HER LAST WISH
Written by Azeemah.
“Okay! I. went. for. an. abortion! I went to remove my baby!! in some unauthorized place! And everything got so complicated that I ended up in the ICU! Are you fine now!!!” Phil screamed.
“I guess so” She added, before stomping off.
Layla stared at her as she left, her brain yet to digest it and when it finally did, her legs felt wobbly and she quickly gripped the armchair to stop herself from falling.
Phil was pregnant..
That explains the pregnancy test kit she had seen in her office restroom.
But, did she really went ahead to abort the baby?
That’s what it seems like. How else could she have come back from a vacation looking this pale and sick.
She looked like she has lost so much blood and even looks so starved!
Layla slowly sat on the couch.
Well…she had demanded an explanation and she got it. Why is she so shocked.
What is she to do now?
Perhaps it’s even better at times not to know the truth, now her mind is practically empty and filled with different thoughts at the same time, it’s in a state of disarray.
She doesn’t know what to do.
What is she supposed to do?
Cry? Well… she’s doing that already, because for Phil to have taken that decision to abort her baby then her mental health is in ruins. That’s the reason she has been looking so down and depressed all along, she must have been deliberating for so long if to keep the baby or not before finally coming to that conclusion.
What made her decide not to keep her baby?
It couldn’t be that the father doesn’t want it. She knows Phil well enough to know that she’s capable of raising a child herself.
Layla doubt if the father even knows about it, Phil had objectively made that decision and Layla wondered why.
Obviously, it wasn’t a decision Phil was happy about, it’s written all over her face that she’s unhappy, then why did she do it?
We take some certain decision to make us feel better. Phil took that decision knowing it’s gonna make her feel worse, unhappy and probably hunt her for the rest of her life, yet she did it.
Well .. she isn’t going to question her any further, not like Phil is going to reveal any more thing though.
She hope Phil is really fine, it must have been so painful to have sucked out her physical appearance this way. It must have been so draining.
Phil must have hurt physically and mentally.
Imagining the pain her aunt must have gone through brought more tears to her eyes.
Phil had been hurting for a while and refused to say anything to her and she was so preoccupied with other things that she didn’t even care what’s going on with her aunt, she didn’t even notice it sooner, all she had mainly cared about was herself and her friends, she didn’t even care if her aunt was fine. Perhaps, that was the reason Phil decided not to say anything to her.
God…She’s such a terrible niece.
Her heart really hurt right now, she feels so bad.
She picked her phone after crying nonstop for minutes.
She needs someone to vent to, she needs to talk to someone. Her heart feels so heavy, she needs someone to assure her everything is going to be fine, someone to give her strength, someone to make her feel better.
She dialled his number.
She rose to her feet after talking Dan, feeling pretty much better, although she won’t deny she’s still sad and hurt but it hurts less now.
What is she even going to do without Dan?
They had spent some minutes on the phone, she had told him everything and after he comforted her, he offered to come over but she had told him not to bother.. his words were enough.
And she’s not sure Phil’s open to anyone right now.
She picked her school bag and walked to her room.
She quickly freshened up and changed into a simple floral gown.
Phil looked like she hasn’t had enough to eat in days so she planned to go make something for her before leaving to join Aria in the Cafe.
It’s not 4pm yet, not like Aria would mind though.
She walked to the kitchen and looked around for something good to prepare for Phil, something good that’ll equally get ready on time.
She opted for a meal, set the ingredients aside and stared cooking.
She knocked on Phil’s door with her legs, the tray of meal and water in her hands.
She knocked again.
“What do you want?” Phil asked, still not opening the door.
“I’m not here to bother you, I promise” Layla said.
Phil opened the door after some seconds.
“Here, have this” Layla stretched the tray to her.
Phil glanced from the tray in her hands to her face.
“When did you make this?” She asked.
“Just now, you need to actually collect this, my arms are hurting” Layla said.
“Oh” Phil said, collecting the tray from her Layla’s hands. She looked a bit delighted that Layla had made something for her, she has actually missed having a proper meal and this in front of her just looks and smells good.
“Make sure to eat everything, I need to go now and there’s more in the kitchen if you want” Layla said.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Phil asked.
“No, I’m okay. I should leave now, Aria has to go pick Jane from school and I don’t want to delay her any further”
Layla picked her phone from her room, glanced at the mirror to make sure the fact that she cried isn’t noticeable.
She didn’t want Aria worrying over what’s going on, she has enough on her plate to tend to, the last thing Layla wants is adding to it.
She hurried out of her room and shouted bye to Phil once again before leaving.
“Phil, are you ready to talk about it?” Layla asked Phil over breakfast.
“No” Phil said.
“Promise me you will when you’re ready” Layla said.
Phil nodded and they continued eating in silence.
By the time she was back from the Cafe yesterday, Phil was already asleep and she had to wake her to eat dinner which she did drowsily so they hadn’t had the time to talk.
She also went to bed immediately after dinner yesterday because she was quite tired.
Looking at Phil now, she looked a bit better compared to yesterday and Layla knows it’s only a matter of time before Phil goes back to her normal appearance.
She’s still looking unhappy though but Layla’s glad some color is starting to return to her skin.
Phil had looked so white yesterday.
“I’m sorry for making you worry” Phil said.
“It’s fine. Will you be able to come to the Cafe today?”
“No, I’ll resume on Monday.” Phil said.
“Good, you need a lot of rest”
“I guess so”
“I hope you do not mind that Dan is coming over tomorrow, we want to study together. Our exam starts on Monday” Layla said.
“Dan’s always welcome here”
“Thanks Phil” Layla said.
Its surprising how they were both talking like nothing had gone wrong, whereas their minds were heavy and and occupied with different thoughts.
And it’s really bugging Layla more, knowing she’s probably one of the reasons Phil made that decision.
After Layla did the dishes, she went ahead to Phil’s room to give account of the money they had made in her absence.
They finished sorting that out before Layla started preparing for the Cafe.
Layla prepared lunch after she returned from church.
Dan rang the bell just after she finished doing the dishes she and Phil used in eating.
She was wiping her hands dry with a towel while she walked to the door.
She opened it and pulled him into a hug as he stepped in.
He hugged her back, gently patting her hair.
They remained that way for a moment before finally letting go of each other.
“Thank you” She said almost in a whisper. “For always being there”
“C’mon, I hope you’re fine now?” He asked.
She nodded and smiled. “All thanks to you”
“Oh, you’re smiling…that means you’re really fine now. I’m glad” Dan said, he had been worried since the day she called him in tears and he couldn’t even wait till today to see her, even though she had told him not to come and wait till it was Sunday, he had visited the Cafe and watched her from the door.
“Where’s Phil?” He asked.
“She went to her room just now, I just finished doing the dishes” Layla said.
“Why are you both standing by the door? Come in” Phil said from the living room.
“Oh, she’s back in the living room” Layla said and they both walked in.
Dan was taken aback to see Phil. She looked so different and almost terrible. He would have been completely shocked if Layla hadn’t informed him of Phil’s condition.
Phil has changed so drastically.
“Dan how are you?” Phil asked, sitting on the couch.
“I’m fine Phil and you?” He asked.
“I’m good” She picked up the remote control.
“Phil, we’ll be in my room” Layla said.
“Dan would you like something to eat?” Layla asked as they walked to her room.
“Nah, maybe later. I’m okay for now” He said.
“Oh my God Layla, Phil looks so….ahhh” Dan sigh, as soon as they walked into her room.
Layla shrugged. ” I was also alarmed when I first saw her.”
“Don’t you think she needs to go to the hospital?” Dan asked worriedly.
“Phil is never going to listen to me and I won’t like to aggravate her further, she’s dealing with a lot as it is now” Layla said.
“Right but…she looks so frail and sick” Dan said.
“I know right, I’m hoping she returns back to her normal self soon”
“We need to get her multivitamins and you also need to make sure she eats good”
“I will, thank you” Layla sigh.
“Look, don’t worry too much okay? She’ll be fine, We should be glad she’s back home safe”
“I don’t even know what I’ll do without you, thank you” She said.
“There you go again.” He rolled his eyes and she chuckled.
“Alright, sit. I’ll get my books” She said.
He sat on her bed, his eyes roaming her room, of course he has been in her room severally but he just likes taking it in every time he visits.
He admires Layla’s tidiness so much, her room is not as furnished as most rooms he’s seen but it’s just one of the cleanest and coziest and he likes it so much.
“Okay, let’s start” Layla dropped the textbooks on the bed.
“Would you want me to get you water before we start?” She asked.
“No, I’m cool”
“Okay, so where should we start from?” Layla asked as she flipped the pages of the textbook.
“I remember this clearly even though I was quite young because of what happened that day” Layla laughed.
They were done with studying and Layla was showing him her family album, it has been a while she took it out from her drawer, she rarely brings it out because of the painful memory but today she found herself bringing it out to show Dan.
They munched on cookies and water while she showed him the pictures.
Dan had laughed at some of her funny looking childhood pictures and he has been teased her all along.
“Really? What happened?” Dan asked in amusement, Layla seems to have a story connected to every picture and he has been enjoying it so far.
Though he was worried earlier when she brought out the album, he didn’t want her bad memories recurring but she had told him it’s fine.
“Okay…So, we went to the park for a walk like we normally do most evenings. My Dad, mum, Bryan and I. You can see the ice cream in our hands right?” Layla asked, pointing to the picture. Dan nodded.
“Well…just some minutes after we took this picture. Bryan, to our surprise gave the photographer a hot chase and asked the poor man to give him the ice cream that was in the picture we just took, Bryan literally cried, asking for the Ice cream in the picture, it was so funny watching my parents convince him that the one in the picture is just the one in his hands. The photographer almost started regretting why he showed Bryan the picture after he took it, he just wanted to make the little boy amused with seeing his copy in the camera” Layla said, laughing.
“He didn’t know it was going to turn on him” Dan added and they laughed.
“And when he got older, I would tease him with it all the time and he would also tease me with my embarrassing moments. God, I really miss him” Layla said, still laughing.
“Bryan must be fun to be around” Dan said.
“He is. I wish you both had met each other. I know for sure that he would like you and you’ll find him amazing also. He’s so stubborn and lovely at the same time that one finds it hard to reprimand him.. He loves screwing and unscrewing basically everything with screws in the house and my parents would scold him all the time, they got him toys with screws just so he could leave the house appliances alone and do as he wished with the toys but Bryan still goes for the house gadgets” Layla laughed. “He would get all mad after they’ve scolded him and clearly warned them not to call for his help whenever they needed help with any of the gadgets.. We didn’t expect it when he said he wanted to be a writer.
We all thought he would consider whatever is related to loosing screws and bolting as a future career” Layla said.
“I can’t even count the amount of time I’ve changed my future careers as a kid. Dan laughed.
“Right, I guess everyone does that” Layla smiled.
“Your mum is so beautiful” Dan said as Layla flipped to her mum’s picture.
“Yeah. My mum is beautiful and petite” She smiled “and that’s actually one of the things that attracted my Dad to her. “He said he had loved how she carries herself despite having such a small body, my mum was even more confident and comfortable in her own skin than most huge bodied people, her smile is also another thing that attracted him to her. They started off as friends, even though they both loved each other at first sight. It took two years before he finally gathered the courage to tell her how he felt, he had held back for that long thinking my mum would never consider him because he was black. And my mum on the other hand was also thinking he might not be interested in her because she was white.” Layla smiled.
“Wow, the irony” Dan said.
“Yeah. My parents love is just the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and, it’s just so beautiful to see them still in love and into each after several years. They must be back together again up there, I doubt they’ll ever leave each other” Layla said.
“Will you be fine to continue?” Dan asked worriedly. “It’s totally fine with me if you stop here, we can continue another day” he said after noticing Layla’s voice was starting to have an edge to it like she would cry.
“Of course I’m fine.” She cleared her throat. ” I’m perfectly fine and I’ll be glad to continue, it’s been so long I’ve deeply talked about them to someone”
“Okay but just stop if you’re starting to feel uncomfortable okay?” He said and she nodded.
“And this picture here” She continued, pointing to her dad’s picture in his military regime. “This was the last picture he sent to my mum, he told her to show it to us and that was the last we heard of him until he was announced dead to us by Aunt Esther. I can’t really remember how long the war lasted but he was killed a few days before it ended or was it the day it ended…I can’t really remember. We weren’t able to talk to him at all while the war was going on, it was a really tough war that lasted months and I’m sure my Dad would have stayed alive if he could because he would have missed us greatly and also knew how much we would have missed him.
The longest we’ve spent not contacting my Dad whenever he visits Nigeria is a day, so for us to go months without hearing from him really took a toll on us, we waited expectantly every single day for his call and after waiting so long, we only got to hear he was dead. Funny enough how we knew he was fighting in a war and didn’t even think he could be killed…that’s how much we believed he would be back, he always came back after every war and so we expected the same. We didn’t even get to see his body. Our Visa couldn’t get ready in time to go bury him and they couldn’t wait because his body was already deteriorating so we had to stay behind. Our Visa was available later on but we couldn’t even bear to go see his grave. That period of time was literally hell for us, Bryan and I stopped attending school for a while and it made us lag behind so much. After years, when we seem to be finally getting over my Dad’s death. Bryan died of cancer.. it was so sudden, more shocking and heart wrenching than my father’s death. Apparently he has been experiencing the symptoms but kept quiet because of what we had been going through and then the same week, my mum also passed away, from cancer also, she did the same thing Bryan had done, she was also seeing the signs but didn’t want to bother anyone. For a while, I was so angry at them for causing me so much pain. It felt as if my heart was being ripped off. Looking back, I never even thought I would ever recover from it” Layla smiled amidst tears.
“You haven’t and it’s fine, it’s impossible to recover from…this type of pain” Dan hugged her and she cried in his arms.
He was moved to tears also but who cries while comforting someone. Layla is one hell of a strong girl .. darn it.
How was she able to survive after that.
f**k! God knows he can never survive such.
His biggest fear is loosing any of his family not to talk of loosing them all.
He hugged her tighter…
And…did she just say her mother and brother died of cancer, what if it’s hereditary. His heart skipped a beat, as much as he didn’t want to make Layla apprehensive, he knew he had to tell her.
“Layla” He called. They were still in a tight hug.
“Huh?” She sniffed.
“Your mother and brother died of cancer, I don’t mean to upset you but have you gone for check up? What if it’s hereditary? ” he asked, the thought starting to get him scared.
Layla smiled painfully, she was glad Dan couldn’t see her face .
“I have” She said.
“And?” He asked, and smiled knowing it’s dumb of him to even ask that, of course the test came out negative, who would be living with cancer and still be as vigorous as Layla is.
He felt so relieved that he didn’t even notice Layla hadn’t answered him, he had come to his own answer.
‘and perhaps if he had persisted, she might just have told him’ Layla thought.