Gradually my mind returned to the present……..
★★★back to the moment★★★
I was still standing close to the foot of the bed with my phone in my hand, as I watched the text message deliver to Iniobong.Then I scrolled for madam Grace’s number and dialled her.The phone rang severally but she didn’t pick nor call back.I didn’t expect less from the Milf because I knew how jealous milfs could get at times.And risky enough, her jealousy could cost me my job.After trying in futility to call her I dropped my phone and sprawled on the bed with my face to the ceiling as my mind hovered around certain things.
The next week Monday, I resumed work as usual and tried to reach out to the matron but she kept avoiding me without even letting me come close to her.The only time we came as close was during an operation in the OR, but there wasn’t much I could do other than exchange glances with her and she had this ‘I will deal with you look’ on her Face which left me uncomfortable throughout the operation.Thank God I wasn’t incharge of the operation because I would have been carried away.When the operation was over, she left immediately leaving the final processes of cleaning the gauze dressing for a junior nurse.I was about to turn and follow her, when Dr.Saha turned to me.
“Dr.Goodheart i’ll like to see you in my office after now” he said coldly.And my heart palpitated in fear.So this wicked matron finally carried out her threat, I wondered.If not why would Dr.Saha request for me in this manner.Throughout my stay in the hospital, Dr.Saha has never talked so coldly to me.Soon we wrapped up with all said and done and I followed my boss to his office as we walked without saying a word to each other.
We got into his office and he gestured me to a seat and hung his ward coat.He had a very gloomy look on his face as he took his sit and I braced up myself to hear the worst from him.I could imagine his voice saying “Based on bla bla bla the hospital board has fired you and bla bla bla”.He cleared his throat and looked straight into my face and I tried as much to avoid his gaze.Then he heaved deeply.Just get it on with, I thought….just tell me I have been sacked….just say the words and end my tension.As if he read my mind, he spoke up:
“Dr.Goodheart (my heart skipped)…..i’m dying”
I was shocked.Did I just hear something? Dr.Saha remained motionless with his head tilted to the left.
“Sorry….what did just you say?” I asked.
“I said i’m dying….slowly precisely” he reaffirmed.
Honestly I didn’t understand what the old man was saying.I thought he was about debriefing me on my eventual sack, rather he was saying crazy things like ‘dying’.I didn’t seem to get him.
“But how sir?” I asked.And he sat back, relaxing on his chair and smiled sadly with a look of despair on his face.
“My boy”, he said “I’m down with leukemia”
Omo! I jumped in my seat. ”What?!”
“Yes…..you heard me right”.
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.I couldn’t absorb the fact that my boss had such an ailment and kept it to himself.
“But sir….how long have you had it?” I asked.He smiled lousily.
“Well, for over 8 years now” he responded.
“And you have been managing it all these while”
“Yeah” he heaved. ”But i’m tired of managing it.You can’t cheat death you know”
Dr.Saha now told me that he usually went for treatment back in his country, India.That was when it occurred to me.All those sudden leaves by him and travels (thereby leaving me in charge) to India were because of his condition.
“Actually I didn’t call you in here to pity me”, he continued, ”No….I called you in here to tell you that my time is almost up.And in effect, I want you to replace me here in Briggs Memorial”
“Don’t say that sir”, I rasped, ” You’ll be fine”
“Thank you son….I didn’t expect less from you.But you’ll be needed here after I am gone.And that’s why I made sure you were always beside me so you could carry on my legacies”.Then he stood up and walked to shelve and brought out an album, and began to flip through it.
As I watched him flipping through those pages of the album, I saw a man who had lived a fulfilled life but yet life was not yet ready to miss him to the cold hands of death.I watched his bald head glitter from the energy bulb hanging above as he smiled into the pages of the album.My heart felt pity and sorrow at the same time, and I could feel the tears welling in my eyes.Then he turned to face me.
“The greatest fulfillment a man could have is a wonderful family” and he passed the glossy album to me.
Page by page i flipped through the sweet and cherished memories of the old surgeon and I understood he had a family that would greatly miss him.Ofcourse i too would miss him.He was more than a mentor to me.He was like a father.When I was done I closed the album and handed it back to him and he placed it before himself.
“So how long have you got to live sir?” I asked
“A few months”, he smiled.
That was when my phone beeped.I was needed at the ICU.
“Duty calls I guess?” Dr.Saha inquired.
“Then go for it”, he tapped
And i stood up reluctantly with a heavy heart, and walked sluggishly to the door and…..
“Dr.Goodheart”, Dr Saha called me and I turned back to look at the man that has taught me a lot.
“Don’t let any one know about all I said to you today”, he said softly.And I simply nodded before opening the door and closing it behind me and leaned on the door post as tears rolled down my cheeks.