Jade stood looking around with her hands folded across her body due to the cold she felt at the moment. It had started to snow, since it was already November.
Soon, she saw a vehicle from afar. As it approached, it appeared to be the taxi’s car. It pulled over and stopped in front of her.
“Hop in” the driver said. His voice more soothing than it was before.
Jade quickly entered and banged the door beside her.
“yearn street please, by the mall” she said as soon as she entered.
“got it” was all he said as he sped off the iced street.
The car was heated, soothing her temperature. She kept her hands across as she went through the pictures she just took, she carefully viewed the pictures to find any clue but she wasn’t getting anything.
By this time, she has already started feeling more pains around her abdomen. She dipped her hands and kept the phone inside her pocket after a fruitless observation.
They took a turn and she got conscious. She had already started dozing off. He just kept looking at her over the driver’s mirror.
He saw how tensed she was some hours ago, and now, she looked rather troubled even in her sleep. He wondered just how someone with such unblemished beauty could have her world all troubled. He had observed she’s never moved with anyone contrary to how he knew other beautiful ladies to act.
He looked at her at one more time and pulled over “we’re here” he said without looking back
“miss, we’ve arrived at your destination” this time, he was forced to check her
She was already sound asleep, holding her stomach. He noticed stains of blood on her cloth but diverted his eyes and tapped her gently on her shoulder “miss?” he called out again.
This time, the touch was effective. She responded with a shift and opened her eyes slowly.
“oh my gosh! did I sleep?” she asked rubbing her eyes with her left palm but her right still holding her abdomen.
“yes ma’am. Can I get my pay now?” he asked, acting not concerned.
“oh yes yes…” she searched around, looking for something “oh no!” she realized she was still in her mystery. “can I go in and get it? Please?” she asked already opening the door
“you’re bleeding down there” he couldn’t bare it anymore. He wished he could take her to the hospital “are you sure you wouldn’t wanna go to the doctor?”
“oh! This? Nah, I’m totally fine. I can clean this up” she replied, embarrassed and he just nodded.
Shortly after, she came out with his pay and saw him nowhere “oh he forgot his pay” she soliloquized, talking to no one in particular and went back inside.
Jade drove speedily toward the country side. She was definitely going insane and her mum might help out. As she drove along the road, she noticed the same car trailing behind her. Same car she saw at the parking lot. She slowed down, almost hitting it and got a view of the driver. Although not very visible, she saw a male in it. He was familiar, very familiar. She felt connected as she looked at him through the rare mirror.
The car revised, and took a U-turn. That was it. She didn’t see the car again till she arrived at her destination.
“mum ” Jade called out, without knocking. She opened the door and made way into the living room.
“Lizzy!” Jade shouted upon seeing her for the first time in six months.
“Jade!” she ran to hug Jade. They stayed in that position till Jade broke the silence
“she’s at the doctor’s. they said she has partial stroke. She can’t talk but can move slowly. They said…” lizzy burst out crying
“shhhh. It’s okay. Let’s go see mum. I told you to stay with her”
“I just came to collect a few stuffs” Lizzy said, wiping her tears and sniffing.
“come on, let’s go”
Jade led the way, got into her car, and drove off.
Jade tried to look round for the trailing car again but none was in sight
“what’s wrong? Why are you always staring the your rare mirror?”
“oh, it’s nothing. I just feel someone’s been following me.”
“do you have any clue?”
“no, I don’t. but I feel I know the person. I didn’t really see his face”
“oh… It’s a male” Lizzy teased
“don’t you dare” Jade said giving her a short glare
“oh come on! For all we know, he might be your suitor” Lizzy said winking and smiling like a child. Jade just shook her head and focused on the road.
Soon, they were at the hospital. Jade parked and rushed down carrying some of what Lizzy brought along.
“she had a partial stroke. Something must have triggered it” the doctor told Lizzy and Jade. “whatever triggered it, isn’t my business to know but what I would advice is for her not to come across such again.” They were by the hallway, outside Jade’s mum ward.
“please doctor help her… help us. We have no idea about what could have triggered this stroke but we need her back; healthy.” Lizzy spoke first
“I understand. But for now, she can’t talk meaning we can’t and should not ask her anything about what triggered it. Trying to reply and think of what made her this way, would trigger trauma and probably make her situation worse. The stroke affected her limbs but we were able to curtail it because partial stroke is easier to treat. She can use her legs and her left arm for now. But I’m afraid, her right arm is paralyzed. The stroke is partial because, it didn’t affect her left side of the body where the heart is situated but I’m afraid, continual partial stroke or severe stroke might lead to the whole body being paralyzed. So be careful what you discuss around her”. The doctor finalized and left them to his office.
“this is bad” Jade said, sighing with disappointment.
“I know” Lizzy seconded and they both went into her ward.
### ### ###
By evening Jade prepared to leave for her house, she had assignments to finalize for the new week. Tho it was a Saturday, she wanted to clear up her desk so as to have Sunday fully to stay with her mum.
She packed up and went out of the ward
“please stay with mum. Call me if you need anything” Jade instructed and left.
She passed through the hallway, proceeding to leave the building. She noticed someone following her and she swiftly turned back but saw just doctors and nurses. She quickened her pace, almost running. She took a turn, and saw a figure behind a door peeping at her from six to seven wards away but as she approached, the person went inside and shut the door. She could not see the face because a curtain was covering the transparent glass door. On top of the room was written “special ward 208” she memorized the name and number and wrote it down as soon as she got into her car.
On getting home, she quickly took out her phone and went over the pictures carefully. There was a clue to something and she was yet to find it.
She zoomed in the second picture which showed the end of the room and saw a male complete hung above the bed. It was a blue polo shirt that wrote “love new York” and a blue sneaker was just on top of the bed’s frame tho the shoe was turned upside down. The trouser which hung with the shirt was a blue jean.
“love new York… love new York” she repeated as the words sounded familiar. The clothes looked familiar but she couldn’t remember where she saw it. She duplicated the picture and circled the clothes. “clue one” she wrote inside the circled space.
She went on to look at other pictures but none of them rang a bell.
She decided to give sleeping her next option and plugged her phone after locking the door tightly and shutting the window.
As she rolled over the bed, something made a paper sound. She switched on her bed lamp and opened her duvet. There lied the coat she wore the previous day, she raised it and a picture fell, it was the picture she took from Dess’s room. With sleepy eyes, she flung the coat to the corner of the room and took the picture up from the bed. As she wanted to keep it on the frame of the bed, she turned it over and saw a writing, a writing very similar to what she had seen before, somewhere but she couldn’t remember “me, Jaden and sweet jingle five” was written at the back
“sweet jingle five?” Jade let out a little laugh. It was funny. The name was funny
“so this familiar boy’s name is Jaden. cool” she arched a brow “but why would she refer to her mum as Sweet Jingle Five?” she found it hilarious and kept the picture aside and slept off.
### ### ###
Few days later, everything started going back to normal. Jade’s mum started recovering but still found it difficult to speak, the strange person wasn’t trailing her anymore and she was finalizing her internship, it was five days to finish.
Dess was still missing and her mum haven’t reached her yet. Jade tried calling several times but it wasn’t going through. She gave up and reserved to start her investigation after finishing her internship.
Boston was no where to be seen and he hasn’t contacted since the incident. Jade moved on and kept to herself her mystery of not every becoming a mother from her mother and Lizzy.
Jade walked up to her car in the closed parking lot and opened it.
“Hey” a familiar voice spoke. She raised her head and saw the taxi man, as poor as always she though letting out a scoff “hey” she responded still looking at him
“what did you come to do here?” he asked for the first time, devoid of shyness
“I intern close by. Why?”
“nothing. Just asking” he wanted to speak more but held it in
“okay… I have to be somewhere presently can we have this chat some other time?”
“oh. I wanted to ask you to join me for lunch. Down the road, by the mall. Is that okay?”
“maybe some other time” she really wanted to leave the air.
“can I insist?” he sounded very different from the taxi man she met days back but his extra nightingale voice still intact which was one reason she was having an after thought
“oh…kay but wont stay long” she just couldn’t know how he can afford the pay. The restaurant by the mall is first class expensive “but are you sure you don’t wanna choose another location?”
“wouldn’t that embarrass you?”
“not really” she lied
“but this is the first time. Let’s go to the one by the mall. Can we drive in my taxi?”
“okay” she felt like crying. Going out with someone like him was the last thing she wanted to do but somehow she still wanted to go, so she went.
“by the way, in Chris” he said as the entered inside the car
“in Jade” she replied not looking at him at all “but why?”
“why this sudden change in attitude? The taxi man I know is shy, shy to even look at me” she noticed a long time ago
“oh that’s because i…” he made a swift turn and swerved a car so he didn’t finish the statement.
They arrived and got down
“two soda please” he told the waiter as soon as they sat
“how’d you know I like soda?” she asked shocked.
“It was a lucky guess, I guess” he smiled revealing his perfect white set of teeth
Jade smiled at what a complete gentle young man he was but still felt uncomfortable going out with him.
Soon the waiter came and served them soda.
“order” Chris told Jade without looking at her but Jade kept silent
“let’s see the menu please” Chris asked and the waiter handed him a menu card
“there” he said pointing to menu 3. Jade looked at the menu as was surprised with what he picked “full chicken hot shredded bouquet” it was the most expensive of them. Not wanting to embarrass him, she swallowed her word and chose hers
“I’d go for this” she chose menu 1 grilled chicken and rice
“so you uhm intern as what and where” Chris sparked up the convo as he sipped in his soda
“as an undergraduate of Giston university as a lawyer soon to be called to bar, at the firm close to the closed parking lot we met”
“oh. cool” he looked interested “well I uuhm, didn’t really go to school, dropped out in college and started hustling. Grew up in an orphanage but no one wanted to take me in so I started hustling in the street before I got a friend who got me a customized car for taxi” he stopped and took in a bite from his order the waiter brought.
Jade felt sorry for him but didn’t show it. So the lunch went on in silence.
“oh im late” Jade broke the silence as she saw the alarm beep on her phone. She had to go see mum.
“let’s see some other time. Call me whenever you need anything”
“sure” she rose to leave “are you sure you wouldn’t want a split of bill?”
“oh no, im totally fine. Excuse me let me pay” he rose too and went to the counter, slid in his credit card and paid.
“you didn’t finish your food” she was surprised. Who would buy the most expensive food on the menu at the most expensive restaurant in Germany and leave the food quarter way. Well those who had the money would but definitely not this class of person she thought as they went out of the restaurant. He drove back to the closed parking lot, and saw her leave before leaving.