The voice at the other end was hysterical and it went dead as fast as it came alive. “Hello…hello” Giorgio realized the line had cut off, he looked at his phone’s screen as if trying to see the face of the woman he just spoke to, he was sure the voice he heard was not Shade’s but it sounded a lot like Monica’s, and the message was as clear and as confusing. “Is something wrong with Shade? Well, something has to be definitely wrong for her phone to be picked by Monica, at the general hospital…” he thought about what he heard again, then it struck him he didn’t get which of the general hospitals, or maybe Monica didn’t even say it. He tried the number again but it was not connecting; he tried again and again but kept hearing the same automated female voice “Sorry, your call cannot be completed at the moment; please try again later”
“Stupid dumb network” he muttered under his breath as he got out of Thunder’s car, slammed the door and headed for the gate. He soon got out of the premises, distraught and worried, he suddenly realized he didn’t tell Thunder where he was going or why he was going; if he did, maybe Thunder would even let him use his car. He turned back towards the club premises but a thought hit his mind that he wasn’t sure which of the general hospitals he was going to and he might need to permanently be on his phone trying to call Shade’s number back for more information; therefore, he might not be able to concentrate on driving. He made another quick U-turn, hailed the next available cab and jumped in.
“Well-done Oga, where we dey go?” the cab driver asked courteously.
“Errrmmmmm… errrrrrrmmmmm… general hospital”
His brain quickly did a count of general hospitals he knew around the Mainland. ‘Shomolu general hospital, Mushin, Igando, Ifako – Ijaiye, Ketu, Agbowa, Yaba, Ebute Metta, Ajegunle, Surulere, Ikorodu, Isolo, Orile-Agege, Gbagada and Ikeja’
“Yes! Ikeja, the General Hospital at Ikeja,” He figured that if she was able to come to his house in Ogba 3 months ago on the morning of an environmental sanitation day, then she must be staying somewhere around the mainland, probably with Monica. And logically, she would be taken to a hospital closest to their house at that time of the night, especially if she was being admitted for the first time. So, he concluded his search might as well start from the General Hospital, Ikeja. Moreover, he knew a doctor working there while he was in school and he would probably help him trace which hospital she had been taken to if he did not find her there.
“Your money na N4000 sir” the car jerked forward as the cabman engaged the gear without waiting for a response from Giorgio who had his phone pressed to his ear.
“Oga, let’s go abeg, I’m in a hurry” Giorgio said, hitting the redial button again on his phone. He cursed his telecoms network under his breath and wondered why he decided to stick with them as the automated voice repeated the same message, he was about to hit the redial button when he paused, closed his eyes and caressed his forehead as if trying to calm himself or recall something; he scrolled through his phone menu, opened the inbox option and read Shade’s last sms over again,
‘…But I can’t go on living without you. I CAN’T’. LIVING! CAN’T!
The two words jumped right at him as if they were never there before. “Is Shade trying to harm herself because I’m not taking her back? Monica said she was dying; did she try to commit suicide? She was a lot of things; passionate, emotional, desperate maybe, but suicidal? That would be something very new to me” He thought as he wished the cab would move faster.
Two medical assistants wheeled her on a gurney through the hallway of a packed waiting room where relatives and families of in-patients were either waiting on them or waiting for them, one of the assistants was holding up her wrist that was still squirting blood intermittently. Monica followed; sobbing; clutching two phones, one belonging to her and the other to Shade.
“Madam please, wait here” one of the medical assistants said to Monica as Shade was about to be wheeled into the theater.
“Is the Doctor coming now? Will she be attended to now?” she asked hysterically
“Yes, I am here ma’am” a voice boomed behind her; she turned around to come face to face with the doctor, a pleasant middle-aged man, neatly dressed in sparkling white coat; wearing a pair of glasses and a stethoscope hanging around his neck.
“Thank you Doctor, please help me save my friend, don’t let her die please” she pleaded
“Calm down ma’am, it might not be as bad as it seems. Luckily, the affected vein appeared to have gone into spasm and it’s sealing itself off. So, let’s just do our job, determine the extent of the injury and hope we’ll only need to stitch” he said as he disappeared into the theater.
Monica sat down and checked both phones for missed calls or sms but there was nothing; she remembered Giorgio called earlier when they were arriving at the hospital but she couldn’t stay on the phone because she had to get the nurses to attend to Shade who was bleeding profusely, and she was not sure if he heard her well or not. She decided to call Giorgio back and give him the full detail, she scrolled to received call option and with shaky hands, hit the green button. “Sorry, you call cannot be completed at the moment; please try again later” She exhaled as she remembered the event that led to Shade being rushed to the hospital.
She got back home very late that night, after a supposed casual dinner with Chief Odogwu had turned into an evening of marathon coitus, which left her worn out and needing a long sleep. She dropped her key on the dining table and was about moving away when she saw a neatly folded note; she recognized Shade’s handwriting as she glanced through the boldly written inscription at the back ‘To Giorgio, My Endless Love’. She picked and read through it in a rush.
‘I don’t know how to say this but I might as well anyhow, since I have nothing left to lose as I’ve already lost everything. They say the perfection of love lies in its imperfections; I committed a blunder and I know it hurt you rather than made you angry, I am broken inside and words will never be able to express how sorry I am. But how do I continue to say I’m sorry when words are never going to be enough? How do I continue to ask you to forgive me when I know I can never forgive myself? There was a time I saw my life with you, a future with you. But now, I am just shattered; due to my own foolishness I am tortured everyday. These days, I wake up not wanting to wake up, I feel dead inside. But, I must end it, there is no hope left and I hope I’ll be at peace. If anyone is reading this I might have already left or about to leave. – Shade’
She sprinted towards Shade’s room, as she realized what the note meant; Shade had tried to kill herself once by taking overdose of oxycodone combined with belladonna and a bottle of firefly vodka, when the guy she left Giorgio for equally dumped her after she got pregnant for him. She was taken to a hospital in Ibadan where she was treated, and the pregnancy was eventually terminated.
Monica tried Giorgio’s number again, but it wasn’t connecting; she was really feeling sleepy now and she decided to send a text leaving the full details until Giorgio got to the hospital “We are at the general hospital, Ikeja. Shade tried to kill herself – Monica” she looked at the phone for a while, her eyes were heavy, she yawned; she was tired and needed to sleep.
Giorgio was getting impatient with the cab driver, he was not moving fast enough for him, the Fuji music shrieking in high pitch from the speakers of the car stereo was pissing him off the more.
“Oga, can you please speed up a bit? I’m in an emergency situation abeg” Giorgio said as he continued dialing Shade’s number, he cut the call in frustration as it wasn’t connecting; he caressed his forehead again and sighed as the cab continued moving at a snail speed. A message notification came in, he clicked it open at the speed of light; his heart palpitated in fear as he read the message from Monica and he silently prayed Shade should not die because of him, he turned to the driver. “Oga, move this car please”
Thunder finished his drink and checked his wristwatch, Giorgio had been in the car for more than 30 minutes, he wanted to go and drag him back to the party as he was missing out a lot on the fun, but he decided against it. “It’s the matter of the heart and happiness; if he wants to stay on the phone all night talking about it, fine! I will just have all the fun with my colleagues” he thought as he rejoined the merry crowd.
The third mainland bridge was almost deserted save few cars which were speeding past the cab Giorgio was in and into the darkness, making it seem like his cab was moving backwards, Giorgio was feeling uneasy, he wanted to jump out of the car and fly if he could, suddenly he heard a rapid continuous thumping sound from beneath the vehicle, he strained his ear
“Driver, what’s that sound?”
“Ehn? What sound?” the driver replied hastily with a question, he strained his ear before turning down the car stereo, and then he sighed.
“E go be my tire, make I check am” he said as he pulled over beside the railings
Giorgio hit his forehead in anger, “Shit! Bullshit! How can you tell me your extra tire is also bad?” he charged at the cab driver angrily.
“Oga, cool down na, no be my fault. The tire dey ok before I commot for house, I no know wetin less am”
“I don’t even know what to say to you, honestly I don’t know” he paced angrily, moved towards the road and tried to flag some of the few vehicles speeding past them down but none of them stopped. He checked his wristwatch; it was few minutes to midnight. “I have to get out of here, I have to see Shade”. He muttered under his breath. He heard a motorcycle coming towards them; he prayed it would stop; he moved into the middle of the road and waved – frantically.
“I don’t use my bike to do Okada business, I work as a security guard somewhere on the island and I’m just heading home because my reliever came late” the man on the motorcycle said after he stopped.
“Please, just help me, my wife is dying at the hospital and I need to be there to donate blood, please.”
“Ok, what about the man with you?”
“Abeg, leave that guy, he is just a useless cab driver who would not maintain his car. Please, just help me” he replied as the man motioned him to mount.
They disappeared into the night.
Benny enjoyed his meal of roasted catfish and cold beer; he was at a place called ‘tatafish’ where a friend directed him to in Port Harcourt. “I must definitely visit this joint again before leaving this town” he thought as he picked his phone to call Thunder. He had been calling Giorgio but couldn’t get through to his phone; Thunder picked at the third ring.
“Hey dude! Happy birthday. No vex say I never call you since morning, I have just been busy, I have been calling Giorgio’s number but couldn’t get through. I told that guy to ditch his network provider but he is there forming loyal customer, is he there with you?” he paused to listen to the voice on the other end.
“What is he doing in the car? Abeg, go and drag him out joh and call me back. Joan has been reporting him to me that he’s been avoiding her lately; I need to preach some sense into that guy’s skull. Besides, I have been having some strange feelings about him today”
“…Ok, I’ll wait for your call”
The motorcycle headed down Iyana-Oworo end of third mainland bridge, travelling at full speed on the outside lane, close to the railings; Giorgio brought out his phone from his pocket, attempting to dial Shade’s number again.
The rider didn’t see the truck parked without a reflector or any form of caution signage on time; he braked hard but it was too late; the motorcycle skidded on the tarred surface, the phone flew out of Giorgio’s hand and the two men tumbled in the air as the impact threw them off – there was a splash in the lagoon and a thud on the asphalt.
Watch Out For Episode 5