Terminal 8: The Great Escape

Great Escape

Hi and welcome back to #DeMeStified. My most sincere apologies for how late this post is coming. It was 200% avoidable this time; entirely my fault. I did something really silly that set the team back three weeks.

I hope you’ve been able to identify some trends and see what should go where? Today’s writer, @Feyishope, is a medical doctor and a proper marvel. He did all of this from his mobile device.

If you’re just joining in, you’d need about 1 2 3 4 quick breaths to catch up 😉 This would be the penultimate episode – and, with your permission, we’ll proceed.

The pain in my left knee which is usually so slight I forget it’s there had surged to an agonizing throb. The way it does when the cold descends or something bothers me a lot. The jolts of pain that shot through my bad knee as the train shuddered made me regret my decision-albeit necessary-to leave my walking stick in the office. It was going to be a rough walk to my destination. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I set down the PM newspaper I was trying to read to put the maelstrom in my head at bay. It was futile; I hadn’t gotten past the first line of the headline news since I picked it up. I couldn’t get rid of my friend’s apologetic voice echoing in my head. Loudly. I barely stayed above the overwhelming urge to cry and laugh at the unfair hand life had dealt me. I may have lost all else, but I wasn’t going to lose my dignity and my sanity, not in front of my fellow train passengers.

My life was a lie, right down to my calm mien as I sat in there in the train car. I chuckled when I thought about my brilliant act at work despite the despair weighing me down like dead weights: I still cracked my slightly crass jokes, still whistled when I walked down the corridors. Nobody could guess I was drowning in dark waters. Leonardo Dicaprio would be impressed with my performance.

I wasn’t the only lie, surely. At least one of the other commuters felt like screaming his head off. Maybe the skinny teenager standing in the aisle, absentmindedly spinning a black and yellow basketball on a finger. Or the massively built man beside me who was engrossed with his phone, laughing out loud from time to time. It could all be a farce.

I took to thinking about my patients; now that was something that could help me take my in off what had to be thought about. I hoped they, at least, would miss me. I was thinking about the latest addition to my long list of patients, a young man in his early twenties who had Diabetes Mellitus when the train ground to a halt. He had brought his distraught girlfriend to me so I could talk to her about his condition.

I got off the train, wincing with pain. I took a deep breath of the cold late night air, drew the new coat closer and limped towards the uncompleted terminal. It was the last place anyone was going to look for me. I shuffled forward, the dim light spilling from the working platform guiding me, till my long shadow dissolved into the inky blackness. I switched on the cheap torch I’d bought off a vendor as I left the office. You see, I came fully prepared to cease to be. To die.

There was nothing left to live for. The thing l loved more than life itself, the thing that brought me back from the brink of darkness, had grown tired of what we had together. I had spent all day wondering why she was going. She could easily have blamed me for the car crash that put our only daughter in a wheelchair but she didn’t. Instead, she rescued me from depression.

It was my fault. I had too much to drink at her sister’s dinner party, and she’d told me not to drive. I didn’t give her the keys, protesting that I was still in control. I put us in an uncompleted concrete road drain. I put my daughter in a wheelchair. I put myself into the tarry waters called depression. And she got me out.

I thought we were having the best time of our lives since the accident, and would have kept living in the euphoria of my delusion if my best friend didn’t break the ethics of his profession to tell me that my darling wife had filed for divorce.

Had she found someone else? Why was she leaving me? The only answer I came back to was the accident. If my wife resented me so, it was only a matter of time before my daughter would look up at me from the wheelchair, with resentment and loathing in her eyes. I’d rather die than live to see that day. This wasn’t cowardice. It was putting an end to an unsavoury thing.

They were never going to find my body, and even if they did, they won’t know it was mine. I was wearing clothes I just bought that day. I wasn’t carrying any identification. Other tell-tale items: my white gold bracelet, the wedding ring, my phones, I left in my drawer at the office. The only thing in my pocket was an unmarked plastic pillbox containing the pills I planned to swallow. And this terminal was the very last place anybody would look for my body. If they ever did, it would have decayed beyond recognition. There was no letter, no token. No clichés. I would be gone, like the wind.

I had found my spot: an opening in the culvert, into which I would slip after taking the pills. I took a deep breath of the crisp night air, and sighed. It wasn’t how I expected my life to end. But I couldn’t live without her. I was going to lose my sanity, and I couldn’t afford that; it was just another type of death, a more pathetic way to the great beyond. I had brought out the pillbox when I caught the whiff again: heavy, metallic, sickening – of blood. Fresh blood, stale blood. Curious, I followed the scent, my torch cutting through the thick darkness in long strips.

I found him in an untidy heap fifteen paces from where I was, in a pool of blood, blood still oozing from the multiple wounds on his torso. He could only be dead, but I checked his pulses anyway. The carotid pulse was feeble but steady. I had never been more surprised in my twenty years of being a doctor. A slight moan that could have been the wind whispering galvanised me into action. I do not know where I got the energy to carry him, or the doggedness to bear his weight on my bad knee. I can’t remember how many times I stumbled and fell. All I know is that I shed tears when I got him to the welcoming lights of the working terminal.

It was off-peak time, and the only person on the platform was an agbero halfway to inebriation on a cheap bottle of gin. The sight of blood made him sober and he helped us to the nearby cab station. I told the cab driver I would triple the fare if he got us to my hospital in time. I hadn’t prayed in a long while – but as we tore through the city, I found myself mumbling to God: beseeching, bargaining, threatening, and even commanding.

I was never happier to see the five storeyed complex where I plied my trade. I paid the driver double what I promised. My night staff were surprised to see me and my burden. Their response made me prouder still. In record time, the victim was placed on IV fluids, and prepped for surgery. I did the surgery myself, and sat by his bedside in the ICU the rest of the night, despite the agonising pain in my knee.

I didn’t go home the next morning. I stayed in the hospital, made sure he received special attention, and kept checking on him. He mustn’t die. He was my omen. He lives, I live. That was my bargain with God.

@Feyishope would be waiting to respond to your comments/questions. You’re welcome too if you’ve pieced it all together and have suggestions on how you think the story should/would end.

A big #ShoutOut to all those who voted. Ese won in the Google AfricaConnected Competition.

BTW, who’s heard of KabuKabu? It’s the new ‘get me there fast and cheap‘. You should check it out if you’re in Lagos.

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This entry was posted in #512iMagInG, 5-12 iMagInG, Hospital, Suicide, Terminal 8 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Terminal 8: The Great Escape

  1. TeeA says:

    Two words
    for this ABSOFRIGGINGLY AWESOME

  2. Pingback: Terminal 8: Executive Orders | De-Me-Stified

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