>>The night before it happened was a rough and stormy one, gust of wind came tearing down, alternated with long intervals of a calm that seemed to be false and if it pours again, it would be yet another illustrations of the fundamental selfishness of this free gift of nature. My disdain for it however still hasn't come to a halt.My predictions would soon come to pass,goose bumps, anxiety, whatever feeling you get when you feel the worst is about to happen. The most dreaded call will come in anytime and I'll be told a dear friend has DEPARTED.
>>My name is Azubike Joseph. If you were at the teaching hospital that fateful day, you would hear of a young man who has recently passed away. If you happen to be at the emergency ward when the incident happened, you would see this young man's sister clutching right to his bed begging him to wake up, calling on everyone who cared to listen that her dear brother has left her. If you look closely to the left side of the building, you would see the pitiful face of his father, shaking his head bitterly wondering why death had chosen to pay such an unexpected visit to his family. A little further to the left, was his brother pacing about, hitting his head on the pole that also served as a resting point to him when he got tired of pacing and muttering the words 'damn' 'bullshit '. Continously. And then, the middle aged woman, she was no where in particular, she was lost, she was ruffled, one minute she's busting out, the next inscrutable,she had this look, yes! that look that will make you wonder if the atmosphere seemed numinous to her. She was acting spiritual now. She was working with both fingers in a manner that looked like she wanted to use them to part the ground, she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her, if it was possible and then she would probably turn off her emotions and slough off her heart,but she was no slouch at concealing, she was an expressive woman, always have been. At this point you would see people holding her back, trying to stop her from carrying out whatever plan she had conjured within that time, you would see her weeping and wailing, crying like never before, and then you would agree with yourself that she needs to introduction, she was his mother, his sweet loving, caring and struggling mother. If you were such a nosy busy body, you would probably meet with one of the nurses on duty and get the full story of what killed him. And if you still feel unsatisfied, you want to know more about this young man, you would plan to attend his funeral, ask his friends and family, find out what kind of person he was and how he had lived.
>> I read somewhere that Disappearances can happen in science.Diseases can suddenly fade away, tumors go missing, and they open someone up to discover the cancer is gone. It's unexplained. It’s rare, but it happens. They call it mis-diagnosis. Say they never saw it in the first place, any explanation but the truth. That life is full of vanishing acts. If something that they didn’t know we had disappears... Did they miss it? Maybe they didn't but human beings needs lots of things to feel alive, love, sex family but we only need one thing to actually live, we need a beating heart, and when the heart is threatened like mine was, we respond in one of two ways, we either run or we attack. Fight or flight. I wished I had fought harder, but then there wouldn't be a story to tell.
Imo state University, It's resumption day, and this feeling of superiority has set it, I'm just a year away from final year. We have moved away from our former hostel to a new one in ikenegbu town. well to the be honest we were actually kicked out by the caretaker. Kelvin had just graduated so it was going to be kelly and I, whenever I think of the good times we had shared, it reminded me of what true friendship really means. Ours wasn't the typical guys living together kind of life. There was better coordination and arrangement thanks to kelvin, daily prayers and divided chores, above all;lots of misunderstanding. I am quite a stingy person, and calculative, especially when I think I'm being cheated. I remember that one time I fought kelly over a sachet of water, he drank the last water I was saving for dinner after we all acted like we were all broke and no one wanted to buy water hell let loose that night I can't vividly remember the details but it ended with me telling him what a desperate fellow he was and him reminding me of my grammatical miscarriage whenever I open my mouth to conjugate a verb. Actually when I look at it from here I really did sound awful and horrible with my blunders. There was this one time I was rushing to meet my coursemate Ikenna who was waiting for me at the hostel. I got there only for me to hear that he had already left and I responded in anger "how can he left?" kelly really tortured me for weeks because of that. Kelly has a loud mouth, very sassy for my liking, yes we was my senior in school but he was around the same age with Emeka my kid brother, so I deserved to be respected. As for kelvin, that one lies alot he can never tell you his real age. Well those memories will be Cherished forever. >>My roommates were my second family. Even though kelvin had graduated he still came around when we moved to ikenegbu.and at 300l I started making plans about my future and what it holds for me. But my own end has started. But Who actually gets to be the one to say when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it’s not a new year. It’s an event, big or small, something that changes us. Ideally, that gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, a way of letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it's also important to remember that, amid all the crap, there are a few things worth holding on to. These are some of the things I held on to when I got the news that the stubborn penuemonia was back again. I have been treating it for as long as I can remember, it always starts with a cough.Dr Umeh would always caution about the dangers of ice water, and it didn't help matters when kelvin got that second hand fridge from his village, (even though he lied he bought it). Any chance to boast that you own majority of the furniture In the house. (Kelvin Well done) . Cold water is something I cannot resist. My love for it is stronger than most relationships I know,and if I had to stop talking cold water then I might as well stop living,it's as good as dying Okay wait a minute!!, did I just say dying? hell no! , dying is so not an option, dying sucks, I don't want to die, I mean imagine what it would look like all those comments on my Facebook wall here and there with a thousand Rip's attached to it, and then people I don't even chat with comes to type a long dirge like they knew me from Adam, and then my roommates will probably cry for two minutes before they decide who gets to take my Goodluck Jonathan's senator gown and the designers shoe Mike sent from dubai. The treatment started as soon as I got back home for the long break and that's the thing I love about coming back home, I get to be in charge. No more fighting over watching Beyoncé's concert and premieres league with kelly or washing the bedsheets with kelvin. It was all me watching soccer and my all time favourite 'The originals' I loved it so much I had to change my Facebook name to Nicklaus. (it later turned out to be kelvin's best as well, after the infamous Olivia Pope). " Azu nwa m". " biko you have to take your drugs this time around, Ike ngari adihim". Stop taking cold things so this sickness can go once and for all innugo". That was my mother each time she sees me drinking my usual chilled spirite. But then even when I stopped taking virtually everything the doctor had advice me to stop taking, it didn't get any better. I grew thinner and thinner everyday I could barely look at myself in the mirror. Could penuemonia be this one hell of a wreck? But it wasn't penuemonia. There's been a misdiagnosis. Actually I had-...
"Hyper gini?" Azubike how come?. That was kelly on the phone. I had called to tell him I would stay back much longer than I had hoped because the doctor's said I had hepatitis and treatment needed to commence immediately since it appeared It's been there for a while. (I wonder whose fault it was didn't they say it was penuemonia?).
>>"Azu take all the time you need just treat yourself first don't bother about your exams if you are not back by then I'll arrange for someone to write your exams for you innugo?".oh sweet darling roommate thanks.The truth with any kind of wound or disease is to dig down and find the source of the injury - and once you’ve found it, try like hell to heal that sucker. Two months has passed and everything seemed fine. It's time to go back to school. Can't say I was excited but had exams to write and I haven't read anything, besides I won't get to watch originals again freely without having to fight with kelly over the TV. (one of my cousins would later lament on my funeral day that I should have stayed home for the semester and get well fully). My mum had prepared all kinds of meals for me, several white soups, since palm oil has become a forbidden territory for me amongst other things, but she made sure It didn't perturb me much by making sure it had enough stock fish, assorted and laps of chicken to last me for two weeks. Kelvin who took the liberty to welcome me back, met me at the pack and almost couldn't recognize me. First the fair and white boy had turned darker than kelly's toes and then the weight loss, I could pass for an AIDS patient. He hugged me with tears in his eyes. "Joe what is this?how did you end up looking this pale?". "my brother na sickness o". That was all I had to say. >> I had so much catching up to do.I kept wondering how I was gonna cope adjusting to lectures and ETF wahala. Precious became my help mate. She would see to it that my assignments were done on time and submitted. Everything went fine, the semester ended, I went back home continued my normal 'no oil' routine. I had every reason to thank God. Second semester of third year started two weeks later and we were back. Life continued until my worse fears started growing again, at first it started off as malaria. Kelly bought drugs for me, which I can't tell if I took them or not. And then the constant fatigue and sour mouth. I knew something was not right in my system.
>> "Azubike please don't say that, doctors are trained to look for disease. Sometimes the problem is easily detected, most of the time they need to go step by step. First, probing the surface, looking for any sign of trouble. Most of the time, they can't tell what's wrong with somebody by just looking at them. After all, we can look perfectly fine on the outside, while their insides tell a whole other story just be positive and stop telling me this scary stories about you not going to make it nothing will happen to you pray against it God is on your side" My 'malaria' had gotten worse now, and I had complained to kelly that the hepatitis might have gotten to B stage and I would not make it alive.He called kelvin and told him the current situation of things and that I was going home for treatment again that evening. Since he was out of town, kelvin insisted I wait till tomorrow, he rushed in the next day to see me. His presence spiced things a little and we all had fun and talked about the funny things that has happened to us over the past year, about kelly's plan after graduation and kelvin States of choice for the youth service call as we drove off to ITC Park.. "get well soon and come back biko I need someone to pour me water and egusi soup when I graduate". Oh Kelly! I sincerely wish I could. They gave me a heart felt hug and a kiss and left.
>> A patient's history is as important as their symptoms. It's what helps doctors decide if that heart burn is a heart attack.If a headache is a tumor. Sometimes patients will try to re-write their own histories. They'll claim they don't smoke, or forget to mention certain drugs,which in surgery can be the kiss of death, we can ignore it all we want but our history always comes back to haunt us. As weak as I was I could still hear Dr Umeh whispering to my mum. "You need to prepare yourself, madam. At this stage only a miracle can save your son." He said that my face and eyes had turned yellow and my lungs same. And my kidney was failing too. It would be too difficult a task to get a donor all at once for any replacement, if at all there was still hope.
> > My mum doesn't believe in miracles. I wish I could have seen her face when the doctor said that. I slept off.
> > The next day I lay awake still thinking. A part of me felt like I was being dragged to another realm. I could see what seemed like rays of light - sometimes void, sometimes a face I couldn't place; and I would fall asleep only to be awakened by my sister. "Azubike don't sleep o. Open your eyes." I could tell from the movement of her lips that she was praying silently for me. I felt weaker. It was as if the more they prayed the more I felt my heart was going cold. Everything inside felt cold; then I began to think of the after life.
> > I believe in heaven. I also believe in hell. I've never seen either but I believe they exist. They have to exist. Because without a heaven, without a hell, I don't know where we are headed. Heaven.Hell No one even knows where we're going. Or what's waiting for us when we get there. But the one thing we can say, with absolute certainty, is that there are moments that take us to another place. Moments that takes us to another place. Moments of heaven on earth. And maybe for now that's all I need to know. Instincts. It's Instincts again. I felt weaker and silently I said something. "Lord please forgive my sins accept my soul and take care of my mother. " Azu ogini who are you talking to? wake up please, nurse help his eyes are shut down Azu talk to me bikonu, Chimoo! Azu don't leave me. Doctor is he dead? ".
Like I said before, disappearance happen, pains go Phantom, blood stops running and people fade away. There's so much I want to tell you, so much more I have to say.I didn't get to decide if I would be an accountant or just start my own business. I didn't get a chance to buy that Mercedes Benz my mum fancied. I didn't get to enter final year or at least pour that egusi soup on kelly. So much I have to say but.. I disappeared...
*** The phone call came around 8:00pm the rain didn't fall as much as I expected, it was more like a drizzle. The wind didn't stop blowing and the whole atmosphere was filled with a thunderstorm, as cold as I was I still remained outside, it felt like I could use a breath of fresh air.
'hello' came my voice 'onyeka wats up'. 'kelvin na true say Azubike don die?'. I nearly fainted.
Moments later I joined kelly at the hostel he had cried his liver out that night and had pleaded I come spend the night with him. He was scared Azubike's spirit might be in the room Azubike wasn't outspoken, he probably was one of the most introverted fellow I know, he might mean nothing to the rest of the world but to us he was everything, he completed the circle; he was everything I never had the chance of becoming. 'The free spirited one'.
(In loving memory of Azubike Joseph ogbonna my beloved brother and roommate. Who passed on July 28 2016.Keep resting in peace) .