Yvonne leaned against the door, taking a deep breath as she left Ade’s room. Had she really lost it all? Or was she not just seeing the ‘little’ things she had going right for her? What if she eventually found something worth living for? What if she found someone? What if she was worth it? What if he was worth it? She didn’t have time to dwell on ifs and maybes. She wouldn’t be deterred.
Yvonne turned to her right. “Hi.”
“I am Tunji. Ade’s brother.” Tunji introduced, stretching a hand.
Yvonne nodded with a faint smile. “Yvonne Laoye.” She replied, receiving the handshake.
“Oh, sure! Everybody knows you.” Tunji replied with a smile.
Yvonne smirked. “I guess.”
“It’s a really good thing you did bringing my brother down here.” Tunji started. “He might have just died.”
“It’s a good thing he is alive.” She replied, clutching her bag to her arm in preparation to leave. “I hope you do take good care of him and he gets through this.”
“Gets through…well, I…I don’t know what to say.”
Yvonne stared at him. “Are you not hopeful?”
“Right now, I don’t want to hope anymore. I just want him to find peace.” Tunji replied.
Yvonne nodded slowly. It was all clear that Ade had prepared to leave. “Don’t you think of a miracle? Maybe pray for one?”
“I stopped praying. We are just waiting.” Tunji replied.
Dr Jones joined them. “Have you talked to your brother?” he asked, staring at Tunji.
“Dad, please meet Yvonne Laoye.” Tunji replied.
Dr Jones turned to her. “Oh! You are a TV star, right?”
Yvonne bowed politely. “It is nice to meet you, Sir.”
“Welcome. How do you know my son…or sons? Is he into TV now? Last time I checked, he ran podcasts.”
Tunji sighed. “Dad, one question at a time.”
“No, it’s okay.” She replied with a smile. “Ade and I are recently friends.”
Dr Jones nodded. “Hmmm….friends. Maybe I can ask you a favour, friend.”
“No, Dad. She was just about leaving.” Tunji said, stepping in.
Yvonne smiled. “No. it’s okay.”
“Could you please talk to Ade to undergo surgery again tomorrow? He has a slight chance.” Dr Jones said.
Tunji clenched his teeth angrily. “Dad.”
“You are not trying hard enough.” Dr Jones said, shutting him up.
Yvonne blinked. “Sir…”
“I know it might be too much to ask, but if you are here, it is because you care about Ade and I know he cares about everybody, so he probably cares about you…and maybe he is tired of me begging him to live, so maybe you can ask him to please live.” Dr Jones said. “Please.”
Yvonne nodded and returned into the room.
“Dad, Ade is going to hate you for this.” Tunji said.
Dr Jones shook his head. “Ade doesn’t know how to hate.” He replied.
“You are make him look weak to her.” Tunji protested. “You and I know what Ade wants, let’s just respect it. We don’t have to be cowards about this. Let’s find peace and move on.”
Dr Jones shook his head. “I don’t think I want to be bold. I will stay a coward and try everything I can until there is nothing left to do.”
“Dad…” Tunji hesitated.
“If you are at peace with losing your brother even before he goes, then I don’t know what else to say to you, son. I can’t find peace yet.” He concluded and walked away.
Tunji swallowed as his father’s words hit him. He wanted his brother to live too, but he wanted his brother to be in peace too. Why was it too hard for their father to understand this?
“Forget something?” Ade asked as Yvonne took her seat beside him.
She nodded. “Yes.”
“I…I didn’t see anything that you could have left behind.” He said, looking around.
She sat up. “I hear you have a shot at life?”
Ade sighed. “My Father has been talking to you.”
“Why don’t you want to try?” she asked.
“What’s the point? I don’t want to look like…that when I die.” Ade replied in a low tone.
Yvonne stared at him. “You are very good looking. What’s your fear?”
“Without the eye-brows? With the hair all scanty? Nails hurting? I’d look ridiculous again. I already went past that phase once, I don’t think I can live through it again.” He said as he swallowed.
Yvonne took a deep breath. She had never seen anyone so bare and vulnerable with her. Her eyes ached. She was going to cry if she didn’t do the needful. She rose to her feet. “You are doing the surgery, Ade.” She said firmly.
“No, I am not.” he replied. “I want to have these last days.” He said with a smile. “It might not the best, but let me have it.”
Yvonne stared at him closely. “You are having endless days. Surgery is on.” She replied and turned away.
Ade gripped her hand. “What’s your story?”
“I have no story.” She replied. “I’ll call your father.”
Ade released her from his grip. “Yvonne, you are not doing a very good job hiding your pain…I can see right through it.”
“You are a psychic?” she asked.
Ade managed a laugh. “No. But you said you have lost it all…why won’t you have anything to fight for?”
Yvonne took a deep breath. “My mind is made up.”
“What are you going to do?” he asked.
Yvonne couldn’t answer that. How would you tell anyone you intend to kill yourself? That’s the end of it. They’d talk you out of it. You don’t talk about it…you just do it.
“Yvonne?” Ade called. “You can talk to me.” He said.
She approached the emergency bell by his bedside. “Let’s get you to surgery.”
“I am afraid.” Ade replied. “I am not sure I’ll make it out of surgery.” He added. “I just want to go in peace.”
Yvonne refrained from tapping the bell and took her seat. “What if-”
“I don’t want uncertainty, Yvonne.” He started. “If I am not staying, I don’t want to die unhappy.” He said. “I don’t want to die fighting, I am done fighting. I just want to smile and go away. It doesn’t always have to end on the table. It doesn’t.” he said.
Yvonne gaped and wiped the tear drops that rolled down her eyes.
Ade sighed. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t be like this.”
“Why you?” she asked.
Ade smiled. “Why not me?”
“Oh please, this is not funny.” She replied.
Ade took a deep breath. “You know…if I had another life, I’d be able to love you the way you truly deserve.”
Yvonne stared at him. “What are you saying?”
“I am making a conversation.” He said with a smile. “I don’t know what’s going on with you, Yvonne and what has you so sad, but life is worth it. Trust me, I know it…my story is just a little complicated.” He added. “This changes you.”
“Why don’t you un-complicate it?” she asked. She then drew close to him and took his hand. “When you go in for surgery, fight once more, Ade. Fight for something. Fight for your family. Fight for your friends. Fight for that audience of yours. Fight for you…and if I even matter a little, fight for me.” She concluded and wiped her eyes.
“Would you be here when I return from surgery?” Ade asked.
“Yes.” She answered without hesitating.
01:00 PM (SURGERY DAY)
Tunji observed the other occupants of the waiting room. He stared at Yvonne – She was buried in her phone. His father was pacing up and down the room. The other doctors would not even let him observe. They advised that he waited while they performed the operation. A part of Tunji was angry at Yvonne for convincing Ade but the other part was optimistic. What if! He would hope too…the surgery was termed fifty-fifty and if Ade made it, his chemotherapy sessions would commence. Tunji was nervous. He hoped Chemo would sort it all out this time and he would have his brother back and everyone would be able to move on with life…and maybe his father too. If only Dr Jones knew how much he adored him, he had done everything to please his Dad while growing up but it was easy to love Ade. Tunji loved his personal time, he enjoyed brooding. He enjoyed thinking…he found solace in his blues and his own world. That should have made him special…his mother and brother saw that, and they loved him for it. It was hard for his dad to get across to him…so his father gave up and resented him. At least, that was how Tunji felt. He felt resented by his father for not being Ade. He watched his Dad finally take a seat since the last three hours. If Ade left, Tunji knew he was all alone. He would never have his father’s love.
Dr. Jones couldn’t get his mind off his mistakes. He truly was sorry for not loving Tunji enough, but his son had made it too hard for him. All Tunji did was withdraw. He never made it easy for him to be loved and even when he had tried to be like his late wife and understand their son…he found himself failing over and over again. Now he feared the worst, if Ade didn’t come out of surgery, Tunji would never forgive him. Tunji would attribute it to his selfishness and cowardice. How could he be bold enough to allow his son die without trying again? That, for him was cowardice. Tunji sat in the corner, as he always did. Alone…It was typical of Tunji to be alone.
When he lost his wife, he had gone to Tunji’s room to talk. “You want some company?” he asked.
“No.” Tunji had replied.
Dr. Jones watched him as he scribbled into a journal. “Tunji, I am here, you know?”
“I rather be alone.” Tunji replied.
Dr. Jones nodded. “You don’t have to cry alone. If we do this together, maybe one day we would wake up and it won’t hurt so much.”
“It will hurt forever.” Tunji replied and focused on his journal.
Dr. Jones took a deep breath and walked out.
Many years had passed since that incident, but he did regret leaving Tunji to himself. He knew he should never have walked away. How didn’t he notice that his son might have slipped into depression? His wife had called it solitude, she told him that their son was creative, hence, he needed his time…he saw it as weird and now what he had seen as weird looked to be depression. He wanted to help Tunji, but he didn’t know how to…maybe he should sit with him? Ade did fit the role perfectly with Tunji, but he never was enough for him…If Ade didn’t make it, he knew he would also lose Tunji to the silence. He wanted to worry more about that, but then, he needed to also think about Ade who was laying on that table…he needed Ade to get through surgery.
Yvonne still couldn’t believe what she was doing here. She was sitting with a family she had not known up until two days ago and her whole life had taken a whole new twist. Hanging around the hospital walls, waiting in hope and belief for a man who needed her to be strong for him. She guessed it was true that some people could walk into your life and give meaning to a lot that made no sense. Was she still thinking about suicide? Yes. But then, she was here…waiting…hoping…and praying for a man she had found herself taking a liking to in a couple of days. Charles, her manager, had called endlessly to reschedule different appointments but she had no definite answer for him. Her “supposed” last two weeks on earth was taking shape and slowly becoming the most intense yet exciting phase of her life.
Her plans toward her grand exit from earth on her birthday had not suffered greatly with her new focus on Ade. She was always writing her memoir to that effect on her phone since she couldn’t go everywhere with her journal.
Her phone buzzed. She tapped on the screen and sighed as she read the Entertainment Gist; “YVONNE LAOYE KEEPS VIGIL OVER SICK LOVER.” She smiled faintly at this. She never had a reason to wait on anyone. No friend ever got so close that she would stay…but in a matter of days, Ade has been all that. As she attempted to shut the browser another news popped up. They weren’t going to stop and she knew that.
“YVONNE LAOYE REFUTES RUMOURS OF SICK LOVER, ‘HE IS JUST A MAN I HELPED’!”
Yvonne rubbed her eyes to be sure she had read the header well. She stared at Tunji and his father and prayed that none of them was using their phones at this moment. She grabbed her bag.
“Where are you going?” Tunji asked.
Yvonne blinked. “I…I have to make a call.”
“Ade said you promised you would wait.” Tunji said.
She nodded. “Yes, I did…” she replied and dropped the bag.
Dr. Jones didn’t engage in their discussion. He had resumed pacing up and down the room.
Yvonne joined Tunji. “May I join you?”
“It’s okay.” He replied and she took her seat. “Why did you want to leave? I know it’s none of my business and maybe you are even doing more than you have ever envisaged by being here, but it means a lot to Ade and to me too.” He said.
Yvonne smiled faintly. “I just wanted to make a call.”
“You can go.” Tunji said with a smile.
She shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter. I have a question for you though.”
“Ask away.” He replied.
She nodded. “What’s the story with you and your Dad?”
“Are we that obvious?” Tunji replied with a faint smile.
She nodded. “I think so.”
The loud speaker came on and Dr. Jones rushed out of the room. Tunji and Yvonne hurried after him into the hallway.
Two Doctors ran across the floor adjusting their scrubs as they made for the theatre.
“What is going on?” Dr. Jones called after them.
A Nurse intercepted him. “Doctor, we have got this under control.”
“Why are you calling for more surgeons?” Dr Jones yelled.
“Stay calm, Sir.” She replied and hurried after them.
Dr Jones rubbed his forehead as he slid into the ground.
Yvonne prayed in her heart.
Have you ever wondered what happens in your mind when you are unconscious? No…that’s the guess, because you are unconscious. But I think the mind is alive. Mine is alive. I am having fun in here, I don’t know what those guys are doing down there and I guess there’s a lot of work to keep me alive, and I want to stay too…I mean there is a beautiful lady out there, that sure is something you want to fight for. But then, I don’t know if this is really something I want. The torture of Chemo and the hope of remission…I believe I can get through this phase. I believe I can win this battle. I believe in God…it’ll all be alright. That, I know.
Yvonne adjusted the blanket on Tunji and then sipped her malt. She had tried to contact Charles for the ridiculous interview he must have granted on her behalf to no avail. She felt he must have hibernated in regret of his actions, but that was not going to stop her from punishing his actions. She walked over to Dr. Jones who was sitting in a corner. “How are you holding up?”
“I am just fine. I am just hoping.” He replied.
She nodded and took her seat. “We all are, right?”
“Yes…the Nurses said there were complications and the only reason they are not giving up is because they can still feel his heart.” He started. “You are a very good person.”
Yvonne shrugged. “I don’t know about that.”
“You have been here longer than you should. I am surprised.” He said.
“Ade is my friend.” Yvonne said. “He is my friend.” She reiterated confidently.
Dr. Jones smiled faintly. “I guess he’ll be fine.”
He rose to his feet. “You should go home. I could get someone to drop you.”
“I told Ade I’ll be here when he is out of surgery. Don’t worry about me.” She replied with a smile.
The theatre door opened and Dr. Jones and Yvonne rushed over to meet the Doctors.
“He is out of surgery.” The Doctor announced.
Yvonne heaved a sigh of relief.
“So…Chemo?” Dr. Jones asked.
The Doctor nodded. “Just a couple of tests to run on him and then we can decide how soon he can start Chemo.”
“Thank you so much.” Dr. Jones said.
The Doctor shrugged. “You and I know this is not an assurance for life, yes, we have cut, but Chemo has got to work for him, else…you know the rest.”
Dr Jones nodded. “I understand.”
“He is in A26, but he won’t be awake for a long time. You can take the night off.” He said. He then smiled in Yvonne’s direction. “I watch your movies. You are amazing.”
Yvonne took his hand. “Thank you very much.”
“All the best.” The Doctor said and walked away.
Dr. Jones smiled at Yvonne. “I’ll go find his room.”
“No, please let me do that. Break the news to your son.” She suggested.
Dr. Jones nodded and walked over to Tunji. Yvonne watched as Dr. Jones spoke to Tunji. She smiled as Tunji wrapped his arms around the older man in excitement and then she walked away to find Ade’s room.
Yvonne took her seat as she watched Ade sleep. This was not good for her. She was getting attached to Ade faster than she would normally see herself take a liking to anyone.
“Ade…” she started as she took his hand. “I am glad you made it through surgery and I am happy for you. I believe you can make it through Chemo too without any relapse. I hope you really do.” She said. “You asked me what my story was…I am frustrated. I am lonely…really lonely. I have never really had someone to call my own. Never had someone care about me for real. I have a lot of friends, oh man…you have them when you are rich. I am not happy, I wish I was. I have chased a lot of things in life that I have lost the true reason of life – love, family and friends.” She took a deep breath as she paused. “You have got family that love you, maybe there’s a lot of drama in your family and you think they will bond when you are no longer there, but it’s never always like that. Sometimes, it is the chaos that makes the love…and maybe you could stick around to help them do better. I like you, Ade. It’s been so short and I already like you so much…I don’t want to watch you die. I am not sure I have the guts to watch you go.” She paused and wiped the tears in her eyes.
Yvonne took a deep breath and rose to her feet. She fetched a paper from her bag and scribbled into it. “You’ll get my note, Ade.” She added and kissed his forehead.
“Goodbye.” She said and walked out.
Ade blinked as the sunrays came into his eyes.
“Is the reflection too much?”
He recognised his Dad’s voice. “Dad? Where’s Yvonne?”
“Oh…she left about an hour ago.” He replied, checking with his wristwatch.
Ade was agitated. “She left? I don’t even have her number!”
“Calm down, son. She left a note for you.” Dr. Jones replied as he fetched the note from his pocket.
Ade stared at the note. “Why did you let her go, Dad? Why? Where is Tunji?”
“Tunji went home to get you a change of clothes.” He replied.
Ade sighed. “Why am I getting a change of clothes?”
“We are keeping you here. Chemo starts in the evening.” He replied.
Ade opened the note slowly. “Can I have a moment please?”
Dr Jones nodded. “Of course, take all the time you want. I’ll be outside.” He replied and walked out.
Ade read the note.
“Ade, you are a very strong guy. I know you’ll get through this. Give it a good fight. Sorry I couldn’t keep my promise…but I’ll be waiting if you make it out.”
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