Your first text came on a Tuesday morning. It read, “Nko Pandya Hospital admitted”. This was followed by two pics sent by you to show the serious condition you were in. I was taken aback. Whatever happened to you was grotesque. This type of shcok was way worse than a pregnancy scare. It didn’t come with any formalities nor a disclaimer. I was in a trance for about five minutes before I texted back. I was absorbing the impact. Plenty of questions ran through my mind like Lewis Hamilton cruising on the Nurburging looking forward to set up a new record time.
I remember asking if it was a case of domestic case violence, or if someone decided to be an arsonist for your case. Shit didn’t add up to be honest. I was having breakfast at that time. All the psyche got lost. I never added another cup of coffee. Instead I took a double tot of whiskey at 0830 hours. I wondered who burnt up your pretty face and arm. Who could do such a thing. Then you replied that it was none of the above. Still I didn’t buy the story, nor do I now. I just went with the flow at that time for the sake of sanity and peace.
And for the first time I saw without my eyes. To understand the pain you were going through. It was the first time in very many years I’d be stepping into a hospital ward. The last time I did was when pops was alive. Ever since then I have never liked hospitals. I loathe them with a passion. It’s one of the only places where the walls hear more genuine prayers than the walls of a church. Mother was the one who visited you first. I just couldn’t do it that day. I remember asking the directions and I sent her instead. She found you all tucked up in a cosy semi-private ward. Your face was all bandaged up. Eyes swollen and sunken. The burn marks were evident. A deep silence followed. Your mother was tired, hurt, full of pain seeing you in that state.
I did not call. I said I wouldn’t want to hear you in your lowest point. I was used to your cheerful voice whenever we spoke. It didn’t matter after how long. What mattered was that we always had each other’s back. We looked after each other and brought each other in check. When mother came back home evening she said you had been into the theatre and your condition was out of danger but you weren’t looking so good. She spoke to herself. I could catch moments of it.
On Wednesday morning I fumbled a lot with my bike keys. I couldn’t just manage. I couldn’t lift my feet off the ground. How odd of me who looked forward to riding onto the open roads every chance I got. I took a jav instead. My soul wasn’t at peace. I prayed to God that he could deliver you out of whatever misery you were in. I’m not religious, though I had faith. I was least bothered by the traffic jams. My mind wandered pretty much. It was unsettled and uncomfortable. When I reached the hospital I had no clue of the direction of the room you were in. A compass without direction. I hated how the white walls greeted me. As I climbed the stairs, there was white noise which was awful eerie.
The feeling was boundless when I saw you. I didn’t want to meet you this year in such a state. I still believe we would have met under better circumstances. I built walls around me. Walls that prevented me from seeing you in the state you were in. Sigh, it was hard maintaining eye contact with you. I was used to the bubbly you. When you told me that a highly flammable canister exploded when you were burning trash outside your compound, I was beyond words. How do wonders ever cease Abba Father, why did it have to be her?
It was fascinating how you gave yourself hope. You radiated that smile, the smile I was used to when we were kids back then. It was one of the lowest points this year. Seeing you sleep within that bed of unhappiness, like Hephaestion, who died Alexander’s lover. The river bed had dried up when everyone felt the sympathy. We didn’t want another Agnes. We knew we wouldn’t find another like you. I didn’t stay long when I came along. After I left, fief took the better part of me, heart running like a plover, wondering how you’re prone to misery. Your sunken eyes reminded me of how much sorrow you’d take.
Holding your hand it gave me hope, it made realize that this life had no formula at all. And that the river of unhappiness and self loathe came from with-in one self. Today I passed by again. You were cheerful and jovial. I stayed around and ensured that you ate. Of course I wouldn’t take any tantrums from you. I stayed longer than I had anticipated. I remember you asking me if I came with the bike. You made me promise you that once you were well and out of hospital that I’d let you have fun with the bike. You’ve always had a thing for two wheelies. I’m clumsy at keeping promises. But we’d happen once you all healed up. That would be a couple of months. Get yourself a helmet too.
I came out with more laughter and peace. It’s nice knowing that you have people who genuinely care for you.
Agnes, Ganbatte (Good Luck).
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