Kate looked down at the dialyser that had taken over the functionality of Jude’s kidneys. As she raised her head up, she could read the pain that he felt from his gentle sighs. He’d been knocked down by life, but definitely not out, at least for now. He was her brother in law and somehow, she was holding the key that would determine if he was going to make it through the next three days. He was just too young to say goodbye to time, it was also too early to see him as just a memory.Jude was her younger sister Michelle’s newlywed husband; they’d been the youngest of couples at just less than three months old. A month ago after series of tests, he was diagnosed of oedema which developed into total kidney breakdown in which case both kidneys could no longer maintain water and electrolyte balance and filter waste products from his blood. He’d had the dialyser take over this role for over two weeks while they’d combed the city for donor whose kidney was a match. They were ready to pay as much as was needed to see Jude back on his feet again. All search proved abortive. It was at the point of giving up that a match was found; Kate. Maybe this just went to proof the saying that- ‘we tend to go to Sokoto in search of thing we have right in our Sokoto’.‘Please sis, do this for me, for Jude, for unborn Child’ Michelle had pleaded with her during her last visit.Kate had quite felt the pain in her sister’s plea; she noticed how depressed her sister looked which was bad for a pregnant woman and could result in eclampsia. Everyone who mattered to her had come around to plead with her. The final decision was down to her to make. Kate had spent the next two days locked up in her room ruminating a decision to take. All she wanted was the best for her only sister. They’d been so close during childhood. Looking through their family photo album, she knew there was only a decision to take. The doctor explicit when he’d told her how much of a normal life she could live even on just a kidney; he was an example.As she looked at him in the hospital bed wrapped with pipes and wires she wished she’d made her decision earlier. He opened his eyes gently, his mouth was dry he could hardly work up enough spit to speak, his words came out in dry whispers like sussurant bursts of sand blown against a desert stone. All he wanted to say to his saviour was ‘thank you in advance’. He knew how quite hard a decision she’d had to make. Like she could read his through mind, she touched him lightly and forced a smile.‘It would be fine Jude’ she said and watched him nod in affirmation like a child who was compelled to carry out a chore.* * * * * * * * * * *Two days later, the surgery was done which was followed with five days of close monitoring after which the duo were discharged after a day of counselling. ‘I will never forget your kindness. I am indebted to you. Even though I may never get to pay you back, I promise never to forget this act throughout my life time. May God send your helper at every time you are in need. Welcome home dear sister’ these were the thankful words of Michelle. Kate felt happy she could help her sister and could see how happy Michelle was. A slice of tears ran down her cheeks as she hogged Michelle; they were no longer tears of pain but this time tears of joy. The tighter the embrace of her sister the more the tears flowed. She could imagine how close Michelle was to losing the only man she’d loved.
Lawrence held tightly to Kate’s hand. He could see how much strength she was losing. Her breathe was slow and her chest rise was rhythmic. He knew he was losing her and so tightened his grip, he wanted to pump in joules of energy into her. She needed so much energy to fight the ghost of death. He’d known her to be strong but she now seemed to be losing the battle, she was looking so vulnerable. He was ready to fight for her if it got to that. She was the sweetest person he’d ever known, a sister, a friend, a mother since he’d lost his mom four months back. She was just two weeks away from being his wife, mother of his unborn children, one he would grow old with. He never knew fate had been somewhere laughing cruelly at them while they’d been sending wedding invites to friends and relatives. He’d tasted the cruelty of fate first hand when he’d lost both parents in a car crash just four months back. He’d had to force himself to accept them and had needed the care, inspiration and times he’d had with Kate.Looking at the once lively Kate he’d known, he felt the embrace of pain and just couldn’t control the tears that rolled down his cheeks. He needed whatever it demanded to ensure she pulls through. She’d been diagnosed of kidney complications and the doctor had told him she was only surviving on a kidney. He remembered how funny it had seemed when the doctor told him. But she confirmed what the doctor said, but refused to say whom it was she gave her other kidney to. ‘To whom did you give your other kidney?’ he remembered asking her.She’d refused to give any answer or even a hint. This was the second of the four days the doctor had given them to either get back her kidney or find a compactable one. He was surprised at how tightly he held her hands. All he wanted was for her to say a word, he wanted desperately to know where her other kidney was. The search for a donor with compactible kidney had been fruitless.Kate could see the tears in his eyes as he tightened his hold of her. She wished she could change things for his sake. He’d told her things no one ever did, they’d had the best moments together and they’d hoped to build a home. She could see fear in his eyes and pain across his unshaved face. Even in the face of all things, there were some questions she couldn’t answer. Her other kidney had been a sacrifice to Michelle. Michelle had called the previous night from Las Vegas to ask her if she could be her bestie. Poor Michelle didn’t quite know how much things had changed from the last time they’d spoke, Michelle didn’t seem to know she was only two days away from being a memory.‘How is junior?’ Kate had inquired.‘He is doing fine, he owes you his life. Thank you sis again, I pray life treats you fairly. My regards to Lawrence’ Michelle had replied before the line went dead.Kate had felt so happy she’d had a last chance to hear from her sister. She’d fought the urge to tell her sister how unfair life seemed to be treating her. She couldn’t imagine how her sis would have felt if she’d told her she had just two days to live. Maybe there were things in life that shouldn’t be, things like she building a home with Lawrence or living the life she’d dreamt of.He could feel her hand getting cold, her eyes diming and her lips moving gently even though he couldn’t hear anything she was saying. He knew she was giving up and loosened his grip a little. He needed a little more time to draft questions he wanted to ask God; was there really any God in the first place? Did he really have a heart? Was his own definition of joy all irony? Were the preaching at churches all lies?Kate knew all she had left to do was to pray for the few people she held dear to her. She could feel his grip of her loosen and tried to tighten her own grip of him; but there wasn’t the faintest of strength to do so. She muttered a silent prayer to God. She knew she was seconds away from paradise. She needed as much solace as she could get from heaven, her eyes were diming, her voice fading, she could hear unfamiliar sounds, they were scary and her lips were moving fast. All she wanted to say to Lawrence was that he should stay strong and move on with life without her and to Michelle, she had no regrets giving her kidney to Jude and would still do it over again in the afterlife if need be. Everyone had their own definition of a fulfilled life; hers was that the only fulfilment in life was to be happy, and happiness to her was best expressed in kindness. Happiness didn’t just mean being joyous, but more so it meant lending a hand to someone in need.It meant sacrifice.She closed her eyes slowly and felt a man in all whites beckon her.‘Come home, you don’t belong to the world. You own the most beautiful of the crowns here.’ He said holding her arms gently as she suddenly began to shine like he’d passed his glamour to her. As she walked down the narrow gate she could for once see herself smile. She could see faces of people she’d once known on earth, but one thing was different, they looked more perfect, younger and more beautiful than she could remember.