AGONY - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - His clothes were immaculately ironed and crisp, My violently beating heart blanked out half, Mama, We are ostracized, we acquiesced and left for the city, incredulous at the beauty that enveloped me, Hot tears pooled in my eyes, His broad chest reassuring me a little, We cannot afford a heart transplant, doctor.

A tall handsome young man strode briskly toward to me. With every step nearer, his features came into sharper focus. I couldn't help notice how broad his shoulders were. His steps were quick and purposeful. His face creased into the most incredible smile I had ever been privileged to see. His clothes were immaculately ironed and crisp. "Are you alright?" His question snapped me out of my daydream. It was then that I realized that I was smiling and blushing uncontrollably. I quickly gathered my thoughts together, and with a mighty effort, brought my mind to focus on the task at hand, which was getting rid of him quickly. Somehow, an errant thought strayed out before I could snap the gates of my mind shut. Could this be what they call love at first sight? I quickly strangled the errant idea, but not after it had left me panting, breathing short fast gulps of air. "Hello," he said. Almost breathless, I asked, "Are you new around here?" "Why do you ask?" he replied. "Obviously you are new in this village. I haven't seen you before. But if you are seen talking to me you'll be in trouble." I replied, feeling a little smug and ashamed.

"Control yourself!" I muttered to myself under my breath. I felt smug that he didn't know the information I gave him, and ashamed that he would be scared off. "Is that so?" he queried. "Well, that changes nothing. I saw you this morning, and decided to walk up to you, get to know about you, and tell you how I have felt about you from the first day I saw you." My pulse quickened again. My heart pounded like it would jump out of my chest. I suddenly felt cold. "What is he talking about? Felt about who? Me? Is he drunk this morning?" I didn't realize that I was visibly trembling. "Are you alright?" he asked again. "I'm fine," I blurted out. "Ok, if you are very sure. My name is Osita." He then went on to talk about himself. My violently beating heart blanked out half of what he said. Dazed, I could only make out these words, "I want to marry you. If you don't mind, I'd like to come visit with you and your mother whenever it is convenient with you." "Well I don't know. Till you see Mama," I blurted out, my face burning inexplicably. I skipped quickly to the market, concluded the errand, and set off for home. I narrated the entire story to Mama, who listened with deep attentiveness.

At the end of my talking, Mama strangely did not utter a word. However, that night, I tossed all over my bed, sleepless, thinking about nothing but the vision I had seen that morning and talked with. I thought all night about Osita. Osita arrived the next day in the morning and made his intentions known to Mama. "Thank you my son. Before I say anything, I want to ask you again. I know my daughter has told you this, but I must ask." Mama slowly rolled the words out carefully as though she was pouring paint into a bucket. "You don't have to worry about anything, Ma. I know what..." "Hold on my son," Mama interjected. "Let me ask you. Do you know that we are outcasts? We are ostracized." "Mama, I know. But frankly, I don't care. All these things are mere superstitions to me. Traditions that have not in any way helped our people to progress as we ought to in this part of the world. I don't care Mama." Osita firmly said, with an air of finality. I couldn't believe it. Osita! Marry me!? An outcast!? A reject!? Two weeks later, preliminary arrangements were made for our wedding and two months later we were married. Osita took me to the city with him. Mama refused to move to the city with us despite our best efforts to prevail upon her. She adamantly refused to change her mind.

"I would prefer it when you visit, you and your wife," she said to Osita. "I cannot leave the village. My two children are buried here. I cannot abandon their graves. I cannot abandon their memories." With heaviness, we acquiesced and left for the city.  "Welcome to your home," Osita said, opening the gate to a very beautiful house. We had arrived the city minutes earlier, and driven to the house. "You live here all alone?" I quipped, incredulous at the beauty that enveloped me. "It is you and I now," he replied, scooping me up in his arms. Osita was every girl's dream. His kindness to people was amazing and incomparable. Osita had become my dream and my reality. Mine and mine alone!

Hot tears pooled in my eyes and rolled copiously down my cheeks in rivulets, blurring my vision. Alone, I was lost in grief and disbelief. Sobs welled up from deep within my bosom, almost choking, as I tried vainly to hold back the gasps of sorrow that intermittently escaped my throat. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jerked around, quickly wiping the tears off my face. It was Osita. I hadn't heard the door open, nor did I hear any steps approaching. The alarm on his face, many questions streaming from his eyes, was unbearable. "Oma! What's wrong? Are you alright? Why are you crying?" he asked, gripping me in an embrace, running his eyes quizzically all over me, the concern and alarm in his face increasing with each question. Unable to bottle it any more, I burst afresh into another round of body-wracking sobs as I clung to him. His broad chest reassuring me a little. I always felt safe in his arms. But today was not like other days. The anguish was unbearable, the sorrow seemed to burst through every pore and seam of my body. Thoughts raced through my mind with indescribable speed. I could not put a handle on my mind.

"I should be happy because God gave me a good husband," I thought. "I should be happy that I am with child, Osita's child." "What did the doctor say?" Osita asked, interrupting my thoughts. I shuddered violently, thinking of the sorrow that would becloud his handsome face at the heartbreaking news I was so afraid of telling him. "Nne, what's wrong? What did the doctor say?" he asked again, his voice quavering slightly. My heart sank further into my stomach. I could no longer look at his face. "I'm dying," I blurted out. "What!? What exactly do you mean by that?!" he asked. I looked up. The fear and trepidation written all over his face was unnerving. "I have a hole in my heart," I replied, strangely calmer. I was nonplussed at the strange calmness of my voice. I realized that I had accepted the certainty of my death. "I have a very slim and practically nonexistent chance of surviving child birth. My condition will deteriorate as this pregnancy progresses."

I went on, unburdening myself, feeling strangely lighter with each shocking revelation. His face was ashen with shock; his mouth agape with fear. My heart was ripped to shreds at the dread engulfing him. "You will eventually choose who to save," I said.  "But you cannot save me. My heart would collapse eventually. We cannot afford a heart transplant," I sighed. I looked up square into his grief-stricken eyes, the horror of what I had said sinking in and draining color from his face. "Save our child!" I told him with finality. "I'm saving you both! God won't let anything happen to you or to our baby!" he vehemently said through clenched teeth.

Weeks after that fateful day, things went on normally, though the dread of the eventuality was mounting. Our smiles were forced; our laughter was mirthless. All hell broke loose in the seventh month. I and Osita had driven into our house and I stepped out of the car gingerly. Suddenly my head swam and I sank to the ground in a dead swoon. He lifted me, gently laid me in the backseat of the car and sped off to the hospital. "Osita! She's in a very critical condition! She has to undergo a surgery immediately! We must evacuate the baby!" doctor Ben yelled. He took a glance at Osita's face, my ashen colorless figure on the gurney and yelled for the nurses. The nurses and other medical personnel scurried to and fro, prepping the theater for surgery. "We will need your signature on these forms. You have to sign quickly before we commence surgery. You will indemnify us of any damages or loss in the event your wife or baby or even both do not make it," he said, shoving some documents into Osita's trembling hands. "Doctor! Start the surgery! Do your best to save my wife please! Both of them! I will sign whatever you need me to sign!" Osita, with an edge in his voice now, shoved the papers away.

Still unconscious, I was quickly wheeled into the theater. "Bro Osita! I hope all is well! How is your wife? Why the long face?" pastor Obinna asked. Osita had quickly rushed to summon our church pastor. "She is in the hospital and she is in a critical condition! She suddenly collapsed at home! I rushed her to the hospital!" he replied. "What!? The devil is a liar! No weapon designed against you, your wife or your unborn baby shall be effective! Let us pray together," Pastor Obinna said. "Osita. While we prayed I received a revelation about your wife's family," pastor Ben said, after some minutes of prayer. "There's something diabolically wrong with the foundation of your wife's family. We might have to visit her family house in the village for more prayers and cleansing." "No problem pastor. Whenever you are ready," Osita responded. "It is well with you Osita. Go with God as you go back to the hospital. It is well."

"How is my wife, doctor?" Osita asked. The apprehension had ebbed from his voice. "You are the father of a beautiful daughter. We managed to stabilize her after the surgery. She's in the ICU right now. But your daughter is fine," doctor Ben, thumping Osita on the back, said. "Wow. Thank God. But Doctor, how about my wife? How is she?" Osita asked. "Hmmm. She's still unconscious. The pregnancy took a terrible toll on her cardiopulmonary systems. We had to set up an oxygen tent and a breathing apparatus for her." "What's the solution sir? Isn't there something you can do? Is she going to be on the breathing apparatus forever? What can be done? Doc, I need my wife alive please!" Osita reeled off the questions, with the edge creeping back into his voice.  "The only solution could be a heart transplant. A compatible heart must be obtained. But sadly, there's none anywhere, "He calmly replied Osita. 

"We will leave everything in the hand of God. Only God can intervene in this matter now. But we will keep stabilizing her with the breathing apparatus. I'm confident she will regain consciousness very soon." Osita never gave up hope that I would regain consciousness and recover. He took pastor Obinna to my family house in the village. After series of prayers, with Mama and Osita, he discovered a small shrine hidden in one of the small rooms in the house. pastor Obi prayed and eventually destroyed the idols and other relics in the shrine. Three weeks after the birth of our daughter, I regained consciousness. I was still very weak and had to be placed under bed rest for observation after I was transferred from ICU. We named our daughter Joy. But my heart was getting weaker. One morning I asked to see my baby and she was brought to me. I cuddled her, talked and smiled with her. "Osita, Joy will always be a source of joy and pride for you," I said weakly to Osita. I blessed her and my husband before slipping back into unconsciousness. I was rushed back into the ICU. Later, the nurses confirmed to Osita that I had lapsed back into a coma.

"The probability of her coming out of this coma is nonexistent, sir," a nurse told Osita. Osita, tears rolling down his cheeks cradled Joy in his arms. He made no effort at stemming the tide of tears flooding his eyes. He leaned over, and kissed my forehead. He never left my side till five days later, my heart eventually gave out and I breathed my last. Mama was inconsolable when Osita broke the news to her. Pastor Obi presided over the funeral and used the opportunity to preach Christ to the Umuada. The Umuada eventually reconciled with Mama, and lifted her ostracism. Asanga gradually become a Christian community and idol worship became extinct.


Written by:
Amarachi Emmanuel

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AGONY - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - His clothes were immaculately ironed and crisp, My violently beating heart blanked out half, Mama, We are ostracized, we acquiesced and left for the city, incredulous at the beauty that enveloped me, Hot tears pooled in my eyes, His broad chest reassuring me a little, We cannot afford a heart transplant, doctor. An African Literary Blog
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