"Yes Miss Mariah. Anything I could do for you?
"Yes please" I stuttered gently.
"I just needed clarifications from you why you asked me to come to office by Monday. I am sorry I have to make you repeat your words. I am deeply sorry". I said
"It is obvious you were absent minded when I said the other time that the Regional manager will be here on Monday and he requested you come to supervise this big contract bid by three different companies. And you know we can't afford to lose a huge amount of money to cheap burgers who will not do justice as much expected".
Now I was clarified well after he said it was just for Monday and if the need be I need few days to be at work then the options are either I work from home regarding preparations of documents and minor work or I appear in the office and count my number of work during leave and have them immediately after I'm done. Of course I was thinking quite right and I settled for work at home. That is the best option and I will not deprive myself off my enjoyment. Besides, I will not choose to work in the office because I have a certain boss who takes every slight opportunity to rather have full concentration on me instead of paying full attention on what yields him pay, bonuses and salaries. My options were settled and final and thanks to God I have a very understanding boss who has always learned never to boss people around irrespective of their marriage status. Though In some very rare cases, his policy has bounced back at him and it took the intervention of a wise man still like him.
There were cases where he was regarded low and was never respected by some staffs. In no time the sack letters were prepared but this was duly after several corrections with soft and tender warnings.
I heard the sounds of plate and I knew someone was already at work in the kitchen. My best friend. I love her so much that we share everything together. From things I can't mention to the tiniest thing ever. She knew what just to do at the right time. Cracking of plates and sounds of tap running didn't stop until I dozed off right on the bed. I smiled carefully as I knew I would wake to do nothing other than eat. I trust her to have done dinner before I awake.
"Right about time"she said as I held my head due to slight headache. I guess the hangover was still having effect on me.
"Yeah. I must have slept for long. I said as I slightly tilted my head upward to look at the wall clock. "Hmm" I smiled and sighed.
Cherry had entered the kitchen and she was smiling wholeheartedly as she made set for the dining table. I could smell porridge. That is her best and favorite ever. She could eat that in the dream never minding anything. I had my first porridge when I was seven.
I remember me just coming back from school and I was so famished. My mom had prepared porridge waiting for Dad to return from his post office work. I looked into my plate and wondered if it were some kind of first class sacrifice. I eagerly asked what it was and the ingredients. My mom answered me as she kept moving from one place to another just to make sure the kitchen was well tidied. I didn't like it at first taste and ever since, I never neared it. Only for me to meet Cherry as my roommate and got stucked with her cooking porridge at most five times a week. Which means on every other day she doesn't make porridge, she would eat out. All her other food stuffs I always helped in doing justice to them.
"Meriah" she called out my name. I joined her on the dining and each time I crunched and I ate a bite, I felt pains by my forehead. It was almost like two forces colliding together in their mightiness. I took another bite and I was gone. That was all I remembered.
My sub conscious body laid on Cherry's laps while she kept screaming for help. My gatekeeper got alerted by her attempts and noises and being the mighty one, he lifted me straight though with some groans and headed to the car. Thankfully it was at night which means facing the oncoming direction, there was no traffic to have delayed us. And if there were, I know my best friend. She would take the one way and have to pay fine later if caught. She is just like that.
Another Angel was around. My Doctor.
He wasted no time as he helped in wheeling me into one of the wards. He carried out physical check up alongside first aid and told Cherry I would be fine. He said according to diagnosis that I suffered from accumulated stress and brain fatigue. Well I guess I needed the leave after all. No debate on that furthermore. She asked inquisitively if she could see me and he directed her to where I was. She was there till I gained full consciousness of my surroundings. I tried getting up but I noticed all sorts of wires were passed on me and the beep of another machine disturbing my peace made me know I was at the hospital. I smiled quietly as I saw Cherry chunking chin chin beside me. You would wonder if my life wasn't important to her but it was far important to her actually. You just can't force her to be emotional. Even when her brother died, she was as dry as a desert without a brook. Tear never dropped from her eyes at all. She just didn't see it as a big deal. Not at all. And not for any reason.
"Welcome back" she said as she threw the last chin chin in her mouth and kept crushing like she were some kind of ruminant.
The doctor came in and saw me awake. I could see his upper set of teeth out from his mouth as he smiled. He was filled with joy to see me conscious which left me wondering if I was that important to anybody. He read to me what landed me in his hospital and the only think I could deduce from what he said was that the test result showed I had taken heavy alcoholic drink which my body system was not used to. Coupled with that, it aroused my long awaited health scare and it made use of the perfect time to shoot its deadly arrows. He also warned I desist from taking alcohol or heavy substance drink at least till I'm much better. I looked at Cherry with a side eye and she almost bursted into laughter. I was somehow eager for him to finish his medical grammars and cautions so I could sleep again. I just kept nodding to everything he said including the ones that needed I voice out verbally. He got the catch that I needed to rest again.
"See you again and by then, you should have recuperated fully well" he smiled and turned his back. I did the final nodding as Cherry bursts into laughter. She respected that because the doctor wasn't out yet, so she diminished. But as soon as he shut the door, she bursts into another round of laughter.
"Did I just hear you say you are staying off from alcohol? Like seriously?" She teased. I wanted to poke her but I got withdrawn by the heavy drip on my back palm.
"What do you mean? That I can't stay away from alcohol?" I replied her back.
"Well you can but maybe with a mix of juice. With that, it tastes better and deceiving enough" she laughed again. I wouldn't have known if not for she told me how she tried different specie of alcohol brands and mixed them into the henessy bottle I had seen earlier on. She went further to say of how many cups and shots I gulped wanting for more before I was stopped. I pretended that didn't hurt. For goodness, I wasn't forced so I couldn't lash my rage on her. I used my hands to help my mouth and with that, I got extensively drunk. Why was all these now spilling out from her mouth when I was weak? I thought quickly. Why didn't she wait till I could roll out fresh waves on her and give her stern warning never to mix a drink for me. After all, I needed the answers but on the hospital bed wasn't the best time to hear everything. I never knew more actions I had committed were hanging on her tongue waiting for a command to spill out on her lips. I knew I can't do without having a glass of alcohol a day. After work hours or before bed. But miraculously each time I have alcohol before bed I would still wake up normal time and get prepared for work. I guess my mother's spirit still guides me then. I had no break in taking alcohol. Now I know where my accumulated whatever the Doctor diagnosed had been brewing from. They were just waiting for the perfect time to push themselves out while they must have been held like covalent bonds. While she was talking, I slept off again. That would be like the hundredth time I would sleep that same day.
I was awake again but this time with full energy. I saw Cherry's head bent on folded arms as she slept seated on the plastic chair. I wonder how she was comfortable with been in that position for a longer time. I guess she never stood up for anything except maybe when she went to get chin chin. That's only when I guarantee she walked and stretched her legs. The ward was silent so were other wards. I almost thought the hospital was empty and I began to freight. A hospital cannot be silent this way. Never. So I thought but I was proven wrong by the cry of a baby. That must be from the labor room. I guessed right. The doctor came in again. At first he peeped with the door opened at half way and saw I was awake.
"I have been here couple of times but I saw you were still asleep. Likewise her too".
"Thank you doctor" I said out with smiles. I almost said thanks man but that was my boy part. I can switch modes anytime depending on our rapport. He physically examined me again and concluded I've done better than the last few hours and to his amazement, I have a strong immune system to fight back. The word immune system I heard went deep into my ear drums and had a talk with my heart. "With your heavy drinking? Your immune system is still healthy to fight back health challenges?" That was grace. Honestly speaking I don't know what else to have called it if not grace. I've heard lots of health challenges for alcohol drinking women lined up enmass in her future. It wasn't actually my fault. Alcohol was never my thing and I never tasted a pint before. What led to my gross drinking habits, I can't mention now. It sure bring tears to my face each time I think about it. And my consoler is right here sleeping. Thankfully she wasn't snoring.
I noticed my friend stood up and went to ease herself. This time I was facing the wall but with my eyes closed. Just random thoughts. And by the time she was back, I had turned away from facing the wall. She sat down more relaxed and yawn with water dropping from her side eyes. She smiled at me and said "sorry dear. I am just waiting for the dawn so I can go and prepare something for you". At least I was loved and the love showered were for real. I instantly grew cold when she said that. I smiled back in return.
"If I were the MD or owner of this hospital, I would have an in built canteen or restaurant. It would have been easier". My condition had turned her into being a building consultant.
I laughed and said "now that they don't have what do you want to do? So because I am ill has made you think that should have been done".
"No. I am talking about people like us. We can't be here all day without refreshments now". I just shook my head. "After all you've swallowed yesterday, and the one you managed to crunch while beside me, you can still claim to be hungry. And unto who will the bill be upon?" She kept giving me the side eye look.
"Man shall not live by bread alone please". She retorted back at me.
I couldn't wait for dawn yet I knew I needed to be out of the place. I can't stand smelling those concentrated drugs that have some unpronounceable names. Though my nose could withstand to some extent. My mum worked as a pharmacist even though I didn't always stay in there with her. Her dream of establishing a good hospital faded off when my father was sacked from his post office work. We were left to her catering for us and me being the first born child, I needed to up my game to release her off the stress. All her savings went into paying of school fees and paying other debts and bills. It wasn't easy so to speak. Paying school fees for four children was like hell. It was gruesome and at some extent I thought I should drop out of school and give chance for my younger ones too. As God would have his way, my younger ones got scholarship to a certain level. Another Grace I call it.
In no time I was out of the hospital alas. According to the Doctor I was not to be discharged yet but due to my familiarity and popularity in the hospital, I was asked to go home and receive home treatment even when I didn't ask for it. "Finally" Cherry said. She drove home with care as I pulled the seat backwards to enable myself have rest. I asked her not to use the air conditioner. I needed to feel nature. With my seatbelt crossed over me, I slept off again
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