“We are going to start the process in few minutes. Do you want anyone inside with you?” The Doctor asked.
Ade stared at him. “Is Yvonne here?”
“Yvonne?” The Doctor asked.
Ade nodded. “She said she’ll be here by the time I came out of surgery…so is she here yet?”
“Erm Son…do you want me to get your father?” He asked.
“No. Just get Yvonne.” Ade replied.
The Doctor nodded. “Give me a minute.” He said and walked out.
Dr Jones walked up to his colleague as soon as he saw him exit Ade’s room. “When do you start?”
“What do you mean “never”?” Dr Jones asked, agitated.
“Who is Yvonne?” The Doctor asked.
Dr Jones took a deep breath. “Is he still asking about her? It’s been two days already. We had to put off Chemo immediately after his surgery because of her.”
“Yes, he is still asking about her…and I know this is Chemo, but Ade is slipping away and we need to get him back into that focus zone before imagining the magic Chemo might offer…so, if we don’t find Yvonne. Ade is not getting treated.”
“Oh God!” Dr Jones groaned. “Yvonne is a celebrity…and I doubt she’d want to be anywhere near my sick son. I mean, they already released information about she not knowing him and we have been unable to track her.” He added. “Can’t you just sedate him?” he asked, nervously. “Oh God, this kid is about to kill me.”
“He is not a kid anymore”
Dr Jones groaned. “He is my kid. That is never going to change. Never.”
“I guess you are right…since he is your kid, you should know how to talk to a kid to get him back in shape. The Ade in there is slipping away and fast too. Get him or Get Yvonne. Your call. However, I am putting off the session until he says he is ready to start.” He replied and returned into the room.
Dr Jones rubbed his forehead and joined Ade in the room. “Hey, Ade.”
“Hi.” Ade replied. “Is she here yet?”
Dr Jones took a seat. “She is stuck in traffic, serious traffic. But she says you should go ahead with the treatment and she’ll be here before you are done for the day’s session.”
Ade smiled. “You must think I am retarded, right?”
“Ade, your father is right.” Doctor Musa said.
Ade turned to the other doctor. “She hasn’t been here in two days and all of a sudden, she is coming today and she is stuck in traffic, really?” he said, slowly.
“So you know she is never going to come, right?” Dr Jones yelled. “You know that! Face it!” he groaned. “Let’s start this treatment.”
Ade swallowed painfully. “I had come to terms with it, you were the ones who steered up false hopes. I didn’t ask for any of this!” he yelled pulling his scrubs. “I don’t want this.”
“I am sorry, Ade.” Dr Jones said, apologetically. “I am sorry.”
Dr Musa stared at his friend. “Come on, man. He’s going to do this. Step away.”
Dr Jones groaned. “Ade, I want to be here for you.”
“I don’t want you to be here for me. I just want Yvonne. Go and be there for Tunji. He needs you more…and I might not even make it through Chemo, why wasting your time on me?” Ade asked and looked away.
“Dr Jones, the patient wants you to leave, please.” Dr Musa said, leading his friend out of the room.
Dr Jones yanked out of his colleague’s grip as soon as they stepped out of the room. “How am I going to find her? Does he want me to put up an advert of a Nigerian Celebrity and come off as desperate?”
“Well, you and I know that you are desperate and if this is the most logical thing to do, I say you do it.” Dr Musa replied.
“We are going to do everything we can to get Ade in shape for his session, but you and I know the importance of mind set and care in any treatment.” Dr Musa replied.
“All the newspapers labelled my son an imposter and some funny names, she has distanced herself from him, if I make any public move to find her, it might seem really wrong.” Dr Jones started. “Think of it as me ridiculing my son before his death.”
“Excuse me?” Dr Musa stopped him.
Dr Jones sighed. “I…I believe he will make it.”
“Jones, have some faith.”
Dr Jones clenched his teeth. “I have some faith.”
“Then have some more faith.” He replied and walked away.
What is faith in the face of fear…and what is fear in the face of faith?
11: 00 AM
Yvonne took off her headphones. An hour had passed since her door had been heavily pummelled on. Someone was at the door. It was her ex-manager, Charles. She had fired him in the wake of the interview he had given regarding Ade. She could still hear the pounding on the door. Charles had not left. She hissed and picked up a napkin. She drew her gun out and cleaned it for the fifth time that morning. It was nine days to her big day. She would clean her gun a night before the day, she would join her “acquaintances” – industry colleagues, foes under the guise of friends and other attendees to party into the night and at midnight, she would slip into her bath-tub and pull the trigger to her forehead. It would be simple, easy, and without any remorse…and then whatever would follow…could follow.
She had it all planned out. This place wasn’t home anymore.
She groaned as Charles’ thumping against her door wouldn’t stop. She placed the gun carefully in the drawer and went downstairs.
Charles pressed his face against the glass and grinned playfully. “Please.” He mouthed. He then stuck a written note on the glass.
Yvonne sighed and opened the door. “I fired you, Charles.”
“And I am begging to be rehired.” He said, folding the paper.
Yvonne stared at the paper. “Why? You couldn’t stay fired for more than two days?” she asked, turning away.
Charles closed the door after her. “Yvonne, I am really sorry.”
“Charles, what are you sorry for?” she asked. “Your interview or for being a terrible person?”
He took a deep breath. “I gave a ridiculous interview and I am sorry I hurt and betrayed the relationship we had.” He said, straightening the paper. “This is my apology speech and I will read it out to the press.”
Yvonne nodded slowly, taking her seat.
“So, how is he?” He asked, joining her on the sofa.
She stared at him. “He?”
She took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean by you don’t know?” he asked.
“I left.” She replied.
He relaxed in his seat. “You left?”
“I have never seen you so worried about anything or anyone like him…how could you ‘just leave’?” he asked.
Yvonne smiled. “Because I can.”
“Well…still boils down to the original you.” Charles replied with a smile. “You don’t care.”
Charles didn’t know better. She cared. She had spent every one of these past days thinking about Ade and that was worrisome. She had to keep her distance for her own sanity…but it seemed the more she stayed away, the more she wanted to be around him. Maybe the throttle, absence makes the heart grow fonder was working on her. Yvonne felt this was a crush, it was going to die in no time. Ade was attractive in a fresh teenage boy way, except that his thick beards were a complement to his impressive outlook. This must have struck her…but she knew it was more than this. Ade was worth it. Within such a short time, she could swear she had met the most amazing person in her life, and he was going to leave pretty soon too…she didn’t see the need to stick around and suffer too. But what if he survived?
Charles watched Yvonne stay silent and stare aloof. Maybe she did care about Ade after all. Maybe he was wrong to think she didn’t care. He had known Yvonne ever since her career set off and she was impressive. She took her work seriously and worked hard to make it to the top. She didn’t keep friends for too long, her colleagues thought she was proud…but Yvonne didn’t let the next person in. Charles didn’t understand why she was so guarded…but Ade seemed to have a little hold on her, at least, it was enough to make her stay in the hospital. He knew that had to count for something as far as Yvonne was concerned. “I think you should go and see him.” Charles said, breaking off the long silence.
“No. It’s not the wisest of things to do. The press must be crawling that place sourcing for more stories and seeing me there will only do more damage to him and his family. Besides, they must hate me already for the interview you gave.” She retorted.
“Your birthday should be a big party.” Charles started, changing the subject.
The birthday. Her birthday. She knew it was going to be a big day, but a big party? She couldn’t bet on that…maybe a big mourning. That was more like it.
“When are we having the photo-shoot for the birthday party?” Charles asked.
Yvonne turned to him. “I can’t remember rehiring you, Charles.”
“But I am sorry, I really am.” He replied.
She wasn’t convinced. “You need me more than I need you, Charles.”
“I know, but there are only few good men out there, and I am one of them.” He replied with a smile.
“I’ll take that into consideration if you get something done for me.” Yvonne started. “You are to go to the hospital or send someone, I don’t care how you do it, but it has to be neutral. I need to find out about Ade’s state of health.” She said.
“Consider it done.” Charles replied, enthusiastically. “I will get a comprehensive doctor’s report on him if you don’t mind.”
“I mind.” Yvonne said, cutting off his joy. Charles knew how to go overboard and the interview he had granted already proved it, she wasn’t going to have him create more damage.
“Did she say all these?” Ade asked as he read from Tunji’s phone.
Tunji took a deep breath. “Well, I guess so.”
“Yvonne would not do that.” Ade replied.
Tunji sighed. “Bro, you haven’t known her for so long, these people look out for themselves first…it is dangerous for her private life to be smeared in the press, so the first thing they do is to bring up a back story and deflect the attention.”
“Why did she stay for long when I was in surgery if she was going to say all these to the press?” Ade asked.
Tunji shrugged and then took his seat. “I can’t give you a reason for her actions, I believe she knows why she did this.”
“Maybe the press forged it?” Ade asked with some optimism.
His brother sighed. Ade didn’t want to believe that Yvonne would said some horrid words about him trying to get an autograph and being a stalker too.
“Right?” Ade probed, staring at the phone.
“I don’t know what to tell you, Ade.” Tunji replied. “But, what I can promise you is that we are your family and we are sticking around till the end.”
Ade returned his phone and picked up a mirror.
“Are you ready?” Tunji asked.
Ade stared at the mirror. “I don’t know.”
“Is this still about Yvonne? But Ade…you can’t be like this over a lady you barely know? I know she is beautiful and can sweep any man easily, but-”
“-It’s not about that.” Ade cut in. “You don’t know her. You don’t.”
Tunji relaxed in his chair. “Ade, what I know is that Yvonne told you she would be here when you got out and she went back on her word.”
“You don’t know why!” Ade replied.
“And you are probably never going to know why…now the sooner you realize that your family has and will always be here for us all, we need you to start this treatment.”
Ade drew the blanket over him. “Could it be because I am sick? Did she leave because of that?”
Tunji sighed. “What do you want me to say to you?”
“Nothing. I’ll be fine.” Ade replied and looked away.
Tunji stared at Ade. “What did her letter say?”
“She said she couldn’t keep her promise, but she would be waiting if I made it out.” Ade replied without looking at his brother.
Tunji nodded slowly. “Then you have to make it out…for her.”
Ade stared at him. “If I am doing this, I am doing it for me.”
Tunji smiled. “Now, that’s the spirit!”
“Go get the doctors.” Tunji said.
7: 00 PM
Dr Jones dumbed his scrubs into the nearby bin as he stepped out of the operating theatre. He had just saved a life. It might have been a minor operation but as long as it involved the knives, scalpels, clamps, dilators and other tools, it was all about saving a life. He had been in the room for hours. This distracted him from Ade who had consumed his thoughts. As he walked through the lounge, he stopped abruptly on seeing a man he had seen before in Yvonne’s company. He waited to be sure he had seen the man before. The man seemed to be flirting with a nurse…at least, that was what it looked like.
He then hurried over to him. “Hello, sir.” Dr Jones greeted.
Charles turned to him. “Hello…”
“Erm, please forgive me if I am mistaken, but do you know Ms Yvonne Laoye?”
Charles stared at him carefully. “Who is asking?”
“My name is Doctor Jones and she…I think she is friends with my son.”
Charles nodded slowly. “Hmm…I work with her.” He replied, stretching his hand.
Dr Jones took the hand firmly. “Please, I need to see her.”
“Erm…” Charles stuttered.
Dr Jones turned and saw Dr Musa in the distance. He stared at Charles. “Please give me a minute.” He said and hurried off to meet his colleague.
Charles watched him leave and then slipped out of the hospital.
“Where have you been, Doctor Jones? I had been looking for you all over since two hours now.” Doctor Musa asked.
Dr Jones sighed. “I went to the theatre, needed to get my mind off a lot of things. I performed an operation. That helped me to calm my nerves.” He replied. “Ade has me so worried, and I am beginning to blame myself for not letting him accept his fate.”
“Well, we are done with the first cycle of Chemotherapy.” He said with a faint smile.
Dr Jones gasped with a smile. “Really? Are you serious about this?”
“Yes, he is doing this. Next cycle is tomorrow. We are working on the daily cycle for the next three days and then give him a rest period to allow the normal cells bounce back, but we are slightly cautious because of the stage that he is in. However, we are very hopeful.” Dr Jones announced with a smile. “You should go and see him.”
Dr Jones nodded. “First I have to see someone.” He replied and turned in the direction Charles was standing a while ago. “He already left.”
“Who is that?” Dr Musa asked.
Dr Jones shrugged. “Someone I thought could help me reach Yvonne, but it doesn’t matter anymore.” He concluded with a smile. “I’ll go and see Ade. This is positive.” He said and hurried away.
Dr Musa smiled faintly and left for his office.
“So you think his father is looking for me?” Yvonne asked as she poured her glass.
Charles nodded. “I am led to think so. He recognised me and asked of you.” He replied.
“See how well you have made a villain of me. Good one, Charles. Good one.” She replied, taking her seat.
“I am sorry, Yvonne.” He said. “But from what I found out from a nurse. He might have started his treatment. Might.”
“Really?” she asked.
He nodded. “That’s a step in the right direction, I guess.”
“Yes, it is.” She replied with a smile.
Charles stared at her. “You are excited about this guy, right?”
“What do you mean by excited?” she asked, sipping her drink.
Charles smiled. “I think you like Ade…a little too much.”
“Yes, I do.” She replied, bluntly.
Charles gasped. “You just admitted it.”
“Yes, I did.” She replied.
He smiled. “I would have never thought I’d see the day you will admit you to liking a guy.”
“Well, today is your lucky day.” She said, dropping her glass.
Charles took a deep breath. “What are you going to do about this?”
“About what?” she asked.
Charles cleared his throat. “Your emotions. I mean, this guy is erm-”
“-Sick?” she cut in. “Is that what you are finding so hard to say?” she asked.
He nodded. “I don’t mean it the wrong way, but it is kind of scary.”
“Do you think I don’t already know this?” She asked. “I don’t know but this has happened all so fast and I don’t know what I can do about it.”
“Well, you can try to blank him out of your thoughts for a start.” He suggested. “Then maybe you try not to go back to the little memories you have with him.”
Yvonne laughed. “Charles, save your little pep talk for later. Right now, my emotions don’t think like you do.” She said, standing up. “I am going to bed. Lock the door on your way out, or use the guest room.” She said and left.
Charles smiled. Yvonne was bitten…by the love bug.
“Good morning, Son.” Dr Jones greeted as he drew the curtains back. “Did you sleep well?” he asked, pulling a chair.
“Who sleeps well in the hospital?” Ade asked as he ran his hand through his hair. Some of the hair fell carelessly into his lap. “I feel really tired.” He added.
Dr Jones squeezed his palm. “You’ll be fine, Son.”
“Why am I having another cycle this morning?” Ade asked. “I thought there was supposed to be something called Rest period?”
Dr Jones smiled faintly at his son’s inquisitiveness.
“Don’t smile. I read it up. I know my rights.” Ade replied, touching his skin. “I am going to be hairless by the time I make it out of here…if I make it out of here.”
Dr Jones took his hand. “You will make it out of here, by God’s Grace.”
“Finally religious, Dad.” Ade said with a grimace. “How long is my treatment for?”
His father smiled faintly. “Twelve weeks. You have two more days in a row and then you get a rest period of two days.”
“Whoa! I am some lucky chap, ain’t I?” Ade asked with a smile. “Twelve weeks is three months.”
“And Remission is next by God’s Grace. Look Son, you are going to be alright. Just believe.”
Ade smiled. “Where is Tunji?”
The door opened and Tunji walked in carrying a bag. “Here I come.”
Ade chuckled at the size of the bag. “What’s in there?”
“Camera. Chemo starter packs for dummies.” Tunji replied, setting the bag down.
“What?” Dr Jones queried.
Tunji smiled. “There is nothing like that actually, it’s my own invention for Ade.” He replied. “You have your own podcast feed live from this zone for the next two days, before you go on your first rest period. Isn’t that awesome?” Tunji asked laughing.
Ade smiled. His brother was a little excited. That was good news for him. “Thank you, Tunji.”
“Oh, you are welcome.” Tunji replied. “So, I know I haven’t gotten everything you’ll need for your survival period, but three months can be so short…and we are hoping that you can do this quickly.” Tunji added. “I will book us a trip to the Bahamas or any place of your choice after it.” He added.
Ade shrugged and put his bed sheets aside. “I am going to the bathroom.”
“I’ll come with you.” Tunji offered.
Ade scoffed. “You don’t want to.” He replied and shut the door after him.
“It’s all part of the side effects, Tunji.” Dr Jones explained. “The hair loss, diarrhoea and other accompanied effects. It’s all part of it.”
Tunji stared at his father. “But what if he needs help in there.”
“The door is never locked.” Dr Jones replied.
Tunji took a deep breath. “I am scared, Father.”
“Don’t be. Ade doesn’t need us to be nervous.”
Ade pulled his hair from its scalp effortlessly as he cried. This was what he didn’t want to happen to him. He just wanted to ease off from the earth’s consciousness with his gorgeous appearance, now he scared himself. Maybe he thought too much about his good looks, but he also didn’t like people feeling sorry for him based on his appearance…now he didn’t have a choice. He felt ridiculous. He felt beat down. He felt defeated…maybe he really didn’t want this Chemotherapy after all.
It was a good thing he had his father and brother in the room, that way he didn’t have so much to be ashamed off. He adjusted his scrub and opened the door back into the bedroom.
“I don’t like me.” He said as he joined them. He stopped as soon as he saw Yvonne sitting with them. He didn’t like the way she looked at him. His hair was a mess and so were his eyes and face. She looked terrified.
“Hi Ade.” Yvonne said with a smile.
She was faking it. He knew it.
“You look horrible.” She said with a soft laugh and started looking into her bag.
Dr Jones and Tunji were worried. Ade’s countenance spelled fear and Yvonne was indifferent.
“But never mind, we are going to take care of that.” She said, looking into her bag. “Ta-da!!!” she announced as she lifted a clipper and a beanie cap. “I’ve got you covered.”