By Eunice Nyimbili
I honestly don’t remember what happened, as a matter of fact, I really didn’t care at the time, who would? My mind was so engulfed in pain it literally wiped out my memory. As every passing moment brought me closer and closer to reality all I wanted to do was to make it stop. The pain , the cry’s, the flashes of light as nurses rushed me to the ICU , the scent of death that loamed the air ; I just wanted to wake up and realize it was all a dream and I was on my bed wishing for two more minutes of sleep. But I wasn’t anywhere near home, I was on the edge of life watching time pass me by, the only thing my body knew was that I was in serious pain and it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon.
A few days later, visitors were given the opportunity to see my dilapidating body lying helplessly on the white sheeted bed. It was clear from the expression on the faces of those who surrounded me in that tensed up room that nobody expected me to live. The silence was often broken by someone sobbing when they could no longer keep their tears inside, a few whispers here and there and it was dead silent again.
I’m told I was unconscious for two weeks after that. Family and friends tell me how hopeless it felt to see me half dead, covered in bandages with nothing more than a constant beep from the pulse machine to give them hope. Hope that I would survive, that one day we were going to live these moments only in memory.
It seemed death was an easy thing to accept when it simply barged into the corridors of life, took what it wanted and left, but it was another thing when it decided to play hide and seek behind the skeletons in your past or a little hangman game as you dangled gasping for life and it ripped you down limb by limb by limb. And yes, that’s what it was doing with me. When I actually thought I was free from it all my past decided to pay me an early visit. A sudden early visit.
I was looking past the blood drip right through the window when I remembered it all. It all started a couple of years back when, as it seems to me now, I was young, immature and still innocent. Nothing could have prepared me for the drastic changes my life took when I won first princess of Golden High school at age 17. Everyone’s eyes and ears suddenly shifted to my direction and within a night I became more famous than the school principle. My face was on every notice bored and on every front cover of the local school magazine for weeks. You’re famous now, my best friend Kate would constantly tell me as we passed posters of me or some stranger waved at us while we walked up and down the pavements. I personally didn’t want to take it all so seriously for fear of what it would do to my character when my pride and ego got the best of me.
But that was before Daniel Delstone painted himself in the picture and I lost control. Being the celebrity of the school brought me in contact with new people every day. I practically got used to it. Everyone knew my name and I didn’t have to know them. The second class of people I met was the school executive; staring with the captain all the way to the health prefect. I knew it was only a matter of time before I personally got to meet Daniel, the boy of Kate’s dreams. She could kill for him. For lack of a better word, he was the definition of elegance. He was probably 6 foot tall, light, muscular, dark brown eyes and an ever welcoming smile. He was the classic type of guy which was so unlike many of the guys I knew around campus. Teachers loved him, literally. The perfect young man whose grades never disappointed. He was bound to get the annual scholar ship that the school provided to leading students. As top of my class, I knew I also stood a chance. He had been top of his class from first grade and had won awards on every annual prize giving day. To top it all up, he was the school captain. He was the perfect match for any girl, the type that no girl could resist, and no girl, except me. Kate always thought I was crazy when I would ask her what she saw in the guy. She had had a crush on him from the day she set her eyes on him in grade 9. He was a year ahead of us, and by the time I became a mini celebrity he was in his final grade. It seemed so funny to me how a parentless kid from an average family had so suddenly become to talk of “rich men high”. That’s what we commoners call it anyway.
So charmer boy and I finally met marking the beginning of my end. Our services, to the school, as we called them, required us to constantly be together. We were the icons of
the school, in quotes. Derrick, the so called Mr. GHS, was no help in all this, he was never there for the meetings nor interviews. So I was stuck with flirt boy as my date for every occasional meeting. That’s when rumors and gossip started and the guy whom everyone loved was theoretically my boyfriend.
I remembered a setting day, must have been a Monday. Daniel and I were waiting for the deputy when he came across a news paper.
“Have you checked this out” Dan asked as he passed me that Sunday’s newspaper.
And there it was in big bold letters,’’ MISS GHS OR FIRST LADY?” front page news. What caught my attention was Kate’s name on the comment section.
“Love or not I really don’t care, after all Romeo never got his Juliet.” What was she trying to say, she honestly didn’t think the paper was telling the truth was she? And when did she get the time and courage to go drop her comment to the news office, without asking me?
“Juliet, are you here or off day dreaming of Romeo” he said as he laughed to his own amusement. “It’s not funny charmer boy! sorry, gosh!, I meant to say Daniel.”
“Charmer boy you say, that’s a first.”
I looked up to him as he stood beside me and for a moment something happened. That awkward moment of silent communication that always says more than what words could say.
“I should get going” I stood up, almost dropping the chair behind me.
“Yeh, I also should, yah, get going” he said it with so many stammers it actually hit me in the head that charmer boy actually had a humor of some sort.
“See you later D”
We smiled as we parted. I just couldn’t stop smiling. I never imagined him as the chartable kind of guy. I was on my way to the resting chambers or hostels in simpler terms that I often preferred, when I bumped into Kate.
“It’s Daniel isn’t it?” she asked
“Don’t try to act innocent, I know that smile on your face. You last had it when david was still around.”
She paused as if waiting to hear what I was going to say then she pulled out a copy of the news and asked again, “ its Daniel ain’t it?”
What was I to say? He was the reson I couldn’t stop smilling but saying yes would give her the impression that I liked him, which wasn’t the case.
“ kate, its just the news. We both know these guys never have stories to print, they obviously had to pull up a stunt like this”
“ oh, really? then explain this!” she handed me her phone and there it was, in full bright colors, me and charmer boy kissing.
“ kate this isn’t real, you have to belive me” “I don’t know what to believe anymore B.”
From then, Kate hated me, not because of the lies that she had taken to be true, but because I had become everything she had always wanted to be.
I initially didn’t want to contest in the beauty pageant. She had competed in these fullish events the previous year. Let’s just say it didn’t end well. She cried for days after that and I was beside her through it all. She made herself believe that she wasn’t beautiful simply because the newspaper said it.
She literally cried for me to enter that years contest but the fact that this was all her doing had so suddenly slipped her mind and I became the thorn in her side. She just would not listen. At one point I even had to talk Daniel into talking to her, to at least try to talk sense into her head. One evening she saw him hugging me as we parted for the day and she just could not hold it in anymore. So she followed me to my room and closed the door.
“So’’, she took a long pause as she sat down by my bed.
“There’s nothing going on between you and Daniel you say”.
I looked her straight in the eye and before I could even answer she continued.
“I saw you, busy hugging each other by the cafeteria,’’ the look on her face said more the words she produced.
“It’s not what you think Kate, I can expla…”
“Explain? Explain what B?” “Huh? Tell me because I am dying to find out how you could do this to me when you know how much I really love Daniel “
“You know me better than this Kate, I’ve never liked him in that way”
Before I could say anything else she slapped me and walked out of the room. She moved out of hostel A the very same night and I witnessed as my best friend became my enemy.
As weeks passed by Kate and I stopped talking. We passed each other down the hall ways like we were strangers, maybe even less than that. It honestly hurt me so much that she wouldn’t believe me, after all the years we had been friends, she just wouldn’t believe me. I felt so alone, so depressed and mad at the same time. I remembered all the times she was by my side when my parents died in a car crush when we were just kids , she became the sister I never had. A friend indeed. But this wasn’t like her, what was happening. I could not hold it in anymore. So I went to a certain big old tree that overlooked the vast land scape just beyond campus and I just broke down and cried. I don’t recall how long I sat there, browsing through every event up to that moment. Then last night came to mind. Charmer boy said he had something important to tell