I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart Of A Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: Every Second Counts. COMMON SENSE MUST PREVAIL!
As Steve led Nigel and Wendell through the hospital chapel to the chapel library, where Hal and Martin were waiting, people were arriving for the prayer vigil. Pastor Allen Fitzgerald was greeting other disciples as they came in and explaining the situation. Steve thought is was remarkable how these people didn’t even know Zenobia, David Siegfried, Sam, Jake, or, the rest of them, but, they had still come to pray for them and for their family and friends, in unity with other Believers.
Steve introduced Nigel to Pastor Allen, as Zenobia’s brother, and Dr. Wendell Baptiste, as his friend. Pastor Allen greeted each of them with an embrace, showing his love and compassion for them. He gave them comforting words and offered the support of his congregation. Unable to lower their guard and receive, especially in a roomful of strangers, and harboring misgivings within their hearts, Nigel and Wendell stood rigidly and unresponsively.
When they entered the chapel library, Hal was seated at a table, with Martin standing nearby. Nigel asserted himself, first.
“Hello, Mr. Siegfried, I am Nigel Agumanu. You wanted to speak with me?”
“Hi, please call me, Hal.”
Hal rose to shake Nigel’s hand. Nigel reluctantly held out his hand, shaking Hal’s hand with a halfhearted gesture. Hal offered his hand to Wendell. With hesitation, Wendell shook Hal’s hand very briefly.
“Oh, this is my friend, Dr. Wendell Baptiste. He is an old friend of the family and knows Zenobia very well. He is a skilled and gifted surgeon, who intends to do everything he can to help my sister.”
Hal grabbed Wendell’s hand, again, shaking it vigorously.
“Thank you, Dr. Baptiste, Thank you. Can I get you gentlemen anything? Something to drink? Are you hungry?”
Again, Nigel took it upon himself to speak for both of them.
“No, Wendell and I must go back upstairs to speak with Dr. Acharya. Wendell will be assisting him in surgery. However…”
Nigel’s eyes scanned Martin from head to toe.
“…may we speak with you…in private…alone, for a moment?”
Hal nodded to Martin, who was reluctant to leave Hal alone with the two men, considering the circumstances and tension between them. The three men seated themselves at the table. Martin stood outside of the door, worried. Unbeknownst to any of them, the door was set to automatically lock, when shut. It could only be opened from the inside.
“W-we-we’ve been to see my sister a-and…she is in terrible condition. She is…unrecognizable. HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO HER?!”
Hal tried to answer.
“You’re SORRY?! You’re with another woman, whom you also got pregnant, ABANDONING MY SISTER…a-a-and you’re…you’re SORRY?! What kind of man ARE you? You just decided to play around with my sister like some rich playboy or gigolo?!”
“NO! It wasn’t like that…it wasn’t like that…listen…”
“No, YOU LISTEN! It’s easy to see that you take advantage of women!
“We…we thought…we thought that we were in love.”
Nigel scoffed, while Wendell hung his head down.
“Listen, please….please believe me…”
“Believe you when you’ve got two women pregnant and my sister is lying in a hospital bed HALF DEAD! You USED her! How do I know that YOU didn’t do this to get rid of her?!”
Angry, Hal stood up and pounded on the table.
“NO! I TOLD YOU IT WASN’T LIKE THAT! I’D NEVER HURT ZENOBIA AND MY BABY!”
Wendell popped out of his chair, flinging it back. As Hal leaned down yelling in Nigel’s face, Wendell grabbed him by the neck, squeezing as he lifted Hal’s feet off of the floor. Martin had been listening to the raised voices, but, when he heard the chair drop to the floor, he went into action. He twisted the door knob, and discovered that it was locked. He began yelling and pushing his shoulder into the door.
“OPEN THE DOOR! OPEN THE DOOR!”
The combination of Martin’s weight and brute force, finally made the door lock give way, and Martin busted through the doorway, pulling his gun out.
Shocked at his friend’s behavior, Nigel stood there with his jaw dropped. In all the years that they had known one another, he had never seen Wendell so violent. He yelled trying to get him to stop.
“WENDELL! WENDELL! LET GO OF HIM! LET GO OF HIM!”
Wendell tightened his grip and Martin cocked his gun. Sounds of wheezing could be heard coming from Hal, as he looked on the verge of passing out. In his mind, Hal believed he was going to die any second as he felt his esophagus being crushed.
Wendell loosened his grip on Hal’s neck, allowing desperate gasps to escape. For a second, Martin’s eyes were on Hal. A second was all Wendell needed to distract him. He dropped Hal and with a Martial Arts move, twisted Martin’s arm, disarming him. Holding Martin’s gun, aiming at Martin, then, Hal, he backed up to get a better advantage. Nigel continued to bellow out his plea for Wendell to take hold of his senses.
“WENDELL PUT THE GUN DOWN! MY GOD IN HEAVEN! WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO YOU, WENDELL?”
Wendell kept his eyes on Martin, but, replied sharply to Nigel.
“Calm down, Nigel!”
“P-P-Ple-ease, Wendell! I’ve never SEEN you like this, before! Where did you learn to fight like that? Did they teach you that in boarding school?!
Hal, still coughing and choking, pulled himself off of the floor holding his arm and hand out in a halting position, telling Martin to stop and stand down.
Cautiously, holding his arms out and hands up in peace, showing that he wished no harm, Nigel began slowly walking over towards Wendell. Wendell’s eyes were glazed, his face and jaws taught, and his body ready to do whatever he felt he had to do. Nervously and quietly, Nigel pleaded.
“Wendell…please…put…the…gun…down. I-I-If you…If you love my sister…don’t…don’t do this…she needs you now, Wendell. I-I-I need you n-now. Wendell, you’re a skilled surgeon. You took an oath to…to do no harm. People need you, my friend. Zenobia really needs you, now.
I know how much you love my sister, but, Zenobia wouldn’t want you to do this. You know she wouldn’t.”
At the mention of Zenobia’s name, again, Wendell flinched and seemed to soften. Then, tears welled up within his eyes. Hoarsely, filled with emotion, he cried out.
“IF SHE DIES, NIGEL…!”
“No, no, Wendell. She’s not going to die! No-no…That’s why you’re here. Now, let us…let us go help save her life. Don’t waste anymore time here, Wendell. Wendell, pleeease…It’s not worth it. Every second counts...common sense must prevail! Give the gun back to the man, Wendell.”
Wendell looked at Nigel angrily, then, pointing the gun downward, walked over to Martin and shoved it into his chest, sideways.
Nigel’s eyes got big, as he gasped. Hal motioned for Martin to stand down, but, it was too late. Martin’s pride took control. He had been caught off-guard before and he intended to redeem himself. He made a move on Wendell, which was a mistake.
Wendell flipped the gun around, grabbed Martin by the throat and pointed the gun at his head.
“Nigel, I TOLD you to STOP BOSSING ME AROUND!”
Nigel was frantic.
“Okay, okay, Wendell. I won’t boss you around anymore! You can be sure of that, from now on…just…just…put the gun down and leave the man alone!
“You’re BOSSING ME, NIGEL!”
Nigel covered his mouth and Wendell put the gun down upon the table.
Nigel looked at Hal, who was still struggling to breathe. Hal waved his hand for them to go and spoke in a raspy voice.
“Everything is okay…I understand…just GO!”
Nigel looked to Wendell to see what he would do. Wendell backed out of the room, as Nigel nervously followed him.
Outside, down the hall, in the chapel, people were kneeling and praying. Nigel and Wendell quietly walked through and exited the chapel. They took the elevator to the fifth floor. Inside of the elevator, Nigel tried to keep his mouth shut and avoid looking at Wendell. However, when they reached the fifth floor and the doors opened, Nigel looked at his childhood friend and exclaimed, “Brother, you need JESUS!”
Wendell, pressed the button to close the elevator doors, then turned and threw his arms around Nigel, sobbing.
“My p-parents…th-they…they died in an automobile accident, like this! And…and..They wouldn’t even let me see them. Nigel, I can’t lose Zenobia…not like this! I have no one. I can’t lose someone else I love!”
It had never occurred to Nigel that Wendell was associating having lost his parents in a car accident to Zenobia’s car accident and the possibility of losing her, also. Now, he was just as concerned for Wendell, as he was for Zenobia. His friend would die inside, if things did not turn out well.
“Wendell, you don’t have to do the surgery. It might be too much for you. I don’t want you blaming yourself, if things do not go well.”
“No, Nigel, I must do the surgery. I’m fine. Really, I am. I wouldn’t trust anyone else. I’m up to the job, Nigel. Please, trust me.”
“We should both put our trust in God, Wendell. I see that now. We should both put our trust in God.”