Silence stretched out and tension was at its peak as
everyone held their breaths waiting for the doctor’s
response. The doctor seemed to have frozen on the spot he
was standing and for one second, he seemed like a frozen
“Well, Doctor?” Lizzy yelled impatiently. Andy’s face had
already drained, leaving him white as he expected a response
from the doctor but got none. It could only mean one thing.
Doctor Bright shook himself, the shock of seeing Andy and
his father all at once had rendered him speechless. He
cleared his throat. “She is still alive but very critical.” He
swallowed. “Very critical” He repeated. “She is in a coma
now and we have done all we can do for her now. All she
needs now is prayers. We expect a reaction soon. I don’t
mean to scare you but she is not fighting hard enough, or so
it seems. I-”
“I want to see her” Andy interrupted, not wanting to hear
more. He felt like he had died a million times and gone to
“I need to see her” Andy stressed the ‘need’ because he felt
that if he did not see her instantly, he would literally die.
Doctor Bright swallowed and nodded. “Come with me sir”
Andy hated the ‘sir’ that was accorded to him but he did
not have the time to dwell on it or even to tell the doctor
to call him by name. It was very evident that the doctor
was older than Andy but Andy was ready to answer anything
as long as it took him to Jessica. The doctor opened the door
and entered with Andy closely behind. Immediately he was in
the same room with Jessica, all his bravery was gone and
tears brimmed his eyes. He moved like a robot towards the
bed, feeling all his strength drain away. Seeing Jessica
attached to so many machines shook him much more than
anything. She looked terribly pale and astoundingly vacant.
“I would leave you alone with her. Please try not to disturb
her in any way. There is a button by her bed over there,
press it if there is any reaction”
Andy barely heard the doctor as he spoke and vaguely noticed
him as he left. He lowered himself onto the chair beside the
bed because he could barely stand on his feet. He raised his
left hand shakily and brushed Jessica’s hair gently, careful
not to move her in anyway. The texture of the hair was as
he remembered. He remembered burying is hands and nose in
the rich mass of hair just this morning. How things change
within the space of a heartbeat, he mused. He picked up her
hand with his right hand and ran his thumb over her
knuckles shakily. Her hand was warm and very pale. He bent
his head and kissed her knuckles.
“My love” he breathed and almost choked as tears
threatened to gush out. He inhaled and swallowed. “My
heart, it is me; Drew” he continued. “Do you remember that
day during our honeymoon that you decided to prepare the
dinner? I had come back from work feeling hungry and the
aroma of fried chicken had greeted me at the entrance. That
day, you had entered my senses and refused to come out.”
He sniffed and smiled slightly. “You had been standing in
the kitchen with your back to me, seeing to the meal, not
noticing my presence. You wore one of those terrible
oversized gowns I hate so much, in your quest to look ugly.
When you finally saw me and I asked for chicken, you had
smacked my hand playfully. Do you remember that?”
Andy stared at Jessica’s face but her face was still blank. He
smiled shakily. “Then I had stood in front of you. Really
really close. I wanted to take the chicken but then you
gazed at me and I was lost. Your eyes drank me in and it
was like you had captured me and wrapped me around your
little finger. I had placed my hand on your waist and had
been thrown completely off balance by how slim your waist
was. I could almost wrap my hands around it. And then your
mouth, Oh my God! Jeez, I had wanted to kiss you so much
that day that my brain went totally blank just looking at
your lips. I don’t know where I got the ability to resist
kissing you that day but immediately I left that kitchen, I
knew I couldn’t be around you if I wanted to keep my
sanity. I had ensured that I left for work early and arrived
very late so that I won’t be tempted to do anything stupid.
Jeez, even though you were putting on clothes big enough
for three of you put together, you had me under your spell,
not to mention now” he swallowed.
“You can’t leave me Jess. You just can’t. After so many
years, I have finally opened up my heart to love again and
this time, I did not leave anything behind. I have not loved
anyone, anyone, the way I love you. Seeing you like this is
like a horrible nightmare; I just want to wake up.” He
sniffed. “You just have to wake up baby, for me; for us. I
promised you a real honeymoon; I still need to make that a
Andy stroked Jessica’s hair and gazed at her beautiful face.
No! She can’t leave him now. He did not know how long he
spent in the room, just looking at her but he knew that no
one would be able to take him away from her. A nurse
entered the room after some time and asked him to leave
but he refused completely and when she insisted, he glared
at her sternly until she recoiled and left. Lizzy, Paulina,
Tunji, his father and some other well wishers came into the
room one after the other but Andy did not leave the room.
It was already running to the middle of the night. Another
nurse came in again and asked him to leave but he refused,
promising not to disturb Jessica at all.
Andy stood and kissed Jessica’s forehead without disturbing
the oxygen attached to her nose. He sat down and started
talking again, softly and soothingly, telling her about his
childhood. He told her of the ambition he had as a kid to
become a footballer. He had watched every time Kanu played
and scored goals and had picked him as his role model. He
played for his school but was chosen to be one of the
defenders but he did not like it. Because of his quest to
score goals like Kanu, he always left his place and went to
the opponents’ side in order to score goals but most times,
they always ended up conceding goals because of his absence
at his position. The day he had scored a goal, he had
rejoiced so much that he had gone to bed without food
because of how happy he was. He told Jessica of the picture
of Kanu that he had pasted on the headboard of his bed so
that he could look at it every morning and tell himself that
he would one day be like Kanu. He laughed at the memory
and almost fainted when he stared at Jessica’s face and saw
a smile playing on her lips.
He blinked several times. Was he sleeping or hallucinating?
He blinked again but it did not wipe off the smile on
Jessica’s face. She hadn’t been smiling when he came in
minutes ago; or was it hours?
“Jess… Jessica” He called frantically but got no response.
Her hand which was still in his, was still warm. Nothing had
changed except the facial expression on her face. He pressed
the button by the bed hurriedly and waited impatiently for
Jessica stood looking in all directions. She saw no houses or
things, she was the only visible thing and she stood on a
ground that looked like glass. The place was too bright for
her eyes and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes
from the blinding light.
“Sweetheart” she heard and turned around sharply. She
would know that voice anywhere even though she hadn’t
heard it in a very long time. her breath caught in her throat
as she stared at her mother, looking exactly the way she
“Mum” she gasped and her mother smiled.
“Come Jessie”. Jessica loved the sound of her mother’s
voice. She had wanted to hear that voice for a long time.
Her head turned and she saw her dad standing not so far
away from her mother. she gasped again and felt the
incredible urge to run to him and hug him. Her dad had
always been very proper and formal. He was the only one
that called her name in full.
Suddenly her mum and dad and her brother were standing
together and beckoning. She smiled. Her complete family.
“Jessica baby, come to daddy” Her dad said. This is what
she wanted, right? Her family! She smiled and started
walking towards them. They smiled back and she walked
faster but the faster she walked, the farther they became.
She hastened her steps then stopped abruptly.
She could hear him, the voice was echoing in her soul. She
could hear the pain. The pain was so evident in his voice and
terrifying that her heart bled with compassion. She could
not move forward anymore, not even if her life depended on
it. Her family stood and watched her. Waiting? She could
not tell. But that voice… she could not ignore that voice.
How could she ignore the voice of the one that owned her
heart? He was talking but she could not decipher what he
was talking about. She could not make out the words. She
walked backwards, wanting to hear him. The voice was
becoming a bit clearer and she knew if she could move
backwards the more, she would be able to make out the
words. She turned fully and walked faster. What he was
talking about sounded very interesting and she wanted to
hear it. She could make out the words now…
He was talking about football. He wanted to be a player? He
never told her that! How come Kanu had been his idol? She
mused. Of all the players, Kanu? He laughed and she smiled,
loving the sound of his laughter even though he sounded
pained. She needed to ask him why he was in so much pain.
What had happened? Was his business at stake? Why was he
not a footballer? He did not seem like someone to pursue a
football round the field but she still wanted to know. She
turned back and stared at her family but they were so tiny
afar off. They looked like ants. One after the other, they
vanished and she swallowed. She had learnt to live without
her family but she still could not think of life without
She turned. Andy was calling her. She could distinctively hear
him call her name. “Jess… Jessica”. She wanted to answer
but could not. He sounded desperate. She needed to go to
him. But where is he?
Mr Williams paced the hospital reception as he called Sonia.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said immediately she
picked. “I just got an alert of seven million naira and when
I confirmed it, I was told that you had deposited it. What
game are you playing?”
“I am not playing any game sir. I regret what I did sir, I
am sorry” her voice made it obvious that she had been
crying. “I can’t accept the money anymore. It is wrong. I
promise to get the remaining three million and pay you
back. Please forgive me sir”
She hung up and Mr Williams just stared at his phone in
“She smiled” Andy murmured immediately the door opened
and Doctor Bright entered. He removed his stethoscope and
checked her heartbeat, noticing that it was already steady.
He did some other doctorate rituals and smiled with vague
“Wooow. I did not expect this level of improvement so soon.
She is stable now and if all goes well, I think she would be
Andy had never been more relieved in his life. A great
amount of tension raised from his shoulders and he felt a
bit alive again. After some minutes, the doctor turned to
leave and Andy turned to look at Jessica and froze when her
hands moved. His breath seemed to be suspended when all of
a sudden, her head moved and her eyes opened slowly.