Here is the rest of that story about my friend Deodatus and me:
Monsignor Markus was leaving for Rome later that afternoon. He wanted to visit Fr. Deodatus at St. Joseph’s Hospital on his way to the airport. He wanted me to talk to Deodatus thereafter. He thought the two of us could talk African to African.
It happened that the night before, a little after midnight, Fr. Deodatus was discovered unconscious in the chapel – on the third floor; his room was on the second. Nobody knew, neither did Deodatus know how he got there.
Ironically, as Deodatus related to me later, Sr. Angelina discovered him. She was the nurse at the Center and the two of them never got along well at all. It would have been the kind of thing she enjoyed complaining about to Monsignor: the despicable behavior of a priest dead drunk and in his pajamas on the floor in the chapel – of all the places – and in the middle of the night.
She called Monsignor and paramedics. Deodatus had massive high blood pressure, his whole body swollen as if ready to burst like a ball. At the hospital they pumped out blood from his body – that was what he told me.
I could hear the gravity in Monsignor’s voice.
“This is the third time, and he is only fifty”.
“I thought it is the first time”. Indeed I had not heard of another episode.
“No. It is the third in the last two years. Once in Rome, then in Nairobi and this one. He is only fifty”, he repeated. “I don’t know what is worrying him. If I don’t say anything he will drink until he kills himself. If I tell Ricardo and the staff not to serve him alcohol he will go out and drink and kill himself”.
I thought about that for a second. We were already going outside anyway. That was why we met at ten. They did not serve wine at the cafeteria until noon – lunchtime. So we went to a small café on Jaffa Road and drank a few Maccabee cans and returned to Notre Dame for Cremisan Wine.
“I am German”, I woke up to Monsignor’s voice as my mind was drifting into thoughts of Deodatus and me and our recent escapades into the pubs on Jaffa Road and right across the Old City walls into the Christian Quarter.
“If I talk to him like a German, I am afraid of pushing him into desperation. Then he will drink even more and kill himself. Speak to him like a fellow African but I am very concerned”.
I rode with Monsignor Markus to St. Joseph’s Hospital and after he left on his way to Rome, my friend Deodatus and I had a conversation.