White Rose (true story)
“…it was a white rose in a cone-shaped giftwrap with dots and lines of pink and purple, respectively. I was sure the reasons she bowed her head were to suppress her ego, build up courage, and not meet my eyes amidst her dialogue. I later found out I was right.”
“I was so taken aback that the only thing I could do was… hold the rose. Firmly with my palsy hand.
My white rose. Our rose. And said “thanks”. It ended up for the better… Much better actually that I hadn’t said more than that. A part of me wanted to tell her, that because of her antics I ended up getting 1st class service and a lil flirtation, but I didn’t want her to read into it as post-defeat backlash. So I just left it at that… for now that is…”
I smirked and shook my head- a gesture symbolizing “That’s vengeful Umar for you!”
He goes on to say- “…at that very moment she was so relieved and had her guilt lifted, that she consequently lit my face up as she rose with a smile; and my spirits with her mesmerizing perfume that smelt as if she’d just put it on even though we had been on a 11hrs flight.”
I inhaled deeply. I tend to do that when my mind wonders as it wanders too much. I think it was my subconscious trying to go back into (past) fantasy and take a whiff of Aisha. Well… just her perfume.
“I won’t lie to you man… I spent the rest of the day immersed in waking thoughts about the tits and bits of our encounter after we had lodged into the hotel. You'd find me cautiously fondling with that white plant, which I've now separated from its encasement. I got really annoyed at her dad for refusing Chairman’s invite to stay in the same place with us, because he had a discount there and the place is top notch.”
My left eye was doing the imagining/daydreaming and shoe-putting- “if I was there I would….”
Right eye was widest open and trying to accept the reality of things on ground as they were- Leukemia. Aaysha. Aisha. Window seat. White rose.
My multitasking (daydreaming and listening) was interrupted by a wonted and obnoxious knock.
The tall, uproarious, goofy, yet humble bulgy-eyed Industrial Chemist (in-the-making). It was ‘Bunz’- his roommate.
He stood there with his two hands on his stomach, with the middle fingers touching each other right at his belly button signifying the letter ‘H’ for Hunger. It’s mime thing we do- campus blues. He’d barged in with his voracious appetite that needed quelling. Believe it or not, he actually did his IT (Industrial attachement/internship) at Mr.Biggs (fastfood joint). Imagine that? Lol.
I stared, shook my head, then pointed (food), inhaled, and hissed (he'd just let an army of mosquitoes in).
“My hospital ordeal was as follows- 6 days of tests, about 2 days for the procedure, and 2 weeks for the convalescence- the doctor dictating to me as Chairman nodded away. My thoughts were ‘by then my fantasy coquette would certainly be gone gone gone!’ Because there was no way I could ask Chairman point-blank questions about the friend he’d met. Nope. Not just yet. I needed tact, patience, and had to work my way towards it. But most importantly- Prayers.”
I nodded in agreement with every word he said, especially the last one. I was at the apex of my spiritual journey at that time you see. So solace usually came through solitude, meditation, and prayers.
“For the most part, I was ‘lucky’! Got them prayers answered…they came for dinner one night!”
“…I happened to be overdressed for the occasion – spent my pocket money at a nearby boutique. The dinner wasn’t all that…”
In my mind- ‘Well… I won't say I’m not disappointed. But go on.’
“…I was uneasy. Not talking much. It was one of those dinners that made you lose your appetite and the effects won’t wear off till lunch the next day. Oh yeah! It was all about Chairman and the General. The only time I was mentioned was when my medical history was being discussed as if I was a case in a medical journal and not present at the table! Imagine?!”
He shook his head. I laughed.
“The seating arrangement didn’t offer much in terms of line-of-sight if you know what I mean. But I did get to see her in that flawless ‘Abaya’ that beckoned my now numb imagination, as she went to get a salad bar and some hors d’oeuvres. You should’ve seen me trying to stare with tact.” *laughs*
One thing did come out of it though- Got most my questions answered in one sentence.”
THEY LIVE IN KADUNA. SHE SCHOOLS THERE TOO.
They were there for holidays and we’re going to rendezvous with his wife who was in Spain for a family visit.
Oh yeah! You heard me right. His wife…. Was in fact… a true true bona fide aboveboard pedigree S-P-A-N-I-A-R-D.
My mind- ‘That lucky…. Ba..Man!!’
“I was like no wonder! Haba!! This kinda hair. Skin complexion, chin, brows, her lips, those hazelnut eyes…. Yarinya sai kace aljana!? (Girl was like a Jinn!?) *laughs*
“Trust me ma guy… right in that moment of discovery I was sure my white blood count went up up up!”
If he still had one of those blood test he would’ve ‘proved’ it to me. He had this tendency to exaggerate, as in really really really exaggerate, as I would find out later on in my relationship with him.
I was entranced and then envious of the General for such a ‘conquest’. I had to stop Umar right there and then and have him extinguish this curiousity-induced anguish I now suffer from.
“Tsaya Mallam! Spanish kace fa!? (Hold it Mallam! You just said Spanish!?) How?!?”
(*Mallam is a prefix used in the Northern part of Nigeria and nearby countries to denote respect. In this context there was an undertone of exclamation to it.)
“It’s true! They met when he was a MILOB there. You know they usually get posted out for foreign missions and courses. They would stay abroad for a period of 6 months, if you are an attaché; or one year, if you are a MILOB (Military Observer).”
“And…?!” Me thinking out loudly. It couldn’t be that easy…. Right?
He would later learn how her mom left her Latin homeland, came to Nigeria, got married, learnt Hausa, converted to Islam ALL in the name of friendship, bonds, compatibility, and mostly- LOVE.
Choi!! I know by now this all sounds made up… but trust me…. It isn’t. I am telling it as I remember.
And if you know me you’d know I’ve inherited good memory genes (may the Almighty bless our parents' souls both alive and deceased). They don’t fade that easily, especially if they make SUCH neural connections in my dome. It’s been 9 years now!? :-o
They left for Nigeria but not before visiting Umar in the hospital and witnessing him hopped with drugs. That was his sorry state after having gone through a life-saving procedure, which even had medical students coming all the way from the States and Europe to witness.
In his hazy state he could’ve sworn he saw her shedding a pearly translucent tear and her sis hiding behind her as they stood by his now pallid, orgone-less, and motionless frame. He’d lost the fire they saw in him earlier before.
Wouldn’t you? If you had a 14hour operation with over 30 spectators, 6 participants, and even a cameraman!?
After he started recovering he’d hear his dad occasionally receiving phone calls from the General and saying that the kids are relaying their hi’s and condolences to Umar. The dad would pass the message accordingly. But never once did he speak to them… I mean HER on the phone. It didn’t matter to him, because he was confident that if he had a personal line (perhaps cellphone) they would somehow connect. He was confident like that. *smh*
At this point I was thinking in my head that if I were him that would make me heal and recover faster like a man with a mission, a blank cheque, and a ticking time bomb that had no display.
Kaduna- Naija on mind.
I was right. Again!? (I know I know- it’s either we had a lot in common with this guy or I really do have an overactive imagination with knack for hitting the bull’s-eye)
He said the two weeks recovery time earlier estimated by the doctor ended up being cut down to 10days. He responded remarkably well to medication and therapy. And all the final post-surgery tests concluded my friend was fit be to 'Ebony' Romeo.
A thing I forgot to ask him was…
What did he do with the white rose?
Did his dad see it and ask questions?
Did he cherish and nourish it?
Put it in flawless water vase at the hotel?
Give instructions and threats and rewards to anyone that would be able to keep it alive like that doctors have for him through the Almighty’s Hand?
I know I would.
I would bring it back with me and it would be part of my opening act and line when I meet my Spanish mulatto minx/belle. Romanticism at its peak. *daydreaming*
Well it’s late for that now isn’t it.
He was sent home with a mission, a big grin, hordes of instructions, 2 plastic bags (medicines & injections), and 4 envelopes (of different sizes) containing medical reports, prescriptions, and test results to ease with customs and immigration I presume, since then there was no TSA yet- post 9/11 days.
He confessed to sleeping half the night at the hotel eager to hear the wakeup call from the reception desk. So he’d leap into KLM’s coach bus and set his sights towards the left wing of the massive blue bird.
THE window seat.
He told me he’d done something so ‘unlike’ him, as if he was ever gonna be the same the same anyway. Well… not after such an encounter he wouldn’t.
He’d been amongst the first few to board the plane and bolted straight for the red-letter window seat. It was such that Chairman was even worried but his sudden surge of energy. That he had to check up on him and enquire about his stamina, biopsy points, and scars (he had a laser surgery) almost three times.
He was more than alright. He was on a quest.
Full of hopes.
All the while peering down the sparsely lit nightly skies of Toronto as they soared towards- home.
15 hours later…. He was in his quaint and spacious room that reeked of loneliness, neglect, and precipitous sanitation. Of course that was not until after having passed the hurdles laid from the gate, to the court yard, and into Hajiya’s (his mother) parlor- maternal love and scrutiny, siblings' rowdiness, close friends and neighbours, even house helps.
He is a really good person, so of course they would miss him and worry.
His worry however was somethingelse entirely.
And his miss was a Miss. :-)
He slothfully dropped his Wrangler leather jacket and sunk into reverie.
----TO BE CONTINUED----