It had been two weeks since he last saw her. Guilt would not even allow him to make any concerted effort to meet up with her after what went down on that ill fated night in her room. He had sent several apologetic text messages to her while she had refused to answer any of his calls. It was the least he deserved and he acknowledged that fact. He had decided to stop texting her a few days back. If she doesn’t want to hear from him, he had to respect her decision.
Back against the blue wall with arms folded tightly across his chest, Bello heaved long and hard at irregular intervals while his outstretched legs lay numb on the king sized bed. Scanning the length and breadth of the dimly lighted and poorly ventilated room, he felt blood drain away from his legs. He planted his feet deep into the blue rug and was momentarily consoled by the smooth feel of the textured underlay. He paced the length of the room akimbo trying to get the blood circulation going and to finally erase the demoralising thoughts that circled his mind.Yes, he wronged her and yes, he did study hard for that examination.
He decided to think long and hard about the whole events that lead to failing his penultimate examination for just ten minutes. He satisfied his angst and locked the images and voices deep behind a certain black door he so specially created in his mind.
His final semester examination was in two weeks and he was determined not to go down the same mental quagmire that derailed the previous. He knew he could still savage a second class upper degree and restore a little bit of pride to his battered self worth. Bello felt a sting in his stomach just as he was about to change his pacing direction. The worms in his stomach had had nothing to eat for a while…
He turned 180° towards the blue painted iron door and walked out of the room. He stopped by the door adjacent his for a brief moment to examine whether the filthy knob had a hand print on it as he had been doing for the past few days. He still couldn’t believe she left unannounced and hadn’t been answering his calls. He wished he could find solace in her in his moment of solitude and God knows he was in the height of it.
He dragged his feet out of the hostel and hailed a motorcycle. Everything felt dead around him, even the hostel felt deserted. He knew he needed her, he knew she was the jolt he craved. Yet, he understood he had to crawl out of the quicksand he finds himself, unaided. He thought about calling her again but decided against it. He rode to the restaurant in silence, struggling to keep any and all thoughts away from his head.
Bello had always been one to study alone, in his blue themed room. However, solitude and guilt haunted him, making studying alone a daunting task. As much as he tried to keep her thoughts locked up deep behind the black door, he heard the door creak from time to time against the backdrop of the vehement pushes she gave. Her thoughts fight hard to get to the surface and the constant struggle to lock it down made it very hard to concentrate on studying and much of anything else.
After failing miserably to concentrate on studying in his room with just a week before his final examinations, he decided to go to the school library with his friends to study. Being in the company of friends helped tame the raging storm in his head and pushed him to prepare hard. He would leave his hostel very early in the morning and return late in the evening. Sometimes, he would spend the night at his friends’, just so he could be in their company. The strategy worked very well for him but it sapped him of a considerable amount of adipose tissues. He lost weight thanks to his unsettled psych and the rigorous routine. Yes, he had a mysteriously faint appetite too.
It wasn’t until forty-eight hours before his first paper that Bello finally let go of his guilt and inhibitions completely. The last semester was gone and what happened had happened. He figured there would be more than enough time after his decisive final examinations to be hard on himself and wallow in the past. Letting go and a certain new found spirituality calmed his raging sea and brought tranquility to his mind. He still thought of her and his neighbor, but only sparingly and consciously. He felt he was free of the sins of his past after praying to God for forgiveness and he felt alive again. He had just four papers to write in his final examinations and he felt so confident and invigorated.