I’ve been in this hospital for two years now. At first, I hated my bed. I thought it was too narrow, but then I realized that I couldn’t turn over, at least not on my own anyway, so there wasn’t any real reason to have a wider bed. I’ve unwittingly eavesdropped on so many discussions, many I wish I could unhear; like when my wife Bisi told her friend that she wished I would just die and let her move on with her life or when my best friend Igo and Bisi discussed how their child whom I thought was mine was growing so big but doing badly in school. They blame me. They need me to die. To die so they can get married, so Tomiwa can do better in school, so mama’s hypertensive crises will become less frequent. What they don’t know is that apart from the fact that I can hear them most times is that I’d very much like to be dead too instead of being in this state where I need a catheter to drain my bladder.
When I met Bisi, it was love at first sight, a least for me. I wooed her like a man should. I called her as often as possible, visited her parents many times even though I was terrified of her father and I bought her whatever she asked. I thought I had hit the jackpot when she agreed to marry me six years ago. You see, she had been undemanding as a girlfriend, she rarely asked for anything, she wanted me to save my money and invest it and even though I protested many times, I felt incredibly lucky to have such a woman in my life. After we’d gotten married, she had changed, subtly. Demanded more, wanted more, liked more expensive things and of course… I paid. I loved her, I still love her, as pathetic as that sounds. One of the things that hurts me the most is that I don’t know what I ever did wrong. Why did she lie to me, cheat on me with another man who is my best friend or at least I thought was my best friend. I pray everyday that God lets me wake up or at worse gives me a few minutes of consciousness not just to stretch my legs or to thank nurse Titi who turns me over every two days but to ask them why.
Two years ago today, I was in a ghastly accident. I had a few hours of consciousness afterwards but I was in too much pain to appreciate it. I had fractured three bones in my neck and sustained serious head trauma. I still remember Bisi’s face when she came to the hospital and I thought it odd that Igo had driven her there. Wasn’t he supposed to be in Abuja? Anyway, Bisi had been crying and begging the doctors to save me and I remember my heart feeling like it would break into a thousand pieces. I had wanted to be saved so I could watch my son grow up and take care of my wife and of my mother. I heard the doctor tell her he would ‘do his best’. His best had apparently not been enough because there I was, stuck in a narrow bed, hooked up to machines one of which was breathing for me. At first I thought I would be up and running in a few hours, I mean after all I could hear them, but then three months passed and the doctor said that while I did have a little brain activity, he wasn’t sure if I’d wake up or what I’d be like after I’d woken up. So, I just listened and I’ve been listening and I’m honestly so tired of hearing. You don’t know how sad it is to want to wipe the tears off your child’s face or tell him everything is going to be okay or to want to hold your mother who is really the only person who ever cared about you.
I know you’re wondering, but my accident was really just that- an accident. From everything I’ve heard, they -Bisi and her lover- had no hand in it. I really wonder when their affair started. Was it after I’d introduced them three months after we’d started dating? Or had they known each other before I met her? What would they have done if I hadn’t had this accident? How long would they have kept up this deception? I truly believe trying to figure all these things out is the brain activity the doctors can see.
I think Igo just walked into my room. He sighs.
“Man, I’m really sorry. I’m not sure you can hear anything, but I’d just like you to know that you really were a good friend to me and I’m sorry, but I really like Bisi… and you’re in our way.”
Well, would you look at that! How ballsy! If only I could move anything, a finger, a nostril, an eyelash.
I’m not really surprised to hear him disconnecting my ventilator. And although I’m terribly hurt that someone who has been my friend for so long it almost feels like forever could actually do this. I could ponder the callousness of man, but I am rather tired. You know that bright light people talk about walking into, I don’t see it. I try not to think of my mother or my son or even Bisi right now. I’d like to go in pea…
And then blackness interrupts.