Chidi didn’t know what to feel. The past month has been one of a roller coaster ride. Laura was everything a man could ask for. She was beautiful, caring and playful. But there was just one problem, she suffered mood swings. The mood swings were so serious that she could change from playful to sullen in a millisecond. One moment she could be so playful and happy, making his world full of sunshine. The very next moment she withdraws, taking away the sunshine, and leaving him alone with gloomy clouds. She may remain in her shell for so long that Chidi will be on the verge of crying. She always came back, to the jovial part of her he was in love with, in just a nick of time, blaming it on her past relationship.
She was afraid that he will leave her as her ex- boyfriend did. It had been four days since she suddenly locked up and left him at a date, pleading a sudden headache. He had called her countless time, but she never picked his calls, and when she got tired of him disturbing her, she switched off her phone. He wished he knew where she lived but for some strange reason, she strongly fought against him knowing where she lived. He was back home worrying about her and not knowing what to do. But he was fed up, and will let her know whenever she decided to come out of her shell.
He flipped through the television channels, till he got tired. He switched off the light and was headed for the bedroom when he heard a knock on the door. He looked at the wall clock; it said 10:10pm. Who could be knocking at this late hour? He waited. The knock came again. He chose to ignore it again, when his phone started ringing, he quickly silenced it. It was Laura calling. He took the phone and tiptoed to kitchen.
‘Hello Laura’ he whispered
‘Hello Sweetheart’ she replied Sweetheart?! Chidi asked himself. She had been quiet for four days, ignoring his calls and disrespecting him, and she is calling him by past ten in the night and she expects him to be happy she called him sweetheart? Yeah right.
‘I’m at your door.’ She continued bringing Chidi back to the present.
‘What?!’ Chidi exclaimed before thinking. ‘It’s past ten at night.’
‘Are you going to let me in or not?’ she asked sounding annoyed. Chidi felt his anger dissipate. He gave himself reasons why he couldn’t leave her outside. It was late and she might need him.
‘Chidi please’ Laura pleaded Chidi walked towards the door. He couldn’t leave her outside.
Uchenna mind was full of regrets. He should have left her with her parents, he should have locked the door, he should have not quarreled with her, he should have not sold the house… His mind was full of regrets. He paced up and down the hospital corridor, waiting for just a word from the nurses who continually ignored him. He was oblivious to the blood caking up on his t-shirt. His wife’s blood. It still looked like a dream.
After the shot, the thieves had hurried away, leaving him with his dying wife. He had shouted for help, carrying her down the stairs. Neighbours who he hardly acknowledged ran before him opening the gate and one had driven him to the hospital where he had a card, posing Rita as one of his relatives. The hospital had demanded for a police report, while Uchenna was wondering how to go about that, another neighbour had brought out his identity card.
‘If you don’t attend to this woman, and anything happens to her, I will make sure the hospital is closed down. I am a police officer and the lady was shot by an armed robber. What other report do you need?’ The nurse had nodded and hurriedly wheeled a still unconscious Rita to the operating theatre. Only to return with another request, fifty thousand naira deposit.
‘I will take care of that. You know me, just treat her’ the neighbour who had a card with them.
‘I’m sorry sir, but it’s the hospital policy.’ Uchenna sat on the floor. The robbers had his card, it was too late to go borrowing ‘God what am I to do?’ he cried silently. He slowly became aware of an object in his back pocket which made sitting uncomfortable. He subconsciously wondered what it could be when he remembered. He quickly stood up and dipped his hand into his back pocket and brought out some cash and dropped it all on the receptionist table.
‘That’s fifty thousand naira. Please treat her.’ He had withdrawn the fifty thousand naira to give his family a treat, but the revelation about his wife’s job had distracted him. He had forgotten to move the money from his pocket to his wallet. Thank god he had forgotten.
‘Sir, please follow me to my office’ the doctor’s voice got his attention. He followed him to the office ‘please sit.’ Uchenna sat down, waiting for the doctor’s news. ‘Your wife was very lucky that the bullet didn’t get any organ. We have removed it and are hoping there won’t be any complications. We will continue the treatment, and depending on what happens, she might need other operations.’ Uchenna just nodded.
‘Will she be alright?’
‘That’s what we are praying and hoping for. She is still unconscious, but should be awake soon.’
‘Can I see her?’
‘Yes you can.’ Uchenna watched his unconscious wife and felt so pained. He wished he could bear the pain for her. The black circles round her eyes were more obvious. He held her hand, it felt so cold.
‘I’m sorry about this, I should have protected you from all this. But I thank God you will testify about this.’ He kept talking and praying for a while, till he slept with his head resting on the side of the bed.
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Olanma had been studying her Bible when her mother had called her, saying she had something to talk to her about. Her Bible Study times was about the only time she didn’t feel lonely.
‘Olanma my daughter, I called you because I noticed something. You are not happy.’
‘Don’t even try to deny it. I am your mother and I know you are sad. It pains me that you have to cater for me who should be taking care of you.’
‘mama, I am old enough. I am no longer a child that you have to provide for me.’
‘I know. But you are doing this at the expense of your education which was so important to you. I know that was a big sacrifice for you. I called you so you will know I know how you feel. I am still in mourning and can’t do much, but be rest assured that I am praying for you which is about all I can do for now.’ Tears flooded Olanma’s eyes and she hugged her mother.
‘Mama, sometimes I feel so alone and lonely. I know you are mourning Papa, so I leave you alone…’
‘Don’t think that way. We are all we have, each other. May God bless your handwork, and as I pray for you, please pray for yourself more.’
‘Yes ma, thank you ma.’ Olanma didn’t feel so alone anymore. She had gotten an answer to an unsaid prayer.
The story continues…