In the game of Life, there are no certainties. No guarantees. Everything is a gamble. There are times the odds will be in your favour but most times, they aren’t.
Doctor Audu led Kosi a little way off from Eva’s hospital room and into his office. He motioned for Kosi to have a seat before taking his.
‘Mr Ogbonna, I understand how you must feel about…’
Kosi raised up his hand, cutting him off mid sentence. His face and eyes were focused on the Doctor, a pained expression in them.
‘Excuse me but if I may ask, are you married?’
‘Was your wife in an accident?’
‘Is your wife lying on a hospital bed after just waking up from a coma with no recollection of who you are?!’
‘I apologise Mr Ogbonna. That was insensitive of me.’
Kosi stood up from the chair and began to pace Doctor Audu’s office. His hands shakily comb through his hair.
‘Damn right!’ He repeated. ‘You can’t possibly understand how I feel or what I’m going through! She has no recollection of me! Me! Her husband of almost 3 years but she remembers that… that… shit!’
There’s a light knock on the door before a nurse walks in. She has a smallish frame with alert eyes.
‘I heard loud noises.’ She began casually giving a sign to the Doctor to know if everything is alright.
‘Everything is fine, Miss Adesimi. I’m attending to a patient’s family member. Thank you for checking.’ He replied, throwing in a nod to assure her that all is well.
Satisfied all was indeed well and after throwing a glance at Kosi, Miss Adesimi walked out of the Doctors office, giving them both privacy.
‘Mr Ogbonna, you’re right.’ Doctor Audu began getting up from his chair. ‘I have no idea the emotions you’re battling with but I do know that pushing your wife right now, in her current condition, forcing her to see and remember you, may have the opposite effect.’
Kosi stopped pacing and walked up to the Doctor.
‘Then what the hell am I supposed to do?! Huh? Stand by and watch as my wife is seduced by her classmate?!’
Kosi’s pain was evident in his eyes. As clear as day. Doctor Audu saw and recognised it. After practicing as a doctor for 15 years, you get accustomed to the sight of pain. The way it tries to hide and in some cases blares like the horn of a truck.
It was these moments that he dreaded. These questions he detested. He didn’t mind cutting open bodies and operating on multiple people. It was second nature to him and had become mechanical. Maybe too mechanical.
What am I supposed to tell him? This is beyond me. I’m a Doctor, specially trained to cure the sick and save lives. What do I know about relationships? Or love triangles for that matter. I haven’t dated in over 20 years! I wonder who this Ebuka fellow is that Mr Ogbonna is worried about him. He sighed.
‘Mr O… Kosi. I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name?’
When Kosi didn’t object he continued, ‘I’ll say this, ease your wife into the life you both shared. It’s not that those memories no longer exist, they’re just locked away somewhere in a part of her brain. Once you find the key she’ll remember. It might be all at once, it may come gradually but that’s my advice.’
Kosi nodded, slowly digesting all that Doctor Audu told him.
‘Will this work?’
‘In life, there are no guarantees everything is a gamble but with this method, I’ll say your odds are higher.’
‘Thank you, Doctor.’
‘Don’t mention it. After all, it’s all in a day’s work.’ He replied smiling.
Doctor Audu brought out his hand to shake Kosi, but was surprised when Kosi enveloped him in a bear hug.
‘Thank you.’ Kosi whispered once more before letting the Doctor go.
Kosi stopped, surprised at the Doctor’s sudden outburst. The Doctor seemed surprised at his action as well but then quickly hid it behind a smile.
‘Go get your wife.’
Kosi nodded at the Doctor, a bright smile on his face before opening and closing the door behind him.
Doctor Audu shook his head and leaned on his office table before suddenly bursting out in a laughing fit.
‘I’ve always wanted to say those words to someone. I’m such a romantic.’
He shook his head again as he walked towards his door locking it. Then he went back to sit at his desk. After waiting for a few seconds and staring into nothing, he took out a picture frame of a young couple.
A young Doctor Audu was focused on adjusting the sun hat of a very pretty woman when the picture was taken. She was smiling happily at the camera, oblivious to what Audu was doing.
The Doctor released a deep sigh.
‘It’s been 5 years and I still feel the ache.’
Then he glanced at the door, reliving the conversation he had with Kosi.
‘You would have liked Mr O… Kosi. He’s so passionate, just like you.’
Then he laid a soft kiss on the image of his late wife before placing it back in his drawer. Took a deep breath, let it out and checked his schedule for his next appointment.
Life must go on.
‘Ebuka! It’s been forever since we last saw each other!’
Ebuka smiled. ‘Ten years?’
Eva exclaimed. ‘Ten freaking years! Wow! Where have you been? What have you been doing? Come on, fill me in. I’m dying to know.’
Eva’s enthusiasm to know Ebuka’s whereabouts made his smile deepen. It seemed like fate had truly given him a second chance with Eva.
‘You are still as vibrant as I remember.’
Eva turned her face away shyly.
‘Don’t change the subject jor! Tell me!’
‘I’ve been in Spain.’
Eva tried adjusting herself on the bed and Ebuka was quick to assist her. She gave him a grateful smile.
‘Why Spain? It seems like such a faraway place to run away to.’
‘Oh and what place would you consider close by?’
Eva unconsciously massaged the back of her neck.
‘I don’t know. United Kingdom, America, Canada even! Those seem to me to be the go-to destination for most Nigerians.’ Eva replied chuckling.
‘Well, my dear Eva. You have to understand that the world is a large place. We cannot limit ourselves to certain or fixed places but we must try as much as possible to extend our wings and fly.’
Eva looked down on her arm and noticed Ebuka gently caressing her hand. It made her feel warm.
‘You know, I’m a bit surprised at the country but definitely not at the fact you didn’t stay behind. You never seemed to be the type that would.’
‘Really. Does that mean you were watching me back then in secondary school? Hmmm?’ He shifted closer to Eva and Eva’s heart monitor began beeping a bit faster than usual. ‘If I don’t know any better, Eva, I would say you have a crush on me.’
Ebuka was inches from Eva’s face. It wouldn’t take much to lock lips with her. His eyes went down to her lips and back up to her eyes.
Eva felt trapped. Captured by some magnetic force she couldn’t break free from and just as she was about bridge the gap, Ebuka moved away.
He combed his hair with his hand and let out a sigh.
‘Enough about me. How have you been? Talk to me, mi amor.’
Eva seemed to relax and laughed awkwardly.
‘I haven’t really been up to much. I studied law and I’m currently practicing as a maritime lawyer.’
‘Oh wow. That’s amazing. I’m so proud of you.’
Eva turned away, refusing to meet his gaze.
‘It’s not that much of a big deal you know.’
‘Of course it is! Eva Chukwu! My barrister!’
Eva laughed in delight at how excited Ebuka was for her.
She squeezed her face in pain. Her hands automatically went to the back of her neck. Ebuka gripped her free hand.
‘What’s wrong? Should I call the doctor?’
‘No. No. It’s… it’s fine. I just felt this sharp pain suddenly at the back of my head.’
She bent her head a little to show Ebuka the spot. There was a little bump there.
‘The Doctor said you have no internal injuries.’ He turned to look Eva in the eye. ‘Do you want me to call him so he can have a look at it?’
Eva shook her head and winced again.
‘That’s it, I’m calling the Doctor.’
Ebuka stood up to leave but Eva’s firm hand on his stopped him.
‘No please. Instead can you… do you know what happened to me? You know, concerning the accident?’
Ebuka was silent.
‘Please. I… I overheard the Doctor saying something about memory loss and amnesia. Is it true? Is there a part of my life I don’t remember?’
‘Eva. This really isn’t the time…’
‘Please. Ebuka please. I have this niggling feeling that I’m missing something and then I had this very weird dream. You were there but there was a second man. I can barely make out his face.’
Eva let go of Ebuka’s hand. She wore a worrying look on her face.
‘If there’s anything at all. Anything you can tell me to help me. I’ll be so grateful. Please.’
Ebuka let out a deep sigh.
‘Fine, Eva. If you’re so sure, then fine. I’ll answer your questions.’
‘This gap in my memory. How long does it cover?’
‘Four years. That’s what the Doctor predicts.’
Eva sucked in her breath.
‘Four years.’ She whispered almost inaudibly. She closed her eyes and was silent for a while.
Ebuka touched her arm, ‘Eva, we don’t need to go on if it’s too much for you.’
‘No. It’s fine. I’ll find out sooner or later.’
When she opened her eyes, there was a look of determination in them.
‘What caused my accident? What happened?’
‘You were out in the rain at night and got hit by a truck. You almost didn’t make it.’
Ebuka choked on the last part. Eva let out a breath she didn’t know she was still holding.
‘Do you know why I was out?’
Ebuka was quiet for a while, as if debating whether or not to tell Eva.
‘Yeah. I do.’
Eva silently urged him to continue.
‘It’s because of that man that was in the room.’
Eva looked puzzled.
‘Remember the guy that the Doctor led out of your room?’
‘Yeah? It was him? But… why? Who is he?’
‘Eva, there’s no need for you to take in all this information at once. It’s too much for you.’
‘He’s the man you were cheating on me with.’
Eva’s jaw dropped in shock.
‘Eva. We are dating. Engaged to be married and that man is trying to come between us. He’s the reason why you’re stuck here in this hospital. Why you lost four years of your life. Him! Kosi!’