DEADLINE (Would you kill?)


‘You have to pull the plug,’ the look on his face was of  distraught.

‘But honey…,’ her words were lost as she struggled to hold back the tears. She lightly squeezed his frail hand. ‘The doctor said…’

‘The doctor already gave me a deadline,’ he said interrupting her. ‘Please end my agony,’ he said. A tear streamed down his cheek.

‘I just…’

                                      * * *
‘Kyle you have to go get her number,’ Peter said tapping his friend on the shoulder.

They were chilling on the balcony of hall 8 at the University of Nairobi. It was a boring Tuesday afternoon. Their classes had bounced. It was hot. The temperature had skyrocketed and they were doing their best to catch a breeze.

‘What have I got to gain?’ Kyle asked.

‘You have nothing to lose. Besides, she is a lone wolf and if you do get her number you get bragging rights,’ Peter said shoving his friend forward.

‘She had better not be a false alarm,’ Kyle said pointing at his friend as he ran down the stairs.

                                        * * *
‘Hey! Wait up,’ the voice from behind startled Sheila.

For a second she considered feigning ignorance. She was from a lecture. Her mind was fixated on getting to hall 5, straight to bed. She turned around.

‘I have been running after you for the past kilometer or more,’ said this boy panting.

‘He is faking. But he is cute,’ she was thinking to herself. She watched his lips move too distracted to make up what he was saying.

‘So can I get your number?’ he asked.

I didn’t even get his name. The thought surprised her. Did he even ask for my name. Or have I forgotten telling it to him. Already. Stop focusing on how good looking he is.

‘0…7…2…,’ she said.

Should I lie to him. What have I got to lose. Is there anything to be afraid of. If I give in, what will he think of me. Will he think I am too easy. The thoughts were fleeting. She had to make up her mind. Fast.

He had stopped midway. He was now looking straight at her. The look of expectancy written all over his face.  He was waiting on her.

                                       * * *
‘What is forever?’ Kyle asked.

‘What kind of a question is that?’ Sheila answered with the question. The feeling of irritation creeping up inside her.

‘It’s a simple question,’ he protested.

She eyed him suspiciously. Considering whether to answer his question. She thought against it. She turned to watch the sunset. The trees were swinging in the evening wind. The view was serene.

He was  a new graduate with an engineering degree. She had graduated with a degree in economics a year earlier. They were still together. Years had gone by. Feelings had grown. Love had blossomed. Cliche.

They were seated at the balcony of their rented one bedroom apartment. They had a whole lifetime ahead of them. Dreams yet to be fulfilled. It felt like it was them against the world.

It had been a good day. She was in no mood for a fight.

‘Would you consider being my bride?’ the question was unexpected.

It hit a chord. The tears flowed. Some details after that moment were still hazy.

                                        * * *
‘The results came back positive,’ the doctor said casually.

A ringing in his ear. Fear. Uncertainty. ‘What does that mean doctor?’ Kyle managed to ask.

‘After a series of tests it has been confirmed that you have leukaemia,’the doctor said scribbling something on his a piece of paper on his desk.

‘Is it bad?’ Kyle asked.

‘Unfortunately it is chronic,’ the doctor said.

The world shattered before his eyes. They were just newly wed. It had only been a little over a year since she had accepted his proposal.

The symptoms had only appeared a few months back. He had started feeling fatigued from time to time. He brushed it off as being due to the pressures of his job. Then he got a fever that refused to go away.

Sheila had insisted that he sees a doctor. Here he was. His world crumbling all around him. How will she react to this. Will it devastate her. Will I survive this cancer. The thoughts came flooding in. They only added on to the feeling of hopelessness that had taken over him.

‘We should start chemotherapy as soon as possible…,’ the doctor was saying. He was too distracted to get anything that the doctor was saying.

                                       * * *
‘I just can’t,’ she pleaded.

Six months had passed. The chemotherapy did not help much. He had slowly wasted away. Now what was left was only a shell of his former self. The doctors had said he did not have much time left.

‘Do you love me?’ he asked. He struggled to sit up from his hospital bed. He had no energy left. He soon gave up and fell back on the bed.

‘You know I do,’ Sheila said. She was now trembling. Her tears flowed. Her sobs were now uncontrollable.

‘Don’t make me do it,’ she was pleading. She placed her head on his bony chest trying to feel his heartbeat.

‘Do it for us,’ he said lightly stroking her hair.

‘For us or for you?’ she asked. She did not get up. His heart was beating faintly. It seemed to also be giving up. ‘Please don’t give up on me.’

‘Please…,’ he implored.

She slowly got up. She placed a trembling finger on the switch of the life support machine. He squeezed her other hand.

She closed her eyes as she heard the click of the switch.


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