What does it feel like to lose a colleague whom you have grown fond of without knowing? Now, what does it feel like to see that he went on the adventure that took his life because you asked him to and he just wanted to be around you?
It happened this morning.
The darkness in the tunnel was very thick.
“Ikenna! Ekene!”, I called to be sure I was still with them but no one answered. I called again but the response was dead silence. I could not help but welcome the thought that something was wrong. It was already late to turn back, we had walked far into the tunnel, and I wondered if the tunnel had no end.
In fear, I increased my speed. I could feel the scratch on my skin from the surface of the tunnel. I was determined to get out of it.
“Ikenna! Ekene!”, I screamed again, but the echoes of my voice responded.
I didn’t buy the idea of going on this adventure, it was Ikenna who brought the idea. He suggested checking out the tunnel behind the hotel during our off day. He said it would be a nice adventure, I kicked against it because I felt it was going to be childish but right now I can tell it is not childish, it was dreadful.
After what seemed like an hour, someone screamed. It sounded like Ikenna’s voice. The scream came with a sticky kind of liquid that splashed on my body and face, I could tell it was blood, I am not the type of person that loves to be in an enclosed environment for a long period, not to talk of a creepy one. I was already developing panic attacks. I increased my pace, crawling faster to get out of the tunnel, I confessed all my sins to God as I went into a covenant with him.
“If you save me oh Lord, I will never attempt this kind of foolishness again”.
I cursed Ikenna and I also cursed Ekene for agreeing to follow me, I thought of how his eyes blazed with excitement when he heard of the adventure. Ekene is the kind of colleague that will always be all over you forcing friendship even with the red flags big enough for him to notice. He was employed last month as a housekeeper, about 5.7ft tall, and very slim he could be blown away by the air from our Nexus standing fan. He often smiles, exposing his gap tooth and incomplete dimples. Sometimes he will try to make a joke, but it doesn’t ever end positively, nobody giggles let alone laugh anytime he cracked a joke. He just doesn’t know how to pull it.
But he is kind, he will always buy me popcorn anytime he wants to get his own. He loves to sit beside me and will smile at anything I say. Sometimes I try to find the joke in what I say but to no avail. He is just two years younger than my age, yet he will always wrap himself beside me like a little baby. Anytime we sleep, we sleep in the same corner. He has this habit of staring into people’s eyes when talking, I don’t know if he does it to everyone, but he loves to stare directly into my eyes anytime he talks to me with his deep baritone voice. He can never walk on the road independently without clinging to me as if he wants to enter inside me and experience rebirth. However, I started getting used to his company and that was why I asked him to join us. Now I cursed myself for dragging him into this.
As I moved forward, I felt a body lying lifeless on the way, I tried to feel the body, I held the hand and I felt the soft palm of Ekene. I could perceive his perfume and I felt the two pairs of bangles he always wore on his left hand. Tears rolled down my eyes. I tried so hard not to scream, but my fear increased. I dragged his body as I crawled faster toward the end of the tunnel that seemed so far away. I was shaking, my stomach rumbled in fear and a sudden feverish feeling came upon me like it was my day of Pentecost.
All of a sudden, someone tapped my back, and I almost melted away. I knew my time had come, I prayed to God to allow me to see Ekene over there, probably to apologize to him for bringing him to the valley of the shadow of death. The tap came again and again and soon it became harder and more persistent.
Then I opened my eyes to see Ikenna and Ekene in what seemed like a trance.
“This must be heaven”, I muttered.
“Oboy you no dey go the place again? Abi you wan make we go for night?”, Ikenna shouted.
His voice and the sweat that soaked my cloth got me fully awake.
I hugged Ekene in Excitement. I and Ekene are in Mummy Diamonds shop drinking coke and puff puff, while I type my story. I will spend the day and night at Ekene’s place, he said he needed company since he was going to be alone. Ikenna decided to go home since I refused to go and Ekene will never agree to go without me. I didn’t tell them my reason but like Martin Luther King, I had a dream and I’m not ready to become Joseph whose dreams become reality.