Click here to read Episode 2
Lola stood, watching her son asleep in a glass enclosure with drips attached to his hands and a small oxygen mask covering his small nose. She covered her face with her hands, struggling to push the tears down.
Lola looked around the room lined with incubators. Machines of different sorts hung at different places in the room.
A nurse in a clean white uniform entered the ward followed by another woman bursting with excitement. They walked between two rows and stopped in front of the incubator beside Lola. The nurse raised the glass cover and brought a baby out before handing him over to his mother. She kissed her baby’s cheeks and a drop of tears fell from her eyes.
When she raised her head and saw Lola, she smiled. ‘I never thought my child would live. Just see God’s faithfulness. Your baby will be fine.’
Lola nodded her head. She returned her attention to Benjamin. ‘I love you son.’
When Lola got outside the special baby care ward, she tried Kola’s line again.
Why was he not picking up his calls?
Tosin sighted her as she pulled off the hospital’s shoe wears and put on her flat slippers.
‘How is he?’.
Lola sighed. ‘He is sleeping now. Tosin, I don’t understand my husband. He is not picking my calls. I even sent him a text message. For goodness sake, what kind of man did I marry.’
‘Stop talking like this. Maybe he didn’t see the text. It’s possible he is far away from his phone. Try his number again.’
Lola shook her head. ‘I’m not calling him.’
Her son was dying here and her husband didn’t deem it fit to call to find out what was going on. Even if he hated her, why would he treat his son like that? She imagined him reading the text message and pushing the phone away before responding to a client like nothing mattered. How can a man be this cruel?
A hand touched Lola’s shoulder. She raised her head and saw a tall handsome man looking at her with deep compassionate eyes.
She ran into his arms. He wrapped his hands around her shoulders.
‘How are you?’ His voice was deep and soothing. Lola wanted to stay in his arms. How long had she felt this kind of affection. But this was her best friend’s husband and Tosin was standing right before them, smiling at her. She pulled away gently.
Eben squeezed her hands. ‘Benjamin will be fine. What did the doctor say?’
‘They are still running tests on him.’
Eben looked around. ‘Where is Kola?’
Lola shrugged. ‘He is not picking his calls.’
Eben dialed Kola’s number. He picked on the first ring.
‘Eh Eben. What’s up.’
‘Why are you not picking your wife’s calls?’
‘I’m busy. Just got out of the board room with a client. What does she want?’
‘Stop asking me useless questions and get down to Rhema Hospital right away.’
Lola wondered why her husband picked his friend’s call and not hers. Had their relationship gotten so bad that he now avoided her calls? She looked at her wrist watch. It was almost 7p.m. Her body was sticky with sweat that covered her armpits. She had not taken her bath and Kola would be mad at her if he came any close to her. She had to get home, shower and return to stay the night with her son.
‘I’m going home. I need to pick a few things.’
‘My wife will go with you. I’ll wait here till Kola comes.’
Lola shook her head. ‘I want to go alone please. I promise, I’ll be back before you know it.’
Tosin held her friend’s hands. ‘Are you sure you’ll be fine?’
‘Yes, I will.’
Lola drove home in silence, her thoughts running back to her single days when life had been beautiful and exciting. She smiled at the memories of the days she ministered at programs and the atmosphere became charged.
Several times at concerts, the word of knowledge had gone out of her lips. There was a day, while leading a worship team in a crusade, a woman had jumped out of her wheelchair with fresh new legs.
Lola had seen the wonders of God. But she had been carried away by the workings of God’s power and forgot the place of growing a relationship for her personal life. She was like the Corinthian believers. She took pride in the gifts and forgot the place of depth. Now God had abandoned her and left her with a devil in guise of a husband.
She missed singing. She missed seeing God move in a supernatural way. But all that was past. God doesn’t want to have anything to do with her.
When Lola got to the house, she was surprised to see her husband’s car parked in the compound. Wasn’t it an hour ago that he said he got out of a board meeting?
Her husband was sitting on the bed, perusing through some documents. He didn’t even give her as little as a glance when she entered the room. Conscious of her sweaty skin, she took her towel from the wardrobe and went to shower in the next room.
‘Why did you ask Eben to call me?’ Kola said as she entered their bedroom with a towel tied around her chest. Lola didn’t respond. She opened one side of the wardrobe and took out her body cream.
‘What did the doctor say was wrong with you again?
Lola still did not respond. Sitting in front of the mirror, she creamed her body slowly.
‘I’ve told you several times that the solution to your health problem is to get back in shape. I printed these articles from the internet.’ He pulled out a folder from a black bag and pushed a large brown envelope towards her. ‘There are lots of health issues connected to ladies who are overweight. You won’t be visiting the doctor every time if you’d just lose some pounds.’
Lola flared up. ‘Do I look sick to you? Did you even read my text? Our son is in the intensive care unit!’
Kola stared at his wife. ‘What!’
‘He wasn’t breathing properly so we rushed him to the hospital.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me this?’
Lola hissed. ‘How many times have I called you today? You avoided my calls Kola. I sent you a text. How else was I supposed to reach you.’
‘What did the doctor say?’ He didn’t wait for her to respond before he rushed out of the room, leaving the document scattered on the bed.
Curious, Lola stood up and reached for the document. Her husband was planning to buy a landed property and he didn’t tell her? She blinked and sat down slowly. How long will Kola continue to treat her like an outsider? She had no idea of what her husband earned or the investments he had made. She wondered if she really knew this man.
Benjamin’s test results came in later that week. One glance at the doctor and Lola knew the result was not good. She waited. Every second seemed like eternity.
Doctor Biodun looked at the couple. ‘Your son has a congenital heart defect.’
Lola stared in alarm at her husband before fixing her gaze on the doctor.
‘The condition is called Patent ductus arteriosus. There is an abnormal blood flow from the baby’s heart to the lungs and your son’s PDA is quite large. It’s sending blood to his lungs far more than your baby can handle. There is nothing for you to worry about. Benjamin will be fine.’
The doctor pushed two flyers before the couple. ‘We need to act fast. Here are two hospitals in India that we partner with. This is the fastest procedure you can get.’
Kola took the flyer and stared at it like it was some difficult exam question. Lola placed her head on the table. She was shaking terribly. She left the doctor’s office for the intensive care unit. For a long time, she stood, watching Benjamin. Her throat was dry and the tears trickling down her face.
My baby. My baby.
Simi licked her fingers smeared with chocolate.
‘This is so nice. Lindt is the best chocolate the world has ever produced.’
She was in the living room with Ada and in front of them were bars of chocolates, wafer biscuits and candies.
Ada laughed, throwing M & M candies into her mouth. ‘Segun knows what I like. One of his colleagues will be in the country next month, my list is ready.’
Simi held up a bar of chocolate. ‘Include Lindt chocolate please. We need more of this.’
‘That reminds me, Segun asked me to give you something.’ Ada stood up and went into her room.
Lucky Ada, Simi thought. Very soon, she’d get married to Segun and join him in the U.S. Why was she so unfortunate?
Ada’s phone rang. She came out of her room holding a small nylon bag which she gave to Simi before reaching for her phone lying on the sofa. She looked at the caller ID and hissed.
Simi pulled out a golden wristwatch from a small white box. ‘This is so beautiful.’
Ada’s phone began to ring again.
‘Ada, pick your call.’
Ada hissed again. ‘abegi. I don’t even know what is wrong with some of these brothers. Don’t they understand the meaning of ‘I am engaged.’ What exactly is their problem? Let me even block this number.’
Simi laughed dryly. ‘Hottest girl in town.’ She tried on the wristwatch. ‘I’ll chat Segun up later to thank him.’
‘Any plans for this evening? I’m kinda bored. Let’s hang out.’ Ada said.
‘I’d loved to. But my mum called. She wants me to come over this evening.’
‘You and your mum sha. I wish mine was still alive. You don’t know how lucky you are.’
Simi smiled and rose to her feet. ‘I need to get ready before it gets too late. I’ll have to stop at the mechanic to pick mum’s car first.’
‘Simi, go and buy your own car and allow mummy’s car to rest.’
Simi pushed her friend playfully. ‘You will give me the money abi? Besides, she has two cars. This one is unofficially mine.
The moment Simi stepped into the family house, a duplex that her father had built before he died, she sensed something was wrong. Outside, her ten-year old niece sat watching her brothers play table tennis. Her eyes were sad and she didn’t jump up in excitement like she always did when Simi visited them in ilorin.
‘Where is your mum?’
She pointed to the house. ‘She is inside.’
There was no one in the living room. Simi peeped into the kitchen. Empty. She climbed the stairs that led to her mother’s room. Opposite the room, she heard voices. Someone was crying and she could hear her mother speaking in low tones.
When she opened the door, Olamide, her elder sister was sitting on the bed, holding a bruised face while her body trembled. Simi’s mother sat beside her, comforting her.
Simi’s eyes caught some boxes stacked against the wall. Her eyes drifted to her mother who was now looking at her with grim face.
‘Simi, thank God you are here.’
‘Olamide, what happened to your face?’
Click to read Episode 4