“Careful with her head, I think we might need to intubate her.”
“Lift her head on to the pillow, I don’t think we need intubation just yet.”
“Please put her oxygen mask back on.”
I heard these words faintly as I navigated between consciousness and unconsciousness. I felt I was in a hospital and I heard constant beeps, it smelled like a hospital too. A few people on sparkling white coats. They must be doctors I thought to myself.
When I came to, Ray and Duke were by my bedside. I had been out for three days; two of which I spent in the intensive care unit. Ray looked pale and Duke’s eyes were red; he must have been crying.
No one knew what happened to me but I had stitches over my body and lost almost half of my total blood volume. Ray donated blood for me and I was saved because Duke arrived shortly after Jamila and her henchman had left.
Duke’s story was that he was in a meeting and couldn’t take my calls. When he came out of the meeting and I wouldn’t pick up, he had felt I was in danger. He feared it could be Jamila and never did it occur to him that it could be that life-threatening.
Duke raced to the house and saw the door wide open. My phone wasn’t ringing inside the house and when he called the more, it was turned off. Getting into the sitting room, I lay by the pool of my own blood. He had to call Ray who didn’t hesitate to come in.
Ray called the police and came with them. They thought I was already dead and was calling the police before they evacuated my body. Ray saw Jamila frantically drive into the house. She had my phone and told Ray I forgot it in the car. She said I accompanied her for shopping and Ray had felt a bit comforted that I am letting go.
When the police came, they searched my house for evidence of what could have happened. Duke said that even when Jamila came into the house, she was so shocked and looked shaken. Jamila the drama queen threatened to deal mercilessly with anyone who had done such harm to her friend.
I couldn’t mutter a word as they talked. I was too weak to talk. Weakness from my pains and from the fact that my near-death experience was a result of the actions of my closest friend.
Duke recovered my phone, the one that recorded the whole ordeal. He wanted to sit down and mistakenly sat on it. He didn’t know what he had on him was evidence, but because I recorded in the background, he couldn’t have known. He said he had turned it off to conserve my battery.
It took me days before I could speak. Mother and Father had me flown to Lagos. I was stable and they wanted me to travel to the UK for medical care. For the next two weeks, I was in the UK. I had totally decided not to communicate with any of Duke and Ray. They had no idea where I was and the complication included that I deactivated all my social media accounts, preferring to recuperate silently.
Father and mother were amazing. They both took a vacation in the UK just to be by my side. Father and Mother insisted on finding out what happened to me but I kept mum, preferring to say that I didn’t know who the
Since my MBA started by October, of that year, I travelled to the US as soon as I could. As usual, the police got on to their investigation and I got feedbacks from home. They had everyone interrogated. They had a reason to believe Jamila had her hands in the plot. While she had lied to Ray that I forgot my phone in her car, she lied to the police that she picked it up when she came to the crime scene.
She was pregnant and people could easily link her inconsistency to her pregnancy. Why I kept quiet and said nothing as these unfolded, remained puzzling to me too.
After the first year of my MBA programme, I was ready for my internship. But father wanted me to visit. Since I left Nigerian under medical emergency, this would be my first-time home.
It was an agonizing visit for me. A lot had happened. For some reasons, I had discarded the phone that recorded my near-death encounter but I still retained the memory stick.
It was during the time I took a one week break that I told mother my story. Mother failed to believe her ears. “Jamila, the same girl you had called Jam-Jam, the girl who crashed your relationship, almost took your life?
“Remember I told you to steer clear of her, why didn’t you return to Lagos immediately you passed out, why didn’t you tell anyone she could do something this bad, what if we had lost you?” Her questions were innumerable.
She didn’t want father to handle this one. She was going to handle it herself and made me promise her not to inform father yet. I played back the whole audio recording for her and it was agonizing for me to listen to it. Mother insisted that I should call Duke on phone and let her speak with him. Duke was surprised to hear from me. Mother invited Duke over to Lagos, asking him to come with Ray.
Ray looked old. In one year, Ray had aged more than ten years. He wasn’t the Ray I knew. He had lost his lucrative job and although he had consultancy jobs which kept him going and comfortable, he had given up on his lofty dreams; Ray was a sorry sight. Ray narrated his ordeal in the hands of Jamila who had turned him into a money machine and wouldn’t want to take up a job.
His life savings had gone into her extravagant life. He was sorry for what happened and wished we could just forgive him. Mother made them a meal. At the end of the meal, mother played the conversation over the home theatre system.
Shock and utter amazement were written all over You could see Ray’s face glow for the first time in a long while. Duke kept shaking his head from side to side.
About the first seven and a half minute of the recording covered my voice recording. The next thirty minutes or about that which we had to fast-forward was the silent period which was intermittently disturbed by sounds of footstep, doors and phone ringtones. Then the next forty minutes covered the incident.
Ray wanted to know why I had this all the time and never reached out. The only witness to such a heinous crime was a phone and its memory card. Judgment at last!
Mother wanted Ray to look her in the face and tell her he knew nothing about it. Ray was visibly shaken. He had lived under the same roof with a murderous drama queen.
Mother called father to come home. Father came into the meeting and being briefed, decided it was about time to involve the police. Ray was happy; his happiness stemmed from the facts that he had realized he wasn’t the father to the baby girl he had been taking care of, justice at last, was coming to him for all the months he had been lied into having a relationship with Jamila and for the fact that he can now dispose of her legally. He was going to get his life back.
I was a day away from returning to the United States. I made an oral recording and a written statement to the police state command in Lagos and returned to the US. Before I left, Ray asked me if we could still re-establish our relationship now it was obvious that he wasn’t going to stay married to Jamila.
“I have my MBA to complete,” I replied.
Jamila was arrested, tried and convicted. Her henchman was arrested and convicted too.
On my flight back, I picked up a conversation with a woman who was taking her girl to the US to start university education. She wanted to know what I was going to the US for. She wanted to know more about me and when I told her what happened to me, she asked me to tell her child my story. All the way while on the flight, we talked about my story and when we landed, she asked me to write this down and send to her.
- Emmanuella John, the Christmas Princess is the third child of seven children. She is a writer, who writes poems, prose (fiction and non fiction etc) and a little of drama. She also writes articles on different topics.