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“What exactly are you sorry for?” I asked Lizzy, staring at her, wishing that I could get the answer I wanted from her eyes. I wanted to hear her say that Funto was fine, that was all that mattered.
“How is my son? How is Funto?” I yelled at her, I had suddenly become aggressive. But the only response I got were heavy sobs with stammering echoes of “I. Am. So. Sorry.” I walked out of her sight and began to approach the OR with heavy strides and Lizzy ran after me. She overtook me, blocked my path and screamed at me to stop.
“What? Why? Where is my boy?” I stared at her; she must have felt it in her soul, the despair and torture I was experiencing within. She wiped her tears and took a deep breath, as if to prepare her for a task. She placed her hands on my shoulder and whispered to me to calm down. I could feel it, my whole body was vibrating and I could sense that whatever she was about to tell me wasn’t good. Sometimes, all it takes to taste the bitterness of a situation is a smell from a distance, but this was so close.
“Kunle, I am sorry. But we lost him. Funto is dead.” Lizzy tried to be professional as she broke the news but that didn’t stop tears from rolling down her cheek. We all pitched efforts into training and caring for him. For a moment I’m sure I felt life depart from my body. I was brought back to being by a heavy slap on my neck by Lizzy,
“Kunle don’t you dare collapse on me. Don’t you even dare!” Her desolate voice further sprung me to the miserable reality as I felt a sharp pain on my head. From the look of things I must have hit it on the wall while I fell. I was already on the floor. I wanted to cry, laugh, die or vanish, all at once. All the bottled emotions only made my heart race faster, with several questions racing through my mind, like a system that was being scanned for a virus.
How do I tell Mrs. Ogunmola that her grandchild is dead? What would Bade think of me? I remained on the floor, drowning in the guilt of how I have failed as a father and a friend. The suffering increased with a recall of the doctor’s report on Keji, she would never be able to bear her own child even if she managed to walk again. I cursed myself. I am just a dose of bad luck. Anyone or anything that comes across me dies, even me, I had died on several occasions when I was being molested by Presido. When I lost my mother and two siblings, and in that moment I was dying, or at least I thought dying was inevitable. The tears finally forced its way through and I found my voice. I blamed God for my misfortune.
“You call yourself God, yet you watch as all these troubles befall me. What am I to you? A pencil?” Lizzy tried to hush me and that was when I broke it to her that Keji might never walk again. She retreated as she sank into the floor. I heard her mutter, “God why?”
I remembered the prophesy by the prophet several months earlier and that further angered me. I staggered as I used the wall as my support while I stood up. Like a man who had nothing to live for. I was creating a scene but I had no presence of mind to care at all.
“There is no God!” My proclamation made me the center of attention. I continued. “The God you believe is a liar. He tells a man one thing and does another. He isn’t a man of his words. He told me Funto was my redemption yet He killed him. He killed my son!”
I spoke with so much aggression everyone stood at attention, even the security personnel approached with caution. Lizzy remained jumbled. I couldn’t care less.
“He lied to me. He told me Keji wasn’t my wife but my soul mate. He knows I am so much in love with her, so He took her womb and legs. God is not worthy, he isn’t a man of his words.” I roared. I was about to rumble away when a voice took me aback,
“But God is not a man that he would lie.” It was a boy of about seven years old whom his mother quickly ordered to shut up. It was too late; he had successfully distracted me from my outburst. I fought to comport myself and managed to say to him,
“Then why did he steal my redemption?” with a teary voice.
“Because He has a reason for everything He does,” he responded with so much courage. His mother didn’t hesitate to spank him while leading him away from my sight. “You talk too much,” she pulled him with his ears.
“Doctor Lizzy! Doctor Sandra wants you now!” A nurse rushed through, calling for Lizzy who just sat helplessly and speechlessly.
“The boy. He’s alive! Doctor Lizzy!” She shook consciousness into her still being. The last time I saw someone stand up with so much swiftness like Lizzy did was on WrestleMania, it was Undertaker who had come back from the dead. She ran along with the nurse and I chased after them. The security officer at the OR didn’t give me entrance, so I waited at the door.
God is not a man.
You can be sure that if you curse or accuse a man wrongly, it will take days for him to forgive and months to forget. But then and there I knelt down and prayed to God like I never doubted him,
“Please just spare his life and I’ll…” The nurse was back before I could finish my line.
“The doctor wants him in surgery” she told the security man. I followed her and we soon arrived at the OR to find Funto smiling, faintly.
“Your son is a fighter sir. He is doing okay. They were about to wheel his corpse to the mortuary when he sneezed, as reported by the nurse that sent for me.” Without paying absolute attention to what she was saying I walked towards Funto who held Lizzy’s left hand. Dr. Sandra continued anyway,
“He’s supposed to be under the influence of anesthesia, but the young man has been asking to see his father. I decided to let him see you before his transfer to UCH where I am confident he will be in competent hands too.” She looked at Lizzy who nodded in agreement.
I kissed Funto’s forehead and my biggest fear suddenly disappeared. He whispered to my conscience through my ears before I could withdraw my body to a standing position,
“God is not a man.” He slept off afterwards, soundly.
“How is my baby?” Keji asked about Funto. That was the first time she had spoken since the accident. She was unconscious for 48 hours and wasn’t aware that UCH was the second hospital she had been.
“He is doing well. He is recovering in the children’s ward. He should be discharged in two days.” I responded with so much life, I figured that could serve as a motivation for her recovery.
“Thank God.” She mumbled with a smile and asked if I had been feeding well.
“Yes” I winked at her.
She shook her head and called me liar. “You’ve grown thinner since I last saw you.” We managed to laugh and then she told me she couldn’t feel her legs. Telling her the truth about her discovery scared me. With a diplomatic effort I played it down,
“I am sure that’s temporary. You’d be fine dear.”
“Okay. Thanks love.” She expressed gratitude. “I know as long as I have you in my live I am in safe hands, right?”
“Yes” I declared.
“Kunle, I love you and all I want is to see you happy” she added.
“I feel the exact way about you. I will do all I can to make you the happiest girl ever,” I said in an effort to lift her spirit.
“Are you sure about that?” she asked with a bit of curiousity.
“Yes” I answered then drifted, “By the way your mum is on her way to Ibadan as we speak.”
“Yes. I didn’t want to bother her at first then I figured her presence will be good for your recovery. It was Lizzy who called her though. I am not sure what she told her was the diagnosis but I know she is on her way to receive her at the park.” I explained.
“Mrs. Ogunmola is also around. She is with Funto.”
“Good.” She sighed.
“I have to head out now so you can rest before your mum gets here. I haven’t been to the office in three days. I have to be there today, I’ll see you in the evening when returning. Of course you’d be in the company of Lizzy and mum by then.”
I pecked her on the cheek and said to her, “remain awesome.”
I couldn’t summon the courage to tell her about her womb and spinal cord. I exited the ward ashamed of my cowardice. I hoped that Lizzy would save me from the shame and break it to her before my arrival later in the day.
I walked into the presence of Keji’s mum, Keji, Lizzy, Mrs. Ogunmola, and a pastor. I could tell that he was a pastor from his collar and the bible he held to his chest. Keji was crying and her mother was encouraging her.
“Good evening ma” I greeted her mother then Mrs. Ogunmola. I gestured at the pastor and Lizzy before moving close to Keji.
“Good evening Kunle” Her mum and Mrs. Ogunmola responded at intervals.
“The doctor said I will never have my own child and might not be able to walk again. Kunle.” Keji said to me as tears and mucor confluence on her lips.
“Iro l’esu n pa – the devil is a liar,” her mother rejected her proclamation.
“I have a covenant with God that I will carry my grandchild and my God is not a man that he will fail.” Her faith was strong. Reality struck me on the chin and left my jaw ajar; her declaration reminded me that Keji was her only child. She didn’t stop there. She said to me,
“Kunle, I need the both of you to be strong. You will have your own child. I won’t stop praying but your faith also needs to be strong,”
“Yes my children,” Mrs. Ogunmola added her bit. Their assumptions about Keji and I scared me. Keji’s mum continued,
“The man of God was praying in the male ward when we arrived.” He pointed at the pastor. “I have invited him here to pray with us.”
“Let us join our hands as we pray” the pastor requested. The man of God prayed and when he was done, Keji showed appreciation,
“Thank you sir but there’s one more thing.”
“What is that my child?” The pastor replied.
“I want you to join Kunle and I in a holy matrimony before God and everyone present in this room right now.”
Everybody was surprised but I was shocked to my tongue I asked “What?”
“Didn’t you say you’ll do anything to make me happy?” She added, staring at me with the hope that I wouldn’t say no.
Everyone faced me for an answer I wasn’t willing to give. How can I tell her she was just my soul mate and nothing more?
Written by Femi Fragile (Twitter: @fragiletimbzz | IG: femifragile)