Just as had been the case when Chris was hospitalised, as the news of C.G’s admission spread, the calls began.
Since I was constantly by C.G’s bedside, I had muted my ring tone and would simply glance at the screen to see who was calling.
Most were numbers I had not stored. A few were from acquaintances I had stored, but was not in the mood to talk to, and those I simply rejected with the message ‘sorry, can’t talk now.’
The first call I did answer was from my sister.
“Stephanie, I’ve just heard about C.G, how is he? What’s wrong with him?” she asked frantically.
“He’s got a lung infection - he’s very sick,” I answered, my voice cracking on a sob.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry dear; but don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be fine. I travelled upcountry for some work for the office, but I’ll be back in town on Thursday. I’ll come see him as soon as I arrive, though I’m sure he’ll have been discharged by then.”
She was trying to be optimistic and comforting but, looking at C.G, I knew it would take a miracle for him to be well enough to be discharged by Thursday which was only three days away.
I did not say so though, for there was no point in both of us being worried; so instead I placidly agreed with her.
“Dad isn’t around either; he’s attending some conference in Nairobi, but I’ll call him and let him know,” she went on.
“Thank you,” I answered gratefully.
The relationship between my father and I was still strained, and the thought of getting in touch with him only to give him bad news about his grandson, had been extremely uncomfortable.
“You’re welcome, and please try not to worry too much, C.G will be fine. I’ve got to hang up now because I’m running late for a meeting, but keep me posted, and call if you need anything.”
“Don’t mention it; take care and give C.G a kiss for me. I’ll call back later,” she promised hurriedly, and we rang off.
In addition to the phone calls, there was also a steady flow of visitors to see C.G. Ninety per cent of them were people who had probably never even met him before then, like Chris’ industry friends and fans, reporters, city socialites and local celebrities.
Thankfully under the doctor’s orders, only three people were allowed in the room at any moment, including Chris and I, which meant that only one ‘visitor’ could come in at a time.
Furthermore, as I would not move from C.G’s bedside, it was left to Chris to receive, sieve through, and deal with the people who came, though most were satisfied with simply looking in through the glass panes on the door and along the corridor, as long as they met Chris and had their visit registered.
Chris took it all in his stride, and since he had chosen this life, why wouldn’t he? I thought to myself irritably as he showed in one ‘visitor’ after another.
For the most part, I chose to block out their presence. I went into ‘auto-pilot mode’ every time Chris brought someone in, shaking their hand and thanking them for coming, then turning back to my vigil over C.G, leaving them to commiserate and make small talk with Chris.
Some ended their visit by handing Chris an envelope “for C.G”, and only then would I break my vigil to join Chris in thanking them.
Still seething at Chris, I did not speak to him directly, but was careful not to let C.G’s visitors see any signs of tension between us; if they did sense any aloofness on my part, they probably put it down to worry.
Ironically, even amidst this constant flow of people, I felt like the loneliest girl in the world.
My younger sister had come by, but unaccustomed to being in the middle of an ongoing news story with all its accompanying drama, and overwhelmed by the gravity of C.G’s condition, her visit was extra brief, lasting about five minutes.
In addition to my family, the other glaring absence was Greg.