An Unwanted Miracle


unwanted miracle

After she heard the prognosis, Mirembe obsessed over death, kindling a comfortable friendship. Each day, life bled out of her and the sterile white room adorned with monitors, pumps, and tubes became her new home. The secret she had kept for twenty-five years bounced in her chest and flirted with her tongue like fireflies in flight.

Mirembe wanted to share her secret before her speech slurred and she no longer recognized the people who came and went, like the nurse who lifted her and turned her from side to side. Tattoos of hideous things peeked from underneath his short sleeve, but she was too tired to care. Another nurse scurried around the room, busy with everything but eye contact as if she was afraid of catching death.

One afternoon Mirembe looked at the nurse and opened her mouth. She searched her head for his name while her heart worked twice as hard to quiet her panic. He quizzed his brow when she clutched his arm with weak strength.

“Dementia,” she blurted.

He nodded, but she knew he did not understand. It was time. “Any day now,” the doctor had said.

That evening, Ntare took her hand, smoothing his thumb over her veins. His touch was gentle for one so big. Husband and only child hushed her when she coughed and tried to begin.

Mugisha said, “Easy mum. Easy.”

When Mirembe looked at her son, her resolve fled. Would she not break his heart? Was the secret not the reason success had eluded him, causing him to flit from thing to thing like one who had no centre? His parent’s money meant he could continue to search for himself ad infinitum. Yes, it was her duty to bring closure.

And Ntare, her partner, lover, companion, and friend, what would it do to him? Ntare who had never doubted his place in the world, carved on the globe with his sure hands. No, she had forgiven him for past indiscretions. She was not seeking revenge.

Mirembe had read that when people are dying, dying being a present continuous activity, they have a compulsion to tell all. She concluded that in death, absolution is final; secrets lie stripped of power. Secrets are useless in the place where the dead go. They only retain value on earth.

“Ntare, you know that I love you?”

He answered with his eyes, his thumb still caressing her veins.


“Easy mum, easy.”

Although Mirembe had acted this script out before, she could not find her voice. She flitted from topic to topic like fireflies in flight—morality, justice, forgiveness, impulses, wrong decisions, redemption. Dying conferred privileges. They let her hold the mic without betraying their impatience. When she could not arrive at her centre in spite of her rigmarole, she let the words escape in a whisper.

“Ntare, Mugisha is not your son. Mugisha, Ntare is not your father.”

What followed transpired quickly. Mirembe watched them, Ntare, Mugisha, and herself with detachment. Mugisha’s insistent, “Then who? Who mum?” brought her back. But her answer seemed to come from a distant place.

“Didn’t really know him . . . Germany. One evening . . .  long a . . .”

Frustration, anger, disbelief, and hate, bristled and circled the room like aeroplanes stacked in a holding pattern. However, dying put her in cruise control shielding her from all of them. Her eyelids began to close and she refused to fight.

Mirembe awoke with life creeping in her bones and looked around. “Am I in Heaven?”

The white wall, monitors, pumps, and tubes replied.

“It’s a miracle!” the doctor later proclaimed.

One by one, sometimes in twos, and other times in threes, doctors came to examine her. Once a large sea of white came. One peered over her charts, while the others took notes.

She tried to make the days go slowly by calling attention to pain in different parts of her body.

“Psychosomatic,” the doctor waved away her concerns as he surveyed another batch of test results.

The days kept racing. The nurse now wanted to hold her gaze, but Mirembe had forgotten her name and the nurse with tattooed arms had stopped coming. Maybe the novelty of her miracle wore off or they needed the room, one morning too soon, they shooed her warmly into the angry arms of Ntare and Mugisha.

Mirembe sat in the living room in the home they had built, kneading her fingers in her palm. Could one secret mixed into the foundation fracture concrete? Oh, death was so far away.

“Mum, I can’t believe you lied to me. You’re just a bloody hypocrite!”

“Where are you going?” Mirembe asked.

“I don’t know!” Mugisha brushed past Ntare to the front door and then out into the hot afternoon, leaving the door wide open.

“Ntare . . . Ntare, please go after him. Don’t let him go.”

Ntare did not move. “You should have left things the way they were.” His eyes were cold.

Then Ntare turned and was gone. He did not hear Mirembe say, “Wait.” He did not hear her say, “I love you.”

She picked up her phone.

“Dr Phil? Yes—yes, it’s me. Please tell me, I mean explain it to me again, why did I not die?”


©Timi Yeseibo 2015


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52 thoughts on “An Unwanted Miracle

      1. I had a friend who witnessed a horrendous crime and developed a tick and also stopped talking properly. One day, she revealed what she saw, and was miraculously cured. Secrets do have a way of weighing us down. I think Mirembe needed to confess to free her soul. Unfortunately it was the sort of news anyone would welcome. She freed her soul, got a bit of health back….but didn’t realise the price.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this! Haha! Calling the doctor and asking why she didn’t die!? I love the way you write, check out my blog too?


  2. This story was captivating to say the least! It’s funny because I know someone who will keep a secret till the end and we always joke that whatever she knows she will take it to the grave..LOL. Perhaps Mirembe should have considered that option because now it sounds like her life could be hell on earth. Thanks so much for sharing I really enjoy your writings.

    Be A Blessing!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… but the secret bounced in her chest and flirted with her tongue…
      Mirembe may indeed start asking, “Am I in Hell?”

      The person you know who will keep a secret to the end, I wonder if she is rare. Many people feel the need to tell or should I say unburden to another soul.

      Thank you for your kind words. They encourage me to keep writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Timi,

    What a twist! Your twists keep getting even livelier than the previous ones. I’ve probably said this before but yes, I stood up and clapped for you after reading this (not a mental applause, mind you). 😉

    The deathbed seems like the altar of confessional burnt offerings and bloody sacrifices, Lol.

    A very delightful read.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol@ the altar of confessional burnt offerings and bloody sacrifices XD
      We have a tendency to want to escape taking responsibility for our actions or inactions.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy the lively twists. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it really selfish for a dying person to “tell all” especially if ‘all’ is enough to tear apart the life of the living. Good thing there is a God lol or fate that held death back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Timi, the truth is that some secrets are like bad bloods in a toothache… dangerous to swallow, yet very indecent to spit out.

    ‘Ever wondered why Catholic priests cover the view in the confessional?? Methinks that the confessor is as affected as the penitent in the place of confession (your story confirms this).

    I Like the story; I don’t know exactly how you are able to narrate stories with so much nicety;
    but you are good, exceptionally good.


    1. I put myself in the protagonist’s shoes and I keep thinking, I would have confessed much earlier. But fear, fear of repercussion is powerful. Is ignorance bliss or not?

      Thanks Obinna. Your very kind words make writing stories worthwhile 🙂


    1. @ How often we struggle with what should be said and what needs to be left – unsaid, so true.
      I the twist too- I guess without the twist there’d be no story.
      Thanks Lani.


  6. Without discounting anything from the theme of the story…I find the delivery flawless!
    The taunting, the naked dare to guess its course tells how creative a writer you are…

    PS: when I saw “a short story” I braced up for a long read, but when I scrolled down I saw the length I was expecting a sequel…in the end, you pulled this off in the space and time you had. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have always believed that the state of our mind/psyche has a direct impact on the state of our bodies. With that in mind, I wonder if letting go of the toxic secret had anything to do with her miraculous healing?

    I could be way off kilter here, but…its just a thought. Timi, very well done as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow… captivating. Secrets, gosh! If only she had known that death was still far away. I enjoyed the story despite its lenght.


  9. Beautiful piece Timi. She wants to kill 2 beds with one stone ( be true to her loved ones whilst avoiding the consequence). Her death would have overshadowed the grieve caused by her wrong doing.

    She must have suffered for many years, with a heavy heart and her inability to tell. She simply didn’t want to break their hearts, lose their love and trust. Any mother would want to be a perfect role model to as well as protect their child.

    In the end it didn’t work for her ……. I am happy she didn’t die, but I also wish the family would see reason and come around


    1. I too like to think that she must have suffered for many years. Were her insides tied with the fear of being caught for twenty-five years? Indeed it would seem she wanted to kill two birds with one stone…

      I also wish Ntare and Mugisha would see reason and come around. I like to think that love is strong enough… and I’m in the mood for happy endings. 🙂

      Thank you Busola!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. oh good God!
    Poor Ntare, I wonder if he’s happy she survived or if like her, he wishes she died.
    Interestingly, stuff like this happen all the time. This life is a pot of burnt beans. Brilliant storytelling, Timi.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Perhaps, the real question is not “Why did I not die?” But, “Why did I not tell the truth earlier?”

    Reminds me of a line from Flanerry O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find

    “She would have been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

    She needed that miracle to finally become a good person and tell the truth. Now, she needs death to do her a favour. I reckon he owes her one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why didn’t she tell the truth earlier? Why do we lie? Why do we hold back what is true and convince ourselves that what others don’t know won’t kill them? Why?

      Maybe she isn’t the only one that needed the miracle. Perhaps they all did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great story. You put so much into in a short time. Love the twist. You write marvelously. the secret…..bounced in her chest……. flirted with her tongue like fireflies in flight. Fantastic descriptions.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh dear!!! I wasn’t expecting that.
    To be honest like Ntare said sometimes I wonder why people don’t leave things be. It almost seems selfish, especially when you do it expecting to die and leave your loved ones to deal with your secret.
    I’m glad she survived so she can see first hand the damage revealing her secret has done.

    I laughed out loud when she rang the doctor to find out again why she didn’t die 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s honesty and then there’s full disclosure …. and the reason why we want to tell …
      But maybe the egg needed to break and reveal its messy secret… maybe in time fractures may be mended, who knows?
      So, you’re happy she didn’t die? 🙂

      Here’s what I found hilarious:
      Mirembe awoke with life creeping in her bones and looked around. “Am I in Heaven?” XD

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve come to realize that death rarely finds the people who need him. Whenever he gets close, someone else catches his attention and he sends a miracle in his place. Little does he know that all they really want, is to be touched by him 😕


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