Hi, and welcome (back). Thanx for all the love you’ve shown the series so far. We didn’t plan for the break to be this long. Glad we can pick up from where we left off. Happy val’s in arrears. 😀
Today’s writer is a man with hands in lots of pies. He does as he preaches and is amazingly thorough. I’m excited to have Obafuntay on here – and he’ll be waiting in the comments section too. Let’s dive!
“Police is your friend” – #Naija Police
You know that pungent feeling of impending doom, when you walk through a hospital corridor? That one you recall for years after the last visit? I don’t feel it anymore; I’ve been through so many it’s begun to feel normal. The past two years have seen me go in and out of hospital more times than I can count. A part of me dies every time I step back in. So, more of me has gone in than has come back out. Still, my concern is not for myself; I’m healthier than a race horse.
I work in the police department and fight crime by day. At night, however, I’m reduced to a living statue besides his wife’s dying bed. We been here at this point so long I know the names of every nurse and doctor in over ten hospitals. I’ve seen patients come and go – some to joy and cheer, others to tears and eternal silence.
The stench from the wards reminds me of the unavoidable end to man’s every endeavour. The place I once dreaded as a kid has now become like home. Every night, after a long day protecting this sham of a city, I take my place beside her. Anyone would prefer the comfort of a proper bed – but I find myself unable to leave. If the angel of death chooses to come by night, he would feel my rage. And, if her God brings reprieve, I’d be here to force a thousand years.
We had lost all we had to stage after stage of chemotherapy. Now that she’s reached the final stage, we just cannot find a dime to pay. Cancer be cursed; I’ll stand by her! It’s the very least I could do for a woman who has been my backbone through the many years.
Even though she spoke so fondly of Him, her God and I never paid each other much attention. I’ve done a good job of looking after myself so far. Bur now, I need a miracle. We need to talk; He needs to listen. She’s put in too much faith to be left hanging; he must see all she’s been through, how far we’ve fallen from grace!
Five short years ago, life couldn’t be better. Graduating tops from the police academy and getting married to my high-school love, it all felt like a fairytale. She was my pride and joy, choosing to believe I could make a difference – even when the world said otherwise. Even my parents said I would outgrow the ‘childhood fantasy’. I didn’t; if anything, the resolve grew stronger – particularly when I lost my uncle in a daylight robbery.
Veronica became my light in the ensuing darkness. Her words coloured my day and her giggles were a sweet melody. She gave me the strength to go through the academy. She reminded me of the power of dreams when everyone else said I better off quitting. “A tree does not make a forest”, “no such thing as a good cop”, “we’ll see how long you last”. All she said was “you’ll succeed if your heart’s in it”. I did; we did – but that felt like ages ago.
‘Non-cooperation’ got me in quite a few issues with my superiors – and, after a number of those, I was posted to the uncompleted terminal. Somewhere I couldn’t get in the way of their largesse; ‘far from the action’ – as they put it.
The position was stagnant, lifeless and depressing – no friends, no shoulder to lean on. Even the nurses in Veronica’s ward mocked me beneath their breath; they said I brought the curse on her. To every cause, a cost; a price to pay for being upright!
In hindsight, it was probably a bad idea to go against the society’s norms – skewed as they were. What did I have to show for being the honest cop in a sea of rot? Now, I’m shut out of everything; I can’t even get a deserved promotion – not in this mud-pile. No one wants a ‘stiff’ whistleblower around his table; they prefer a piper whose tunes change with currency. The unsavoury tragedy of commons. Now, more than ever, I needed a miracle – and, it came.
All I had to do was call in sick on the very day I had a night shift. Nothing unusual; everyone could use some extra rest once in a while. Plus, nothing ever happened around that part of the world anyway. Still, it went against every fibre of my being and belief. But, how could I refuse? How?
A friend in need is a friend that feeds. They knew about my wife’s condition and offered to foot the bills. Half before and half after the night shift I was to miss. I had just the one thing to do: stay off work! Anyone with half a brain would have smelt a rat; not a man this desperate to save his wife.
Thoughts of all those nights by her side rushed through my head. The doctor had said she had a very good chance of making it after the last stage of chemo. I couldn’t deny her that to prove a ‘stupid’ point to an ungrateful world.
How could something so wrong feel so right? It made sense. Anyone would understand – even the most callous judge. The fact is I didn’t know what ‘they’ were up to. The real truth is that I didn’t care enough to ask. I wasn’t going to lose my cupcake. Not now; not today. Today, I eat my cake and have it.
I thought I had seen God’s face – but it was all a mirage. I knew that the second the message came in. ‘They’ had killed someone on my turf – on what should have been my watch. It’s not what Veronica would have wanted. I couldn’t deny the truth anymore. She would have given her life to save another’s; not taken one to save herself.
My decommissioned tear glands rushed back into service. It was the sort of dilemma a human should never have to face. Not alone; not ever. But, if you knew her, you would know I had only one thing to do. Even if I couldn’t restore the life I had caused to fall, I had to take the money back – immediately. Her God didn’t believe in shortcuts – and she was His first before being mine.
It wasn’t the miracle I had asked for, but finding the strength to do the right thing in such a moment was more than a man could achieve by himself.
I would head to the terminal and arrange decent transport for the departed. I owed it to him – to the state. I would also refuse to lie about the circumstances. If it meant the end of my career, so be it.
I sent a message back to my ‘benefactor’ asking him to pick the money where he had dropped it. At some point before we finally drown, Veronica’s God would just have to stage a rescue!
Ese is doing some really remarkable work. Please take a moment to encourage her here.
There’s also a ton of new stuff in the gallery 😉