Kevin


Kevin drained his 5th or 6th glass of scotch, he couldn’t remember which as he poured himself a 6th or 7th glass. He rolled the .38 callibre around on the table in front of him. He felt nothing but grief, loss, pain and anguish. He looked around the bare room. Besides the chair and table he was using the only other piece of furniture was a mattress. There was a tiny bathroom behind the door in the corner but that was it. This was all he could afford. The walls were dark gray and peeling. He had taped some of his sketches to the wall but besides those it was bare. He had nothing left. He had lost everything. He lifted the gun with his right hand and held it’s mouth against his temple. He didn’t feel like living anymore.

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

November 12, 2011

He sighed as he pulled into the driveway. He was finally home. He had started to hate working at the firm but with a mortgage and a family of three kids and a wife, he couldn’t exactly quit. Jobs didn’t come knocking at the door. He got out of his car and entered the house. He had barely shut the door behind him when Luke, his youngest son ran up to him and hugged him.

“Hey little man!” He said laughing as he steadied himself to prevent them both from falling.

“Welcome home Dad”

“What’s up champ?” He said as he playfully scuffled the 8yr old’s hair.

“I painted a picture of you at school today Dad. Ms. Walker said to paint a picture of our hero. Optimus Prime is harder to draw but you’re cooler. Come see. Mom pasted it on the fridge.” Luke said as he held his hand and led him to the kitchen. Kevin laughed as he followed Luke’s lead.

Grace was in the kitchen chopping carrots. She lifted her head when Kevin and Luke walked in. “Welcome honey!” She said.

“Thanks babe.” He said as he followed Luke to the fridge. “Wow!” He said when he looked at the painting. “Nice one buddy! It looks great. I’m glad you think I’m cooler than Optimus Prime.”

Luke laughed and asked if he could go watch tv. Both Kevin and Grace nodded and so he skipped out of the kitchen.

“Where are Josh and Amy?” Kevin asked Grace.

“Amy’s in her room studying for a test she has tomorrow and Josh is grounded. He and a couple of friends beat up some kid for no apparent reason or at least none that he’s telling me. He has been suspended for a week. The principal told me that if Josh gets into any more trouble, he’ll be asked to withdraw.”

Kevin sighed. “Ok, I’ll go talk to him.”

He made his way upstairs but headed to Amy’s room first. Her door was slightly opened. He let himself in but she didn’t notice. She had earphones in her ears and was poring over a number of books. This was the family genius. She never got into trouble. He let himself out and shut the door. He didn’t want to break her concentration. He’d talk to her when she came down for dinner.

He headed to Josh’s room, stopped for a few seconds at the door and let himself in. Josh was lying on the bed with earphones in his ears but he took them out and sat up when he noticed Kevin walk in.

“Hey Dad”. He murmured avoiding Kevin’s eyes.

“Josh. So you beat up some kid today. Wanna tell me why?” Kevin asked with a straight face.

“I didn’t beat him up.”

“So how come you’re suspended from school. Is the principal lying?”

“I didn’t beat the kid up.”

“So who did? A ghost? Your ghost?” Kevin asked with sarcasm.

“Gavin and Tyson. I was only there when they were beating him up. I didn’t touch him.”

“So you just stood there and did nothing. You cudda walked away Josh. Now you’re an accessory to assault. You’re lucky no charges have been filed because you’d be just as guilty as Gavin and Tyson.”

“This isn’t a court Dad. I’m not one of your clients.”

“No you’re not. You’re my eldest son and you’re falling short. Amy never gets into any trouble and you live in the same house. Can’t you learn anything from her? Luke looks up to you. Don’t mess it up for him. You’re gonna go over to that kid’s house tomorrow to apologize and I don’t want you ever speaking to Gavin or Tyson again.”

Josh stared at the floor and didn’t say anything. Kevin sighed and left. He went to the bedroom he shared with his wife, changed his clothes and made his way to the kitchen to join Grace.

“I’ve spoken to him.” He said as he walked into the kitchen. She was stirring something in a pot on the cooker.

“Thanks. He worries me.” She said with a frown.

“He’s 17. He’ll be okay.”

“Kev, that man called again.” Grace said with fear in her eyes.

He knew who she was talking about. He knew the man. Kellan Smith. The man he had defended 3yrs ago for the murder of his wife and 4yr old daughter. Kellan had insisted that he didn’t do it. Kevin hadn’t believed him. He had been arrested in a bloody shirt that had his wife’s and daughter’s blood on it and his prints were found all over the murder weapon, a hammer. The crime scene pictures were gory and there was evidence that Kellan’s wife had been planning to run off with their daughter. There was also evidence that he had been treated for psychotic episodes in the past. It was an open and shut case but he tried his best to help Kellan but he was sentenced to life and Kevin had declined to represent him in an appeal. The calls had started two months ago and were getting frequent. There were emails too but he couldn’t tell Grace.

“He’s in prison G. He can’t do any of the the things he says.”

Her eyes were moist. “He asked if Luke was eating his vegetables and that if he wasn’t, he could make him.”

“Look G, forget about it. He’s locked up for life.”

“Can’t we report to the police?”

“I have. Countless times. They don’t consider it a real threat. He hasn’t done anything.”

“Yet. He hasn’t done anything yet. This is all your fault Kev.”

“What?”

“I told you not to represent him. I told you it wasn’t gonna be worth it. Now each time the phone rings, I’m half wondering if it’s him. What if any of the kids pick up?”

“You’re blaming me?! I was doing my job. The case got assigned to me! Would I have us go through this intentionally?”

They argued and argued. Grace was scared and Kevin was upset. Kellan Smith was becoming a problem but there was nothing he could do. She blamed him for the phone calls and then for their move to Chicago. She hated it and wished they had stayed in Texas. He blamed her for not getting a job to support him when they were in Texas as if she did, they wouldn’t have had to move. They stopped arguing when Luke walked in.

Kevin stormed out of the kitchen and took his keys from the key rack. He was going for a drive. He needed to cool off. He drove around for 30 minutes, blaming himself for everything Grace blamed him for and hating himself for letting their argument escalate to the level it did. He knew she was worried and scared and that she didn’t mean any of the things she said. He also didn’t like the fact that Luke had walked in on them. He didn’t want to set a bad example. He drove back to the house deciding to apologize to Grace for everything and to have a sit down with Luke to apologize for losing his cool and yelling at his Mom.

Fear clutched his heart as he turned into their street and saw the police car, fire truck and ambulance parked in front of their house. It was on fire! Grace, Luke, Amy and Josh! He rushed out of the car and tried to make his way to the house but the firemen stopped him. Their neighbour, Mrs Carson was trying to talk to him but he couldn’t hear a word. Apparently, it was she who had dialled 911. It took 40 minutes for the firemen to put the fire out. Their house looked like a shadow of itself. Grace, Amy and Josh had died in it. Their bodies were badly burnt. Luke died as he was being carried out of the house. All attempts at resuscitation failed. Kevin was numb. The entire thing played out like a movie. He didn’t get a chance to say a word to Amy and he didn’t like his last words to Josh or Grace. The way Luke looked at him before he had stormed out of the kitchen…his knees felt wobbly. A police officer was asking him some questions but he couldn’t hear a word. Then he couldn’t breathe.

He woke up a day later in a hospital and as he remembered the events of the night before, he curled himself up into a ball and wept like a baby. He wept for Grace, the love of his life; for Josh, his stubborn son who was every bit like he was at that age; for Amy, his genius, the star of the family and for Luke, his bubbly, adorable son who could do no wrong. He wept until he fell asleep and he woke up and wept again.

The report of the fire came back a week later. The fire had started from the fuse box. The fuse box he had insisted on fixing when Grace had insisted that he should call Carl, their electrician. He had joked about being good with his hands and said a fuse box was a piece of cake. She had laughed but told him to still call Carl. He ignored her and did it anyway. He had also forgotten to do anything about the smoke alarms. Grace had noticed that they didn’t go off when she had an episode of smoke during one of her culinary experiments the week before. He had caused the fire and robbing his family of a chance to quickly detect that something was wrong so they could evacuate the house. He felt like someone had twisted a knife in his heart. He had practically set his family up for death and left them to die.

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

He wished he hadn’t survived. He wished he had died with them. It had been six months to this day that he had lost his family in the fire. Six months to this day that everything that mattered to him died for his mistakes and negligence. It was only right that he joined them.

He shut his eyes and squeezed the trigger as he held his breath. The gun clicked. He opened his eyes. He was still alive.

With 1 bullet, he had at most 5 more tries before he died and 5 more reasons to wish he was dead.

One Way Street


She held his hands as he was wheeled away into the theatre. Tears flowed down her eyes as the man whom she loved more than anything else in the world had his life in the hands of another man who was about to perform a Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication. She was advised to go home as it was going to be a long surgery due to his age and other medical complications. “I’ll  rather wait”, she insisted as she proceeded to the waiting area.
They had met 39yrs ago while they were in the university and she fell head over heels in love with him. He was quiet, calm, easygoing and humble. Nothing like the other guys she knew. When he asked her to be his, she kept him waiting for some weeks just to tease him and then she finally gave in.

In less than 18 months they were married and had a roller coaster of a honeymoon. They were an inseparable pair and due to the fact that he was a young and budding business tycoon, they were always in the spotlight but this did not affect their relationships. They weren’t just husband and wife as they treated each other like best friends, brother and sister, father and daughter, mother and son and most importantly, lovers. Many said that their kind of love didn’t happen to everyone. They were so close, it was almost annoying.

Ten years passed and though she was yet to conceive, he remained sweet and loving and he never complained. Even when his family started putting pressure on him over their childlessness, he still remained kind and loving. He never treated her with anger or disgust nor did he stand for such by his relatives towards her. Many nights she had gone to bed crying not because of their childless state but because she was overwhelmed at how unreal his loving attitude was to her in the face of their unfortunate situation. She knew he deeply wanted a child, as there was an obvious void in his heart that only a child of his own could fill. They went to all the best doctors they could find and all the tests results came back the same. “You’re both fine. Keep trying.”

And try they did.

Ten more years passed and nothing changed. She was not pregnant and he was not less loving and supportive. She brought up the idea of adopting kids one night but he didn’t want to hear of it. “If they’re not from you then they’re not meant for me” he had said.
Since they were no kids to look after, they had thrown themselves into work. He was the CEO of a group of companies and so had to attend endless board meetings which caused him to work till very late at night. He never let her work so one boring afternoon she had discovered her love for designing & sewing clothes and started a fashion house. Although she mostly worked from home, it was demanding which was why he agreed to let her do it as it would take her mind off their lack of kids.

One night at about 2.00a.m, she was up looking through sketches that some interns had submitted for the upcoming collection and suddenly her phone rang. She remembered looking at the screen with annoyance. She had employed way too many people to handle calls for the fashion house for it to be a dissatisfied customer.

“Can I please speak to Agatha Ohalete” the voice on the other end asked.

“Yes this is she.”

“We need you to please come to St Luke Hospital, urgently.”

“Who is on the line please?” she asked slightly alarmed.

“I’m Nurse Efe. Mr. Ohalete collapsed at his office and was rushed in. As soon as he was conscious, he asked us to call you.”

She immediately jumped up, knocking over the glass of wine she had been sipping from, causing its contents to spill over the papers she had been looking at. Without thinking, she ran out of the house, into her car and sped off to the hospital.

On getting to the hospital, she asked the nurse about her husband, Mr. Ohalete. She was asked to wait while she got a doctor. She was pensive. After what must have been about 15mins, Dr. Smith came and took her to private room 107, asked her to sit down and offered her a glass of water. “Doctor, can you just tell me what exactly is wrong with Nnamdi?” She asked anxiously, almost ignoring the drink  offered her.

“He came in two weeks ago, complaining of chest pains, heartburns, nausea and trouble swallowing. I prescribed some drugs for him and told him to let me know how he felt in a couple of days. He came back complaining that the pains had gotten worse and the drugs had done nothing. To get a proper idea of what might be wrong, we took X-rays of his chest and throat and upon our findings we performed an Endoscopy and discovered that your husband is suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It normally shouldn’t be serious but he has a few complications and underlying conditions that we are currently  looking into to ascertain what we are dealing with.”

She almost fainted. Nnamdi had never mentioned that he was in any sort of pain. She had noticed that he had stopped eating as much and as often as he used to and that a few times he would clutch his chest but whenever she asked, he would smile and say that he was giving old age a run for her money.

As soon as the disease was confirmed, he was started on Pantoprazole and Gaviscon. Thankfully he was discharged the day after and told to come again after ten days. She put the drama of the fashion house aside and became his nurse. On the ninth day, he was taking a nap and he suddenly woke up moving wildly, clutching his chest with his mouth wide open like he was struggling to breathe. She rushed him back to the hospital.

After attending to him, the doctor asked her to come with him to a private room and the look on his face told her that it wasn’t going to be pretty. “He is asthmatic. It has stayed hidden all along and has only come about by the weakening of his respiratory tracts. We will have to perform a Nissen Fundoplication as soon as possible because medication would not be sufficient. We need your approval for this.”

Without thinking, she signed the papers and gave them the go ahead. A few more days of tests and he was wheeled in for surgery. A few more trips like this to the operating room came over the years. Rehabilitations in India every few months and a lot of expensive drugs also followed. They were spending more money than both his companies and her fashion house were making and she had to apply for loans.

As all this went on, his health continued to deteriorate and the intensity of the pains he complained of increased. Nothing they did seemed worth it. His relatives had deserted them. She vividly remembered one of them referring to him as a lost cause but no, he was her Nnamdi. She couldn’t stop trying, believing and hoping that he would be better. She loved him too much.
******************************************

“Ma’am…..Ma’am…..he is out of surgery and is presently in recovery.”

His Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication was done. This was a more technical surgery and it was usually done for a minor number of cases of GERD but Nnamdi had asked the doctor to do it after his  Nissen Fundoplication had been unsuccessful. The doctor agreed at his insistence.

“Madam, I am afraid this is going to be the last procedure we can do for him. After this he will have to be on medications alone and just go home and take it easy. I suggest you see another doctor for a second opinion if you feel I am not giving you the best but I can assure you that they will say the same thing. It is the last resort”  Dr Smith said.

This lowered her expectations and after a gruelling 10hrs, Nnamdi awoke and asked for water. He was tired, heck, he looked tired. That was what 5 years of hopelessness and countless procedures could do to you. As soon as he was discharged, they went back home and she continued to nurse him. Her entire life revolved around him. They spent as much time as they could together whenever he felt up for it. He was still in a lot of pain but the meds helped keep it under control.

One morning he started to complain about pain again in his teeth and chest but this time he said it was worse than it normally was. She had him lie down and proceeded to contact the doctor. “You can give him a double dosage of Ibuprofen and we’ll send someone to see him as soon as possible.”

She did as she was instructed but the pain did not stop. A doctor came over and gave him more pain killers but to no avail. He cried until he fell asleep. She cried too, her heart was in pain for him.

The doctor had given him 3months to live after it had been found that he had a stricture that had narrowed his oesophagus and his breathing was declining by the day. There was no medical help for this and he just had to wait till he breathed his last.

This was when he called her and told her what he had in mind to do. She immediately got upset and asked him to never speak of such again. He begged her for days and tried to make her understand. “Agatha, please. It hurts so much. Many nights, the pain makes it impossible for me to sleep. I look at you and it breaks my heart to see that all you do is nurse me. All my teeth feel like they’re not mine. My chest hurts so bad, it feels like I might drop dead the next second. My heart feels…it’s really difficult to breathe. I can’t eat because swallowing hurts and so all I do is regurgitate. Sometimes I’m so nauseous, I feel like I’ve already fainted. I feel like my body is being punished for a heinous crime and my mind is trapped to suffer. Please…” he coughed with pain in his eyes and whispered with the little strength he could muster, “…Please.”

She went to church and prayed, weeping profusely. Life had been very unfair to both of them. They didn’t deserve any of the things that they had gone through. Nnamdi was too kind-hearted for this misfortune. She prayed and prayed until she was spent and then she left and went back home to meet him.

The next morning, she went out to get everything they needed and rushed back home. Nnamdi was still asleep and then she woke him up ever so gently. He weakly smiled at her as he woke up and hugged her. He asked for his Whisky which she had duly brought for him. He opened the bottle, put it to his lips and took three gulps.

He then handed her the bottle and noticed that she was shaking.

“Dont be afraid. You’ll be fine.” he said with a smile.

“I need you to do this. You know that right?” She nodded slowly.

Then he closed his eyes, smiled and whispered “I love you.”

She took his wrist, injected him with a syringe labelled “Sodium Thiopental” and watched him drift into unconsciousness as she whispered “I love you too.”

Tears drifted down her cheeks but she was comforted by the fact that he looked happy.

Three minutes later, she drew a deep breath and then pumped him with Pancuronium Bromide which she was told will cause muscle paralysis and respiratory arrest. His body jerked a little and then he lay still.

Watching that felt like someone had twisted a knife in her heart.

She lifted his body up to her and hugged him ever so closely feeling the heavy, slow beats of his heart. She whimpered as tears ran down her face.

She laid him back down and finally sent Potassium Chloride coursing through his veins to stop his heart.

She had granted his wish.
*****************************************

Have you ever had a friend or family member in so much pain that you just wished you’ll wake up one day and they’ll have gone away to rest?

Sadly it is a crime to perform euthanasia on anyone in Nigeria but at times it might just be the only way out.

Do share a comment with us both on the story written or any personal similar experiences using the comment box.

Cheers.

This story was written as usual by @Ms_BeeA and @bule_jr.

 

The Red Lipstick (Finale)


Today @deolaaa and I will be wrapping up this ‘The Red Lipstick’ series. It came as a spin off from datedays and we just explored the love life of two close friends as they faced challenges and battled odds in their pursuit of Happiness.

If this is your first time here, please read Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 and Episode 4 to catch up on what has happened thus far.

Enjoy.
*************************************

The days flew by faster than Tolu and Reni’s friendship. Conscious efforts were made by both parties to avoid speaking about the proposal or even the forthcoming wedding; Reni spent more time with Diran, while Tolu, the angry birds.

She knew she was the unstable and flippant one but Tolu’s conviction was strongly against Diran. So strong that she could not even pretend to be happy for her friend of almost ten years. Something did not feel right about all this and she knew this was beyond the fact that they dated for just five months. She didn’t want to be the proverbial carrier of doom, so she decided she would act, instead of speak. She decided to speak to someone Reni still trusted. Someone both of them trusted and loved. A name that came to her mind was MUYIWA.

Two and half months to the wedding, Tolu reluctantly called up her ex to ask for Muyiwa’s new contact information. Segun was the last person she wanted to talk to but the determination to put the “wedding” right superseded her pride.

Segun requested to know why she wanted the information and wasn’t particularly excited to send them but after she pulled what she tagged as “ex strings”, she got what she needed.

Reni continued to plan her wedding.

Tolu continued her plan to crash the wedding.

Tolu was very surprised to learn that Muyiwa was back in the country. She was even more surprised when she realized he had been in contact with Reni and she didn’t know about it.

“You guys have really fallen apart”, he told Tolu on their first meet, “she even told me she was getting married”

“Yes! And to THAT her ex”, Tolu snapped, she couldn’t hide the disdain in her voice.

“So what have you guys been discussing?”, she inquired.

“Oh…well…the usual…just the usual…”

“What do you mean the….?”

Muyiwa interrupted her question.

“You know I came home because I thought if I pushed harder, I would still have a chance with Reni. I know I ended things rapidly but I didn’t know she would want to get married as soon as that”, he ranted.

“I’ve wished her all the best”.

She left the meet with mixed feelings: she was glad Muyiwa was back, but sad there was very little both of them could do about Reni.

Maybe I should just fall into the wedding plans and hope for the best for them, she thought to herself on her way home.

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

“So, how’s the wedding plan going?”, Tolu asked Reni while she was counting money.

She paused.

“What did you say?”

“I said how is…”

“No…no…I heard you. I’m just surprised.”

“Don’t be”, Tolu made way to her friend’s bed, “I’m so sorry I’ve not been involved all this while. My heart just couldn’t handle it”

“You are getting married and I feel you don’t even know who you are getting married to”, she continued, “even if I want to lose my bestie to a guy, It should at least be someone I get along with”

“You are not losing me Tolu and to be honest, I’m really scared too. This is a very huge step. What if I’m making a mistake”

“It is OK!”, she gently patted Reni’s back.

In the little time, they settled into discussing the wedding plans and aso-ebi. That was the thing with them: all they had to do was talk through their issues with each other and everything seemed perfect again.

“How is Muyiwa sef?”, Tolu asked as casually as she could.

“He should be OK” was Reni’s simple answer.

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

A month to the wedding, Tolu and Reni went for the final fitting of the bride’s dress.

Reni’s phone rang and she signalled to Tolu to take the call for her.

“Its Diran’s sister”, Tolu mouthed.

“Talk to her”

The voice at the other end was that of a perplexed woman.

“Where are you?”, she inquired.

“Beautiful Brides Fashion House”, Tolu replied.

She quietly walked away from Reni at the insistence of Diran’s sister to continue the call outside.

When she returned to Reni, Tolu couldn’t stop crying.

“What is it Tolu?”, Reni asked, worried.

Tolu took her outside and said “Diran is dead”.

She didn’t expect the thunderous slap that greeted her cheek. The slap had a blinding effect on her and when she finally regained her focus, Reni had started the engine and drove away.

She was still in her wedding dress.

Tolu sat down and sobbed.

“This can’t be Real” she mumbled to herself.

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

The birds were chirping away, the trees were swaying to the tunes of the wind. And there Reni was, oblivious to what was going on around her.

She wished the ground would open up and swallow her.

Rather, she stood over that spot, where the ground had opened up and taken a part of her already and he was somewhere 6ft below where she was.

Today was to be her wedding day but here she was visiting the grave of her spouse, her lover, her friend, her husband.

It had been 4weeks already and she still blamed herself for his death. Unanswered “what if’s”. What if she had not told him to come back from Abuja as quickly as possible because she wanted to show him the color of the reception hall? What if she had not met him at all? What if she had listened to Tolu? What if he hadn’t switched flights maybe he’d still be alive.

She was still shedding tears when she felt an arm over her shoulder, the arms felt familiar. She turned and saw Muyiwa standing before her looking all dapper.

He hugged and her and said Tolu had told him that she’ll most likely be here.
“Let me take you home”, he said.
*************************************

The drive home was mostly silent. The air thick with sadness. Eventually, Muyiwa breaks the silence. “I have something for you in the glove box.” He pauses as Reni opens the glove box and pulls out a MaryKay gift set.

“Do you know what attracted me to you the first time we met?”

She slowly shook her head as she opened the oval box to reveal the cosmetics elaborately placed around the box. In the middle, was a ravishing red lipstick.

“Well, it was the red lipstick on you that night. Even though you usually don’t wear it, it fit you well. I want you to have this. Please wear this & put on your happy face, Reni”

“Okay” Reni fought back tears as she applied the lipstick. And, somehow, it did make her feel better. She smiled as she turned to face Muyiwa, inexpressible emotions welled up in her heart.

“I’m going back to Switzerland. Promise me you would take care of yourself”

“I will” she replied softly as they stared at each other. No words needed to be spoken.

Reni saw his eyes widen, heard him scream. She felt the car swerve violently. Heard the horns blaring around them as if from somewhere distant. The screeching tires. And finally, she saw the truck try and fail to avoid them.
*************************************

He could hear the sound of the television and the footsteps of people as his eyes gradually opened.

The streams of sunlight gradually lit up his eyes and the first thing he laid his upon was Tolu who was asleep on the chair besides him.

“Tolu…..Tolu”, he called in his very faint voice.

She turned only to smile to see Him with his eyes searching around the room. She knew it meant only one thing, he was looking for Reni.

He looked at her eyes and could also see that she was trying to see pain and anguish as well but he didn’t want to believe.

And without saying a word, she walked up to him and shook her head and confirmed his fears that his Reni was gone.

She hugged Him and told him she would be there for him.

And he subconsciously knew she meant every word of her action and she felt very comfortable in his arms.

*************THE END***************