I’m so sorry” Kevwe began to cry. Why was death so mean? When they all thought there was hope and now this? Ayomide quickly wiped the tears off his eye and stood up.
“Hey” he said trying to sound composed “guess you heard from the nurses”. Kevwe looked at him like he had lost his mind.
“Heard what? I saw the room empty myself, I couldn’t believe it” she started crying.
“Wow, wow, wow, don’t cry it is just another surgery” Ayomide said trying to be brave despite the fact that he had been crying in his mother’s arms a couple of minutes ago.
“What?” Kevwe collapsed with relief. Ayomide rushed to her. “I’m fine I promise. I thought ….” She looked at him sadly.
Ayomide was confused but his mother understood. She smiled thankfully “God will not let such an innocent soul die just like that” she said.
“Amen ma” Kevwe answered and kneeling down beside her bed she greeted Ayomide’s mom. “And how are you ma? Hope you are feeling stronger. God is your strength ma” Kevwe prayed.
“Thank you my daughter” Ayomide’s mom smiled “and thank you for all your help all this while. Ayo told me you are very busy”.
“It is no problem at all ma” Kevwe returned her smile.
“Come let us let momsi rest” Ayomide said and showed her out of the room. As soon as they had left they had left within ear shot of his mother Kevwe turned to Ayomide to apologize.
“I’m so so sorry. When I passed her room and saw it all cleaned and disinfected I just concluded …..” She covered her face, “Mide I will never wish your daughter bad,” Kevwe felt terrible but Ayomide just smiled.
“I know. Don’t beat yourself up. She is alive. She is a strong girl. I believe she will pull through. She started vomiting blood so they had to take her in to surgery again. The nurses just cleaned up her room is all” he explained as they sat down on one of the chairs in the lounge.
“God will see her through” Kevwe said.
“Insha Allah” Ayo said.
“Your babe is missing you. And the poor girl was excited that you will soon be coming back. I guess with this you might have to wait a while for Wunmi to stabilize” Kevwe said. Ayomide smile. It was nice to know Maryam cared, it was kind of Kevwe to speak of Wumni as though she was well, it gave him more hope.
“I miss her like crazy” He said and she smiled. “You think am worth her?” He inquired quietly refusing to look at her. Kevwe had to laugh.
“Are you looking for expo?” Kevwe said, “I can’t say at the moment if you are worth her, my friend doesn’t come cheap but well the jury hasn’t given a verdict”.
“A political answer” he said smiling “I like that”. They fell into silence each nursing their thoughts.
“I really like her though. Care for her a lot” he said, Kevwe felt touched. She could say she like him and deep down hoped it worked out for her friend and him.
“I hope so, because we plenty Wey go kill you if you try nonsense” she said. It sounded playful but Ayomide knew she was serious.
It got quiet again. She knew his mind was engulfed with all that was happening. She couldn’t imagine her life without her daughter if and when she does have one. Her phone beeped, a bbm message.
Kevwe: Fine boy.
Justin: Boss lady. (Kevwe smiled.)
Kevwe: Nor wash me. How are you?
Justin: Missing you.
Kevwe: Please let’s not start. (They had been at this to-and-fro awkward talk.)
Justin: Okay, just wanted to hail you.
Kevwe: Don’t be like that now.
Justin: I have to go, boss just walked in. Seriously just wanted to say hi. We will chat later.
Kevwe: Ok. Stay safe.
Kevwe sighed, this thing with Justin. Was she scared? He had been pushing for something serious but she just didn’t know why she held back. Was she afraid or maybe the distance? Worried about his flirtatious ways? Did Kenny still have a hold on her? The thoughts and questions kept coming. She didn’t know when she sighed again.
“So you start smiling at your phone and next thing you’re deep in thought and a couple of questionable sighs. You okay?” Ayomide brought her back to the present. She smiled.
“Just complicated situations” she said quietly.
“It is well” he said calmly.
“Yeah, even in a well it is well” she said and they both laughed.
………. ………. ………..
She was famished and exhausted. She kept on looking at the counter hopping they would call out her order soon.
“That Peace girl that never likes smiling” Maryam thought to herself “it is a wonder management has not yet sacked her”.
She shook her head remembering how Esta had disturbed the attendant when they came to get some stuff. She chuckled to herself as she looked around the eatry. Southern Fried Chicken or SFC Area 11 as she and Kevwe loved to call it always seemed to have customers any day she was here. She remembered the last visit with Kevwe. Oh damn did she miss her friend, it still surprised her that despite the fact that a month had passed she wasn’t used to her absence. She got her phone and tried her number, good chance to rub it in she thought a naughty smile on her face. The call rang out. Buzz kill she thought. She was so grateful she had a friend to help Ayomide when she could. Especially after that scare with Wunmi. Thankful the poor girl had received the clear and would be transported by flight back to Abuja the coming weekend. She couldn’t wait to see Ayo.
“Maryam?? ….. Maryam!!!” Maryam turned to see Kenny, Kevwe’s ex-boyfriend. It was these sort of coincidence she hated. She forced a smile as he walked up to her.
“Kenny!!!” She pretended to sound cheerful “how have you been, it’s been ages”. She said that out of politeness even though she didn’t care.
“I have been surviving” he smiled “you came for lunch?”.
“Yeah needed to pick something to eat before heading home” Maryam said and immediately turned towards the counter hoping her order was ready. As if on cue…..
“One empire filet meal” shouted the not-smiling attendant names Peace.
“My order” Maryam said almost showing her happiness to leave. “I have to go”.
“Yeah. Errm how is Kevwe?” Kenny asked carefully.
“Happy” Maryam didn’t know when she said so but didn’t bulge.
“Oh… Yeah… That is great. Say me hi to her” he said following her to the counter.
“Yeah I will” Maryam said distracted as she tried to pack her take-aways. “Bye” she started heading for the door.
“Tell me how to get her back please” Kenny was at her heel his face covered with pleading. Maryam was totally shocked.
“You are kidding right?” Her irritation started showing. “It is now you want to get her back. Guy she has moved on do same” and with that she walked out stopped a cab and headed home.
………. ……… ………
“So we just heard Medusa is going to head the Lagos branch of the firm” Tokunbo said carefully and watched Teju’s face for a reaction.
She had been in the house since that Saturday morning helping out. The gang had decided it was time to do another barbecue, one of Kevwe’s ritual habits. They hadn’t had one since she left and Teju volunteered to drive Maryam and Priscilla to the meat market in Kado to get the meat and fish while the guys took care of the drinks. They had just set up and Matthew took charge of the grill while Tokunbo, Maryam and Teju sat with a drink.
“Oboy am sure them Frankie will be relieved” Matthew laughed.
“It is mixed feelings oh. We will miss her discipline and strictness. Hopefully the new supervisor will be nicer” Tokunbo said.
“I think she is cool” Teju said quietly. Tokunbo looked at her surprised, so did Maryam.
“You are kidding right? No need to pretend we sef didn’t like her and how she stressed Toks” Maryam chipped in. She had grown fond of Teju after the hospital incident.
“No, I had a wrong impression of her till she handled the case with our company. She was fair…. Almost kind” Teju said thoughtfully.
“Babes you okay? You well?” Tokunbo had to say something.
“Go away joh I’m serious” Teju laughed “she is a pain oh but it is her method to bring the best. Look at the fine lawyer you have become” she leaned over to kiss Tokunbo.
“Ewwww get a room you two” Priscilla shouted as she walked from the house with a tray of potatoe and vegetable sauce. Teju giggled and hid her face in Tokunbo’s chest.
“You for call me say e don ready make I help you now babe” Maryam stood up to assist her.
“No biggy. I thought it would take two trays that rime but got everything into one” Priscilla explained.
“….But guy you no dey serious oh, so you no dey find babe like this” Otim’s voice was heard from the gate as he and Justin walked to where the group sat. They had gone to buy Massa from the Suya guy at the junction, Maryam had begged.
“Does Otims ever talk about anything other than girls?” Priscilla whispered in irritation. Maryam and Tokunbo laughed.
“……. Guy free me now. Na by force. Make I focused on my career small abeg” they heard Justin reply. The two guys got near the group and decided to continue their talk later on.
“Kevwe would have loved this oh” Matthew said smiling. “She forced us to get the grill, practically organises these sort of stuff” he said. He picked up his bottle of beer and raised it up.
“To Kevwe” Matthew hailed. Everyone else raised their glasses and responded…
“TO KEVWE!!!” And with clinging of glass cups and bottles they drank to their friend.
“So baby mama when is bae coming in” Justin teased Maryam.
“WAKA” Maryam said laughing “they are coming in this night”.
“So you sleeping in the hospital with him today?” Teju asked.
“Naaa, his brother will be there so will his dad, going to be serious family moment. I wouldn’t want to be there” Maryam said.
“Yeah I get” Priscilla said “major awkwardness”.
“As in” Justin joined in.
They all turned to hear some noise at the gate. Haruna the new guard was struggling to open it.
“Who else is coming? Abi did you invite Kenny Maryam?” Justin asked jokingly remembering the encounter Maryam told them of.
“For what now?” She replied.
“My fear is that he shouldn’t spoil this gate for us” Tokunbo said. Finally the guard got the gate opened and it seemed he was discussing with the person.
“Haruna who be that?” Tokunbo shouted as it seemed forever for the guard to let the person through. Before he could answer he was pushed out of the way and everyone sat in shock.
“BITCHES I’M HOME!!!!” Kevwe shouted at them.