Donald looked at the same Joy who had so dreaded him over the years as she practically almost wanted to rip him apart just so he wouldn’t let her go. She had since that night been a companion, a best friend, an adviser even when it came to his business matters and his comic relief each time he needed to cool off. He couldn’t have imagined his life without her in it. He could recall vividly how he had proposed to her about three months ago, they had gone for a dinner date at one of the biggest restaurants in Lagos and immediately they got in, Joy excused herself as she had always wanted to go to the ladies to freshen up. The restaurant just seemed to have all other toilets locked except one. While she was done, she would have sworn she saw someone leave the mirror area immediately she got out of hers and all other toilets seemed to have been opened again.
She noticed a wrapped box on the mirror stand as she moved to wash her hands and fix her makeup, she bent her head to get a closer look and to her amazement, her name was boldly written on it. Sweats suddenly began to gather on her forehead. “Which one is this again?” She said in soliloquy as she looked around to see if anyone was around. Her left hand moved towards it to pick it up but she gave another deeper sigh and moved away from it. “This box has all my names on it nah”, she thought again and like the bold girl she had always been, Joy picked it up turned it upside down to assess the entire package and underneath it was another inscription, ‘Please open with care Miss Joy’ and all of a sudden, a song began to play on the background, and Donald’s voice suddenly came alive outside the hall. It was a loudspeaker probably planted in the hallway. She was sure there was a camera somewhere as she looked around to find it. Donald’s voice continued as he openly proposed to her in the presence of everyone around. She could not believe her ears at every word he spoke and by the time she finally opened the box, she was completely blown away. The tears which had gathered in her eyes already began to drop on the floor. Joy didn’t cry because of how the proposal was made but she cried because Donald had proved to her that the grace of God could turn a sad story into an amazing one. She was once headed for the cliff, she didn’t want to make the same mistakes her mum made, she never wanted to be involved with any man but indeed God’s mercy has found her.
The ring was pure diamond, she had never in her entire life received something so beautiful, she thought as she admired it. Clara had shown her sisterhood and friendship but she could not even put what Donald had shown her into words. She leaned quietly on the mirror stand for a long while. She cried, she never expected it. She knew her dream meant more but she was not sure if Donald was willing to get on that jet with her in reality. She wiped her face when another lady came into the ladies for a leak, she could not even freshen up anymore as she stepped out and right in Donald’s hands she fell. “I will marry you Don and if I get the opportunity to do it again in another life, I will still marry you.” She said reassuringly. Donald held her tight to himself as he kept thanking her for taking the leap with him. Joy mustered a smile as she raised her head to see the face of a man who had specialized in bullying her suddenly appearing broken like a baby who’s Christmas clothe had just been handed over to him and led him back to their seat. Joy was shy all through the dinner but deep inside of her, beyond everyone else in the hall which she couldn’t even see, her entire focus was zeroed in on just one man ‘The Don’, a name she alone called him.
Back at the hospital, after hours of waiting, the Consultant finally walked with a Pediatrician Cardiologist who was to handle the surgery to be conducted on Mori’re since she was a child.
The surgery was scheduled to commence in one hour and while they waited, Tope put a call through to Eniola to check how she was doing. He had been the only one calling her since she returned from school and that had been the trend since they had their second child.
The surgery commenced at 5 pm in the evening and it was scheduled to run for about ten hours. It was a major one, parents had been assured of its eventual success and Mori’re could go home and be duly managed by a caregiver afterwards.
It had been six hours already, both parents were yet to receive any news from anyone from the theatre, it had been a very long wait for parents, Tope held his wife’s hand as she prayed fervently for their child. While the prayers were on, they saw one of the nurses walk briskly out of the theatre like she needed to hurriedly get something, they tried to stop her but she was too fast for them so they let her go. Almost immediately another doctor rushed out again but this time, he was running to get something. By now, Amaka had stopped praying.
– Bunmi Olaoke