She didn’t want him seeing her like this- ashy skin and sunken cheeks and fast greying hair that refused to hold on to her scalp. She didn’t want to see herself even, if the shattered mirror months ago was any indication. She assumed it was months ago. She didn’t bother trying to keep track of time in this dreary place, made more so by the daily delivery of flowers reminiscent of those placed on graves. That task was one for the living. He came in anyway, his tear-filled eyes trained on her as he rushed to her side. The petite nurse left quietly, leaving the room markedly bereft of her guarded joy.
Seating gingerly on a chair whose peeling paint was evidence that it had seen better days, he reached out a hand to one of hers but drew back just as the tips of their fingers met. She saw what even he wouldn’t acknowledge- the thinly veiled fear in his eyes. Not that she blamed him though. He deserved better than her: better than a girl foolish enough to venture into the dark and dangerous streets of Agbowo alone; better than a girl whose protests couldn’t stop another man’s lips from crushing forcefully against hers; better than a fiancee whose virginity could be taken just like that by a gun wielding stranger. Her shrill scream tearing into the midnight air reached her and she shivered even now, a tear slipping down her flaky left cheek.
“It’s okay, Gift. Pastor Elah is here”, he said soothingly, gesturing to the robust man in a dull gray suit supposed to pray her out of the virus she had brought upon herself. She smiled weakly at him. Her cheeks ached with the effort. Too sad and pained to keep the smile up anyway, her gaze shifted to the space beside him. Right there stood the most radiant being, his glow enveloping the entire room. She blinked twice, unbelieving and wondering how the others couldn’t see him or at least feel such tangible presence. “The angels are here”, she managed to choke out as a violent cough shook her already frail body. Michael put a hand on her left shoulder conveying without words that she didn’t need to speak. She shook her head lightly and continued, her bony hand reaching out for his, “I love you, Mike, but I won’t let them leave without me”.