We are sitted in the hospital reception with Uche on my laps and Ola by my side. My heart is heavy and I can’t breath. Uche is still sobbing and he is holding me so tight, I have to be strong for him.
“Is dad going to be okay?” He says
“Yes he will be” I say assuringly.
The nurses and the doctor haven’t said anything, we have been waiting for the past three hours.
I want to wake up from this dream so bad…
Ola holds my hand “he is gonna be fine Becca”
The Doctor walks up to us
“Becca?” He says, Uche stands immediately I join him
“We have been able to stabilize him”
“Is he gonna be fine?” I say
“Hopefully” the doctor replies
He smiles at Uche hopefully. Uche doesn’t return his smile
“Will my father live?” He says
“Let’s hope for the best” The doctor replies
“Stop using Doctor’s voice for me” Uche replies rudely
I place my hand on Uche and he apologizes immediately
“I’m sorry” he says
“I understand” The doctor say
“Can we see him?” I ask
“He is in a coma but sure why not” d doctor replies “He can hear you, so please try as much possible to be happy” he says
“What is Coma?” Uche asks
“Deep sleep” I reply before the doctor can
“Thank you Doctor”
He nods, he calls the nurse and ask her to take us to Che’s room
She obliges and we all follow her.
“You guys should go I will wait for you here” Ola says
I nod at him, I open the door and I enter with Uche still holding my hand
“Dad” Uche runs to his side of d bed, taking Che’s hand
“Doctor said you are in a deep sleep but you can hear me, I am so scared and I know Aunt Becca is too, we don’t want you to die, please wake up from sleep” he says as he starts to sob
“Uche” I walk up to him and hug him tight. I can’t imagine what he is going through, his only stable parent is fighting death and he has to watch, he must be torn right now. I rock him gently, feeling his pain and not mine.
“Let’s tell Dad everything we did during this past nine days” he says into my ear
“Sure” I reply. Che knows everything we have done this past week, we have spoken to him everyday but if that’s what makes Uche happy.
I sit down on the only available seat and put Uche on my laps he starts to recount everything to Che.
“He is my son, I have a right to see him”
Uche stops midway in his sentence “That’s my Gradma” he says
Uche stands up and opens the door
“Uche!!!” She screams as she hugs him
“Ma’am” I stand up and walk up to them
“You” she says, she takes her eyes off me and it settles on her son
“Che” she cries as she walks to his bedside
“I am so sorry” she is saying as the tears are flowing freely
“Sorry, why is she sorry? I think
“Grandma is not your fault, Dad doesn’t blame you” Uche says
“Oh yes it is” she is crying more freely now
“Ma’am is not your fault” I say
“Oh yes it is, I put my son in this state because of my unforgiving spirit” she says, she pauses before she continues
“I was on phone with him when he had the accident”
“You were on what?” I say
I know Che hasn’t been talking to his mother for the past two weeks or so
“I used his father’s phone to call him, I didn’t know he was driving, I dropped a bombshell on him” she says.
I walk up to her and take her hand and help her to the only available seat, I walk to the door, opening it, I beckon on Ola who has been outside all through
“Ola pls let Uche stay with you for a while” I say
“No problem” he glances at Che’s mother and looks at me
“Don’t worry I got this” I turn to Uche
“Uche go with Ola”
“But I want to stay here with Dad and you” he says
“Okay fine” he stomps out. I send a pleading look at Ola, he smiles at me assuringly i lock the door.
Turning back to Che’s mum
“Where is Chief?” I ask
“He is with the Doctor” she answers, she looks so downcast, I can’t help but pity her
“He is going to be fine” I say “Che is a very strong person”
“Hmmmmm” she muttered, still sobbing uncontrollably
“Want to talk about it?” I ask
She doesn’t answer for a while before she says
“I left the UK when I was eighteen after I lost both my parents to cancer with some money in my hand I came to start my life here,I got into the university and that’s when I met Che’s father” her voice breaks from tears
“Che’s father was a poor bricklayer who used to work at a site close to where I stayed and one day we got talking, I found out he was educated but couldn’t go to the university because of poverty, I took interest in him even though I was barely twenty and I started to pay for his education from the money I had, I dropped out of school so he will continue because the money I had wasnt enough for two, he promised that when he was done and he gets a good job I will continue.I agreed because I was in love with him. He graduated from school, and true to his words he got a good job, I got pregnant so he said after I had the baby I was gonna start schooling. I agreed, one day I went shopping for babies things I was five months gone, I came back and the gate was locked, he left a letter with the security man telling me he had travelled for greener pastures and he is sorry, he can’t marry me.He left just like that leaving me with only the clothes on my back. I was mad for months, I sat down in front of the gate hoping that one day he will come back. One of those days when I was there was when I met Chief he was driving to his site when he saw me sitting dere with eight months pregnant skinny and battered by the sun and harsh weather. He took me in as a favour and I had Che, he fell in love with me and gave Che his name and married me“.
I am just standing, I didn’t realise I was crying, there are so many evil people in this world, how can you do that to a woman who did so much for you, I am crying for her, I am crying for so many other women out there who because of a past have turned out to be this evil and then I remember the idiom of my grandmother “there is always a reason why a dog barks” I finally gather the courage to move towards her, I sit on the floor by her side and place my head on her laps she doesn’t reject me as we both weep .
Ola has taken Uche home after much arguments and me insisting.
And Che’s mum has gone home with Chief to cook for Uche and I. My respect for Chief has just skyrocketed, only a strong man will do what he has done for Che and his mum.
I know Che has a younger sister but she is based abroad, I have only actually seen her once.
Che is still lying down helplessly and every time I look at him I feel like a part of my heart is being ripped out.
There is a knock at the door
Eni enters with Pharez following right behind
“Baby” she says. I rush into her hands for a hug
“I am so sorry, I just heard, trying your number you weren’t weren’t picking, I had to call Ola he told me everything”
I nod understanding, the tears can’t come again, I feel empty
“Hello Pharez” I say to him
He doesn’t answer me but instead hugs me
“I can imagine what you are going through” he says
This opens the floodgate again don’t you just hate it when people say they can imagine when you know they possibly can’t imagine.
Who can imagine that about two weeks ago I was d happiest woman alive, and suddenly my heart is lying down there on a life support because of an accident that would never have happened if not because of me.
“Ssssssh” Pharez is saying as he gently rubs my head as I sob uncontrollably on his shirt
I calm down after some minutes and raise up my head to meet his sorry eyes
“Everything is going to be okay” he assures
I smile at him before turning back to Eni
“Have you eaten?” She says
“Nope but Che’s mum has gone to bring food”
She raises her eyes questionly “Long story” I mouth at her
“Anyway we bought burger on our way here” Pharez says
Eni hands over a nylon to me I didn’t even realise she was holding anything
“Thank you” as I settle down to devour the burger.
Uche and I are driving in silence back to the hospital, he is still pissed at me for having Ola take him home and i swear i am too tired/weak to talk rather so i appreciate the silence. My phone has been ringing non stop, different callers and sympathizers, my Che is very popular. I am trying to park at the hospital’s car park when Uche says
“Uncle Ben is here”
Ben is Che’s cousin and like a brother to him they are really close and they act and behave like twins
“How do you know?” I ask
He points at a G-wagon parked at the car park. I nod understanding.
We come down from the car and walk into the hospital hand in hand, the heart of a child tho,
I stop in my tracks in the hospital reception. Ben is holding Che’s mother as she is crying and throwing herself constantly on the floor, Ben is crying too, Chief is seated with his head in his hands.
“No!!! No!!!!!! No!!!!!!” I faint
That was just a dream, Che is not dead he can’t be, I am in his arms right now. My mind is awake but I can’t open my eyes to this cruel world. How can this happen to me? Why do bad things happen to good people.
“Becca are you awake?” I recognize the voice. It is Eni. I want Che but Che is dead. Nah, more tears are flowing freely, I can’t live in this world without him. I refused to open my eyes. Someone raises my head and places my head on their laps, I take in the body smell, My mum! What’s she doing here?
She starts to pat my hair as she starts to talk to me. I am crying more but I still refused to open my eyes. No way I can live in this world without Che. No way I want to die.
My mum starts to sing for me the last thing I can hear as i fall asleep again is her soothing calming voice.
Someone is talking to me
“Becca I know you can hear me, this is Debbie and we can’t honestly lose you too, Che is gone but so many other people who love you are still here, Mum, I, Uche, your friends, we can’t mourn two losses. Che will want you in this world. You were his legacy, I know you can hear me, please wake up back to this world. We all need u.” She squeezes my hand nd I squeeze hers back, I cough before I open my eyes.
Debbie’s adoring face is staring into my eyes. I smile weakly
“Where is Uche?” I ask
“Ben took him home, you had everyone worried Becca” she says
“When did you get here?” I ask
“This morning” she answers
“I need water” she rushes to get me a cup of water helping me up, she assists me as i drink it all in one gulp
“Mum?” I ask
“She just left, I had to kick her, Eni and Des out of here they were all stinking” she says wrinkling her nose
I laugh at her expression, and then it suddenly hits me again. Che is no longer in this world.
“Nope no more tears. I’m sure even Che is sick of it in heaven, we are gonna be happy” Debbie says
I smile at her weakly
“I want to sleep”
“Nope, none of that too” she says
“I have sent Eni a message she is on her way with Pizza and ice-cream” she says
“Che might have died so young but he lived a fufilled life, so we are gonna celebrate his life” She says
“You are going to gist me abt every good time you guys had together while i listen as we await Eni’s arrival”
I smile again as i start to recount my life with Che to the listening ears of Debbie.
I am back home and Debbie has gone back to school but mum is with me and Eni and Des take turns on their visit even Pharez, Ola as usual has been very supportive and right now I’m doing what Debbie said I’m remembering the good times. They are so many, they keep flooding my memories and making me smile. Che’s mother has been here everyday too, I have forgiven her but i don’t think she has forgiven herself, but that’s hers to settle. Tomorrow is Che’s burial and I still don’t know what to wear.
Someone knocks on the door
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it” my mum says as I try to stand up
“Thank you mum” she opens the door and says “Come in” I turn to see who is that, it is Ben and Uche, Uche is running to me as I pick him up.
“My baby” I’m hugging him so tight I might just be squeezing the life out of him
“Aunt Becca I have missed you, I’m sorry I haven’t seen you since all, I wanted to do was cry these past few days but Uncle Ben told me it makes Dad sad in heaven so now I have decided to stop crying and be happy so Dad will be happy too” he says
“Don’t worry I understand baby” releasing him I take his face into my hand and kiss him full on his mouth
“Yuck Yuck” he says jokingly i laugh
I stand up and turn to Ben
“Becca” he opens his arm and I walk into it
“Thank you” I say after some minutes
He hands me a shopping bag and says “Uche got you this”
I turn to Uche and he shrugs sending me a dimpled grin.
Opening the shopping bag i bring out a beautiful black dress
“Uche you shouldn’t have” i say
“Nah, Dad would have wanted us to look really good” he says
“I got myself a black tuxedo too” I can’t help but laugh
“He insists on spending the night with you Becca” Ben says
“I would love to have him over” i reply.
“So it is settled Uncle Ben” Uche says
“Becca there is something I do like to show you two” Ben says
“What is it?” I reply
He hands me a CD, collecting it I walk to the CD player and put it in
Che’s voice fills the room, he is so handsome
“That’s Dad” Uche says
“Sssssh” he goes silent as we listen in rapt attention
Che: “This is just a silly bet from Ben.We are making this video for two special people in our life or maybe three or four” he laughs
“He says we never know when death will call” I glance at Ben and he looks away quickly
“Uche my beloved son the apple of my eyes, I was so young when I had you but everyday I have no regrets, my love for you is beyond deep, you are my world, my continuation from where I stop, I love you so much words can’t explain I know you will grow up to be a perfect gentleman and everyday I pray I’m there to watch it happens but if I’m not know I’m here” Che touches his chest as Uche does the same “I love you Uchenna Evans and I’m forever proud to be your father”
“Becca……oh Becca he starts. My lover, my best friend my baby. I hope by the time you are watching this you are a grandma but if death decides to come early i hope you are my wife. I love you baby, you and Uche mean the world to me, my life is complete with you two. I don’t have regrets and you shouldn’t too. If you are watching this before Uche is eighteen please let Ben have him. Make your own life, make Che happy by living your own life, I love you forever and always.”
Uche joins me on the couch as we cuddle and sob together
After some minutes I clean his tears and mine.
Ben: You guys were his everything.
Me: When did that video happen?
Ben: Three months ago
Me: Thank you Ben
Ben: I will see you all tomorrow Bye Uche
He says before leaving.
Me: No more tears Uche. Remember we have to be happy for Che
Uche wiping his tears: I tot u were gonna be my new mum”
Me: Uche you are as mine as u were Che’s
I love you, you will always be my son
Uche: Are you sure?
Me: Yes baby
I kiss him full on the mouth again
Me: What do you wanna do?
Uche: I want you to try on the clothes i want to see how it looks like on you
Me: Anything for my superman i say as i pick up the cloth.
I can’t sleep, I have rolled from the left to the right of my bed more than 1000x
Che is gonna be put into the ground and in as much I am putting on a strong show it still doesn’t feel right. I am playing with his engagement band I have refused to take it off as I continue to count the ceiling. There is a slight knock on my door
“Aunt Becca are you awake” the childish voice says
I stand up and open the door it is Uche and it is so obvious he hasn’t slept a wink
“Can’t sleep?” I ask
Me: Come in
He enters and climbs my bed
Me: Are u scared?
Me : As I am too
Uche: Can i sleep here?
Uche: Can we cuddle?
Me: Of course
We lie down in a spoon cuddle
Uche: We love you Che he says like Che was right there
Yeah he is right there he is in our heart.
“Becca!!! Becca Becca”
I open my eyes to see Ola, he is worried. I must have fallen asleep while I was remembering
“Ola what are you doing here?” I ask
“I let myself in, you didnt even know thats very unusual”
I look at the table and it has bottles of wine and two glasses
“I know what today is and I came to celebrate it with you”
He opens a bottle and the glasses helping me up, he hands me one.
“To Che and a life well lived. ”
We clink glasses…
To be continued……………………
(photo credit: http://www.ktla.com)