Elizabeth Mentia’s* house was beautiful. A wide arced driveway drew past a landscaped tropical garden, and was made musical by a company of birds, frogs and cicadas. The ragged dogs that ambled loosely on the lawn looked like trespassers on the everywhere polished grounds. A security guard sprawled languorously in a cramped booth, legs jutting out, head propped up by a fist. The ambulance was parked near the entrance to the house. Elizabeth was the daughter of a well known businessman, part of an old monied family and it would seem, was also a close friend to Wayne. It was 7am and I’d arrived to meet with him. This was not where I expected to find a man of the people. He’d stay at this house on the weekdays, saving himself the long trips to and from the capital. Here a nurse could stay through the night. Back at his family’s house, Wayne’s sister had lost sleep worrying over him.
“You don’t know what goes on at home, its hard on us,” she’d said, “he stayed with me and I kept checking, checking. Even though the ambulance is there I worry, what if he stops breathing? All night. No sleep.”
Elizabeth was a manicured bohemian, even the African cloth wrapped as a skirt and the scarf used to draw her blonde hair up on her head, looked freshly pressed and starched by someone else.
“Who are you again?” She asked me in a nervous rush.
“Here to see Dr. Kublalsingh,” I reminded her.
“Oh, right, right- well, not too long though, he’s not well at all- and we have an interview with Reuters coming right now- I don’t even know where they would want to do it- and we have a wonderful photographer with us today too, very talented, Miguel Galfore- you’ve heard of him?- well you should meet him- definitely.” She’d expelled all of that in one breath and then was gone.
She left me to wait in the foyer with the EMT and the day-nurse who were about to start their shift. They’d been on this detail more than a week now. The EMT had become something of a stunt driver, taking evasive measures to lose the unmarked police cars that tailed them. At night, the nurse could hear the helicopter circling the neighborhood looking for the ambulance in the yards.
“He have about four fastin’ days in him still. He good,” the young EMT said.
“An’ if he was your father, how you would feel?” the nurse asked, sucking her teeth.
“I wouldn’ta worry - I know my father goin’ and eat just now. My father not goin’ and commit suicide like that,” he smiled at his own joke as the nurse rolled her eyes,
“What’s more important? Keepin’ him alive or his rights?”
The EMT found something more interesting on his phone and the room went quiet again.
*Name changed for confidentiality.