THE COLLEGE CHRONICLES (Episode 6)

THE COLLEGE CHRONICLES (Episode 6)

WRITER’S WORD: Okay, so far, I had put the homophobes in my lodge in their place. I had helped a friend recover from the scandal of his kito that happened in his lodge. And I had been kitoed by someone who I made to regret ever setting me up.

That has been my story so far. Apologies for my hiatus; I’ve had to deal with life and everything in it. But I am back now, and here’s a new episode for y’all.

*

You remember Duncan, right? The guy who used to date Uchechi, one of the first friends I made when I gained admission into school, before we went on to become occasional lovers.

Well, I hadn’t been in contact with him in a few days. When I realized this, I called him, but his number was unavailable. I tried his two other lines, and they were out of reach too. I called Uchechi to inquire about him and she too hadn’t been in contact with him, seeing as she’d been busy with her project. I checked his WhatsApp and Facebook statuses to see if he’d posted anything unusual, but there wasn’t anything there. I quashed the slight feeling of unease that started to life inside me and sent him a message on WhatsApp. It didn’t deliver, and eventually, I got distracted by life.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into two months, and I still hadn’t heard from Duncan. My messages to him weren’t getting delivered. I went to his quarters a couple of times and his apartment was locked.  I got really worried with each passing day, and I felt helpless and clueless as to how to fix this situation. I didn’t even know if there was anything to fix. Duncan had simply vanished from school and gone totally incommunicado.

Then came a night when I went to bed, unknowingly putting my phone on silent. Because of that, I didn’t hear my phone ring that night. I woke up the next day to five missed calls from Duncan’s number. Immediately feeling ecstatic, I called back. At the third ring, there was a receiver.

“My God, Duncan! Where have you been?” I said in a tone that mixed relief with exasperation.

“GT…” a female voice said hesitantly.

I stopped short. “Yes? This is he,” I replied, unsure what to make of this.

“Hello, I am Oma, Duncan’s sister.”

“Where’s Duncan?” I demanded. My confusion and sudden apprehension had caused me to forget any sense of propriety.

She responded, telling me that Duncan had been in the hospital for about two weeks.

My heart jumped as I immediately began to imagine the worst. I couldn’t handle one more second of not seeing him. I asked her what hospital he was in and she mentioned the name of a private one. I asked her to text me the address and then we disconnected. I swiftly got dressed, and because I was acting as rattled as I felt, my friend Nedu decided to accompany me to the hospital.

When we got there, I called Oma and she came out to get me. She looked older than Duncan, and I would eventually get to learn that she was in fact his older sister. She was as beautiful as Duncan was handsome; good genes must run in their family.

She took me to Duncan’s private room, and the person I saw on the bed was such a shadow of the young man I knew and loved, that I could not hold back the tears that came to my eyes. He looked wasted, very thin, with cracked lips, and dark circles had formed around his eyes which were closed in his repose.

According to Oma, he was a sufferer of a cardiovascular disease, something he had never mentioned to me. His condition appeared to take a turn for the worse, and he was being catered to and taking treatments at home for the better part of the past two months. However, when he worsened two weeks ago, that was when his family decided to have him admitted into the hospital. Oma said that his prognosis wasn’t looking good, and that his doctor had said his stability this far was a miracle.

To my unasked question about why she’d thought to call me, she said, “I saw your number in his phone when I was going through his chats.”

She said that with a certain kind of assuredness, as though she knew more about my friendship with Duncan than she was letting on. I wondered if what she knew was from her snooping through Duncan’s phone, if she’d seen that Duncan and I were more than just friends.

But if that was the case, I would still be a random stranger to her. And she wouldn’t simply call a random stranger who was her brother’s homosexual lover to come to his sick bedside.

The reason why I’d been called here wasn’t clear to me, but I didn’t focus on that. I was just happy to be here, at Duncan’s side, even if he didn’t know.

“I’m scared for him…” Oma was saying. She looked it. Misery was etched on her face from the two long months they’d had to deal with her brother’s slowly deteriorating condition, and she said haltingly, “What if… Oh god, what if…”

“He’ll survive this,” I cut in firmly. I was not going to entertain any other outcome other than the one where my friend would return to the handsome young man who was full of life and vitality.

It was eventually 5 PM and visiting hours were over. I said a short prayer for Duncan, and then we left the room. Oma walked with Nedu and me down the long hallway of the hospital. We walked in silence. I was starting to get scared. Moving away from my friend seemed to create room in my mind for torturous thoughts about his mortality.

When we got outside, Oma stopped me. Nedu intuited that she wanted to say something to me and moved some distance away from us.

Oma turned to me and said in a voice that was almost a whisper, “You must really love him.”

I looked into her eyes, unsure how to respond. I mean, I did love him, but I’d just met this woman and I didn’t know exactly what she was talking about.

Then she said, “He told me about you. He said you are his only lover.”

Two things happened to me when I heard this. First, it suddenly made sense why I was here, why Oma had called me. Oma knew, because Duncan had taken her into his confidence. Secondly, tears rushed to my eyes and threatened to fall. Duncan and I had never considered ourselves to be a couple; we’d never labeled what we were to each other. And yet, here his sister was, telling me that he’d thought of me as his lover.

The fact that I was learning this at a time like this made this moment all the more excruciating for me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry so bad. And I wanted my friend – and lover – back.

Oma and I resumed walking, and she offered to drop us off wherever we were headed. I was silent throughout the drive to my lodge. I still wasn’t over the shock of seeing Duncan in that state. That night, I prayed to God to save his life, and then I slept.

The next day, I returned to the hospital alone. Nedu had things to do in school, and besides, I didn’t want to make my issues his. When I got to the hospital, I met Oma and Duncan’s mother already there. I recognized the older woman; she was a political figure in the state, a one-time commissioner. Oma introduced me to her as Duncan’s friend, and she merely smiled and nodded in response. She was obviously not in an emotional state to accommodate the niceties required to make someone’s acquaintance.

“How is he today?” I asked Oma.

“No improvements,” she said with a sigh.

Several minutes later, a doctor came into the room to do some checkup. Just as he placed the stethoscope on Duncan’s chest, a groan came from the bed that surprised us. We crowded round the bed to see Duncan groaning and trying to move his body. He was awake.

Happiness abounded in the room. He opened his eyes and his mother was hugging him as gingerly as she could manage. The doctor and nurses were buzzing about him, checking his vitals and doing all sorts of other things that doctors and nurses do to patients who have suddenly regained consciousness.

Two hours later, Duncan was fully conscious and alert, even though he still needed to stay in bed. His mother eventually left after she received a phone call that probably had to do with some issue at her office.

Finally, I was left alone with the siblings.

“Your boyfriend has been worried sick about you,” Oma teased with a smile.

“Boyfriend?” I said, startled.

“Relax, she knows about us,” Duncan said with a smile.

“Oh, that much I already know,” I said to him, feeling a rush of pleasure at the sight of that smile.

“I’m just glad you have someone who you can count on to be there for you, bro,” Oma said to her brother.

“Yeah,” he said, while looking at me. “He’s pretty special.”

I felt a warm glow inside me, and I just wanted to hug him and kiss him something fierce.

Oma seemed to be thinking along the same lines, because she quipped, “You both should be kissing by now. Or should I excuse myself?” There was laughter in her voice, and it was very nice to hear.

My phone rang just then. It was my HOD. She wanted me to come see her in her office for a meeting. My HOD was one lady I could not say no to because she was nice to me. But before I left, I kissed Duncan with as much passion as I could imprint on his cracked lips. His mouth tasted sour from being inactive and unclean for days, but I didn’t mind. Then I gave Oma a hug and took my leave.

“Make sure you don’t stay too long,” Oma said before letting go of me.

I got to my HOD’s office. The meeting was already underway, with some lecturers and two other students in attendance. My HOD wanted me to be among the Department Committee planning her Inaugural Lecture. As the meeting progressed, she bestowed on me the duty of overseeing the welfare and general entertainment for that day. This wasn’t my first time to work with her; in fact, I doubled as her student PA. My close relationship with her was something that stoked the jealousy of some of the other students in my department. But then, who cares?

The meeting was wrapped up by 2 PM. Thereafter, my HOD asked me to deliver some papers to the Dean’s office for her. I did that. I forgot my phone in her office when I went on the errand, and when I returned, my phone was exactly where I left it on her table.

I’d also missed two calls from Oma. I immediately called back.

“Hey, Oma,” I began the moment she answered, “I just finished with my HOD. I’ll be there shortly.”

I could hear voices in the background and Oma was sobbing quietly.

“Is everything okay?” I asked as faint unease began to uncurl in the pit of my stomach.

After a few moments of just quietly sobbing, she finally gave me the answer that came like a punch to my gut.

“Duncan is gone,” she said in a cry.

I stood there, frozen in place. It was so impossible to believe what I’d just been told.

Duncan is gone.

NO! He couldn’t be! NO!

I cut the call and raced out of the office. I got on a bike straight to the hospital. As the wind whipped at my face on the speeding bike, I refused to let Oma’s words entry into my soul.

Duncan is gone.

NO!

Duncan is gone.

NO!

The scene I met at the hospital waiting room was of Oma and her mother crying, distraught from their loss. I tried to talk to Oma, and from the much she could say to me, I gathered that Duncan had taken a turn for the worse in the period that I was away. He didn’t get better. He simply got worse and worse, suffering sudden multiple heart attacks and then gave up before the doctors could figure out what to do. His body had already been taken to the mortuary.

I was shaken to my core. My knees were weak but I tried to stay standing. I felt grief begin slowly ravaging my insides as the reality of life without Duncan began to take shape in my mind. But tears wouldn’t come. It was as though my tear ducts had suddenly run dry as I watched Oma and her mother cry.

Then a loud mirthless laugh burst out from me. It was so unexpected and everyone in the waiting room turned to look at me. But I couldn’t control it. I just kept laughing and laughing, until I began choking. And then, a shift happened inside me, and the tears rushed to my eyes and began to flow down my face. I cried and I cried, my sorrow pouring forth from the emptiness in my heart that was caused by the realization that Duncan was gone, and gone forever.

But was he truly gone?

TO BE CONTINUED

Written by GT

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  1. Mitch
    August 20, 07:32 Reply

    I’ve heard about things like this: a very sick person making a turn for the better, then dying within hours. It’s something I’ve never been fully able to understand. Sorry for your loss, nnaa.

    PS: It is only because you lost Duncan that I’m not threatening your destiny right now, GT. Behtiiiii, if you disappear on us again, best believe I’m coming to find you with several canes.

    • GT
      August 20, 07:54 Reply

      Mitch…. I am sorry.
      I had to fight some demons.

  2. Hausdorff Space El
    August 20, 07:37 Reply

    I don’t think I have read any story here that made me cry like this. It felt as if I was connected to Duncan.

  3. Zoar
    August 20, 07:56 Reply

    Maybe if you hadn’t left his sight for a second. Maybe be would have still had a reason to fight to remain alive. I’m thinking the fact that he woke up and saw you revitalized him and you leaving the hospital made him loose it. This is just me thinking though and please don’t misunderstand my statement to mean that I’m blaming you for his death (that’s if he’s truly dead as it seems there might be hope from the continuing story which I pray ? to be so).

    I lost a tear reading this seriously.

    How are you even going to cope with his absence GT? I pray the continuing story comes with a ray of sunshine ?.

    • Pink Panther
      August 20, 07:59 Reply

      Damn. Zoar, that beginning to your comment was really somehow. Even though you tried to walk it back, you still had to lay some sort of guilt on a guy who lost his friend? Come on, man.

    • trystham
      August 20, 08:45 Reply

      Wouldn’t have made much of a difference. If anything, Duncan would have been relieved he didn’t have to bottle anything in any more and look forward to recovery. It was just the final wakeful moments to settle things.

  4. Pie
    August 20, 08:01 Reply

    You weren’t supposed to leave his side noooow. Fckk the lecturer and her meeting, for in that moment, nothing else would have mattered to me.

  5. Minxaspis
    August 20, 08:16 Reply

    Damn this hurts so hurt (crying) I’m scared

  6. Black Dynasty
    August 20, 10:08 Reply

    Sighs, i knew what would happen when you left to see the HOD before I read it.

    I’ve seen this happen thrice before, they wake up just in time to see you or suddenly seem fine after a serious illness for a few days and then they’re gone as suddenly as they came back.

    You got to say goodbye and express your love for each other, it won’t ease the pain of death but it would have felt much worse to not have had that moment.

    Some day, it would get easier…. the pain that is.

    So sorry for your loss.

    • GT
      August 20, 12:28 Reply

      Thanks brotherly

      • Ayo
        September 13, 04:17 Reply

        He must have really loved you, Am glad you got to see and talk before he died. Sorry about your loss man, how have you been coping?

  7. S.Freude
    August 20, 16:16 Reply

    He waited for you. He must have loved you deeply.

  8. S.Freude
    August 20, 16:17 Reply

    @Audrey, if you read this comment, kindly reach out. I have ask PP for an intro.

  9. Tristan
    August 20, 17:28 Reply

    Something similar to this happened to me few years back.

    My granny had stroke which affected her speech. A day before she died, she got sick and started speaking; singing her favourites song she hadn’t got to sing over her six years of stroke. We thought this as improvement only for her to push up the daisies.

    My very own mum was sick and was admitted in a hospital. While she showed some improvement, I dashed out to make her something to eat at home. While at this, I got a phone call that she just entered coma. But she let me be the only one in the room when she died. Everyone else was out.

  10. Lu
    August 20, 19:08 Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss, GT.
    I felt so much pain from reading about this that I can’t even imagine how it must be for you.

    I know it may not seem like it, but the grief will pass, some day soon, I hope.

    May his soul find rest.

    Sending love and light your way, GT!❣️

  11. Zonna
    August 20, 19:42 Reply

    This story made me sad. I am sorry you lost your friend and your lover. Be comforted that you had a beautiful thing while he was alive and his last day was spent with you in love.

  12. bamidele
    August 20, 19:52 Reply

    The story went straight to my marrow. I can definitely relate with it; I posted my story here some time ago.
    This isn’t very easy, but you have to be strong. Please take heart. Always have it in mind that Duncan–from the world–beyond, will always wants you to remain strong, and not break down.
    May his soul rest in Power.

  13. GT
    August 21, 06:54 Reply

    Thanks fam for your words of comfort.
    I truly appreciate y’all.

  14. Hoyeh
    August 21, 10:48 Reply

    Hmmm! So sad. I’m sorry about your loss dear.

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