He saw red.
No, not figuratively. He had seen that earlier.
This was another red. Bright red, splashing the walls with color. If he had been in a relaxed mood, he might have appreciated the art of the red splotches against the cream background.
Instead, he was scared. Bone chilling scared.
The walls were smeared and now, the floor. His hands were shaking, his breath coming out in short rasps and his saucer eyes were fixed at her.
Her eyes were wide, her mouth slightly agape and her face contorted into what was a mixture of shock and pain. Her hands gripping her neck was smeared with blood, which was trickling down her arms towards her elbow and on to the floor where they formed a small pool of darkish red.
‘Do something!’ His mind screamed, and he was jolted to action. His eyes darted about the room looking for… he didn’t know what he was looking for.
‘Pressure! Apply pressure to the wound’. A scene from grey’s anatomy flashed across his mind. It was the scene where Preston Burke was shot. He could picture Miranda Bailey applying pressure to Preston’s arm.
He rushed to the wardrobe and yanked his white Ralph Lauren shirt from the hanger. She had bought the shirt for him on his birthday last week and had ironed it for him to wear to the annual dinner tomorrow. He then rushed back to where she was standing, hands still clutching her neck and removed her hands, firmly placing the shirt on the wound. He looked at her and saw the question in her eyes.
“I am sorry baby. I wasn’t thinking”
Her eyes were becoming glassy and she was swaying on her feet. He set her down on the floor gently and kept his hands firmly on the shirt which had now turned red. ‘What a shame, such a nice shirt’ the craziest of a thought entered his mind for the briefest of a second before he noticed that her eyes were closing and her breathing was shallow. Panic surged through him.
‘No!’ his mind screamed.
‘Call an ambulance’ another part offered.
He dug a hand into his pocket and brought out his phone scrolling through the contacts. Sadly, this was no USA or UK where you could dial an emergency number and get an ambulance to your location. He found the number of his neighbor and dialed tapping his foot eagerly as he waited for the call to be put through.
At the fifth ring, his neighbor answered his phone and he quickly asked him for a drive to the hospital, surprising himself by how calm his voice had sounded.
Once he was through, he carried her from the bedroom to the sitting room while maintaining steady pressure to the wound.
“I am so sorry” he muttered to her. Her eyes were closed and he could not say whether she had heard him or not. For a moment he thought she was dead and he almost screamed but he saw her chest rise and he almost collapsed with relief.
Panic surged through him again as he noted that her skin was becoming grey and her lips were taken a bluish tinge.
‘Oh dear Lord’ he prayed, ‘please save her for me. I promise to give myself to you’
“Baby please I am sorry. Please forgive me, hold on, fight and don’t let go! I promise I will make it up to you. I will do whatever it takes to make you happy. I promise”. A single tear escaped his eyes and coursed down his cheeks.
‘I am crying. Wow’ he thought with awe. He couldn’t remember the last time he cried
“I messed up. Honey please forgive me and give me a chance to do right by you” the tears were flowing freely now.
The door opened and his neighbor walked in and froze. His eyes flew to him and he could read the questions in his eyes, but there was no time to waste.
“Please help me to the general hospital, I will explain everything to you later”
Soon, they were in his neighbor’s car and headed to the hospital. He didn’t even wait for the car to be parked before he opened the door and rushed into the accident and emergency unit.
The next thirty minutes were a whir of activities and passed by in a blur as his wife was placed on a couch and questions were fired at him by the doctor while setting an intravenous line for his wife and assessing the extent of the injury. Then he was asked to go the blood bank to organize blood for an urgent transfusion and he ran as if his life depended on it. Which in a way it did.
When he returned, she had been hooked up to an oxygen cylinder and her head tilted up at 45 degrees. She also had a firm dressing over her neck which was soaked. He was told she would need an emergency surgery and the theatre was being prepared.
‘God, please help me’ he prayed for the umpteenth time. ‘If you save me from this one, I will never lose my temper again’
“Mr. Adebisi” the nurse called, “we are taking her to the theatre now. You can follow us to the waiting area”
He nodded and followed her. He held his wife’s hand and squeezed gently. Her eyes were closed and she had a mask over her mouth, hooked to an oxygen cylinder and Intravenous fluid and blood were hooked to either arm. She looked pale and her breathing was still shallow.
‘God please save my wife’ he prayed.
“Baby, please stay strong. I will be here for you, I am not going anywhere and I promise to make it right” he whispered to her ears as they got to the red line beyond which he couldn’t cross.
In the waiting area, he sat on the leather chair. He was alone and he was grateful for the privacy. The lights were switched off and he sat still in the darkness and allowed his mind to wander to the events of the evening.
They had just retired to the bedroom and Mary, his wife sat at the dressing table and was brushing her hair, the first of her nightly rituals that involved a shower and then application of her numerous facial creams.
He had told her that he would be travelling to Port Harcourt for a training exercise and he would be gone for two months. She had stopped brushing her hair midway and turned abruptly to face him.
“Two months?! Are you the only one in that your office?”
“My head of department asked me if I would be interested and I agreed. I knew he really wanted me to be the one to go but he didn’t want to sound forceful seeing as I just returned from one last week”
“Oh. So you said yes abi? You didn’t even think to discuss it with me. Sometimes I think you prefer that job to me” her voice has risen a notch.
“How can you say such a thing?!”
“Because it’s true. If not that you are inconsiderate, you wouldn’t just decide to please your boss without thinking about me. You just returned last week after a month, and you will be gone for another two months. Two months! You don’t know how hard it is for me to stay in this house all alone”
“It is hard for me too babes, but it is work and I have to do it if I want to rise to the top”
“Exactly my point! You prefer work to my feelings.”
“That’s not true, and you know it. Stop being melodramatic”. He had been getting irritated. He hated to be put on the defensive and he was beginning to feel like a child being scolded. A part of him told him that she was right. He had been putting himself more and more into work in the last six months and had spent less time with her. He pushed the thought aside. He needed to put in the extra work, and it was all to take care of her. She should be understanding and supportive and not nagging him.
“That’s what you always do” she had begun to shout “always dismissing my needs as theatrics. You always trample on my feelings like it means nothing to you. Maybe they don’t. I have the right to express my feelings to you, but you never listen”
“It’s enough woman!”
“Don’t tell me it is enough! I will not allow you to shut me up, just because you don’t want to hear the truth. You are being selfish and egotistic. Who knows maybe there is no training sef, and you are just using work as an excuse to run to your mistress”
He had laughed. “My God! You are just crazy. Now I have a mistress eh? You never cease to amaze me”
“I am crazy abi. It is your mother in the village that is crazy! Fool like you”
“What did you just call me?” his eyes had been narrowed at her and all he saw was red. He could feel blood rushing to his head and his heart pounding furiously.
“It is only a foolish man that will choose work over his family” she had sneered and folded her arms across her chest.
The rage had bubbled over and without thinking he had picked a scissors from her pedicure set on the dresser and buried it in the base of her neck.
The lights in the waiting room came on stunning him and shaking him from his reverie. It was the doctor, a young woman in her thirties, wearing scrubs and rubber boots reaching unto her ankle. It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the light and what he saw on the doctor’s face made his heart to stop, then pick up pace at a faster rate.
Her face was gravelly but he saw a twitch in her jaw muscles, a sign that she was struggling to keep her emotions in check. “Mr. Adebisi—“
“How is my wife?” he cut her short.
“Her injury was severe, the external carotid artery was severed and she had lost a lot of blood, much more than her body could handle and it finally gave out. We did all we could but her organs shut down from the extensive blood loss. I am sorry”
He sat down with a thud and put his hand on his head. “What have I done?” he muttered
“I have also informed the police” the doctor continued “and they have just arrived now”
‘The police’ his mind said over and over. It was gradually dawning on him the full impact of his actions. He would be charged for murder and he would likely face the death penalty or life imprisonment if he was lucky.
He laughed at that. Life imprisonment was ‘lucky’. Hilarious
“This your anger will cost you something dear one day, if you don’t learn to master it”. He remembered the warning of his mother to him when he was a teenager and had injured his younger brother with a stick for calling him a fool. “It is only a fool that lets his anger get the better of him” she had added, as she counselled him after he had served his punishment.
‘You are right Mama’ he thought in despair ‘my anger has just cost me my wife and my life’