Greetings my good people!The continuation of the fifth chapter is here…
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Chapter V (2)
“Ventricular Septal Defect” he explained, he was not surprised that she was unfamiliar with the name.
“What does that mean?”
“It means there’s a hole in my heart. Oxygenated blood mixes with deoxygenated blood”.
“Isn’t that Papillo guy had?” She asked quickly.
“Yea…” Tobe laughed at the Kanu Nwankwo reference.
“You have done your surgery?”
“Yes… I have”
“So what then?” Jane could not see where the problem laid. If he had already gone under the knife for his corrective surgery, he had no further reason to feel like he had been cheated out of a full life.
“I had the first when I was fifteen…”
He went on to explain that the first operation carried him for nearly ten years before they realised that there were some complications with the first operation and the heart was still perforated and his blood still mixed up in his heart.
The next operation required a Cardiac Catheterization. A procedure where a special implant, shaped into two disks formed of flexible wire mesh, is positioned into the hole in the heart, permanently sealing it up. It was a successful operation, but a few months later, Tobe developed some infections from the implant which rendered his already wounded heart nearly useless.
This condition left Tobe hospitalized for a couple of months as he was placed on the Urgent waiting list for heart transplant. In all that time, Obiora, his twin brother, was never far from him, filling in his dark and dreary reality with giggles and light. His body’s need for blood was fulfilled by Obiora’s heart; he gave no less than a pint every other day, putting his life at risk as only a truly loved one can.
The operation was, again, a success.
Less than two years later, Obiora was involved in an accident that punctured both his kidneys and a donor was needed; Tobe did not even need to be told, he already listed his name as a donor and he was immediately accepted. During the surgery, after a clean extraction from donor and the inception was at a critical point, an unexpected power failure forced the doctors to halt all actions for the minutes till back up power came on. In those few moments, Obiora passed from the world of men and into memory.
Shortly after Obiora’s death, it was observed that Tobe’s heart was beginning to show signs of rejection and he needed constant care. Tobe, however was tired of all the hospital visits and surgery. He just wanted to die in peace, after having lived life as best as he could.
Jane could not control the tears that came pouring out of her eyes; her heart felt like it was ripped to pieces. She had seen the love and light that filled Tobe’s eyes when he spoke about Obiora, and the guilt that marred his face and the self-recrimination that shook his voice when he mentioned his death.
From that alone she already determined that Tobe blamed himself for his brother’s death and he could not bring himself to let go of his inability to carry his brother the one-time Obiora needed his assistance.
Knowing what she knew of Tobe, she was sure that the rejection signs from his heart was the final fuck-you-very-much from the world to him. He no longer had the strength to fight. His watch had ended.She remembered what he had told her outside the hospital where they first met, when he had unintentionally stopped her from ending her life;
“I swear… I didn’t mean to stop you”.
She could see that he too had long since contemplated a way to leave his pain behind and end his suffering before anyone else got affected. She wanted to tell him that he was not to blame, she wanted to tell him that he had no part to play in the disruption of power supply and the hospital’s lack of foresight in preparing for such contingencies. She wanted to remind him that he had done his part bravely and heroically, that he had heeded his the call when his brother’s need was dire.
She also knew that if she could tell him those things, then he had already told himself such words as well. He was the smartest person she knew and he was painting himself in his corner, because he had resigned to accept his lot. She felt sad and bitter for him.In that moment, she saw – through his eyes – how he must have looked at her when he realised what he had stopped her from doing what he had considered many times but failed to execute.
She had wearied of the constant bad news. Always a complication or the other; her deficient red blood cells left her feeling weak and sick most of her childhood, the white blood cells were also inadequate which caused her even more woes as she caught all and every passing ailment that breezed past her neighbourhood. Even after two bone marrow transplants, each of which cost a fortune, and the strict diet and careful attention to her health and well-being, she still wound up needing more transplants.
She no longer had the strength to carry on life like she was waiting for death to find her, and worrying over when and where it would find her. She just wanted to leave with some contribution as to how she went.
He had stopped her from doing that, and in so doing, he had given her a new lease on life; not just that, he had brought in a whole new world with him. A world of light, hope and faith.
She had, without knowing, tied her happiness and her reason to live to him and she now saw him without his humour, strengths and without his charismatic aura. He looked weak and small and pressed down, yet he looked unbeaten. It almost seemed like he was waiting for one last showdown with fate before he called it quits.
He, like her, had given up on finding a way out of his resting place, but he gathered his strength for one last battle against his impending demise. She did not know what he was waiting for, but she was sure it was something that the people after him would remember him by. He was far too egotistical to wait for anything less than that.
“Thank you…” she said as she wiped the tears from her eyes, “I am so glad you stopped me back then”.
“Oh?!” Tobe asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I learn something from you everyday…” she noticed the look of disbelief in his eyes to which she smiled and continued, “You do not seem to understand how beautiful you are… from your inside”
“Say what now?”
Like any ugly and unintelligent man who had been constantly reminded of his failures and shortcomings all his life being hailed as a beautiful genius, Tobe was gobsmacked!
“I know it might be strange to you, but it is the truth”, Jane said with a serious face. “Why do you think Ekene still lives with you, or why your readers find you charming?” she asked as she lowered her chest to his slowly, pausing a few inches from his lips.“Why do you think I’m here?”
“Is this a trick question?” Tobe asked with a dismissive grin, moving a lazy arm to cradle her wholesome derriere.
“No… Just answer”.
Jane cooed softly as she felt sparks where his palm met her skin, taking a slow blink as she felt the sparks percolate just beneath her navel.
“Well…” Tobe began with an exceptionally wide grin, “My readers find me charming because I am, in fact, charming. You and Ekene are just drawn to my natural magnetic charisma… and y’all are biased as faaack!”
“You…!” Jane could not stop her gasp of shock at his words nor the peals of laughter that burst out of her, “Cocky bastard!”
Tobe just chuckled at her reaction. Some people might misunderstand the words he said without sifting through to find the meanings he implied, but he knew she did not.
He was, in fact, a charming writer with a bit of a dark mind and his readers loved his work and asked for more of his works. Most of the people around him were people who loved him because he was a figure worth noticing, someone that gave their minds things to ponder upon while leaving a message in almost every story.
To them he was the super-cool dude who could stand before a gathering of dignitaries and juggernauts in a pin-stripe suit at noon and deliver a stirring speech or poem – that would leave his listeners shocked – without breaking a sweat. They respected the contents of his mind and saw him as he projected himself through his words.
Ekene and Jane, on the other hand, knew his true self. They had seen his weakness he hid beneath his wit and sharp words, they saw his weak insecurities and his hidden flaws and they still saw something worth liking in him; things others would see and hate or fear were the things that endeared him to them. He could not stop them from following their choices, but he always found it strange and he was grateful that they were in his life.
In that sentence, he had squeezed in so many thoughts and feelings, yet she understood.
“I love you too babes” She whispered with a smile.
“I don’t recall saying those words to you” Tobe remarked rather humourously.
“It was implied”
“Uncle shut up and come and go and shift my womb already!” she commanded with no small amount of sass.
With that, he proceeded to rid her of her clothes and make sweet sweet love to the lady of his dreams who had a few screws loose in her head. It just so happened she was the right brand of crazy to keep him interested in the world around him.
Ekene was not sure what it was that woke him up, but he knew it was a lady’s voice. So long and piercing it was that it broke through the haze of sleep that had a strong grip on Ekene and dragged him to an abrupt attention.
“Damn you Tobe!” He cussed under his breath as he turned back to bed.
“JESUS! TOBE PLEASE!!!” the shrill cry came again.
Ekene pushed himself up from the bed. There was something about that voice that was too disturbing to ignore; it felt desperate and scared to the point of insanity.
“Can you take it down a notch please? I’m trying to…”
Before he could finish his words, the door was forcibly swung open and Ekene was greeted with the sight of a nude, ebony beauty whose body was glistening in the dim amber glow of the LED ceiling light.While he took the time to notice the rise and fall of her chest with each heavy breath she took which shook her grape-sized breasts into rippling masses of joyous splendour and the way her gentle love handles only served to accentuate the enticing swell of her generous hips; Ekene also noticed an abundance of the red fluids that stained her hands, stomach and thigh and the wild panic and fear that was painted across her face.
“What the fuck?!” Ekene was not sure what to think, but if this was some kind of sex-play gone bad he would have several angry words with the both of them as soon as the matter was resolved.
Jane did not answer him, she merely took him by the arm and dragged him roughly into the bedroom where he found Tobe, in all his birthday glory, passed out and bleeding from a head wound on the floor.
“We need to get him to the hospital right away!”
To be continued…