STARLESS NIGHTS by Nissi Adeola. Episode 8

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Episode 8

The days slowly rolled by. There were long days, longer nights. Less smiles, more tears. Less calm, more turmoil… Bola was always on the run, moving from one ward to another, not resting until Timothy was attended to. She shunned that screaming voice in her head; the one that repeated consistently that Tim wasn’t going to make it. Together, they built their faith. George’s faith was high, Bola’s faith was higher. The struggles helped to reinforce her faith; ‘God couldn’t watch them go through this immense struggle and still allow Timothy to die’. She told herself repeatedly. 

Bola told herself this as she watched one pack of blood go empty, only to be replaced with another. Bola told herself this when Tim had the hair on head shaved completely. Bola told herself this when Tim’s weakness had George consistently carrying him to the toilet. Bola told herself this when George had to walk the long distance to the blood bank at midnight, just to get blood for Timothy. Bola told herself this when she and George had to collectively donate blood to Tim because there was no money to buy even a pint of blood. She told herself this when the student doctors didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with Tim; when they seemed clueless while Tim had a crisis. She knew that God was there; she knew that God couldn’t be blind to their struggles. And even when the faith of her husband seemed to be descending, she was the rock to keep him on his feet. She traded fear for faith, fear had nothing to offer her, with faith, she at least had a chance; a ray of hope in the thick darkness that engulfed her soul.

 Doctor Felix arrived after two weeks in the hospital. They were all relieved to finally have a competent doctor attend to Timothy. Chemotherapy commenced in earnest. The first days were the worst, seeing Timothy in great pain and struggle brought tears to both the eyes of Bola and George, but after a week, Timothy was much better. He went to the toilet himself for the first time in weeks; he even played with some of the children there in the hospital. The relief George and Bola felt was incomparable; too great to quantify. There was finally light at the end of the tunnel. It is only a matter of time before he is declared hale and hearty, then we can go back to being one big happy family; they thought. So when the doctor called George in on Saturday evening, George was expecting to hear something different. The blow came so unexpectedly, he didn’t see it coming…

George entered the doctor’s office with a smile on his face. “Doctor Felix, you sent for me” he said as he dropped into a seat opposite George.

Doctor Felix smiled faintly as he closed the file on his table. “Yes, Mr. Rogers, I… I need to discuss something important with you, I hope you don’t mind”

George’s smile waned. “Of course, what is it, doctor? Is everything okay?”

Doctor Felix shifted and nodded briefly. “How many children do you have, Mr. Rogers, if you don’t mind my asking”

“Four. Two girls and two boys” he blinked, looking curious. “What does that have to do with anything, doctor?”

Doctor Felix leaned forward, bracing his forearms on the large office table. “Ever since I arrived, I have been seeing you and your wife run helter skelter; I actually thought Timothy was your only child”

George smiled faintly. “He isn’t” for an unknown reason, he felt the doctor was about to say something really terrible.

Doctor Felix swallowed and took a deep breath. “Do you mind me giving you a piece of advice, Mr. Rogers?” George swallowed, staring at the doctor with apt attention. “Forget about Timothy” Doctor Felix dropped.

Heavy silence hung in the air as George stared at the doctor like he had no idea whatsoever about what the doctor was blabbing about. “Forget what?”

Doctor Felix sighed audibly, leaning against the backrest of his leather chair. “Listen, I know this must be hard for you, and honestly, it is against my ethics to tell you this but I have watched you and your wife push yourselves day in day out to keep your son alive, and I really feel bad for you.” George stared on, looking really pale. His facial expression said vividly that he definitely thought the doctor was out of his mind. “What I am trying to say in essence is… your son’s illness is incurable. I know, being a pastor, you believe in miracles, but the fact is that your son’s case is a hopeless one, and I’m sorry, but he can’t survive it. Thank God you have other children,”

George jumped to his feet. He laughed humorlessly as he shook his head vigorously. “What nonsense are you blabbing, doctor? Why does this hospital have so many satanic agents, all bent on destroying whatever joy and hope we have?” he shook his head continuously as he snarled at the doctor. “For two days now, Timothy has been livelier than he has been for weeks, and what… you call me in here to tell me this rubbish? How dare you?”

“Calm down, Mr. Rogers; I only meant to help”

“Help? Don’t you dare tell me to calm down” he shook his head, staring at the doctor. “How dare you tell me to give up my son? My son!” he emphasized. “So, what if I have three other children, ehn? So what? Because of that, I should give up on the one that is sick, like he is just a mere stray chicken, ehn?” George yelled. “The nerve! I’m sure you don’t have children of your own; if you did, you wouldn’t open your mouth to tell me this rubbish. Now, let me warn you; don’t you ever repeat this nonsense to my hearing ever again and don’t even think of insinuating it to my wife. Do you understand me?”

Doctor Felix seemed to have anticipated George’s reaction because he didn’t seem surprised. He shrugged. “I wasn’t going to, I called you in to tell you this because you are a man and are more mature, but if you are willing to ignore the truth, it is entirely your cross. I must tell you though, if Timothy suffers another crisis, I might have to refer you to the teaching hospital.”

George swallowed, turned and exited the office as fast as his legs could carry him. The slam of the door echoed in his ears as he stood just outside the doctor’s office. His wobbly legs threatened to give way under his weight as he moved to a wall and leaned against it. “Oh God! Why? Why did you choose to test me this way?” he murmured shakily. His eyes watered. He couldn’t bear this; no, God couldn’t give him more than bear. George had never been so shattered in his life; it felt like the walls were closing in on him and ‘give up’ was near… so near. All this while, he had kept faith, believing that things would turn out differently, but now, George didn’t know what to believe anymore. How could he give up his son and watch death snatch him away? How could he give up a child as sweet, loving and caring as Timothy?

George took a deep breath and rubbed at his eyes. He pushed away from the wall and walked the distance to Timothy’s ward. His legs weighed heavier than a thousand blocks combined. With his legs he had trekked unimaginable distances in search for money; he had trekked more in three weeks than he had done in his over forty years of existence. Now, the doctor was telling him that he would use the same legs to walk to Timothy’s grave? George shook his head vigorously as he walked. He couldn’t accept that.

George got to Tim’s door and saw Tim and Bola smiling to each other, through the open door. Bola talked on; she was probably narrating a story to Tim. the scene was as touching as it was heartbreaking. Dread kept George rooted at the entrance. He feared he might just break down in tears if he entered the room. Timothy looked healthier than he had, several weeks back, even days back. Bola looked happy and more relaxed. They were smiling now; there was absolutely no reason to smile, several days back. How could the doctor be so cruel as to dash his hopes when he started having one?

Tim lifted his eyes and saw George. George managed a shaky smile. Tim’s eyes seemed to see into George’s soul. A tiny frown flashed through Tim’s face, and then it was gone, replaced with a big smile. George swallowed hard, forcing himself to walk into the room. Bola stood and met him midway. Her face registered a frown. “George, what is it?” 

George saw panic enter her eyes. He smiled. “Nothing. How is Tim?”

Bola hesitated slightly, and then smiled. “He is getting better by the minute, George. He even said he wants to speak with his siblings on phone. The treatment is working, George”

Her excitement was so livid. George finally smiled at her, feeling himself die inside. “Yes, it is.”

Bola’s smile vanished. “What’s wrong honey?” she placed her hand against his cheek and alarm flashed in her eyes. “God! Your temperature is so high. The stress is getting to you”

George shook his head. “No, I’m fine, really”

“Your temperature says something different. You should see the doctor”

“No” George said sharply. Bola frowned and George managed to put a smile on his face. “Bola, I don’t need you worrying yourself over me; just focus on Tim, I can take care of myself”

Bola was about to object when George’s phone rang. Bola walked back to Tim as George picked the call. “Hello”

“Hello pastor” George identified the voice instantly as the voice of one of the brothers in the church. “It’s Brother Isaac. Oh pastor, I have been to your house several times until I finally got your number. I want to thank you pastor for your prayers for my daughter. She is perfectly okay now, if not for you and your prayers, I don’t know what would have happened to my daughter. Thank you sir”

George swallowed hard. “Only God deserves the thanks, I am just an instrument” he managed.

He took the phone away from his ear and stared at it, looking perplexed. Times without number, he had prayed for the sick and they had recovered. He always felt that God would always listen to him whenever he prayed. Then why? Why couldn’t his prayers save his own son? If people only know the trials and temptation their spiritual leaders go through, they’d be shocked. God seemed so far away and George was fast losing the will to hold on.

Bola looked at him with worry and walked up to him again. “Won’t you tell me what’s wrong, George? Did the doctor say anything to you?”

Geirge swallowed with a shaky smile. “Nothing.” He walked up to Tim and sat on the edge of the bed. George willed himself to look happy and somewhat succeeded. Bola wasn’t fooled, she knew George enough to know that he was hiding something. “How are you, Tim? Feeling better?”

Tim smiled openly. “Yes dad, I feel very strong today. I told mummy that I want to walk around the hospital”

“And I told you that you are not strong enough” Bola put in.

“Your mother is right. Don’t expend the strength you have now, you need to garner more strength, not lose the one you already have.” Tim nodded reluctantly. “But… if you want, I can push you around the hospital in a wheelchair; would you like that?” George smiled as Tim’s face broke into an enthusiastic grin. 

“Yes daddy, I would like that a lot” 

“Tomorrow, okay” he rubbed his palm affectionately on Tim’s cheek.

“Yes daddy”

George’s phone rang. It was an unknown number. He picked up. “Hello” 

“Is this Pastor George Rogers?”

George frowned and stood up from the bed. Bola had her eyes on him. “Yes, that’s me”

“Okay sir, we are at your office and your attention is needed here. We got your number from the landlord, is it possible we see you here in less than an hour?”

“I am currently not close to the office. Is there a problem? Who is this?”

“No, there is no problem sir, I am just a client” the masculine voice said.

“Well, someone should be at the office to attend to you” George said.

“There is no one in your office, and I am really in need of an apartment”

George frowned. Where on earth was Fred? He had a bad feeling about this, something wasn’t right somewhere. “Okay, give me an hour”

George hung up. “What is it?” Bola asked.

“I have to go to the office. Apparently, Fred is not in the office and there is a client waiting there. Where could he be?”

Bola smiled. “Fred also has a family, George; he probably had to do one thing or the other. You can’t blame him.”

“Of course. I have to go, I just hope this brings in money, we’ve not gotten any money from that office since Fred took over” George walked to Tim and kissed his forehead. “Be a good boy, okay?” Tim nodded.

Bola gave George a brief hug; her brows drew together in worry. “Take care, okay? You need rest, the stress is telling on you”

“I’ll be fine. Take care of yourself and Tim, okay? I’ll make a stop at Pastor Peter’s place to check on the kids” he said and kissed Bola’s forehead.

“Give them a big kiss for me”

*****  

George climbed the steps to his office. There was a curious frown on his face as he turned to the passage and saw Mr. and Mrs. Haruna, the landlord and two other men. His office was closed. “Mr. Haruna” he called as he drew nearer. “You should have told me it was you; what’s going on?” he asked the unsmiling men in confusion. He needed no human being or spirit to tell him something was obviously amiss. 

Mr. Lawal looked very uncomfortable. “Pastor, we can’t find Fred anywhere”

“What do you mean, sir? Where did he go to? Isn’t he at home?” And why were they searching for him. Now, George couldn’t even understand a thing.

“We have checked his house; his wife does not know anything about his whereabouts. He errr…”

“Let me talk” Mr. Haruna cut in, looking very angry. “Your cousin, Fred, the one you put in your office, has vanished with my money – the money I paid for the new apartment. He didn’t give the money to the landlord, and right now, we have no idea where Fred is. I need my money”

“Calm down, darling” Mrs. Haruna chipped.

“Don’t tell me to calm down” her husband snapped. “It is three hundred thousand Naira we are talking about here; where would I get another one from?”

George stared long at the people before him, like he was in a trance. He seemed to be having trouble grasping exactly what they were talking about. He blinked and shook his head. “What… what are you saying?” he stuttered.

“Have you suddenly gone deaf?” Mr. Haruna bellowed. “I said, you people have embezzled my three hundred thousand Naira”

“Calm down, sir” one of the men said. He stepped forward and brought out a police ID card. “I am Inspector Yusuf, Mr. Rogers; you have to follow us to the station for questioning”

Alarm bells rang in George’s head as his eyes widened. “Police? I don’t know anything about this. I never knew Fred collected any money from him, please understand me”. What on earth was going on? What has Fred done?

“Mr. Haruna, please I beg you” the landlord pleaded. “This man has been battling with the life of his son in the hospital, that’s why he put his brother here. You can’t do this, please”

“Ehen… so you decided to use my own money to foot the hospital bills ehn?”

“Haruna! Be compassionate, c’mon. Stop this, please” Mrs. Haruna put in.

“Oh God! What is this?” George murmured, looking around, perplexed. What in the world could make Fred do this to him at such a crucial moment in his life? How could he be so callous and wicked?

“I did not ask for your input, woman.”Mr. Haruna snapped. “By the time you and that pregnant wife of his spends a few nights in the cell, you’d produce my money.” 

The policemen advanced towards George. “Please move, sir”

“You can’t do this, please” Mr. Lawal pleaded. “He is a pastor, please”

“Move” one of the policemen said louder.

George swallowed and turned. “It is okay, sir. I’ll be fine; God is in control”

“I’m coming with you” Mr. Lawal said as they walked down the stairs, the policemen keeping a close eye on George.

*****  

Bola stared at the wall clock nervously. It was already dark, yet George was nowhere to be seen. She hid her worry from Tim, but now that he was asleep, she couldn’t mask her worry anymore. She checked to be sure Tim was soundly asleep, then walked out of the ward and out of the hospital to find a call centre. Thankfully, she had a bit of change with her. She just hoped that her husband was okay, if not…

She found one call centre and hurriedly punched in her husband’s phone number. ‘The number you have dialed is switched off’. “No! This is not happening” she muttered out loud as several thoughts played in her head. She never should have allowed him to leave. She had noticed his temperature! What if he was really ill? “George, where are you?” She dialed the number again and got the same message. Bola dropped the phone carelessly and walked back to the hospital, her face etched with deep worry. “George, where are you?!”

*****  

“If you make them lock up this man here, you can as well forget about me and my baby. I would not let my child grow up with such a heartless man, do you hear me?” Mrs. Haruna yelled at her husband as they stood just outside the police station.

Mr. Haruna wiped beads of sweat off his forehead as he shifted nervously. “What else do you want me to do? The police has refused to leave him. They said he would have to at least spend the night in cell”

“That is Nigerian police for you; they latch onto the slightest opportunity. If you had listened to me earlier, that wouldn’t happen” she snapped.

“What did you expect? Do you want me to just forget about three hundred thousand naira? Just like that?” his eyes flashed.

“Well, no. but now that you have him locked up, is he supposed to produce the money in cell?” she shook her head. “I did not expect this from you. The man’s kid is in the hospital, for God’s sake. We would have our own children too o” she put her hand on her swollen belly as her eyes misted.

Mr. Haruna swallowed, looking distraught. “Listen, tomorrow, I’ll make sure he is released. I have tried my best.” His wife turned her head away. “Aishat” he tried to touch her but she shrugged his hand off. “Come and take me home”

*****  

George leaned his head against the wall, staring unseeing at the four walls of the cell. There were about three other people in his cell, but really, he had never felt more alone in his life. What did he do to deserve such torment in his life. All he had ever done was serve God and do good to the men that crossed his path. Why should he be the one to shoulder such a heavy burden? Was there a sin he committed unknowingly that was barring God from coming to his rescue. Why are you so silent, God? Why are you not coming to my rescue?

Thoughts ran through his head until he was sure he was about to go insane. The rattle of padlocks made him turn his head as the iron bar opened and a police officer came in. “Mr. Rogers” he called. George bolted away from the wall and followed the officer. The officer locked up the cell and walked towards the counter. He turned to look at George with a compassionate look in his eyes. “I saw all happened and my conscience would not allow me to leave you in that cell. “Why don’t you stay at the counter with me till morning”?

George nodded. “Thank you very much” a pained smile flashed through George’s face.

“When it is almost daybreak, I’ll have to take you back before the others arrive” he explained.

“That is okay. God bless you” George located the bench behind the counter and sat on hit. His legs felt like they were on fire. He leaned his head back with a deep sigh and stared at the ceiling blankly. He would have happily surrendered to the nothingness of sleep, but no… as well as everything, sleep deserted him.

STARLESS NIGHTS 

STARLESS NIGHTS by Nissi Adeola. Episode 7

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​Episode 7

Loveth pulled the shirt of Jerry’s uniform above his head and frowned as her stomach grumbled. She was terribly hungry turned to Tessy, seeing her struggle with the button of her skirt. She popped the bottom and Tessy pushed down her skirt. “Lovey, I’m hungry”

“Me too” Jerry seconded.

Loveth nodded and put a small smile on her face. “I’ll go and check the kitchen for food, okay?” she looked into both her siblings’ eyes as they nodded. She pulled down Jerry’s uniform pants, folded it and nodded at Tessy. “Put on your clothes, Tess and help Jerry with his clothes” Loveth straightened and dusted the skirt of her uniform. “I’m coming”

Loveth left their bedroom and walked into the sitting room. Mr Peters wasn’t in but Loveth could hear the voice of Mrs Peters talking and laughing with her compound neighbour. It had been three days. Three days since she saw or heard from the other half of her family. She never thought she would miss home so much, but right now, Loveth wanted nothing more than to have her family back. Loveth didn’t like Mrs Peters and she knew undoubtedly that the feeling was mutual. She didn’t mind the chores Mrs Peters made her do because it helped to keep her mind off thoughts of Tim and her parents, but the woman seemed bent on making Loveth and her siblings feel unwelcome. 

Loveth entered the kitchen, climbed a stool and opened the pots. She found them empty, save a pot of soup. Her face fell as her tummy rumbled in wild complaint. She stared at the pot of soup.

Tessy and Jerry entered the kitchen, looking at her with eyes brimming with hope. Suddenly, Loveth understood what their mother must have been going through all those times when there was no food in the house and they looked up to their mother to perform some magic. Loveth didn’t feel like an almost-nine-years-old girl, the feeling of being so young was so foreign to her now. 

“There’s no food” Loveth declared and felt their pain as their eyes fell. Her own tummy was going wild in protest. 

“I’m hungry” Jerry whined as his eyes watered. “I want to go to mummy”

“No. No crying now” Loveth said hastily. “You know what?” she smiled as she moved closer to her siblings. “I’ll cook rice”

Tessy smiled slowly. “You want to cook again” her smile faded. “Big mummy would talk”

Loveth thought of telling Mrs Peters but decided against it. Just last night, Loveth had asked for a biro and Mrs Peters had snapped at her sharply, Loveth regretted ever going to her.  “She won’t talk. Both of you should go and play ball in the compound, I’ll be there soon”

When Jerry and Tessy were out of sight, Loveth turned to the cabinet and climbed back on the stool. She lit the stove, filled a pot moderately with water and put it on the stove. 

Loveth climbed down from the stool and measured a cup of rice into a bowl. She was going to tell Tim that she prepared ordinary rice too, the thought brought a smile to her face. Still carried away by her stray thoughts, she made to climb the stool again and slipped. 

Loveth landed on the floor with a painful thud, as she let out a loud yelp. The rice she had in her hand was scattered all over the ground as the pain from her fall brought tears to her eyes. 

Mrs Peters dashed into the kitchen, followed by the running feet of Loveth’s siblings. “What is this?” she yelled at Loveth who was sprawled on the floor tried to stand up. Tears were on her cheeks as she held her head in pain. Gloria Peters eyes grew as large as doughnuts as she scanned the ground. “What is all these?” her voice was even louder now,  her eyes issuing wordless threats. “Loveth. What is my rice doing on the floor”

Loveth pushed to her feet, wiping at her face with her small hand. Tessy and Jerry tried to push through Mrs Peters to Loveth but send them staggering back with one push. “Can’t you talk?”

Loveth blinked, looking at her shivering fingers. “Big mummy… I… I wanted to cook… rice” she stuttered. 

Gloria Peters mimicked Loveth’s speech before glaring down at her. “Who gave you the right to cook anything in my kitchen, you stupid girl”

Loveth counted the grains of rice on the floor as she cringed. “We were… hungry” she wiped the tears on her cheeks with a single swipe of her hand. She always found it weird that she never cried when serious things happen, but a single fall was enough to bring tears coercing down her cheeks. 

Mrs Peters hissed. “Hungry ehn? So, that gave you the right to come into my kitchen? Didn’t your parents teach you anything? This is not your father’s house where you can do whatever you want, do you understand?”

Loveth nodded vigorously. 

Gloria Peters hissed again. “C’mon take a broom and sweep this rice. And you better keep it because that’s what I’ll cook for you tomorrow. As for today, no food for you; that’s your punishment”

Loveth’s distraught eyes snapped up, looking at the glowering face of Mrs Peters. An image loomed over her.

“What is going on in here?” Mr Peters boomed as he stood at the entrance of the kitchen, glaring particularly at his wife. 

Mrs Peters turned in shock and seemed to go pale as she stared at her husband. “Erm… Honey welcome. I didn’t know… you had erm… arrived” she stuttered. 

Mr Peters stared unsmiling at her, glancing briefly at the children. He saw the way Loveth held her head and walked to her. “Did you fall, my dear?” he asked. Loveth managed to nod as he massaged a spot on her head. “Sorry” he mouthed. Mr Peters turned to glare at his wife. “Come with me, Gloria”

Mr Peters stormed out of the kitchen looking terribly furious and his wife followed with her heart in her mouth. He entered their bedroom, waited for her to enter before slamming the door against its hinges. He turned to his wife, his eyes blazing. “What are you doing to those kids?”

Gloria swallowed. “Nothing. I was just scolding Loveth for pouring the rice away. You know I…”

“Don’t lie in my face, Gloria” he snapped. “I was at the entrance and heard all that transpired. Why didn’t you prepare something for those children to eat?” he barked. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed your I’ll treatments of them for the past three days. Are you without feelings for these young ones?”

Gloria shifted. “I meant no harm honey, I only wanted to train them to be better” she stuttered.

Mr Peters snarled. “Really! Train. Do you train your children this way? Our fifteen years old son doesn’t  even enter the kitchen to do anything since you refused to train him. I’m sure he can’t even wash a spoon” he hissed through clenched teeth. “You are the wife of a pastor, these children call you big mummy and you in return treat them like trash, especially knowing what they are going through. You should be ashamed of yourself.” His wife looked down at the floor, her face sober. “I am warning you, Gloria, I won’t have you maltreat these kids, and if you want peace in this house, you’ll respect that”

Mr Peters stormed out of the room, grabbing his car keys from the sitting room’s center table. He walked to the kids who stood with sadness written all over their faces. He squatted before them and smiled. “Who wants to go to Mr Biggs?” he mouthed. In an instant, the sadness on their faces vanished as their eyes snapped up. Mr Peters chuckled. “C’mon let’s go. Everyone of you would eat fried rice and chicken. Do you like that?” 

“Yes, big daddy” they chorused. Jerry’s stomach growled and Mr Peters chuckled, though he hated they were so hungry under his watch. 

He stood. “Loveth, change out of your uniform and meet us in the car now, okay?” Loveth nodded  and rushed into their room as Mr Peters walked with Tessy and Jerry towards the car. 

Loveth changed in a flash and rushed out of the house. Gloria walked to the door and watched the car zoom off with a bitter look in her eyes. 

*****

George stood with his mechanic in his garage. So many faulty cars were scattered around but his eyes were on the black one right in front of him. 

“Why do you want to sell this car, Pastor?” the mechanic asked, looking stunned. “The car is still very strong, you only need little money to fix the problem”

George’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. “The car is the least of my worries, right now” he swallowed. “I need the money”. It had been three days but it seemed like forever. He had been moving from the hospital to the blood bank to get pints of blood for Tim. George’s feet weighed a thousand pounds from excessive trekking, and the worst part was, Timothy wasn’t improving. George couldn’t  even remember the last time he had a descent sleep. The most he had been doing was dozing off once in a while. 

The mechanic looked at George with concern in his eyes. “What’s wrong Pastor? Is there any way I can help”

George blinked. He glanced at the mechanic and smiled faintly. “No. Everything is fine. Just put the car up for sale, please, okay? I need the money as soon as possible” 

The mechanic looked at George. He had always admired George’s strength. He needed no one to tell him that George was going through hard times, he wished George would confide in him. Probably he could help. “You said you are not in your house, how would I reach you?”

George hesitated. “I’ll… I’ll be coming here from time to time”

“No” the mechanic put his hand in his pocket and removed a phone which had a small antenna attached to its top. “Take this phone, you can use it to reach me”

George shook his head with a smile. “No, no, I can’t” he murmured, feeling embarrassed. “You can’t give me your phone, Baba Sodiq” he laughed slightly. 

The mechanic sighed. “Pastor, I have been your mechanic for years, you can’t refuse this gift. Besides, I have another phone.” he brought out a similar looking phone and showed George. He pocketed it and stretched the initial phone towards George. 

George swallowed and collected it. This gesture meant the whole world to George. It was like he had just been given a million Naira. “Thank you, Baba Sodiq. I really appreciate this” he smiled genuinely. Thank you even seemed inadequate.

Baba Sodiq smiled. “Ko t’ope” he answered in Yoruba. “My Number is on the phone. Don’t worry, I’ll get a good price for the car”

George left the mechanic’s place, feeling lighter than before. He pulled out his old sim card and replaced it with the one in the phone. He trekked the distance to his office, gave the phone number of his new phone to the landlord, then proceeded to his office. Fred looked shocked to see him as he stood nervously from the chair. 

“Brother! I wasn’t expecting you. Is everything alright?” Fred rushed. 

George nodded with a smile. “Yes, Fred, everything is fine. I just came around here to do something and decided to check up on you. How’s the office?”

Fred nodded awkwardly, sitting on the chair George should normally sit on. “Okay, thus far. I can go an entire day without seeing a single soul but it’s fine. Some people came asking for properties but nothing serious”

George nodded. He had been hoping for some miracle money but then, he himself knew how unpredictable the business was. “I hope the office hasn’t been a burden on you. If it is, I can… just close it up for the mean time”

“No” Fred snapped. George frowned and Fred smiled awkwardly. “It’s just that err… you know I don’t have a stable job, this office is keeping me occupied” he rushed. 

George nodded. “Yes. Thank you so much” he stood. “I have to go now but I have a phone you can call me on now, in case you need me”

“You have a phone” Fred’s eyes were unreadable and George couldn’t even read any meaning to anything at the moment. He only smiled and nodded as he picked a pen and wrote down his phone number. “You can call me if anything happens” he said. George paused, frowning. “Didn’t Mr Haruna come here? He promised to come the day after I left”

Fred blinked. “Ugh? Oh… Mr Haruna. I waited for him that day but he didn’t show up o. I didn’t see him”

George frowned and dropped the pen with a sigh. He was used to such in this business. But he had thought Mr Haruna was actually serious, he had prayed…

“Okay. Just keep me informed. Thank you, Fred” he smiled and walked out of the office. 

*****

“Please, the doctor has to see my son, nurse”Bola pleaded. It had been three days and Timothy had taken several pints of blood without anything serious being done for him. “Timothy is getting weaker and he has taken several pints of blood. All the doctor has been talking about has been bone marrow test. Isn’t he supposed to go through Chemotherapy?” Bola stared at the faces of the two unconcerned nurses, pleading. “Please nurse” she looked from one nurse to the other. 

Nurse Chinwe rolled her eyes. “Chimooo… Save me from this woman” she shook her head. “Come, are you the only one with a child here? Everytime Timothy, everytime Timothy; what is it? There are many sick people here madam, your son is not the only patient we have and our doctors are busy”

Bola bit her lip in frustration. “But Doctor Ramon was assigned to us. C’mon nurses, I just want him to attend to my son. Have human feelings please”

“What is going on” 

Bola turned. She stared at the nurse before her with teary eyes. She hadn’t seen this nurse before, or maybe she had but didn’t remember. “My son” she explained. Not caring who she was. “He is not being attended to. He should have started Chemotherapy, I think, but no one is attending to him. Please help me nurse”

The nurse looked at her with concern. “He is a cancer patient” she stated with empathy in her voice. Bola nodded. The nurse looked at her coworkers, shaking her head in disappointment. They paid her no heed. “I’m sorry ma. I’m Nurse Abigail. I’ll make sure the doctor attends to him at once”

Bola sagged in relief. “Oh, thank you, nurse” she wiped tears from her eyes. “God bless you”

“It’s my duty” she glared at the nurses on the  table, emphasizing ‘duty’ before turning back to Bola. “Come with me” she said and Bola eagerly followed her. 

STARLESS NIGHTS 

George’s Pieces of Me – Tomi Adesina 

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Hi guys… So it’s a lovely Saturday and I have an even lovelier news f or y’all… It’s Tomi Adesina. 

So, Tomi Adesina is not a new face here.  If you find yourself staring at the above picture, you are not alone. Our Tomi is a fine geh 😉😀. Anyways, guys, please read the details below, a book is on da move! 🙌


​Title: George’s Pieces of Me
Author: Tomi Adesina
Edited by: Reaccentuated Ltd
Cover Design: Rewrite Agency
Layout and Design: Lucid
Creative ISBN: 978-978-960-140-0
Release Date: 20th August, 2017
Media Type: Paperback and e-copy

About the Book:


George’s Pieces of Me is a collection of poems and short stories exploring the complexities of human existence, an unending search for homes in people and journey towards redemption.
Advance Praise
“In George’s Pieces of Me, Tomi Adesina styles poetry and prose with imagination, mischief and charm. Her vignettes are more than just stories: they are wistful commentaries on existentialism, triggered by social expectations. Adesina prompts the reader towards self-assured social rebellion, and then pulls us back to stoic acceptance of the vicissitudes of life. The thoughts in this book will stay with you long after the pages are closed.”

Ayo Sogunro, Author of Everything in Nigeria is Going to Kill You

“The stories explore loving, loss, internalizing the pain of loss and finding home. Tomi’s voice is clear in this piece of work, without drowning the voices of her characters who we meet briefly but whose stories will linger with us for a long time.”

Tunde Leye, Author of Guardians of the Seal

“Adesina’s work is a reflection of hope, love and the burden of fate. She twists the tale of old age to reveal an eternal spring of life’s realities. Here is a writer with compulsive and engaging stories to tell.”

Hannah Ojo of The Nation
About the Author


Tomi Adesina was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a fiction blogger and screenwriter.  In 2013 she won the Nigerian Blog Awards for her blog fiction series and in 2015 her screenplay on cyberbullying (Feisty John) won the Homevida Prize. She also won the Nigerian Writers Award for Best Young Writer in 2015 and her short stories have been featured in magazines across Africa. She lives in Lagos where she is working on a new novel.

Invite to Book Launch on 20th August, 2017.


Distribution: George’s Pieces of Me is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Buboox, Patabah Books. (More channels to be available soon)
Media Enquiries: writeto@tomiadesina.com, writetotomiadesina@gmail.com