Do you possess the instincts to know when tragedy is about to, or has befallen you?
I think I do. Otherwise, what do you make of fog clogging my eyes the morning succeeding the night this incident happened.
I had slept without emptying my mind. So waking up a with throbbing ache in my head, and the inability to move around my bed was a huge sign.
Tragedies are part of life they say, but why does it have to break you down, every single time?
I was still staggering, trying to make a picture of what my room was like that morning when ASA’s song “Eyo” rang out and engulfed the room. It was a call from my phone that was miles away from the socket.
I caressed the ground like a blind man and crawled like a toddler straight to the phone’s position. The sun pelted its rays through my window but my whole body was not fully awake.
Grabbing my phone, I peered at the screen to see who the caller was. Victoria. I felt a tingling sensation run down my spine. She hadn’t called me that early ever before in her life. I heaved a sigh.
Slicing through the screen with my finger, I said hello. There was silence. A ponderous one.
“Hello,” I repeated, there was just a sigh, then a hanging up. Goosebumps spread on my body. The ache in my head multiplied ten folds.
Then I heard beeps, like three beeps. It was my Whatsapp notification. I clicked on it; something untypical of me.
The messages seemed like something that had been typed before and was just being pasted. I shrugged at the flood of chats my eyes beheld. 157.
I clicked on the first, Victoria’s. It wasn’t three messages as earlier thought but fifteen unread and unreplied messages. I read from the start, just the first four and my heart skipped several beats. I was shocked as to how I missed it. How I overlooked or ignored her messages.
She had been diagnosed with ruptured appendicitis. And had been attempting to reach me all the while cause she was in pain.
I left WhatsApp and dialed her number with frantic fingers. It rang and got picked at the second ring.
“Hello Vic, I’m so….” She shut me up with
“Have you finished the messages?”
“Finish it and adhere strictly to the content.”
The line dropped dead. The pain, the coldness in her voice could be felt in the room. I felt my skin turn on its own.
But how was I? How did I allow this behavior of not reading messages to get this bad? I sat and tried to evaluate the harm my negligence might have cost me.
Then her face floated before me. A friend of ten years, the only one that seemed to understand me even when I couldn’t understand myself. The one that attracted jealousy from mates at school. My goldmine. The one with ebony skin that shimmered like bronze, whose dreadlocks gave me joy.
I shrugged and slapped my head making a mental note of how fragile her slim frame would look on the hospital bed. The pains and agony of trying to get through to her closest friend even just for his intelligent banters. How betrayed and embittered she must feel.
I checked Whatsapp again. To finish her messages. I read with guilt, disappointment, and soberness. I even wiped an unshed tear from the corners of my eyes. Then the last part that shocked my bone marrow.
“Happy birthday. Happy birthday. Happy birthday. …. Happy new year! Happy new year!! Happy new year!!!…, These wishes are for the next three years Toochukwu. Don’t! I repeat, Don’t call nor text me again.” It read.
Hell knows no fury like a woman’s wrath, right? That was my first experience.
She hadn’t called my full name in seven years. She had always had nicknames like Too-m, Tobeto, Princey, etc. I took another look at the dates of the messages. The first was dated ten days back. Her surgery must have been successful but she had wanted to see me in person.
I let the day pass hoping that the sun would’ve gone down on her anger, and like she’d always tell me that she’d come around.
It’s been four months now. I have gone to her place thrice, sent numerous messages, and made thousands of calls yet no acknowledgment, no face. No nothing. Nada!
I think I lost a close friend to pure negligence.
PS; Are you like me? Jettison the behavior and let’s cry together.
© Stephen Toochi