He screeched into a sudden halt and half jumped, half leaped out of his Toyota Mark X. The parking lot was almost empty, save for two staff vans, an ambulance and a couple of personal automobiles. From a distance I could hear the wailing of sirens, indicating the dire need for attention. The nurse in charge, I guess, rushed in to the corridor and took a left. The contours on her face were enough to detail how weary she was, courtesy of the events of the day. Dusk was fast approaching as the second and third set of sirens hit my ears.
A grasshopper leaped on to the bonnet and my subconscious self seemed to have been captured by its elegance. I could hear his voice from a distance. He sounded sombre, disappointed and confused with some tinge of urgency.
He opened the back door hastily and grabbed my left arm, gently pulling me out of the car. I gladly obliged and set my tiny feet on the tarmac of the Ge Children’s Hospital parking. He placed my tiny palm into his which were rather sweaty. His grip was stronger than usual betraying his ex military status. He tagged me along as we entered the spacious and quite busy reception.
“Excuse me Madame,” he barked amidst the din, ” could you inform me, which room one Mr. Kisa Akisa is admitted?”
I couldn’t help but notice the mosaicked and the cartoon coated walls. The whole place was a burst of colours, like a place washed with rainbows.
Room 4, ward 2 was what she said as she pointed to her left. The inscription ‘ICU’ was so evident that a blind person could well read it. Her voice was shaky and her eyes full of despair, a cocktail for departure. I had by now gotten used to this, but the inner seemed to have missed this glorious memo.
We walked steadily on the marble floor, with seemingly well calculated and orchestrated steps. We went past a leukemic kid being wheeled to the other end of the building, past briskly walking nurses, past an abandoned wheel chair, past a stretcher with a lifeless body on it, past a “misplaced”, ever jovial kid… into a waiting room with two, rather soulless bodies sobbing their lives away.
Mr. and Mrs. Akisa knew the fate that awaited them, four doors down the hall to the right. The more they had tried to ignore the fact that the past seven years were the years worth Kisa’s lifetime, the more grief clouded their hearts. They appeared to have kept tabs with reality but tonight grief was their heart beat.
He stretched out his arm, allowing my left arm to drop to my thigh to my relief.
” Fr. Odunga Andrew”
His voice was coarse, faintly unstable. Mr. Kisa stretched his arm full length towards him and shook his hand. Mrs. Kisa hurriedly wiped off her ever flowing tears. They both stood up as she greeted him.
Their eyes were full of sorrow as they casted them on me.
“Your nephew is fast growing…” her voice trailed, before bursting into more tears.
“Shall we…” Mr. Kisa offered to take us to his son’s room while trying to calm his wife down. We all stood by the door as my uncle made his way into the room. Mr. Kisa’s hand was well woven around his now sobbing wife as I leaned by the other door post.
Kisa’s room was sky blue in colour dotted with flashes of joyful toons. The floor was also marble with a fluffy carpet to keep it warm. Out of the open window, the lavish green grass lawn stretched past some mansion cowering beneath towering trees, hiding its owners exotism and wealth. There were flowers, cards, untouched fruits his favourite short story collection and the Bible on the side desk. The beeps from the life support machine were the only constant reminder of life, save from the sobbing and the soft breathing of everyone in the room.
Fr. Odunga leaned by towards him and uttered some words that left a gorgeous smile on his face. It didn’t take long before he slumped back into his old self. The infection had taken toll of him and what was once a chubby body was just a frame of bones. His cheeks were now hollow and had welled up some tears. His eyes were bloodshot and he constantly shivered like a Nokia phone on vibrational mode. His destiny was final, however much he tried to fight it. One could see the struggle in his sunken eyes.
The Priest said the final prayers as I followed for the seventh time now, the third of the year. He sought for God’s mercy upon His baptised son, who now had already turned to face his hero and heroin.
His parents broke into a cry at the face of their only kid on the verge of exiting this cruel world. They knew they could do nothing and this pained enough.
She raced to her son’s bed side and grabbed his cold palm. I felt tears welling up in my eyes as they made their way down my cheek, but made no effort to wipe them out. In solidarity with his parents, especially his mother who was visibly shattered and broken as his husband stayed strong for her despite the pain eating him inside.
She whispered to him, “Let go. Don’t fight it. Just let go. Jesus is waiting for you in Heaven.”
The beeps aligned to a single constant sound. Then hush fell in the room.