It was past 3 AM and Ehis had barely slept. The anticipation of starting a new job had made him too wired and anxious to sleep. He’d been to the ward the previous night to familiarize himself with his soon-to-be patients, reading up on their cases and the unit’s line of management. He was eager to please and intended to show himself as efficient right from his first day at work.

He eventually dosed off for what seemed like a few minutes, only to open his eyes and realize to his horror that it was already dawn. He checked his phone and saw that his alarm that should have been set for 6 AM was set for 6 PM instead. And since David – his former school mate and senior colleague who was housing him temporarily – had travelled on leave, there’d been no one to wake him.

This began the disaster that his morning turned into. He’d raced through his morning routines and work duties, and was now standing in front of Dr. Adeoye, the Senior Resident in his unit, feeling stricken as his lateness had made him unable to provide the patient information that the doctor had asked for.

“All you young doctors these days are a lazy crop!” Dr. Adeoye shouted, his diatribe encompassing Ehis and the two other older interns in the unit, Yvonne and Maxwell. And then he directed his beady glare at Ehis again as he spat, “You don’t even know your patients!”

Ehis was about to explain how this particular patient must have been brought in to the ward in the early hours of the day, seeing as he hadn’t seen her in the ward the previous night, when Adeoye barreled on, shouting even more angrily, “And don’t you dare give me the crap about how this is your first day so you don’t know the patients. Even after coming to check last night, you should have come in early today to do another check before this round. I always expect too much from you bloody interns. You are obviously no use to me on this round. I’d rather not behold you, your incompetence and your ineptitude. Please get out of my round. This not med school. It’s a paid job, you idiot. Lives are in your damn hands! In my opinion, you weren’t at this round today and as punishment, you will be on call at the Emergency this weekend. Now, go and wait in the clinic!”

Ehis felt his face burn with humiliation as he walked out of the ward, acutely aware of the collective stares of the patients, nurses and other doctors on him. He could not believe he had gotten this reaming on his first day on the job and felt a slow burn of resentment directed at the older doctor for reacting so excessively to something he felt was totally forgivable.

The day did not get any better as it progressed, as Ehis kept on suffering from a frequent onslaught of Dr. Adeoye’s hostility every time he encountered the man. It got to a point where he couldn’t wait for the day to end; a markedly different attitude from the one he had on yesterday when all he wanted to do was be a doctor and do the work.

As soon as he was done for the day, he returned to David’s apartment, freshened up and went out again to a nearby bar. He just needed alcohol to soak out the stress of the day and enough loud music to distract him from how shitty he felt. He was immensely grateful that the following day was going to be a public holiday. So, he could get hammered and not worry about going to work the next morning.

Leaving Ekpoma, where he grew up and schooled all his life, to come to Lagos felt like a chance at a fresh start. Saying his goodbyes was easy. His relationship with his family was somewhat strained, seeing as they’d never really understood him; he’d acquired a reputation as something of the stubborn black sheep of the family. He had known about and come to accept his sexuality at an early age. However, at 25, he still did not have any boyfriend or any romantic attachment. His sex life was basically hookups and flings with acquaintances he met on Grindr.

So, when the opportunity called from Lagos, he was more than happy to leave. The thought of becoming financially independent and free, together with the possibility of meeting someone new and falling in love, had filled him with so much excitement. Sadly, all that excitement had waned now in the light of how much of a bad day he’d had.

Ehis was one of the few people sitting in the section of the bar that had the loud music playing. Most of the other customers were in the other section of the bar with the large flat screen televisions, watching a UEFA Champions League football match. He was thankful for the relative privacy this afforded him and he proceeded to take another sip of his cold beer.

 “You are the new intern in the trauma unit, right?”

Ehis, glass in hand, turned to see who was asking and noticed a fine man with an athletic build, broad shoulders and charming smile. He didn’t know if it was the effect of the alcohol or if it was really all just the man, but he found himself incapable of responding and just sat there, staring up at him.


A hand waved in front of his face, a comic attempt to get his attention.

It worked.

“Uh, yes… Yes, I am,” Ehis answered, suddenly remembering how to use his voice. His expression became puzzled as he asked, “Erm, how did you know?”

The man was getting seated opposite him as he said, “I’m Dr. Xavier Udeme. I work at LASUTH too. I was in the ward this morning when Dr. Adeoye was scolding you.”

Ehis had suspected that word of his humiliation in the hands of Dr. Adeoye must have gotten around the trauma unit. But for the incident to follow him all the way to a bar that was a 50-naira keke ride from the hospital was just annoying.

He had started to frown when Xavier added, “I was pretty displeased with the way he lashed out at you. It was wrong and unprofessional. No one deserves to be publicly humiliated by a colleague that way. I have never liked the idea of talking down at subordinates in such a cruel manner, let alone doing it publicly. I have experienced my fair share of abuse from senior colleagues and I know how depressing it must have been for you. It almost seems like it’s a part of our profession, especially in this part of the world. I’m sorry you had to experience that this morning though.”

Ehis instantly felt warm with appreciation for the other man’s empathy. He felt like a bond had formed between him and Xavier; a bond of shared experiences of oppression.

“What unit are you in?” he asked, dropping his glass on the table.

“Oh, I’m in Burns and Plastics. This is my fourth year in residency training and I just passed my West African Part 2 exams,” Xavier said.

“Wow. I’m having a drink with an SR. It’s such an honor, Chief. Forgive my manners,” Ehis said, realizing he hadn’t introduced himself. “I’m Ehis Ufuah. I just graduated Med School from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma.”

“Ehis Ufuah,” Xavier repeated, as if trying to determine how the name tasted. “I had a classmate in secondary school named Ehis. However, I haven’t heard the name Ufuah before. What does it mean?”

“It means white,” Ehis answered, starting to smile.

“Nice,” Xavier replied with a smile of his own. “So, first day on the job and you are sitting alone in a bar and drinking. Favorite pastime or bad day?” Xavier poured the last of his beer into his glass.

“Bad day,” Ehis replied. “I didn’t seem to get along with my SR. It was one issue after another. I even got extra weekend call. Men, it was an annoying day. Then, I’m new in Lagos. I have just one friend here. He’s also an intern here at LASUTH. I’m staying at his place temporarily until I sort out my accommodation. He is on leave though, hence my sitting alone. I just wanted some alcohol to relieve the stress of the day.”

Ehis realised he was talking too much, but there was something about this man’s warmth that made him want to unburden himself somewhat, where his earlier intent was to brood alone.

“Eiyaa, sorry,” Xavier commiserated. “I kinda had a bad day myself. But what can we do?” He shrugged. “Tomorrow is a public holiday. Are you on call?”

“No, Chief, I’m not. Thank God.”

“Good.” Xavier flashed a brilliant smile. “I’m not on call tomorrow either. So, we can drink as much as we like. Although…” He paused to give Ehis an appraising look, his eyebrows raised. “You don’t look like you can keep up with me though.”

Ehis chortled. “Oh, don’t test me, Chief. I know how to hold my liquor o.”

We’ll just have to see about that, won’t we?” Xavier challenged with a grin as he turned to gesture for the waiter.

Written by Bryan Peter

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  1. Mandy
    July 17, 06:52 Reply

    The gay Nigerian version of Grey’s Anatomy, yes? 😀
    I already see Meredith (Ehis) and Derek (Xavier). I like!

    • Omiete
      July 17, 15:52 Reply

      I know right!!!! I had those vibes too.

  2. Maycakes
    July 17, 07:48 Reply

    After d stress aau has given u one doctor jst shouting at u Nawa o

  3. Mitch
    July 17, 09:30 Reply

    And after the alcohol, they tumble into bed together and have steamy sex. After that, Xavier realises what he’s done and flees from Ehis.

    The plot thickens….

    • Pink Panther
      July 17, 10:54 Reply

      LMAO. What are you, writing the series in the comments section now?

  4. Tristan
    July 17, 13:57 Reply

    Wait o, hope that’s not the end cos I didn’t see “To be Continued.” The sweetness in their conversation was divine. Very engaging read Bryan.

  5. Bussy
    July 17, 18:21 Reply

    Nigerian version of greys anatomy ☺☺☺
    pls i need a doctor to date too oooooooooo???

  6. Bussy
    July 17, 18:47 Reply

    Awwwwwn naija gay version of Greys anatomy ☺☺☺☺
    Next episode pleasssssssssssssssse ?

  7. Temi
    July 23, 03:35 Reply

    Haha embarrassment on the first day at work…. ??
    The medical “Chief” is looking for something more than sitting above a table in the bar and sharing experiences.

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