“Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hand has provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
Strong feet were steadily tapping to the rythm of the song being sung.
My left eye cracked open. The light pricked it shut, but not before I saw William sitting by the bedside, his head bowed. He was singing. He looked completely dishevelled, spotting a few days stubble.
The room was hot and his shirt buttons were opened to the belly, showing a white singlet clinging to a broad chest. I willed my mind to dismiss that image right away. His hair was uncombed as well and he looked like he could use a bath.
The room was painted a light blue and was dimly lit by the florescent lamps hanging from the ceiling. Sunlight streamed from the nearby window, escaping the curtains which were tied together with ribbons.
I heard the door open and shut firmly. “Excuse me sir,” a female said with a tight voice, as if at the edge of irritation and forcing herself to remain polite. “The doctors have certified her dead. Five times. Different doctors sir. And you’ve been here for three days. I’m not sure why the body isn’t swollen yet, but we have to leverage on that miracle to get her body in the mortuary as soon as possible sir.”
“No,” I heard William say emphatically.
The lady sucked in a sharp breath, striving for patience. “Sir. Her family have already given their consent and signed all the necessary documents. It is my obligation as the…”
She stopped immediately. They were probably staring at me. I forced my eyelids open very slightly, wincing as the light hit my pupils.
“Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” William was shouting. He jumped from his chair so quickly that he almost toppled over. He was at my side in a moment. “Mary. Mary can you hear me?”
I turned my head to his direction and tried to nod. Pain shot through my skull down my back.
Cradling my hand in both of his, he wept into it. His voice broke. “Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you.”
The nurse couldn’t move or talk. She just stared at me as if she’d encountered a ghost. Suddenly, she dashed through the door, shouting.
Within minutes, the hospital room was filled to the brim with people coming to see the girl that was brought back to life. My family soon arrived. Dad ran into the room first, eyes wide and disbelieving. When he saw me observing everyone, looking amused, he started crying as well.
He hugged William first, squeezing him tight. Dad was a big guy and I didn’t want to imagine how hard his grip must be. William turned his face towards me and rolled up his eyes as if he was about to pass out from the squeezing. I laughed gingerly, wincing. Movement was painful. A bandaid was wrapped around my head and my back was propped up with a pillow, exposing the left side which was plastered.
My mum and my sisters were all over me, touching me here and there, answering people’s questions.
“Mary?” Mum called, as if to make sure.
“Yes mum?” I responded.
“Hmmm.” She clapped, still mindblown and thoroughly shaken. She folded her arms beneath her breasts, staring at me. “Welcome back.”
Everyone soon dispersed, though occasionally, someone would drop in to see for themselves.
“We have started investigating nne,” Dad was saying. “Once you’re well enough, you can tell us who did this to you. We’re going to arrest him or her.”
My family sat in a circle around the hospital bed. William had gone home to brush, bathe and eat. For the first time in three days, I was told.
The students at the school cafeteria had rushed me to the hospital and my friends had contacted my family. William had dialed my number that evening to talk with me as always and couldn’t reach me. He tried again the next day and still couldn’t reach me. He had gotten worried and started coming to my school. That was when he heard what happened.
He rushed to the hospital immediately. They’d said I had a concussion and severe damage to my head. He began to pray for my recovery. When they said they’d lost me, he’d been dazed for a while. He didn’t speak or cry. He’d simply taken a seat at the corner of the room, looking lost.
When everyone had left, he started negotiating with heaven. For three days, he’d stayed here, rejecting food, comfort or any advice to move on. In the middle of night, he was awake praying in the Holy Ghost and at some point, he had begun to despair. They said he suddenly started wailing and screaming, “No! Lord, No!” People thought he had run mad.
They left him alone, hoping he’d finally feel better after crying, but he refused to leave. After praying for long hours, he’d send for a doctor to check if I’d been revived. They’d say no and he’d just continue praying.
My father was shocked at such depth of love. I had mentioned William to them, but I was yet to take him home to see my family. So, my parents were rather awestruck at how a total stranger could feel so deeply for their daughter. They were so moved and allowed him to pray for as long as he wanted to.
By the time my sisters finished sharing this gist, I was a puddle of emotions. My God. My God. Goosebumps washed over me. All I wanted at that moment was to find William and just hold him to my bosom. My love, my love.
Then I remembered how I ended up here in the first place. A deep bitterness filled my heart. I had every intention of making sure the young woman faced the full repercussions of her actions. She literally killed me. If not for the mercies of God, I should have actually been dead and nobody would have known what happened.
Chika had to be the most unfortunate living thing alive at that moment, because I’d see to it that she was hunted down and properly dealt with.
“Dad, it’s a lady that did this to me,” I began.
Within few minutes, I told them the whole story. My sisters were livid, asking where she was, as they wanted to give her a high five. On her face. With a plank. My Mum was dumbstruck in the typical African mother style of not believing her ears, then she also began to rant about desperate young girls and a wicked generation. My Dad was already making calls. A doctor walked in with two nurses, announcing that they wanted to give me medications and change the bandaids.
To be continued…