was heading home because there was no power. It was late. I probably fell from the darkness in the building.” She said.

“Or from being drunk. When did you start drinking, Nikky? That’s not you. I have only seen you drunk once or twice and that was waaaay back."  He said.

She felt the tears starting to well up. She knew she still loved him. He was the love of her life…the only one.

“I don’t know.” She said, her voice shaky.

“You have and need to move on. You really have to.” He said.

She let out the tears. She couldn’t hold back anymore.

“Why do you hate me so much, Lanre? What did I ever do to you? Did all these years just…waste away? Does my love not mean anything to you?” She started.

He shook his head.

“Nike please don’t start, okay.” He said.

She continued to cry. She had let all her emotions build up in her heart but there was no more room for more. She was a mess and couldn’t keep building defenses. She cried and spilled out the content of her weariness.

Lanre ran his hand over his forehead. He looked at Nike.

“Why are you doing this?” He said.

“Just tell me why I deserve this from you. The humiliation you have put me through…the shame…” she sniffed.

“Is this what this is about? The shame? That’s all you ever cared about anyway. Fame and social status.” He said.

“Don’t you even dare, Lanre. I was a good wife to you and you know that.”

He stood akimbo.

“You need to rest. You don't look so good. You’re in pretty bad shape and I don’t think this is the time to discuss this.” He said.

“When else will we? I never get to see you.” She said.

“Look, Nike, there’s nothing to talk about. I told you, I just don’t feel it with you anymore. I am not happy being married…to you.” He said.

“Can we at least try? For the sake of the boys?” She said. He was standing close to the bed. She reached for his hand and held it. She didn’t mind if the IV needle shifted and caused her hand to swell.

After what seemed like a little thought, he sat on the bed beside her and she moved closer, careful with her left arm. He saw her wedding band on her finger. She still wore it. She placed her head on his shoulder just like old times at the parks in London when they were dating and shared all the love in the whole world. 

He didn’t move. 

She heard his heart run fast. She knew he was anxious.

Then his phone rang. He brought it out of his pocket. They both saw the caller id. It was Lolade.

“I have to go now. It’s getting late.” He said.

“So you are choosing her over me.” Nike said.

He shrugged.

“Nike, it’s over between us. I really don’t want to hurt you or disrespect you. Please. I am sorry...I just don't love you like that anymore.” He said.

She didn’t say anything. She watched him get off the bed and head for the door.

“When do we tell Lade and Lekan about this?” She said, trying to muster up all the courage she could.

He shook his head.

“We don’t.”

“Oh...you are too ashamed to tell your sons that you are having sex with a little girl?” Nike yelled.

He shook his head again and shut the door behind him, together with everything that ever bound them in love. 







***




It was the fourth month since she had been subjected to wearing a cast on her arm. She had tried going to work but her mother had not let her so she had requested that her computer and some files be brought home to her. Her mother had moved into her house for the entire time and had been the one bathing and taking care of her like was two years old all over again.


That Saturday morning, Nike had noticed that it was 7.30 am and her mother had not come into her room yet. Routinely, by 6.30 am, she was already awake and asking the house keeper to boil water so she could make herbal tea for Nike before she bathed her. Nike was beginning to feel weird about having her mother bathe her though. As her fracture healed, she was beginning to do a few things on her own and she was glad above all things that the bathing would stop. She was a grown woman! A mother herself.


She stood up from the bed and wore her bedroom slippers then she headed for the guest room. Her mother was not there. She looked around and went downstairs. The house keeper was in the kitchen, cleaning.

“Where’s Mama?” She asked the lady.

The lady stretched her neck to see if Nike’s mother was still seated by the pool side at the back of the house.

Nike walked towards her mother and sat on the pool bench beside her.


“Are you okay, Mommy? Good morning.” She said.

Her mother seemed lost and puzzled. But she soon spread a smile on her face.

“My darling how did your night go?” She asked Nike.

Nike shook her head.

“Are you okay? Is dad okay? You can't fool me with that fake smile.” She said.

“Yes…yes he is.” She said. Her phone started to ring again but she didn’t answer it.

“Olanike please get me my glasses on my bed side table please. I can see you are getting stronger by the day. When is your cast due for removal?” Her mother asked.

Nike shook her head, standing up.

“I know something is wrong. I can feel it. I’ll go get your glasses and when I’m back, you must tell me what it is.”

As soon as Nike was out of sight, her mother answered the call.

“Toun, what’s the situation now?” She whispered. Toun was Nike’s younger sister and Lade and Lekan’s guardian in Canada.

“Mommy. Is Nike there?” Toun asked.

“No..she is not. I would not answer your call if she were here. Damilohun. What’s going on? How is he now?” Nike’s mother asked, her voice shaky.



Mama’s scream traveled from the poolside to Nike’s ears in the guest room. Nike threw the glasses on the bed and hurried downstairs where her mother was rolling and wailing.









Nike rolled and wailed. Then she kept quiet as her sister told her to take it easy. She tried to take it easy. She tried to suppress the wildness of the troubled soul within her which was becoming fed up of all the hardship and cruelty it had been subjected to. 

They were all seated in the living room. Silence filled the room amidst the sobs and weeping of family members and guests.

Lanre was seated at the other corner, biting his nails. He always did that when he was anxious and restless. He was shaking his legs repeatedly and nodding his head. Nike saw him but she was consumed by her own grief. Her mother came closer and sat beside her, not saying a word.

A few minutes later, her brother and two of Lanre’s friends came into the living room. The pastor followed, clutching his bible like he was anxious about what words of consolation to say. As soon as Nike sighted them, she screamed and dragged the collar of her black dress from her body as though she wanted to strip naked.

“I am finished! I am finished, Mummy!” She wept, pulling her hair. 

Her father could not take it anymore. He stood up and went upstairs.

Lanre stood up and joined his friends and brother in law, engaging them in low-toned conversation.


Lade walked over to where Nike was wailing and put his head on her shoulder. He was a little boy but he could understand what was going on. 

“Mom…please don’t cry so much, okay?” Lade said. "I miss him too." 

Nike shook her head.

“My baby I won’t cry. I won’t cry ooo…I won’t.” She wiped her face with the back of her hands but more tears streamed down benevolently.

Lanre took Lade’s hand and led him away from his mother.




It started to rain. First, it started with a heavy wind, then with light showers, followed by frightening thunder and striking lightening. Toun hurried to shut the windows so the rain wouldn’t pour in. Those who had been standing outside the house hurried in for fear of being beaten by the rain.

Nike stared into the ceiling, shivering, yet sweating. Then she stood up immediately.

“Olalekan can’t be under this rain. It is too heavy. He will get cold and wet. My baby will get beaten by the rain. His body doesn't deserve this. I am his mother…I can’t allow him to be beaten by the rain…” She hurried over to where Lanre was standing with the other men and the pastor.

“Come and show me where you buried him. I need an umbrella for him. The rain…” She stuttered, tears not stopping. "We can't all be here, dry and warm and my child is all alone out there under the ground in this rain. Please...please. You people said we can't see his body because of your Yoruba culture. At least let me cover him with an umbrella or a blanket. Please....let me go ...." She cried. 

Lanre hugged her. He couldn’t hold himself anymore and it broke his heart to see her this way. He burst into tears too. 

But she pushed him away.


“You caused this! Get away from me!” She yelled and headed for the door but her friends and other people present tried to hold her back.


“Let me go! Let me go and get my baby from the rain. Please let me go….” She wept continuously.

Her mother held her hand, the broken one.

“Olanike…jo…oko mi…pele. Pele. “ The older woman tried to comfort her child but she also broke down in tears.






Lekan had asked to come home to see his parents in Nigeria. He had not seen them in over eight months and each time he had asked, they had given one excuse or the other. Nike had decided that it was best if she and Lanre informed the kids that they were no longer together but Lanre had insisted that they were too young to understand so he had continued to lie to the boys that he would come visit them soon. 

But soon never came. Each time Nike called him to ask when he was going to visit them, he avoided her calls.

She had planned on going to Canada as soon as her cast came off. She didn’t want to visit her boys with a cast.

But Lekan had beat them to it.
The eight year old had wanted his parents' attention but was not getting it. He thought he could catch their attention if something serious happened to him. So he had ingested cleaning chemicals and thought the pain would be temporary enough to get him to a hospital on emergency, requiring his parents to come over to Toronto so he could travel back to Lagos with them.

Toun had called Mama as soon as she found Lekan screaming and wriggling with pain in his bedroom. The doctors had tried to save his life…but it was too late. 

He passed away.









*Before our eyes Episode 4

*please read, enjoy, drop a comment and share

*fisayotalabi

*photocredit dailymail.co.uk



5 comments:

  1. Wow! This is the saddest piece you have written...pls bring in a happy ending soon...
    Welldone Fissy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my... I'm just speechless here.

    Welldone, Fisayo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a twist. I don't like this part. Why the kid. You made me cry joor

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  4. Awwww... Poor Nike. No parent deserves to see their children die. Good job Fisayo

    ReplyDelete