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“How did the surgery go?” Maureen asked one of the doctors. “It went well, but we still have a...

“How did the surgery go?” Maureen asked one of the doctors. “It went well, but we still have a problem. His right kidney was badly damaged…it cannot be repaired medically and his left kidney is dysfunctional. We need to find a kidney for him before it is too late. Apart from that, I think he is alright, but he can only survive for a short time without a fully functional kidney,” the lady doctor explained patiently. “Do you have any kidney bank?” Maureen asked. The doctor smiled. “Not anywhere in the country, my dear. That is a luxury we don’t get to enjoy as medical doctors in this country. The only hope is that any of his family members is a match. We are testing them right now. We will know in a few hours.” “Okay. Thank you very much!” Said Maureen. “You are welcome.” “What is the prognosis?” Foluke asked when Maureen returned. “He needs a kidney desperately. The doctor thinks he will be alright if they can find a kidney for him soon.” 

“Please don’t do this to me, Wendy!” Chinwe pleaded. “Why should I have mercy on you? Chido, please let’s leave. By the way, the cleaners are all male and they will be in to clean this room shortly. I am sure they will be pleased to find you naked in the room alone,” Wendy replied. “It was the devil that made me do all that to you. I did not mean it, Wendy. Please Chidozie, this is not right…have mercy on me, please.” “I am sorry, we can’t help you. By the way, the money I gave you is all fake money, in case you choose to spend it. You don’t want to be picked up by the police,” Chidozie answered. Wendy opened the door and they both left. “Please!!!!” Chinwe shouted as they exited. She rushed to the door and made sure it was properly locked. Then she wrapped the bed sheet around herself and walked to the window. She peered down from the window and on the ground below were her clothes; they were lying miserably on the floor. She wished she could run downstairs to pick them up. Then there was a girl passing by. “Hello!!!” She shouted. The lady looked up at her. “Please could you bring those clothes up to me? They are mine,” she yelled at her. The lady looked at her and then at the clothes. She carefully picked them up, tossed them in a bag and walked away from the hotel. “No!!!!” Chinwe shouted. Her heart sank into her stomach. 

“I came as soon as I heard,” Enem said to Maureen. “Where is Foluke?” She asked. “She is somewhere around, I guess on the phone with Ifeanyi,” Maureen answered. “Who do you think did this?” “I don’t know. The police has been around several times interviewing me, Foluke and Donald’s family. I understand they have arrested Siji. Foluke mentioned to them that Siji and Donald have been arguing a lot of late over me.” “I don’t see Siji as the kind of person who would do a thing like this,” Enem remarked. “It is hard to know who to trust. I wish I knew who did this…I would shoot them myself.” “I am very sorry, Maureen. This must be so hard for him, considering how you feel about him.” Enem replied. 

“Did you do this Ifeanyi? I told you not to kill him. Yes, he is a terrible person, but we have no right to take anyone’s life,” said Foluke. “No, I did not,” Ifeanyi shouted into the phone. “Then, who did?” “I don’t know. Quite frankly, I had sent someone to shoot him, but by the time they got to Donald’s hostel, someone had already shot him.” “So you were going to shoot him anyway?” “Of course! No one rapes my girlfriend and gets away with it.” “But that was before I met you.” “No one rapes a girl and gets away with it.” ‘Vengeance is not ours.” “It is mine when someone hurts anybody close to me.” “I don’t like it when you talk like that, Ifeanyi.” “I am very mad at the guy. I hope he burns in hell,” Ifeanyi replied rather abrasively. Foluke felt a pang of guilt for lying to Ifeanyi that Donald had raped her. “I wish I never told you about it.” “I am so glad you told me. I hate cowards like him,” Ifeanyi roared. Foluke hung up in anger and returned to Maureen.  “Enem, so good to see you,” Foluke said managing a smile on her face. “What a terrible thing that happened to Donald,” Enem remarked. “Yes, indeed. People are so wicked.” “They truly are!” Enem exclaimed. 

“We have tested all of you and unfortunately, we could not find an ideal match for Donald,” the doctor announced. There was pin-drop silence in the room. Donald’s parents and siblings had tears in their eyes. “Can you test me?” Maureen asked. “We’ll be happy to do that. His situation is really desperate and it gets worse by the hour.” “Where can I be tested? Let’s do it now,” Maureen said eagerly. A nurse ushered her to the lab. Next door, Donald lay limp on the bed fed through tubes and kept alive by a myriad of gadgets. 

Chinwe was wrapped up in bedsheets, seated at the corner of the room. Her mind was ticking like a clock as she pondered her next line of action. Then, a knock came on the door. She jumped to her feet, stricken with fear. She quickly ran to the bathroom and closed the door a bit. Sticking out her neck, she peered intently at the door. There was another knock. She could not bring herself to answer the door.  Then, there was a click of the electronic key as someone attempted to enter the room. She closed the door tightly, locked it firmly and leaned on it. She could hear her own heart spinning out tunes like the Sydney Orchestra doing an energetic rendition of Pavarotti’s La Donna È Mobile. She heard the main door open and then followed by footsteps. God, if you deliver me from this torture, I will never get involved in this kind of nasty game again, she thought, barely able to perceive her own thoughts against a backdrop of the ferocious pounding of her poor heart. As if her heart had not received enough assault, there was a pull on the bathroom door. The handle moved up and down, but the door remained locked from inside. Her unwanted guest knocked loudly. It is probably the cleaners, she thought, barely able to move. Her feet had been immobilized by sheer terror. 

“It is okay, you can come out now, Chinwe,” said Wendy. Chinwe was overcome with mixed feelings of relief and frustration. She was relieved that it was Wendy and not the cleaners, yet frustrated that she might have come back to taunt her even more. “I have your clothes. I had sent one of the cleaners to pick them up earlier…on a second thought, I can’t leave you here like this. Come and get your clothes and leave,” Wendy explained. “Are you trying to make more fun of me?” Chinwe asked cautiously. “I am serious. I have decided to let this go. You should never try to come between Chidozie and I again,” she warned her. The door latch moved slowly, followed by a slow and careful movement of the door. Chinwe peeped into the room. Wendy was standing opposite her, while Chidozie was at the entrance, looking in the opposite direction. Wendy stretched forth her hand and handed Chinwe her clothes. Her hands shook as she took them. She closed the door again and quickly jumped into her clothes. “Why did you come back?” She asked when she reappeared. “Someone shot Donald two days ago. He nearly died. I can’t be here fighting over intangible things…holding grudges when someone we know; someone that was once a friend of ours is dying. Please stay away from my relationship though. See you back on campus.” ‘Thank you Wendy.” “You are welcome.” “At which hospital is Donald?” “The teaching hospital. We are going there. You could ride with us.” “Thanks,” said Chinwe, almost demurely. She was still feeling guilty. 

“I did not shoot him!!!” Siji shouted. The policeman slapped him again and another one hit him from behind with a baton. “This is sheer brutality. I did not shoot anybody,” Siji reiterated. “You had an argument with him over a girl and you decided to kill him. Shame on you because he did not die. Real men don’t shoot their friends over a girl. They woo the girl in question with charm, and not a gun,” the sergeant said sarcastically to him in between slaps. “I have just returned from campus sir. I have three students who claim they were with the suspect at the time of the shooting,” a police constable said to the sergeant. The sergeant looked at the constable and then at Siji. “How reliable are the students?” “They seem very reliable sir. In fact, I have selfies that they took with the suspect and the time they were taken is inserted in each shot. It appears he did not do the shooting…well, by himself.” “So, who did you send to shoot your best friend?” The sergeant changed his line of questioning.  “I am here to represent Mr. Siji Olatunji,” said a lawyer, barrister Ike Uzonna. He was well known to the police as a tough and difficult lawyer. “I can see that you have been slapping him, sergeant. If you raise your finger against him again, I will make sure you never put on the police uniform again,” barrister Uzonna threatened. Within an hour, Siji was out on bail. His father had contacted barrister Uzonna from Lagos on hearing of his detention. He was billed to arrive in Enugu the next morning by flight.

The next day, the result of Maureen’s test was out. She was not a match for Donald either, triggering more tears from her and Donald’s family. Chidozie, Wendy, Chinwe, Foluke, Enem, Antonia, Ifebuche and Gloria were around. The room was packed as both friends and family searched frantically for a match to donate a kidney to Donald. “Is there anyone else who might want to donate a kidney to Donald?” The soft spoken, bespectacled doctor asked. She smiled briefly and then continued addressing them. “You can live normally on a single kidney. The second one is just an insurance, in case you think that you may die after donating one of your kidneys to Donald. He may die in a matter of days if we don’t find a donor for him,” she stressed. Her explanation was followed by a moment of silence. None of Donald’s friends seemed prepared to sacrifice one of their kidneys. “I will submit to the test,” said Wendy. “Me too,” added Chidozie.

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