Miriam and Chioma returned to the palace. They found Esther in the backyard, muttering incoherent words.
“Esther, what’s wrong with you?” Chioma asked worriedly.
“It’s the Prince o,” Esther said.
Blood drained from Miriam’s face. “And what happened to the Prince?”
Esther sobbed. “He had an accident and the Queen has gone to the hospital to see him, but we don’t know if he is alive or not.”
“Oh no!” Chioma shouted. “Please, not now.”
Miriam looked up at the sky as her dream came to mind. Tears glittered in her eyes.
“Miriam!” Chioma and Esther shouted, trying to regain her attention.
“Please, which hospital is he?” Miriam asked.
“Best hospital,” Esther replied.
Miriam hurried toward the main gate. Chioma dashed after her.
“Miriam, are you sure you are supposed to go to the hospital? ” Chioma asked.
“Chi, I can’t let Mikey die because of me,” Miriam said, tears escaping her eyes. “I can’t watch him die. Chi, he is my life. He gave me a reason to stay till the very end, so I can’t afford to lose him now.”
Chioma touched her shoulder. “It’s okay. I understand. I am going to stand by you till the end.”
Together, they left for the hospital, where they saw Queen Jaja grieving. For the first time since the King’s death, the Queen showed the world her vulnerability. Two palace guards stood beside her. Tony paced the room, silently praying for the Prince’s life.
The Queen stared at Chioma and Miriam. “What are you doing here?”
“I called her, ” Tony lied.
“Why would you do that?” the Queen asked.
“I have something for her,” he said. He gaped at a door as it gave way, letting out a doctor.
“Doctor, how is he?” Queen Jaja and Tony asked simultaneously. Queen Jaja rose to her feet and advanced to the doctor.
The doctor shook his head sadly. “He is not good at all. His heart is completely damaged and the worst is he has not been taking any medication to prevent such from happening, and now we have less than forty eight hours to get a donor or we lose him.”
Queen Jaja wailed. “No! My son cannot die. No, he cannot die.”
“No, it won’t happen. He can’t die like that.” In tears, Miriam dashed out of the hospital. She stood by the wall, crying uncontrollably. “Please don’t die, I beg you. Don’t die. If you die, she has won, so please stay alive.”
“He loves you a lot and he risked it all for you,” a voice said.
Miriam turned around and found the man who’d been with the Queen; the same man who had lied to save her from the Queen’s wrath.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Tony,” he said. “And I don’t need to be told that you are Miriam.”
“You’re Mikey’s friend?” she asked.
“Yes, and also his doctor,” he replied.
Miriam wept harder. “I know it’s my fault he’s in this condition. He came back even when he knew of his condition. I just want him to be alright. I can’t watch him die.”
“It’s not your fault,” Tony said. “He made that decision by himself, and besides, he knew he didn’t have much time left, so he wanted to spend the little he had with you and his mum. Please stop blaming yourself.”
He handed a some nylon bag. “I think he went out to get this for you. He said I should tell you that he loves you, but he’s tired of fighting his deteriorating heart and it hurts too much. He’s sorry for not being able to keep his promise, but you should know that he never regretted coming and he will continue loving you even till death. Those were his last words before he fainted and I don’t know if he is ever going to wake up.”
Tony walked away, leaving Miriam crying. “Please don’t do this to me.”
Drying her eyes with her palms, she returned inside the building. Queen Jaja, her guards, Tony and Chioma stood outside Michael’s room. They all had tears in their eyes.
“Where is the doctor?” Miriam asked no one in particular.
“He is still inside,” Chioma replied. Once the words left her lips, the doctor stepped out of the room.
Miriam advanced to him. “Doctor, I’m donating my heart.” Everyone stared at her in shock.
“You will what?” Chioma asked, believing she hadn’t heard correctly.
“Are you sure about this?” the doctor asked.
“Miriam, you don’t have to do this,” Tony said.
“I’m sure about it,” Miriam said. “There’s nothing for me to lose. No one is going to miss me apart from him, but a lot of people will miss him if he dies, and I might end up dying too, so I’d rather have him stay alive than staying alive and losing him. He means the world to me and I love him so much that I can’t afford to lose him.”
“My dear, I really don’t know what to tell you,” the Queen said.
“Your highness, you don’t have to say anything,” Miriam said. “But please, don’t tell him until he is discharged. That’s all I ask of you.”
“You know you’re going to die, right?” the doctor asked. He needed to make sure Miriam knew the implication of her decision.
“Miriam you know what this means, right?” Chioma asked.
Miriam swallowed a lump in her throat. “Just give me today to stay with him, then tomorrow morning you can perform the surgery. I’m more than willing to give him my heart.”
A transitory silence fell upon everyone. It took a few moments for the doctor to break the silence. “If that’s your decision, then I will prepare the surgery room. First thing tomorrow morning, we will perform the surgery.”
The doctor walked away, leaving everyone with their thoughts.