"You can make it Jhon. Stay strong son," Sister and Mother take turns whispering into your ears, both giving a squeeze firm enough on each of your palms sat on either side of your body on the bed, hoping to pull you back to the reality you were becoming oblivious of -- You feel your tongue convulse a way that leaves your lips twitching. You make to lift the blades of your shoulder, but your arms don't follow. A bird - or some nocturnal rodent - squeaks from outside the window of the ward you lay, in a hospital, clad in a white garment dotted by the blood you'd emmited no thanks to waves of coughs that had rocked your body and left your chest whistling moments before."
Your eyes catch a familiar figure in its blurriness - hannie, your girlfriend of two years wiping the tears running the length of her distraught face with a hanky stained wood-brown by the union between the tearfall from her eyes and the cakes of powder on her face. Her brows are arced and her forehead twisted, from the torture that comes with the trauma of the drama that shadows worrying over a pain that would only get worse with your impending demise. You think, no, you know you'd just read the word "Please hang on baby" from her lips.
Away from her there's your brother Matthew whom you call 'Mat' - much to his annoyance - for the simple reason you two never went the same paths, fighting to dam the tears that flooded the banks of his eyes to soginess with his lids. That's enough message he still wants you around albeit the ass you've always been.
There's Father, leaning on the wall in a distant corner masking his emotions with a face the straightness of a ruler. But you see it. Yes, you can see the hurt that rocks his insides from the sheer wobbling of his knees. He's robed in the attire of forlornness, bowing or towering his head to conceal his feelings as his insides directed, in a rather oblique posture.
"I'm not sure he would make it. His heart isn't pumping enough blood. His kidneys are almost failing as well as his bladder," Doctor says to no one in particular in a voice laden with emotions - which isn't the way of doctors, then jabs a question your ear's way, "Can you make it John?"
A sea of nurses flood the space between Doctor and Father, all wearing and bearing sober looks and burdens of worry. You see, your story had gone on to draw attention from every corner in the hospital since five days ago when the hospital became your home, so it wasn't unusual to have more nurses finding new routes to make sure your breath didn't flutter away.
You make to give Doctor, and the many desperate ears of family the response they need - that you can, and would make it; but your body doesn't agree. Waves of cough - escorted by droplets of blood - wire from your inside on to your garment and bedsheet, and into the many ears in the stead of the 'Yes' they ached to have the drums in their filled with. Your chest heaves. Your lids make to marry each other, whilst your lips lock in a still kiss. How did you ever get to this point?
Your mind battles to recollect memories from the past, but they don't stick; they fail to register on the planes of your mind. A moment later, there are thoughts roaming the surface of your mind, thoughts which are projected on the orange of your shut lids as melancholia shells your soul, thoughts on how it all started, on how you got to this point acting out in your head, in the greyishness and blurriness of a 1960 movie.
--- --- ---
Your battle to that point had started years aback as a newly admitted student into the University of Uyo to study medicine. It was quite an achievement being the first amongst your siblings to gain admission on your first attempt. It took Mat three attempts, and Peace - your sister - one lesser than Mat. You were just seventeen then, in the April of 2015. Life was fun, near-perfect you dared say. Your matriculation was lit to the skies: the smiles on Mother's face, the pats on your shoulders from Father's wide palms, Sister's hugs, Brother's forced frown which you knew interpreted joy he wasn't ready to concede.
That fairytale lasted only your first year, months before you'd met Randy in your sophomore year at a party, a man that grew in the slums of Warri and bathed the seas polluted by the black gold. Your friendship with him had kicked off the minute members of the Supreme Vikings Confraternity bounced you out of a party, well, not until Randy dragged you back in identifying you as his 'brother.' So you'd gone on to become his brother on inducement five days later on a Wednesday, when he'd seen to your initiation into the Neo Black Movement of Africa with the assurance you had your ass shielded. Then University happened. There and then, your journey began.