“The cruelest lies are often told in silence” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“Ask no questions and you’ll hear no lies” – James Joyce
I walked into the ward; the female one, headphones firmly glued over my pinnae. Kendrick Lamar’s Money Trees was playing. On the other hand, I was proudly showing off my new Beats By Dre headphones (I had to give up on alcohol for two weeks to save money to purchase it). As I walked in, I went straight to the Nurse’s cubicle. ‘How far, how you dey?’, I inquired. ‘Funky doctor, na now you dey show’, Nurse Titi replied. We exchanged more pleasantries. ‘Abeg, arrange the swab, a pair of gloves and syringe for me. I suppose don collect this sample since’. In ten minutes, I got what I asked for. All the while Money Trees was oozing out of the objects over my ears.
I headed to where she lay. I tapped her right shoulder. Her eyes opened. The ghost of a smile played around her thick dark lips. ‘Funky doctor, na wa for you o. You just bone my side’, she said. ‘Amaka township, no be so na. I had to go to the bank. You know say bank alert just show yesterday na’, I replied. She smiled again. ‘That means say I go get better take away fried rice from you today. You know say na Tantalizer own I dey like’, she said. I gave her the thumbs up and she nodded.
She saw the syringe. And the wet swab. Her eyes became weak and exhausted. She sighed and turned her head to the left and stared at the distance. She stared at nothing. Her thoughts must be racing quickly like the stallions at a horse-racing joint (doing their best to earn money for the greedy gamblers). ‘Everyday, una dey collect my blood. Test today, test tomorrow. Test no dey finish?’, she retorted. I had to explain all over again. The investigations had to be done again before administering the second phase of chemotherapy. I promised it won’t be painful. I would be quick and I would sing a special song for her while at it. What was her favorite? She laughed heartily. ‘Golibe’ by Flavour N’Abania. Or ‘Yori Yori’. The one wey Bracket sing’, she replied. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the lyrics to the songs so I sang another one for her.
In a few minutes, I was done. ‘Hold the cotton wool well o, so blood no go comot’. She did as I requested. As I turned to leave, she held the edge of my ward suit. At that moment, I felt like Jesus and she, the woman with the issue of blood. ‘Funky doctor, tell me the whole truth as a child of God. Will I be OK? Will this sickness go away? Am I going to live?’ she asked. I paused for a moment. I had to be professional this time around. I had to be a wise guy. ‘Amaka township, haba? Of course na. No worries. God is on the throne. The plans of the enemy will not work. After the whole chemotherapy, you will be very OK’. She smiled once more and reclined in her bed. She felt relieved. I dropped the tray, washed up and said my goodbyes while promising to be back with her tantalizer take away fried rice.
I knew I lied. I felt guilty. The light at the end of the tunnel was closing fast on her; the cells had metastasized. I am a child of the devil. He is the father of all liars. I am a godless soul. Soon, I’d have to redeem my soul. I will tell her the truth. But ‘soon’ may never come.
At the door, I flipped out my iPod and changed songs. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls. I pressed play and walked through the corridors into the sunset. Straight on to the laboratory.
WHAT IS TRUTH? WHAT IS HOPE? WHAT IS HAPPINESS? WHAT IS LIFE? WHAT IS DEATH?
PS: Please, say a prayer for a cancer patient today. They need our prayers!