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My recovery process was a little slow. Although my butt still hurt, I was moved away from the Intensive Care Unit into the Male ward when I got more stable. However, after the incidence between Kike and Doctor Lizzy, she never attended to me again. I kept asking after her so I could apologize but the nurses made me understand that she was on duty at the Children’s ward which according to them is quite a distance. The pain in my buttocks wouldn’t let me debate that and it never occurred to me to give her a call. Kike kept coming, she got my prescriptions, brought meals and change of clothes, and she always spent quality time with me. She even taught me how to play chess. She apologized and showed remorse for the faceoff with Lizzy, and though I expected her to slip up again, I gave her a benefit of doubt, not like I had a choice anyway. I listened to her more; I concluded that being hostile to her would only heighten her obsession. I kept in touch with my uncle and sister regularly but that didn’t stop them from worrying. There was a particular conversation we had where Bisi was hell-bent on coming to Ibadan; it was Kike’s intervention that helped calm her. I was shocked when she introduced herself as my girlfriend. However, I didn’t say anything to correct that when she gave the phone back to me. I was tempted to ask about Morenikeji though, but I decided against it because I wasn’t ready for another drama.
After two weeks, I finally got discharged. I was relieved of the physical pain but I knew I didn’t have the mental energy to face what awaits me outside the hospital walls. The pain of Tayo’s death was still fresh on my mind, I can’t find the space in my heart to forgive Presido, I wasn’t sure of how to deal with Kike, and I was angry with Bade. I considered it insensitive that he won’t listen to my side of the story. Then it didn’t help matter when he refused to tell my sister that I no longer live with him. He never cared to know why I haven’t returned to his place to remove my stuffs; friends fight but it should never be unreasonable like this. Kike already chartered a cab to take us to the new apartment. Earlier that morning, I had concluded within me that I would do whatever it takes to survive even if it meant compromising.
“Kike, the only reason I will go with you is if you agree to come with me and apologize to Dr. Lizzy for the bust up you had with her,” I said emphatically.
“And if I don’t?” she asked in a restrained manner,
“I will be on my way to Akure right now.”
“Kunle, we both know that you don’t have the strength to sit out a long distance drive yet. Why put yourself through pain just to please someone who was being unprofessional with her job.”
“She only gave me a phone to call home and that was all.”
“Did you notice the way she looked at you?”
“No, I didn’t”
“I can tell that she is attracted to you”
“Come on Kike, she only sympathized with me about Tayo’s demise and that was all.”
She took a long pause as we approached the cab; she stopped in a sudden, grabbed my hand and said,
“You can go and see Lizzy, but there is no way I am coming with you. I will be in the car.” She rubbed my cheeks with both hands and walked to the car. I had only walked for about two hundred meters when I saw Lizzy approaching in her car. She parked the moment she saw me, stepped out of her vehicle and waited for me to approach her.
I said ‘Hi’ cautiously and she responded with a hug. I thanked my stars Kike chose to stay back, I couldn’t imagine what that hug would have caused.
“I am sorry” we said in synchrony. We laughed and we synchronized again, “you should go first.”
“I wanted to apologize for not coming to check on you. When the CMD learnt of what happened between your girlfriend and I, he allocated me to the Children’s ward till you get discharged. I can see you are healthier now.”
“Yes I feel better. I wanted to apologize for my friend’s unruly behavior,”
“My friend’s fiancée actually” I stuttered, “never mind, it’s complicated.”
“It is indeed” she rounded off with a smile.
“Can you drop me off by the gate? A cab is waiting for me,”
“You mean your girlfriend, oh sorry, your friend’s fiancée is waiting for you,”
“Come on” I giggled, “Just give me a ride”
“I was only teasing, hop in.” she unlocked the car and winked at me. I shook my head in comic mockery and whispered, “You are on your own.”
She dropped me at the gate. We had exchanged phone numbers while she drove and made a bet that whoever calls first will get treated to a date by the other party. As I watched her drive away I heard a loud bang sound. I couldn’t believe it was Bade slapping Kike. I ran towards them with all the strength I could muster and shoved him away, as he slipped I hoped that he wouldn’t hit his head this time.
“Bade, what has come over you?” I yelled at him. He staggered up, hit his head with both fists he made, and with tears that only denoted anger he began to speak,
“When Mr. Chukwu told me Kike was cheating, I hadn’t expected that it would be with you. Not again! I see you have finally succeeded in stealing her away from me. Abi!”
“No one has stolen your fiancée from you. You pushed her away with this animalistic behavior of yours. You will not touch her again; you’d have to come through me to get to her.”
He banged his hands on the bonnet of the cab. The Ibadan bred Cabman who simply spectated initially jump out of his vehicle in anger and thundered in deep Ibadan dialect,
“Soo ya were? O gba biin leti mo reke. S’oko mi se o ni, abi nkan mu o? Je keeri re pe, lai jebe were o se o – I hope you aren’t mad? You slapped a woman and I sat back. Did my car oheffend you, or are you brain touchy? Behave yourself else I will show you proper madness.”
Bade stormed away at the Cabman’s roar, I turned to Kike and enveloped her in my arms as I apologized for Bade’s madness. She cried bitterly and I pitied her in a way I had never pitied her before. I urged the driver to quickly take us away from the vicinity. In those few minutes, a little crowd already gathered.
After settling down at the apartment, I walked up to weeping Kike and told her about my intention of travelling home the next day. She simply responded with a nod. I sat beside her, drew her closer and hugged her again. That was the second time that day I was hugging her like that, I couldn’t think of a better way to share her pain. Since the encounter with Bade she hasn’t stopped crying, a part of me felt guilty; I was the reason why she was no longer committed to her relationship.
“I am so sorry I brought this on you. Everything will be alright,” I persuaded her to stop crying. She tilted her head and attempted to kiss me,
“No Kike, we can’t do this” I said diplomatically.
“Because it will only ruin what’s left of our friendship. I mean myself, Bade and you.”
She detached my arm from her body, turned to face me, held my hand and explained,
“I know I have gone about so many things the wrong way, and I am not proud of it. I am a lawyer and winning cases is what I am trained to do, yet to win I must either fight dirty or abide by the principle. I couldn’t figure out a better way to keep you for what’s left of my life, I wanted to experience what it feels to be loved by a real man. I can’t force you to love me, but I wish you’d be the last man I kiss before I breathe my last.”
“What are you saying?” I asked confusingly,
“I will die in six month. I have Leukemia.”
“Jesus Christ, Kike!”
“I need a bone marrow transplant to survive, but that’s not feasible considering the fact that I lived in an orphanage all my life. My parents are dead and I do not know anyone in my lineage, so there are no possible donors. There is no right time to die, death is inevitable. I have accepted my fate. However, I am not telling you this to gain sympathy. You might get a second chance with Bade, but I will never get another chance at being loved by someone like you.”
I reached out to hug her but she pulled back,
“Kunle, I am not desperate for a hug, I am not even anxious to live. I just want to be loved by you. Is pretending to love me that difficult?”
“Kike don’t be like this, you deserve better. Does Bade know this?”
“He is not worthy of such information”
“But you have to tell him”
“He will know when I am dead. Kunle, think about everything, and let me know if I deserve a chance with you. I will see you tomorrow after work.” She moved closer and kissed my forehead.
She left me in a chaotic state of mind. I couldn’t gather my thoughts to form a solution. I was tempted to give her a chance but I had seen Nollywood movies where people with terminal disease survive by chance. What happens then? I picked up my phone to check the time and realized that I had an unread text message. It was from Lizzy, she was checking on me and wanted to know if she could come around, claiming she was bored. I knew coming to an apartment Kike rented wasn’t an option, and since the day was still suite young I replied that I was going to come by her place. I figured that should help me get Kike’s thought out of my mind.
I went into the bathroom to freshen up and that was when I saw the scar Presido had left on my buttocks through the mirror, I felt sorry for myself. I arrived at Lizzy’s estate around 6.30 PM. She parked at the gate waiting to take me to her house.
“Your apartment is nice Doctor” I complimented as we entered into her living room.
“Can you stop this doctor thing already, it’s boring.”
We got talking and I soon realized that we were age mates, birthday mates even. She asked me questions and I answered the ones I could. I asked to leave when it was getting really dark and we soon found ourselves outside, beside her car.
“Yes?” she moved closer and kissed me.
“What was that for?” I enquired, “Let’s just call it a get well soon therapy” she answered. I pulled her closer and reciprocated the act; she was a very good kisser, her lips were softer than any lips I have ever kissed. The way she caressed my lips with her tongue made it difficult for me to stop.
“Good evening aunty mi” a voice snapped us out of our short Romeo and Juliet moment. We giggled and I turned around in an attempt to enter the car, then I heard,
“Ekaale o brother Kunle,” it was Morenikeji.
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Written by Femi Fragile (Twitter – @fragiletimbzz)