In that instant, the phones in their hands were forgotten by all but Namdi, he alone knowing where the ring truly was.
"I don't remember seeing a ring on your finger. I can check again at the front desk. Maybe at the lost and found too."
"If it wouldn't be a bother. Zainab, if you could follow her to be sure it's mine."
"Your heart rate seems to be going up..."
Doctor Oluwakemi stepped up to the monitor.
"I'm fine, I'm fine, just worried."
"Maybe I should stay here with you while the doctor goes."
"No, no need, in a hospital bed is not the way I plan to go."
Eyes still brimming with worry, Zainab nodded her head; Namdi's phone still in her clutches. He couldn't look away. She wouldn't take it with her, would she? Should I say something? But then what do I say? He began to panic as the doctor headed out the room, Zainab a few steps behind. The phone was now out of his sight, Zainabs back the perfect cover. He began to open his mouth to say anything when Zainab stopped. Turning, she walked back to the plastic flowers, setting Namdi's iPhone down. She looked at him and smiled before chasing the doctor, the door closing behind her with a soft click.
Alone in the private ward, Namdi felt the fear of a cornered animal, his time of relief but a mere instant. He could clearly see the smile Zainab had left behind before leaving. Closing his eyes, he tried to forget it but it only allowed the memory to grow more vivid. In that smile was knowledge, a statement, a suggestion. She knew something, why else would she smile like that. Or was he making a mountain out of a molehill.
Swinging his legs out of bed, he tentatively put his weight on them. He could stand. He took the small victory. Each step came with strong protests from his nervous system. He endured, progress coming at a bearable cost. Steadily he made his way to the vase of plastic flowers. Even in their brilliant intertwining colours of blue, red, green, purple and pink, Namdi could not see beyond their nature. Grabbing his phone, he began the journey back, finally laying on the hospital bed, alleviating the pressure on his body. Having no idea how long before Zainab would walk through the door, a trembling thumb reached out to unlock the iPhone.
Hands shaking, every inch of him tense to the utmost, he feared the worst. When he saw nothing out of the ordinary on his phone screen, the tension evaporated, his body visibly relaxing. Namdi began to laugh at the absurdity of his situation. Even with the laughter causing renewed pain in his ribs, he didn't mind. There was nothing for Zainab to see. Worrying had merely shaved minutes of his life he wouldn't get back. Reaching up to wipe the beads of sweat gathered on his forehead, he noticed a notification on the phone complaining of low memory.
Finding it peculiar, Namdi struggled to remember any major files he might have downloaded on the phone. Nothing came to mind. A quick run through his download folder bore no fruit. Chalking it up to the crash, he looked up, preparing his mind for the pain he would experience walking back to those flowers. The colours of the flowers delivered into existence a thought in his mind. Sitting up, whiplash of intense pain completely ignored, Namdi's thumb slammed against the phone in a frenzy to unlock it. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. Over and over that single word looped in Namdi's distraught mind, his thumb striking the gallery icon of the iPhone with more force than needed. The app opened, displaying boudoir photo after boudoir photo of her.
Continued on next page...
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