Andy stood and kissed Jessica’s forehead without disturbing the oxygen attached to her nose. He sat down and started talking again, softly and soothingly, telling her about his childhood. He told her of the ambition he had as a kid to become a footballer. He had watched every time Kanu played and scored goals and had picked him as his role model. He played for his school but was chosen to be one of the defenders but he did not like it. Because of his quest to score goals like Kanu, he always left his place and went to the opponents’ side in order to score goals but most times, they always ended up conceding goals because of his absence at his position. The day he had scored a goal, he had rejoiced so much that he had gone to bed without food because of how happy he was. He told Jessica of the picture of Kanu that he had pasted on the headboard of his bed so that he could look at it every morning and tell himself that he would one day be like Kanu. He laughed at the memory and almost fainted when he stared at Jessica’s face and saw a smile playing on her lips.
He blinked several times. Was he sleeping or hallucinating?
He blinked again but it did not wipe off the smile on Jessica’s face. She hadn’t been smiling when he came in minutes ago; or was it hours?
“Jess… Jessica” He called frantically but got no response.
Her hand which was still in his, was still warm. Nothing had changed except the facial expression on her face. He pressed the button by the bed hurriedly and waited impatiently for the doctor.
Jessica stood looking in all directions. She saw no houses or things, she was the only visible thing and she stood on a ground that looked like glass. The place was too bright for her eyes and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the blinding light.
“Sweetheart” she heard and turned around sharply. She would know that voice anywhere even though she hadn’t heard it in a very long time. her breath caught in her throat as she stared at her mother, looking exactly the way she remembered her.
“Mum” she gasped and her mother smiled.
“Come Jessie”. Jessica loved the sound of her mother’s voice. She had wanted to hear that voice for a long time.
Her head turned and she saw her dad standing not so far away from her mother. she gasped again and felt the incredible urge to run to him and hug him. Her dad had always been very proper and formal. He was the only one that called her name in full.
Suddenly her mum and dad and her brother were standing together and beckoning. She smiled. Her complete family.
“Jessica baby, come to daddy” Her dad said. This is what she wanted, right? Her family! She smiled and started walking towards them. They smiled back and she walked faster but the faster she walked, the farther they became.
She hastened her steps then stopped abruptly.
She could hear him, the voice was echoing in her soul. She could hear the pain. The pain was so evident in his voice and terrifying that her heart bled with compassion. She could not move forward anymore, not even if her life depended on it. Her family stood and watched her. Waiting? She could not tell. But that voice… she could not ignore that voice.
How could she ignore the voice of the one that owned her heart? He was talking but she could not decipher what he was talking about. She could not make out the words. She walked backwards, wanting to hear him. The voice was becoming a bit clearer and she knew if she could move backwards the more, she would be able to make out the words. She turned fully and walked faster. What he was talking about sounded very interesting and she wanted to hear it. She could make out the words now…
He was talking about football. He wanted to be a player? He never told her that! How come Kanu had been his idol? She mused. Of all the players, Kanu? He laughed and she smiled, loving the sound of his laughter even though he sounded pained. She needed to ask him why he was in so much pain.
What had happened? Was his business at stake? Why was he not a footballer? He did not seem like someone to pursue a football round the field but she still wanted to know. She turned back and stared at her family but they were so tiny afar off. They looked like ants. One after the other, they vanished and she swallowed. She had learnt to live without her family but she still could not think of life without Andy.
She turned. Andy was calling her. She could distinctively hear him call her name. “Jess… Jessica”. She wanted to answer but could not. He sounded desperate. She needed to go to him. But where is he?
Mr Williams paced the hospital reception as he called Sonia.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said immediately she picked. “I just got an alert of seven million naira and when I confirmed it, I was told that you had deposited it. What game are you playing?”
“I am not playing any game sir. I regret what I did sir, I am sorry” her voice made it obvious that she had been crying. “I can’t accept the money anymore. It is wrong. I promise to get the remaining three million and pay you back. Please forgive me sir”.
She hung up and Mr Williams just stared at his phone in bewilderment.
“She smiled” Andy murmured immediately the door opened and Doctor Bright entered. He removed his stethoscope and checked her heartbeat, noticing that it was already steady.
He did some other doctorate rituals and smiled with vague surprise.
“Wooow. I did not expect this level of improvement so soon.
She is stable now and if all goes well, I think she would be alright.”
Andy had never been more relieved in his life. A great amount of tension raised from his shoulders and he felt a bit alive again. After some minutes, the doctor turned to leave and Andy turned to look at Jessica and froze when her hands moved. His breath seemed to be suspended when all of a sudden, her head moved and her eyes opened slowly……….
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