F B -11

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ELEVEN

His eyes were closed and his head buried
in both palms.
The Doctor glanced at Ethel after checking her
blood pressure. ‘Mr Franklin, she is going to
be alright. ‘
‘Seems like that is going to take forever. ‘ Ethel
looked up.
The Doctor sat. ‘The injuries, surgery, the
shock that led her to be unconscious is a
major constituent of the delay.’
‘Don’t …please don’t …don’t take me back.’
Hester swinged her head from left to right.’ I
don’t want to go back to him …kill me …pull
the trigger …don’t take me back to him.’ Her
eyes didn’t open and tears rolled down her
cheeks.
The doctor stood and placed a palm on her
forehead.
Ethel shook his head sadly. ‘I understand what
you’re talking about. ‘
‘She will slowly come around. ‘ The doctor reassured.
Ethel stood, head for the balcony and stared
out blankly.
+++++
****
Ethel was down on his knees in his bedroom.
Tears flowed down his face. ‘Sometimes dear
God …it’s all difficult …’ He sobbed.’The pain,
the loss, the depression, loneliness, dear Lord
in heaven, I don’t know how to move on …
please help me, heal my broken heart …lead
me. Let your grace and your healing virtue be
sufficient for Hester. I don’t know what she is
passing through but you know it all …please
help her come back alive. ‘
His heart was heavy.
++++

****
She lifted her hand and rubbed her eyes.
Hester blinked severally.
‘Do I put out the light? Do you have headache?

‘I’m…I’m  fine. ‘
Hester looked at the doctor, she looked at her
side and saw the infusion hung up. She looked
at her other side and saw him.
‘Hello Hester .’ Ethel smiled.
It all came back to her. How long has it
been…? She attempted to sit up, because she
felt weak, she mustered energy.
‘Ooooow! ‘She exclaimed and fell back. She
held her side.
The doctor was beside her. ‘Take it easy dear.’
She closed her eyes and bit her lower lips in
pain. ‘What …what happened to me? ‘
‘You were operated upon. ‘ The doctor said.
She remembered and her eyes welled with
tears. She turned to look at Ethel. ‘Where is
Osaz? ‘
Not knowing if she was in the best state of
mind for his reply, he looked at the Doctor for
help.
He nodded.
‘Osaz has been buried. ‘ His voice was calm.
Her tears came down and her lips quivered.
‘I’m sorry Ethel…, I didn’t mean …’
‘No Hester.’ Ethel took her hand in his. ‘I saw
the note and I understand. You’re in no
position to cry. Please don’t …’
She sobbed.
‘Hester please, it’s all okay. Stop crying …’
When she didn’t stop, the doctor fetched a
syringe.
‘What is that? ‘ Hester took in the action of the
doctor.
‘It will help you relax.’
‘I want triple. ‘
‘Triple is an extreme dose. ‘ The doctor was
taken aback.
‘Triple is deadly. ‘ She corrected his mild
grammar. ‘That is exactly what I need. I
thought I would never open my eyes to this
world again …’
‘Come on Hester please …’ Ethel pleaded
knowing the doctor was a bit hesitant.
‘If you can’t give me triple, don’t give me at
all.’ With that, she closed her eyes and drifted
to sleep.
+++++

****
Wale gave her water.
‘Thank you.’ Hester smiled. ‘I am tired of
counting the number of devices in this room.
Can you tell me something I can do which will
be informative? ‘
‘Let me see …’ He drawled thoughtfully. ‘Do
you like to read? ‘
‘I love to read.’
‘Okay then.’ He beamed. ‘I’ll get you a book
that will give you a unique view of Nigeria
roads, title -Nigeria roads.’
‘I will really appreciate that, thanks Wale. ‘ She
was seated on the bed, colour was slowly
returning to her face.
‘I don’t think I have a copy of that book in my
library. ‘ Ethel was at the door.
‘No Sir, it’s one of my personal collection. ‘ He
replied. ‘Excuse me.’ He left the room.
‘You look better. ‘ Ethel observed as he entered
inside and loosened his tie.
‘Oh.’ She Sipped water.’I have been laughing all
day, Wale told me series of comedies, jungle
stories, adventures and every song that came
with it.’
Ethel lowered himself to a sofa after he had
collected a bottle of water from the fridge. ‘So
you feel better? ‘
‘I am better.’ Hester smiled. ‘How was your
day? ‘
‘It was okay, the press conference went
perfect. ‘ He replied and removed his blazer.
‘It’s going to be shown on TV? ‘
‘It was broadcasted live and will be shown
repeatedly on various news bulletin. ‘ He
glanced at the TV in the room.’Remember that
is not a proudly Nigerian TV station. ‘
‘I know. ‘ She laughed.
Her phone rang. It was closer to him. He look
at the screen. ‘That is Vanessa, she called
everyday during the period you were
unconscious. ‘He head in her direction and
gave her the phone. ‘I wonder the kind of
bond you formed within four days.
Hester only smiled and she picked the call and
activated the loudspeaker.
‘Hello.’
‘Hello Vany, How’re you?’
‘Hester? Is that you? ‘ Excitement built in her
voice.
‘Sure.’ Hester chuckled.
‘Darling, I have been worried sick about you. I
heard of all the blood traces at the
underground, heard from Ethelbert that you
underwent surgery and have been unconscious.
How’re you now? ‘
‘I’m fine.’ She exhaled. ‘At least am talking to
you.’
‘I am grateful to God. I have not stop praying
for you. ‘
‘How are you and how is everyone? ‘
‘I am fine, they are okay. We all miss you, I
hoped you had come to stay but it is wrong to
wish out of selfishness. Personal
communication with you made me realise you
don’t want any relationship with Oladimeji. The
braveness I saw at the wedding is one of its
kind but what you did by escaping despite all
the risk made me realise how much of it you
possess and most especially, your mind set.
Please make sure you don’t come to this house
ever again because the security is like never
before and above all my lady, I …wish you
God’s best.
‘Thank you very much darling, you don’t know
much I need that. ‘ Hester narrowed her brows
thoughtfully. ‘What is the situation like? ‘
‘Commotion, commotion and commotion.’ That
is the only word I can think of, that is the
perfect description. I do hope it is not much
of a litotes. ‘
‘Please Vanessa. ‘ Hester chuckled.
‘Is Ethel there? ‘
‘Yes he is, he can hear you. ‘
‘Ethel, thank you very much for taking care of
her. God bless you.’
‘Thank you too.’ He returned smiling.
‘Yes, God bless him very much for me.’ Hester
seconded.
Vanessa laughed. ‘How about the doctor? ‘
‘Not around. ‘ Ethel said.
‘Extend my greeting. ‘
‘I will’
‘Babe, take good care of yourself. I will miss
you but I can manage on my own.’
She said her goodbyes and ended the call.
‘So? ‘ Ethel sat beside her.
‘A friend. A captive of Ola and the most
preferred among other females there. If I ever
get out of this whole thing alive, I will rescue
her next.’
‘That’s nice. ‘ He stood with a smile. ‘Hester
guess what? ‘
‘What? ‘ She looked up at him.
‘The worms in my stomach are dancing igbo
cultural dance and you are aware that is one of
those dances that generates much dust.’
‘I understand. ‘ Hester chuckled.
‘I will be back in no time. ‘ He was at the door.
‘Ethel.’ She called.
He turned instantly because of the tone of her
voice.
‘I will like you to meet Osagie’s family and see
w

here he was buried. ‘
‘You want …’ He was surprised.
‘Yes.Ethel, please …’ She interrupted calmly.
‘That will be when the Doctor consider you fit
enough. ‘
‘Thanks. ‘
Her escape was completely successful because
on the day Hester planned her escape, Ethel
had also send his men to find her and bring
her back against all odds.
So, without much
effort, they found her.
+++++
****
‘My daughter I believe in God and I believe his
will. I don’t believe anything happen to his
children without a purpose. Osagie is a special
child and will remain special to us all.’ Mrs
Osahon smiled.
‘Ethel told us about you and everything and for
you to be here as soon as you recovered shows
us how goodly you are. Osagie hardly does
anything for anyone just like that, he must
have seen something in you that make him go
to the extent of giving his life in defending
you.’ Osagie’s father added.
‘There was a time, he called to inform us about
you, it is all okay Hester.’ His mother informed
in a consoling manner.
‘I’m taken aback by the acceptance and
understanding I am receiving …’ Hester knelt.
‘Words can’t explain the way I feel and the
relief you’re giving me.’
They both knelt beside the tomb.
Hester was dressed in a black gown and her
hair fell across her shoulder. That moment
came back to her, that moment that ended his
life .
Though his burial came with a short notice,
present was the creme de la creme of the
world. He was buried according to standard or
better still in relation to what he loved doing
best. A mini bridge was constructed over his
tomb.
‘Did you love him? ‘ Onome Osahon, Osagie’s
younger sister asked, a year older Hester.
‘I can’t be with a person I detest for such a
long time. I hardly meet his kind, he mean so
much to me, always will.’ Her tears came
down.
She took Hester’s hand. ‘What my mum said
back then is true. Osaz hardly does anything
for anybody except you merit it.’ She looked at
his engraved photograph on the tomb. ‘Back
when we were in South Africa …’ She looked at
her companion. ‘Hester I will like you to listen
to what I have to say to you about Osagie.’
Hester nodded.

‘When we were children, my father was strict
and difficult. He didn’t care about our
aspirations, he gave us all his aspirations for
us- Onome you will become a lawyer, Osagie
you will become an accountant.’ Onome
illustrated. ‘Same applied to our big sister and
three brothers. Since my mother couldn’t
convince him otherwise, she only encouraged
us and wiped our tears. My dad is now a
retired military officer.
‘Is it club, horse whip, koboko, cane, we have
them all in my house. No one dares to
misbehave or defile his orders. So, my elder
ones danced to his tune. Come Osaz turn to
choose a department that will pattern his
career, he dared my dad. He told him simply, I
don’t want to be in the commercial
department, I don’t want to be an accountant,
he gave the announcement in the sitting room
when we are all present. My dad only laughed
and told him he didn’t mean it. Osaz repeated
the same statement. ‘ Onome swallowed.
‘We all feared for him due to his various
opposition. My dad thrashed him to the extent
he could not sit and lie on his back. We all
cried for him, we begged him to change but he
wouldn’t hear of such. It was war in my house,
it got to a point that my big sister couldn’t
take it anymore, she decided to report to that
police station, but the fear of what her fate
will afterwards weakened her.
One day we all watched as my father beat him
until he bled, staggering, Osaz left the sitting
room and came back with my father’s double
barrel gun. “Kill me dad, Since you can’t allow
me be what I want to be in life. Kill me so that
you will quit stressing yourself, for as long as
breath is in me, a construction engineer is
what I will become.”
‘We all thought that would be last words of my
brother but that day marked the beginning of
happy days for my family, that moment
brought revolution to my home. My father
declared him free to do what he like.
Hence, two of my elder ones changed careers .
I am event planner but in all, he is the
wealthiest. Osaz will forever remain in our
hearts. ‘
Hester smiled. ‘Thanks for that, I also have
that to cherish about him. The greatest failure
is not trying at all.’
‘Look at the epitaph. ‘
Hester looked across the bouquet of Lovely
flowers of various colors to the epitaph. ‘Short
but dynamic and fulfilled. ‘
‘Dynamic to himself, family, friends,
professional colleagues Nigeria and the world
as a whole. What other fulfillment can one
think of? ‘
‘I guess none.’ She replied but felt a pang of
guilt. Tears welled in her eyes.
‘Stop crying Hess, if you don’t stop, I will join
you. Besides, you’re not fully recovered. ‘
She kissed her bunch of flowers and placed
them on the tomb with closed eyes. ‘Thank you
very much Osaz, I will never forget you.’ She
touched the tomb white stones. ‘Never will I …
may your wonderful find rest in the bosom of
our maker.’
Onome stretched her hand, Hester took it and
she helped her up. She supported her with a
hand around her waist.
++++
***
Ethel had never seen anyone cry so much in
his entire life. Oceans and sea, what was her
tear gland made of!
Taking glances while driving back home, he had
watch his companion cry all the way. No sobs,
nothing …just tears that kept running down her
cheeks.
He didn’t comfort her because at first, he
thought he understood but later he discovered
he didn’t …at all.
++++

****
‘Okay …okay …okay Hester, I’m surprised you
still have tears in your eyes. ‘
Hester sat. ‘I am sorry am disappointing you.’
He waved a finger. ‘Disappointment is not the
right word Hess, you should have cried
barbeach by now.’
‘I’m leaving Ethel,’ She stood and head for the
wardrobe. ‘I am leaving for a place I will be
able to cry all I want.’
Ethel relaxed against the wall and watched, he
thought she was bluffing.
He had helped transfer her clothing and other
things from Kenya. An amount of them was
now on the bed. She put out a suitcase.
‘You don’t mean that. ‘ He went wideeyed.
She began removing the hangers and folding
them into the case.
‘I didn’t mean to upset you Hess, you have an
embittered enemy out there. Don’t forget that
if he could trace you all the way to Kenya,
there will be no limitation to what he can do in
his father’s territory. ‘
She stopped to look at him, I will rather die
with that dreaded enemy than risk another,
never! ‘
‘Are you referring to me? ‘
‘I’m speaking generally now Ethel.’ Her brows
creased and her tears came down. ‘I can’t take
it, it’s killing me already. ‘ She sobbed. ‘it’s
killing me.’
‘Hester …you did not kill Osaz, stop acting like
you mistakenly did.’ His expression was
serious.
‘Exactly Ethelbert! ‘ She swallowed. ‘I feel like I
killed him! I feel like I pulled the trigger! I feel
responsible for depriving the world of one of
the greatest construction engineers! ‘
‘Why Hester, why are you doing this to
yourself? ‘
‘Because I could have done something, I could
have done more than just standing there! I
could have done more than just looking and
begging! ‘ Her tears flow down her face but
her voice was high pitched. ‘I could have done
more than waiting for that moment …for that
moment. ‘
‘Okay …fine …what could you have done? ‘
‘I could have …I could have …Oh Jesus! I could
done anything that could have save the
situation! ‘ Her head fell back as she held her
side and winced in pain.
Ethel was beside her, he helped her to a seat.
He pulled another one and sat opposite her.
‘Hess your last statement only mean one thing,
there is nothing you could have done to save
the situation. Hester …Osagie wouldn’t want
you to be doing this considering the state of
your health. Did you think of that? ‘ He paused
momentarily. ‘After taking inventory of
everything, I felt responsible, I blame myself
for having to leave that morning but after
serious considerations I realised it was God’s
will. It was inevitable. I am a licensed gun
handler, so I am with a gun everywhere but a
few places, if I was around, probably with a
combination of few skills from you which I
have heard of, things would have been entirely
different. I met Osaz back in elementary
school, he has been through a lot that has
molded him. I know how well he could be
determined, he promised and assured you all
was going to be alright, it’s unlike him to back
out. Besides, he knew if he let you go, before
we could find you, a thousand and one things
could have happened.’
‘I would have preferred that. ‘
‘He wouldn’t hear of such and I wouldn’t. ‘ He
told her firmly. ‘There is a confession I have to
make, there is something I’m grateful for.’
‘What is that? ‘ Her voice was calm.
‘I witnessed his last days on earth, you made
him happy, a very happy man.
Hester waved it off. ‘Please am not cut for
such compliment. ‘
‘Hester, Osagie loved you.’
She raised her head and met his gaze. Knowing
he had said the truth, she exhaled. ‘How is
that suppose to make me feel? ‘
‘Every man should stand up for the woman he
loves, opposite of that could lead to a lifetime
of misery. He stood up for what he believed in
and died a happy man. I’m sure you saw his
epitaph. ‘
‘I shared his dream Ethel
‘It matter no more, you are the one that
matter. Did he leave any parting words? ‘
Hester smiled and said rather shyly . ‘He said I
should take care of myself and that …that he
love me …’
‘You see, I don’t want to believe you breaking
that already. ‘ He extended a hand and help
her up. ‘Go wash your face.’
‘Thank you Ethel.’ She told him.
+++++

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