When it was 4am I stood up from my bed. I went to mom’s room to talk to her but she was still asleep so I went back to my room, I prayed and tried to sleep back. Around 6am, I went to check on mom. She was awake; I greeted her and asked if she slept well. She said she slept well and she was feeling very refreshed.
Mom received a call that the venue for the fashion show was on fire. Mom had to rush to there, I had to follow her. She was so sad, the press was already there. They were as annoying as usual “Mrs. Ewoma Ajiri-Scott what do you have to say about this incidence?”
“Enough of the silly questions.” I snapped
The news was all over TV stations, Tare and Jayde arrived. The cause of the fire was unknown; obviously the show had to be cancelled. Mom was shattered, it was a very sad day, unluckily for us, the fire fighters came late. The situation could not be salvaged. Mom had a press conference and she announced that the show had been postponed “a new date would be announced.” she said.
Investigations were still going on when my phone rang; it was Dubem’s mom “hello Jessa, Dubem needs you to come over to Temple hospital.”
“Good day ma’am is everything alright?” I asked.
“It is an emergency, please hurry.” she pleaded.
I called Mason immediately, I told him to come and pick me up “it’s an emergency and you are my only hope.” I said. The driver was busy. I told Jayde and Tare to tell mom that I had to go see Dubem at the hospital, Mason took so long because of the traffic in Lagos. I was so relieved when I saw him.
Dubem Adigwe was my sister from another mother; we had been friends for about fifteen years. Dubem’s mom, Prof. Nanya obi, was the only child of the former minister of education, Dr. Kachi Obi and she was a wealthy woman, her mother died after giving birth to her. Her mother’s death really had a huge effect on her father, thus the death made her father cherish her more. Dr. Kachi Obi never married again.
Dr. Kachi Obi threw himself in his work, it was the only way he could forget about late Mrs. Claudia Obi. He felt marrying another woman would spell betrayal. The death of his wife occurred in Nice, France, Prof. Nanya spent her childhood in Nice, she came back to Nigeria for her secondary school education but she went back to complete her education. She had no other children apart from Dubem.
I thought about the first encounter I had with Dubem Adigwe, I was five and she was four. We knew each other’s secrets but it took a while before I knew about her health condition. Her father, Charles Adigwe was a renowned doctor; I wondered how Dubem ended up being born. Dubem’s mom was a professor of immunology at the University of Lagos. My mind was far away, Mason had to pinch me, apparently he had been calling my name.
“Welcome back dear, what on earth were you thinking of?”
“I am a little worried about Dubem, I have this weird feeling that Dubem may be on her death bed.”
“Come on Jessa be optimistic. Dubem will be fine.”
“I hope so because I am sure it’s one of her crisis. She is a sickle cell anemia patient.”
Mason became uneasy and I wondered why “I am so sorry to hear that.” he managed to say. There was silence and the silence was loud; I felt Mason was hiding something from me. I had to break the silence. “Dubem doesn’t like sympathies, we rarely speak about her condition.” He smiled and said “I like her, she’s brave. She’ll get through.”
We finally got to the hospital, Dubem’s mom was there pacing nervously. My heart skipped a beat, I held Mason’s left hand and squeezed it because I was becoming nervous.
“Oh Jessa I am happy you could make it on time, Dubem wants to talk to you urgently, she doesn’t even want to talk to me her mom. She’s having a crisis and this one’s intense.”
“Don’t worry ma’am, Dubem is a fighter.”
I beckoned to Mason to stay put; I followed Prof. Nanya to Dubem’s ward, she left afterwards. When I saw Dubem, I was heartbroken, I felt like bearing the pains for her. She managed to smile. “I am dying.” she muttered. I replied amidst tears “shut up, you are not leaving this planet until you are a centenarian.”
I felt teleported back in time. I was thirteen, Dubem was twelve. It was during one of her crisis, Dubem was in pains and I was helpless, it started when we were playing football in the school field. Dubem started complaining about difficulty in breathing, she was just coughing. She was rushed to the sick bay but the nurse was not on seat. We had to wait; Dubem’s mom arrived on time because she had been informed.
Dubem’s mom took her home because she knew how to handle the situation on her own, I accompanied them home. Dubem’s mom brought two tablets, Ibuprofen and acetaminophen. She also brought out a glass jug filled with orange Juice from the fridge. She gave Dubem her medication; Dubem’s joints were aching badly.
Her mom had to boil water and pour into a hot water bottle. After this she kept the hot water bottle in the areas that were hurting Dubem, she did this at intervals but it didn’t seem to work. The pain was unresponsive to home therapy. Dubem had to be taken to the hospital for intravenous (IV) hydration and pain medication.
I was brought back to reality by Dubem’s voice, her eyes were swollen. “Jessa I don’t want to keep experiencing these excruciating pains. When I die, I’ll have peace and Joy, Joy like a river but the only snag is that I’ll really miss you when I finally depart this world. I want you to promise me that you’ll be like a daughter to my mom.”
“You can’t leave me all alone. You have been fighting for the past 19 years, don’t give up. Do it for your lovely mom, she’ll die if you die. Your father will be very sad too.”
“My father?” she asked, laughing bitterly.
Dubem went on to reveal some things to me. “my father is a medical doctor; you know he is the owner of this hospital. It is one of the best in Lagos State. My beloved father has the sickle cell trait, he also knew that my mom has the sickle cell trait but he went on to marry mom.”
“My dad keeps a video diary; he confessed that he is after my mom’s wealth.” replied Dubem.
What a dumb man I thought. I mean who keeps a video diary, I don’t believe in it because if one’s diary got into the wrong hands, it could spell doom. I had so many questions to ask Dubem but she was too weak to talk “I am going to die in a few minutes, I can sense it. Be by my mother’s side.”
“I’ll do anything you want me to do but promise that you’ll stay.” I replied.
“I don’t want my mother to know about the extra marital affairs my father is involved in because it would crush my mother. You have to promise me that you’ll be there for my mother. After my death, my dad will kill her so as to acquire mom’s wealth. Tell my mom to adopt a child.”
“But why are you telling me all these? You have to tell your mom.”
“I can’t face mom this way, it would be harder. I can’t stand to see her cry, I can’t say goodbye to her.”
“I understand.” I replied, squeezing her right hand lightly.
Dubem screamed, I shook with fear and I headed for the door, I wanted to call the doctor but Dubem stopped me, “I am not done Jessa, tell Dreyson that I will always love him, I won’t stop. Death won’t change that. Oh Jessamine, my friend, my sister, you gave me hope when hope was extinct, I want you to go to my room and get my laptop, dad’s video diaries are in a folder. Bye Jessa.”
I knew it was over, Dubem just breathed her last. I started screaming, this alerted the nurses “she’s gone, I’ll miss you Dubem, It’s so sad that I’ll never see you again or touch you. I’ll never forget you.” Prof. Nanya came in and she knew what was up and she slumped. I found myself in Mason’s arms, sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t breathe properly.
To be continued….
Written by Kezi Angela Patrick
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