Tuesday, 21 November 2017

LONG DISTANCE (THE FINALE)

GIF of heartbroken couple

Two people in a long distance relationship are trying to find each other. An unexpected turn of events tear them apart when they finally do. And it keeps pulling them apart until…they find themselves here. This is the final story. There were three others before this. (Read here, here and here to understand the story...or continue on here 👇)

Adon Kato heard the loud voices as she gradually slipped out of consciousness. Where was she? And why were they yelling?

‘You were my best friend! Why on earth would you ever think this is okay?!’

‘Oh! So it is okay for you to leave her and be with someone else and I can’t be with her? In fact…what the hell are you doing here? Why are you here?!’

Adon could tell Isaac Okiemute’s voice, but who was the other person?

Then the memories flooded in.

Jason.

Jason had been at her door. Jason had come to her. Jason was here!

The pain followed. She moaned.

Both men stopped shouting.

She opened her eyes fully and saw that Jason was driving; pretty fast if her spinning head was anything to go by. If Isaac wasn’t holding her, she was sure she would fall; many times.

‘Are you okay? Are you in pains?’ Jason asked, a trace of uncertainty in his voice.

You don’t get to speak to her you bastard! It is your fault that she is here anyway!’ Isaac shouted.
Adon caressed his hand. ‘It is okay. We will deal with…’

She couldn’t finish her sentence. Her face scrunched up in pain, and was followed through with a tortured moan. Adon clasped her belly hard and Jason turned in time to see her eyes roll back as she lost consciousness; again.

***
Jason was scared! He pressed harder on the accelerator and prayed he didn’t get into an accident.

He tried to ignore the fact that Isaac kept saying, ‘Stay with me baby. Stay with me.’ However, he couldn’t ignore the knot in his stomach. When was the last time he felt this much pain? He felt like dying every time he thought of his best friend with his girlfriend. Were they married? Of course they were; they were having a baby! And who was he kidding? He and Isaac had not been friends for a little over a year and the last time he had seen Adon was when she walked out of the hospital in Jos. His girlfriend? He wished!

‘What the hell are you doing?’ Isaac shouted, bringing him out of his musings.

He realized he had passed the gate of the hospital. He pressed hard on his brake and watched the pandemonium that ensued as two cars tried to avoid him. By some sheer act of fate, none of the cars collided and he heaved a sigh of relief as he began to reverse. He didn’t care that the drivers of both cars hurled insults at him or that Isaac punctuated all their insults with choice words of his own. Jason focused on getting the car to the emergency unit and as soon as he got there, jumped out to help.

Isaac pushed him out of the way as the paramedics rushed to handle the situation. Isaac followed the paramedics as Adon was wheeled into the nearest ward, explaining how they got there in the first place. Jason followed and tried to enter the ward but was shoved out by Isaac.

‘Nobody wants you here. Fucking leave!’

‘I am not going anywhere. Unless Adon tells me herself that she wants me gone.’ Jason said, calmly.
Isaac shoved again. And again. ‘Oh you want to act tough now?! You want to be Mr. Macho?! It is because of you that she is here in the first place! If you don’t leave this instant, we may just get into it.’ And pushed Jason again.

‘Don’t touch me again. I may respect you by keeping my hands to myself but I am not above getting into it. So…don’t. Fucking. Touch. Me. Again.’ Jason growled; menacing, angry, ready to pop.

Isaac smirked…and pushed him again. This time, Jason threw a punch that connected with Isaac’s jaw. Before anyone could intervene, they were engaged in fisticuffs.

The hospital orderlies got between them and kept them apart just as a petite doctor walked in. She gave them the worst stink look they had ever received in their lives.

‘First off, I will not have a bunch of grown men acting a fool in my unit! I haven’t slept in two days and I am just about to explode! So if you want to fight, go right ahead. But be warned, I will only permit that after Mijah and Umar here have tossed you out of this hospital. I do not have the time to deal with this nonsense, so which is it going to be? Fight club or a sense of maturity?’

Jason wiped the blood seeping towards his eye from the cut on his eyebrow and sat down. Isaac pulled out a handkerchief to stem the blood flow from his split lip. He went to the closest wall and leaned on it. Both men didn’t look at each other but it was clear that they were done fighting.

‘Okay then. For your sakes, I am glad you decided to borrow some sense. Now that I have your attention, we can proceed. I am Dr. Ameera Mas’ud. Which of you is Adon’s husband?’

‘I am her fiancĂ©.’ Isaac responded, giving Jason a pointed look and daring him to say anything. Jason looked away, willing the tears that formed in his eyes to go away.

‘Okay then. While I would normally have asked for a family member like a parent or sibling, you will have to do for now because we have an emergency on our hands. Due to the trauma of her shock and subsequent fall, there is fetal distress and we have to deliver the baby immediately. Thankfully, she is already at the closing stages of her third trimester and we believe mother and child will be fine. But we need you to sign our consent forms so we can quickly go to work.’

Isaac didn’t hesitate. He quickly signed the forms and returned them to Dr. Ameera. She collected them and walked away. But just before she turned the corner, she turned back to them. ‘Umar, stitch their injuries and make sure you use iodine so they can focus on the pain; since they are such macho men.’ She saw the look of horror on their faces, laughed and walked away.  

Isaac spent the next few minutes calling Adon’s parents and sisters. And pacing. Jason on the other hand sat tightly wound, wringing his fingers and wondering where it all went wrong. In fifteen minutes, Adon’s family were in the hospital. Her parents walked past him but her sisters – both of them – started when they saw him. He wanted to say ‘hi’ but their expressions glued him to his place. They all went to Isaac and spoke rapidly about Adon’s condition.

As Jason watched them huddle together, he couldn’t help but feel alone; completely and utterly alone. He was an outsider and no one wanted him here. It dawned on him that this must have been how Adon felt when he was the one in the hospital. And his mother didn’t help matters. He understood that she was hurt and was only trying to protect him but she had gone too far; and he let it get there.

Jason listened as Isaac explained how Adon got to the hospital and was shocked that Isaac didn’t throw him under the bus. He said she had been startled by something and fainted. While Adon’s parents accepted that at face value, Priscilla and Hope knew what – or rather who – caused the shock. Though the youngest, Hope matched resolutely to him and sat down.

‘What are you doing here?’

This was the first time Jason was hearing such an edge to her voice. She was the friendliest of the Kato sisters and he knew that he had really messed up for her to be this mad at him.

‘I am here to see to Adon. To talk.’

‘Why? After all these months? Why now?’

Hope’s voice was now laced with pain. Jason could tell that she was no longer just angry; she was hurt.

‘I woke up a week ago knowing I wanted to see Adon. I felt like it all came back to me at that moment; everything I felt for her, every moment we shared, every promise we made to each other. I knew I had to see her, to talk to her, to apologize for everything.’

Hope looked at him…and touched his hand.

‘You really hurt her. But we understand. It was a medical condition and trauma can do that to you. But when days became weeks, and weeks, months and you hadn’t snapped out it, she moved on. She got better and just when we thought she was finally over you, you come back here. Why?! You should have just stayed away.’

‘I…couldn’t.’

And Hope understood. She was about to say something else when Dr. Ameera returned.

Jason looked at his watch and was surprised that two hours had gone by since they got to the hospital. He stood where he was, watching as Dr. Ameera shared her news about Adon. He watched their faces lighten up as they began to follow Dr. Ameera. He was about to walk away, the pain of his exclusion and loss dampening his soul, when he saw Priscilla beckon to him.

‘I may not like you at this moment but if you hadn’t driven her here, I don’t know what could have happened. So…you can see her; briefly!’

Jason sighed and thanked her. As they walked towards Adon’s ward, his phone began to ring. He reached for it and on the screen was the picture of the woman he was supposed to be marrying in a week, the woman he thought he was in love with and…the woman he couldn’t bear to spend the rest of his life with.

Amara.
***
The last few steps to Adon’s room seemed to take forever. He finally let himself think about his fiancĂ©e. He hadn’t spoken to her in a week! From the moment he jumped out his bed a week ago, he had been consumed with finding Adon and talking to her. Amara had called him over and over again, and when he didn’t respond, sent messages asking if he was okay, telling him she was worried, and getting angry at his silence. His mother and father called too. So did his friends. He knew most people were worried so he sent an SMS saying he was fine and just needed time to solve a pressing problem.

His mother was more persistent. She never stopped calling. As soon as the call dropped, she would dial again. Jason, exasperated, decided to pick her call. This was yesterday.

‘Are you mad?! What has come over you?! Where are you?!’

Jason sighed.

‘I am here in Abuja. I have been looking for Adon. I just found out where she is and I am going to see her tomorrow.’

‘Again I ask; ARE. YOU. MAD?! Adon again?! The girl who made you get into an accident?! The girl who caused you to lose your spleen and a lot of time of your life?! No! You can’t be talking about the same person!’

Jason remembered losing his cool. ‘First off, she did not cause the accident! It happened! And she was there for me all through until you kicked her out. I woke up knowing I had to find her...’

‘Why?! Your relationship ended over 15 months ago. Why?!’

‘Because I love her, mother! She is the only woman I love! Somehow, something happened after the accident that had me believing I didn’t. But I love her; only her’.

‘But you are getting married…to Amara! A girl that has made you happy and one that I approve of…’
‘If you love her so much then, why don’t you go and marry her, mother?! I am not in love with her. I don’t think I ever was and I am sorry but…I am not marrying her.’

Jason heard his mother gasp.

‘No! This will not happen! It is a little over a week to your wedding and you want to pull this is on her – on US – now?! No! I will not accept this! I expect you to come back home immediately and call your fiancĂ©e – no wife – right now. This marriage will happen. What you want to do isn’t fair to Amara. Think of what this will do to her! Think of what it will do to me! To your father! To our reputation!’

‘I am glad you are not thinking of me in all this. So let me put it this way. The only other thing that consumed me as I searched for Adon was my research into post-traumatic stress disorder. When my brain, for lack of a better word, rewired, I could have been better if Adon was by my side. My warped perception of reality may have lasted only a short while before returning to normal. Instead, your disapproval of Adon made you push her away. And though it was explained to you that my attachment to a certain someone was part of the disorder, which was clearly a warning to us about my attachment to Amara, you joyfully pushed her into my thoughts, constantly reminding me about her and showing her love when you knew that the woman I loved was out there. And why?! Why did you hate her so much that you were okay with me being dysfunctional than with her? Why?!’

He heard his mother cry and he knew he had pushed it too far. But he needed to know.

‘Why, mum?’ His voice was softer now but he remained resolute.

‘Because she was taking my place in your life.’

‘What?’

‘You were so sprung that you didn’t see how much of a hold she had over you. You lived and breathed Adon. She became all you thought about and that was unhealthy. And though I could tell that you respected me, I knew my influence on you was getting smaller as your relationship got stronger. And I warned you…I warned you not to go Gombe. But you wouldn’t listen to me. So yes! I hated her! I hated her hold on you because it was unhealthy.’

‘So it was only healthy when you had a hold on me? When you controlled me?!’

‘Don’t not speak to me like that Jason Ogbeche! I am your mother!’

‘Same mother that risked me losing myself because of you assumed Adon was taking your place?! Mum! I love her! But that never meant I stopped loving you…or valuing you…or respecting you. You are my mother; always and forever. But you went too far in your treatment of Adon. Yes…I found that you sent her calls to a blacklist and prevented all her attempts to see me. I am so sad you went that far but it is not all your fault. I was wrong, I should have stood up for her, I should have been there for her, I should have…’

He stopped. He had made his point.

After ten minutes of going on and on about protecting him, his mother apologized.

 ‘What are you going to do now?’

‘I have to find her, mum. And talk to her. That is all I can hope for.’

‘And Amara?’

***
‘Are you going to get that?’ Priscilla asked.

Jason didn’t realize that his phone was been ringing. He looked at his hand and at the door that seemed to come out of nowhere. His heart skipped a beat, realizing who was on the other side of the door. Did she even want to talk to him? Was there even the smallest glimmer of hope?

Priscilla opened the door.

All eyes turned to look his way. Adon’s parents with a piqued expression, probably wondering why he was there. Hope looked at him, at Adon, and back at him. He could almost swear he saw a look of pity in her eyes. He watched Isaac’s face melt from a smile to a full on scowl. And then he looked at Adon.

She looked torn; battling between anger and confusion at his intrusion into her life. He wanted to hold her stare but his was awash with shame. He looked away…wanting to escape that haunting look of pain in the eyes of the woman he loved. He wished there was no one else in the room so that he could at least work up the courage to talk. In what felt like forever, he finally raised his eyes to meet hers. Then he looked at the baby.

And blanched.

The baby was white.

***
Jason had been coming to the hospital for the last three days. He hadn’t seen Adon since that first day because he always just stayed in the waiting room. He avoided Isaac who seemed to be doing a good job avoiding him too. He wondered why he kept coming when he didn’t make any move to see Adon. Somehow, he just knew he needed to be here, to be close to her, to be within walking distance when the time came.

He also couldn’t wrap his head around how Adon had a white baby. Did that mean it wasn’t Isaac’s? Of course. Isaac was as dark-skinned as they got. So whose baby was it? And why was Isaac fiercely protective of mother and child? What had happened in the last fifteen months that brought them to this point?

The door opened and Adon walked out, carrying her baby. Isaac, Hope and Priscilla were right behind her with the some of her things. Jason stood up…and still couldn’t say anything.

‘Are you going to keep moping around or are you going to grab some things?’ Hope asked. Priscilla smiled at him and handing him a bassinet. As he stretched his arm to collect it, Adon looked at him and smiled.

‘I want Jason to take me home.’

The bassinet fell. And the baby started crying.

Adon placated her and gave Jason a look. Isaac stood between them and Jason.
‘You can’t possibly be serious.’

‘I am. You should drive Priscilla and Hope. Jason and I need to talk; alone. And the time to do that is now. So I will meet you at home.’ And she walked away.

Jason hurriedly picked up the bassinet and looked at Priscilla and Hope.

‘You better have a good explanation.’ Priscilla said as she went back into the room. ‘And ermm…you are buying a new bassinet. You chicken!’ Hope laughed and followed Adon out of the hospital.

Isaac looked at him, murderous rage in his eyes, and then walked away.

Jason drew in a sharp breath. This was going to be hard.

He followed Adon.

***
‘So you have been coming to the hospital for the last three days and you didn’t bother to come say hi.’

Jason stepped on his brakes.

‘First off! Get a grip on yourself! I have a baby now and if one thing so much as happens to one hair on her head, I will kill you! Do you understand?!’

Jason nodded.

‘Okay! Now…slow down. We have a lot to talk about and we can take our time.’

They drove for two minutes without saying anything. The tension was palpable.

‘How is Amara?’

Jason looked at her; eyes willing she dropped this issue.

‘I guess she is great. I haven’t spoken to her in a little over a week.’

‘Isn’t your wedding in four days?’

Jason looked down and back up.

‘I don’t know if that is happening anymore.’

‘Don’t make hasty decisions yet. So…why did you want to see me?’

Jason looked her face – a face stretched by pregnancy weight – and smiled; she was beautiful! He drew a deep breath and relayed it all; everything he felt from the moment just after the accident to the moment when he woke up resolute to find Adon. He talked about the research he had done into PTSD and how it varied with different people. And then he was done; spent.

‘I knew all that. Dr. Anwar explained it all to me. And though I was hurt, I continued to reach out to you. Now I know that your mother didn’t want that.’

‘She apologized.’

‘A little too late in the day, isn’t it.’

Adon watched Jason’s shoulder slump a little.

Her baby began to fidget. They both looked at her and Adon rubbed her a bit. She quietened down and continued to sleep.

‘Isaac knew too. And he is angry at you because he thought that he could reach you, what with being your best friend for the last twenty years and what not. It hurt him that he couldn’t reach you to snap you out of that whorl. And when we saw the concerted effort to keep us out of your life, we decided to watch you from afar. After five months and you seemed to be doing just fine, we decided to let to you be. I moved on with my life as it seemed you had done with yours. Isaac and I would have continued to let you be but when we got the wedding invite in the mail, we knew someone went out of their way to ensure I got one. So no, I do not accept your mother’s apology.’

Jason didn’t know that happened. He felt the beginnings of another rage building up and he knew he couldn’t deal.

‘I understand.’

‘Okay.’

They drove for another minute in silence.

‘Was that why you hooked up with Isaac? Did I push you two together?’

‘Hooked up with Isaac?! What are you on about? Isaac and I are not together.’

Jason braked… hard. Adon had seen that coming and so she braced herself.

‘Did you forget that I have my baby in this car?!’

‘I am sorry. In fact, I am going to park somewhere so we can talk properly.’

Jason didn’t need to look far. He saw a city park that he remembered had a lake. He drove to the bank of the lake and parked. The he turned to Adon.

‘Isaac said you are engaged.’

‘He probably said that to rattle you.’

‘You can see that he likes you, right? Is maybe in love with you?’

Adon looked at Jason and laughed.

‘Of course not. He has being such a great friend and there is nothing more than that to it.’

Jason shook his head. ‘For the first time in your life, you are wrong. Isaac is in love with you. Isaac wants to be with you and that much is clear. It cannot be clearer than that.’

Adon began to think about it. Jason watched her expression change as she went from disbelief to realization.

‘Oh my God!’

Jason nodded.

‘I can’t believe I have been so blind to it. Oh! This complicates things! Okay…I will deal with it. But I can’t be with Isaac…’ At this point, Adon was talking more to herself than to Jason. She was obviously shocked and needed to process the revelation she just came in to. Jason gave her a minute.

‘Anyway, that is that.’

‘And the child’s father? Are you in a relationship with him?’

‘I don’t know him.’

Jason blanched; something that was becoming regular around her.

‘What do you mean you don’t know him?’ Jason couldn’t keep the edge off his voice.

‘Just that.’

‘You wouldn’t have sex with me for the entire duration of our relationship and you went all out and got pregnant for someone you don’t know?! Why? What happened to no longer having random sex? Or did you conveniently go back to fucking any guy that caught your fancy? Or was it me that you weren’t attracted to? Or was I the fool that believed waiting was good?’

Adon didn’t say anything. She just looked ahead.

‘Why, damn it?! Why don’t you know who the father of your baby is?’

‘Because I was raped.’ Adon said in a resigned voice.

Jason felt like he had been sucker punched.

Barely above a whisper and choked with pain, Jason asked. ‘What?’

‘When I decided I wanted to move on with my life, I went to Switzerland for a Masters. That was ten months ago. One night, I got asked to a party by some guys in my class. A lot of us were going so I didn’t think too much about it. When I got there, I was given a drink and unbeknownst to me, it was spiked with a date rape drug. When I started feeling woozy, I went to the one I thought was my friend and he got me into a room. When I woke up the next day, a video of three guys having raping me had been uploaded to the internet. They took care to blur their faces and film mine, with a background of racial slurs thrown about.’

Jason opened the car door and walked a distance away. Then he screamed! Adon watched him, glad for the baby on her lap that prevented her from going to him, holding him, comforting him. Instead she rocked her baby and told herself she was not going to cry about this again.

Jason returned, the shadow of his pain left in the tears he thought she didn’t know had been there.

‘So what happened?’

‘Thankfully, things work in Switzerland. The men were arrested and the judge ruled that the video be taken down from the internet and I was paid one hundred thousand euros. All of them are in jail for a fifteen year term and by the time those sentences were handed out, I was already showing. That was three months ago. I don’t know which of them got me pregnant and I don’t want to know. I decided to return to Nigeria to give birth before deciding what else I want to do with my life. I am going to love my daughter to the best of my ability and that is that.’

Jason looked at her. He wanted to hug her and take all her pain away.

‘How are you so calm about this?’

‘I spent the greater part of the last nine months being angry at everything and everyone. I blamed my rapists, blamed myself…and even blamed you. The anger got me through the court cases and victim blaming and revenge porn and somehow, I got better. When I won the court case, it illuminated my mind on what I want to do with the rest of life. It allowed see that I could help other women get justice for crimes against them and when I came to that realization, I let the anger go. Don’t get me wrong. I still wake up some nights thinking some dude is over me…raping me…not seeking my consent and all that. I am in therapy and some day, I am going to be fine. But now, I am calm because I am taking one step at a time, one day at time. I will be fine…tomorrow.’

This time, Jason pulled her into his arms. And Adon let him.

After ten minutes, Adon cleaned her face, surprised that she had cried about it again; and on Jason’s shoulders no less. She pulled away from him.

‘Okay. I am fine. Let us go.’

As soon as Jason parked the car in front of her house, she turned to him and smiled.

‘You need to go back to your fiancĂ©e. And…just before you protest, hear me out. I understand that you are back to yourself and you want things to go back to the way they were before the accident but they can’t. I have a child now and I am going to dedicate the rest of my life to finding justice for victims of sexual abuse. And you made a commitment to Amara. She is good for you. Your family like her and she helped your recovery process. Deep down, you know you love her. It will grow; just give it time.’

Jason couldn’t hide the pain he was feeling and he wasn’t ashamed to let the tears pour. Adon held him and let him cry.

‘I love you Jason. And will always do. But so much water has gone under the bridge and there is such a long distance between us now. Though I know it was no fault of yours, or anyone’s for that matter, there are consequences for every action. I love you. But I am not the one for you. Amara is.’

As she broke away, she caught the figures of four people standing on her porch.

Her sisters. Isaac.

And Amara.

She turned to Jason and kissed his forehead.

‘Go to her Jason. And goodbye.’

***
As soon as Jason and Amara drove out of the compound, Adon went to her nursery and set the baby down.

‘You have been such a good girl. Thank you for letting me deal with this, Jaycinth.’

And she broke down in tears.

Her sister came to wrap her in a bear hug. And Isaac enveloped them all.

Adon cried until she was spent.

***
It was 10am. Jason’s wedding day.

Adon sat in her living room, rocking her baby and imagining the ceremony. She imagined Amara’s face; radiant, beautiful, happy. She was getting a good, no great, man. Would she wear white? Or cry when she read her vows? Would Jason?

The doorbell rang, breaking her reverie.

‘I will get it.’ Isaac said from the kitchen.

He walked to the door, smiling at Adon and glowing at her returned smiled.

She watched him go. ‘Should I consider being with Isaac?’ She thought of all the times he had been there for her. She imagined what her life would have been like if he hadn’t help her through the worst moments of hers. She wondered if that was enough to build a lasting relationship on or if that would spell the end of a great friendship.

‘I guess I expected this.’ She heard Isaac say.

And just before she could get up to see who it was, Jason walked into her living room, dapper, dressed in a coffee brown suit, with an ice blue vest and the crispest white shirt. He looked a vision; hot, sexy, handsome.

‘What are you… ?’

‘I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t marry someone else. Because the only woman I want to be with is right here in this room; you. I love you Adon…with the whole of my heart, my soul, my mind, my body and my resolve. I want to be with you all day, every day. I want to bring ripples of happiness to your life and make you happy. I want to be a father to your baby…if you let me. I want to go on campaigns with you, bringing justice to the people most affected by the dysfunction of our society. I want to drink in your laughter and soak in your joy. I want to wake up to your face in the morning and go to bed knowing that your head on my heart is life. I want to have babies with you that have your hair and nose and the strength of your eyes. I want to play basketball with you in the summer and ride bicycles through falling leaves. And I want to fight with you and make up as we discover and rediscover ourselves. I want to love like you deserve to be loved and there is no way I could have said all this to anyone else but you! It would give me the biggest joy to be a part of your life. Please, don’t turn me away again.’

Adon was crying. She couldn’t even pretend not to.

‘What about Amara?’

‘I drove him here.’ Adon looked up and saw Amara, standing in the most beautiful wedding gown she had seen; ruining her makeup with rivulets of tears running down her face. ‘I am okay with it.’

‘So Adon…’ Jason went on his knees and opened a box with the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. ‘…will you pity my generation and nearly exploding heart by marrying me?’

Adon laughed through her tears.

‘Yes. I will pity your nearly exploding heart...and your generation.’

Jason stood up and wrapped her in his arms.

And for the first time in fifteen months, Jason and Adon kissed.

And though Isaac was hurt, he went and hugged them both.

You see, sometimes love is about getting the girl want…and other times, it is losing her to the man she loves.

Isaac looked at Amara and stretched his hand out to her. Their eyes connected and for a second, someone’s heart skipped a beat.

She walked towards them.

THE END.

Do you want a spin off involving Isaac and Amara? Tell me what you think would happen and maybe, just maybe, I might oblige you.


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