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“Hello” I said as I picked up my ringing phone,
“Are you Mr. Ayo?” the voice on the other end said,
“Yes, I am” I said confidently since I didn’t kill anyone or snatch another man’s wife (none that I knew of though).
“There’s a woman here at our hospital, May-bay hospital, Ikeja, her name is Sewa, do you know her?” the voice said,
“Oh my God, yes I do, is she okay? is she alright?, what happened, what …” I said pacing and secretly hoping it was nothing critical but I was quickly interrupted,
“She was just rushed in and we didn’t know who to call so we saw your number as her last dialled number and decided to call you, try to get here as fast as you can” the voice continued.
“Okay, I’m on my way, May-Bay right?” I asked to confirm and the voice affirmed it.

I had a car I had recently gotten as a gift from my dad so I took the key, my wallet, double – checked to make sure my ATM card was in it, got into the car and drove at the highest speed the car could go and it wasn’t even enough. I got there faster than usual, thanks to the speed and the absence of traffic since it was a Sunday. I had to wait at the reception for a while after which I was allowed to see her.
“She’s asthmatic so she had an attack, her inhaler wasn’t close to her and that’s why it got worse but she’s okay now. Let her just get some rest, are you her husband?” he asked.
“Ermm no, I’m not but I can take care of her, thank you Doctor…” I said, to which he replied:
“Tom, you can call me Tom”.
“Thank you Tom” I responded then he left while I went to sit by her bed.

I looked her sleeping self, she looked so beautiful and innocent. I touched her forehead and she opened her eyes and smiled as soon as she saw me then closed them back. She looked pale but she was more beautiful than most females even in that state. I watched her a little more then brought out my phone and began surfing the internet. I glanced at her regularly to make sure she was sleeping peacefully. I eventually slept off after a while, I guess I needed it since my mind was already at rest. Not too long after, I felt a soft female hand on my arm, I thought I was dreaming until I heard someone call me “Ayo” so I opened my eyes and found Sewa sitting on the bed.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” I asked touching her forehead,
“I feel better now” she said.
“Would you like something to eat?” I asked,
“Errrrr, let me call Stixtons to bring me something, you’d like some food too yeah?” she asked,
“No, a drink is fine, the one I took that day, your favourite” I replied.
“Okay then, please pass me my bag so I can get my phone” she said,
“Okay but I’m paying this time” I responded.

I was about passing the bag when something fell from inside it, a pack of cigarettes. I was shocked and disappointed to say the least. Why would an asthmatic patient be a smoker?

I couldn’t hide my feelings so I had to ask
“Sewa, why this?” holding the pack in my hands.
No response.
“Sewa, I know we’ve not known each other for too long but you know you can talk to me, isn’t that what friends are for?” I continued.
“I know, Ayo but the thing is, there’s nothing to tell” she said. “Alright then, if you won’t tell me, I think you should call your husband at least, let him know you’re here, I’m sure he knows you better” I said.
“I wish I could call him but I can’t” she said, after a long pause.
“You can’t or you don’t want to?” I asked,
“I can’t Ayo, he’s dead” she responded with tears in her eyes. “Oh my God, Sewa, why didn’t you ever tell me this?” I said as I went to her bed to hold her.

She kept crying with her head on my chest and I used my hand to stroke her hair not wanting to say anything that would make it worse than it already was.

“I see you’re up now” Tom said as he walked into the room. She dried her tears quickly and gave him a fake smile.
“How do you feel now?” he asked,
“Much better, thank you very much Doctor”, she replied, “Don’t thank me, I’m just doing my job, you should be thanking those who brought you and Mr. Ayo who’s here with you” Tom said.
“Those who brought me here, are they still around?” Sewa asked,
“No, they left already” Tom replied.
“Do you have any of their contacts so I call to thank them?” she continued, sounding genuinely concerned.
“No, they left almost immediately” Tom said.
“Okay, thank you Doctor, when can I leave?” she asked the same question I had in mind.
“Anytime from now but make sure you avoid any form of smoke and dust and also take your inhaler everywhere you go to avoid incidents like this” Tom advised.
“Thank you Doctor, I’m very grateful” Sewa said.
“You are welcome, please let me know when you’re about to leave” he continued.
“I will, thanks” she responded.

“How do you feel?” I asked again because I felt it was the right thing to say at the time.
“I’m fine” she said. “I think we should leave now” she continued.
“Okay, let’s see the doctor before we go” I said.

We did and left the building walking towards the car.
“Wait, he didn’t talk about the bill, let me go ask him” Sewa said turning back already till I told her I had settled them. “Ohh Ayo, thank you” she said and hugged me tight.

Her scent was indescribable, it was so smooth and peaceful. I didn’t want to let go of her but I had to. I didn’t want to ruin what we had not even had yet. We got into the car (mine) since she didn’t drive herself to the hospital.

“Where do you live Sewa?” I asked,
“Magodo” she said.
“Would you like to get something to eat before I take you home?”

I didn’t have to ask if I could take her home, I wasn’t going to let her go through public transport stress. Not on my watch. “No, I have food at home, I’d just microwave it when I get to the house, thank you Ayo” she said.

I was glad she didn’t contest my taking her home. We got to the house, it wasn’t just a house, it was a mansion. That was the second biggest house I had seen (the ones I knew the owners though), mine was first. She was the only occupant. It was her share of her father’s properties when he died. She was his only daughter and he loved her very much so he willed to her his favorite house. The living room was heavenly, I just could smell money everywhere. She told me to sit then turned on the television so I won’t get bored while she went ahead to make something to eat. I offered to help but she insisted that I sat. She was done in less than thirty minutes as she didn’t have to cook something fresh, she only had to microwave and all.

“Ayo” she called out,
“Yes” I responded

following the voice I heard as I didn’t know the exact location of the kitchen. I was almost walking into the wrong door when she came out to lead me to the right path.

“Do you eat much?” she asked as she served my food, it was pasta and it smelled good.
“Not really” I responded, it wasn’t the right time to show the wolf in me.
“Okay, don’t worry, its pasta so even if it’s much, you won’t feel over-fed since its light” she said,
“Okay ma’am” I said sarcastically and we laughed.
That was our first laugh since the hospital so it felt good. We headed to the couch to eat. The food was really tasty and I told her so. She was glad I liked it.

“Where’s everybody else?” I asked,
“Everybody else?” she asked looking confused,
“I mean, everyone else who also live in this house, your kids, siblings” I explained.
“Ohh, I live alone” she responded to my greatest surprise. “No you don’t” I retorted,
“Yes, I do” she insisted.
“How about your kids?” I asked feeling like I was winning the case”

“They’re in the UK with my best friend, we moved there when my husband died until I got this offer and it was something I really wanted to distract myself from everything so I left them with her and came here. They would be coming home for summer though” she explained. “How did he die, your husband?” I asked,

“It was like a dream when I heard the news that Boye’s plane crashed, I tried reaching him secretly hoping he was still alive but I was wrong, he was gone. I didn’t know what to do but we survived anyway. That was what happened” she responded with tears in her eyes. I held her tight feeling her pain. I didn’t know how it felt to lose a loved one to death but I had lost ‘connection’ with people I loved so I had an idea about how she felt.

“You’re a strong woman, you need to keep being strong. I know this may sound cliché but I’m here for you, anytime.” I said.
“Thank you” she said.
“Why do you smoke when you’re aware of your health status?” I asked, seemed like the right time to ask questions. “It was the wrong thing to do, I know and I feel bad already, I feel even worse knowing that I dragged you into my mess, I’m sorry but it won’t happen again, I assure you” she responded.
“Come on Sewa, if this is what you call a mess, then I want to be in it with you forever, its fine, I’m here anytime” I said, planting a kiss on her forehead. It was eighteen o’clock already, how time flies.
“I think I should go, it’s looking like it’s going to rain and I washed this morning, I don’t want them to get wet again” I said.
She looked at me and said “Okay, you’ve done a lot for me today, I can’t thank you enough”. She stood up to walk me to the door, then the rain started pouring heavily.

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About the author

Aanu is a freelance creative writer and a contributor at Crazitive Africans. You can find more of her pieces on her blog.