A Brief History of Mr. George – {8} Final Episode.

For Oreoluwa Ishola, because I’ve been thinking about you lately.

“Death exists, not as the opposite, but as a part of life.” -Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood.

It is morning. I am walking down the corridor with Jerry and Stephen. Stephen is holding my right hand. He has been holding me like this for days. The walls are white: white and eerie. Scary, even. It is as though there are black demons behind these walls and as we approach our destination, they will compress the walls and choke life out of us. Stephen catches my eyes and I manage a weak smile: I have forgotten what it means to be happy.

We get to our destination, 135 A and I hold the door knob. Memories of the first time I came here swim in my head. It was a nurse who had led me here that time. Now, I am being led by two scared friends who think I might kill myself. I close my eyes, force back the tears and open the door. Within, Shola is waiting for us, in her wheelchair. Today is Sunday.

Time is useless. Time does not care what happens, it keeps going. And we know this and say it repeatedly: Time is going!

So many things have happened since Peter threw himself from the top of the Amphitheater. We read for exams. We wrote the exams. We slept and woke up but nothing took away the reality of that morning.

That particular morning, I prayed that he would not die. I prayed in that one second that took him to land on the floor. I have heard stories of people who jump from crazy heights in China and don’t die and they attribute it to some god or something. So I knew it could happen.  I prayed and prayed but nothing happened. Like an egg, Peter fell and smashed his head. Blood spalshed all over the place. He fell face down and when I looked at him, I screamed. It was as though his skull had crashed and his brain had been exposed. I could see white foam coming out of his face. His head was now somehow flat. It was later that I realized that it was because  his face had hit the ground before any other part of his body.

I screamed because it did not make sense to me. Some minutes ago I thought I understood what was happening. I knew Peter was from a crazy family that cared for nothing but a high CGPA. I knew Peter himself was trying to achieve this, for them. I knew also that the HOD had destroyed this hope by dismissing him from the class and his father had promised to disown him if he didn’t get back into the class. I understood all these but what I did not understand was why he would die. Why would a man kill himself for this? It was unexplainable.

His parents came later in the day and mourned. His father, whom I thought was some sort of dragon showed that he was more of a dodo. He cried and screamed and turned the whole health centre into something else. He cried that he was just threatening. He cried that he did not mean to disown Peter. He cried that way because now, he had discovered that a dull son was better than a dead son.

Two days after Peter killed himself, the school declared a lecture free day dedicated to his death and a meeting of all lecturers in the university. It was on this day that Jerry called. He had not called since we left Peter’s body in the health centre. I picked it and cleared my throat.

What‘s up, man?

The HOD’s wife just called. Old man is going crazy. She wants us to come over. I told her we are not.

(Turns out while his colleagues were discussing how what happened to Peter would never happen again, the HOD was somewhere drowning himself in bottles of depression.)

Let’s go see him, Jerry. I say.

For real, George? This man ruined everything we ever had.

Let’s go, Jerry, please. For me.
So we went. We got to the house and knocked and his wife opened the door for us. She was a beautiful woman, thin with abundant features. But I did not pay attention to any of that.

“He’s has been like this since he heard the news,” she said and led us to the Old man’s study. It was a dirty room filled with books. The walls were covered by bookshelves that reached the ceiling and there were still books on the floor. There, in the midst of knowledge, sat our emeritus professor, downing bottles of alcohol. When I saw him, fury and indignation flowed in my veins and I wanted to breathe dragonic fire on him. But his wife was pleading.

“I thought you guys might be able to say some words to him. He’s been regretting what he did to Peter and believes it was murder not suicide, and that he was the murderer.

I did not know what to do. I had not learnt the art of forgiveness and forgetfulness from my pastor. So I shook my head for him and called Stephen on the phone. He was a medical student, he should be able to do something. Stephen came like fifteen minutes later and he talked life into the man while Jerry and I waited in the sitting room.

Eventually, the HOD came out, wore a shirt to cover his stupidly hairy potbelly and made for the car. Stephen quickly stopped him and suggested that we walk instead. Jerry said there was no need and drove the car. We were all silent throughout the journey and when we got to school, the old man climbed up the stairs of the Senate building in his rough shirt and jeans and rubber slippers. Jerry returned to his room and Stephen led me to mine.

Later that night, the HOD’s wife would call and talk with me for more than thirty minutes, about the professor. She would tell me how he wanted to be a lawyer but could not because the school thought he wasn’t brilliant enough. How he had to study History instead and how he vowed that he was going to put a shame to knowledge by getting all the possible degrees in this world. “He lived a lifw of revenge,” she said. And then she was silent on the phone and I used that silence to think, to connect the dots, to realize why what he did to Peter had happened that way. Then I cut the call without saying goodbye.

I have not left my room since then except to write exams, until today. Stephen would not let me. He was also watching, always telling Jerry everything I was doing. And now, as we all stand before what Shola has become, he is still holding my hand.

“Hey!” She says with a smile. “Come on, guys! Someone give me a hand here,” she says when we just stand there looking. I go to her, kneel down and give her a warm kiss. And then push the wheelchair gently out of the room. I take the lead and Stephen and Jerry follow.

Outside, her parents are waiting. They have gone to see her before we came. Her mother hugs me and makes me promise for the umpteenth time that I will visit once I get home. Her father hugs the three of us and give us money but we do not accept. We just love your daughter, sir.

Slowly and gently, I carry Shola from the wheelchair onto the backseat of the car and collapse the chair. Then everyone takes position. Father sits in the driver’s seat and mother sits beside him. We are waiting outside.

For some few minutes we all wait like this and it seemed to me like hours. So I reflected. I thought about how all these had started. How on a normal day, I had been called by a classmate that I had been accepted into the HOD’s class. How I had seen Shola there too. How I had fallen in love with her legs. How we were to meet that night. How things went crazy and she was shot. How a bullet was lodged in her spine and how the therapy I had so believed in did not work. How Peter had completed the whole thing by taking his own life. How I had written exams in despair and had for the first time in my life, had two C’s and how the HOD’s 80 A which he gave all of us had made up for it. How now, we are standing here, saying goodbye to Shola.

Her father honked and then drove away. We kept on waving until there was nothing to wave at again. Then the three of us returned to school in silence. When we got to the front of SUB, we faced reality.

“Where are you going now?” Stephen asked no one but Jerry answered.

“To my grandmother’s. I want to spend this time with her silence.”

Stephen nodded.

“You?” Jerry asked Stephen.

“Well, I’m a medical student. We’re still in session.”

And then they turned to me and without a second thought, I said, “Home.” I had not been home since January.

We dispersed there. Jerry went to his hostel. Stephen took  a bike to the College of Health Sciences because he had a class that morning. Then I returned to the room.

When I got there, I called my dad twice but he did not pick up so I settled for a message instead. In that silence and grief that enveloped the room, I mustered the courage and typed, “I am coming home, dad. Tomorrow.”

{If you’ve been following this since the beginning and have never commented, now will be a good time to do that. Please I want to read your comments. Thanks.}

26 thoughts on “A Brief History of Mr. George – {8} Final Episode.

  1. (clears throat). So alas! A person is dead. OK so the ‘foam coming out of Peter’s head’ thingy was kinda scary. Twas a good story… And I think I accept Shola into the family.. Partially. More inspiration.

  2. I loved every bit of the story. So sad this is the end.
    Beautifully written and very creative.
    Kudos to you Mike Inioluwa.

  3. So, is it because guys are angry that they are not commenting?
    But, thing about fiction is, when written well, it looks so real the reader begins to add the future – George will finish school with a first class. He will discover, strangely that he trusts and loves Shola and she would be ready for him.
    But, it’s fiction. Fiction. Humph.

  4. hmmmm… beautifully wafted, thought provoking, full of suspence, intriguing, tragic, funny and realistic.
    most amazing short story I’ve ever read.
    it’s beyond lovely.

  5. Michael,compile this to a PDF,I would write a mind blowing review,then we could pick it up from there…………seems like three idiots plot mixed with some other twists plots and inventions……lovely is all I can say for now

  6. Wow!!!!!! I felt really connected, probably because of the known settings… This is beautiful bro.. I like the plot

  7. I have tears in my eyes.
    This piece is a timely reminder for me that life is short and a chain of sad events could kick start any minute. I’m reminded to document my joyful moments.

    It is also an encouragement for me. Confronting disappointment is a big deal, it’s worse when you feel you’d lose the care of your loved one because you failed to make them proud.

    Shola- despite the paralysis and jilt, she seemed not be broken. She knew she would never walk again but thank you Michael for not writing that she was wailing and giving up on life, and thank you for keeping George with her.

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