TILL DEATH DO US APART.
“So are you saying you are not joking about this?” asked Lawrence.
“Your persistence will land you into trouble.” Hellen said.
“No, my grandfather told me that girls tend to behave like they don’t want when infact they want to.”
“And my grandfather told me that if he keeps pestering you after telling him outright what you want, kick his balls. Do you want to be kicked in the balls?” She asked.
“I wouldn’t mind if it’s by you” said Lawrence.
“Okay” Hellen said leaving.
Lawrence tried to hold her hand. In swift turn, Hellen threw a nasty slaps to Lawrence’s face which produced a sharp sound making people nearby turn to see what had just happened.
“Was that a slap?” People asked.
Lawrence bent down holding his face in pain. Hellen then went to the tuckshop to buy her things. When she looked behind she saw Lawrence going the other direction.
“Wow, that was a nasty slap” said the shopkeeper.
“He deserved it” said Hellen getting her change.
“Yeah he did but can I share my piece of advice?” Asked the shopkeeper.
“Yes of course,” said Hellen.
“I see you are well mannered girl and you want the best out of your life. But, treating men like that won’t take you anywhere but will keep
“But I am not thinking of getting married. I am just a junior secondary pupil” scoffed Hellen.
“Yes I know but whatever you do now becomes part of your life. If you get used treating men like this, even in the future it will be the same. Slapping a man brings misfortune on a woman. So I urge you to apologise to him.” Said the shopkeeper.
“Thank you for your advice” Hellen said.
“And about my advice, are you going to use or throw it away?” Asked the shopkeeper.
“An advice you either use it or throw it away. The choice is mine. Bye” said Hellen as she went on leaving the shopkeeper and people there in awe.
Some people sitted on the benches started talking about her.
“She is a very confident girl. I like her” said one of them.
“But her confidence is making her disrespect elders. Did you hear how she answered him?” Said the other referring to the shopkeeper.
“She did nothing wrong” said the other.
“Listen colleagues, as we train our children to be confident and independent, they shouldn’t feel too independent. It will cause problem for them in the future. Like for this girl, she is too full of herself. It will take an extra ordinary person to make her fall in love.” Said the other.
“She is too you for love. She will change.” Said the other.
“It will take a miracle for her to change if she
The time to announce the results of the debate came. As expected, Hellen’s team scooped the award and Hellen was the second best speaker. Her team was really happy for her as she had made her school proud.
ONE YEAR LATER.
Cathy and Hellen continued being good friends. With the help of Hellen, Cathy changed her ways of wanting to aimlessly have her Calabash smashed. She became principled that she concentrated much on her studies as it was an examination year for them. Hellen was very good with languages and social sciences while Cathy was a mathematics giant. This made them a great pair when as they helped each other when it came to studying.
During the night of a Saturday in the fifth week of that term, Hellen just heard her friend groaning as she was asleep. Hellen got down her bunker to check Cathy. Cathy was fidgeting and sweating profusely. Despite the sweating she wanted to cover herself with the bedsheets.
Seeing the condition of her friend, Hellen rushed to call the matron who came in a split minute. She checked her and called for help to take her to the sick bay.
The in-charge there did the diagnosis to find out what was wrong with her. During the course of the session, Cathy started vomiting which made her so weak.
“She has to be taken to the hospital” said the in charge.
They got the matrons vehicle ans drive her to the hospital in town. Cathy’s parents were promptly called to inform them of the situation. At the hospital Cathy was given a drip to rehydrate her. She was also given some other medicines to calm her condition.
“Are you her parent?” The doctor asked the matron.
“No, am her matron. She is a pupil at our school.” answered the matron.
“And her parents?”
“I called them and they are on there way”
“Okay, I need to talk to them when they arrive.” The doctor said.
“Is everything okay doctor?” Asked the matron really worried.
“Don’t worry about anything. Let me know when her parents come.” Said the doctor.
Cathy’s parents arrived during the dawn of the following day. They were briefed of her condition by rhe matron who was by her bedside. The condition was stable thought she was still weak.
“The doctor said would like to see you when you arrive here” said the matron.
“Is everything okay?” Asked Cathy’s mother.
“I don’t know but he said we shouldn’t worry.” Said the matron.
“Okay, so when do we see him?” Asked Cathy’s dad.
“Immediately he comes here”
Around 08hours in the morning when the doctor’s shift was coming to an end, he called for Cathy’s parents. They went and sat in the his office the three of them.
“I called you here because I need to find out something from you” said the doctor.
“Okay,” they answered.
“Is your child HIV positive?” Asked the doctor.
“Are you asking or telling us?” Asked Cathy’s father surprised with the question.
“I am asking.” Said the doctor.
“No, she isn’t. Why are you asking?” Asked the mother to Cathy.
“After carrying out our tests, we have found her to be HIV positive” said the doctor.
“What?! No this can’t be true.” Exclaimed Cathy’s mother as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Honey, calm down” said the father trying to calm his wife.
“Doctor are you sure of what you are saying?” Asked the father.
“We have done all the tests to confirm it.” Said the doctor.
There was silence in the office as the only sounds were the sniffing of Cathy’s mother due to sobbing.
“I am now asking you to encourage your child, be strong for her and help her to accept this condition. It doesn’t mean she will die tomorrow, no. She still has a life ahead of her. Just encourage her to take the medication we will put her on. Don’t make her feel different from others, let her continue living like she used to.” Said the doctor.
“This is really hard to believe. How come?” said Cathy’s father .
“It’s really disheartening but all will be fine. My shift if over i have to go now” said the doctor as he stood up.
“So, where did she get it from?” Asked Cathy’s mother as she rubbed tears from her eyes.
The doctor didn’t expect that question as he had no idea of where their daughter could have got it from.
“I don’t know ma’am, but it might be through one of the ways in which it is transmitted from” said the doctor.
“Don’t bother explaining that doctor. She is just shocked with the results of our daughter” said Cathy’s father.
“Yeah I can see that she is heartbroken. Let me tell you something, I also have a niece home who is HIV positive. She got it from her parents. At first it was so hard for me, despite being a doctor, to accept her condition. But now, we live normally like she doesn’t have that condition. So all I am saying is that trying to find out where it came from, yes for your curiosity it’s fine but on the other hand, it will not help her emotionally. All you have to do now is support her and make her accept that her condition is permanent but doesn’t mean she will die anytime soon. Let her live a normal life like anybody. Be there for her” said the doctor.
“Thank you doctor. Let’s go honey” said Cathy’s father to his wife as they stood up leaving the office going to the ward where Cathy was.
Cathy’s mother stood along the passage and held on to her husband as she cried failing ro accept the condition of her only daughter. Her husband comforted her by holding her close to himself.
When she felt a bit calm, they decided to go and be with Cathy.
“Remember what the doctor said. You have to be strong for your daughter. Don’t forget this” said Cathy’s father.
They then went to the bed where Cathy was and they found her awake.
“Hello my dear, how are you feeling now?” Cathy’s mother asked trying to look fine.
“Am fine mom. Why are your eyes sore?” Asled Cathy noticing that her mother could have been crying.
“Oh no my dear, it’s just that I didn’t sleep. Am fine” Cathy’s mother said.
“Okay. Thank you for coming.” Cathy said.
TWO DAYS LATER.
Cathy was discharged from the hospital but her parents had not told her that part of the medication she was taking was anti retroviral drugs. They felt like they could properly tell her about the issue at home.
They shared with the matron who also felt pity for the little girl but was against the idea of not telling her there and then. The matron didn’t force her opinion on the parents but let them do as they pleased.
After getting permission from school to go with Cathy home for some days, the parents and Cathy went to there home.
When they got at home, they didn’t know how to break the news to her about her status. They were afraid of the reaction which might come from her.
Late in the evening of that day, Cathy sat with her parents watching some soapies in the living room. The father saw that as a great to let her know of the situation.
“Cathy, I and your mother love you so much, that is why we will do anything to make sure you are fine. It was so unfortunate that you fail ill whilst at school.” Said the father.
“Thank you and I love you too Dad” said Cathy.
“Thank you. There are certain things which happen in life which can change the way things have been going in our lives. So what do we have to do in such situations?” Asked her father.
“It’s just changing in order to suit the new environment” Cathy answered..
“Yes you are right. Have you ever done that?” He asked.
“Mmmmm yes. When I went to the school I am. It was hard at first but with the help of Hellen my best friend, I got used.” Cathy said.
“Okay good. It’s really wonderful to hear that” said his father.
“Why are you asking me this dad?” Asked Cathy.
“Your father is asking this because there is something you need to change now. Just you going to a boarding school was, even this change will be difficult but you will succeed.” Said her mother who was quiet.
“Okay, so you want me out of that school?” Asked Cathy.
“No, the issue is at the hospital, they found you with a condition which will change some things about you.” Said the father.
“What condition?” Cathy asked.
“Cathy we love you our daughter…..”
“Just tell me the condition!” Cathy shouted as tears started running down her cheeks.
“Okay, you have been found with HIV.” Said her father.
“What?!” Cathy shouted running to her room.
Her mother wanted to follow her but the father stopped her.
“Don’t go there now. Let her release her emotions. You will see her later.” Said the father.
“What if she hurts herself?”
“Whatever you do, don’t talk to her right now?” Said the father.
Cathy gor into her room and locked herself up. She cried so hard that her eyes got sore. She felt so bad that she had entered into a condition she will have to be in for the rest of her life.
Cathy was so sure that there was no one else who could have infected her except RAM. She was this sure because he was the only person she got intimate with upto this time. She regretted not heeding the advice Hellen gave her about RAM. From that moment she developed extreme rage against Ram.
“The day I will meet him, I will tell him off to his face” thought Cathy to herself.
She went on thinking wishing she could reverse the time so that she could undo the intimacy she got into with ram.
3 DAYS LATER.
With the help of his father, Cathy was slowly adapting to her new condition. She was also feeling much better.
Her father drove her back to school. When they got to school, he dropped her there.
“Don’t let this disturb your studies. Put extra effort in your studies and do the best” her father said to her.
“I will do my best dad” Cathy said.
Cathy couldn’t wait to see Hellen so that they could catch up on different issues.
Hellen was so happy to see her friend back. When she saw her she ran towards her and gave her a right hug.
“I missed you love” said Hellen.
“I missed you too” Cathy said.
“Come on let’s go we put your stuff we chat” said Hellen.
They went to the hostel and packed the things Cathy came with. They then went outside to catch up on different topics.
“Hellen you are my friend. I need to tell you something very important. Please this is not like that issue of RAM. I need you to keep it as a secret. I have told you because it won’t be long before you find out.” Said Cathy.
“Okay, I give you my word” said Hellen.
“I have AIDS” said Cathy.
“Yes. I even have the ARVs with me in the locker.” Said Cathy looking down.
“Oh love am so sorry” said Hellen.
“I am the one who needs to be sorry for not listening to me. Ram infected me” said Cathy.
“That’s so unfortunate. Don’t blame yourself.” Said Hellen.
“I need your help like never before Hellen. Please promise to be my friend” said Cathy.
“You will always be my best friend” said Hellen hugging her.
As they were hugging, one girl in the same class with Cathy who was overhearing their conversation came.
“This is the payment for being mad about older people. See your life now! HIV positive” said the girl.
“Hey watch your mouth” Hellen warned her.
“As if you can do anything to me if I don’t stop” said the girl.
Hellen Swiftly stood up and gave a resounding slap to the face of the girl. The slap was so hard and nasty that the girl lost her balance and fell down. When the girl tried to feel her face, her hand was red dented with blood from her.
“You made me bleed?” Asked the girl as she stood.
“If you saying anything about what you heard to anyone else, I will not only bleed your nose but also cut off your throat. Uncultured foolish girl” said Hellen as she went to console Cathy who was sobbing.
Watch out for episode 18.