He had never seen Susan in such state, no! He had never seen anyone in such deteriorated state before. He was trapped in his tracks, mouth gapped open, his heart pounding like a festival drum.
“Susan…” he had finally mouthed. He rushed up to her lying on the couch and wrapped his arm around her. She was so weak, too weak to speak, too weak to move. Yes, Susan was slim; he now thought she would break if he didn’t hold her properly.
“Susan” he managed to say again, looking down on her.
Susan had just managed to open her eyes and as she saw him, a tear drop rolled down from her left eye. She shifted a little bit and said
“No” tears pouring out now.
“No” she said again, you can’t see me in this state.”
Biodun was broken. He could feel a lump rise in his throat, but he was terrible at showing emotions. However this was not a time to cry with her but to be strong for her. Before he could say another word to her she was fast asleep again, tears still streaming slowly down her cheek. He scooped her up and stared down at her, she was pale white, and as she slept with slow breath, she could be mistaken for a dead person. His gaze rose from her face, to the house which was a huge mess with everything, everywhere but its rightful place. He carefully made his way amiss the scattered pillows on the floor to her room upstairs. Susan was lighter than he could remember, so what could be the problem?? Obviously she was sick but he had not seen her sick since their second year in the university. Not even the slightest headache since then and she was always so boastful of how she could not be sick as a Christian.
So many things ran through his mind as he laid her peacefully on her bed, covering her with a blanket. She didn’t mention being feverish to him the last time they saw, she also didn’t call him all this while to inform him of her sick state. Now, Biodun felt even worse for delaying this long, before coming to check her because she had always been there for him especially through his accidents. He crumbled in frustration on the ground beside her bed and loosened his tight lightly. He stared at her again and at the moment he wished she was scolding him or laughing with that airy effect she had. The house was so quiet; probably the air was still as well. He couldn’t take it anymore and he couldn’t leave her, so he began cleaning the house with so much care, knowing Susan to be very meticulous in doing her things. By the time he was done cleaning and preparing a meal, hours had gone by. He stared down at his watch and discovered it was 9pm and although he had a lot of work to do at home he couldn’t leave Susan’s house. Not this time when she needed him, he had been away for such a while, and he couldn’t just leave again. Biodun quietly returned to the room and steadied himself on the side of the bed, picking up her fingers lightly in his palm, he stared at her, her skin, the whole form of her body, her chest, as it rose and fell with her breath and he loved her even more.
Susan slowly opened her eyes to the view of Biodun beside her and immediately she felt better for the first time in 2weeks. She tried to reach out to him to alert him she was awake but pain shot through her whole body she shivered instead.
“Hey” his voice was calm and peaceful with a hint of pity for her
“Hi” she mouthed.
There was always this odd moment between them, they will start a conversation with “hey” and “hi” especially when there was a lot to say but no adequate way of starting the conversation.
“How are you feeling now?” biodun asked
“Dying” Susan replied bluntly.
Biodun shifted uneasily, he had never heard her use such a word before. She was always positive about everything, even negative situations.
“Hey, don’t you say that Susan”
“Biodun I am telling you exactly how I feel”
“but that was just too blunt am sure when you eat something, you will feel better” he said rubbing her hand softly”
“Biodun…” she started but he cut her off
“I cooked okay, you will be better soon. I could also rush to the chemist”
“Listen to me Biodun…”
“Shhh! Susan just relax, we could talk later”
“I have Meningioma” Susan said
Biodun was dumbfounded.
“What?” he finally said
‘”what is menini…”
“Its cancer, cancer of the brain”
“H-o-w, wh-en?”Biodun stammered
“I had it back in university, in 200l, that was the first discovery but I treated it and it was gone. Now…” her voice trailed off with fresh tears.
“Now it’s back and I…’
Biodun couldn’t make out what she was saying anymore amidst the tears and sob but he sure heard when she said
“Biodun I am going to die soon, the doctor said I have…”
She broke down into deep sobs, I don’t want to die she said repeatedly. Biodun drew closer and hugged her deeply. For a whole minute he couldn’t find words to say to her. He was shocked, sad, in doubt, he couldn’t lose Susan, No he couldn’t. First his mum, then his unknown younger brother, one who was a still born, his dad who he considered dead, and now Susan?
“No! You won’t die, you can’t die, just…” he trailed off, out of words to tell her.
“You will be fine, okay?” No she wouldn’t, she was going to leave him as well. He couldn’t stand the thought of that. He wanted to run out of the room to a faraway place and scream, he wanted to cry his pain out, he wanted to die as well but he rather just hugged Susan tighter.
“You will be fine baby, you will”