At the end, our minds are always drawn to the very beginning.
‘Can’t you go any faster?! I’m in a hurry.’
‘Oga, you know say na night and rain still dey fall small small. We go still reach. Life na je je.’
Kosi grabbed his knees in an attempt to calm himself. An Uber to the hospital was his best bet since his car was at the mechanic. The five minutes he spent waiting for the ride was like torture, moreso because he had to spend it with Hope in silence. One that was both strained and awkward. He was glad Hope hadn’t offered to join him, he would have flat out rejected it.
‘Oh Eva. I’m so sorry about everything. I wish things never turned out this way.’ Kosi murmured to himself. ‘Please be ok.’
‘We don reach.’
Kosi blinked rapidly in an attempt to reduce the stinging of his eyes. He looked outside the window and realised that the rain had stopped and they had arrived at the hospital.
‘N1000.’ The Uber driver said as he showed him the price on his phone.
Without thinking, Kosi brought out some money from his pocket and gave it to the Uber driver.
‘Ah! Oga the money pass o!’ He screamed as he stuck his head out of the window. Kosi ignored him and rushed into the hospital.
‘Excuse me, please, My wife. My wife is here. I need to know where she is. Eva. Evangeline Ogbonna.’
‘Sir, you need to calm down.’ The receptionist stated.
‘I can’t! My wife was in an accident and I…’
‘It’s fine. He’s with me.’
Even before turning to see the face, he could already place it.
‘This is all your fault!’ He shouted stomping towards Ebuka.
‘Sir…’ the receptionist said panicky as she moved around in an attempt to stop Kosi but Ebuka motioned to her to stop. Kosi landed a blow across Ebuka’s jaw causing Ebuka to stumble a bit and Kosi to cradle his hand in pain.
‘That’s a freebie.’ said Ebuka as he rubbed his jaw. ‘Don’t expect me to give you another.’
Kosi rushed him but Ebuka grabbed his arms, halting his attack.
‘I get you’re angry, pained, frustrated even but this is not the time. Your wife is in ICU barely clinging onto life and you’re here, doing what?’ He watched Kosi visibly calm down before letting him go. ‘She needs her husband. She needs you. Go.’
Without waiting for a reply, Ebuka walked out of the hospital. Realisation hit Kosi and he sprinted to the ICU, nearly colliding with the doctor.
‘I want to see my wife. Is she alright? Will she be alright?’ Kosi begged, desperate to hear something, anything reassuring about his sweet Eva.
‘Woah!’ The doctor exclaimed steadying him. ‘Who’s your wife?’
‘Eva. Evangeline Ogbonna.’ Kosi replied. He was panting.
The doctor glanced behind him before turning to face Kosi. He wore a grim expression.
‘Have a seat. Please.’ The doctor added, pointing at a row of chairs when he noticed Kosi’s hesitation.
Kosi was about to protest when he noticed the tired look on the doctors’ face. It must not be easy for him too, Kosi thought.
‘I’m sorry. We did everything we could but there are some things that are beyond our power…’ the doctor began.
Kosi zoned out. What? Eva. His Eva was… ignoring the doctors’ protests, Kosi ran into the ICU and was stunned. There were multiple tubes running in and out of her, a breathing mask was on the table beside her and the heart monitor was off.
‘No.’ It came out as a silent whisper as he dropped to his knees and huge drops of tears fell from his eyes.
‘Noooo!!!’ He screamed as the orderlies came in to drag him out of the ICU.
Kosi staggered home looking dejected and confused. Hope rushed to meet him at the door.
‘Where’s Eva? Is she ok?’
‘What?’ Hope asked taking a step back.
‘She’s dead!’ Kosi cried.
‘No.’ She whispered under her breath. She may not have been too fond of Eva but she didn’t want her dead. She heard a crash and turned to see that Kosi had crashed the TV.
‘Stop! Stop it!’
But Kosi couldn’t see past his hurt and anguish. He kept upending furniture until he turned the house upside down.
‘Are you satisfied?! Did doing all this bring her back?!’ Hope screamed, using her hands to demonstrate the level of damage he had done to the house.
‘I can’t stay here. I need to go.’
‘Bullshit! You don’t need to go. You want to run away. You’ve been running away instead of dealing with issues and you’re doing it again!’
‘Damn it Hope, just leave me alone!’
‘No! I refuse! You’re my best friend and I will not leave you alone!’
All the rage and anger he felt had dissolved into tiredness. Exhausted, he sat on the floor and wept.
‘Crying is ok. But don’t run away. I’m here for you. We’ll deal with it together.’ Hope cooed as she hugged him to herself.
‘How are you holding up?’
‘It’s been six months since I lost the love of my life.’ Kosi sighed. ’The first few months were hellish. I tried shutting everyone out but Hope wouldn’t let me. She’s stubborn like that.’
They were seated on the new couch, two bottles of beer on the table. After destroying the house, Hope had made sure he replaced the broken furniture.
‘If not for you and Hope, I have no idea where I would be right now. Thanks.’ He said turning to face Ebuka.
‘Pshhh. Don’t think about it.’
‘I mean it. Everything was going to hell around me. And when the doctor told me that Eva was six weeks pregnant I…’ he looked away. The hot sting of tears pricking his eyes.
Ebuka just smiled. ‘I understand.’
‘To think Eva’s death would make us friends. I never imagined.’
Ebuka’s eyes grew dark. ‘Kosi, I’m really sorry. Everything. It was my fault.’
‘Yeah. It was. But it was mine too and Eva’s in a way. We all had a part to play in The Affair you know.’
‘Where’s Hope?’ Ebuka asked looking around. Kosi laughed.
‘I know what you’re thinking. No. Hope is at her house. She’s my friend.’ Kosi said.
‘Uh huh. You know, I can teach you my moves if you ever want to…’
‘Nah. I’m good. After what happened between Hope and I, we realised we were better off as friends you know, just friends. Besides…’ he added stretching out, ‘… its too early for me. I still miss Eva. I can’t commit to someone else in this state.’
Ebuka was silently happy. Watching Hope during the past six months had shown him the kind of person she is. If only he had taken an interest in her sooner.
‘I forgot to tell you, the case I had. We settled out of Court.’
‘That’s good news. It means you’ll leave for Spain soon.’
‘Yeah it does but I’m considering extending my stay a bit longer. You know I’m a businessman, I noticed an investment opportunity that will most definitely keep me here for the foreseeable future.
Kosi smiled knowingly. Ebuka didn’t need to tell him. He knew very well the investment he was referring to but decided to stay quiet. They spent the rest of the afternoon in comfortable silence, drinking their beers.