Nike finally opened her heavy eyes languidly. She found herself in the hospital bed and tried sitting up until there was a sharp unbearable pain in her abdomen. Series of drips and a pint of blood were injected into her and automatically her weak hands reached for her stomach. It was very flat; she had lost her baby, her precious baby. Tears of grief and pain fell weakly down her cheeks in abandonment.
In a flash, Segun stood by her side, his pupils were dull grey in pain.
“I” she said weakly amidst tears “I lost my baby” Nike cried more as she felt her treacherous emotions break loose, it reminded her of losing Madina.
“Shh” he put a gentle hand on her forehead storing it gently “its okay,” he said gently
“No, No. it’s not okay,” she said crying “It would never be okay”
“It’s all my fault,” he stared into her eyes sadly with tears. “I should have been there, in the house, I…” tears broke out of his eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. That I’m never there for you when you need me the most… I’m so sorry” they cried together for a long time until he finally sat in a chair beside her bed.
“How long have I been here?”
“Over a few hours,” he managed a little smile. “I was so worried, your mother and your best friend were here for a long time. I chose to stay until you wake up.”
She couldn’t smile at him; she was heartbroken and grieving over her baby’s death. The second child Nike looked away “Can I have a cup of water?”
Segun got up and poured out a cup of water from the water dispenser at the end of the room, he helped her hold the cup while she sipped the water gradually.
“I think you should go to sleep now Nike”
“I want to talk about something with you”
“Maybe we should discuss tomorrow, you really need your rest,” he whispered to her gently.
“Please,” Nike gave him a pleading look and let out a deep breath.
“Alright,” he replied reluctantly, “shoot.”
“I want you to go back to your wife.”
Segun stared at her not shocked, his expression was hard to read and he said nothing.
Nike swallowed back tears, she had to do this, she had to set things right for once and it was the hardest thing to do in her life, something told her the next few days would probably be her last. She wanted to die; it was time to leave them alone. She sighed tiredly in her heart looking at her beloved through tear filled eyes.
“Segun can you do that for me?” She asked, her voice was shaky.
Segun looked at her, his heart was in shreds at this point and he had lost his sense of direction.
He shook his head negatively “I don’t understand Nike, I thought we talked about this.”
She stared at him tiredly with a little sad smile, “Segun please do this for me, you have to promise me. Please I need you to”
“What has come over you Nike? Don’t you love me anymore?” his voice shook as he asked her, looking straight into her eyes. Segun held her hands by the side of the bed.
“I’d always love you Segun,” she replied as tears slid down the corner of her eyes, with great effort she carried his hand to her lips and planted a loving kiss there, she placed it there for a minute inhaling the scent of him, she could never forget the smell and never forget the man. “I need you to do this… For your daughter”
“We’ll sort it out Nike please get well for me.”
“I doubt if that could happen now,” she said through tears and he squeezed her hands tighter in fear
“Please don’t say that Nike, I need you now please don’t die on me I won’t be able to live through it.”
She wiped the tear from the corner of his eye, “I’m still here okay?” she replied gently. Nike stared painfully at the dark head bent in agony, tears escaped her eyes, it was harder than she could ever imagine. She closed her eyes in deep sorrow. This time she knew for sure she didn’t have much time left.
“Nike!” her mother rushed into the room dropping her bag on a nearby chair. She stood beside her daughter’s bed worriedly. Nike still closed her eyes; she was still too tired to face any of them.
“What did you do to my daughter Segun?” Funke eyed him with anger. “What? You caused us enough trouble already!” She said crying, “why don’t you just leave her for me? My daughter deserves to be happy too!”
She heard no sound from Segun and she opened her heavy eyelids a little, Segun sat by the water dispenser staring into space, is mind seemed to be far off. Nike closed her eyes tiredly.
Funke put her hand over her daughter’s hand close to tears, she looked at her worriedly. The place was very quiet with only the sound of her mother’s whimpers.
The doctor came in with a stethoscope hanging around his neck “Good morning everyone,” his smile was serene.
Funke shifted aside as the doctor walked up to his patient. He checked her pulse and she opened her eyes halfway.
“Ha! My wonderful patient, you are awake.”
She smiled a little and she closed her eyes while he examined her, his eyes were grave as he looked up.
“Doctor is she okay?” Funke asked worriedly.
He nodded and smiled a little. “I’ll just get the nurse to bring her drugs in a few minutes”.
He turned and left the room and Segun followed him behind. “Doctor, can you tell me if she’s really alright?”
The doctor bent his head and looked at him, “let’s just wait and see how far this goes”.
“Tell me the truth doctor; she said some things to me yesterday”.
“Really?” he asked surprised and he took in a deep breath and sighed to himself.
“She may not survive this right?” His voice shook as he asked the hopeless question.
“She lost a lot of blood and apart from that she is going through a very severe psychological trauma, I’m afraid that is not my field sir, so I don’t know much about it…. But it seems she has lost all will to survive”.
He looked away, it was hard to take the news in but he knew from the moment she woke up that he may lose the last person he has ever loved so much in his life. “Thank you, doctor”.
“Let’s just keep praying, things may later change for the better,” with a gentle pat on the back, the doctor left him walking down the corridor.
He stood outside the door, he could hear her weak voice, and it made him want to weep as his heart sank deeper into his chest. Segun stood outside the door and waited for mother and daughter to have their privacy, though right now he needed to be alone, he wanted to think; a part of him wondered why he could be this soft-hearted for a woman so much that he could cry for her when she hurt him. What sort of man was he? How would he live without her? It would have been better if they hadn’t met again at all.
He parked in front of his house… Tola’s house and expelled a deep breath. It took him a second to gather his thoughts together, he wanted to be by Nike’s bedside, she had been in the hospital for 3 days now and to him, she wasn’t doing any better, he was seriously thinking of referring her to a psychiatrist probably from next week.
He got out of the car and entered the compound as the gate was already opened, he wanted to pack all of his things, which was why he came, he had made his decision and he wanted to be with Nike and no one else. The door to the kitchen was also opened and he made his way to the sitting room through the kitchen, Tola and their daughter were in the sitting room watching a cartoon. Yinka sprung up as soon as she saw her father and ran up to hug him vigorously.
“Daddy!” She exclaimed beaming as Segun laughingly carried her up in the air, he missed her so much.
“My little angel! I’ve missed you so much!” he said smiling happily. Tola got up from he chair expressionless.
“How did you get in?”
He dropped the little girl who clung to his legs smiling up at him and stared at the mother. “The door of the house was open”.
“Ahmadou must have gone out as usual,” she whispered to herself.
“Daddy, are you staying?” their little girl asked, they both looked at each other and Segun tore his gaze away from his wife’s gaze.
“No honey, I have loads of work to do”.
Yinka pouted and wailed, “Daddy! Mummy said you travelled and now you’re going again!”
“Yinka honey, go and look for something to play within your room,” she smiled a little at her daughter “Daddy and I have some work to do”
Yinka stared at her father. ”Will you still be around?” he nodded and she reluctantly went upstairs, neither of them spoke until they heard the door upstairs shut.
Tola spoke first, “I can’t keep lying to her Segun”.
He said nothing and waited he knew she wasn’t finished all he could think of now was the conversation he had with Nike during the past 2 nights.
“How long do you think we can keep this up Segun?”
“I just came to pick up a few of my clothes Tola”.
She made a short frustrated laugh, “If we are getting a divorce I think it’s fair that it should be quick”.
Segun shrugged, “If anyone wants to issue a divorce it’s you, I’m the one who’s committing the adultery”.
She nodded not trusting herself to speak for a moment as she fought tears desperately, “I don’t want this family to break Segun, I don’t want our daughter living her life from a broken home”.
He said nothing and she continued, “I believe we can sort this thing out”.
“Look to be candid, on your part I messed up badly”. Segun said staring at her heartbroken face, “I think it’s fairly too late to come back. I’m not an irresponsible man and whatever decision I take it’s of my full knowledge, what sort of man would I be to come back?”
It was her turn not to reply and he continued “Look,” he hesitated before continuing, “She’s in the hospital and she needs me more than ever”.
He didn’t see the discomfort in Tola’s eyes and he bent his head to the floor.
“Really?” she tried sounding casual “What happened?”
“I don’t know, she has refused to talk” he replied gravelly making Tola’s heart twist with the way he loved this woman. “She needs me and I am not ready to let her down… not again”.
She walked to him and put a hand on his cheek “I understand”.
“No”, Segun removed her hand and walked away, “You’d never understand” he paused and then said distantly, “she’s the only woman I’d ever love this way”.
Tola looked away at his statement with tears in her eyes threatening to fall; it was very hard for her to be in this position.
Segun laughed and continued distantly, his laugh was full of sorrow. “Funny enough she wants us back together, she said it’s her last wish”, he said quietly but loud enough for her to hear and she swallowed in guilt, “God!, I love her so much!” He burst out into tears in his sunk eyes, they stood like that for a while, none of them knew how long because the minutes seemed like hours. Segun’s phone rang snapping them both out of the phantom. He picked it up it was a call from the hospital. Nike had gone into a coma.
He sat down and stared into space, Tola was beside him in the hospital against his wish, the doctor came out with his stethoscope hanging around his neck. Segun stood up and walked to him full of anxiety and Tola followed behind.
“Doctor, what happened?” Segun asked his voice was full of panic.
“I don’t know, she just went straight into a coma,” the doctor replied gravely.
“How is she?”
“I honestly don’t know what to say Mr Peters; I can only tell you that the rest of the healing process is up to her and God” he replied gravely. “She’s been drifting in and out of consciousness for the past few hours but we’ve been running some tests on her”.
Segun absorbed this in silence trying to balance his thoughts. “Can…” he stammered “Can I see her?”
The doctor sighed and nodded. “Please make it quick, she’s been placed under intensive care”
“Thank you very much,” he said and entered the room. His breath caught at the sight of Nike’s unconscious body with the drips and oxygen mask over her nose. He looked at the heartbeat detector machine and her heart rate was steady but slower than it should be.
He sat by her bed and Tola leaned at the door post, her eyes watered with tears that her pride fought against; guilt and envy of how much her husband loved this woman raged through her whole being. She had never seen him this way, so helpless.
Segun sat in the chair close to the bed and wrapped Nike’s hand in his, it was cold and pale and he wept into those hands, he missed her so much and he was ready to lose everything to save her, he didn’t care about the office, he hadn’t seen it for close to two weeks but he didn’t care; he had a P.A.
He missed this woman and he wept for her, for the pain she was going through, the fact that he was never there for her whenever she needed him the most.
“I love you, Nike,” he said between tears “I love you,” he continued softly “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” he said through tears. “Don’t die on me now Nike, not now?” he said mumbling.
“Don’t beat yourself up Segun” Tola called softly standing behind him, “She can’t hear you”
Segun looked at Nike’s face half covered with the oxygen mask, her eyes were closed, “She’s unconscious,” he said defensively, “not dead”.
Tola said nothing feeling tears caught up in her throat as she watched her husband anxious for another woman. They stayed that way for a while, the atmosphere was grey and Tola stood behind her husband watching Nike and remembering the incident that led to the woman being here. She knew that Segun would never forgive her if he found out what really happened and she was grateful that the woman never said a word. She stood and a tear came out of the corner of her eye which she hurriedly wiped off.
They both didn’t know how much they stayed that way until Segun finally spoke: “I think you should go back to the house Tola”.
“I want to be with you”.
He half turned and looked at her “Why? This doesn’t concern you”.
“You are my husband,” Tola replied gently, “No matter what happened you are still my husband and I love you… I can’t leave you now”.
He said nothing and turned round to face Nike again praying and hoping she could come out of her state of coma.
Nike sensed their presence and heard them, but she…couldn’t move. She felt stuck in an unknown dimension like a time quantum; Remembered her daughter Madina… she could see her laughing innocently. Madina was so pretty, so angelic. She saw herself in the hospital when Madina died, the feeling of loss came rushing back to her, her eyes watered but no tears came out and then she remembered Segun, her thoughts softened she felt like she was in paradise with him and Madina, god, they were so happy, happier than they had ever been, she liked it here, this was definitely heaven; could feel herself drifting out of this strange and she fought weakly not to let it go as she drifted slowly back into reality.
“Segun” she called out weakly opening her eyes halfway, her voice was almost a whisper. Her heart beat faster as she hurriedly called out in her heart that he should hurry, time was running out quickly as she drifted slowly back into the paradise, the images of her family slowly became vague.
Segun scrambled in his chair and Tola rushed outside the room to call the doctor or a nurse hurriedly “Yes love” he replied anxiously.
There was no answer and he panicked until she slowly spoke: “I can see Madina”.
“Really,” he replied and he smiled almost perilously. “Please don’t die on me now Nike please,” he said desperately, “please Nike I’m begging you please”.
“Go back to her,” she said her voice getting fainter as she smiled a little, a weak smile. “Do it for Yinka, Madina wants you to be happy”.
She said nothing and Segun stood up desperately,y “Doctor!” he shouted at the top of his voice full of panic, “Doctor!”
Nike could hear his voice from a distance, his face was fading away as her eyes slowly closed, she could feel the little breath left in her going away, her body was going numb fast… she had little time left, at least she would see Madina and Segun in a better place she thought as she said a short prayer of forgiveness to God.
The doctor rushed in with the nurses and Tola followed behind.
“Nike” Segun screamed with tears in his eyes, “Don’t die on me now, I love you,” the nurses were already ushering them out of the room as the doctor brought out the heart pump.
Nike made a little smile. “I love you too, Forever,” she said in almost a whisper but Segun read her lips and then the heart rate detector went into a simultaneous tone the diagram was a straight line. She had given up her ghost.
Segun screamed and fought his way to her holding her hands, they were cold now and she was truly dead, he wept as the feeling of emptiness and loss washed over him.
Tola looked at the heartbroken man and his dead lover and tears filled her eyes. It was too late already for them all, she knew they would both live with the guilt especially her and Segun who was always so sensitive about her. She should have guessed years ago, he never loved her. She should have left Nike alone.
The scene before her was in a haze as she was lost in her thoughts.
Segun stood in front of their graves and smiled a little comforting smile, he still felt their loss especially Nike. Maybe he would never heal.
The grave was covered with white flowers; pretty little white roses, they always liked that, he smiled again and looked forward, the clouds were forming. It was going to rain again. He had to get back home to Tola and his daughter, at least his daughter was his only reason to live… would always love his first family; would always want to be with them. He sniffed; a sad tear drop came from the corner of his eye. At least she was happy in heaven; he could almost touch her, though he wished he could see her one last time… one last time would never be enough. He loved her in ways he would never understand, not even Tola could understand.
He would always come here, would always be drawn to this place because this was where they were. She must have been smiling down at him as the clouds parted ways to a refreshing sunshine.
His smile was happier and more alive. God bless their souls. Love was so traitorous and funny, the way you love a person alive and love them more when they are gone, maybe because you didn’t get the chance to say good bye or because you never got enough time with that person but you’d never understand… never. He remembered her favourite movie; Fools among the Angels… the love song they played.
He would always cherish them. Forever. He would always love them both, but he had to go to move on with life, stop holding on to memories of the dead and make more memories of the living instead. She would want that the most for him now, not to dwell on the past and make a life out of the present. He was forever in love with her. Forever grateful to her.
Segun smiled one last time to himself and walked away from their graveside to go home.
What do you have to say to Oyindamola Dosunmu the author of LITTLE WHITE FLOWERS? Send it as a comment to this post or directly to her email box email@example.com. Tell her how gifted she is, this will mean a whole lot to me, thank you 🙂
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Written by: Oyinda Dosunmu
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