When Nosa opened his eyes, he saw the flash of cameras, which followed him everywhere he went. A smile spread on his face, and he was transformed into the handsome celebrity that he was. He swept a hand over his head, and would have posed for the cameras, but realization came crashing down, when he remembered that he had lung cancer and had just seven days to live.
All his life, even when he was still a street boy, he lived his life with no worries of the future. There was no time for God, but now that he watched the sands of time run out on him, he thought of God often.
“There is always time for everything, even God” he would say.
“I will get married in my forties” he told a television anchor at an interview. “I am a man, there is always time”
But suddenly, time had been taken away from him, and all the things he left for a later time would never be done. His eyes betrayed his will, as a single tear drop trickled down the side of his face.
“You can still schedule that show, you know” a voice broke the silence of the room.
Nosa turned and saw the doctor who had tried to hold his hand. The first thing he noticed was her height. Despite having such curvy set of hips, she still stood tall, with a narrow face that spotted brown eyes filled with interest.
Even on your death bed, you are still checking out a woman’s body.
He shook his head of the thought, “What do you want, why are you here?” Nosa turned his face away in anger.
“I am not your enemy Nosa. I just want to help”
“Sure, how about you treat this disease that has taken time away from me” Nosa said with so much anguish, that it broke Lucy’s heart.
“I cannot promise that you will have more time. But why waste away the little time left?”
“Just shut up and get out” he flung a pillow at her. “Get out”
“I will leave now, but I will be back. Have an answer for me then”. “If you want to waste your time, I will be here with you. But if you want to make the best of it, I will help you” Lucy left the hospital room, with Nosa staring at her retreating figure, with a puzzled face.
“I just want to be left alone, so I can die in peace” Nosa said to the empty room, even as his hands began to tremble with the force of his sobs.
Nosa was not one to cry, not even when his mother had died and left him at the age of sixteen. Even when his father married another woman who made Nosa go hungry for many days, Nosa did not cry. He stayed deviant in the face of adversities. But this time, Nosa cried. He cried for the love he would never feel, and the family he would never have. The music industry would change and he would not be there to change with it. The world would soon forget about the man who thrilled them with the voice of an angel, and he would be lost forever.
“Why me” he cried out in a guttural voice.
Lucy paced her office in quick strides. Her mind was racing because she was formulating a plan. She had pushed all her patients’ schedule to next week, and wanted to give all her time to Nosa. She had seen his face when he woke up and for a moment, thought he was on stage, in front of the flashing cameras.
Perhaps if he can have one more concert…one more show.
The plan had solidified in her head and so she remembered she had called Nosa’s manager to her office.
“Sir, if it is possible, can Nosa have one more show?”
“I can talk to the organizers of the show that was supposed to happen today…perhaps the show can be rescheduled” It will save me from repaying all the millions that was paid for the show. Oh doctor, that is a brilliant idea you have got there.
“No” they heard someone say. When they both looked up, Nosa was standing there, looking at the both of them. There was peace on his face, and he looked contented.
“I lived these past years for the crowd, for the ovations and for my fans. But now, whatever time I have left, I want to live for myself” Nosa patted his manager on the back.
While he was left alone, Nosa thought long and hard. He had come to a conclusion that, he didn’t want to leave the world with any regrets, and so he wanted to do the things he had put away for a later time.
“Doctor, you said you would help me, if I want to make the best of the time I have left. Will you keep your promise?”
“Sure, Nosa” Lucy had the widest smile on her face. “What do you want to do?”
“Here is my bucket list” he pushed a piece of paper into Lucy’s hand. “We don’t have much time, I suggest we start now”
Lucy read the words on the paper and smiled. She thought that perhaps, she could give this man the joy he deserved, even though for a limited time.
Nosa spent six days doing everything he had written in his bucket list. First, he gave away some of his assets to two orphanages in each geopolitical zone of the country, and the rest, he gave to charitable causes. The next item on his bucket list was to go see his father after many years without seeing him. Lucy agreed to follow him to Warri to see his father.
“What are you doing, you don’t even know this guy” her friend Adanna objected when she told her of her trip. “If you were this enthusiastic about Richard, you guys would be married now” Adanna reminded her of her ex lover.
“Stop it Ada, he is my patient and I have to help him out any way I can”. “And hey, don’t ever bring Richard up again”
“What is even wrong with him?” Adanna plopped down on Lucy’s king size bed.
“Nothing Ada, gbegborun” Lucy focused on packing her clothes into a portable suitcase.
Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door, and Adanna rushed to open it. Adanna almost fainted with excitement when she saw Nosa standing there with a portable suitcase.
“Lucy, you didn’t tell me that you are now seeing Nosa the ladies man” Adanna moved away for him to enter, with a flirtatious smile already in place. “You always go for those beyond your league abi?”
“Just shut up, Ada” Lucy walked up to Nosa and took him by the hand. “Come in and sit, I am almost done packing”
Adanna watched on with piqued interest; her eye brows almost touching her hairline as she connected the dots. Oh no, poor man.
The journey to Warri took them about six hours, as Nosa had insisted on traveling by road. “I know I don’t have all the time in the world, but I would like to travel by road. I miss the experience”
“Sure, I have never traveled by road, it would be an experience for me” Lucy agreed.
During their journey, they got to know themselves better, and realized how they both hated Okro soup, and preferred Ogbono soup with hot leaves.
“I think you should taste my Ogbono soup, I am not sure you have eaten any like it” Lucy said, obviously carried away with the conversation.
“Yes, before I die, I should taste it” Nosa said sadly.
“Oh Nosa, I didn’t mean it in that way” Lucy stumbled over her words.
“I know, don’t beat yourself up. When we are back home, you will cook me a pot of Ogbono soup” No
“You know, I have never been to Warri. I schooled in the north, and have lived all my life in Lagos” Lucy changed the subject, to ease the awkwardness.
“I am beginning to wonder if this is my bucket list or yours” Nosa said and they both laughed.
Nosa’s plan was to reconcile with his father before he kissed the dust, but he met a desolate house when they got to Warri. The house where he grew up, was falling apart, with bushes as high as the low fence covering the grounds.
“What happened here?” Nosa asked, as they walked in with tentative steps.
While they stared at the gloomy view of the house, an old woman who was bent from the waist, walked by, and seeing their expression, stopped to tell them about what befell the occupants of the house.
“The man don die oh, and him wife don follow another man” she shook her head soberly. “Him for no marry that woman as him wife die, she bring bad luck for am” the old woman went on her way, having told the story she had told everyone who came looking for Nosa’s father.
Nosa broke down and began to cry. Lucy tried to console him with soothing words, but Nosa was uncontrollable. That his father died angry at him for leaving home, hurt him more than the news of his impending death had been.
“I am so sorry father. I am sorry for leaving and not being there for you” he cried. Where are you death, I am not afraid anymore because I know I will see you soon”
It was the sixth day since Nosa received the death sentence. He had spent the days with Lucy, doing the things he had always wanted to do. Lucy had taken them to Cuba because Nosa had always read about it, but never found the time or inclination to go. This she did, so as to cheer him up, and remove the sadness over his father. They spent two days in Cuba, where they mixed up with the natives and tried foreign cuisines. When they got back to Nigeria, Nosa organized a mastery class for young people who aspired to be music icons. On a normal day, the class would have been open to only those who could afford to pay exorbitant fee, but on that day, it was free for as many as wanted to attend.
There was one last thing Nosa had on his bucket list and that was to put a smile on someone’s face. He took out his phone and called his manager. After talking for a long time, he hung up and called Lucy.
“Hey babe” he said.
Lucy smiled at the new name. He always called her ‘doctor’ or ‘Lucy’. She couldn’t deny that she had grown fond of Nosa in the days they had spent together. He was a man that was full of life, and love. If only he had been give more time to share this new side of him with the world.
He told Lucy to meet him at the Quilox bar at seven o’ clock in the evening. “What is on your bucket list…drink yourself to stupor?” Lucy teased.
“Please wear something nice, I like a woman in red” Nosa’s words elicited giggles from Lucy.
Lucy you are giggling like a teenager.
“All right Nosa” Lucy replied, stifling the giggles.
That evening, Lucy donned a short, red dress which hugged her curvy body and accentuated her long legs. She didn’t know why, but she wanted to look stunning and take Nosa’s breath away. Her black natural, kinky hair was matted in an upsweep, and secured with a silver brooch. She used her taxify app, and got herself a taxi to take her to the Quilox bar.
When she alighted in front of the popular Quilox bar, she realized that though there were cars in the parking garage, the bar was dark and there was no sound coming out of it. As she took out her phone to call Nosa, the lights came on and a shout of ‘Happy Birthday’ rent the air.
“Oh my God, I forgot my birthday” Lucy held her mouth with her hand in surprise.
“Yes babe, you only thought of me, forgetting your needs and even your birthday” Nosa stepped out from the midst of the crowd, with a microphone in his hand. “I won’t die until I have serenaded you with a song I wrote just for you. You deserve all the songs in the world”
“Oh my God” Lucy had tears running down her face as Nosa began to sing for her. In that moment, she realized, she no longer saw Nosa as a patient, but as something more.
“I wish I met you sooner, I would have spent my life loving you” Nosa sang a line from the song, as the crowd cheered.
Lucy’s heart broke into a million pieces as she thought of Nosa’s imminent departure from this world. She dropped her clutch, not minding where it fell, and ran to Nosa. She held him and pulled him into a tight embrace, as they both cried. Nosa’s manager stood in a corner and smiled. If only Nosa had met her sooner, they would have had a celebrity wedding, he thought.
“This could be my last night, Lucy” Nosa said as they sat in the limousine which Nosa had rented for the purpose of Lucy’s birthday. “We should go dance somewhere…waste the night away”
“Let’s go to my apartment” Lucy said, gazing into his dark eyes.
“Are you sure?” Nosa searched her eyes for the truth.
“Yes Nosa, I have never been surer about anything in this world. If you die tomorrow, I want you to be in my arms”
Adanna helped Lucy out of the car, in front of the Ikoyi cemetery. Together, they trudged past the gates of the cemetery, with Lucy supporting her swollen stomach. Lucy looked radiant in the yellow coloured abaya she wore. They stopped in front of a tombstone with the inscription “Herein lie a great song crooner, a husband and a father, Nosa Osahon”
Nosa did not die at the expiration of the seven days he had been given, but died a year after he was given seven days to live. He married the doctor whom he fell in love with, for she was already pregnant with his child, and died two months after their wedding.
“My love, I hope you have no pains where you are, and I hope you have reunited with your father. I love you now, and I will always love you” Lucy placed a bouquet of flowers, and bent over as a contraction ripped through her body.
“The baby…the baby is coming” she shrieked.
Another Nosa was about to be born.