The sun beat down heavily on all the unsuspecting victims hanging around the open quad. Even the lucky few who were inside the school’s buildings couldn’t escape the heat as they waited hours on end to get a piece of paper signed. Conversations were held at a minimum in an effort to save the little energy not yet sapped by the heat.
“Stand still. Stand very still. It doesn’t hurt. I just need to get through this one last signing. It is not hot. I am not worried." Jumbled thoughts and muddled voices ran through her mind as she strived to take control. And as sudden as the shift from hush to noise that would ensue afterwards, she fell.
Panic ensued. The other students crowded around trying to be helpful, killing her in their own sweet way.
“Call the nurse.”
“Mafe? Wake up! Mafe?!”
“Call a teacher.”
But there was nobody to call. The nurse couldn’t be found anywhere, she had seen her fair share of faintings and would not have been affected anyway, the teachers were now oblivious to it. In a public school, students dropped like flies every day.
“What do we do?” onlookers inquired from eyes full of apathy as word came that the nurse was missing in action.
“Call a tricycle.” the teacher finally concluded.
How those words resemble so well three others more unwelcome, “I DON’T CARE.”
The stink of wet dog. Familiar, unwanted, cheap, contagious.
“Tope! Tope! Si Mafe! Hospital. DG’s carrying her. Tricycle. ”, an unfamiliar face had told him.
Stunned, he rushed to get to the hospital as discordant memories flooded his head. “Please let her be okay. Please let her be okay,” he murmured to himself all the while replaying in his mind their Christmas party.
The room had held an aroma of butterscotch and mixed chips. The gifts had been put to one side, carefully wrapped looking like cakes and tin foil and nobody had mentioned it but all eyes had been on the biggest box. A number of attempts had been made to inconspicuously see who it was for, and the Nancy Drews had been put to a disappointed rest as the ritual of exchanging gifts had been undergone. She had smiled (knowing she wasn’t his kris kringle) when shyly he gave her the gift everyone envied. Mafe.
“Please let her be okay. Please let her be okay,” he murmured as he replayed in his mind every memory he had with her, and those around him could only try to avoid his searching gaze.
The smell distinct to hospitals lingered in his nostrils, traveling across his nerves, intoxicating him with its cruelty and coldness.
“I’m sorry there was nothing more we could do.”
His hands formed into fists as the nurse’s laughter rang in his ears.
* * *
I smile as I hug him, inhaling the scent of his Downy bathed clothes. The radio in the lobby of our dormitory oddly complements the scene as it blares out a song, “Teach me to be indifferent,” the singer begs. I hold him tighter relating only too well.
“I love you,” he whispers slowly.
Blurred images of memories not my own chase one another, clamoring for attention and recognition in my head. His memories of three years past, playing over and over in my consciousness, gradually becoming my own. No matter how hard I shut my eyes, I see her face. How could I possibly ask you to forget Mafe?
“I love you too.”
- i wrote this for a friend. this story is based on her life.