SWEET AMOR - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the brain tumour, problems with her speech, memory loss, walking and balancing herself well, a young philanthropist, visitor to the hospital, wedding day, one hundred and fifty million Naira divorce settlement, the US for medical attention, Joy, America, perfumes and a Mary Kay make-up kit, love, messages for him on WhatsApp.

When he couldn’t find solace around him, he took a break from work and left for the US. And that was the last which was heard of Sule. Joy’s parents had to work their fingers sore to foot her hospital bill. Though doctors began to record impressive results against the brain tumour, Joy however still had problems with her speech, memory loss, walking and balancing herself well and sometimes would gape blankly at people even while they were talking to her.

An exceptional new page opened in Joy’s life when a young philanthropist visited the hospital where she was being treated. Whatever happened to the young philanthropist when he saw Joy was hard to explain. The philanthropist who went by the name, Emmanuel, must have felt something strong for joy after hearing about her battle with brain tumour and how her lover abandoned her in the midst of her trials.  Emmanuel had it as a habit to visit hospitals every month to pay for hospital bills for the less privileged and to offer gifts to the sick. On the day he met Joy he had actually come to donate a brand new power generating set to the hospital and to share a few gifts he had brought along.

He was moving from ward to ward when he chanced upon Joy. When he inquired about her case, the doctors told him about how she had been fighting to stay alive against all odds. When he offered to pay Joy’s hospital bill from that day onward, no one read much into it; that was what he was known for and had been doing for long. However, with time Mr. Emmanuel became a regular visitor to the hospital; and when he came he didn’t go round the hospital to see other patients. His interest was Joy. It made no sense to anybody, Joy was gawky and a horror shadow of her old self. For anyone to take interest in her, only compassion could have drawn such a person. And compassion was one quality Emmanuel seemed to have in good proportion. Joy’s riveting story held Emmanuel spellbound.

The fashion in which Sule proposed to her, her wedding plans, how she collapsed in the morning of her wedding day, and her lover abandoning her were just too much for Emmanuel to walk away from. Joy would narrate her story to him over and over again; her mother would help her fill in the fragments which were lost to her memory. And every day it seemed that there was more she couldn’t remember. With time it became common to see Emmanuel sitting next to joy chatting and laughing over trivia with her.

Months before Emmanuel met Joy his wife Anita had filed a divorce for undisclosed reasons and was rumoured to have left him with one hundred and fifty million Naira divorce settlement. The reasons for the divorce were not made public. The legal teams defending the two parties had agreed to settle the matter quietly and dissolve the marriage without letting the media in on what happened between the couple. Joy did not know much about Emmanuel except what he told her about himself and was sick to do a research on him. She was happy to have a friend who took that much interest in her in spite of her condition. Joy only had a vague idea that the man who often visited her was actually a man of humongous means. Months flew by and Emmanuel kept visiting joy at the hospital, and Joy was also recovering bit by bit. One day Emmanuel came to the hospital looking weak and worn and informed Joy he had to travel to the US for medical attention; he did not disclose what his health problem was. Though Joy was sick as well, but the look of Mr. Emmanuel gave her much concern and made her feel she was healthier. She wished him well and assured him that he would be in her prayers.  After two months had lapsed without a word from Emmanuel, one day he sauntered into the hospital to see Joy, looking hale and hearty. “Look at you! You look healthier now,” said Joy, as her words came out as though she struggled with them. She was still having a challenge speaking freely. “And you are not looking any less better than you were the last time I saw you,” replied Emmanuel. “I don’t have to ask you if the doctors took good care of you in America, obviously they did.” Emmanuel took Joy’s hand into his and gently said, “I missed you a lot Joy.” Joy was a bit rattled by his words; she did not know what to make of it. There was a feel of genuineness and truth in Emmanuel’s voice. She chose to let his words pass without a response.

Emmanuel observed her struggle with his open expression of tenderness towards her. He pulled her closer and asked, “How are you doing, can you walk freely now?” “Now I can walk without support but not for long.” Emmanuel was very excited about joy’s recovery and was showing it openly. Joy could tell he was happy about the rate of her recovery, but felt that there was more to his excitement than just her promising recovery. “Can you get off the bed and walk a bit; I would like to see you do that?” Joy obliged him and got off the bed and walked around the room. “Wow! You are fine now. Thank God.” “Yea, thank…thank God,” replied Joy. As Joy made her way back to the bed, Emmanuel picked up a gift bag he had brought along and gave it to her, “I got this for you.”

Joy was overwhelmed, her eyes moistened, it had been long since a man gave her that much attention. She did not know what to make of Emmanuel’s obvious display of care toward her. To her he was just a rich man who was drawn to her plight purely on the basis of pity. With her thoughts veiled by her warm smile, she received the gift, “Thank you Sir.” Slowly she unwrapped the contents in the gift bag; she found a collection of perfumes and a Mary Kay make-up kit. She blushed and her smile grew wider, “I like the gifts.” “I am glad you do.” Emmanuel’s attention to Joy that day stirred up life in her and once more she wanted to live and love again, but behind her desire to love once more, there were also deep dark fears which were awakened. From that day on, she began to look forward to Emmanuel’s visit. She would take the pain to look good whenever he was coming. And any time he wouldn’t keep his appointment to visit her, he would leave a message on whatsApp for her.

Like the tale of the prince and the servant girl, Emmanuel and Joy began to find much happiness and excitement in times spent together and even began to muse if they were actually in love. As much as Joy was in love, the dark monsters of her many failed relationships hunted her ruthlessly. To her, every new relationship was going to end like her previous ones. She could not bring herself to dwell on that thought for long. She forbade herself from that kind of thought because she feared it would end up like her previous love affairs. She reasoned that Emmanuel was in an entirely different class from her and found it absurd to think he would want anything to do with her. After a short break from his usual visits, which actually left Joy longing to see more of him in spite of her gnawing fears, Emmanuel came by to see her.

One who had seen them for the first time that day would have mistaken them to have been in love for years. However not once had any of them used the word, “love”. Out of the blue, Emmanuel got down on one knee and asked Joy to marry him. Joy wasn’t surprised or excited; she simply didn’t believe him. Her experiences had corrupted her understanding of the ideal, simple love. She got angry and asked Emmanuel to get up from the floor. Emmanuel was hurt and left. He had hoped that his gesture would make Joy happy. Weeks passed by and there was no word from Emmanuel and so Joy began to feel bad about how she treated him. On many occasions she left messages for him on whatsApp but Emmanuel would not reply to any of them. Unknown to Joy, Emmanuel had been hit again by his mysterious sickness and was rushed back to the United States for medical attention. Emmanuel had not revealed to her his health condition. Joy’s conclusion was that she must have blown a good chance to love again. Months passed and there was no word from him. Sincerely, she wanted to love again, but the fear of how it might end hunted still her.


Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: SWEET AMOR - Episode 2
SWEET AMOR - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the brain tumour, problems with her speech, memory loss, walking and balancing herself well, a young philanthropist, visitor to the hospital, wedding day, one hundred and fifty million Naira divorce settlement, the US for medical attention, Joy, America, perfumes and a Mary Kay make-up kit, love, messages for him on WhatsApp.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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