* Mind game *
* The heart of man is a battle field. The raging war between good and bad. It never ends**** it never does**
” What will happen to the chicken? David asked.
I gave him a big smile and rubbed off the blood of the poor fowl on its feathers. I made sure it bled out properly and no blood missed the hole in the ground.
” You see” I began ” I don’t really know but I’m certain it will be in a better place after here”
He grinned and brushed his finger tips on the back of the bird’s corpse.
“Daddy? ” He said” Will it go to heaven? I want it to be happy in heaven”
I picked up the shining silver coated knife and we made for the kitchen through the back door. All the while , I thought of a perfect answer for his question.
” Maybe. Wouldn’t want it to go to hell, now , would we ? I replied, pouring a hot kettle of water on the chicken which was now in a deep bowl.
I was once inquisitive and curious, just like him. My mother would always find hope in any thing possible. Even when it seemed impossible , she saw a bright spark in the dark.
” Daddy. Our teacher said that bad people always go to hell” He said , raising his eyebrows.
” Often times , they do ” I said ” but our friend here isn’t bad . So we are hopeful, it ends up in heaven”
I smiled again and watched as he tried to pull off the feathers, in the steaming water.
I prepared a dish which I knew was Kathy’s favourite. The stew pasta was delicious and alluring. We set the table for lunch and by some chance of coincidence, Kate arrived with my mother and Yvonne.
Everyone sat at the table and we had a really wonderful family time. I missed this.
” Gabriel’ Mother said” Please , tell me . When do you plan to give me another grandchild ?
She was serious and smirked her lips.
” Hah!! Mummy ” Yvonne scolded her ” you are being too harsh on him. At least let them decide if its the right time for that—–”
“It is o! David is almost 7 now, and he needs a sibling” Mother cut in.
I blushed unexpectedly. A bone nearly went down my throat. I looked at Kate who was now red all over with blushes. It suddenly felt like we were kids. I could feel the tension in the air. I tried to remain calm.
” We are actually on it , mother” Kate replied. Her gaze locked up into mine.
” Another baby means more expenses”. I said, looking shy and cooked up” Besides we need to raise money for mother’s surgery”
” We can manage. A girl will do. Right Love? Kate uttered those words that kept me spinning in the atmosphere.
” Yeah!! ” David exclaimed ” Finally , I’ll have a sister”
” Yes you will, soon. Now eat finish you food first. ” Mother said, pointing to spoonfulls of rice grains on his plate.
We had not planned for another baby, not yet though. I felt uneasy about the idea. And the concept of a baby girl, brought Funmi to mind.
They continued with their chat, while I slowly drifted off in thoughts. Yvonne queried Kate for updates on her latest beauty tips. Dave bragged about his prowess in the class room. Mother mesmerised them on how she was the prom queen back in her days.
I watched. Then my phone rang. It was Kemi on the calling end. I dared not pick this call in front of everyone. I excused myself and left through the back .
” She wants to kill herself , please help me o.” Her voice came hurriedly.
” who wants to commit suicide? I said ” Why did you call? And why are you crying?
I could hear her snivell. She was crying. Her voice started to sink deep in whimpering.
” Gabriel, please I need you here o . Its a matter of life and death o….. Please ”
” Why? I asked, confused.
” Dami tried to kill herself this morning….. I rushed her to the hospital and she has not been revived yet o. Please help me, I’m confused o. ” She said.
A truckload of shivers swam upstream my nerves. Why would Dami have suicidal tendencies? And why did Kemi call me? Doesn’t she have other relatives?.
I stole back into the house . They were still on with their discussions. I grabbed my car keys. And made for the door like a sheep to the slaughter.
“where to ? ” Mom asked.
I stopped abruptly at the door.
” I have to take care of something.” I said.
” The something has no name? Mother continued.
” I’ll be back soon ” I said, and dashed out to the streets.
Why take painkillers to overdose ?. She had really lost her mind.
The traffic was meandering and cars honked left and right.
I finally got there and went straight to the reception. The nurse had a babyish look and from her facial features I assumed she was one of those newly certified graduates from nursing school. Probably undergoing internship.
” Damilola , Akehinde. Please? I enquired.
” Take a turn left, down the hallway. The third door by your……”
She was halfway when Kemi popped out from God knows where.
” This way…Thank God you are here.” She said dragging me along.
I thanked the nurse and followed the frantic human being in form of Kemi. She pushed the door open and the sight of Lola woke feelings in me, that I thought were already dead.
” Daddy!!!!” Funmi exclaimed with joy and hugged me tightly, like her life depended on it.
“How are you doing, princess? ” .
“Fine daddy. Please make mummy wake up.” Her eyes were heavy. She had been weeping bitterly.
I had a soft spot for her . No doubt I came running as fast as I could. If not for Oluwafunmi, I wouldn’t blink twice to kill Dami myself.
The doctors came later and it was almost evening. I had to leave and this time for good. Then , a voice in me kept on saying: don’t leave the poor girl all by herself. Have pity on her. She is still a child.
I kissed Funmi on the head. She was now sound asleep in my arms. I passed her to Kemi on the opposite chair.
“I’ll be on my way now. Call me when She wakes up.
Kemi nodded in approval.
” Gabriel…?.” Dami called out in a weak tone.
” Gabe.. is that you? She continued” I’m sorry… I really am”.
I turned and took her arms , folded them in mine. I wanted to stab her with a syringe. Yet, I couldn’t help it but have pity on her.
She blinked. Her lips were now pale and dry. I could tell that she had really drugged herself to insanity.
” Why did you do it? You could have killed yourself.” I said” And your daughter will grow up not only without a father but also a mother”
” Tell her o. She is stubborn” Kemi blurtted out from behind.
” Gabriel..Gabby..” Lola stammered as she squeezed my palms firmly.
” Shhhh..don’t talk too much. You need to rest” I said and put my index finger on her lips.
” I will be on my way now. Please get well soon. For your daughter sake. She needs you.”
I tried to move but again, Lola’s palms hindered me. She drew me back and looked deep into my eyes.
” Please don’t leave me . Don’t leave again. Please , I need you. We need you. ”
She cut me short ” I know. You are married. It doesn’t matter to me. I won’t force you to work for me anymore. Just stay… I love you …Gabriel”.
She paused . maybe she saw the shock in my eyes.
” Yes I do.. ” She continued ” I’ ve loved you from the first day we met. Please stay. Don’t ever leave me. I might die if you do”
I was stoned into silence. I tried to refrain from emotions as they surged deep into my blood. I could see them again , in her eyes. Just like the night I nearly slept with her. The fire burned and this time she wasnt drunk, she was sober. She was in control and that alone scared me the more.