EDEN HOSPITAL, PAEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE
Rupert Henderson kisses Junior on the cheek.
The baby giggles and gurgles with delight, and Rupert hands him over to Eyram.
Sorry I wasn’t here yesterday to check him out, Eyram. But he’s fine.
A very mild infection that’ll clear by tomorrow or the next.
Learnt you were at the airport. Thought you were travelling and didn’t tell me.
(throwing a hand up in despair)
No, no, no! It was Barbara. She was leaving, and I was trying to talk her out of it, but in the end she didn’t listen. She left, Eyram, she left.
Oh, but why? Don’t tell me it was about Elaine’s baby!
What else can it be? Elaine is still at the Asylum, being treated for post-partum psychosis. Three days ago, the court decided I could take charge of the baby until Elaine is well, you know. The baby should have gone to Steve, as the legal husband of Elaine, but Steve doesn’t want to see him. So, I told Barbara I was bringing the baby home, and she freaked out. She doesn’t want me near the baby. She wanted me to disown him, or she would leave me.
How selfish could she be? Her infidelity brought life to this child! She should’ve embraced him, and be grateful!
Rupert shakes his head sadly.
She fought with me. I told her this could be the baby we’ve been waiting for all along, but she was adamant, but much as I love her, I couldn’t turn my back on the poor child, can I? After all he’s my son, and I need to take care of him.
That’s sweet, very sweet! So, she’s gone?
Yes, gone. Yesterday.
And the baby?
At Maternity, with the nurses. I’ll take him home when I close.
Want me to go home with you, and help you with your son?
Their eyes meet, and they did not smile.
They are both aware that it is not an innocent question.
It is a pregnant question that has other implications.
Yes, Eyram. I’ll love that very much.
Good. I’ll see you then.
She stands up and heads for the entrance.
She turns, he is watching her. He looks away quickly, and she smiles.
I’ll see you then, Eyram.
Okay. And one more thing, stop looking at my butt!
He chuckles and shakes his head. She laughs and walks out.
Steve takes the phone from his ear, stares at it for a long time, and then puts it back down on the seat.
Jonathan Afful emerges from the kitchen with a bucket of iced cubes.
He uses a metal spatula to scoop ice into two tall tumblers, and picks up a bottle of soda and pours some into both tumblers, and then he takes a bottle of fine vodka and pours portions of that too.
That’s some poisonous combination, man!
It’ll keep your sorrows away, bro!
Called Effe again, man. Same thing. She didn’t pick up!
Afful takes a long pull at his drink and tops up with more vodka.
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Story of my life. Eyram doesn’t wanna see my shadow. Damn Kedem sisters!
(taking a sip from his tumbler)
No, Jon. Damn us, damn you and me. We had it all. We had gold, and we went chasing after chaff.
What the hell are you talking about? We messed up, yes, but damn it, we’re men! Men mess up all the time! Hell, there are men who have done worse things than us, but when they apologise, it is the duty of the women – wives – to accept!
Look who’s talking! Have you forgotten your famous bee and flower talk? You hurt Eyram bad, boy. Bringing women home to bang in your matrimonial bed is the worst kind of shit you can throw at a woman, bro!
Worse than banging your wife’s sister under her own nose, bro? F**k you! We are all swimming in the same shit, you motherfucker!
Steve begins to speak, but his phone rings just then.
He looks at it, and his face lights up with delight.
Trembling, he picks the call.
Hello, my sweetest Princess.
Steve. Sorry, I missed your call.
Been calling, darling. I call every day. I just wanted to tell you I need to speak to you, Effe. We really need to talk.
I’m sorry, Steve. If it’s about something else, sure, we can talk. But if it’s about us coming back together, then no. I love him, Steve. There’s not going to be me and you ever again.
Steve grimaces like he has been stabbed with a hot knife through the heart.
That is very painful, darling. But I need to speak to you. About other things. Can we meet now?
No. I’m a bit tied up now. But if you insist, I’ll be in the hospital tomorrow. Scheduled for surgery on a nun with brain tumour. We can talk after the surgery.
Oh, perfect. Would be bringing my Dad to the hospital tomorrow too for his medical check-up for the quarter. I’ll see you then, my love.
Okay. See you then.
She cuts the line.
Steve is trembling, and he looks at his friend with glazed eyes.
Says she doesn’t want me back. But I’m going to win her over, bro. A little at a time. She has been the angel I threw away. I’ll let her see how much I still love her. She’ll come around. You’ll see.
Kwasea like you! Keep believing a fantasy like that at your own peril! That taxi driver has probably given her multiple orgasms. She’s hooked on him forever!
Shut your f**king beak, my paddy! Her mom called me this morning. It seems the taxi driver has left the scene forever! It’s up to me to win Effe back! I’m going to play by the book and get Effe back.
Afful drains his tumbler, puts more ice in it, and then cracks open a bottle of Hennessy.
He pours some into his glass, drinks, and then leans back and belches.
We live to see, bro. We live to see!