Shades Of Deceit Episode 13 (The End)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2014.
Yewande’s eyes strayed from her sleeping niece in the incubator to her elder sister on the bed.
They had so much in common as they lay still on their various beds, the slight heaving of their chest area, the only sign of life from mother and child.
The doctor had suggested that the baby be moved with the incubator from the nursery into the same room with her mother so the mother could draw emotional strength from the sight of her child when she finally regains consciousness.
Yewande had drawn a chair close to the bed, refusing to take a nap on the couch at the far end of the room like her brother in-law had urged her to, insisting she was fine sitting on the chair as she waited for that magical moment when her sister’s eyes would snap open.
She batted her very heavy eyelids as she struggled to keep them open, her head jerking forward as it threatened to fall off her shoulders as she dozed off on the chair. It was clear she was gradually losing the battle to stay awake but that was not the most difficult part of the night as having to repeat to her sisters and her parents that Laide was yet to wake up was becoming more difficult on every subsequent call as she could feel the anxiety in the voices of her family members especially her mother who had drawn a long worried sigh on the last call as she heard that her daughter was yet to come out of the induced coma.
Yewande could not believe that her sister whom she had spoken to just three hours ago could be lying so helplessly in front of her on the bed. She stared at her, not sure what to do to help, having done all that she could imagine to do; praying like she had never prayed before and pinching the back of her sister’s palm.
She wondered if all of this would have happened if she had taken Nike’s gift bag into the car instead of back inside the room like she had done.
‘This certainly would not have happened,’ she muttered painfully to herself. All of this was partly her fault.
Amaka stared at the ceiling tiles on top of her as she lay on the bed in her room. It was quiet, save for the frequent sniffing sound coming from Josh who had cried himself to sleep. It was usual of him to make those sniffing sounds after a crying bout even though she could not understand how a child would keep sniffing even while deep asleep.
‘Daddy said he was taking us to our real house,’ the boy had started as soon as the taxi stopped in front of the house.
She had bundled him out of the car, not ready to listen to his protestations as she paid the taxi-driver off, trudging into her apartment with a heavy heart.
There was no form of entreaty she had employed to appease the little boy that had worked as he had cried inconsolably insisting that he wanted to go to their real house.
Hearing him cry out daddy, gnawed at her heart so much, the tears began to roll down her cheeks.
How could she tell him that Chika had ceased to be his daddy?
How could she communicate to someone his age that this place was their only real house for now?
She clasped him closer to herself, making sure not to hurt his side that was under bandages as she drew him close.
Josh soon stopped crying as he stared at her wide-eyed. He was surprised to see her crying instead of consoling him that he began to wipe her face with his little hands. He slept off soon after, with his sniffing the only remainder that he had cried himself to sleep.
As pained as she was lying on the bed next to her son, she felt a queer sense of peace in the midst of her collapsing world, knowing that she had brought her present predicament upon herself. She had made her choices and now it was time to suffer the consequence.
Her fingers curled around her phone as she read through the text message again. The words stabbing at her heart as she could imagine the pain Chika was going through at the moment. She dialled his number again but listened as it rang out for the umpteenth time as he continued to ignore her call.
She was calling him to apologise for her actions and not to seek his forgiveness and reconciliation as she realized that it was too late to ask for that. This revelation definitely closed up any talk of reconciliation as she could not imagine any Nigerian man, talk less a proud Ibo man from Imo state who would accept to father a son conceived by a cheating wife. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Her thoughts shifted first to the pain this news would cause her mother who had done everything within her power to save her marriage and then to the irresponsible decision she had taken almost three years ago that was back now to both haunt and shape her present reality.
What would have been the story if she had only just ignored Bode’s valentine advances?
Amaka smiled painfully in the darkness, there was no saving this marriage now. She had built her home on deceitful foundations; it was time to watch it crumble like a pack of cards.
The phone vibrated endlessly on the cold marble floor like a baby seeking attention, but Chika ignored the call, staring past the phone like he had just seen the device for the first time in his life.
His mind was jaded as he circled his left hand around the bottle of whiskey sitting very close to him on the ground. For the first time in his life he was drinking himself to stupor.
He picked up the DNA result that lay next to his right hand and brought it up to his eyes. He saw the lines of the print as they joined together to form Josh’s face. The eyes, the lips, the little nose and those very small set of teeth.
He broke down in sobs as his body racked with pains he had never felt before in his life.
Why was life treating him so terribly?
What did he do to deserve such pain and heartbreak?
Fate had played a cruel trick on him, laughing spitefully in his face as it turned a homecoming that would have brought him so much happiness into a day of so much pain.
He raised the bottle to his mouth again and felt the hot liquid burn down his throat. With every gulp he took, he could feel a disconnection with reality. The only problem was that he was carrying with him the two people he was trying to run away from -Amaka and Josh.
He hit the back of his head against the chair he was resting his back on as he tried to exchange the scathing hurt he was feeling deep inside with physical pain.
It didn’t work.
He craved for the comfort of his bed to cuddle him to sleep but the thought of stepping into the room brought shudders to his spine. The deep red theme of the room reminding him more of blood than of romance and the scented candles bringing to his imagination, scenes that could have been, but will never again be.
He dragged his body to the ground, hugging the hard marble floor as he lay face down to accept the fate, life had thrust upon him.
And what if fate was playing a joke on him?
What if the DNA result was wrong?
What if Amaka had a good explanation to all of this?
He closed his eyes in sleep as the ‘what ifs’ continued to bubble around his mind. What if he could find the strength or become stupid enough to forgive his wife and get his family back, so they could live happily ever after?
What if in the morning after, he woke up to discover that all of this had just been a nightmare?
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 2014.
Mrs Remi Johnson woke up with a start, her heart beating furiously against her chest as her eyes snapped open into the darkness. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead as she came to the slow realisation that it had only been a nightmare.
She was scared but could not tell the reason why as she glanced sideways at her husband who was sleeping peacefully and thought it wise to let him be.
She groped around the bed for her phone, her eyes becoming accustomed to the darkness as she stepped down from the bed, dragging her wrapper to the ground as she exited the room, with her phone firmly within her grasp.
She tapped a side button on her phone to put on the back-light, scratching her cheek lightly with her fingers as she went through the motion of waking up.
It was 1:39 in the morning.
She dialled her daughter’s number but watched as the call dropped with the Network busy prompt displaying on the screen.
If there had been a change in the situation, Yewande would have called her, she thought to herself as she tapped on her phone to call her son in-law.
As she waited for the call to connect, she tried to remember what exactly had frightened her in the nightmare but she could not remember a single detail even though she was still trembling with fear from the experience.
‘Argh,’ she hissed irritated at the sight of another dropped call and just then her eyes caught the network signal strength on her phone. It read SOS.
She slumped on the dining chair closest to her, gazing at her phone helplessly, with her arms folded across her breasts. She knew no matter how much she tried, she would not be able to get across to anyone with her phone as long as the network signal remained as SOS.
She didn’t feel sleepy anymore as she worried about her daughter, Laide. Her heart bearing a heaviness that she had never experienced before as the tick tock sound from the wall clock added a creepy chill to the night.
Laide got up from the bed, her eyes taking in the view of the room in one glance.
She walked up to where Yewande was sleeping on the couch close to the wall and listened to the faint sound of her breathing, her eyes hovering over her sister with a deep sadness.
The baby in the incubator caught her attention as it shifted slightly in its sleep.
She smiled at the little girl who was a split image of herself as she slept peacefully, pursing her lips at that instant as if to give her mother a kiss.
She walked slowly away from the sleeping duo towards the door, her heart broken but peaceful as her thoughts rested on her husband.
The sight of him on top of Nike had literally stopped her heartbeat and broken the delicate organ into a thousand pieces.
A man she had given her life and her love to, a man whom she had so willingly covered his shortcomings before her family and who on this day some ten years ago had vowed to love and to cherish her.
She had forgiven him and Nike almost immediately and bore no regrets for loving her husband as much as she did.
If she didn’t love him so much, what then was the essence of marriage?
She rested on the doorjamb, her eyes casting a sad longing look at her younger sister who was still sleeping.
If only she had been more open to her family
The tear drop rolled down her cheek as the voice of Yewande re-echoed in her mind, your family is not the world Sister.
Your family is not the world Sister, Yewande muttered from sleep as her eyes opened up slowly, heavy with sleep. She pinched them softly with her thumb and forefinger, stretching her limbs as she sat up on the couch.
She had been talking in her sleep, something she could not remember having done before. She also could not remember sleeping on a couch in the hospital before so maybe that explained why she was sleep-talking.
Her eyes travelled to her sister lying on the bed and Laide looked just as peaceful as she was some few hours ago, before she had dozed off on the couch.
She checked the clock on her phone and it read 1:52, meaning she had only slept for two hours. Her tired limbs yearned for more sleep.
As she rested her head on the arm rest of the couch, her eyes caught a twinkle on her sister’s cheek as the light reflected from her face.
Yewande got up from the couch, dragging her legs to her sister’s bedside, curious to find out why there was a twinkle on her far cheek.
‘Ah!’ She gasped as she saw the ball of tear drop on her sister’s cheek. She touched it with her little finger and felt the wetness of the fresh tear sting her finger. ‘Sister,’ she called, fear gripping her body as she realised that something was different about the certain peace on her sister’s face.
The heaving of the chest had stopped.
‘Sister!’ She called louder, her eyes lighting up as her body became animated with confusion. ‘Doctor! Nurse!!’ She called out, her voice piercing the still quiet of the hospital.
She ran towards the reception of the hospital where she knew she would find some nurses and of course Uncle Michael.
‘What?’ A nurse asked as she bumped into the hurrying guest.
‘My sister, my sister,’ Yewande repeated tearfully as she dragged the nurse into the room towards Laide.
‘She’s alive? Say she’s alive,’ Yewande muttered like a mad woman as her teeth chattered and her hands trembled uncontrollably.
The nurse was quiet as she felt for Laide’s pulse, grabbing her by the wrist and taking a hard look at the body lying in front of her.
‘Say she’s alive!’ Yewande called out much louder as she grabbed the nurse by the arm.
‘Le..let me get the doctor,’ the nurse stuttered as she hurried away from the room.
‘Sister please … Sister please I beg you, I will put the bag in the car, I will not forget to take the bag into the room again, Sister please now, Sister I will not trouble you again. Sister wake up!’ Yewande rambled on as hot burning tears began to roll down her eyes.
She wiped her face with the back of her hand, her eyes fixed on the still body of her sister on the bed.
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If there was ever a time she could do with a miracle in her life, this definitely was that time.
Pastor Michael washed his hand in the wash hand basin and peered into the mirror trying to recognise the image of the stranger that was staring back at him. ‘Forgive me Lord,’ he muttered under his breath.
It was his tenth year wedding anniversary and here he was in a hospital waiting for his wife to wake up from a coma. A coma he had forced her into by his infidelity.
He tried to form words with which to appeal to her when she was strong enough to listen to him but for the first time in his life, he was speechless.
What words were there to say?
He cursed himself under his breath as he thought about the various times he had hurt his wife over the years, ‘Lord if this goes away, I’ll never be unfaithful in my life ever again,’ he groaned, pained at the condition he had put the love of his life.
He sighed loudly as the thoughts about how he had taken for granted her happiness, her love and most of all her loyalty streamed through his mind.
‘Why do we always hurt the ones we love?’ He asked himself quietly, scared so as not to let his words seep into the ears of the walls. ‘Why do we complicate our lives with shadows when the substance is standing right in front of us?’
He bit his lower lip in anguish, his mind set on his wife as he strolled out of the convenience, into the lobby leading into the reception area.
Sister No! Sister!!
The cry cut into his thoughts as he recognised Yewande’s voice. His heart sank into his belly as his legs became heavy.
‘Lord Jesus No,’ he breathed as he moved as quickly as he could to his wife. ‘She’s my life Lord Jesus, she’s my life…she’s my life…that woman is my life,’ he repeated to himself, his legs gathering pace as he drew closer to the screams.
Sister No! Sister you can’t go. Doctor Please…
He walked in through the door, his eyes on the bed where his wife lay just the way he had left her. ‘My good thing,’ he called to her as the tears rolled down his eyes, his body quaking as he felt her face with his hands. ‘My good thing,’ he called again, feeling the tugs from his sister in-law and hearing her cries but lost in his own world of pain.
He killed her, he finally killed her.
He took her for granted because he felt he was always going to get a second chance, but not this time, not when she’s dead.
He had everyday to show her how much she meant to him, how much he valued her, but he didn’t. And now she’s gone.
‘My good thing is gone,’ he muttered to himself, lost in his tears. ‘My good thing is gone,’ he repeated, feeling his strength leave him and his world crumbling.
If only he could turn back the hands of time. If only this was a movie, that he could pause, rewind and edit, or a story that he could scratch and re-tell, but this is life and it’s about the people you love, his life was about Laide and he never valued her. He can’t value her now, because she’s gone. You really don’t know what you’ve got -till it’s gone.