Someone was sweeping outside. The sound of stiff bristles and a woman’s voice humming a hymn pulled Afosua from her sleep. The room was deathly silent, save for the sound of that distant spiritual song and someone else’s breathing. Afosua sat up in a panic and looked around.
“Good afternoon, beautiful,” Tony whispered. “You’ve been asleep for a while.”
Afosua put her hand on her forehead and leaned back against the pillow.
“How long have I been here?”
“Only for a day,” Tony replied, pouring her a small cup of juice. She took the liquid and drank it greedily.
“You’re a bit knocked up, but the doctor thinks the shock of your ordeal might be worse than your physical bruises.”
“By ‘ordeal’ do you mean kidnapping and near murder?” Afosua asked sardonically.
Tony smirked and nodded. He didn’t want to upset her by talking about what she had been through, so he fluffed her pillow and rubbed her head instead. Afosua moaned and he rubbed a little harder.
“I wish I could say that was pleasurable, but my head is killing me,” she said apologetically.
“Sorry – sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“I know,” she smiled.
Tony was about to say something when a nurse walked in with a chart and a bottle of pain killers.
“You’re awake!” she said with glee, and a little too loudly.
“Ei! As for this your husband? He never left your side oohhh. I wish I had a husband to treat me so nicely. And he’s very handsome too!”
The nurse smiled approvingly at Tony, making hardly veiled attempts at seduction as she bent over to feed Afosua her medication. Afosua swallowed the pills and closed her eyes. She was suddenly exhausted and drowsy.
“He’s not my husband,” she murmured.
“Saa?” she heard the nurse marvel before she let out a girlish, flirtatious laugh. “So would –“
“No, we’re not married, but I do love her,” Tony said pointedly, cutting her off.
Afosua smiled absently and drifted back to sleep. She thought she heard Tony say something about ‘love’. She could ask him when she woke back up.
When she woke, Mark Phillips was standing in the corner of the room talking to Tony. She cleared her throat to get his attention. Mark grinned and sat on the edge of her bed.
“Do you think you’ve napped long enough?” he joked.
“I think I’m ready to get out of here. I’m not a fan of hospitals,” she said frankly.
“Any idea when I can be discharged?”
“By the end of the evening, if we’re told correctly,” Mark replied. “I wish you had told me you had such an exciting leave planned. I would have tried to join you!”
Afosua nodded and pinched at her bed sheets, forming little white peaks with her fingertips. Mark covered her hand with his.
“In all seriousness, Afosua – what you did was very dangerous. I wish you had come and talked to me about it first.”
“I know, Mark,” she sighed. “But I didn’t know who I could trust. I didn’t know…”
Her voice trailed off.
“I understand,” Mark said, filling in the silence. “But perhaps you will have the opportunity to find out that I am very trust worthy. We’ve just had a new position open up at Phillips & Boakye…although we’d have to seriously consider a name change, given the circumstances. Phillips & Gyemfi, perhaps?”
Afosua brightened at his words and sat up straighter.
“What? Really? You’d really consider me for partner?”
“Ah. But of course! I think you’d make a fine partner. Judging by the state of your face, I’d say that isn’t anything you would do for the company.”
When Afosua frowned, Mark thought he had offended her.
“Do you think you can handle it?”
“I’m just hoping you can handle me!” she smirked.
Feeling suddenly renewed she swung her feet out bed and motioned to Tony.
“Can we call the discharge nurse? I’m ready to go home now.”
Afosua waited tensely for Tony to bring the car around to the front of the hospital. She still wasn’t sure what to make of him. Why was he being so attentive? She had done nothing but give him the cold shoulder unless she wanted something. Still, this wasn’t enough to drive him away. In her heart, she was glad that he didn’t abandon her, but her mind could make no sense of it at all. She was also eager to get to a phone and find out what had happened to poor Annette in the last few days. The sound of frantic shouting in the street cut into her thoughts.
“Madam! Madam! Agoo!!”
A dark sinewy man in a ‘Made in America’ t-shirt was trying to get past her. He was hurriedly carrying a lifeless woman wearing a loose dress into the entrance. A woman in traditional cloth chased after him, carrying a very expensive looking hand bag. Afosua felt really sorry for her. She doubted that the woman would pull through – her face looked absolutely mangled. The taxi that the woman had been brought in was still parked in front of the building. Curious, she strode up to it and asked the driver what had happened. The good thing about Ghana is that everyone is eager to play the reporter.
“What happened to that lady?” she asked.
“Oh, sistah. It was so pathetic,” the driver replied, clicking his tongue dolefully. “The woman was driving and lost control of the car. She hit a big pole and destroyed the whole car!”
The man made wide gestures and shook his hands to display the magnitude of the crash.
“Oh, I see.”
“And what is even more sad, eh, is that the woman is pregnant. That is why me? I will never allow my wife to drive if she is pregnant!” he declared. “I mean how! And it was such a fine car too. A nice Nissan.”
“What area did the crash happen?” Afosua asked breathlessly.
“Oh. At Dzorwulu,” the driver mulled. “We had to drive so far to bring her here. Lucky, some good Samaritans came to help me bring her to the hospital.”
Afosua looked towards the open hospital doors and felt an acid pain consume her heart. She wanted to drop to her knees, but her feet carried her back into the hospital instead.
Please God – No…not my friend.
She hoped she wrong, and it was not Naa Akweley that had just been brought in. When the charge nurse confirmed that it was, she lay on the ground and screamed until her voice refused to allow her to scream any more.