He Saved Me

“Remember me, I’d keep watch over you.”

The line kept running through my mind, with mixed feelings of sadness and reassurance. It brought thoughts of death, a death that… Saved me. I was confused, wondering where I heard the line.

Add to that my recurrent dream about a boy my age, waving goodbye to me. The dream had the same scenes, same sequences, same characters: I would find myself in a hospital ward, very sick and weak. There are doctors and other people in the medical team discussing and arguing over what next to do for me. Then he would step in, right in their midst and say some things inaudible to me. The next scene would be him walking away and saving goodbye. I never see his face.

Mrs. Adeniyi, my mother, is rarely around. Being a senior officer in the ministry of education, she travels often on official errands. We rarely talked and when we did, it was mostly about my academics in the University of Lagos. I’d tell her the usual medical student life stories and she was often satisfied with just that.

The seventh time I had the dream, I decided to mention it to her. For more than five minutes after I told her, mother was silent.

“Ayanfe, how many times have you had this dream?”

“Last night was the seventh…”

“Do you ever see his face? Hear his name? What’s he putting on?”

“I… Don’t know… I never see his face. I don’t hear what he says either. But, I think he had on a yellow jersey and blue jeans… I’m not sure ma.”

“Hmmm, alright dear. I’d be home this weekend. We’d talk more then.”

Saturday morning, mother was back home, from whichever university she had gone to accredit this time. She had on a serious face.

“Ayanfe, sit.” She had barely settled in when she brought up my weird dream. “You were a twin…”

* * * * * * * 13 years Ago * * * * * * *

“She is really sick, she needs a bone marrow transplant immediately. Is there a good match in the family?”

“Her brother… But he is also just recovering… I don’t think we should stress him further.”

“But we might lose her. Remember it takes a long time on the donor list.”

“I know. I know. But, what if she doesn’t take? What if we lose them both?”

“We just have to try… Don’t you think…?”

“Excuse me doctor, use me. Save my sister, I don’t want her to die…”

* * * * * * *

“Preparations for the surgery were made. You got the transplant and tolerated it well but your brother died in theatre.”

“What was his name?”

“Nifemi.”

I went to the school library after the talk with mother. I needed to think. Did Nifemi give his life for me? Or did I kill him? We were barely Seven years old then. How did he understand? How was he able to come to such a decision? Why did mother keep him secret? Did she think I’d blame myself?

I was still thinking of these questions when I saw him at the glass window opposite my seat. He had the same round face like mine, small nose and slightly pink lips. He had on a yellow jersey and blue jeans.

He was smiling, “Remember me, I’d keep watch over you.”

He pressed his face against the window, between his bloodied palms also on the window, leaving red imprints. I nodded as he walked away, again, waving goodbye.

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