I was lost in dreamland and it took the gentle tap of the matron to bring me back from my slumber.
“It’s almost midnight” she said, “aren’t you going home?”
“Home?” I wondered. There was no better home than were I was, but I couldn’t explain to the matron that going home to face my father’s wrath would be suicidal, especially when I remembered how he drew a cutlass to chase me from the house which lead to the accident that brought me to the hospital.
“I came with that man in the emergency ward, I can’t leave without knowing how he’s faring” I replied, hoping that would ward off the matron and allow me sleep some more.
“I thought you were just one of those who brought him to the hospital, sorry about that please.” she apologised and tried to move away. But in an instant she turned around and said “there are two people here to see the man too. They claim to he his friends, you may want to see them. They are just over there” she pointed at them and walked away.
Surely, I didn’t know them, but I was pretty sure I called them. I had frantically placed a call across to the last three numbers on the man’s phone, just to let his people know his whereabouts. I summoned courage and walked up to them, hoping I can get them to follow me home to beg my parents. At least one good turn deserves another.
“Good evening” I said as I approached the man.
“Good evening. I guess you are the one who called” the man answered quickly. “I am Tekena and this is my wife, Sheila. Joachim is our friend”
“You are welcome sir, and ma”
“Please tell us, what happened?”
I thought for a second what to say. I had to be careful. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that I was the one who caused the accident to their friend. Fortunately for me, the doctor came around at that moment.
“I was made to understand you are here for the man who had an accident.” the doctor announced.
“Yes sir, we are his friends” Tekena replied before I could utter a word, and I only echoed what he said by nodding along.
“I want to assure you that he will be alright. Fortunately, he didn’t sustain any internal injuries, and also didn’t sustain any major injury physically. You are allowed to check on him, but he needs all the rest he can get. Please help him by not putting him to stress. I will take my leave now.” the doctor said as he made his way to another ward.
I had relief all over me to finally know all is well with Joachim ( I had quickly registered his name) what was left was to see him, offer my apologies, and probably get his friends to take me home and help apologise to my father.
Tekena and his wife were already close to the ward where Joachim was laid when I returned to consciousness to follow them.
For a moment, I felt giddy and lost. There was a sudden blankness, but light was soon restored and I saw Itohan.
“You need to relax” she said, trying to tuck me into bed like a child.
I was bemused by her actions. I didn’t know how I got to that position, but I was really glad to have her cater to me. Her gentle touch brought such a soothing relief to me, I was not bothered about anything else in the world. She sat by me, and brought out a small warmer which contained food. She urged me to eat, and I was only glad to be fed by such a beauty.
Could it be true? I had a clue I wasn’t in reality, but I was not going to rush out of that feeling to come to back to a reality of loneliness, of yearning, and of an endless struggle to find love. The presence of Itohan and her genuine care was all the love I needed, and I was ready to make it last for all the time it could.
We spoke about a lot of things, and it felt like we had been friends for several years. She reminded me of Jessica, but she was much more beautiful than Jessica, and there was no Greg to steal this beauty from me. I was determined more than ever to keep her by my side, and show to the whole world how I finally found live, in the right woman.
At long last, she told me she was leaving. I begged her to stay some more but she explained that she had duties to attend to at home. I held her hand tight, scared of what might happen when she eventually left. Would she return? Would Greg come to the scene again? Would I return to a harsh reality? I had too many questions in my head, but couldn’t find a way to be articulate about it. She bent over me to give me a goodbye kiss on my forehead, and in order to take it all in, I closed my eyes. That was the last I saw of Itohan. Everything went blank all over again, and I only heard sounds; familiar sounds which I struggled to identify immediately.
Clinging to the good time I had spent with Itohan, I tried to forget about the sound and focus my thoughts on Itohan, but the sound around me got closer. I weakly opened my eyes and what I saw was nothing short of a beauty… I daresay, more beautiful than Itohan.
“I have been thinking of something lately” My mom broke the silence as we ate dinner.
“You are always thinking. I hope this thinking of yours has nothing to do with money?” Dad answered sharply, still focused on his meal.
“It’s about your son…Joachim”
My father stopped suddenly. There was something different about his look and the atmosphere changed immediately.
“What about him? He asked curtly.
“It’s been four years Elijah. Whatever happened, he is still our soon. We should look for him” Mom pressed.
“He isn’t lost”
“I know, but don’t you think we should invite him over. I miss him, and I’m sure you do too”
“He walked out of this house. I’m sure he knows his way back home” Dad was not giving up.
I had to come in.
“Dad, I think mummy has a point. Jojo is somewhere out there, and we do not know where. Alive or dead, we owe him the responsibility of finding him out. He is an outcast, you know?”
“Greg” he stopped me short, “Is this what you planned with your mother?”
I didn’t know what to answer, I just shook my head.
“I think I have had enough of this talk for one night. Can I enjoy my meal now?” he didn’t wait for an answer, he didn’t need it, he continued with his meal as if nothing had happened.
Mom adored her husband, she wouldn’t do anything to annoy him, but she seemed bent on doing this for me… or maybe for us all, so she continued.
“We have just two sons, Elijah. They both mean the world to us, we can’t get on like this. Four years is enough punishment for him walking out on us all. It’s time we embraced him, like the prodigal son in the bible”
With an obvious fury in his eyes, but love in his mind, Dad stood up and smiled at us as he gently made towards his room.
“You won’t walk out on us too, like your son did four years back. If it’s taking you this long to forgive him, you can imagine how long it will take for me to forgive you also”
Dad was unperturbed by the threat or whatever it was, he didn’t stop moving.
“Joachim has to return or we all leave!” Mom was serious than ever, and Dad knew it. “Do something or we leave tomorrow morning”
To be continued…..