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Kelvin continued walking that night.
And he walked all the way to the remote and lonely Nnamdi Azikwe Lecture Theatre area.
The lecture theatre area rarely had anyone go there at night. Perhaps it was because Azikwe was rather too farther away from everywhere.
Besides, there were many other lecture theatres closer to students’ hostels where serious students can ‘hibernate’ in overnight study.
The surroundings of the lecture theatre, moreover, were endowed with two proud hills and some accompanying daunting rocky steeps.
Its scanty darkly greenery of tall, leafy trees would usually scare the un-brave. They’d fear the possibility of falling prey to some wild looking predators, beast or man, lurking in the dark of night.
But then, a few daring students would beg to differ. Some who were perhaps addicted to silence and would go all the way to seek a place as quiet as the graveyard to read.
This sort of rarely visited places were Kelvin’s favourite destinations for night walks.
He’d go there and sit for hours on end.
Thinking on what to write, and how to write them. On what to say, and how to say them.
But much as Kelvin had formed a habit of taking a leisure walk, he was a master of spontaneity and surprises.
He deliberately formed many habits in order to break them at unexpected intervals.
He enjoyed the game of surprise. He was predictably never predictable.
Now he eventually arrived.
He sat on one of the seat pavements in front of the lecture theatre.
He took out his Nokia cell from his pocket and switched it on. He’d deliberately put it off before taking a walk.
He wanted to be by himself. He didn’t want any disturbance from calls.
His cell phone beeped now.
It was a text message.
◙ ◙ ◙
Earlier that day, after an hour long swimming at the University Sports Complex, Kelvin had sat at the edge of the pool.
Clad in his mint green swimming trunk, he playfully tossed the water with his legs and watched the ripples spread out.
His moist, dark skin reflected the sun with a bright, brilliant sheen.
Caleb tapped him from behind, clad in a midnight blue swim suit which perfectly contrasted off his fair toned skin.
When Kelvin glanced back at him, he smiled sheepishly.
‘Let me guess where you are in your thought, O Great Kelvin,’ he gleamed. ‘I can say you’re lost in-between an advanced dictionary pages looking for the best word to describe how good-looking I am, aren’t you?’
He chortled generously. Kelvin couldn’t help but chuckle.
Caleb Ladipo was a young, fair chap of average height. He’d got a slim, gorgeous figure like those of Korean male celebrities.
And he was one witty and smart lad just any random dude would generously salute for his brains.
As a poet, too, he’d always got his peculiar way with words. Caleb had a great sense of humour, too; and when he made a joke he was always smiling.
And he was just a growing young man in his early twenties.
‘Oh no, Caleb!’ Kelvin moaned. ‘Have you ever thought of anything in your whole life other that your looks, man?’ he teased.
Caleb attempted again. ‘OK… If that’s not, lemme take another guess. Yeah, got it now. You’re composing a poem for me on how responsible I am and you’re looking for the perfect words—’
Kelvin stood up. ‘When your brain reboots,’ he cut in, ‘will you care to lemme know? Cos now, I’ve got an appointment with Professor Oni.’
‘You and your several appointments with Oni,’ Caleb teased. ‘Anyway, get me some bread toast and chilled canned malt at the snacks bar when you’re returning.’
Kelvin hurled Caleb into the pool.
‘Glutton!’ he yelled.
◙ ◙ ◙
Kelvin laughed at the memory where he sat in front of Azikwe.
‘Silly boy,’ he chuckled
He read his text where he sat in front of Azikwe Lecture Theatre.
The text message had come from Caleb. He wondered where he’d got that crazy troublemaker for a friend.
Hey, mad genius! Again you’ve gone to hold a meeting with your spirit friends as usual! Your line was off when I tried calling you.
We’ve got an impromptu literature class tomorrow for 9. It’s LIT 306 Class. You’re free to thank me later with lunch at an eatery. See you tomorrow.
Oh sorry… we’ll see in your nightmare tonight! By the way, I like the way you lay your bed—almost dozed into a coma while waiting for you.
Kelvin chuckled. ‘Look at this silly boy!’
He laughed. ‘Maybe he’d have turned my bed over like a spoilt kid; and now he’s reporting himself!’
Caleb was Kelvin’s best naughty friend as well as a classmate.
He was also the class representative for third year English literature.
The youngsters were simply a David and Jonathan duo…
In Tom and Jerry skins.
◙ ◙ ◙
It was fourteen years ago.
Mr and Mrs Ladipo brought their only son to the hospital with all hope bestowed on the doctor.
Like unto a god that could rescue their promising eight year old from the wide-flung jaws of an early grave.
The little boy was diagnosed with jaundice. His liver was considered so bad he couldn’t be placed on essential treatment medications.
Mr Ladipo was busy seeking aid for his sick first born child.
Mrs Ladipo, on the other hand, had altogether become a shadow of herself. Staring helplessly day in, day out at her weak, dying child.
The family wrestled Death’s callous beckon masquerading as malignant jaundice until they could no longer resist its persistent claim on the poor boy.
They eventually gave in, waiting for that final gasp that’d release his soul beyond their reach.
Well, the doctor could no longer keep him. He decided to have the boy discharged; only placing him on light multivitamins.
The night always dawn into day with the first sunray. A little girl of about nine was the messenger of hope for the dying boy before he left the hospital ward.
She’d followed an evangelical group to the hospital and she approached the young sickly chap.
The boy listened to the pretty young chap encourage him with words from the Bible. The girl also requested him to ask Christ to save his soul.
He wished to ask several many questions. But the numerous questions troubling him appeared as big as a sand dune.
Bigger than him altogether. And larger than he could possibly articulate.
But he only listened.
When the kid was discharged and he arrived home, he laid his weak little frame on the bed.
Mrs Ladipo cried herself to sleep at her boy’s bedside. But her son, the eighty year old Caleb Ladipo, couldn’t find a sleep. He seemed to be the one in real pains.
He said a little boy’s prayer, wrapping his small, feeble arm around his aching tummy.
‘Jesus,’ he began in a feeble, tiny voice, ‘mummy always says I should tell her about Bobby and Jamal when they beat me up in class.
‘But since I told those two bad boys that I’d report them to my mummy, they’d completely stopped beating me up.
‘I knew mummy can beat up Bobby and Jamal for me. But Jesus, since I became ill mummy has just been crying and crying.
‘I’ve never seen mummy cry so much! It makes me very afraid. Even more than I was afraid of Bobby and Jamal beating me up!’
A tear drop appeared in little Caleb’s eye.
He went on. ‘Jesus, my daddy too has been running up and down. He’d told me he’d give me anything I want if I pass my exam this term.
‘But I want to ask him to help me take these pains away. But daddy is very worried about me already. I don’t think he can make me well. I don’t think so…’
He turned to another side of the bed, grimacing with pain in the instance.
He continued. ‘There is this girl that told me today that You are very big, Jesus. That You are bigger than daddy and mummy. She said if I talk to you will save me.’
He wiped a tear in his eyes with the back of his hand.
‘Jesus, I don’t want to be sick,’ he muttered, as his little eyes glistened with tears welling up anew. ‘I want my sickness to go.
‘Please make me well so that daddy and mummy will stop crying. Please make me well so that I can grow up like daddy and mummy!’
He finished, brushing his eyes with a hand. ‘I promise I’ll not do the bad things that make You cry. I promise I’ll make You happy every day. Please, make me well, Jesus… please!’
The following morning was a new life for the eight year old Caleb. He never knew how it happened overnight.
All he knew was that he woke up renewed and revived, body and soul.
And Caleb kept his promise from that day.
◙ ◙ ◙
Kelvin checked the message he received again, where he sat at Azikwe Lecture Theatre area.
He decided to send a reply to his lovely enemy.
I’m really grateful for this piece of information that I’ve decided to take you out tomorrow for a plate of amala with a delicious egusi soup, and capped with two large chunks of roast beef.
If my mood soon changes before then, you may have to make do with a plate of fried rice alongside a bottle of malt.
Hey, by the way, don’t you come litter my night dreams—and that’s a warning! See you tomorrow; rest in peace.
He checked his sent message again and laughed.
See you tomorrow; rest in peace.
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