Marrying My Best Friend
- Genre: Romance
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: Nafisatuu Writes
Two days later
On the private ward, the atmosphere was completely different. The air had a perfumed scent, and the seats were plush. Every surface was dustless. The nurses were unhurried, and they moved with a serene purposefulness from room to room on their rounds. There were vases of flowers and beautifully framed pieces of art on the walls. In the corridor was a water dispenser, and in most rooms could be heard the noise of a television.
She awoke to soft sheets, and the morning light trickled in through the blinds. Shedding herself of the remaining glimpses of a dream, her eyes were still shut as she soaked in the warmth of her covers before letting her brown eyes see the sun’s rays through the window. Her eyes landed on her mother, and she smiled weakly. She grimaced as she felt a throbbing pain in her backbones and wrists.
“How are you feeling, my darling?” Mom spoke gently, stroking her hair. Habiba looked at her mother’s stressed face for brief seconds.
“How long was I asleep?” She asked instead. Her voice was barely heard. “You’ve been unconscious for two days. Your father went to see the doctor,” her mom explained, tapping on a button to get the doctor’s attention.
She lay there quietly, keeping her eyes closed, matching her breaths to the beeping of the machines that surrounded the bed, the only indications of her heartbeat, her existence. Her legs were numb. Curiosity slowly pried open her swollen eyes to meet a dismal view of a magnolia-colored hospital room. Slow tears rolled down her cheeks as the throbbing pain continued. She slid her eyes sideways and looked at her mother and then at her chart.
Admittance: 10:17 pm
Cause of Admittance: Collapsed
Diagnosis: Sickle cell anemia
The door opened, and her father appeared together with the doctor. He did his work and gave her an injection to ease the pain. The pain was increasing in waves like she didn’t just get a pain reliever, small lulls giving false hope of an end. Each peak robbed her ability to speak, sending her crashing to the bare boards. It was as though her bones had become poison, intent on destroying her from the inside out. All she could do was writhe, the occasional whimper escaping to echo off the walls. Her mother cried with her, holding her hand for support as she watched her daughter suffer in pain.
“Habiba? How are you feeling? Do you need anything?” Her father asked worriedly, stroking her head. More tears blurred her vision as she shook her head.
“Mommy...call him...Adil,” she spoke weakly. Her mother rapidly picked up her phone and called him. The moment he heard she was awake, he dressed up and left the house for the hospital. His mind wouldn’t be at ease till he saw how she was.
“Mommy... I’m...I can’t... it’s too much,” she cried out. Her mind screamed out as the pain drove through her bones. Every thought she just had become confused as the burning pain licked up her bones like a scorching fire. The only thought she had was ‘like a knife through butter.’ She wept at her own suffering. She could hear her parents talking and weeping. Heartbreak swiped through at this chaos and pain, pain for her parents. She wanted to pretend like she was not in pain, but it was unbearable. Her body was burning. Her bones were crippling her. She couldn’t hold it. She whimpered, wishing the world to end, but the pain crashed over her.
After a while, Adil showed up in the room. By that time, she had gotten more injections, and the pain was slowly dimming. She looked pale and tired. Her face was still swollen. She could barely see a thing. She opened her eyes the moment he called out her name.
She smiled softly at him. “You came,” she whispered due to how weak she was. Her parents left the room to give them some privacy.
“I will always be here for you no matter what,” he reassured. “How are you feeling?” he asked worriedly. She opened her tired eyes again and looked at his blurry face.
“I think... I’m not going to make it,” she stared at the blank space. His heart did a backflip as he stared at her face, speechless.
She gazed at him and smiled. “I’m sorry about what I said yesterday,” she started. “I...” she bit her lips and grimaced in pain.
“Habiba, shh, it's okay, please. Just get some rest, okay?”
“I want to tell you why I don’t want to follow you to Nigeria,” she said weakly.
“Now is not the time for that, Habiba. Your health is what we care about now,” he replied to her.
“I....” A wave of pain suddenly washed over her. Her pain was an ocean of unknowable depths, swift currents, and lurking beasts.
“May Allah grant you a quick recovery, my love. How’s the pain?” He asked, uneasy. He wished he could remove all the pain and put it in his body. Her pain came like a sudden squall out at sea. Bullets of rain from ragged black clouds came pounding down with absolute brutality.
“The pain is like a knife being twisted in my bones. It shoots up fast, erasing every thought from my head and paralyzing my body. Apparently, I scream whenever I feel the pain, but I don’t recall that part, only the pain. But whatever the case, I am used to all of it. But this pain is different. I... I don’t even know if I will actually survive it... it’s too much for me to bear.”
“Stop saying that, please, Habiba. When a Muslim is sick, Allah takes away his sins just as fire takes away impurities in gold and silver.”
She smiled, her eyes closed. She was the only one that knew what kind of pain she was going through. Maybe someone with her kind of disease would understand the kind of pain she was in.
The next week
“All my life, pain is all I know... I have gone through a lot with my mother. Those people have tortured us, especially my mom. We moved to Nigeria nine years ago because my father’s relatives kept bugging him that we don’t visit them, and some of them didn’t even know my mom or me. Daddy still worked here, so we didn’t get to see him till after a month or two. He has an extended family, so we had to live with his parents, his siblings, and some of his cousins.
My grandparents hit me, abused me, harassed me! Hell, I once almost got raped by one of his brothers. My father knew, but he couldn’t say anything about it. My mother got fed up and asked him to take us back to London, or she was going back to her parents’ house. His parents knew we were not comfortable staying there, they suggested we move to one of his houses, but my mother refused, and that’s why we came back here. I’ve been traumatized my whole life. I had to go through therapy before I could start trusting people again, especially men. I was so so terrified of that people. This is why I never want to go back there.” Her eyes dripped with tears. The pain came out like an uproar from her throat in the form of a silent sob.
He stared at her, speechless. Habiba had gone through a lot. She had been dealing with family and health issues. No matter how bad a situation was, she always smiled. She never let her worries get the best of her. She always masked them with a huge grin.
“I’m deeply sorry about that, Habiba. I fully understand why you don’t want to go there, and I promise you I won’t push you to do something you’re not comfortable with, okay? Your health is what we care about the most,” he spoke softly. He took a tissue paper and wiped her tears away. She smiled again and nodded. “Thank you,” she murmured.
The fear traveled in Habiba’s veins but never made it to her facial muscles or skin. Her face remained pale, her eyes as steady as if she were shopping for shoes. She let out an understated sigh and closed her eyes. “I’m really tired of this hospital,” she spoke tiredly. He chuckled softly, “don’t worry. You will be discharged in no time,” he assured.
She looked at him and raised a brow, “It’s like you’ve never seen a sickle cell patient at the hospital before.”
He smiled sheepishly and scratched the back of his head. The doctor opened the door and entered. He smiled softly at her, “Good afternoon, Captain. How are you feeling today?” He asked, picking up her chart for updates.
“Still having pains, especially at night,” she explained.
“But is the pain less severe than before?”
“Well, sometimes. Depends on the area. My lower back and wrists hurt the most,” she spoke.
Adil sat there looking at her. She had lost a lot of weight, and she looked very sick. She was in pain but never wanted to speak about it, but he could tell. He was afraid, afraid of losing her. Afraid that her words will actually come true, her words about death.
Unease blossomed from within him. Dread creeps down his spine like a careful spider leaving a trail of silk. The dread crept over him like an icy chill, numbing his brain. In this frozen state, his mind offered him only one thought. He sometimes wished her disease could be cured, but only the treatment could help; the condition couldn’t be cured.
Her mother came in as the doctor left. Adil stood up, smiling sheepishly. He has been with Habiba since morning. He couldn’t leave her side, not when she was in that situation.
He looked at her and spoke gently, “You should get some sleep. I will visit you later in the evening.” But she was already asleep due to the injection she had received. He let out a sigh of relief and smiled. He said goodbye to her mother before leaving.