He stops dead and looks at all of them. There is no smile of welcome on his face.
He looks absolutely handsome despite his long time in a coma, just a little pale around his face.
He has shaved off his beard and nicely combed his hair.
He is wearing black trousers and a loose-fitting white shirt.
He walks slowly up to Effe and stands looking down at her for a moment.
Tears shimmer in her eyes as she reaches out and puts a trembling hand on his chest.
She looks down quickly and half-turns to look at Eyram.
Chris grabs her shoulders and turn her back around.
He is looking desperate now.
I asked you a simple question, Effe. Where is my son?
He sees tears falling down her face now, and he lets her go with a sudden jerk.
He shakes his head numbly and takes a step back. There is a shattered look on his face.
Effe, please. Are you keeping my son from me again?
Effe reaches out and places her other hand on his chest.
She takes a deep breath, and then she speaks softly.
Chris-Love. Listen to me. One of the bullets ricocheted. and hit Junior too. He has also been on admission here, also in a coma, Chris-Love.
Chris knocks her hands away from his chest. His eyes are beginning to grow wild.
Where the hell is my son, Effe?
Effe puts her right hand to her lips, and her eyes suddenly brim with tears.
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHERE MY SON IS?
Rupert stands in front of him and places his hands on Chris’ shoulders.
Chris, Junior has been in a coma and on life support for three months. He was not expected to last beyond four weeks because keeping him this way is expensive, but Effe has been paying. She wanted you to wake up before any decision is made. Chris, this is hard, but Junior has no brain activity. Most coma patients do not come back after four weeks, but Junior has been on for twelve weeks. It’s time to set him free, Chris. We must take him off the life support. Junior, I’m afraid, is medically dead.
It is instinctive.
It is uncontrollable.
There was nothing Chris can do about it…
His fist sinks into Rupert’s stomach with such force that undigested bread and eggs spew out of Rupert’s mouth in a thick vomit.
Rupert falls to the ground in deep pain as Chris moves backwards dazedly, shaking his head as the pain grips his intestines, twisting cruelly.
No, no, no, no, no! Junior isn’t dead! Don’t say it! Lord, no! Where’s he? WHERE IS JUNIOR? WHERE IS JUNIOR? I don’t care how long it takes, Doctor! I don’t care how much it costs! You’re not taking my son off the machine…. do you hear me? DO YOU HEAR ME??? Dom spiro spero, once we breath, we hope! JUNIOR WILL MAKE IT! HE WILL COME BACK! I CAME BACK!
Yours was medically induced coma to allow your brain to heal totally, otherwise you would have died or lost all your memory!
Effe is weeping. She walks towards Chris.
Sorry, Chris-Love. Chris-Love. Please-
KEEP YOUR GODAMN MOUTH SHUT!
The Reverend Brand Bawa steps forward.
He has tears in his eyes too. Everybody is crying, even Stan.
Chris, my son! Please.
(wiping his tears)
Brother! Keep calm, please. We’re all sorry, Chris. Forgive us. We’re here for you, as a family. We can deal with it. We’ve wronged you, brother, but not again! Please, let us be your strength!
Eyram puts a hand on his shoulder.
Chris jerks away from her savagely.
He moves away from them until his back comes against the wall.
His lips are trembling, his face is shattered, and his pain is a raw emotion that eats up his whole face.
He lifts a trembling hand and points at them.
You liars! All of you! Every single one of you! You, mother, you didn’t want to give birth to me! You wished you had aborted me!
No, no, no, no, my son! That was just silly talk! I’m so sorry, Chris Yaw Bawa! I beg of you-
Stop lying! STOP LYING!
Spittle flies out of his mouth, and thick mucus runs down his nostrils as his agony reaches a peak.
You hated me! Father called me a mistake! I wasn’t planned. All of you wished I had died instead of Roland! Well, guess what, I’m dead! Go away from me! Liars! LIARS! Go away, go and have your family! I’m not your son! You, Effe! You want to marry Steve? Go ahead, go right ahead, you liar! Rupert, Eyram, you damn liars! Go and get married! Get away from me! None of you love me! You all abandoned me! You’ve never loved me, not a single one of you! Go away! GO AWAY! Only Junior! Only Junior loved me with undying love, with real love! He’s not dead! JUNIOR! JUNIOR! MY SON, CHAMP! CHAAAAMP!!
He turns round and hammers a blow into the wall savagely, again and again, with such brutal violence that his knuckles begins to bleed nastily.
Effe screams and runs to him, pushing him back before he hurt himself.
Chris-Love, stop it, stop it please!
Chris pushes her away, and his eyes are mad now, all reason has fled.
KEEP AWAY FROM ME, EFFE! GO AND TAKE STEVE! GO ON! GO AND TAKE MY FRIEND, YOU LIAR, YOU TRAITOR, YOU BETRAYER! ALL OF YOU…LIARS! HATERS! ONLY CHAMP…OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD!! JUNIOR, NOT JUNIOR! KILL ME, GOD, DO YOU HEAR ME? KILL ME AND LEAVE MY SON ALONE!
He suddenly grabs the hospital bed, lifts it and throws it across the room.
They all scream as the bed hurtles through the air and crashes against the wall at the opposite end.
(trembling with passion)
Chris-Love, please don’t do this to me! I can’t take it! I can’t survive it! Let me help you, my love, my darling! Please, don’t push me away!
He is still screaming, unable to accept his pain, the fact that he might lose his son.
(in a fierce whisper)
Where’s he now? Where’s Champ? I wanna see him!
He’s in Ward Seven now, Chris-Love! It is alright, my love! I’m with you! We’re going to keep him on life support for as long as is necessary, but please, please, please…calm down. You have to be strong for him! My love-
(cutting in harshly)
Oh, Lord! SHUT UP EFFE, SHUT UP! This is what you want, all of you! You want me helpless and weak! Oh, God! Oh, Lord! CHAAAAAAAMMP!!
He turns around and then he begins smashing his fists repeatedly into the wall, screaming, screaming, screaming!
His knuckles breaks and thick blood soon smears the white wall from his broken hands.
Stan cannot stand it.
He rushes forward with tears streaming down his face, and he grabs his little brother and pulls him away.
Chris, stop! Oh, I’m so sorry, little brother! Please find it in your heart to forgive me!
Chris pushes Stan away violently.
There is raw pain on his face, and his teeth grinds together so tightly that his gums begin to bleed.
Hypocrites! All of you! Every single goddamn one of you! You found joy hating me, blaming me, wishing me dead! Well, it’s over! Champ is dying, and I don’t wanna live. Why the hell did you keep me alive? Why didn’t you just let me die? Rejoice, all of you! Go and have a fucking party! You must be happy now! Effe, Eyram, mother, father, Stan, Diana, all of you bloody hypocrites! Don’t pretend love for me, because NONE OF YOU KNOWS THE FUCKING MEANING OF LOVE! Junior? That little boy loved me! He’s the only soul that ever loved me… SO YOU FUCKING LEAVE ME ALONE NOW! I don’t want your pity! I don’t want you in my life! I DON’T FUCKING NEED YOUR LOVE!!
Diana and her mother are holding each other, weeping pitifully!
The Reverend Brand Bawa is crying as he has never cried before, not even when Roland died.
He can feel his last son’s pain, and as a father he cannot cope with seeing his blood and flesh hurting so much.
He takes tottering steps towards Chris, his arms outstretched.
Yaw, Yaw, Yaw…my son, I have wronged you! I’m covered in shame today, and my heart is sore within me! I’ve never been a father to you. I am sorry, Chris! I’m behind you, we’ll keep Junior on the machine. Please, Yaw, forgive this poor wretched father of yours!
Chris, his whole soul racked by pain, lifts his hand and points a finger at his father. His hand is torn and bloodied, and thick blood has stained the sleeve of his shirt, and dripping down in little splotches.
YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER, YOU’VE NEVER BEEN MY FATHER, AND YOU’LL NEVER BE MY FATHER!! I’M JUST A MISTAKE TO YOU!! BELIEVE THIS, IF YOU’VE EVER BELIEVED ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE…IF YOU TAKE ONE MORE STEP TOWARDS ME, OR DARE TO TOUCH ME, I’LL KILL YOU RIGHT HERE IN THIS ACCURSED ROOM!!
Reverend Bawa stops, and drops to his knees, crying pitifully. He knows Chris means every word, and it dawns on him that he might just have lost his son forever!
Chris turns, screaming, and runs from the Ward.
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He screams for Junior over and over again. He crashes into walls, breaking glass, smashing furniture.
He is shouting out Junior’s name as he goes down the stairs, making people stare at him with absolute shock.
The security staff come at him with batons, but Chris is mad, and he knocks them down, breaking bones and dislocating joints…deliberately, brutally.
Sensibly the others leave him alone.
When he gets to the ground floor entrance area he tears his shirt and singlet away from his body and, bare-chested, he crashes out into the busy street outside, still screaming.
Chris cries like a baby as he begins to run.
He runs hard, and cars have to swerve him, blasting their horns with anger and fear.
Chris runs hard, and he does not look where he is going.
His tears drench him, his heart is crying for oxygen.
He is a living definition of pain.
He runs until he cannot run anymore.
His heart is tearing apart.
His muscles are cramping.
His fists are bleeding red blood unto the streets.
He stops and lifts his face to the skies.
Why me, Lord? Why did you let me live? Why didn’t you take me? What have I done to you? WHAT HAVE I DONE TO YOU, JEHOVAH GOD? Why did you create me? Why do you give me such agony? Why do you want to take Junior? LET HIM LIVE, LORD! PLEASE BRING BACK MY SON AND TAKE ME! TAKE ME, LORD, AND LEAVE MY CHAMP! CHAMP, JUNIOR!! WHY DO YOU LET ME SUFFER IN THIS WORLD LIKE THIS? I’M NOT JOB, LORD, AND I DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH OF JOB! I’M CHRIS YAW BAWA, AND THAT LITTLE BOY IS ALL I HAVE, HE’S ALL MY STRENGTH… IF YOU DON’T LOVE ME, WHY DID YOU CREATE ME?? IF YOU’RE TAKING JUNIOR, MY SON, MY ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THEN KILL ME TOO….JUST LET ME DIEEEE TOO!!!
Slowly Chris drops to his knees in the middle of the street.
He wraps his bleeding arms around his body, and he bends his head.
He weeps like a baby.
Saliva drools from his lips and phlegm runs down his nostrils.
His heart is broken…
He is a totally broken man!
He raises his face to the heavens and speaks with a broken soul.
If You want me to worship You, I will. If my sins sickens You, I’m sorry! If I have wronged You, I’m sorry. If I must believe in Christ, Your only son, I promise I will, from this very moment… but please, I want my son back. It’s not too much to ask, is it? I mean You do far mightier things, like creating the world, dividing the sea, feeding crowds with… was it five pieces of meat and bread or fish and bread…yeah, something like that. I beg of You, Lord, hear my cry, let my supplications reach You. I’ve gone through many afflictions, but I can’t stand this one, my God. No one can, only You can…please, I really really really… oh Junior, yes, I miss all your really really really moments! I can’t live without hearing your damn really really really!!! LORD GOD, I REALLY REALLY REALLY BEG OF YOU, heal my son!
He can’t speak anymore.
He is choked by tears…but his broken soul continues to pray!