Torn


He missed his family. His wife, his two sons and his baby girl. Not being able to see them in the last five years had felt like hell. It still felt like hell. He missed his wife so much. Marrying her was the best decision of his life. She was everything he needed her to be. Everything he needed and then some. He missed her cooking. Damn, she could cook. If the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach then his heart was in Grace’s right hand.

He missed his sons, David and Daniel. The last time he saw them, David was 11 and Daniel was 9. Now they were almost men. He missed his baby girl, Rachael. The last time he saw her she was 7 months old. Now she would be walking and talking. He had missed so much of her life. Tears trickled down his cheeks as he clutched the picture from five years ago when Rachael was born.

His only mistake, was being a good Samaritan in the wrong place and at the wrong time. He still remembered her face. How could he forget. He dreamt about her every other night. He had tried to save her life. That was his mistake.
*************************

The gate of his cell opened. It was time. Two guards came for him. One of them cuffed him and they led him down the hall. The other inmates yelled. Hurling insults at the guards and cheering him on. He smiled sadly. As sickening as it was, he was going to miss this place. He had made friends and it had even broken his heart when his cellmate died.

This felt like the longest walk of his life.

They finally got to a room. As he entered he saw some familiar faces. The Director of Public Prosecutions, the man that had put him there; The Public Defender, the man that had done a shabby job at defending him. He couldn’t blame him. His salary didn’t require more than a shabby job. Thinking about it, it required less; The Sergeant who had testified against him; the Prison Warden and a Priest. How awesome. He was surrounded by his “loved ones”. The Priest asked him to close his eyes for the last prayer.

He closed his eyes as the memory of that night played itself again:

His car had refused to start that morning. He was already running late. Grace had to use her’s to drop the boys off at school. He opted to take a bus. He hurriedly kissed everyone goodbye and dashed out of the house. He made it to work in time and had a pretty long day. Work closed far later than usual.

He went to the staff car park thinking he had parked his car there in the morning. He remembered he hadn’t. He had to take a bus back but the thing was getting a bus to work from home was easier than getting one back. He had to walk.

It was dark. Sometime around 11pm. He knew some shortcuts and decided to take them. As he turned into a small street, he saw a man walk hurriedly in the opposite direction. He saw his face. He could see the fat scar across his right cheek as the dim street light shone on his face. His eyes were ice cold. On any other day, the look the man gave him would have scared him but it didn’t, he just wanted to get home. As he walked on, he saw something covered on the ground.

It looked like a person.

It was breathing. They were slow, ragged breaths but it was breathing. He moved closer. He removed the covering. It was a girl. She had been stabbed all over and badly beaten. There was blood everywhere. It crossed his mind to walk away, very fast. Then he thought, this was a human being. What if it was Grace that was lying on the ground and a stranger decided to walk away instead of helping her? He had to help her. He couldn’t just walk away. He lightly tapped her shoulder but she didn’t move. He put his fingers on the side of her neck to feel her pulse. It had stopped. He could’ve sworn that she was breathing seconds ago.

He had to do something.

He placed his left palm on her chest and place his right palm over it and counted to three then he pressed hard. He repeated this three times and gave her CPR but nothing happened. He tried three more times and gave her CPR again and then felt her pulse. It was beating again but it was slow. He heaved a sigh of relief. She was alive. He remembered that there was a hospital three streets away. The least he could do was drop her off there. He wanted to call Grace to let her know what was going on & where he was so that she wouldn’t be worried. His hands were covered in blood so he reached for his handkerchief in his pocket and used it to remove his phone from his bag.

Just as he was about dialing her number lights shone on his face and someone yelled “Hey!” He squinted as the light affected his vision but he made out two figures, most likely men.

Good evening.” He said. “This girl needs help. We need to get her to a hospital.”

They were two men holding torch lights. The directed the lights the floor where he was kneeling and saw the girl.

“Drop the phone!” The first man yelled.

“Wetin be dis?”

“Aaah!” The second man yelled. “O ti payan!”

Jonathan was ibo but he understood a little yoruba and he could understand what the second man had just said. “No! I didn’t kill anybody. She’s not even dead. She needs help. We need to get her to the hospital on Banijo Crescent now!”

“Gbe nu e soun!” The first man retorted.

“You think say we no sabi see! See as blood full your hand and your body, you come dey talk hospital.”

Jonathan was stunned. This couldn’t be happening. If this continued, this girl would die. “Look, she needs help! We have to get her to a hospital!”

Something caught the second man’s eye. He shone his torch on the ground beside where Jonathan was kneeling. It was a knife. There was blood on it. “Aha! Afeez see wetin him use!” He said, drawing the other man’s attention to the knife.

“Aaaah!” Afeez yelled. “Wo Mr man, you are finished today.” He turned to his friend, “Sule call Rafiu and Yusuf make them dey come now now.” Sule brought out his phone and did as he was instructed.

Jonathan was shocked. “Who the hell are you people? Who are Rafiu and Yusuf? There’s a girl here who’s life is hanging in the balance and you’re calling your friends?! Does this look like a show?”

“Shut up your mouth!” Afeez said. “Na who talk say you fit talk? Na we be the vigilante for this area. We dey patrol for here every night. E don tey wey we catch person. Your own don baje today.”

Jonathan couldn’t believe his ears. In minutes he had been pinned to the ground by Afeez and Sule. Rafiu and Yusuf arrived in a pick-up truck. When they came out, he noticed a scar on Yusuf’s face. He remembered the face of the man that had passed by him when he had turned into this street. It was Yusuf! He struggled to free himself for Afeez and Sule but he couldn’t. They dragged him up and he watched Rafiu wrap the girl’s body in a cloth. He then carried her and dropped her at the back of the truck. Then Yusuf walked up to him and all he could remember was his fist meeting his head before everything went black.

Things happened so fast. The vigilantes handed him over to the police the next day. He was tortured and interrogated. He was told that the girl had died and all evidence pointed to him. He denied ever knowing the girl or stabbing her and insisted that all he did was find a badly injured girl on the road and try to help her. The officers who interrogated him refused to accept this. In months, his trial began and he was charged with the murder of Bisola Abdul.

He found out her name on the day of his trial.

All this time, Grace had been coming to see him during his detention as he was denied bail. She couldn’t believe what was happening. She was running out of excuses to give to the boys when they asked why Daddy wasn’t home yet. Rachael couldn’t speak as she was only a baby but she could tell that she missed her father. Grace was confused and heart-broken. Her visits were usually cut short by the prison wardens but he could tell that a part of her was angry with him for stopping to help that girl. She might not say it but he knew. If only he had walked past the body he wouldn’t be were he was today. He was angry at himself. It all turned out to be worthless as the girl had eventually died. He was here and Yusuf was out there enjoying his life. He didn’t deserve this.
***********************

His trial was horrible. Grace had stopped coming to see him. She said she couldn’t do it to herself and to their family. He couldn’t appoint a lawyer because he couldn’t reach Grace and there was no one he could call. He had been completely cut off by everybody when the news came out that he had been arrested in connection to a murder. He wasn’t surprised as he usually kept to himself. Besides his family, the only friend he had was his elder brother but he had died a year ago having lost a long battle with lung cancer.

He was given a public defender who did wonderfully well at doing a horrible job. The man all but properly defended him. During the trial he was told that the girl had been pregnant at the time of her death. Then the prosecution fabricated their story. Five witnesses he had never seen in his life, testified to the existence of an affair between him and the deceased. The story was therefore that he had killed her on finding out that she was pregnant as she had threatened to go to his wife. Everything played out like a movie to him. He couldn’t believe it. It happpened so fast. Before he knew it, he was sentenced to death by hanging.

Grace had sent him the picture with a letter. She said she told the boys that he had died. She couldn’t have them know about what was happening. She told him that she had read about the affair and pregnancy in the papers that witnesses had testified to. She didn’t know what to believe but she didn’t have the emotional resolve to continue with the drama.

She was done.

She told him that she loved him and she would keep praying for him. The boys were dealing with the loss of their father but she told him that they loved him dearly. That letter broke his heart. That’s when he decided not to appeal. He was done. The last five years of his life had been horrible. Being on death row had been sickening but it was all coming to an end today.

He heard the Priest bring the prayer to a close as he came back to reality, “…in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” He was led to the top of the table and he climbed it. Then the rope hanging from the ceiling was put around his neck. He thought of Grace and his kids. He thought about the night before that fateful day. He had offered to bathe Rachael. He remembered her toothless smile and meaningless babble. He didn’t know what she was saying but she just went on and on and it sounded like music in his ears. He dressed her and she quickly fell asleep.

He then settled a quarrel between David and Daniel. Someone had hit the other and it was over the remote. He spoke to them about love and being brothers and how fights never solved anything then he made them apologize to each other and sent them to bed. He felt them slowly drag the table from underneath his feet. Then he thought of Grace. Her eyes, her face and their wedding night. He felt her lips touch his as he started to choke and then……

It all went black.

***************************************

David


David.

Not the one in the bible that stoned and killed the arrogant philistine.

Her David. He was coming home. She smiled.

It had been twelve months. Twelve long, cold, hard, lonely, sad months. She had missed him so much. So damn much. Thinking about how much she had missed him made her feel a kind of pain that was indescribable. Thankfully it was over now. Her David was coming home. She could smile again.

She had been planning his return ever since he called her two weeks ago to confirm that he was finally coming home. He was a Captain in the Nigerian Army and had been serving in a year long peace-keeping mission for the UN in Libya. He was her “Hero”.

Thoughts of him in his military uniform with shiny brass buttons made her so proud. Tonight her Captain was coming home. She loved the sound of that. Her Captain.

She giggled to herself as she stirred the stew she was cooking. She was cooking white rice with stew and plantain. His best meal. Most men loved starchy foods with complicated soups but her David loved rice and never got bored of eating it. He had complained about never getting to eat rice the way he liked it while he was in Libya. Tonight he was going to taste rice again. Better than the way he liked it.

Fourteen months and twelve days ago she had walked down the aisle and said “I do” to the one man she loved more than life. Her David. He was everything she could ever dream of. Everything she had ever hoped for. He was funny. Scratch that, hilarious. He could make the sickest joke out of the most mundane of things. He was nice. Genuinely nice. If David had 1000 naira, he could give out 999 of it and not mind having just 1 naira left. She hated that about him cause it made some of his friends and family take advantage of him but that was David. Take it or leave it. He was such a happy person. There was hardly anything anyone could do or say to dampen his mood. Not that he didn’t have his off days or never frowned but his moods changed because he let them. Never because someone said or did something. He was responsible. So responsible it irked her. He hardly ever left anything undone and when he did, he always had a good reason. He was understanding. So understanding he made excuses for everyone. No matter how obvious the person’s foolishness or stupidity was, David had an explanation that could make you think differently. He made excuses for everyone and everything including their golden retriever, Willy. As if he heard his name in her head, he barked in agreement. She smiled as she turned off the gas as the rice was ready and poured cooking oil in a frying pan to fry the plantain.When she met David two years ago she knew that there was something different about him. Something she wanted to become a permanent part of her life. Something she couldn’t let go of and so she held onto him. Tight. A good number of girls were interested in him and they had good reason. He was 6’5, light-skinned and had a strong-build. He was good-looking too. He had the most amazing smile and funny-looking ears. He said he had been teased about his ears in nursery and primary school but as he grew taller in secondary school, his mates got bored of laughing at his ears. She didn’t care. She loved his ears. His funny-looking ears. She loved every inch of him.

She was done frying the plantain. In fact she was done cooking. She looked at the kitchen clock. It was 7pm. His plane was due to land in thirty minutes and because they didn’t have to go through any hassles whatsoever at the airport being Nigerian soldiers, it would take the Army Bus an hour to drop him off at their home. Good. She had one hour and thirty minutes to get ready to welcome the love of her life. Butterflies fluttered in her tummy. It felt like they were dating again. She hurriedly set the table and proceeded to the bathroom to take a shower. During the past twelve months, she had looked forward to his letters, phone calls, texts, emails and video calls. They were all she had to hold on to. He was allowed to call home once in every two months and send a letter every four weeks but he never used all of his allocated slots as he instead focused on his work and explained how being able to discipline himself and not call home too often stood him a better chance of top ratings and promotions.

He didn’t come home. Not that the Army wouldn’t let him but the only time he was scheduled to have a leave for three weeks, he had an accident in the army truck he was given to drive. It took him four weeks to be restored back to good health. She had never been more scared in her entire life. It had taken him four weeks to fully recuperate. That was one week longer than his scheduled leave. They refused to let him come home for another leave. Stupid army policies. Not that it mattered now. He was coming home today.

She got out of the bathroom and started dressing up. She had gone shopping the week before with her friend Tomisin. Tomi’s husband had been deployed to Liberia two years ago and so she understood what it was like to be an “Army Wife”. Her husband was back home now but Tomi offered to help her “prep” in every possible way for David’s return. They shopped for everything. Foodstuff, home decor to jazz up the house, clothes that hugged her in the right places, shoes that were perfect for any and every occasion, lingerie, scented body oils, body lotions, perfumes and so on. Tomi even helped her pick what she called “the perfect outfit” from the underwear to the dress itself. She wasn’t going to wear it though. Tomi could go a bit overboard sometimes. A leopard print dress and red stilletos weren’t exactly David’s taste. She decided instead to wear a short black dress. It was simple but hugged her contours perfectly and she knew David would appreciate it. She wasn’t going to wear shoes. It was afterall their home and David loved her feet. She wore red lipstick and brushed her long weave then she sprayed some perfume on her neck and wrists and made her way downstairs to touch up the living room and dinner table.

As she adjusted one of the couch pillows, she heard a bus pull up in front of their house. She jumped in excitement then she quickly composed herself and adjusted her dress. She felt like a teenager all over again. Only David had this effect on her. Someone pressed the doorbell. She hesitated. She didn’t know if she should jump on him or gently hug him or scream or kiss him. She was glad she had locked Willy in his cage at the backyard. With Willy and David two things could happen. Willy might not recognise him and in attempting to defend her, might hurt David or Willy might remember David and steal all the attention from her by barking and jumping in excitement. A rush of emotions welled up inside her. Her David was finally home.

She finally made her way to the front door and opened it. There he was, her David. Her eyes moistened. He looked exhausted but strong, his eyes told a tale of the dark evil he had seen and he clutched his bag in his right hand like it was all he had left in the world.“Oh baby…” she whispered. “Welcome home.” She said as she hugged him. He barely hugged her and went straight for the couch, but she put it down to fatigue and took his bag from him and went in. She dropped off his luggage upstairs and wondered why he was cold, “Maybe his favourite meal and some rest will bring him around” she thought to herself. She was barely down the stairs when she heard him yelling, “What’s all this nonsense? Why did you rearrange the whole house? Who told you to do that?” as he forcefully rearranged the settee and media arrangement by himself. She was dumbfounded as to where all this animosity had swelled up from.

She went to the kitchen and served up his meal and took them to the dining table which she had set up for a romantic dinner but this was turning into nothing like it. “Dinner is served, honey”, as she walked up to him as he didn’t hear the first time. She tapped him on the shoulder and he greeted her with a slap, “I heard you the first time and i’m not interested”. It felt like she had been hit by a forceful rush of wind. She blinked as she placed her palm on her now warm right cheek. She wanted to speak but she couldn’t find her voice. She stormed upstairs and slammed the door behind her. He watched her leave without saying a word and went to the bar and poured himself a glass of Jack Daniels. Then he sat down in the living room and sipped from the glass as he reminisced the events of that night:

He was on foot patrol and as soon as he was done he was supposed to be at an army karaoke night/dinner but he had to call his wife who had sent him a letter complaining that he hadn’t called in four months and hadn’t sent a letter in three months. He would rather not do so but he went ahead and told the crew he’ll catch up with them at the hall. About 7km from base he heard a series of gunshots and he ducked behind a car not entirely sure where it was coming from. Suddenly he felt a prick in his back of something cold and then he was told to surrender quietly or risk being shot. He had no choice but to comply. He spent seven excruciating weeks in the enemies lair and he kept wondering why his wife had insisted on him calling her. Couldn’t she have waited a little bit longer? He had only five months to go. Luckily he was rescued after the army chiefs had authorised an exchange seeing as David was a promising agent and had a bright future ahead of him. They never did prisoner exchanges but he was an exception. This is what hurt him, his career would have been cut short because of a five minute phone call.

He blamed her. He loved her but he blamed her.

He drifted into sleep on the couch as he didn’t want to go to the room they shared.

The next morning came and she had barely had any sleep. She had cried to herself and wondered what had happened to her David. She heard him outside and saw him playing with Willy and was glad he had recognised David and she thought to herself that He must be a lot better this morning and went ahead to meet up with him. As soon as she opened the door and stepped on the lawn, He gave willy a nice rub on the head and headed back inside, walking right beside her and not acknowledging her. She wished the ground will open up and swallow her.

She wanted her David back.

He had come back, but he was not the David she knew.

He had changed.
****************
This piece was written by myself and @Ms_BeeA.

Do share with us what you think about the experiences of David and how it changed him.
Is it really his wife’s fault or is he just overreacting?
Can anything be done to restore the relationship to what it used to be?

Use the comment box to speak your mind.
Cheers.

Blitz 2


Hi, @Ms_BeeA here.
Today I bring you the conclusion to the ‘blitz’ story. Read the first installment here Blitz 1
I hope you like it. Enjoy.
*************************************
Her alarm went off. It was 6:00am. She opened her eyes and yawned, reached for the alarm and turned it off. She really didn’t feel like getting out of bed. It felt a bit too early then she remembered and smiled. She was going to see Rotimi again. She couldn’t tell where the energy came from but she was up and about in seconds. She quickly had her bath & brushed her teeth. Besides being excited about him she really didn’t want to be late to work. Nurse Nene was never really a fan of hers and she knew that it had to do with her friendship with Dr Chuks but this recurrent lateness also wasn’t helping the situation.

As she dressed up, she remembered Tari. The rat would have been up early just to gist with her as she got ready for work. She was mostly an early-riser even if she was out partying the night before. It was only when she had been busy with “hosting duties” the night before that she would wake up late. She kinda missed her and the house felt oddly quiet. No Tari gisting her about rude designers and their ugly clothes or snobbish, ostrich-looking models as they both decided on what she would wear. Tari would argue about how a t-shirt and a pair of jeans were too casual and laid-back and she would insist that it didn’t matter because she was still going to change into scrubs anyway. Then Tari would yawn and tell her that her life was boring.

She sat at her dressing table to apply her make-up. As she looked at her reflection in the mirror, her eye caught the red blinking led light of her blackberry on her bed. She got up and went to get it. She had put her phone on silent just before she went to bed because she was a very light-sleeper and hated waking up only to see a facebook notification of a friend request. She typed in the lock code and saw amongst other notification’s that she had four missed calls from an unfamiliar number. For one number to have called four times, it must be serious. She thought for a few seconds then pressed the green button and called the number back.

It was the Smith Green Emergency Center. Tari had been involved in an accident.

*************************************

In room 112C…

All Rotimi could think about right from when he woke up was her. It felt like a bit more than a crush. They had talked for a really long time yesterday and he enjoyed every bit of it. He loved the fact that every minute she was with him, the voices left. It just became quiet in his head and all he heard was her voice. Her smooth, lovely voice. He wouldn’t mind if he heard her talk for hours. She was pretty too. Maybe not the kind of pretty that could make a guy go “weak in his knees” or whistle in awe but it was the kind of pretty that felt different and refreshing and he just loved to look at her. She was sexy too, effortlessly sexy. He could tell that she wasn’t trying or paying attention to herself but in his opinion, scrubs had never looked so hot. “Sarah” he said out loud. He liked the way it sounded. He couldn’t wait to see her today. The way she laughed…

A scream jolted him back to reality. Then seconds later it was followed by a long laugh more like a hoarse cackle and then he remembered where he was. He honestly didn’t deserve to be here. A mental hospital was an exaggeration of his problem not a solution. As if feeling offended, the voices rudely returned. This time, he felt like he was at a concert.

“I can see the light, oh I can see the light, I’m gonna be a star, oh baby I’m gonna be a star.” He sang. Then he stopped. A nurse entered his room holding a file.

“Good morning.” The nurse said as she frowned. “I’m Nurse Nene.”

He looked at her from head to toe. Then he turned his head and continued singing. “When I become famous you’re gonna be lonely, I’ll make millions and you’ll be sitting here…”

“Mr Adedayo.” She said calmly but sternly enough to draw his attention.

He stopped singing and looked at her.

“As I said, my name is Nurse Nene and I’ll be checking your vital signs today.” She said.

“No.” He replied. He closed his eyes, “No, No, No.”

She sighed. “Is there a problem?”

He opened his eyes. “Yes. We don’t like you.” He answered.

She rolled her eyes. “And by “we” I’m guessing you mean you and your imaginary friends.”

“I don’t have imaginary friends. Leave me alone.”

“Look, Mr Adedayo I need to do my job. So please, just let me do it.” She sternly said. She reached for his wrist to check his pulse rate but he moved his hand.

“I said NO!” He yelled.

She got angry. “Look, crazy ass, I’ve been up all night and I’m having a shitty morning. I should’ve been off this shift an hour ago probably taking a cold shower or eating a delicious breakfast but the princessy nurse that was supposed to take over from me called in and gave a flimsy excuse and now the only other available nurse is going to take an hour to get here. I still have another floor of ward rounds with cranky and crazy people so suck it up and let me get on with my day!”

He looked at her then he turned his head and sang “I promise I’ll never leave you…I’ll never let you go, oh my baby…”

She put her palm on her forehead. “Mr Adedayo, I honestly have neither the time nor patience for this.”

He ignored her and continued singing, “You are my sunshine, the one that I adore..oh oh oh…”

“Mr Adedayo!” She yelled.

He stopped singing and laughed. “She’s getting mad yo!” He said as if he was talking to someone else in the room. Then he looked at her. “We want Sarah. I want Sarah. It’s Sarah or nothing.”

“She’s unavailable. If she was available, I most certainly won’t be here.” Nurse Nene replied.

“Get her for me or leave my room. We don’t want you here. I don’t want you here. I want Sarah.” He said.

“I just said that she’s unavailable. She didn’t come to the hospital this morning and I doubt that she’ll even show up at all today. She cares about nobody but herself.” She retorted with irritation.

He whispered to himself. “She broke her promise. She broke it.”

“What promise?” Nurse Nene asked. “You know what? I don’t care. I have a job to do and other patients to attend to. If you don’t want me to do this the easy way, I’ll go and get a dose of Propofol and stab you with it. The bottom line is getting your pulse rate and I can do that even if you’re unconscious.”

His eyes were moist and he continued whispering to himself. “She broke her promise.”

“Fine. Propofol it is. I’ll be back.” She stormed out of his room.

*************************************

Sitting in the waiting room was excruciating. She had been there for almost four hours. Nobody would tell her anything. All they said was Tari had whispered “Call Sarah” as they wheeled her in before she slippped into unconsciousness.

Being a nurse herself, Sarah knew that when nobody said anything, it was bad. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. Her throat was parched and her back hurt. She had watched other people receive the news of the deaths of their loved ones.
A really cute young lady had screamed when she was told that her fiancĂ© didn’t make it. “We did all we could” the doctor solemnly said. The poor girl was wearing a gorgeous engagement ring. She remembered that she had unconsciously admired it as she got into the waiting room. Now, the ring didn’t matter. There wasn’t going to be a wedding.

Sarah swallowed as she remembered Tari. Tears trickled down her cheeks. Tari was only twenty-three. She was too young to die. She loved her so much. She wasn’t just her roommate, she was her best friend. She couldn’t call any other person. Tari was an only child and she never knew her mom. She said she was told that her mother had died when she was just a baby. The day her father had grabbed her from behind when she was in the kitchen, she hit him with the turning stick in her hand and ran to her maternal grandma’s house. She was sixteen at the time and she has never seen him since. Her grandma took care of her but she died a year ago. She wasn’t in a serious relationship so all Tari had left was Sarah and her friendship. Sarah broke into a sob. Why did this have to be happening to Tari? She didn’t even know what exactly had happened. All they said was that the taxi she was in had collided with a truck and that the driver had died instantly. “She’s lucky” a nurse had said. “Oh God. Please save her.” Sarah whispered.

*************************************

Sarah decided to go to work the next day. She would go to the Emergency Center after her shift. Tari’s issue was a personal emergency and she was expected to attend to it as quickly as possible. Dr Chuks was really nice and she didn’t want to take advantage of that. She also hated inconveniencing the other nurses. She would call from time to time to check on Tari. She had survived the emergency surgery and she had been transferred to the ICU. She had been wrapped up in bandages and she was still in a coma. The doctors said the next few days were critical but they were positive. Things were looking good so there was hope. She had to go back to work. She kinda missed it and she wanted to see Rotimi too. She didn’t know why but she wanted to hug him and cry on his shoulder. The last time they spoke, their connection was surreal and she felt like she was hanging with an old best friend. Talking to him about herself had been so easy and fun, she knew he would say something to make her feel better.

Sarah got to the hospital and quickly made her way to the counter and said “goodmorning” to all the nurses. She apologised for skipping her shift the day before and gave them a short but concise version of what was responsible.

The barely heartfelt “oohs” and “awws” rolled in and her eyes moistened as she remembered how Tari had looked in the bandages. She forced a smile and collected an outstretched file from an already impatient nurse and hurried to do her ward rounds.

She got to the door of room 112C first. She wanted to check on Rotimi before she saw any other patient. She opened the door but there was no one there. This surprised her. Where could he have gone to?

She dashed back to the counter and waited for the nurse there to get off the phone. “Nurse Tinu, where’s the patient that’s supposed to be in 112C?” She asked with a worried look on her face.

The nurse thought for a few seconds. “The schizophrenic?”

“Yes, Rotimi. He’s schizophrenic.” Sarah replied.

“Oh. He got transferred.” Nurse Tinu said casually.

“What?!” Sarah exclaimed. “What do you mean he got transferred?!”

Nurse Tinu hissed. “Abeg, the guy was a nuisance jare. Nurse Nene had to take over your shift for a while yesterday because you didn’t show up and he refused to let her attend to him. He just kept asking for you. She wanted to inject him with Propofol but he wrestled her and took the injection from her and stabbed her with it and she became unconscious. Then he started yelling and throwing things all over his room. He kept screaming “She broke her promise! She broke it!” like the deranged lunatic that he is. He broke a window and threatened to jump down. It took two male nurses and Dr Chuks to pin him to the ground and sedate him. It was very serious.”

Sarah’s mouth was wide open. “Where did they transfer him to?”

“Oluwaloni Adigun Memorial Hospital” Nurse Timu answered.

“What the hell?! That filthy, poorly-managed place! I heard that they flog their patients and they sell the ones who have no families to ritualists!”

“So?” Nurse Tinu replied. “You have done your work as a nurse and we’ve collectively done ours as a hospital. He became alarmingly wild.”

“He has no family! They could do something terrible to him! They won’t take proper care of him!” Sarah exclaimed.

“Look, Nurse Sarah, you have other patients. The schizo is gone. He’s no longer our problem. Go and finish your ward rounds and come and sort out your paper work.” Nurse Tinu said.

Sarah nodded and sadly went back to room 112C. She saw the taped, broken window and saw the empty bed. She didn’t know why but she suddenly felt heartbroken and so alone.

First, Tari had almost died and was still in a critical condition. Now, Rotimi was gone, he probably hated her for breaking her promise and he had been moved to a place where no one would care about him enough to know that he wasn’t the average “deranged lunatic” but a good man with a good heart that needed to be treated with patience and understanding.
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