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“Why do bad things happen to good people?” is a question not only stating clear the irony of life, but also confirming that without ironies life is meaningless.
I opened my eyes to a whole different hospital ward unlike earlier. It was probably the heat generating from the seven people around my bed that woke me up. Dave, Titi, Doc and Mikee were on the right hand side of my bed. Kate, a black dude and most surprisingly, Lizzy’s husband, whose name will never stick to my head for unknown reasons were the spectators on the left- Lizzy wasn’t even in the room.
“He’s awake now” somebody said.
“Jay, can you hear me?” Titi bent towards my face like she wanted to plant a kiss on my lips.
“What could’ve happened?” I thought to myself. “How did I manage ending up on the hospital bed from driving back home after dejectedly leaving Lizzy’s place?”
I slowly rolled my eyes around; just to be sure my sight is okay and perfect cos if anything in the case of an accident, I can release any part of my body but my sight. Can I release my genitals?… of course I can. Just let me hold on to my sight.
I moved my fingers slowly under the sheets and my toes simultaneously and they moved, albeit in a whole lot of pain, especially my fingers- Fingers I’ve not seen since God knows how long.
“Jay, we’re all here” Kate said. “Please respond if you can hear us or give a sign.” Her voice was really shaky. She was choking on some quantity of tears.
“He’s scaring the shit out of me. Jah knows” Mikee chipped in.
I tried telling them all to calm down and one person should stand as the spokesperson and take up the duty of explaining what exactly is going on, where I am and precisely how I got here but I couldn’t. My throat burned and had a tearing feeling like the two sides of my throat had been glued together. So I kept on looking at everyone’s expression with a face as expressionless as possible.
Just as Doc FM placed his right hand on my chest, and told Kate to calm down, that I’ll be okay, tears quickly gathered round the corner of my eyes and slowly streamed out.
The tears were not of sadness or sorrow, neither of regret or hurt. They were tears of gratefulness mixed with pain and relief.
I was grateful I didn’t open my eyes to see my body lying lifelessly on the hospital bed, while I walk or float in the air through everything, becoming nothing but a wandering spirit with no means at all of communicating to the ones I still hold dear. I was grateful I had my life in spite of the accident I’m yet to know the details about. Although I was feeling all forms of pain- Slight, sharp, mild, whichever name could be given to pain, I still was relieved ‘cos I believed I couldn’t ask for more than I got. I must’ve been thinking and driving and another source of relief was the fact that I could’ve killed someone like I almost did Titi the other night I only just missed an oncoming trailer but I didn’t kill anyone since I was sure I was the only one in the car up till the last thing I remembered.
“He’s awake now. He’s a fighter. Even if he cannot respond to us now, I’m sure he can hear us. At least he’s looking at everyone.” Dave said looking straight at Doc FM… and that reminds me, in case you’re wondering why we call him Doc and all he can do is stand beside a patients bed and speculate with other speculators is cos he isn’t that kinda Doc. In fact, he is as good as any lame man when it comes to knowledge about any health related topic. He never would’ve even gotten that nickname if it wasn’t for me, because right after Femi bagged his doctorate degree in international relations or something, he changed completely on his return back to Nigeria. Femi would wear a shirt under a v-neck sweats shirt, with black pants and very shiny shoes to a club… Yup! You read that right. A club. I mean what kinda weirdo does that?
So his seriousness, his dressing, his nerd glasses, his behavior, thanks to the fact that he’s the oldest amongst us made me generate the Doc suffix to his nickname and it got stamped before he even realized what was happening. It was “Doc FM” from me, round the clique and even to outsiders. The thought of having Doc FM standing beside me with no idea of what to do to make me feel better seemed like a dry joke in my mind and I couldn’t but let go of a wry smile as I shut my eyes.
“Did anyone see that?” The black dude beside Kate said, pointing like he had seen a snake or something.
“See what?” David replied.
“He smiled just now.” Dude replied. I’m sure he had his index finger pointed at my face in an annoying way.
“Yeah right.” Mikee cut in.
“I’m sure of what I saw. I swear I’m not shitting you. Guys, I think we just need to keep saying things he needs to hear. He can hear us and maybe a conversation or jokes or whatever you guys talk about to lift your spirits would help him now. I’ve seen this kind of scenario in movies and also read about it in books. We need to lift his spirit. It’s the only way to make him respond to us.”
I think I’m gonna enjoy this. Seven grown adults, holding a rather forced and stupid conversation to keep me alive and awake. Oh boy!
I opened my eyes.
Everyone looked at one another to see if everyone was in on the act and to avoid the inevitable awkwardness that was soon to the follow.
“So what do you guys suggest we talk about?” Dave asked, looking at the black dude as if to tell him to come up with something since it was his idea in the first place.
“Tunde doesn’t know much about Jay and whatever he says or starts saying now might as well be just a mere waste of time.” Kate replied quickly.
Oh! So this was the Tunde I’ve heard quite a bit about. I thought to myself. The Tunde we wanted to tie to a stake for David’s mistake. The Tunde who Kate, the spy was supposed to be keeping an eye on, only for her to return to fill me in on a love story rather than valuable info. Tunde the etisalat guy who would’ve fathered another man’s baby, thinking it was his. Now the same Tunde is standing over me, staring down at me and devising means and strategies of keeping me alive.
What a world of ironies.
“So what do you suggest we do then?” Titi, who has been a woman of few words this time around, spoke again.
“Where was Liz in all these drama?” I thought.
Doc looked out through the window, looked back inside and spoke up.
“I err… think we should err…..”
“Hello guys!… I’m back!”
Speak of the devil. Lizzy walked quickly through the door and straight to the head of the bed.
“Wow!… Jay’s awake guys!… when did he wake up?… Jay, can you hear me?… Jay?” She stood up and turned to the other people in the room “He’s not responding but his eyes are open.”
“Yea, Tunde said we should talk about something we think he might want to hear.”
Lizzy brought out her handkerchief, wiped the tears off her eyes and murmured something that sounded like “This is all my fault.”
Everybody took new positions round the bed and im sure if not for the top class vent system, these guys would sure have choked me to death.
“But how do we know what to talk about?” Doc asked as now, all eyes were on Tunde like he was some conjurer who only had the means of the reaching those on the other side and get messages across to the siblings and relatives they have left behind.
“We ask him. He’ll tell us what he wants us to talk about.”
“Hello?… He’s not responding, and we’re not even sure he can hear us.” Lizzy replied.
“He’ll give us a sign.” Tunde turned and faced me “What should we talk about Jay?… Sports? Girls?… Career?… Tell me if he gives a sign guys”
“So big guy, You wanna talk about relationships?… No? Thought you were the love doctor. Ok, politics?… I should crack a few jokes?… Have you heard some dope new musical albums are out?… And yes, you’re slack on new movies too… but don’t worry, You’ll catch up.”
Tunde looked back and they all shook their heads.
“What else do you wanna talk about huh?… cos I’m sure there’s something you want to talk about… Yeah! I get it. You wanna talk about secrets and confessions?… huh?… You want us to let go of a few secrets. Isn’t it?
“That’s it. He wants us to have a confession session!”
They all looked at me and I blinked again.
“Confession it is… So who comes clean first?” Tunde eye scanned everyone like a teacher looking for a pupil to answer the question hanging in the air.
“I’ll go first.” Lizzy cut in.
If a one eyed man is the king in the city of the blind, who’s the king in the city of people without feelings?