It was exactly two weeks after my mum’s surgery and my mum was recovering well. Dr Zamani asked that she stayed in the hospital a few weeks after her surgery just so the medical team could monitor her closely. Luckily for us what we feared most; her body rejecting the donor kidney never happened and so we were cleared from the hospital to take her home. While my mum was at the hospital, I thought I would get used to living alone but I just couldn’t. I was happy that my mum was back home. Thanks to Ranti and whoever it was that thought to pay my mum’s hospital bill so she could stay alive and come back to me.
"Cleopatra can I meet your friend who paid the bills for my surgery?" My mum asked as she stood up slowly from her bed to sit in her study chair.
"Yes of course." I replied trying to support her as she sat in the chair. I wasn’t sure whether to explain the whole situation to her or just play along that Ranti was a friend who cared. I didn't want to get her thinking just a few months she was away, her daughter whom she trusted had turned into someone else.
"Okay dear. Pls have her come over tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" I asked surprised at her urgent need to meet Ranti.
"You are not even strong enough." I said trying to get her to consider seeing Ranti at a later date, at least to make time for Ranti and I to get our stories straight so she wouldn't have to suspect otherwise.
"My God! Did I raise you?" She asked moving my face in the direction of hers so she could look into my eyes. "When people are kind to you, especially in a case like ours, you do not procrastinate expressing your gratitude." She said calmly gently pulling my hair backwards.
"Okay mum. She'll be here tomorrow." I assured her with a smile as I stood up and picked up my suitcase. It was the same day I was travelling for the conference in New York but I needed to get to the office first before leaving to the airport at noon.
"Hi Cleo. It's Ranti. Are you still home?" I heard a familiar voice say from the window. What could Ranti possibly be doing in my house at 6:30am I thought to myself and why does it have to be the same when my mum was requesting to meet with her.
"Is that the same Ranti?" My mum asked in excitement. “Let her in please."
"Okay." I replied with a smile that spelt confusion before dropping my suitcase and moving towards the entrance.
"So will you tell me what you are doing here?" I asked almost immediately I opened the door.
"Relax. My car developed an issue last night so I went home with the official car. I remembered Magnus was asked to pick you up this morning, so I decided to do that myself since it’s the same route." She said as she shoved me aside and walked into my house.
"So where's your mum?"
"Can you be quiet please?" I requested as I pulled her behind the door in order to have a quick conversation.
"I really don't know why you came here exactly. Just so you know, your explanation for being here makes no sense at all but you are here already. My mum is asking to meet you. So, you will go in there and give her the impression that we are very close friends and you did this to help a good friend. Make sure you also state the fact that I'll be paying back. It was a loan. Are we good now? I asked hoping all I had just said didn't go with the early morning wind.
"It's okay." She replied after taking a deep breath. "Show me her room please." She said laughing hard. I didn't quite understand why she was laughing and so I asked her again if we were good and she replied saying yes, this time confidently and with a straight face and so I led her to my mom's room.
As soon as we got into the room, she was all over my mum telling her how we could do anything for each other because we were very good friends and cared so much about each other. She acted out my instructions so well, I almost believed her story myself.
My mum expressed her gratitude to her and prayed for her as well. She also assured her we were going to pay back the loan in due time. While they had the conversation, I stood and looked at the clock continuously like there was a time bomb in the room waiting to explode. Ranti felt like a time bomb. Everything was going well but I just had the feeling something was going to go wrong if we didn't leave on time.
"Ranti hope the staff at the clinic were nice to you. I hope they didn't stress you in any way?"
"No not at all. I had a tight schedule in the office so as soon as I got to the hospital, I just made the payments and left almost immediately."
"Really?” My mum asked in surprised and I wondered why. Was something about to go wrong? We were almost on our way. Why these questions I wondered.
"Dr Zamani mentioned you requested for details of the treatment after you made payments and it took you both about almost an hour to go through the plan for surgery."
"Who is Dr Zamani? Oh yea we did." She replied after being quiet for a few seconds. "That didn't happen immediately. I had to go to the office briefly before returning for the discussion."
"Okay then.” My mum smiled patting her shoulders and looking at me. The same look she gave when she suspected me of being mischievous just this time the look wasn't as stern. I guess as a result of the state of her health at the time. She wasn't as strong yet. "Thank you my daughter. God bless you! I'll see you some other time." She said as Ranti stood up to take her leave.
I was going to walk behind her immediately when my mum called my attention. I assured Ranti I was going to be with her shortly as I quickly sat in her bed.
"Is everything okay Cleo?” There's something off about your friend and her story. Are you hiding anything from me? Is she Ranti? How did you get the money for my surgery Cleo? I hope you didn't do something funny to get me out of the hospital Cleo?"
"Mum?" I shouted surprised at her questions. "After lot of things happen in one day. “It probably just escaped her mind. Ranti paid your bills and I didn't do anything funny please. Your nurse is here. She'll be taking care of you while I am away." I said pointing towards the nurse I had hired a few days ago. She came in at the perfect time to save me from a morning of questions and confessions. I stood up, gave her a peck on the forehead and walked out quickly.
"What was that about Ranti? Did you pay my mom's hospital bills?" I asked as I struggled to put my suitcase in the boot of the car while she watched me.
"Yes I did." She answered looking away.
"Ranti you don't have to lie to me too. Tell me the truth please and save me the confusion. Please Ranti I beg you." I said as I put my hands on her shoulder pressing it gently. If there was anything I wanted at that point, it was for her to think it was okay if it wasn't her who paid the hospital bills and I wasn't going to judge her.
"Cleo. I'm sorry, it wasn't me but I wanted to, trust me." She said holding my hands like that was going to make everything okay.
I couldn't believe what I had just heard. If it wasn't her then why did she claim to have paid the bills for my mom's surgery?.
"By the time I got there, the bills had been paid already." She continued.
"Paid for by whom?" I asked very anxious to get an answer."
"I wish I knew Cleo but I don't." She said trying to hold my hands again. All the while I wondered why a good deed like that could began to feel differently. I was happy that someone was kind enough to pay the bills but why would the person choose to be anonymous and why would someone else claim to be the one when she clearly isn't. Too many questions I had without answers. We entered the car heading to the office. We were quiet all through without saying a word or even looking at each other until we got to the office.
We got to the office early enough. My suitcase and bags were transferred to another car while the driver got ready to take me to the airport. While I stood there watching everyone discharge their duties, and also thinking of the way out from the dilemma I was in, Deji walked pass and casually said, "Hi Cleo Good Morning"
"Deji Good Morning. Can I have a minute with you please?" I asked as I walked behind him.
"You have a flight to catch. I don't think you have a minute." He replied as he finally stopped and turned in my direction.
"I do Deji. Thanks. So, I would like to ask a question I've asked before. I still can't figure out who paid my mom's hospital bill. Was it you? Can you just tell me. You were the only one who knew about it apart from Ranti and I’m sure it wasn't her."
"Okay. I’ll help you." He said calmly with a smile. I couldn’t remember when last I saw him smile. It was so charming I almost forgot what it was we were talking about. Was he about to say it was him. That would mean he still cares about me and I still stood a chance with him. I couldn't be happier as I watched him adjust his suit eagerly expecting a response.
"Didn't the hospital say who it was? They should have given you a description at least. Think!"
"A lady who was…"
"That's your answer right there. I'm not a lady. It wasn't me. Like I said earlier, you haven't exactly been the best person to me lately, so permit me if I didn't think it was going to be a good use of my money. Enjoy your trip Cleo." He said as he smiled and pointed in the direction of the driver who had been waiting for a while.
"Okay. Thank you. " I replied, trying to hide my disappointment as I walked away.
"Hold on." I turned around with a big smile expecting to hear him agree to my suspicion.
"You should change your skirts. I think your period is here. You are not pregnant afterall." He laughed. Having a baby with you would have been nice. What do you think?" He asked as he laughed again. I couldn’t help but imagine how difficult it was to understand Deji. I was going to stop him and ask if he had ever been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as he walked away but I had to be in New York on time. My period starting that day meant I was ovulating about two weeks prior, which happened to be around the same time I slept over at Deji’s. I was indeed one of the luckiest girls on the planet? I couldn’t imagine what would have become of me, If I missed my period.
Continues in the next episode here