” I’m sorry, Ma. ” Tera shook vehemently with every word she uttered. Her swollen eyes were awash with tears. She stared at Mrs Akinwale with much pity,fear and compassion. She had asked Dozie to go home,and informed her parents even before she had dialled Mrs Akinwale’s number. Her instincts had prompted her to dismiss Dozie after the woman had threatened to arrest whomsoever was responsible for the assault. Mrs Rachael Akinwale’s heart skipped a bit as the teenager sobbed before her,and gave countless lines of apology which were incoherent and ambiguous.
Her heart was thundering ” Where is he? What exactly happened? You shouldn’t have done what? Please take me to his ward, I need to see my son…. ” She ran a trembling hand through Tera’s hair.
The doctor was a dark,middle aged man in his forties who managed to smile whenever he spoke. His lab coat was a little on the big side for him and a stethoscope hung loosely around his neck.
” I’m Dr Ndukwe,and you are? ”
” Mrs Akinwale.. Mark’s mother. ”
That was all the woman could accurately remember,her mind wandered off as the doctor spoke to her about Mark’s condition,and how long it would take for him to get fully recovered. It was pointless anyway, she would get Dr Jacobs to come and have a look of at him. He was a trusted physician who had been with their family for over a decade. She finally got the opportunity to ask him the dreaded question which had been on her mind since she walked into the clinic.
” Can I see my son? ”
” Yes,you can. ” He responded and led her to Room O591,which was Mark’s ward.
Tera sat still on the chair whilst she waited for Mrs Akinwale to exit the doctor’s office. Her mind was caught up with several thoughts,fears,premonitions and ideas. ” What would she tell Mrs Akinwale? Would the woman ever forgive her? Where were her parents? Would the police get involved as Rachael had threatened earlier on? ”
Rachael couldn’t believe her eyes; although it wasn’t worse than she had expected it to be,the sight of her son’s battered face was rather unwelcome and heat-wrenching. A hefty looking nurse was patting his swollen chin with a ball of pink cotton wool. He looked weak and pale on the hospital bed,he seemed to have lost weight in the last few hours. She dropped her hand bag on the bed side table and waited for the nurse to explain his state to her,since she had blanked out whilst the doctor was speaking. She couldn’t remember the last time he had received a drip treatment,or sustained a swollen eye and chin; her son wasn’t the type to get involved in sch onslaughts of physical violence. She walked purposefully to the cafeteria where she had asked Tera to wait, now that she had fully assessed her son’s condition,and realized that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it was,she needed to hear the bewildered lady’s account of the whole incident.
” Are you okay my dear? The doctor said he’ll be out in two weeks’ time. Although,I’m thinking of moving him to our family hospital. ” She spoke with a weak smile and brushed her hair aside before hitting the nail on the head.
” What exactly happened? ” She stared into Tera’s eyes and gripped her hand assuringly when the girl tried to avert her gaze.
” I really don’t know…we…we haven’t been on good..terms… ” She sniffled whilst she spoke and wondered if the truth was necessary in this case.
” Yeah..I’m well aware. Although, you two knuckle heads have refused to enlighten us as to what went wrong. ”
” Its nothing, Ma. ”
” Really? You expect me to believe that? He went out with Griselda,and she informed me a few minutes before you called that he stood her up at an eatery or something..the poor girl was crying her eyes out…Were you responsible for Mark’s action? ”
She nodded in response. ” I was there with a friend before they both entered into the restaurant.. I left early,and Mark chased me down the street…. ” She bent her head over and started to cry once more.
” What happened when he chased you? Talk to me,my dear. ”
” He was trying to explain things to me. I didn’t want to listen,my friend thought he was trying to hurt me,and…he did that to Mark. I’m solely responsible for this, Ma. Please forgive me. Please……. ”
” What’s this ‘ friend’s ‘ name? ”
” Its not important, Ma. ”
” Your mom just sent me an sms. She’s stuck in traffic. This isn’t the place or time for such matters,we’ll discuss this tomorrow. I’ll instruct Kabiru to take you home now..its been a long day… I’ll spend the night in his ward.”
” May I..? ”
” May you what? Go in to see your friend? Of course you may. I’ll be waiting for you at the car park. ” She added with a kind smile and rose to her feet; she was briefing Richie on his brother’s condition. The young lad had travelled to Egypt with his father for business. Gasping for breath,Tera twisted the door knob as though it was made of glass.
” I’m sorry… You don’t deserve this… I hope you get well soon…. I’m not mad at you.. I thought I was all this while,but I was wrong.. I’m mad at myself for jeopardising what we had… The South Korean movies misled me into believing that we were soul mates… These past few months have been a living hell for me… I promise to accept Griselda as your girl friend,and those quarter-backs in school as your new friends. I don’t like them,but I won’t mind making such compromises for you… You’re worth more than that to me, Mark. ” She sniffled once more and dried her eyes which were awash with tears with the back of her palms. She kissed his forehead and palm softly before walking out of the ward.