Write My Story (Chapter Three)
“Oh, it’s you. What
was I saying?” Charlotte asked.
“You were saying …,” the voice started.
“Cut it out. I am not okay, or so they claim. Why would I be?” Charlotte continues ranting. She turned from her side and laid on her back, looking up, and speaking monotonously to herself.
“After what happened to me? It didn’t happen to you and I pray to God it doesn’t happen to anyone else. But…” Still fixated on her position on her bed, without moving her body, her eyes begin to flutter quickly, “but … he was soooo cute and charming. Haba….haha! Yes, he was charming and sooo cute.” Then with venom, she added, “The bastard!”
A shadow covered Charlotte’s frame on the bed. She stilled and tried to grasp the remains of prayer she had been taught when she was younger. The shadow moved to the left then to the right. Ojuju?
The gift was a saint. If it were someone else, they would have given up on the young girl laying on the bed. She leaned in closer to check if Charlotte was really awake.
“Miss Charlotte?” she asked.
“Shut up!” Charlotte said then hissed.
Gift eased back and sat on the chair beside the bed as Charlotte continued. “Calm down? I’m calm! Would you be this calm if this” since she could not move her arms just yet, she used her eyes to gesture towards her body, “had happened to you?” then burst into tears.
“It’s alright Charlotte, calm down”. The gift was trying her best not to cry so she fidgeted with lint on her skirt then adjusted her position on her seat. When the silence became noisy, she spoke to calm the girl. “Stop acting like this, the nurses might come in; we don’t want that do we?”
Charlotte finally laid her wild eyes on her strange friend. It was clearly not Ojuju. Ojuju was just a figment of her imagination. The other day, she could swear she saw the grim spirit seated by her bedside. Or was it her imagination?
I need to calm down. Those nurses are evil.
“No, please. No nurse please.” Then on second thoughts, she added, “No injections also.” Her body ached in places she could not remember she had. She still could not tell the time difference. She tried turning and she felt sharp pains, she did not feel those before – the anesthetics were wearing off – and the pains were coming from within. Like sharply broken glasses sprinkled all over her body.
“I hate needles. I hate nurses. I hate… I hate…,” she narrowed her eyes on the stranger by her besides, “you!”
Her guttural voice continued in anger while its recipient looked on with pain, “I hate you all!”
Charlotte felt the urge to run away. If she could endure the pain in getting free, she could make it out of this prison alive. She started rattling her chains. You don’t know the people who kept her here, they are hypocrites who do one thing and say another. She needed to get out so she could free from all the lies. The lies – as she thought of that, from rattling, she started struggling to break free, from her body, from everything.
“Charlotte… calm down, it’s alright…” Gift pleaded. She could not reach the young girl physically and she had been trying psychologically with the very slow result.
Charlotte continued her struggle. She had been able to release one hand. The power of fear and the rush of adrenaline could get you to do things that were impossible. She struggled to remove the other hand and when the stranger tried to close in on her she paused and stared up at her wildly
“Leave me alone you monster, I hate you!” she spat.
Three nurses rushed down the hall to the wide window. One look at what was happening and one rushed back to get the resident doctor – they had been told earlier when the patient was brought in not to go in without his permission, especially if ‘she’ was in there with the patient.
Gift raised her head from the young girl she was trying to control, to the nurses who had gathered outside by the window and gave them the stand down signal.
“Charlotte, the nurses are here.” Charlotte paused in her struggle to get loose. She glanced towards the direction the stranger had tilted her head to and realized she had no control over the situation anymore. She felt like a deer trapped with a headlight. She returned her defeated face to the stranger.
“Calm down and we would continue this peaceably.” The stranger begged. Charlotte wanted to believe the sincerity in her eyes; but don’t they all start with being sincere? She decided to play along. She visibly relaxed and lay back on her bed as quiet as she could while groaning with the pain that came with it. If she could spell pain, it would be more than four words.
“I don’t want to be bound anymore. Please release me.”
Gift looked back at the window and signaled to the nurses if she could remove the second chain that bound Charlotte to the bed. There were three nurses standing there, worried, and it won’t be long before the resident doctor to join them. She was surprised he wasn’t there yet.
“I can’t” Gift responded in a wobbly voice.
“You can’t or you want?” Charlotte asked like a petulantly. Her eyes shot daggers at the stranger, while what was left of her functioning brain was thinking of another means to rid herself of the chains. The stranger was looking at her pitifully, taking her position by the bed again, like she was really sorry she couldn’t help.
I don’t want your pity, I want to be heard!
“I want you to listen to me! You all never listen!”
“Mrs. Coker, open the door!” Nurses from the outside shouted worry etched on their faces.
“Charlotte, calm down” Gift pleaded. She was not going to fight back.
“Nooooo …” Charlotte screamed with frantic eyes. She was able to pull off the other restricting material in her rage. She looked up after smiling down at her free hands in victory, which was short-lived and felt like a cornered rat as the door burst open.
“Noooo …” Charlotte blood curling shriek pierced the walls of the halls.
It took three hefty nurses to pin the young patient down; the fourth nurse injected her with a tranquilizer. The girl kicked and bucked for a while, showing she was as strong in heart as she was physical, then her lips quivered to a close, slowly.
Tears pooled down the cheeks of Gift Coker, she had taken her patient back to phase one.
“Mrs. Coker, I expected you to be more careful, I told you, once she starts having fits or throwing a tantrum you should press the red button by the bed!” the resident doctor, Dr. Pelumi, whispered in suppressed anger. He expected the pregnant woman to if not care for herself, then care for the 8 months plus old fetus she carried in her womb and the man who had impregnated her.
“I am sorry Doctor Pelumi, I thought I had control of the situation. She was responding so –“
“I know. It happens sometimes. Her case is just so complicated.” Dr. Pelumi moved closer to Gift. He had just finished checking alongside with the nurses, the young girls’ report and they were standing outside, by the window.
“Please, I know you have to do your job. She isn’t out of the dark yet but with time she would. But that doesn’t mean you should be taking chances.” He pleaded. “Consider her, her father, mothers and her brothers. You should have an idea of how they would feel if I report a relapse after much progress.” Then he looked down on her, as she was a 5’6 to his 6’1, with fear. “And also consider your husband”
Gift Coker giggled at the last statement made by the Doctor. He would definitely know more about that last part since he knew more than she did about the man’s reaction. “Doctor, it’s alright,” she reassures him, as she tightened her grip on his hand that was between them. “I won’t take chances with her”
Gazing from the observation window into Charlotte’s room, she looked peaceful and ethereal as she remained still on the bed. Her deep breath intake and release signaled she was truly in a peaceful place, compared to other times where her pupils flicker endlessly beneath her lids. She was dressed in a blue gown, which all patients in the hospital wore. Although her eyes were calm, she mumbled in her sleeping occasionally and her expression changed from time to time – smiling, puzzled, irritated and many more. Even after all her episodes, she was still a beauty to behold.
“As you can see for yourself, she is really not out of it yet. I hope she comes out of this completely clean.”
“She was really into the drugs right? It wasn’t only the rape thing?” Gift asked the Dr. Pelumi with utmost disappointment.
Doctor Pelumi replied with concern in his eyes as they began to stroll down the hall. “Yes. A report says, after the rape, she was kept in his place for close over two weeks; he kept her on drugs not to make her leave him.”
“I wonder what type of love one would call that. It sounds like serial stuff.” Dr. Pelumi nodded in agreement without putting much thought to it. He was far away in thoughts from the woman walking by his side, thinking of how to help the young girl in the ward they had just left.
Gift wanted to make sure she got her timing right so she asked when the anesthetics would wear off.
Startled back to reality, Dr. Pelumi responded as they stop and he dips his hands inside his pocket. “Urmmm… they should last for about forty-five minutes so in the next, umm, let’s see”, he said as he checked his wristwatch to confirm, “you can go in again in an hour’s time.”
“Okay, let me grab my lunch from KFC or somewhere around. I’ll return ASAP”
A pregnant woman, who was so close to her labor day, eating junk food and walking down hospital halls in the name of a mandate; Pelumi, shook his head in wonder and smiled while he continued with the business at hand. He was not in the place to dictate what and what not to do.
“Why don’t you come back tomorrow? You look like she is straining you. You look so worked up.” Dr. Pelumi was tired of being on the edge because of this woman. He did not know if he would forgive himself if anything ever happened to her or her baby. “This is the fourth time this week; I shouldn’t have let you in this time but for the fact that her crazy mother requested for you to do this.”
A flitting dark shadow passed over Gift’s face as she remembered the young girls earlier condition, then she was back to normal. Thank God for miracles.
“No, don’t even go there. Personally, I am interested in her story and for that reason alone, you can’t talk me out” she said as she smiled at the doctor. He was looking handsome that morning with his new haircut. What did she know? Her hormones were acting up again and she tried convincing herself that it came with being pregnant. “And I am not doing this because of her mother, am doing of for her stepmom and stepbrother.” She chuckles when she noticed Dr. Pelumi’s whimsical look.
“I think I’ll leave now so I can get the necessary energy to keep up with her. See you soon.” She turned to leave, then remember something, “And I’ve got good news doctor.”
“What is it?” Dr. Pelumi who was on the verge of entering his office paused and turned back to her to listen to the news.
“She hates nurses now”. Gift said slowly with mischief in her eyes. With this information, she had something she could use in controlling the patient.
Dr. Pelumi laughed in response. “Thank God, not Doctors”
“No, not Doctors” she repeated. “because they are cute. I’m out, see you soon dearie” she called as she walked out of the building into the outside world.
Gift Coker strolled towards the restaurants and decided to forget work for the moment. The young girl had almost punched her on her tummy and that was not something she wanted to relieve. She was a writer, make that a freelance writer who had received outstanding awards for her works. She had gone past the level of writing for fame and now into one that was focusing on impact. She – her familiar tune “lean on me”, by Michael Bolton rings from her purse. Bringing out her phone she found it was one of the Tokunbo’s, Charlotte’s stepmother to be precise.
“Hello and good day Mrs. Coker.” came the nervous, yet appealing voice.
“Good day ma’am.”
“How is she responding? I know it’s not very conducive for her and you also, being heavily pregnant with a child but with the dream Victor had …”
Gift calmed the speaker without batting an eyelid; since that was what is reigning in the Tokunbo house, shattered nerves, she added,” I am only going to grab lunch at fast food, then I’ll continue.”
“What happened? She reacted again?” Worry thickened the edge of Toyin Tokunbo’s voice.
“Oh no. How many times now?
“Umm, around four times this week. Let’s hope she behaves calmly this time around.”
“I think you should stop and continue the interrogation tomorrow”
Gift entered into KFC and sits carefully in a booth. She loved handling things on her own terms most times without being or looking stubborn. The time it took to calm Toyin’s rattled mind, saw Gift arriving at a restaurant. “No ma am, I can’t, I’ve gotten this far today and if I start tomorrow it’s the same process, time-wasting more like it.”
“But, but,” she searched for the right word only to be bested by Gift.
“No buts. This is what I do. Write people’s story. I’ll get it done. Don’t worry yourself, just pray to God that Victors’ dream was not real”.
“But they always are …”
“Don’t worry about of then. She would soon open up and be a light to many other people out there. Good day ma.” Not waiting for a reply and probably more focused on the food she was about to consume, Gift clicked the red button, called out to her favorite waiter.
“Chicken and chips, please! A pregnant woman here!”
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