Read Chapter XLV here.
Nhyira was still fuming after his confrontation with Kukuaa when he heard his mother calling out to his sisters to hurry up. He came out of his room to find out what was going on.
“Going somewhere?” Bisi gave him a brief glance and looked away.
“Yeah, heading to the hospital.”
“Why, did something happen?”
“Let me take my…”
“No, don’t bother. We need you to watch over the house.”
“Yeah, we’ve had enough of you for today,” Kukuaa said, approaching them.
“Maybe next time,” Bisi said and turned to walk down the stairs.
“Mum, there might not be a next time. Let’s not deprive him the chance to say goodbye,” Ewuresi said. Bisi stopped to stare at her daughter. Nhyira seemed stunned by Esi’s words and stared at his mother for confirmation. After of moment of reflection, she nodded and continued down the stairs.
“Awww…it’s rather unfortunate that we are not Catholic. You’d have made such an incredible nun,” Kuks said sarcastically with a tight smile. Esi rolled her eyes and started descending the stairs with Kukuaa following suit.
“I’ll get the car out,” Kukuaa said and went outside. Esi walked to her mother who seemed to be searching for something in her bag. She placed her hand on her shoulder.
“I know this is difficult for you but if the worst is to happen, Nhyira wouldn’t forgive you for denying the chance to see his father during his last moments.”
“Honestly, his forgiveness is the last thing I care about. But you’re right. I shouldn’t let my emotions cloud my judgment. Thanks for reminding me of that.”
“Of course, mum.” Nhyira came downstairs.
They all walked out of the house and Bisi locked up the house. Nhyira thought Bisi would join him at the back seat but she opened the front door and sat in the car. He sighed and got inside with Esi sitting next to him.
“Ready to go?” Kukuaa asked.
“Yep,” Esi said, strapping on her seat belt.
“Father, take us to the hospital safely and let not today be the day we say goodbye,” Kukuaa prayed.
“Amen.” Bisi was too emotional to respond. When she blinked, it brought tears to her eyes. She kept staring outside so they wouldn’t see her face. Kukuaa took off.
Kukuaa slid in a Fred Hammond cd into the player to drown the silence which was deafening in the car. Nhyira noticed Bisi wiping her face with a handkerchief. Ewuresi stopped him when he reached out to touch her shoulder. She shook her head and brought his hand down. She needed her space.
When they met the doctor at the hospital, he looked exhausted.
“How’s he doing?”
“He’s stable for now but he doesn’t look good.”
“What are his chances for survival, doc?”
“By every seizure he suffers, they reduce significantly. He has about a 30% chance.”
“Oh God.” Kukuaa and Ewuresi held their mother’s hands.
“Every seizure causes damage and even if he does survive it, there’s a huge chance that he wouldn’t be the same person you know him to be.”
“Is there anything you can do?”
“We’re already doing the best that we can. But if it gets too much and you wish to put an end to his suffering, you can opt to sign a DNR.”
“I’ve heard that in Grey’s Anatomy. This isn’t good,” Kukuaa said, sounding scared.
“You want me to sentence my husband to death?” Bisi asked the doctor.
“I wouldn’t call it sentencing. I prefer to call it relieving him of pain especially when there’s little to no chance of him making it.”
“Whatever you decide to do, you have our support, mum,” Esi said, rubbing Bisi’s back.
“Can we see him?”
“Sure; follow me.”
The beeping sound of the machines in his room resonated as they entered. Bisi took Fiifi’s hand in her hands and brought it to her lips. Her warm tears fell on the back of his hand as she kissed it.
“Please don’t leave me. Don’t take him away from me. Take me instead,” she cried.
Kuks and Esi gave each other a stunned look.
“Mum…we know you’re in great pain right now but please don’t say such things. We need you alive,” Kukuaa said softly.
“But I can’t live without him! Especially when you two are about to get at each other’s throat over his properties. He can handle that, I can’t. So if that’s how this family is going to turn out, then I prefer to take his place.”
“No mum; we’re not going to fight over dad’s property. Please don’t say that.” Bisi couldn’t stop herself from sobbing.
“Do you want some time alone?” Nhyira asked. Bisi nodded, not looking at him.
“We’ll be right behind the door,” Kukuaa said and they filed out of the room.
“If you can hear me, know that I love you and I need you here with me. But if you have to go, then go peacefully. Don’t make me pull the plug. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I were pushed to do that, okay?” She touched his face. He looked so calm; as if he was asleep.
“You know I never considered the literal meaning of two people becoming one in marriage till this happened,” Kukuaa remarked. “You can see mum partially non-functional since dad came here. It’s like she’s dying inside.”
“It’s heartbreaking to see a strong woman like her losing control in such a way. Dad better survive this. He hasn’t bought me my car yet,” Esi said, making Kuks nudge her elbow at her side. They both smiled. Nhyira was texting on his phone.
“Who do you think he’s texting?”
“Who else? Giving you-know-who live updates. I can’t believe he’s on her side.”
“I hope he comes to his senses soon. He can’t be that heartless to mum after all she’s done for him.”
Nhyira lifted his head and his eyes met those of his sisters. The door opened and they all turned.
“Um…I think I’ll stay here tonight. So you go home, I’ll let you know if I need anything.”
“Are you sure? We could all come early tomorrow.”
“No, I want to stay over. You two will be going to work, right? I’d need my car.”
“I’ll come and pick you up,” Nhyira offered.
“Okay. Drive safely and see you tomorrow.”
“Okay, mum.” The girls hugged him. Before Nhyira could take a step toward her, the door closed. He sighed. Esi gave him a sympathetic smile.
“Give her some time. She’ll be okay by tomorrow,” she assured him. He nodded and they left the hospital.
The following morning, Bisi arrived home just as the girls were about leaving for work.
“Mum, I thought you’d call to be picked up.”
“Yeah but I got a taxi who was willing to come this way so I hopped in,” she said tiredly.
“How’s dad doing?”
“He’s okay. He suffered another seizure but they were able to stabilize him quickly.”
“So what’s the plan?” Kukuaa asked.
“There is no plan. We pray and we wait.”
“So the DNR is off the table, right?” Ewuresi asked.
“I am not killing my husband. If God wants to take him, He should do it himself.”
The girls quietly sipped their tea.
“Have you called the pastor?”
“No. I haven’t spoken to him in a while.”
“Maybe you should give him a call. You came back to us during your episode after dad called on him to come pray for you at the hospital.”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll call him. I’m going to take a bath. You two have a nice day, yeah?”
“Sure. Are you going to work today?”
“Yeah, I have to.” She hugged them and went upstairs.
They finished up their breakfast and left for work.
Bisi was having breakfast in the kitchen when Nhyira came downstairs. He was about to make a call when he saw her. He was startled for a moment. He canceled the call.
“I was just about to call you. I thought you wanted me to pick you up.”
“I didn’t want to bother you. You recently touched down and you haven’t had any decent rest. You must still be jet lagged. So I chartered a taxi home.”
“Oh it’s no bother. I offered, remember?” She ignored his last statement and sipped her Ovaltine beverage which was tasteless in her mouth.
“I realize what I said yesterday must have offended you and for that, I want to apologize. I didn’t mean to devalue you in my life. I just thought that if I did this for Constance, I could somehow compensate her…”
“You know why I took you in? It wasn’t because I was in dire need of a baby boy to make my family complete. I took you in because I love your father…too much to lose him. When he told me what he had done and brought you home, I was heartbroken and devastated. I could have rejected you because it was in my right to do so. But I didn’t want to throw away my marriage because of an innocent baby. If taking you in meant I got to keep my family intact then so be it. I swallowed my hurt and translated that into love for you. I could have made life a living hell for you but I chose not to because your existence made your father happy and I had to accept that. As long as my family was together and safe and happy, my hurt didn’t matter.
Judging from the way you stormed out of this house to live abroad and then demanding that Constance gets a share of the family business makes me feel like I made a mistake taking you in.”
“Mum…no; please listen…” She stopped him by raising her hand.
“Maybe if I had let you live with Constance and seen you as just a lovechild, the evidence of my husband’s betrayal, then I wouldn’t have to invest my time and emotions into raising you just so you’d throw it back in my face. But I knew that if you lived outside, my family will eventually fall apart because I’d be living with a man who was divided between his family and his exiled son. And it would only be a matter of time till he had to choose between us. I didn’t want to put him in that position because even if he chose me, I’d still lose a part of him. And I wanted all of him. Was it selfish of me? Maybe. But I never for once treated you as an outsider. As for Constance, I don’t want to badmouth her to you because she gave birth to you but one thing you should know is that, she doesn’t see you as her flesh and blood; only a bargaining chip, a feeding ticket, a ransom. My husband is dying as we speak. He is slipping away and no prayer or drug seem to be working right now. I have widowhood staring at me and I am in no mood to entertain Constance’s gimmicks. So please do me a favor and don’t mention her name around me at this time. Can you do that?” Bisi said.
“Thank you.” Bisi brought the mug to her lips and she found out her beverage had gone cold. She poured it into the sink and put the mug down. She picked up her bag and car key and walked past him.
“I’m off to work.”
“Can I drive you?”
“I’m good; thanks.” The door closed behind her. He sighed.
He sat down on the sofa in the living room and called Constance.
“Hey…how’s it going over there?”
“Not too well. Dad is getting worse and there’s tension here at home. I don’t know if it’s wise for me to move out, you know for a while.”
“Oh no, you’re not moving an inch out of that house. You’re staying put. It’s your father’s house and no one is going to bully you out of there. If you give them the pleasure and leave, you’ll only make things more difficult for you when it comes to dividing his assets.”
“Assets? I didn’t say dad was going to die, Constance.”
“Ah well…” It was only a matter of time, she thought wryly. Her pastor had told her that her breakthrough was about to happen and how else was it going to happen if Fiifi didn’t die? Of course, she was hoping that fate would bring them together and make them a family with Nhyira but this other alternative wasn’t bad either. Earning some wealth she didn’t work for sounded like an even better deal.
“Let’s pray for the best,” she said dryly. “But don’t think of leaving. You hold on in there. Things will soon get better, okay?”
“I hear you. What are you up to today?” he asked.
“Oh, I’m doing a little shopping today for a ceremony coming on soon.”
“Oh okay. Take care then. Talk to you later.”
“You too, dear. Bye.” The call ended. She smiled at the phone and looked at the black dress admiringly.
“I’m going to be mourning in style,” she said to herself.
Bisi drove to the hospital after she closed from work. The doctor only painted a gloomy picture of Fiifi’s condition as he talked of Fiifi’s failing organs. It all felt like she had been transported into a horrible movie.
“This would be a good time to consider signing the DNR, ma’am. I know you are hoping for the best but the situation is past saving now. He is suffering quietly and it is up to you if you want it to stop.”
Bisi nodded. “Thanks, doctor.” He excused himself, leaving her alone to chew on his words.
She remembered what Kukuaa had said and took out her phone. She called her pastor. She began crying as she recounted how bad things were looking for Fiifi. After hearing her pour fears out, he prayed for her and Fiifi over the phone. When he ended the prayer, Bisi heard that terrifying sound-Fiifi was seizing again.
“What is it, Bisi?”
“Fiifi is seizing again. I’ll call you back.” She hastily ended the call and rushed out of the room to call the doctor. As the staff rushed in to save his husband yet again, she was asked to wait outside. She looked on helplessly as they tried to get a pulse. The doctor gave her a brief glance and her heart sank.
“God, no, no, please no…”
She watched the doctor stare at the monitor and was about to give up but decided to give it one more try. Bisi held her breath. Fiifi’s chest bounced off the bed as the defibrillator touched his body.
“We have a pulse!” The doctor sighed in relief and so did Bisi. She had to close her eyes to find her breath. When the doctor came out, he tapped her on the shoulder.
“That was close. I hope this would be the last time because if this happens again, I’m afraid it would be the last.”
“Thank you, doctor.”
She entered his room and sat down, taking his hands as hers. She allowed the tears to freely flow down her face.
“Thank you,” were the only words she could find to whisper.
About an hour later, Fiifi’s eyes opened weakly. It took several seconds for his vision to clear and to focus well. He wondered where he was. He turned his neck and winced as he felt a sharp pain. He felt a hand in his. He squeezed it and recognized it. He looked at the person whose hand he was holding.
She had dozed off. He pulled at her hand which woke her up. When their eyes met, she blinked to make sure she was seeing right.
“Fii? Can you hear me?” She stood and touched his face. He stared blankly at her.
“Who are you?” Bisi’s heart missed a beat.
“Don’t you recognize me?” He shook his head. He saw the panic in her eyes. She turned to call the doctor when he pulled her hand, making her turn to look at him.
He gave her a weak smile.
“Yes, darling.” Bisi exhaled deeply and hit his shoulder.
“That wasn’t funny!”
“I know; I’m sorry.” Bisi threw her arms around him and placed her head on his chest.
“For a second, I thought you were gone.” She listened to his heartbeat and then stood upright when she was satisfied. He squeezed her hand.
“For holding on; for not letting me go,” he said. She smiled.
“You’re welcome. I wasn’t going to let you turn me into a widow when we were not even grandparents yet.”
“Where are the kids?”
“I’ll call them to come over. I’m so glad that you’re back. Don’t ever scare me like that again, okay?”
“Okay.” Bisi leaned forward and kissed his forehead. The love of her life was back.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XLVII here.