#np Breathless – Shane Ward
He held her hand tight. It was the only thing he could do for her right now. He watched as her chest rose and fell gently. God she looked so gaunt. It had been a long and arduous battle; the cancer had started in her left breast as a small tumour that had been removed. The doctor had told them they had nothing to fear again; he even used to tease her and call that boob ‘Scarface’…….
Two years and a mastectomy later, she was dying. The doctors said the cancer spread like it had a vendetta…..from her breasts it skipped and hopped to her lungs, cervix and ovaries…….then the leukemia hit and the doctors gave up.
Now she had asked for the life support machines to be turned off and he was here to dissuade her. He had asked her younger sister to take the twins to his mother – in-law’s. They were like two photocopies of her….it was so painful having to talk to her without having them in the room too..
She stirred and smiled. If only Jade knew how much calling him her own, in Ibibio, would always make him smile and his heart leap regardless of the circumstance.God even with her head shorn close to her scalp and the fact that she has lost a lot of weight, she still looked so beautiful
“Ake mmi, where are the girls?” she asked. “I sent them to your mother’s“ he replied
“Ok dear” she said. Then she cocked her head and said “I know that look Dapo. You can’t shift me from this course baby. Its for your….its for our own good”
“How is you dying for my own good??!!” he screamed. “You are my life. All I have…all I have strived for is to give you a better life. To give our family a better life. And you want to leave me alone….”
He broke then, the tears streaming down his face “Please don’t do this Jade….”
She giggled “You still call me Jade instead of Jadesola. After all these years you this fake Yoruba boy”
“Ake mmi” she sighed, “this is the best way. You can’t keep up with the payments. Already this ….THING” she grimaced as a wave of pain hits her…she waves him away “No no I’m fine. Or I will soon be. This thing has taken all of your savings. And mine. And the trust fund we started for the kids. And the money my dad left me when he died. Dapo face it. Im a lost cause”
“NO!!” He bellowed “ I will not watch my own wife die! You cannot ask this of me Jade…Please do not ask this of me. Ask me for anything else”
She sighed again “Ake mmi, you and I know that I have at most a few weeks left. God has seen fit to take me from this mortal coil. I have made my peace with the world. Let me go”
“No” he said again “Please Jade, Ashake mii. If you go what do you want me to do? How do you want me to live?”
She struggled till she sat up then she slapped him gently “Dapo…..You and I know you are the strong one here. You have always been my shield and pillar. And if I don’t thank God for anything I thank him for bringing you into my life. You have brought me immeasurable joy. But this you will do. For me. Because I won’t rest easy knowing you are not happy. So you will cry. A lot. You will be sad and you will be heartbroken. But you will pull it together and be a man. Be the man I married and move on. For the twins. You will raise them right and you will tell them about me and how we met and fell in love. And one day you will remarry. Because I hate the thought of you being alone ake mmi”
By now they were both sobbing. He held her close and kissed her softly. This argument was about a year old. She had wanted to pull the plug since but he kept stalling and dodging. The doctor had told him that she could ask for it to be done without his consent as she was lucid and in control of herself. But she wanted him to accept this…. this cruel twist fate had written into their story…
“ I love you Jadesola Akinbogun. Now and forever.”
“I love you ake mmi. Now and forever”
They held each other and watched the sun set. She always loved sunsets and they usually watched them as much as they could.
Later the doctor came in and when he had spoken to them, injected an anaesthetic into her glucose drip. As she fell asleep in his arms to her favourite song crooning softly from his phone’s speakers, tears streamed again from his face. But this time he nodded quietly to the doctor. The flatline noise strangely seemed to harmonise with the song as he switched the life support machine off.
#np Faraway – Marsha Ambrosius