The minutes of waiting soon turned into hours. I sent Kara and Rachel home with the two sleeping children. I tried to make Charis and Liam go too but they wouldn’t budge. I didn’t even bother asking Brian to leave because I knew he wouldn’t move a muscle.
My whole body was tired, my mind was too. I didn’t quite understand why life would keep throwing stones my way.
“Sweetheart, what’s running through your mind?”
I hesitated a bit.
“Don’t even try saying you’re only worried about Mille and Elliot because I can see there’s more to it.”
“A thought crossed my mind.” I paused.
“Go on darling.”
“Do you think God let this tragedy fall on Mille to punish me for the life I once lived?”
“My goodness! Where did that come from?”
“I don’t see any other reason why she should suffer like this. Even if she’s done a couple of wrong things in her life, she’s not a bad person. I think she’s the sweetest girl I’ve ever known.” The tears came again.
“I think the same goes for you too, darling. You may have done a couple of wrong things in the past but you’re not a bad person. You’re the sweetest woman I’ve ever known. I don’t think God is punishing Mille because of you. He had a reason for taking Jathniel and if he pleases, he’ll tell us that reason here on earth but you know he could still decide to tell us why when we get to heaven. So don’t torture yourself wifey.” He pulled me closer to himself.
“Thank you Liam.”
“Mille and Elliot will be fine. I’m sure of it.”
I nodded a response. I saw two doctors walking towards us. I searched their faces for something I could hold on to but they maintained a blank look. We all rose to our feet at the sight of them.
“We apologise for taking longer than we informed you. The truth is that we almost lost the gentleman but I’m pleased to tell you that for now, they are both doing fine.”
I think everyone in the room released their breaths simultaneously. I sat down and buried my face in my palms, rendering my silent thanksgiving to God.
“We still need to watch the knee of the gentleman really well. The shot he got to his knee must have been from a super trained hand.”
“Doctor, when can we see them?” Brian asked.
“You can see them just as soon as they are taken to their rooms. They should be awake by tomorrow.”
“ I suggest you all go have some rest after you see them. We wouldn’t want to admit a whole family please. It’s almost midnight” The other doctor spoke up with genuine concern in his eyes.
“Thank you doctors. We appreciate your help. May God bless you for us.” I said to them.
“Glad to be of service ma’am. Excuse us.” The second doctor replied. After some minutes, they were wheeled out of the operating room to their respective rooms. Luckily, the rooms were just opposite each other so we didn’t have to cross country to visit the next person.
I forced Charis, Brian and Liam to go home while Jason, Gloria and I stayed on.
“Don’t take Charis to her house please. She just lost a son and the other isn’t awake yet.” I told Liam.
“I know. She’ll sleep over tonight then I’ll take her there tomorrow to freshen up before we come back. Take care okay? We’ll come as early as we can.”
“Thank you darling.”
“I’ll call at intervals. If anything comes up, let me know.”
“Yes dear.” I escorted them outside before going back to Mille’s room.
“Aunt, let me check on Gloria since you’re here.” He got up as soon as I walked in.
“Okay son.” For the remaining part of the night, Jason moved between the two rooms. I also went to check on Elliot a couple of times. Sleep was very far from my eyes. I spent time looking at Mille’s gentle sleeping face. More than once, I checked her pulse to be sure my baby was still alive. I couldn’t close my eyes for one minute because I feared she would die on me. It felt as if her being alive depended on me staying awake to watch her.
Daybreak met us still afraid, hanging on to a loose thread of hope. Everyone came back around 7 am. They all looked horrible except the kids. They didn’t understand the gravity of what was going on and for a while, I envied the peace they had. Only me, Brian and Kara were in the room when Mille opened her eyes. The others were with Elliot who was still unconscious.
“Mille? My baby.” I called to her softly as she turned her head to face me.
The doctor came in at that moment.
“She’s awake doctor.”
He smiled as he greeted us and walked to her side to inspect her arm. He examined quietly for some minutes. “How are you feeling Miss?” He asked.
“Arm.” She replied weakly.
“We performed surgery on you to remove the bullet that lodged in your arm so you’ll be feeling pains there for a while okay?”
She nodded in understanding.
“You’ll be fine, trust me.” He smiled and exited the room. Kara dashed out and came back with Rachel and the rest.
“How are you feeling sweetheart?” I asked.
She scanned all the expectant faces awaiting her reply. “My arm aches and I’m weak, very weak.”
“I’m sorry sugar.” Everyone was all over her, pretending their ‘sorry’ was for the bullet wound, leaving the main reason untouched. I saw Charis slip out of the room, I was guessing she couldn’t hold back the tears. She couldn’t say much, she only managed a smile that bore pain and sorrow. After a while, I decided to go freshen up and bring some food for them. Jason and Gloria accompanied me. We stopped at Gloria’s so she would get some things before we moved on to my house.
Brian and I sat beside Mille quietly. I would have loved to engage her in a conversation so that the worried expression would leave her face but she obviously didn’t want any conversation. Rachel was seated on the other side of the bed.
“He’s awake.” Kara burst into the room.
“Oh thank God.” Rachel said as she stood up to follow Kara out of the room again.
“Tell him I’m fine.” Mille spoke up, loud enough for them to hear. They halted in their tracks for a minute.
“Okay, I will.” Kara finally replied and they stepped out.
“Won’t both of you talk to me?” She questioned.
“I… erm…we…” Brian was stuttering badly.
“We just want you to know that we love you Mille and we’ll always be here for you as long as God keeps us alive.” I came to his rescue. The words were so heavy but they eventually came out.
Her expression became more sorrowful and I wished I didn’t say anything at all or I had stuttered like Brian.
“He’s gone, isn’t he?”
None of us could find the courage to raise our heads.
“I can feel it. He’s gone with my whole heart.” Her voice broke as she let down the tears.