“Jemima! Alhamdulillah, I’m so glad you’re alright.”
As soon as I opened my eyes, Hadiza buried her head in my chest and wrapped her hands around my neck. Gingerly, I raised my right arm, which was free from IV lines, and squeezed her back. My eyes darted around the room, searching for Muslimah.
“Welcome back,” She said smiling broadly when our eyes finally met. She was standing on the other side of the bed. The smile on her face did nothing to hide the gigantic circles under her eyes or the gentle concern in them. Nor did it mask the way she chewed on her bottom lip, so much so that even I expected blood to gush out any second. With my left hand, I tapped her hand.
“Stop chewing on that poor lip so much. You do want your future husband to have something to kiss, right?”
Her smile broadened but the worried look in her eyes remained. Hadiza raised her head from my chest. She cleared her throat.
“How are you feeling?” The look in Hadiza’s eyes mirrored Muslimah’s. What exactly was going on? They seemed happy moments ago when I’d heard snippets from their conversation. So why the anxious behaviour now?
“Fine, I guess. A little thirsty, but fine all the same.” I glanced from one to the other. “Muslimah, Hadiza, is something wrong?”
Hadiza looked at Muslimah, uncertainty clouding her gaze. Muslimah shrugged and spoke gently.
“Jemima dear, you’re in a hospital.”
I chuckled. “Yes, I can see that…” My voice trailed off. What exactly was I in a hospital for? Why did I have IV lines on each arm? Instinctively, my hand covered the bulge in my stomach. My baby! I could feel the panic building in the pit of my stomach. My heart began to race, and at the same time, my mind began to churn out negative thoughts. Perhaps he was in distress. Or in a dangerous position. I gasped. What if my baby was dead already, and the doctors were waiting for the right time to get him out?
I grabbed Hadiza’s hijaab. “My baby is alright, isn’t he? There’s nothing wrong with him?”
“Your baby’s fine Jemima relax” Hadiza sat beside me, wiping my tears as she did so.
“Jemima, your baby is fine. You were brought here because you slumped last night.” Muslimah added softly
Slumped? What had happened to make me slump? I racked my brain for something, anything at all that’d tell me why. Slowly, the fog in my mind started to clear. I remembered leaving the house, then my time at the mechanic’s and spotting Zulay at the bus park. I recalled my daring chase afterwards, Basheer and the detectives arriving, Mas’ud’s rescue and… ABDUL. My husband had been involved in a terrible accident. That was the reason I’d fainted. I shot up in bed, attempting to swing my legs over the side.
“Abdul! I have to get to him!”
“Wait, you can’t leave Jemima.” Hadiza tried to stop me by holding me down.
“Let me go!” I shrieked, struggling against Hadiza’s hold. “He’s hurt, you don’t understand!”
Just then, a woman wearing a lab coat strode in, A’isha in tow.
“Ladies, it’s alright. I’ll take over from here. Could you wait outside please?”
Hadiza released me, then she, Muslimah and A’isha stepped out of the room, shutting the door behind them. I turned to face the woman.
“You’re the doctor, right?”
“Yes, my name is Maria…”
I stretched out my hands. “Please get these IV lines off me. I must go to my husband. He needs me.”
She shook her head. “Madam, I’m sorry but I can’t allow that. You just regained consciousness.”
“I don’t care! Besides I feel alright really.”
“I must evaluate you and your baby as well. You were out for over 16hours.”
I looked her over and noticed a wedding band on her finger. Perfect. “Dr Maria? I can see you’re married so you’ll likely understand how I’m feeling. Being in the dark about his condition is killing me. Please let me go. I promise I’ll come back here as soon as I see him.”
She smiled and took my hands, gently pushing me back into bed. “Tell you what? Let me evaluate you and if everything’s fine, I’ll let you go. Deal?
I sighed resignedly. “Alright. But please make it quick.”
I lay back and allowed her to do her job.
After probing and prodding my body for endless minutes, Dr Maria concluded the check-up.
“Everything seems to be okay. Your baby’s doing great. Your vitals are looking good too…”
“Great! May I leave now?” I asked eagerly.
Dr Maria laughed. “Yes, you may. But you do need to return here. I haven’t discharged you formally yet.”
“Thank you!” I swung my legs off the bed and attempted to stand. Dr Maria was watching me closely. My legs felt a little wobbly, but I willed them to behave. I wasn’t about to risk Dr Maria noticing and changing her mind about letting me leave.
“I’ll get your friends in, to come and help you out.”
Dr Maria opened the door and called in Hadiza and the rest. She explained our little ‘deal’ to them and made them promise to bring me back in as soon as I saw Abdul.
“I’ll personally take responsibility. Don’t worry she’ll be fine. Thank you, doctor.” Hadiza said.
The second Dr Maria shut the door behind her, I turned to Hadiza. “Do you know what hospital he’s been taken to? Will you take me there?”
“Yes. He’s presently at the GH. I’ll take you there… as a matter of fact, Basheer was there this morning and he told me Abdul is stable now.”
Hadiza’s words did nothing to reassure me. I wanted to see him for myself. I ached to hold him in my arms and tell him how sorry I am. Tears stung the back of my eyes, and I forced them back. No, don’t break down. Not now.
“Let’s get you dressed, then we’ll leave,” Muslimah said, rummaging through my bag.
A’isha cleared her throat. “I won’t be going with you guys. I’ve to go home and prepare. My mother-in-law is visiting and Gaffar just texted me that he’s gone to pick her from the airport.”
No wonder she had that weird look on her face. It was no secret that her mother-in-law disliked her. I pulled her into a hug. “It’s fine, A’isha. Jazaakillahu khayran. I appreciate your being here.”
“Ameen. You heard the doctor, don’t stress yourself, okay?”
She hugged Hadiza and Muslimah and left soon after, promising to keep in touch. I went into the bathroom and got myself ready. My body still felt weak, I was hungry and thirsty as well, but I was determined that nothing on the face of this earth would stop me from going to Abdul. Nothing.
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