A popular saying state, you don’t know the value of what you have, until you lose it but in my case, I think it should be, you don’t know how much you care about someone until you nearly lose the person.
Those were the thoughts that crossed my mind as I starred at Mary-Anne through the closed window. She looked so peaceful, so calm and beautiful, for a moment, I wished I was really the kind of boyfriend she thought I was. A God-fearing and faithful one.
“You can all go in to see her now,” the doctor who was attending to her said as he came out of the ward, “you have five minutes,” he added and walked away.
We all trooped in immediately and I was the first person to speak.
“Mary-Anne, what was that all about?” I asked looking at her in the eyeballs. The question had been on my mind for a while and I just couldn’t wait to ask it.
She stared at me blankly in response, like her mind was somewhere else. I asked her same question again and she replied this time although her reply was as good as her silence. “Nothing,” she said.
“What do you mean by nothing?” I asked calmly and pulled her arms into mine to comfort her. She was obviously still traumatized by the accident.
“It’s nothing I want to talk about!” She yelled at me surprisingly. “I was just having a really bad day,” she added as she saw I wasn’t really impressed by her attitude.
I kept quiet afterwards. I figured she’ll eventually have to talk to me so there was no real need to rush things, besides I don’t think I would want to talk about whatever is bothering me if I just had an accident.
What followed was just petty talks until the doctor came back to the ward holding a brown paper file in his hand. I immediately noticed Mary-Anne’s name which was written on it boldly with a blue marker.
The doctor instructed us to leave the ward and then knowing Henry and I were he charge, he pulled us aside.
He looked really tensed. There’s this kind of facial impression bearers of bad news have by default, and I could see it vaguely on the doctor face but Mary-Anne looked perfectly alright when I saw her some moments ago so what could be the bad news. I pondered.
“We need to contact her family right away,” the doctor finally said.
“Why?” Henry asked, beating me to the question I would have asked anyway.
“Well, there’s a problem,” he replied. I wanted to ask what problem he was referring to but he then went ahead to open Mary-Anne’s file, I concluded he was going to tell me the problem anyway. Just as if he had observed this, Henry said nothing neither.
“Just as you requested, we ran a full body and mental test on her,” the doctor started to say, referring to Henry who was the one who requested that all related tests should be ran. I must confess, it was quite surprising, I never knew Henry cared about Mary-Anne or anyone for that matter. He acts like he cares about no one.
It was strange and I felt it was quite supererogatory but Henry was the one paying so I decided to just sit back and watch as things unfolded. He, agreeing to settle the bills was a relief to me because I was quite broke at the moment but it was unexpected.
“What did the test results show?” Henry asked. He was sweating profusely standing right at the front of an air conditioner. His sudden over hyped interest and care in Mary-Anne was starting to creep me out and I was already wondering who the boyfriend amongst our two was.
“There’s nothing wrong with her physically. Turns out her accident wasn’t as bad as it looked, but I can’t say the same about her mental state,” he paused for a short while, “she has amnesia. Dissociative amnesia in particular, that means she’ll be unable to remember some vital personal information. For example, during the tests, she couldn’t remember her home address or her surname. She can also forget what exactly her relationship with someone is but still remember the person. We believe familiar faces like those of her family can trigger the memory.” He concluded and excused himself
I stared at him in awe. He was obviously trying to choose his words carefully. I was confused. Mary-Anne losing her memory wasn’t expected. Too many thoughts started flooding my brain, I felt like it would explode. I knew I had to calm down if I didn’t want to break down but I couldn’t help it.
I decided I needed to talk to someone and knew exactly who to talk to. I left the hospital few minutes later.
I was probably having the longest night of my life when something unexpected happened.
If the wall clock was accurate, the time was around 5:30am and we were still in the hospital after the Mary-Anne incident. I felt like an outcast because I had been with the whole group all night and literally no one had even noticed me enough to say hi or even check on how I was doing.
I sat on one of the chairs in the reception after the doctor had apparently chased us out of the ward. I still didn’t get what we were all still doing in the hospital, Mary-Anne seemed to have stabilized and I would have thought it would be okay to go home and frankly, I would have actually gone home but I didn’t want to look like the evil one, the one who left Mary-Anne in the hospital all alone to herself, whatever that means.
So, anyway, as I sat down on the chair, I observed something. I could spot the doctor talking to both Henry and Maxwell, and I could instantly tell he wasn’t giving the good news as they both looked like they could use a hug.
When the doctor was through with them, their reactions confirmed my thoughts. I noticed as Henry went to the water dispenser at one corner of the reception and quickly drank four cups of water in quick successions then he sat down on the floor right beside the water dispenser. Maxwell on the other hand stared at Mary-Anne for a while through the window and then swiftly walked out of the hospital… I wondered where he was going to and would have followed him if the girl who had been holding Mary-Anne earlier not come over to my side of the reception to talk to me. She was looking like she hadn’t slept for weeks but surprisingly, her hair was still well packed into a nice pony tail.
“Err… How are you?” she asked with a forced smile.
“I’m fine,” I replied, “hungry and tired, but fine nevertheless compared to you guys,” I added, hoping she won’t take offence of read too much meaning into the innocent statement. I was really looking fine compared to them though.
She chuckled. “Well, Mary-Anne is really close to all of us here so we are just really worried,” she replied with after sighing.
I felt the need to introduce myself. “I’m Funmi, Maxwell and Henry’s neighbor,” I said and offered my hand to her for a hand shake.
“I’m Amaka,” she replied as she took my hand, “Mary-Anne and Mary-Anne’s neighbor,” she added and we both giggled at the joke. It was not really funny but we needed to laugh anyway.
“Nice to meet you.” I said when we were done giggling.
“The pleasure is all mine,” she replied and then a short silence followed before Amaka started another conversation.
“Pardon me for asking and it’s probably none of my business but which of the guys are you dating?” She asked with a smile, strangely the smile looked genuine.
“What makes you think I’m dating any of the guys?” I asked curiously.
“Well, don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t think you would be here and spend all night in a hospital for Mary-Anne who happens to be someone you don’t even know. So it’s obvious you are just here to comfort your boyfriend.” She explained and I could see sense in what she said but I wasn’t dating any of guys.
Maxwell, who seemed like the more likely option for the boyfriend status took me out on a date and fucked it all up but here I am, still in the hospital, waiting outside the ward of someone I only just saw for the first time in my life few hours ago.
Reality dawned on me. Who am I kidding? I’m not still here because of I don’t want to look evil, I’m here because Maxwell is still here or was here. I need to find him, I thought.
“I need to go now,” I said to Amaka and immediately left the hospital same way Maxwell had left.
Outside the hospital wasn’t as dark as I had thought it would be after a night of heavy downpour.
I stared at my wrist-watch, it was 6:20am already and I could help but wonder on how time could be so fast.
I was standing at a T-junction and could not see any living soul on any of the three roads that I faced. I figured I wouldn’t find Maxwell by standing on one spot, I picked the road on my left and started walking down. I had no idea why I was looking for Maxwell or what I would say to him when I saw him but I just felt the urge to see him. To be sincere, I was a little worried about him… He was obviously having a bad night.
I barely walked two minutes when I saw a huge church building. From the writings on the wall, I figured it was a catholic church. It had a nice cute cross right above it, albeit being a small cross, I’m sure it was one of the most distinctive feature of the church structure.
As I walked passed it, I noticed the doors were open and the inside was really dark. There was something inviting about it. I fought the urge to enter it and kept walking. I walked for another five minutes before I decided there was no way I was going to find Maxwell like this. My phone was low and therefore I couldn’t call him.
I decided to simply go back to the hospital, he might have returned anyway.
As I walked back, I saw the church again and this time, I couldn’t resist the urge. I walked in.
As I walked in, I quickly scanned the whole building. It was a gigantic hall which had windows with pictures of famous people from the bible on them. There was a confession box at one corner of the hall and rolls or chairs.
I noticed a familiar figure kneeling at the first roll of seats right before the altar. It was dark and I couldn’t see any distinctive feature but I knew who it was. Maxwell. I was surprised.
I stared for a short moment before I did what anyone would naturally do. I walked up to him and I had to tap him twice before he raised his head to look at me.
He looked like he had just seen a ghost.
*** *** ***
Amnesia is a good thing. It would mean that Mary-Anne would not be able to remember everything that has happened to her. Hopefully, she won’t remember that I had sex with her and that she’s pregnant. Thinking of pregnancy, why didn’t the doctor say anything about it? The whole purpose of requesting a full body scan was because requesting for just a pregnancy test would have been too suspicious.
Those were the thoughts that led me to the door of the doctor’s office.
DONALD FIBRESIMA was the name tag on the door. It was a green name tag. I knocked at his door and pulled down the door knob before I got any response. I pushed the door open and walked in.
There was a tapestry of on the wall. On it was a painting of the biblical illustration of the road to heaven or hell. There were two roads in the painting, while one was wide and filled with multitudes of people, the other was narrow with just one person on it.
I looked away from the tapestry as the fat man behind a table cleared his throat to announce his presence.
“Can I help you,” he asked curiously.
“Can I sit?” I asked as I walked towards the other side of the table.
“Normally you are supposed to book an appointment with the nurse before you can come in here but since you are already here you may just go ahead and sit.” He replied.
“So how can I help you?” He asked again.
“My name is Henry, I’m a friend of the lady who was rushed in here tonight…”
“The one who had an accident?”
“Yes, that one, Mary-Anne.” I confirmed. “I requested a full body scan on the lady and I must admit that your hospital is really efficient as the results came out barely three hours later.”
“Well, when you have the right facilities and trained staffs, efficiency is expected.” He replied with a smile.
“Yea, right. So I was wondering if you guys did a pregnancy test on her too.” I asked the one million naira question that had been on my mind.
“Yes we did.”
“And what was the result?” I asked with an effort to sound calm.
“She’s not pregnant.” The doctor replied after a short silence which felt like ages.
“Thank you doctor,” I said with a wide smile and asked about her amnesia just to ease up things a bit.
“So, about her amnesia, should we be worried about it?”
“Well, firstly you should know her amnesia could have been worse considering the blow on her head, she could have had retrograde amnesia where she forgets absolutely everything before the amnesia but what she has is selective amnesia. She’ll tend to forget things she normally wouldn’t forget. She can forget faces, conversations, events and quite an awful lot, we can’t really say how much she has forgotten but to answer your question, I would tell you not to worry.” The doctor said and took he short pause, he tilted his head forward in a way he could look at me directly and not through the glasses he wore, his stare was piercing. “By saying you shouldn’t worry, I don’t mean you should take the case lightly, as she might have forgotten quite a lot. I hope her family has been contacted by the way?”
“Not yet, her parents are based at Abuja and they travel a lot so it’s going to be hard to get to them, but we’ll make sure they are contacted before the end of today,” I replied. Mary-Anne had told me lots of stuffs about herself.
“Good. I’ll recommend she goes to see a psychologist, we have an excellent mental-care unit here in the hospital and I can refer you if you want.”
“That would be nice but won’t be necessary for now. When would she be discharged?”
“She’s stabilized for now but we’ll need to watch her for a day or two before she’ll be discharged.”
“Alright, thanks for your time,” I said as I stood up from the seat to leave. I could finally afford a smile as I walked out of his office.
I went back to the reception and saw only Amaka sitting on one of the chairs, I walked up to her and sat down on the chair beside her.
“We need to talk,” she said.
“Oh God! Not the ‘we need to talk’ line again!” I murmured under my breath.
TO BE CONTINUED