Click here to read Episode 5
‘There you are.’ Tosin sighed in relief and hurried towards the slab where Lola sat. ‘We’ve been looking everywhere for you.’
Lola stood up and returned to the hospital without saying a word to her friend. When Tosin caught up with her, she wrapped her hand around Lola’s waist but one glance from her friend and she quickly return her hands to her side.
‘Lola, I’m sorry about your loss. Your husband just called me some minutes ago to break the news. We had to rush down here.’
Lola wasn’t listening. She increased her pace. At the entrance, Kola stood with Tosin’s husband, his face grim. With his hands thrust in his pockets, he leaned against the wall, watching some nurses carry a woman out of an ambulance. They placed her in a stretcher and rolled her towards the back entrance.
‘Finally, here comes Lola.’ Eben said. Kola spun around towards Lola’s direction.
‘Lola. You got us worried. Where have you been?’
Lola smiled. ‘How’s Benjamin doing? My son must be very hungry.’
Kola looked at her, puzzled. Was his wife going crazy? But she was right there when Doctor Victor broke the news to them.
Lola folded her hands. ‘Get out of my way. I need to feed my son.’
Tosin placed her hand on Lola’s shoulder. ‘I know this is difficult for you.’
She rolled her eyes at Tosin. ‘What are you talking about? How’s feeding Benjamin difficult? It’s the sweetest experience ever.’ She tried to get past Kola but he wouldn’t let her.
‘What is your problem. I can hear my son crying.’
Kola’s eyes brimmed with tears. He held her chin. ‘Our son is dead.’
Lola’s face paled. ‘What? God forbid. My son can never die.’
Kola let go of her chin. His anger rose to the surface. ‘Stop acting like you are the only one affected by this. Benjamin is dead. Okay!’
Eben touched his arm. ‘Guy relax.’
‘You have killed my son!’ Lola grabbed his shirt. ‘You are a murderer!’
Kola tried to pull her hand away but she held on tightly. ‘Let go of my shirt. You are embarrassing yourself. Stop this!’
‘He has killed my son! Help!’ Lola screamed.
The noise attracted the attention of some of the patients and hospital staff. Eben ran in to call Doctor Victor.
Lola turned to the onlookers. ‘Please call the police. This man has killed my son. Tell him to bring my son back.’
She finally released his shirt and ran into the hospital. The matron tried to stop her but Lola hit her hard on the face. She yelled in pain, searching for her glasses that had been flung in the process. Lola ran passed the accident ward, sped through the labour ward and hurried down the corridor that led to the special baby care unit.
‘Benjamin! Benjamin where are you? I’m coming to feed you. You must be very hungry.’
Two male nurses had been informed of the situation and had blocked the entrance to the special baby care unit. Lola stopped when she saw them. She knew they would not let her in.
She started crying. ‘My baby. Please I want to feed my baby.’
When she turned to see the Doctor leading a small crowd, relief flooded her heart.
‘Please tell these men to step away from the entrance. I want to feed my baby.’ Doctor Victor smiled and held her hand.
As he led her towards the entrance, a nurse standing behind them quickly filled a syringe. But It was too late. Lola had already seen the syringe in her hand, she took to her heels. She didn’t have to go far before she was overpowered and the needle inserted into her arm. Her arm went limp and gradually her eyes closed.
A woman had come out of the ward and watched the drama between Lola and the nurses. She began to cry.
‘I know her. Her baby was so beautiful. I told her we’d share our testimonies when our babies get well. Does that mean my child will die too?’
A nurse took the woman aside and began to speak gently to her.
Lola was carried into a small empty room. Kola stood, terribly shaken by what had happened while Tosin sat beside the bed and held her friend’s hand. A nurse entered, holding a phone.
‘I think this is her phone.’ The nurse said. ‘It has been ringing.’
Tosin collected the phone from her. ‘Thank you.’
The phone rang.
Tosin picked it up. ‘Hello.’
‘Lola, Why did you end my call. Can’t you remember me again from Unilorin. Your very own Sis Eniola. Hello Lola.’
‘Oh you must be the Sis Eniola Lola always talks about. Good evening ma’am.’
‘Good evening. I thought I was speaking with Lola. Please, is she there with you?’
‘She can’t speak with you now. She has been admitted into an hospital. I wish you could make it down here. But I remember she said you reside in Abuja.’
‘Where is she right now?’
‘Oh my God, you mean, Lola is in Ibadan. I’m in Ibadan at the moment. What’s the name of the hospital?’
‘Shepherd Hospital. Along ring road.’
‘ What? This is unbelievable. My father’s friend owns that clinic. I’ll be there in a couple of minutes.’
When Tosin ended the call, she gave the phone to Kola but he didn’t take it. Instead he walked out of the room.
‘Where are you going to?’ Eben asked, following him out.
Kola hesitated. He wasn’t even sure himself. He just needed to get some air into his lungs.
‘I’ll be right back.’
Doctor Victor met him at the door. ‘She’ll be okay. She’s just reacting to the loss of her son. She’ll come around soon.’
He nodded. ‘Thank you.’
Kola drove to the only place he’d visited almost every night for the past two years. A nice hotel somewhere in Bodija. He knew he shouldn’t go there, not with how troubled he was. But he couldn’t stop himself. Kelvin would be there with some of his colleagues. They’d be waiting for him. They’d chat about new business deals and new ways of making money and then the discussion would be wrapped up with each of them leading the hookers Kelvin had ordered into hotel rooms.
Kelvin loved women and at every meeting he brought them. Kola hadn’t known this until some months after they became friends. Kelvin had been transferred from the headquarters to head the marketing branch of the company.
Kola admired his knack for business. Kelvin was smart and knew his onions. There was nothing Kelvin didn’t have a solution for. He’d helped him kick off his side hustle. He taught Kola how to write solid business proposals and connected him with some top business gurus. His gas business had grown very fast in a couple of months. On the day Kola won a contract with one of the multi-nationals, Kelvin presented Bimbo as his gift to Kola. He’d paid for an executive room for them in an hotel.
‘You deserve some fun, boy.’
Kola had first stood his ground. He’d never cheated on his wife not even with Tope who flirted with him at work.
‘Guy, you can’t be faithful to one woman o. This flesh needs fresh meat to survive. I love my wife but let her take care of my kids. That’s her job. I cannot do without sex and she doesn’t give a big deal about it anyway. She is always tired after putting the kids to sleep. What’s my own. When correct women full ground.’
Kola smiled. ‘Are you sure she doesn’t know you are cheating on her?’
‘And if she does nko, that’s her problem. She cannot say I’m not taking care of her. At least my case is better than the head of your department. The woman monitors Paul like mad. I cannot allow one woman to be embarrassing me like that. I’ve told him to divorce her. See guy, these women sweet die. Just try Bimbo. Your life will not remain the same.’
And Kola had taken Bimbo to bed more because he didn’t want to upset Kelvin. The man had done so much for him. The last thing he wanted was anything that’d sever their friendship.
The night he walked hand in hand into the hotel room with Bimbo, his heart began to beat very fast. He felt God’s watchful gaze on him. He wanted to run, but didn’t want to stand before Kelvin and be regarded a coward.
Just this one time, Kola had said. By the time he left the hotel two hours later, he knew he was hooked. He couldn’t get Bimbo out of his mind. He replayed every scene with her in that room until he was sweating profusely.
When he got home that day, he couldn’t look Lola in the eyes. Guilt. When she asked what was wrong, he said his head ached. Lola made pepper soup that night but he couldn’t drink much.
Bimbo chatted him up that night. They had a sex chat and the following night he was back in bed with her. Her thick curves and slender body drove him crazy just at the sight of her.
If Lola had looked hot for me always, maybe it would have been easy to get out of Bimbo’s grip, he thought.
Bimbo is so hot. My wife is like a bag of sac.
Lola got fatter after Benjamin’s birth. That drew him farther away from her. He couldn’t hold back his tongue whenever he saw her. He wanted to hurt her. He wanted to make her cry and when she didn’t react every time he mocked her about her weight, he got furious. But seeing her lying on that hospital bed almost drove him to tears. What for God’s sake had he become.
Kola relaxed against the car’s headrest. From the car park, he could see the entrance to the hotel. He decided to leave. Better be alone than with a pack of devils. As he started the engine, someone tapped his window.
Kola let out a deep breath and rolled down his window.
‘What are you doing sitting alone in the car? Have you forgotten that today is Paul’s birthday? Let’s go in and have fun.’
They entered the hotel’s restaurant together. Immediately Kola saw Bimbo dressed in a long gown with a long slit that revealed her tights, he knew he shouldn’t have come.
Three of his colleagues were drinking and laughing. Beside them were ladies in skimpy dresses. They were different from the ones Kelvin brought the last time they met. He had insisted on keeping Bimbo every time Kelvin offered to introduce him to other ladies. As he approached the table, Bimbo stood up, smiling. The low cut blouse she wore had terribly failed to cover her breasts.
‘Hello Baby!’ Bimbo kissed him before sitting on his laps. ‘I know you’ve missed this beautiful body.’
Kola didn’t smile. One of his colleagues slapped him playfully on his back. He forced a smile but it disappeared quickly.
Kelvin cleared his throat. ‘I think we should get into the other room quickly before heading for the club. Paul, na your day o.’
‘I’m not sure how that club thing will work o. My wife don organize party. It’ll start in an hour. The worse part, she invited my parents. Can you imagine?’
Kelvin and the other guys laughed. Kola just sat there, looking at them. For the first time, he noticed they all wore wedding rings. How could that vow on the altar mean nothing to them? He looked at his own ring and felt ashamed. He had promised to love Lola for the rest of his life. What for heaven’s sake was he doing here?
Paul gulped down the last wine in his cup. He turned to the dark beautiful girl with big hips beside him. ‘Babe, let’s go to our room. I can’t wait to explore the wonders of this beautiful body.’
When he left, the others followed. Only Kola and Bimbo were left at the table.
Bimbo wrapped her hands around Kola’s neck. ‘Baby, what’s wrong? You don’t look happy. This is about that your boring wife right?’ She drew lines on his face with her finger. ‘Let’s go into the room and I’ll take your sorrows away.’
As she raised his chin to kiss him, Kola turned his face away. ‘Bimbo, I’m not in the mood.’
She laughed and pulled him to his feet. ‘By the time I’m done with you today, you’ll run out of that room shouting for joy.’
He snatched his hand away. ‘I said I’m not interested!’
Bimbo hissed and walked out angrily. A short man sitting on the next table had been staring at Bimbo. Immediately she left, he smiled and winked at Kola before hurrying out of the restaurant.
There was an half-filled bottle of wine on the table. Kola grabbed it. He raised it to his lips but something stopped him. He returned the bottle to the table. He let out a deep breath and left the restaurant.
Outside the hotel, Bimbo was climbing into a white jeep. She rolled her eyes at Kola. The man behind the steering winked at Kola again.
Kola stood there, arms akimbo, watching as the car pulled out of the hotel.
Doctor Victor was on his way to his office when he saw Eniola and Simi walking down the corridor.
‘Eniola is around o.’ He hugged the sisters. ‘Good to see you again.’
Eniola clapped her hands. ‘You are just getting fatter every day. See your chubby cheeks.’
‘Na God o. What are you doing in Ibadan? Simi, why didn’t you tell me she is around?’
Simi laughed. ‘When last did we see. If not that I brought mum for her check-up two months ago. You are always busy.’
‘Ehn, Victor, I got news that a lady is here on admission. Her name is Lola. She has one big birthmark between her eyes.’
‘Oh you know her?’ He led them into a ward and through a door. Eniola stopped when she saw Lola sitting with a pillow propped up behind her. A cold shrill coursed through Eniola’s body.
‘Jesus! What happened to her?’ There was no spark in Lola’s eyes. She just stared at Eniola as if she was a stranger.
Tosin stood up. ‘You must be Sis Eniola.’
‘Please call me Eniola.’ She shook Tosin’s hand. ‘What happened to her? This is not the Lola I know.’
‘She lost her baby.’ Victor whispered. Lola’s eyes was suddenly filled with alarm. ‘Where is Benjamin?’
Tosin held her hand. ‘Benjamin is fine.’
Lola relaxed and smiled. ‘I know Nurse Tope must have taken him to the bathroom.’
Eniola took Tosin’s seat. ‘I’m Eniola and this is my sister, Simi. I’m so sorry I didn’t keep in touch with you. Lola forgive me.’
Lola’s eyes darted around the room as if she was looking for something. She began to chew her fingernails.
Simi’s phone vibrated. A message had entered her phone. It was from David. She opened the message.
Simi, I can’t continue with this relationship. We are not meant for each other. I’ve relocated to Kaduna. As I type this, I just boarded a plane headed for Kaduna. I’m sorry I lied to you that day about losing my job and for the many lies I’ve told to keep this relationship going. I pray you find true love.
Simi’s eyes were moist. When she raised her head, Lola was staring at her even though Eniola was sitting by her bed talking to her. Simi left the room to call David.
Why would he just walk out on her like that? This was the fifth guy who’d end a relationship with her within three years. They always walked out without any serious explanation.
Is something wrong with me? Simi wiped her tears as she dialed his number. It rang several times but he didn’t pick. When she dialed it again, it was switched off.
She returned to Lola’s room. Eniola was standing by the corridor talking to Doctor Victor. Immediately she entered, Tosin stood up and asked if she could watch Lola. She wanted to get something for Lola to eat.
Simi took her place when she left. As she locked hands with Lola, the tears poured down her face. She knew she shouldn’t do this here but she couldn’t help it. She wiped her tears and looked at Lola who had her gazed fixed on Simi.
‘I’m sorry I’m acting this way. I just can’t control myself. Imagine, he walked out of my life by sending a text. Who does that? For goodness sake, what did I do wrong? When he fell seriously ill, I was with him in the hospital. I slept on the floor for three months! I cooked for him, washed his clothes, cleaned his house. I did everything he wanted. Except sex of course. Not that we didn’t almost have sex. There was always this alarm that rang in my head. It’s the reason I never slept in his house no matter how much he pleaded with me. Could that be the reason they always leave?’
Lola kept staring at her. Simi laughed dryly. ‘I’m sorry, I’m just babbling. I’m just tired of everything. Nobody wants me. I know I’m not stunning like Ada. They get tired of me quickly. But I really loved David.’ She sniffed. ‘I thought he had come to stay. I was wrong. That prophet must be right. There is a curse on me.’
Simi wiped the tears from her eyes. ‘Lola, say something. My sister said you have a very beautiful voice. I wish I could hear it. Sing me a song please.’
Lola looked at the ceiling and back at Simi. Her lips stayed tight. Suddenly her body began to tremble. She was getting hysterical. Simi followed her gaze to the door and found a young handsome man, standing at the entrance.
‘He killed my baby! Don’t let him go.’ She began to scream. ‘Where is my baby! Go and bring my child.’
Eniola ran in with the Doctor. Kola quickly left the room. Lola began to pant hard and gradually became calm.
Tosin entered, holding a nylon bag. She looked from Eniola to the doctor. ‘What happened?’
The doctor sighed. ‘ We’ll have to transfer her to a psychiatric hospital.’
As Simi stood up for Tosin to sit, she felt Lola tighten her grip on her hand. She sat back. Lola eyes were fixed on her again.
Simi sat on the bed and caressed her hair softly. Gradually, Lola closed her eyes.
Outside, Kola sat on the floor close to building where the lab tests were conducted.
‘Jesus.’ He said softly and bowed his head.
Click here for Episode 7
Read: To love and to hold