As soon as the officer darted into the restroom to respond to nature’s call, the chief nurse stood up from her chair by the doorway and walked straight to the clerk at the information counter.
“Who’s that man?”
“He’s a police officer.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I saw his police badge.” She whispers.
Folding her arms, she says with trepidation: “Then I’m finished.” The officer is coming out of the restroom now. The chief nurse is moving toward him as fear and anxiety gnaws at her heart. She’s now trying to put on a veneer of politeness. Gnashing her teeth in rage, she says:
“Why didn’t you tell us you were a police officer immediately you entered this ward? I would have personally seen to it that your wife was given an express service.”
Behaving like a demonstrative to a dying dog, she instructs the junior nurses to quickly take me into the observation room on a stretcher. As soon as I was inside of it, I counted about five nurses around me. Each of them tried to make me feel comfortable. All this while, my thoughts were with that old lady who was left to flounder in a morass of inefficiency and corruption. After being administered a sedative injection, I subsequently fell asleep.
It’s now daybreak, I’m still in my bed. I hear a voice that seems like that of Abdul. I ask myself:
“What does this man got to do with me after having treated me like his pet?” He’s asking the nurses about a young pretty girl who was admitted to the hospital yesterday.
“Where’s that girl who was admitted here yesterday?”
“She’s in room 911.”
I hear him shout on top of his voice.
“Do you say room 911?”
“Yes, you heard me alright!”
“Please get that girl out of that room immediately, it’s an evil number.”
“Sir, you cannot come over here and dictate to us what should be done to your wife.” The chief nurse admonishes.
“Sorry, but… “
“I’m just worried she’s in room 911.” Abdul explains.
“What has the number 911 got to do with you?” The chief nurse hits back.
“911 translates into September 11, and it was the day those terrorists killed so many innocent people in New York City. My brother was among the dead.”
“So many other innocent people were also killed, not just your brother alone. By the way, had it been that the events of 911 had taken place in a poor African country, do you think it would have received this massive press coverage?”
The nurse continues:
“You know what? The reason why it attracted such a massive press coverage was not because of the number of casualties, but because of the fact that, the king of the forest had been wounded by termites!”
“Aren’t you sorry for those who lost their lives in such a barbaric attack?” Abdul counters.
“No doubt, it was a lamentable occurrence. But I do also feel sorry for those poor women and children of Africa and elsewhere who die every day due to hunger, malnutrition and AIDS. Just imagine what the world would have been if it had united against AIDS, poverty, and hunger as it now does against terrorism.”
“Do not link 911 and the widespread deprivation in Africa caused by Africans themselves.” Abdul says.
“Do not also try to link 911 and the room numbers in our hospital.” The chief nurse cautions Abdul.
This cross-fire between Abdul and the chief nurse brought the Emergency Room to a standstill as all other nurses stood by watching the them, while the sick and the dying lay helplessly on the floor.
Their argument about 911 became so nasty that I became nervous. I wondered why Abdul would come to visit me in the hospital only to have himself and other nurses argue about my room number. I had always believed that Abdul, who seemed to have been a well-brought-up individual, is as decorous alone as he is in public.
Now all I know about this man is that, he has been a roué, he is immoral. Despite the fact that he is a married man, he has seduced many a woman and dropped them for new conquests. Am I now his next target?
As I continued to agonize over my predicament, tears begun to flow freely down my cheeks. How, on earth, could I have gotten myself ensnared by this dissolute man? I had only myself to blame. But how could I have resisted his friendship when he seemed to care so much about my progress, especially after my Dad, who had been a business executive, became so déclassé to the point of working as a night watchman? A nurse rushes in, handing over my bill, she says:
“Get ready, its time to go home.”
“I do not have money to pay this lump sum of money.” I said.
“Stop pretending. Pack up, go pay your bill and leave.”
“I have no money please.”
Leaning backwards, she says:
“Do you expect me to believe you? You are such a pretty young woman who shouldn’t have problem settling her bills. If I were half as pretty as you are, I wouldn’t be working in a hospital for just a pittance.” As we continued to argue, I couldn’t find Abdul. “May be he’s gone to settle the bills.” I consoled myself. I quickly hurried to the check out counter to find him. With a low guttural growl, I asked the lady at the counter.
“Please where is that tall and lanky gentleman who wore a blue T-Shirt and sunglasses?”
“Do you mean the man who was lecturing us about the evils of 911?”
“I’m sorry, he’s left.”
“Did he say anything before leaving?”
“Not that I know.”
At this point I knew I was wrong. I was wrong in thinking that Abdul had come to the hospital to help pay for my medical expenses. He’s now vanished into thin air, what should I do? I begun to recollect what Dad had told me some time ago about men.
“Beware of men who make you feel as safe and warm as a cup of cocoa with a marshmallow melting in it. But then, when you get to the bottom of the mug, you find a dead fly, and disgust replaces delight.”
I had the strong belief in me that, virtually every woman has had experience with a man who comes on strong like Abdul, and retreats just as vehemently! The problem is, as Dad always lamented, “Women are experts at ignoring warning signs!