Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sometimes it Hurt

She had the look, the look that comes with years of knowing, Knowing things beyond her age. It had an intensity to it that was almost intimidating, but at same time you just could not turn away. I kept staring at her as she spoke “if you don’t want to help my brother, why did you ask us to wait?” she asked coldly “please discharge him, we will take care of ourselves, we always do” with that she walked away, back to the chair she had been sitting, to the almost lifeless body of her 14 year old brother.  
I still did not know her name, but I could never forget her face, her voice and the tears cascading down her very pretty face. A face that was so pretty and unforgettable that neither the coldness in her eyes, nor the cheap clothes she wore could hide it. I was mesmerized by looks, but more so by her charisma and the power in her voice when she spoke. I was drawn to her like a moth to the light, I wasn’t thinking straight when I said, “ I will take care of it”
I had come to the hospital the day before to visit a sick uncle, one of those cranky old uncles you only missed their stories when they are long gone. I had promised my mum since I lived in Garki and Uncle Morgan had only recently been admitted at a Hospital somewhere in Area 2,  that I would stop by and visit. I never liked Uncle Morgan much, he was one of those relatives who blamed everyone for every problem they had. He blamed his dad for not sending him to a university in England, he blamed my dad who was his younger brother for getting a scholarship to study in England , he blamed his wife for giving him five daughters and no son, he blamed God when it rained and cursed even more when it was sunny.
So you can understand why it took my mum a lot of convincing and emotional blackmail before I agreed to check up on him. I was ready to leave as soon as I walked in as he was yelling at his wife for not preparing the meal he asked for the way he liked it “ almost forty years of marriage and you still do not know that I don’t eat this much pepper”  he screamed

“but you said you were a bit nauseous and asked me to make it hotter than usual” she tried to explain
“if you are not a stupid woman” he continued “does adding more pepper mean you should give me ulcer?  You never understand anything, all you know how to do is give birth to girls and spend money, how can you put this much meat in one meal” he went on and on, and all I wanted to do was tell him I was about to leave and drop off the fruits I had bought, knowing fully well he would probably complain that they were too ripe or not ripe enough! In the midst of all this drama in my Uncles’s private room, I could see a girl crying over her a teenager.
I am not a nosy person naturally, but there was something about the scenario and the nurses attitude that made me walk to the lobby and I overheard her talking “we can not give him any treatment o, he is not registered and you say you don’t have any cash with you here” she answered grumpily

“ma, please I am just asking you to at least let him stay in a room and be looked at, I will go and get money for the treatment” she was really crying hard “I can just leave him here in the lobby”

A more sympathetic older nurse walked up to her and said “is there no one you can call to come with the money?” she asked
 “I don’t have airtime on my phone”  she said in a very low tone

“You can use my phone”  the kind nurse offered ,but the helplessness in her voice told me more, airtime wasn’t the problem, she had no one to call to send her money. “I have pleaded with the doctor to just look at him and he asked me to wait”
The mean nurse walked away  and came back later to say “Dr. Ogunkoya said he thought you would at least pay some money  so he can start treatment, and that without any payment his hands are tied”
The girl stood up from the chair she had sat cradling the teenagers head in her bosom, and it was almost like she was transformed to something regal. For the first time I noticed she wasn’t a little girl like I thought but a young woman, a very beautiful one.  She wiped her tears, and unfortunately for Dr. Ogunkoya he came out of his office at same time, then she lost it. In impeccable English and with as much grace as she could muster considering the circumstances, she ranted and raved then summed it up in 
“if you don’t want to help my brother, why did you ask us to wait?” she asked coldly “please discharge him, we will take care of ourselves, we always do”
Then I found my voice “I will take care of it” just then my uncle called asking if I was visiting him or just standing by the lobby. I walked up to the nurse and told her I would pay for the boy  to at least get medical attention.
She was full of thanks and went ahead to fill out the form, as she did so her tears intensified, I was later to find out that grateful though she was, she was also ashamed that life had dealt her such a hand in life.
still with tears in her eyes she said "my name is Tosan"
Contributed: Sasha Reynolds

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