Gleams by Ayokunnu Melody
As I picked up my phone, it rang and Daniel’s name featured on my screen. I was just about calling him so I could ask if he was down for a lecture fixed for the evening.
“What’s up, was about putting a call through to you. Dude, you’re coming for Dr Collins’ class by six yeah?”
“What’s the time now sef?”
“Hmm…not so sure, not even ready for any dumb class” I felt melancholy in his voice.
“Well Daniel…can you just try? We have had so many classes we missed, we are close to our test week already Daniel”
“Precious, I don’t know yet. Right now I am not in the right state.” He slurred.
“Daniel, are you drunk again?”
“I am coming, where are you?”
“In my apartment of course, I can’t go to a bar”
“Seriously, I am on my way”
I hurriedly changed into a T-shirt and a jean, slipped into my sandals, grabbed my purse and dashed off my apartment. On a mission to stop Daniel from drinking to death. He has had a lot to drink within two months after Bolade’s death. This was the only thing I could do for Bolade. There was something she wanted me to help her tell him. To extend her love I suppose, what if that was not the case. If it was, I was not going to leave him alone. I was going to help him out of this state, I would do everything to get him back to his feet. Well, he is my symbol of Bolade, what else would I have done? Bolade loved him with every bit of her and they had already started plans for a future together, I saw all of that coming though. Losing her unexpectedly would have been too much for him to bear.
I felt Bolade’s caring kind of spirit in me. A need to care for someone which wasn’t my thing anyway. I was the all vulnerable kind of person always at the receiving end. This put me in such a position of not being able to take care of myself because I had Grandma, John and ultimately Bolade to take care of me and I only stayed put and accepted whatever came my way.
I flagged down a taxi, it swerved to park directly in front of the Females’ Porters Office. I hopped in and the driver waited on me to tell him where I was going.
“Venus lodge” I told him.
I alighted exactly in front of his apartment, his apartment was the first on the row of the executive lodge. I rushed in through the unlocked door and found him completely a shadow of himself, he wasn’t so nice a sight to see. He had his shirt thrown to another side of the sitting room. Four empty bottles of Absolute Vodka were lying on the rug and he had one half-filled bottle in his hand. The sitting room was so untidy, throw pillows carelessly dropped on the floor, the center table had found its position upside down, his sofas had slanted already, like Daniel shared his problems with his environment.
I didn’t know where to start from, I dropped my purse and removed my sandals and pushed them aside. I went straight to grab the bottle of alcohol in his hand and that was when he realized someone was in his space. He looked up from where he was lying, released a half smile.
“It’s you” He said and laid his head backwards. He was so quick to have drunk up to this state, he sounded better on phone about 30 minutes ago, how come he had… He was asleep already. I hit my temple in frustration, this dude is a mess.
I tapped him with disgust on my face, he completely smelt of alcohol, I hated it. It reminded me of so many things.
“Daniel Daniel, you look a mess…in fact, not just you” I looked around his sitting room…”Your space looks extremely worse! What has come over you Daniel. Not up to this, if you are doing this, what should I do?” I started crying, I imagined my state if I was to be the old Precious. I was a depressed soul anyways, I would have been worse than this.
“Please Daniel, quit all of this. I am sure Bolade won’t be in any way happy with you right where she is”
“I know…” He started crying. “…I really wish I can help this, Bolade’s picture is in every single thing. Where I go, what I do, where I sit…every single thing around me has a feel of Bolade. I just cant bear the memories of her… not just how her death looked like…”
I fumbled through his phone and saw pictures of Bolade’s horror… every memory of the event flashed through my head, I looked up and a stream of tears poured from my eyes. I wished I saved her, I remembered how she died right in my arms, her bleeding chest and the blood that gushed from her mouth. I trembled… the traumatizing show played out again, I crashed to the floor holding my fists together wanting to scream but I withheld it, I wasn’t going to… I sat there for about five minutes staring…
…But I was determined to do everything to save her absence, I needed to take care of Daniel. I moved to where his refrigerator stood, I opened it and picked out a bottle of cold water. I went back to where Daniel was, poured a little of the water in my palm and sprinkled on Daniel’s face, there was no much effect. Since I would have to wait for Daniel to come back to life then I went on the mission to salvage his environment. Most especially the sitting room, so disorganized. I imagined how the kitchen would be or his bedroom.
I had completely taken care of his sitting room ad he was still lying helplessly on the rug, I wanted to do what Bolade does for me in times like this, but I felt it would be awkward for him and what if it turns around, Me! In the bathroom with a man? Nah, that is not so ideal, I decided to leave him there and wait till he gets off it. I thought of the lectures I was supposed to have by six and it was already five – thirty, I took off leaving a note for him.
The class ended at exactly 8:00pm, I checked my purse for my phone and I saw missed calls from Daniel. He has woken? i dialed him back and left the class, this time he did not answer my call then, I headed for his lodge.
I turned open the door knob to Daniel’s lodge, it wasn’t locked. Daniel was still sitting on the rugged floor, I remembered him lying on that same floor over two hours ago. We caught glances and he stood hurriedly and came to hug me. I really didn’t expect that from him and by the way that was exactly what I always did to Bolade in my down times. It is only obvious that Bolade could have been the strongest of us three. After the incident, I had already known how feeble Daniel was.
“I called you so many times”
“I am so sorry Daniel, I was in class.” I patted his back.
We stood like that for about thirty minutes till I broke it when I asked what he would like to do at that moment and where he would like to go so he could be fine.
“Right in your arms Precious”
Well… that rang a bell in my ears but I only ignored the literal sense, my arms felt warm… that’s… well… more like a shoulder to lean on…well yeah, I am a friend in need… I shrugged.
“Okay Daniel, I know we both have to get through this, because of you, I am trying to be strong and I don’t wanna lose you too. I am doing all of this because if Bolade were to be here…”
I started crying.
“She would have done the same”
I wiped my tears.
“Well… I don’t feel her absence… I even feel more of her around me. I feel so strong right now because I feel her close to me. So Daniel you can do this” This time, I held his hand and he burst into tears.
“Daniel yes…you can… we can… Bolade loved you so much… she would not like to see you like this… and you don’t want her to feel bad over there yeah? Brace up Daniel, I understand totally how you feel”
I hugged him again but this time it didn’t take us five minutes.
“Have you had anything to eat since morning?” I asked and he shook his head.
“Okay… right now, can’t cook anything. Let’s just find an eatery around and eat. Go on in, have a shower most especially wash your face… you look a mess… and change up… I want a fresher Daniel this time” He tried to smile, it was more like a progress even though he forced it out. If only I could do more for him was what ran through my head. I really had quit thinking about Bolade’s death. It wasn’t easy but I am so sure it was because I felt I had the responsibility to care for Daniel