I continued helping Ifedapo with hospital errands once I was discharged. Her mum was still on admission.
Jed had continued calling me, sending multiple apologies as texts and WhatsApp chats. I ignored all.
One day, during one of my hospital runs for the Duduyemis, I saw Joel being wheeled into the emergency unit.
Memories of my father came rushing back, he would have been part of the team taking care of him. He was particular about anything concerning medical students having to be at the emergency.
I miss you dad… You really shouldn’t have died.
I pushed the memories away as I made a mental note to check up on Joel later on.
I hope he is alright. Their final exams should start soon.
A week passed before Dapo’s mum was discharged. Her father had paid all the bills but was nowhere to be found. His numbers were not going through either.
The day she was discharged, a hamper of fruits and a greeting card was delivered. It was addressed from “Susan Famisola”.
That’s Jed’ s surname. Could that be…? Are they related?
I hadn’t particularly mentioned Jed’s surname to Dapo, so, I kept quiet. It was quite obvious this was the same Susan that had become a thorn in the flesh of the Duduyemi family.
Kezia stepped into Jed’s house and shook her head at the mess she found. ” Dear God! Lade, just look at you! You disgust me.”
He gave no reply. He seemed more interested in the invisible images on the screen of his unplugged TV. Kezia was going to have her say, anyway, she had come to break up with him.
“Anyway, I have decided to actually value the worth I possess. Took me close to five years but, here I am. You have nothing. You had me, a good deal, with you for all that time but you still whored around. Add to that, you are violent and a drug addict. I kept hoping that you’d change and one day see the light. But, I guess I’m the one who has seen the light and I am choosing to leave.”
As she was looking around for any of her things that she may have left behind, she came across a black, rectangular thing on his bed. It was a badge. She read the name on it out loud, “Miss James. I… I for Immaculate, right?”
Lade who had hitherto shown no sign of listening jerked round to face her.
“Dr. Immaculate, right? I see… An old or new conquest?” Her mocking tone was mixed with bitterness and anger.
“Kezia, leave! Now!” He didn’t know why he was shouting but he needed Kezia out of his house.
She laughed, “I should leave? I was already on my way.”
“Good, make it faster.”
“So, she has been warming your bed and you’ve been exploring, abi?”
“KZ, just go. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Oh, you don’t need to. I’d take care if this one myself. And just so you have no doubts, we are done.”
“Kezia, leave her alone. Please.”
If she heard, she gave no indication.
I found Joel in a side room of one of the neurology wards. I brought along some fruits for him.
“And who are my eyes seeing? The Immaculate James herself! Amazing!” His excitement was palpable but for the Joel I knew, it felt … Odd.
“Joel, sorry, I couldn’t come earlier. I saw you the day you were being wheeled into the emergency. That was about three weeks ago, right?”
“Yes, about that. It’s fine. I would never have imagined you coning to visit anyway. I am honored.” He gave a dramatic bow and we both laughed.
“What happened to you though? You look… Okay.” I looked round his room for a chair but found none.
He patted his bed and gestured for me to sit. “I had an accident.” He rubbed his forehead and that’s when I noticed he had a slight bump there.
Apart from that and the fact that he was on admission, there was no sign of him being involved in an accident.
“Okay… But you’re fine now, right?”
He looked at me for a while before answering, “Imma, it depends on what you mean by fine. I am not sure but I think something extra happened… I don’t know what it is but I feel it.”
I studied him. I think I also felt it. This Joel was… Different. “I think I’d go through your case note and see what they’re saying.”
It was the only way I could confirm my suspicion. He had suffered a minor injury to the frontal lobe of his brain, the part that controlled personality and some thought processes. It was possible to have drastic personality changes when such injuries occur. In Joel’s case, it seemed the injury had removed his shy, introverted nature and made him into the confident, outspoken guy I was with.
Joel nodded and thanked me. I was sure he must have picked up some ideas from the doctors during their ward rounds and it must be why he was still on admission since. Besides, Joel was too stuffy not to have suspected the same thing i did.
We spent an hour and some, gisting and having fun. He even percussed me, asking me questions as if I was the one peparing for exams. The change in him was obvious and strangely, nice. It felt great to be able to converse with him freely. Joel was now funny, deep, amiable and a lot of realizations hitting me at once.
I was preparing to leave when there was a knock at the door.
“Yes, come in.” Joel answered, sitting up slightly.
One of the ward nurses informed us that a lady was asking for me. It was Kezia. I asked Joel if he was fine with having her come in. When he answered in the affirmative, I asked the nurse to please direct Kezia to his room.
Kezia stepped into the room, beautiful as ever. It was obvious she liked gowns a lot and she knew how to pick them out. Today’s own was a white shift dress, patterend wiith purple flowers.
“Kezia!!” I stood up from Joel’s bed to hug her.
The slap had connected with my face before I realized that she had not been smiling when she walked in.
“You lying, deceitful little thing. What is this?” She held up my badge and I remembered looking for that particular one before settling for my second one.
I rubbed my left cheek and stared at her, confused and bewildered. There was anger boiling somewhere within but I kept it in check.
“That is my badge, thank you for returning it.” My voice was calm and steady. I am sure Ifedapo would have been proud of me if she was there.
“Of course I know it is yours. I found it in my boyfriend’s… Ex-boyfriend’s room, on his bed. How do you explain that, doctor?” She dragged on the last word for whatever emphasis she had in mind.
I had no idea what she was talking about and my confusion must have been written boldly on my face.
Kezia spoke again, “Lade, the name ring a bell? The guy I was supposed to marry but who would not settle down because of prostitutes like you”, She looked at Joel who was shocked beyond words, ” Is he one of your service men too, hmm?”
She looked ready to give me another slap so I finally spoke, “My boyfriend’s name is Jedidiah Famisola. I’m sorry about your boyfriend but I don’t know any Lade.”
Her sudden hysteric laugh actually scared me. Now what’s funny?
“Sweetheart, my boyfriend’s full name is Jedidiah Oluwalade Famisola. Either you’re a bad liar or an easy target for the lying likes of him.”
Her Lade is Jed? That Jed?
I was finding it difficult to understand how little the world around me had become. When i spoke again, i wanted to be sure we were really talking about the same person, “Do you mean the Jed that stays in Ikolaba estate? The Jed Line-Up guy? Huge and muscular… Abusive, into drugs? As I said the last two, it hit me. I remembered the scars I had noticed while examining her at the clinic the other day.
She looked at me as if I was delirious, “I don’t need you to describe him to me. I wined and dined and suffered for five years with that brute.”
I sat down on Joel’s bed again, my mind going back to how Jed’s place was always neat and arranged, the cooked meals in his fridge even though I never saw him cook, the unspoken rule not to visit during weekends, the lingering feminine smell around the house… I’ve been stupid, again.
“Kezia, I am sorry. I did not know.” Now, I had not only been raped, I had enlisted myself as part of the reasons why another lady couldn’t have her man. And even though this particular man didn’t deserve to be with any lady, it didn’t change the fact that I made things worse for Kezia.
It seemed the fight in her was over too as she leaned back on the door.
Joel was holding my hand in his, squeezing gently as he asked if I was okay.
“Kezia, Jed… Lade… Whatever he is, needs to be dealt with. This was his last attempt at ruining anyone’s life.”
“Mummy, the twins are crying. They need to be fed.” Ifedapo was carrying her twin brothers, attempting to rock them both at the same time.
Since they got back from the hospital, Pastor (Mrs) Duduyemi had become a ghost of herself. She refused to do anything, claiming tiredness and stress. Yet, she would not touch food she is served. Dapo had woken up several times at night to meet her awake, staring into space.
Her father’s wherabout was still unknown. Dapo had been fielding the calls from the church office, giving, ‘family matters’ as an excuse for the GO’s absence and his wife’s inability to answer their calls. With the help of JJ and Tofunmi, she had manged to get the house in order for a while. But, they were fast running out of luck. Their mother was refusing to breastfeed the twins.
“Dapo, take those things away from me. I am not a mother.” Dapo watched as her mum crumbled to the floor and started crying. The crying bouts had intensified in the past few days and Dapo was getting very worried.
She placed the twins in their cot and helped her mum back onto the bed.
“Mummy, please stop this now. You are a great mother. Your babies need you. We all need you.”
Ifedapo herself was on the verge of tears. She looked round the room, two bawling babies and a mother gradually loosing it.
Dad, where are you? Please… come back already. I can’t handle this alone… not anymore.
Just then, her phone rang. True caller showed the number belonged to Joel Onamisi.
Why would Joel be calling me?
She picked it, already formulating her line of excuse as to why she couldn’t speak at that moment.
“Dapo!!! Its me, Imma.”
Hearing Imma’s voice, at that moment, was like water to a dying man in the desert. Dapo took a seat on the floor as she allowed her friend’s voice wash over her. Maybe they also felt it somehow, the twins stopped crying and looking to the bed, Dapo found her mum was asleep.
“Babe, you don’t know how much I needed this call.” That was all Ifedapo managed to get through before her bestie launched into this jumbled tale about Jed, Lade, Joel, Kezia, cheating, attempt.
Kezia, Kezia, I know that name, where from?
“Hold up, hold up. You mean, Kezia, your patient from O&G?”
When Imma replied in the affirmative on the other end, Dapo asked her to repeat herself, slowly this time.
“Can you imagine? The idiot was doing you both? And God knows plus how manmy others. But you sef, how didn’t you know his other name?”
Imma wanted her to come over immediately.
“I can’t, Imma. I really wish I could but home is totally upside down. Sorry, I did not tell you… I did not want to bother you. Besides, shouldn’t you still be recovering from all… that?”
Somehow, Dapo managed to summarise what had been going on with her mum for a month.
Immaculate’s voice rang loud and clear through the phone, “You kept all that from me? How? Why? Girl, what were you thinking? Trying to be a hero? Doesn’t that sound like post partum depression to you? Or you are waiting till she tries to kill herself or the twins? I am coming over.”
“Please bring a cab along.” It felt good to have Imma make that call to get her mum to the hospital. Not that she had not thought of it, but, she had given lots of excuses to not act on it. She packed some things in a bag and left a note for her siblings to find once they got back from school.
The twins were going to need special care too. Even though she knew breast milk alone was best, at least, for the first six months of life, she had had no other choice but to introduce formula feeds. And those things were expensive.
For once, Dapo was proud to be from a rich home. Things could have been worse.