USMAN: The demise

Happy Independence day fellow Nigerians.

Happy new month everybody.

Here is the second part of Usman’s story.

We had just finished the last paper in that term’s exam. It was on a Friday.

We were supposed to be excited but we were not- Usman had not been around that day, his brothers said he was down with malaria. For him to have missed school it must have been very serious because since I knew him he had never missed school. So me and about four of my friends decided to go check on him that Friday.

On other days, we entered their house shouting and disturbing the neighbourhood. This day however, we were so sober and quiet as we stepped into the house where Usman and his family lived.

I, at first told my friends that I would stay outside- I did not want to go in and see him in a sick state. I didn’t want to see that side of him. I loved the vibrant and inspiring young man. My friends went in and I waited to hear them talk so that I would just hear the voice of my dear friend Usman. I did not hear his voice.

I slowly walked into the house. I wanted to tell him that he had to come to school on Monday so that he could sit for the paper he missed.

He was lying on the three seater chair. His mum was seated there on the same chair near where his head was. He was smiling as one of my friend talked to him. I did not sit. I should have stayed outside because I did not like the way he was just lying there helpless: looking so lean and tired. Just smiling (as usual).

On the other hand I was glad I went in to see him, for that was the last time I saw him…last time ever.

As my friends and I were about to leave that day, one of us whispered to the rest of us, “Should we pray?”

Now, Usman’s family was a typical muslim one and among my friends that were at the house at that time was no muslim. So if we were to pray, it would have been in a Christian way. So, in a whisper too, another friend said, “We don’t know if his mum will like it.”

And that was how we left that day.

The thought that we should have tried the prayer thing kept bothering me. I did not know why. It was not as if I was as Christianly as I am now. Neither was I the one who raised the praying issue. But I thought I could have insisted that we at least tried, then if the mum had stopped us that would have been a different issue.

I was so bothered that I actually fell ill over that weekend and could not go to school on Monday. Though exams were over my school was always fun and one would not want to miss out.

My younger brother went to school that Monday and when he came back I asked him if he saw Usman in school.
“They said Senior Usman is dead.”
That was what my brother told me and right there on our own three-seater where I laid, my heart skipped a beat and my mind went back to Friday.

For a very very very long time I wondered if he would not have died if we had prayed that day.

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