After more than two hours, they brought Julie back to the ward.
She listened to the doctor, and she refused to cry again.
She knew that if she started crying, she would never stop, and would simply die from crying.
They told her that the accident had caused an SCI, which meant Spinal Cord Injury. She had what was termed a paraplegia, meaning she had lost movements in her legs and lower body, but had functionality in her upper body.
In a way, that was supposed to be better than a quadriplegia, which described the loss of movements in both arms and legs. She was going to stay in the hospital for some time.
In a nutshell, she would never walk again.
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“We have a specialist here, Miss,” said the elderly doctor, whom she now knew was called Dr. Josh Aboagye. “I’ve already contacted him, and he’s coming over this evening. He’ll take very good care of you.”
Julie tried to smile, but instead her tears slowly fell down her cheeks as she finally lost control of herself again.
“Please, doctor, I beg of you, I don’t need any specialist!” she said pitifully as her heart raced painfully. “I don’t want to live like this! I’m going through so much emotional pain that I don’t want to live anymore!”
“Miss!” Doctor Aboagye said in alarm as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Please, do not speak like that! Once you have life, everything will be beautiful in the end!”
“Don’t tell me that, please!” Julie said painfully. “I don’t want to live! I beg of you, if you have any deadly drug, go ahead and inject me now! Yes, I just want to die, please! Just kill me!”
“Lady!” Doctor Aboagye cried in alarm as he got to his feet in a hurry. “Please, I don’t want to hear those things! Please, stop saying that! God is in – ”
“Stop it!” Julie screamed, cutting in rudely. “Stop telling me about God! What God? The God that would let my parents die? The God that will let me be paralyzed? And the God that would let my real mother throw me away like a piece of trash? What God? He is a wicked God, if you ask me!”
“Lady, don’t blaspheme!” the doctor said, totally shocked out of his skin by her utterances.
It was just that moment that the door opened, and Akwasi Dapaah walked in.
Doctor Josh Aboagye looked at Akwasi with relief, and quickly patted Julie on the arm.
“Your friend is here, Miss,” he said quickly. “I’ll come back when the expert arrives. Welcome, young man. Don’t stay too long, okay? She needs to rest.”
He left quickly, and Julie looked across at Akwasi.
He was dressed impeccably as usual. Perhaps, that was the one thing she had always admired about him – his ability to look good and regal even when he was in the most casual of wears.
It was a sort of joke in the office: put rags on Akwasi Dapaah, and he would still look saintly!
He always managed to look unruffled and calm, even when he was facing the strongest of opposition. Julie had never been able to get under his skin, even with her most abusive verbal tirades, and that had really angered her in the past.
Dressed in a dark suit with a crisp blue shirt and dark-blue tie, he cut an immaculate figure as he leaned against the wall and looked at her. She noticed that there was a tightness around his lips, and a coldness in his eyes that told her he was upset.
At least, she had been in countless confrontations with him to know the signs when he was upset. Her father – or the man she had thought was her father – had adored this young man, and that was the only reason why Akwasi Dapaah had lasted so long in Dotse Capitals.
He moved from the wall and approached the bed, and then he drew out a chair and sat beside her, putting his hands to his lips and regarding her coldly for a while.
Tears still continued to drip down Julie’s eyes even though she tried hard to stop crying.
“Is that what you came to do?” she asked in a trembling voice. “Watch me cry?”
He smiled sadly, and then he reached into an inner pocket of his coat and drew out a white envelope. He extracted a sheet of paper and slowly unfolded it.
“No, Ohenewaa, I came to congratulate you for this,” he said softly. “You finally got your wish. Based on the findings of a secret committee you were the Chairperson of, I was found guilty charges, you and I know are fake. These fake charges purportedly brought financial losses to the Company. So, the HR had no other option than to dismiss me. Received the dismissal letter today.”
It hit Julie hard.
She had been expecting this, had been looking forward to it, actually…but now it hit her at a place she least expected: it filled her with sudden pain!
Akwasi Dapaah was a man she had hated for a long time, and yes, she had formed a secret committee, in collusion with Jake, and they had planned this moment.
They had put fake charges on him, blaming him for financial losses he had actually warned them against, blaming him for every financial mishap.
But now, in the light of what Jake – her Jake – had done to her, it dawned on her suddenly that indeed Jake had wanted Akwasi out of the Company even more than herself.
Akwasi was dependable, and firm in his principles, never allowing rash financial deals to go unopposed. Julie had come to realize that more often than not, Akwasi had been right in his assertions and projections.
“Every deal you accused me of, in this letter, were deals I stood strongly against, Julie,” he said quietly. “Maybe you thought I was being too hard on you, or that I hated you. No, I didn’t. There are things going on in Dotse Capitals that only your father and I were privy to. I was trying to save your father’s company, and not trying to sabotage you in any way.”
He stopped, and leaned back in the seat as he carefully put the dismissal letter back into his inner pocket.
He was very hurt, but like the stoic man he was, he tried to hold it all in.
“I hope you’re happy now, Julie,” he said softly, and then he got to his feet and looked down at her. “This will probably be the last time I see you. Goodbye, and I wish you well.”
He turned toward the door, and as he began to walk away, Julie felt an irrational emotion. His hurt voice, his broken and shattered spirit, his evident dislike of her, really made her feel a flash of remorse, and she suddenly held out her hand.
“Akwasi, please,” she said in a small voice.
He stopped and turned toward her.
“Yes?” he said softly.
“Don’t go,” she said, and tears filled her eyes again. “I have a condition…paraplegia. I’ve lost feeling in my lower body. I’m paralyzed from the waist down!”
And, instantly, he came back toward her, and when he reached the bed he did a most amazing thing, something she would not – in a million years – had expected him to do:
He dropped to his knees beside the bed, closed his eyes, and put his hand on her right thigh.
And then, to Julie’s amazement, Akwasi Dapaah prayed!
“My dear God, my Lord, my Father!” he said passionately. “I put your lost daughter in your hands. I know she has sinned against you, as all of us have, and now I see her in the greatest turmoil! She has lost parents, and she has seen her enemies rise and triumph over her, and she is now afflicted by paralysis! She is afraid, Lord, and she is all alone.
I just pray, my Father, that You will visit her, that You will touch her, that You will use her darkest hour to let her see the Light of Your salvation. Visit her, my Lord, my God, my Father, and let Your divine will be done in her life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
And Julie’s lips trembled as she responded:
“Amen,” she said.
It was probably the first time she had uttered those words in her adult life, and she had expected to feel silly about it. However, strangely, she suddenly felt a calm she had not felt since the accident, and then the tears just stopped flowing down her cheeks.
Akwasi remained on his knees, opened his eyes, and then he looked at her full in the face, and she was amazed to see compassion and deep pity on his face, a face that had been filled with such great pain a few minutes ago.
“You will be fine, Ohenewaa,” he said gently. “God will surely meet you at your point of need.”
Julie looked at him, and she marvelled at such a man.
“You prayed for me,” she whispered as her voice trembled. “You don’t hate me? Akwasi, you must hate me. I’ve been so horrible to you!”
He smiled at her.
“I don’t hate you, Julie,” he said softly. “I was angry at you, yes. But I don’t hate you. I’ve never considered you an enemy.”
“I let them sack you!” she wailed. “You lost your job because of me!”
He shook his head.
“No,” he said softly. “God took me away to open a bigger door for me. I’ve been planning to leave for a long time, Ohenewaa. I stayed only because your father needed me.”
He stood up finally and turned way.
“No, wait, Akwasi!” she said quickly, reaching out blindly, and then she held his hand.
It was the first time she had willingly touched him, and as she held his hand, and his f!ng£rs curled around hers – strong, firm, sincere – she felt a strong jolt passing through her, and knew she wanted him to hold her hand like that!
He released her hand and turned toward the door.
“I have some family business to attend to, Ohenewaa,” he said gently. “I’ll see you later.”
He walked toward the door, and suddenly she was seized by a strange bout of loneliness.
“Akwasi!” she called suddenly, and again he stopped and turned and raised his eyebrows. “You would come back, really?”
He was silent for a while. His expression had suddenly become serious.
“Do you want me to come back?” he asked calmly.
And then, as sudden as it was raw, Julie stared at him breathlessly.
This was a man she had hated, a man she had been mean to, a man she had wished would just vanish from the surface of the earth.
But now, as he stood there, tall and handsome and calm, he was like a pillar of strength, and she saw him in a light she had never seen him before. Here was a man who boasted in his sole reliance on a God she didn’t – and hadn’t wanted to – know.
Suddenly, it dawned on her that maybe she had not been fighting him because she hated him, that maybe she had been fighting him because of the way she was afraid she would react toward him. And, looking at him, she knew without a doubt that she wanted him back, wanted him near her, needed him to put his hand on her thigh and maybe not pray.
“Yes, Akwasi,” Julie said softly. “I need you to come back, please.”
He looked at her for a very long time, and she never dropped her gaze. She wondered how hatred could suddenly switch to this alien charged emotion suddenly sizzling between them.
“I’ll be back to check on you soon, Ohenewaa,” he said.
Julie almost gasped, and then she smiled.
It was the first time she had smiled since her accident.