My Mom let out a heart piercing yowl that almost knocked off the roof. Was she acting? was she putting on a grand show to make me forgive her? my dad took me into his arms once again and we both sat down.
” Come home with me Nne, i will help you through this, you won’t die.”
” Thank you dad. Am already seeing a specialist and i have the support of my friend Ebere.”
” That your friend, where is she?. I want to thank her”
” She has gone out but you will surely meet her”.
” Will you come with us?” Dad asked again, hope burning in his eyes.
” Not now dad but i will”.
They kept me company till evening when they both took their leave, promising to come see me later. Dad’s call came in some minutes later to check up on me and Mom’ s followed immediately i dropped his call.
That night Ebere was so silent, the sound of her silence was deafening. I knew something had gone wrong. I wished i was healthy and strong i would have done all i could to get back her baby. I took her into my bony frail arms as she broke into heart rendering sobs.
The following evening, we attended another Survivor,’ s meeting but the house that night was as silent as a grave yard. Kofi was sobbing silently backing the rest of us.
” She’s gone” Emeka said, wiping tears from his eyes.
” Ada. She stopped breathing” he sniffed, ” an hour ago”
Ebere gave my arm a gentle squeeze. You will be fine. It said.I was told Ada was a surrogate to Emeka and now she was also gone. I felt like taking his pains and giving him the happy childhood he deserved.
Doctor Debola and Kofi walked towards us. ” She’s no longer in pain, she is in a better place now” the doctor said.
Ada ‘s death stunned me, i found it overwhelming that she could be alive one minute and then dead without warning, without goodbye. I didn’t notice myself crying until Kofi took me into his arms. The next person to go could be anyone of us.
” My little girl’ s wedding is next week. I want to walk her down the aisle even if it was the last thing i do before dying” he said letting go of me.
” If only i could get the HIV result of a person who isn’t infected! you could pass it off as yours at the border” Doctor Debola said.
Kofi ‘ s sob subdued. ” Could that work out?”
” It is a criminal offense and very risky but it is worth a trial.”
” He can use mine” Ebere’ s voice was calm.
I squeezed her hand. Are you sure?. She gave mine a squeeze back. Yes.
Kofi enveloped her into his arms, crying like a baby. Ebere had a heart of gold.
” Ify!” i placed my palm on her hot sweat drenched head.
She had fever, non_productive cough and her breath was short. I dialed the number doctor Debola had given me in case of an emergency like this. I gave them our address and went back into her room.
” Ify hold on…..they are on their way”.
The ambulance arrived some minutes later. I called Ify’ s father and told him of the unfortunate development. I got into the ambulance and held her hand.
The nurses were with Ify for a long time, i sat at the reception praying for a miracle. God please don’t take her away from me. Lord please let me have her with me for a little more time.
Doctor Debola came in and sat beside me.
” She has PCP (Pneumocystis pneumonia) because her T_cells are below 200 now but she will pull through this. How are you?”
” Am fine”
He gave me a knowing smile. ” No. How are you?”
” Am terrified” i sobbed out. ” I don’t want to lose her, she is the only family i have now “.
” She will be fine and you need to be strong for her.” He gave me his hankie.
” Thank you. Can i ask you something sir?”
He gave me a smile.” Sure”
” Why……why did you start the group?”
” When i found out about my HIV status, i told my wives, i thought they would understand and be there for me. They were both educated and we were all living happily just the day before…….”
His voice thickened with emotion.
” Am sorry for asking”
” Its okay. They both got terrified and after verifying that they didn’t have the virus, they took their kids and left. I came back home one evening to an empty lonely house, there was no note, none was needed anyway. I have four adorable kids. I know they are safe and happy with their moms and am content with that thought. ”
I nodded my head vigorously.
” I started the group so i could connect with those going through what i was also going through. Am glad i did, they have become my family now.” He stood up.” duty calls, see you later” he strolled back the way he came.
Ify’ s dad walked into the reception like the Devil was on in his heels. I stood up.
” Mr Ambrose, am Ify’ s friend.”
” Ebere? how is she?”
” She will be fine”
” Can i see her now? ”
” The nurses are still with her but i was assured she will be fine”.
He sat down on the reception seat, his head bowed in pain. He truly loved his daughter.
To be continued