I looked up at the sound of footsteps approaching, to see a nurse scurrying towards us…
“It was high time”, I silently muttered. The long silence had been grating on my nerves, I felt like screaming and tearing the whole hospital down.
I rose at the same time my husband Tolu did…
“Nurse”…we both called out, but just like the first Nurse had done a couple of hours ago she practically ran past us, ignoring our call.
“What kind of people are you in this place, can someone just talk to me, I just…” helplessly I sank back into my chair fresh sobs racking my body. I was confused and scared both at the same time.
“Calm down”…I heard Tolu’s voice beside me, just at the same time I felt his arms on my shoulder.
I bolted from the chair, like I had been stung by a scorpion. I couldn’t bear to be touched by this man, the equivalent of the devil himself…I opened my mouth, poised to tell him what a beast I thought he was an how much I hated him. My mouth hung agape, but I couldn’t find the words, so I shut them again, this time choosing to simply fix him with a glare I figured could melt ice.
I silently walked to the other end of the waiting hall and took a seat…I was tired, gosh! But who was I to complain, I was glad we could even get an audience at this time, and just then I glanced at the Hospital’s clock…
“4.30am?”, how time passes. It was hard to believe that we had spent 2 hours in the hospital already, and a reminder of that fact brought tears again to my eyes
“What was going in there?”, “Why wouldn’t anyone talk to us?”, “How would I live with myself if anything was to happen?”….I broke down again as numerous thoughts swirled round my mind.
In between sniffles, I turned to look at the devil that had caused all of this in the first place, the main reason we were here, the main reason my life was now hanging on the rope of doom…..
“Mummy, I am no longer hungry”…Ola my seven year old boy voiced as I put his food before him.
“I know dear, but you have to eat. I know its late, but you cannot sleep on an empty stomach”…I patted him, and finally succeeded in convincing him to eat
“I want more”…Ope quipped from nowhere, and I couldn’t but smile even as I dragged my weary body back to the kitchen to get him more. The boy could eat an entire house molded into food and to think he was just three years old…
“God help me” I heaved
After lading Ope’s plate with more food, I quickly served Tolu and promptly apologized for the fact that dinner was coming at ten o’clock, “It would not happen again” I added.
He ignored me and simply delved into his food. With a sigh of relief, I immediately turned to leave,God knows I could not have asked for a better reaction.
“Tayo, Tayo” moments later I heard Tolu call me. I should have known he had acted too good to be true.
I left my children room where I had been preparing them for bed and hurried to him
“Why is there no stew on this egusi” Tolu cut me short
“Darling the pepper is iced, and I thought it would take too much time if I had to wait for it to thaw” I replied, my heart already in my mouth
“Please manage it for tonight” I added again, desperate to placate him.
“Is that what you are supposed to say?, Is that your apology?” His voice boomed through the entire house, and just then he started to advance towards me with a menacing look on his face.
“I didn’t mean to be rude, I was just trying to explain why the…”
Tolu interrupted me again, but this time with a slap that sent me sprawling on the floor
I immediately began to think of all the apologetic words I could think of to placate the devil that had been unleashed on me, but every time I opened my mouth I just choked on my tears. My face stung but I really didn’t care, I just wanted him to stop.
“I’m sorry” I managed to whisper as I struggled to my feet, “It wouldn’t happen again”
That must have been the wrong password, as another slap sent me back to where I was coming from – the ground. This time it was accompanied with kicks on every side, I began to feel life draining out of me, as I lay there with my eyes shut and helpless.
“Leave her alone” My son’s voice snapped me out of whatever land I had traveled into.
“Ola go to your room” I said vehemently, not even knowing where I got the strength from, all I could think of was how my son was not supposed to see me like this. Oh children, they never listen…ignoring my directive Ola kept coming until Tolu barked out at him, asking him to disappear
“Don’t touch my son” I yelled, now out of pure rage…”Don’t you dare touch my son” I repeated
I ran to my son and held him close, whispering to him that I was fine and he needed to go back to his room and watch his brother. My son turned to leave and I had made to follow him, when I let out a piercing scream as I felt Tolu grab a handful of my hair pulling me back.
“Are you walking out on me”
“Leave me alone” I screamed, flailing my hands wildly like a mad woman…”Do you want to kill me?, Leave me alone”
Rage had taken over me and I was barely thinking straight at this point. I should have knwn though that I was no match for my husband who as though with little or no effort managed to beat me to the ground.
I must have been a pitiful sight to behold, so much that my son must have thought he could give me the much needed rescue. Flinging his tiny self on his father, he joined in the freedom anthem – only this time it was a tiny voice ringing out “leave her alone”
“Would you get off me you little…” he stuttered on the rest of his words and merely flung the boy away from him.
“Leave my boy, leave my son” I kept shouting
Then the next thing we heard was a loud thud…..then silence. Tolu ha stopped pounding me, and I raised my head just in time to see my boy hit the ground lifelessly. For a moment I could not comprehend what had just happened, then it dawned on me, and I rent the air with fresh wails.
The rest is a blur to me, as I cannot recollect how we all made it to the general hospital situated two streets from us. Thankfully, the doctor and Nurses on night call had promptly attended to us;they had taken my son into the emergency room, while we had waited to do the necessary documents. But two hours later, we were still here, and I was still ignorant as to what the fate of my son was.
“Madam”…I almost jumped out of my skin at the voice of the doctor who was now standing before me. From the corner of my eyes, I saw Tolu coming to join us, also eager to hear what the doctor had to say.
I don’t know how, but I didn’t need the doctor to voice a word before I knew that the world beneath me had just crumbled.
“Your son must have hit his head really hard, because it resulted in an internal hemorrhage…” I began to shake even as I stood there listening to the doctor ramble jargon.
“We immediately tried reducing the pressure which had built up in his head, by draining the fluid out, but we are really sorry, your son still did not make it” he concluded.
I opened my mouth to scream, but all that came out of it was silence. I turned to look at my husband as he grabbed the doctor’s collar, and watched as the doctor tried to free himself from his captor. Then I turned to look at my younger son, who all through the long wait had fallen asleep on the hospital chair, and was still oblivious to what was happening.
I felt strange, like I had been detached from my bdy and was watching the whole scene from another place entirely. The doctor had succeeded in prying himself from the hands that held him captive, and was hurriedly scurrying down the hall with the two Nurses who had earlier accompanied him.
I and Tolu were left standing in the hallway, with nothing but silence enveloping us. After a while,Tolu sat down with his head bowed, while I watched him in disgust; wondering what to do or say to him.
Turning towards the exit, I made to leave and then stopped, after barely taking two steps. Something must have possessed me, as I grabbed the chair closest to me,and hit my husband’s head with all the strength I had left. He collapsed from the first hit, but I didn’t stop…I kept hitting him; on the head, face, everywhere and anywhere.
Just then, one of the Nurses walked in, spotted me and screamed for help, while running towards me…but I had had enough myself. I crumbled to the floor exhausted and started to weep.
*3 months Earlier*
“Swallow it” the Nurse said, pinning me with a harsh glare
“I have” I replied,hiding the pills carefully underneath my tongue.
She looked at me doubtfully for a second, and then left. Relieved I spat out the drug, and resumed my appraisal of the room filled with people being handed their drugs.They said I was crazy, so they sent me to this place for mad people. Tolu had been in a coma for a week, but had eventually died. I hadn’t cried – truth is I had felt some sort of peace when I heard the news.
“Ope…” I whispered. My son was now living with my parents,and I could still hear his cries from the day he was taken away from me, ringing in my head. My mother had wept her heart out when I was sent here, and she still came to visit every week, even though we haven’t said a word to each other for the past three months. All we did was sit and cry; well she did all the crying, because for the life of me I couldn’t find the tears, gosh I couldn’t even bear holding my son anymore.
Maybe they are right, maybe I am crazy, maybe I deserve to live here and miss watching my son grow up, maybe… Despite all the maybes, I know Tolu deserved to die, I know Ola did not. For pete’s sake, he was just seven, still sweet and innocent, with a long life ahead of him.
“He did not deserve to die, he did not deserve to die, he did not deserve to die…” my whispered chant turned into a frantic one, as I became hysterical with my voice raising in the process. Some of my colleagues turned to look at me, while some began to clap their hands and laugh – it was obviously fun for them.
I saw the Nurses advancing towards me, but it only served to make me more hysterical. Getting up from my seat, I made to run in a bid to get out of the room before they got to me; “he did not deserve to die, he did not deserve to die, he did not deserrrrrrrrrrrrr…”. My words slurred off, as I felt the sting of the Nurse’s needle, and I smiled as I saw Ola’s face welcoming me into sweet oblivion.