“Follow me to my office,” Florence said to me as soon as Ebuka was out of sight. “I’ll give you some money to get you and your brother-in-law home.”
Before I did as she asked me, nurses came out of Kelechi’s ward. I dragged Florence out of the corridor. Now was not the time for me to get emotional again. I had lots of things to attend to at home and the office. Staying back to glance at the door to the ward could change my mind to have a look at Kelechi – albeit I knew it would make my emotional state worse than it already was.
Few minutes later, I got out of the main building of the hospital. I found Ebuka at a corner with his back rested on the wall. He impatiently tapped his right foot while his arms were crossed on his chest.
As I got to him, I stretched my hand towards him, holding part of the money Florence gave me. “Here.”
He stood upright and stretched his hand to collect the money from me with his eyes suspiciously narrowed at mine.
“You can find your way to the house,” I told him after he collected it. “When you get there, I’ll give you your fare to go home. “As for me” – I pointed at myself – “I know I’m not riding in the same vehicle with you.”
His brown eyes were wide as he stared at me. This was the first time I showed no courtesy to him so he must have been surprised at that.
Ignoring his dazed state, I walked past him and hailed a cab which had just entered the hospital without a passenger in it. I told the driver my destination. Right as he agreed to take me there, I took shotgun before the vehicle left the hospital premises.
Throughout the ride home, I tried to focus my mind on the work I had to do at the office today. It was a difficult task for me as an image of every part of Kelechi’s face flashed every time. The reason was because we were supposed to sort out some things before our meeting with Mr Richards next Wednesday. And, I was sure we would have gotten a little intimate in the process.
I resulted to wander my thoughts around something that had nothing to do with Kelechi. That too was impossible as the thought of his current state kept tugging at the back of my mind. I soon realized he was in every single area of my life, and there was nothing I could do accept the fact he was never going to wake up from the sleep he fell into; I just wasn’t ready to accept it.
I was so lost in my thoughts about him that the driver had to tap me to alert me he had reached my house. At that moment, I felt a liquid drip onto my hand. I glanced at the spot and noticed it was a tear. Putting the same hand on my cheek, I felt how wet my face was.
I completely wiped out every single stain of tears as I sobbed – that was as I asked the driver how much I was supposed to pay him. He told me, and I counted it out of the remaining money Florence had given me.
As soon as I paid, I stepped out of the taxi and knocked on the gate.
It didn’t take long before Elijah answered.
“Welcome, madam,” he saluted as I stepped into the compound.
I nodded to acknowledge his salutation.
“Your Mummy just came in not long ago," he added.
I hummed and nodded again. Then, I remembered my mum was coming to pick my children and sister. Holiday had started so she wanted to spend the whole day with her grandchildren while Feyisayo would assist her.
Right after that thought, I made my way to the house.
Before I could get to the front door, it opened to reveal my mum, children, and sister. All of them stepped out of the house.
Just when my son, Taiwo, sighted me, he let go of his grandma and ran towards me. His twin sister, Kehinde noticed his action and she followed suit once her gaze fell on me.
“Mummy!” Taiwo shouted as he jumped on me. I caught him before gravity could pull him back to the ground. “Good morning, Mummy,” he greeted.
“Good morning,” I replied, smiling faintly at him.
“Mummy, good morning,” Kehinde greeted with her hands high in the air, indicating she too, wanted to be carried.
Because of how heavy he was, I had to put Taiwo down and pick up Kehinde. I kissed her forehead and put her down again.
I knelt so as to be their heights as I talked to them. “Did you sleep well?”
They nodded. “Yes, Mummy.”
“Did Aunty Feyisayo make you breakfast and shower you?”
They nodded again. “Yes, Mummy.”
“So, I’m sure you’re ready to have a great day with Grandma, isn’t it?”
They replied the same way.
I held their shoulders. “Make sure you don’t give Grandma and Aunty Feyisayo headache today, okay?”
This time it was my mum who answered. “Don’t worry about that, Fisayo; they are lovely children.”
I stood up.
My mum added as she looked at them, “And, we are going to have lots of fun today, aren’t we, soldiers?”
Kehinde and Taiwo stood at attention with their chests out and their hands on their temples. “Yes, ma!” they shouted.
I chuckled as I stared at them. My mum laughed with me too.
After she welcomed me, Feyisayo told them to get into the back seat of my mum’s car, and she too, entered with them.
As they entered, I looked at my mum and greeted her. She replied my salutation.
Then she said, “Fisayo, I hope Kelechi is fine. Feyisayo just told me what happened.”
I didn’t want to hear his name again. Unless someone was trying to tell me his death was a false alarm, I didn’t want anyone to utter his name out of their mouths; this was because hearing his name was like a knife being driven into my already cut heart.
To cut off whatever conversation she was going to start, I simply told her, “I’ll tell you later. Right now you have to play with them.” I pointed at her car to refer to the twins.
She stared at my face for awhile. She stepped closer to me and gently gripped my jaw. “Why are your eyes red? Have you been crying? Is everything alright?”
“Mummy, please. We’ll talk about it later. Now is really not a good time.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. I could see in her eyes how she was trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
Her gaze was soon fixed on something behind me. I turned around to stare at whatever she was staring at but found nothing interesting.
Not long after, she said, “Where’s Kelechi?”
I glanced at her. “He’s at the hospital.” Again, I felt uncomfortable at the mention of his name. So, I gently pushed her towards her car. “Mummy, they’re waiting. I promise we’ll talk when you bring them back in the evening.”
Slowly she walked towards the car as my hands were still on her shoulder. Her driver opened the door of the front passenger’s seat.
Before she entered, she said, “We’ll be back around five.”
I nodded before she entered.
Her driver went to the driver’s seat while I stepped aside so the car could get out without having to crash into me.
As the car went out, Taiwo and Kehinde waved at me, having broad smiles on their beautiful faces.
My heart ripped out of my chest as I waved back at them. They had no clue what was going on, and I wasn’t planning on letting them know until after the burial.
For heaven’s sake, how was I going to tell them they would never see their father again? How would I even explain what death meant to them? They were too young to understand it.
Tears threatened to fall out of my eyes as I memorised their smiles, those smiles which would no longer be there once they’d understand what – or who, rather – death had taken away from them.