“What movie?” Peter looked indifferent.
“I still believe” Ezekiel added.
“You and all this church church films sef,” Peter flinged his wrist, “I don’t want to watch it abeg.”
“Peter… Is there anything wrong with church movies?”
Peter gave Ezekiel some silence.
“By the way,” Ezekiel continued, “It’s not a church movie per se; It’s more about love and faith and hope.”
“Pastor Ezekiel.” Peter’s voice was burdened with sarcasm.
“Why are you so anti-church?”
“Why are you so hyper-church?!”
“I’m not hyper…” Ezekiel stopped, “Does that word even exist?”
“Let me be abeg! Is it by force to like your movie?”
There was a sudden bolt of noise from an engine and a loud hiss of air that stole their gaze.
A shirtless man, ahead of them, dressed in a grease stained pair of trousers rushed for the hose that spat out rapid volume of air. He then squatted to the level of the flattened tire of the brilliant red Honda Accord that parked in front of him. The boys watched him stab the tire with his hose. Shortly, the man touched something at the back of the engine and both the hissing noise and the roar of the engine ceased. The sudden silence was obviously loud.
“I’m sure this man did not plan to end up pumping the tires of his mate’s cars”
“He could have heard you.” Ezekiel said.
“Would he want to beat me because I described his job?” Peter shrugged.
They were approaching the vulcanizer and so they passed silently until they were a few foot away.
“No. He could feel bad about it.” Ezekiel replied.
“What concerns me?” Peter loosened up his red necktie and stabbed the pieces of his uniform into his pocket. “If he doesn’t like it let him look for something else to do.”
They passes the vulcaniser quietly.
“What do you want to be in future?” He asked.
“Na Doctor o…” Peter replied.
Ezekiel’s pupil dilated. His checks became rounder and more elevated. “You want to save life too, right?” Ezekiel placed his hands on Peter’s right shoulder.
“Baba… na the money dey important pass.” He shoke Ezekiel’s hands off. They walked in silence afterwards. To Peter, Ezekiel was vibeless. And worse, he was too churchy. It was a relief to Peter when they finally parted ways to their various homes. Peter knew he would never attempt walking with Ezekiel home again.
Peter rolled in bed. He stood up. He paced his room. Most of his neighbors either went to school for Saturday lessons or wedding ceremonies else he would have being playing football or table tennis with them. And worse, there was no light. Mum had gone to her shop as usually. His Dad… his dad left them; he remarried 3 years ago. That was in the past and Peter had gotten over it — a bit.
Were would I go now? Peter’s palm cupped his chin. He stood as idly as the standing fan his gaze was fixed on.
Upon his pillow, his phone vibrated. He sat on the bed and pulled it towards him.
Why is my mum calling me this early morning. Hope she doesn’t want me to stay in shop for her o...
He clicked on the screen with his thumb and pressed the phone to his ears.
Peter was taken aback. It was not mum’s voice on the other side of the phone.
“Yes? It’s Peter.”
“I’m her son.” He rose from the bed thoughtlessly.
“At where?” His face tensed up.
“Which hospital did they carry her to?”
“Heb what?” He ran to his desk, stole a pen from it and began to scribble on at the back of his chemistry textbook. “Hebron Millers Clinic.”
“Okay…” The pumping machine in his chest became more fierce.
“Number what? Shekore bus stop? Okay. Sha…Shadiku? Oh. Sadiku bus stop.” He scribbled that information too, swifter than he had done when writing his English essay exam.
“You say it is near which bank…”
The phone call was interrupted; mum’s airtime had been exhausted.
“Hebron Millers. Hebron Millers. Sadiku Bus stop. Hebron Millers Clinic” He soliloquized.
He coated his head with a face cap. Plucked his wallet from under his pillow and ran out. The house seemed silent for a while until Peter dashed back in to get his house keys.
The house was finally quiet again for rats to express their freedom of movement.
A tall young guy approached the receptionist. He wore a red polo with horizontal white stripes across over a pair of blue skinny denims. His fingers secured a black face cap.
“Yes, I am Peter. Peter Okorafor” the 17-year-old boy replied when asked.
“Yes. She’s my mother. Goodness Okorafor. Her name.” It seemed as though he would be out of breath before the minute runs out.
“First floor, fifth room by your left.” The receptionist said.
“Thank you so much, ma.” he stretched his legs to cover more distance in a short time.
He got to the ward in which his mummy lay. She was fast asleep and had bandage wrapped around her right arm. Peter studied her. She didn’t even move a finger.
“Is she…” He started.
“She would be fine” A man in white lab coat replied before he asked. “She just needs some rest.”
The doctor was babying a notepad between his arm and forearm.
He just sat on the chair beside his mum. She was all he had and he was all she had. Death is, and should, never be an option. He threw a brief smile at the young lady who stayed beside her sister on the bed next to his mum’s. She gave a weak smile in return.
He looked ahead and saw on the television a guy who went to a guitar concert at night. He became entrailed to the movie. He got to know that the Guitarist star was Jean-Luc and the protagonist was Jeremy. Jeremy fell in love with Melissa a girl he met at the concert and they both started dating soon after. Peter observed that despite the fact that Jean-Luc was a famous instrumentalist, Melissa turned down his proposal to her and rather accepted Jeremy’s — a random student in the same collage as she.
Peter watched as Jeremy’s enthusiasm to learn from Jean-Luc skyrocketed. He saw him get better at playing to the point that Jeremy had a chance to perform on stage with the famous star, Jean-Luc.
If I was as enthusiastic as this guy in my academics, I would have been doing so well, Peter thought.
Peter also noticed that the bond between Jeremy and Melissa grew so much that the bond seemed uncrackable — diamond hard.
He observed different obstacles that wanted to repel the two love birds on the television screen. He watched Jeremy become an independent Guitar Superstar with time and was amazed at the mode at which Jeremy proposed to Melissa right in front of the crowd that came to watch him.
Peter turned to watch him mum once again. It was only the rise and fall of her chest that gave him hope of her still being alive. He stroke her arm gingerly and bent down to kiss his mum on her forehead before returning his gaze to the television screen.
He got to the point where a hindrance was possed on Jeremy’s marrying Melissa — she had ovarian cancer. He saw her degenerate and grow weak with time yet Jeremy’s love for her waxed thicker. Peter had not felt so emotional in a long time.
He noticed how Jeremy asked his fans, during a tour of his, to collectively pray for Melissa, who later became his wife. Peter couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw how sincere collective prayers from the crowd made the Cancer go away. He was so happy for them. He had never felt so connected to a movie before. To Peter’s disappointment and Jeremy’s heartbreak, the Cancer cell proliferate months later. This time, her case was worse. And she had a limited time left on Earth as the doctor pronounced. When Jeremy wasn’t in his show, he spent quality time with his wife Melissa in the hospital. She began to lose some basic human functions as the Cancer in her developed. It was the unshakeable love Jeremy still had for her that made Peter spill a teardrop or two.
Peter used his dorsum to dry his eyes. I can’t cry in the hospital; I’m a man.
Finally, while Jeremy was seated beside his sweetheart on her bed, she passed away.
Peter found his arms wrapped around his legs which he had folded up to his chest unconsciously. His head, which he bent downwards, rained salty fluid down his clothes.
It was one of the most emotional scenes he had ever seen. Peter became angry. Angry at cancer for being such a divide to a peaceful and perfect couple. He was angry at the doctors.
Why haven’t they found a cure to this devil called cancer?
He made a choice that day. He would be a doctor to find the permanent cure to Cancer — he didn’t care about the money he would earn from being one anymore — even if this was the only thing he did before he would die.
While he was still carving out his future in his thoughts, he heard the ending song, “I still Believe.”
His brain pictured Ezekiel back to consciousness. Was this the movie Ezekiel was talking about the other day? He looked up at a nurse who was talking with the Lady who came to stay with her sister.
Something caught his eyes — his mum’s arm moved.
“Yes. That’s the name of the movie” he heard the nurse. “I still believe.”
Ebube Ezeadum, a lover of creative writing wrote via email@example.com