It was on a scorching, sunny Friday afternoon. I was walking pass the Casualty section of the General Hospital [odan] Marina, Lagos. Though everything about me seemed to be tired; my legs; eyes and other part of my body, more because I had been walking around like someone without aim or destination. My black skin with the aid of the sun glittered in the white chase-deer t-shirt I wore; a black pencil trousers hung on my waist and my locally made; #500 bend-down select palm fit into my dust filled foot. Although the day seemed to have started well but I never knew what it had in stored for me.

The smell of medications; odour of sore treated and bandaged wounds rouse the atmosphere. The cool breeze that blew from the Marina waters-combined with the offensive smell of locally made izal and air freshener emanated from the toilets and rooms of the casualty building. Houseflies were flying here and there happily, looking for where to perch; on wounds, dustbins, galas, doughnut or meat pies-being eaten by those who stood at a red canteen with Coca-Cola signage nailed to the top of the kiosk; immediately below the almost rust ‘aluminum sheet roof’ ready to lick rain waters whenever it rained.

The buildings of the hospital all appeared to look the same, with little modifications that made it easy to differentiate the Pharmacy apart the Emergency/Casualty building; the Ward apart the Radiological building. The blue roofs with fully grown weeds on them were slant sideways for erosion purposes. I imagined the rain drenching those who sat beneath the drainage when it rains cats and dogs.

I heard a car horn and looked back. There stood an 8ft gate with topped sharp ridges protruding atop it. A gateman who wore a green bib like those Julius Berger contractors or those football teams one saw at various under-bridges in Lagos; with the words `Ask from me’ written with red ink on it, below the back muscle-, opened the gate and a car drove in.

I stood on a spot for a moment when I saw the car being driven recklessly towards my path.

I made way since I didn’t have a clue of the driver’s intentions. Perhaps, he might be a ‘Yaba-left` patient.

The black 2004 model ford jeep explorer sped pass me leaving nylons of sachet waters; biscuits; and unknown small cartons of things that looked like postinor-2 packs to fly in the air as though dancing to the wind of a tornado.

That was the moment I saw a woman weeping and lamenting “Ah Lekan! Kilode to shey shey eyi fun mi {Lekan, why do you have to do this to me},” her scarf hanging loosely across her shoulder; her wrapper, in the way she wailed uncontrollably was already grazing the floor; her hair and appearance looked unkempt like a mad woman chasing thin air. It was evident she wept for the death of her son or relative.

Another woman dashed out of the waiting room and sprawled rolling on the floor, crying louder than the first woman “God! God! Why do you have to do this to me?” as though God had come down to kill the boy.

I imagined God descending heavily armed with cutlasses, axes and broken bottles to stab the child at every part of his body. But it was useless to think of. God wouldn’t do that, wouldn’t have done that.

Why do humans thank God for every fortunes and blame him for every misfortunes? Was the thought I had.

I shook my head for their loss and grieve. I wished I had words of consolation for both woman, wished I could say, don’t blame God but accept fate or,-embrace them and make them feel my calm breath that gives hope and assurance of a better tomorrow. But these I knew, would not stop their tears or the pain that pierced their hearts.

Although I caught a view of someone covered with a bedspread on the stretcher as I looked through the window. It seemed to be the corpse the women were grieving for. Perhaps I was wrong, I thought to myself as I increased my pace towards the Ward.

I had gone to clear my grandpa’s file at the kitchen, pharmacy and pathology. He had been examined fit to be discharged by Dr. Shomoye, one of the senior doctors. A cavalier; very dark rotund looking man-with his cheeks always hanging down bull-dog like, whenever he said ‘do not disturb me’ even when his patients were at the jaws of death and needed his attention urgently.

It was 6 weeks and a day ago my grandpa was rushed down to the hospital because he couldn’t urinate through his Catheter well. There seems to have been a blockage caused by bacteria. Though you all would think, that shouldn’t have made him stay that long at the hospital but the blockage caused many things in his body. He couldn’t breathe well as he was an asthmatic patient, couldn’t sleep and he was at a time diagnosed to have prostrate infections, which led to his use of Catheter and urine bag.

It took 5minutes to get to the Ward E1. A male Medical ward where patients on observation and medications were accommodated. It was quite different from the Surgical ward that bedded patients’ with injuries and large smelly wounds. I remembered when papa was admitted to the ward. He told the matron who wrote the the admission pack receipt that he was an asthmatic patient and wouldn’t like to be in that smelly Surgical ward as if, those who are admitted there aren’t humans.

I walked into the ward and told Matron Titi I had done the necessary things and was ready to call the driver immediately she gave the go-ahead. Matron Titi who appeared to be in her middle fifties, grey hair already laying foundation on her head asked

“Are you the only one who will take him home?”

I stood transfixed. I didn’t have a reply for her. I wanted to try and make her see reasons why I was the only one around; the only person who had been doing the running around but my mouth and courage failed me.


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