I would want to admit that anyone who saw the vibrant radiant face of Thomas could have confessed that justly man was created in the semblance of God. Even an adherent atheist could have believed that. He was in the seventh heaven, a boundless grin connecting his two ears, exhibiting a haphazard connection of irregular teeth. His eyes were glued on a formal looking piece of paper- the cradle of this ecstasy. In fact, it was formal, addressed by ZIMSEC (Zimbabwe’s educational assessing board), informing the bearer that a slip-up had occurred on the Ordinary level results he had received. They had issued him a statement of results that showed he had scored a single A, five Bs and a couple of Cs on the eight subjects he had sat for the previous year. This had haunted and deterred his ambition to enrol at St Mary Magdalene’s High for his Advanced level certificate. The turning of the tables had provided an extra seven A grades which would make it easier to secure a slot at his dream school.
Within a period of two weeks, he had initiated his transference from St Monica’s, which the Headmaster of St Mary’s gladly acknowledged and welcomed him to his new school. He was as jovial as never before. He vowed that he was going to formulate wonders at the new institute, declaring that no mark shall be lower than that of the highest. It was a life changing turnout of events, and in life, such circumstances favor the chosen ones. As he promised his soul, he worked extra hard, even going extra miles from where the teachers had left him. His first term’s marks unlocked new levels of school records, scooping every academic and determination price as relevant.
He launched the second term on a high note, spilling data after data. The school was so proud of him. He had risen into the muse of intelligence within four months- a record. One evening, while in the computer lab, undertaking his “normal” deep-sea researches, a South Wales University scholarship ad popped up. Interested, he clicked the ad which opened the offer’s interface. On checking requirements, he noticed that he was meeting all the demands. He resolute to give it a shot and applied. He filled all the relevant fields as best as he could and submitted. Having finished this process, he thought he could call it a night.
On the morrow, he started and finished class as normal and in the evening, he went to perform his extra mile routine and by default he sat in front of his favourite computer. He had decided to check his email before engaging the studying gear. On opening his mail box, he was greeted by the less anticipated mail, your application has been approved; contact the numbers below for further details. His heart skipped a beat. He doubted his sense of sight, believing that he was in a trauma of some sort or hallucinating. He rushed through the door like a mischievous child caught stealing mangoes in the orchard of a well-known violent madman. Without knocking, he pushed the door ajar and entered like an entangled evil spirit in the house of a diviner. Out of breath he panted, “Elis, please come and see.”, Elis was puzzled by the restlessness marking his roommate’s face. He had never seen him relaxed since the day they met, but the magnitude of his restless that moment was way too much. He didn’t need further encouragement to give in. Curiosity had already taken him by grips. As he entered the Lab, he was motioned to read the message displayed by one of the computers. After reading the message numerous times, he too couldn’t believe his eyes. The two reached a consensus of trying to call the numbers given the early following morning.
In the morning, they called one of the numbers and with absolute lucky, it was picked. After introducing himself, Thomas was given a series of instructions by the voice at the other end of the line. He was to meet the person he called in Inyanga town the following day. That day, he informed the headmaster of those developments, who in turn was glad to help him with transport. You know; besides that, the Head was friendly and professional, Thomas was a respectable young man; who was only known as the measure of excellency. Everyone wanted to be involved with him in one way or the other. That was the reward of hard working, dedication, and determination.
A jovial atmosphere was engulfing our comrade as he was driving with the Headmaster to the rendezvous. Castles of different sizes and characteristics were rising and falling in the air, a feeling of triumph articulating the legend’s nervous system. No massage could have equaled the message he had read; to which he was executing rightfully. His imagination was already filled with the expectations of the impending and imminent European life. It is an average Zimbabwean’s wish to study overseas but the realization of this wish is like the odds of seeing a ghost. This was a life changing and status changing situation where the title “Mr” would become automatically attached to your name, and a reservation of seats in important occasions becoming a norm.
In Inyanga town, he didn’t hustle to see his host. They discussed a few details and clarified a few points then he handed our hero an air ticket with two check in points before reaching his final destination. He was to board a British Airways from Harare to Jo’burg then an Emirates to Dubai and finally to Whales. Reality was beginning to manifest. That Sunday he was to board a bus to Harare then board a taxi to Harare International airport to catch his flight scheduled for 1730hrs. This made him sleep early on Saturday.
Waking up in a twirl of confusion, he couldn’t believe his own eyes! He rinsed them abrasively and focused again… Still the same unhealthy news! The clock on the wall was pointing at 09:37. How could he oversleep to that extent. He grabbed his mobile phone and checked the time; to his utter disbelief, the times were the same. He was stunned. He scrolled through the cell phone’s applications to locate the clock so as to check if the alarm he had scheduled had performed its task. To his amazement, he had not marked Sunday. Still confused, he hurried off the room uttering a guidance prayer to the deity of speed. Within the limited time, he was ready to go to face the next hustle- finding transport to Harare.
After what seemed to age, a truck heading the Inyanga town direction arrived, seeing his worried down face the driver pulled by and motioned him to jump in. Being already behind time, he didn’t hesitate, jumped to the driver’s side and off they went. Within about 20 minutes, it seemed they had already gained an hour. The truck was moving at electronic speeds as if preparing for take-off, even negotiating curves at speeds exceeding 110 kilometers per hour. Within a short space of time they were in town, Thomas briskly exchanged transports and boarded an already speeding kombi tagged for the capital. The driver seemed to be engaged in a live need for speed. Most passengers tried to complain but Thomas thwarted their cries. It was his only opportunity.
Arriving in the capital, he had gained hours but it was already 1630hrs. He was constantly encouraging his soul believing that it will be well. He grabbed a passing taxi and redirected the driver towards the airport. He even paid him double to encourage him to cruise at 100% of the speedometer’s maximum calibration. He debussed while the taxi was still in motion and rushed towards the check-in table.
He approached the nearest but correct table and presented his ticket to a young spectacled gentleman, who, after briefly checking the ticket’s details shook his head and motioned him to look at the clock on the wall. Thomas froze. The clock was pointing at 1720hrs. He felt weak. As if that was not enough, the speakers cracked and announced: British airways flight 345 gates are closed. Followed by an alarm tone. Tears voluntarily began rolling down his cheeks….
“Thomas, hey Thomas what kind of sleeping is this …”, a lady’s voice shouted right in his ears. It had disturbed and shaken every sleep he had in his head. “are you forgetting that you are supposed to travel today…?”, the high-pitched voice continued. He realized that it was his mother and his phone’s alarm was still ringing. It was still 430hrs, meaning he was still in line with his journey’s plans. He jumped off the bed, greeted his Mother and thanked her for waking him. Within a split second, he had entered and exited the bathroom. Another moment, he was ready to go.
After waiting a couple of minutes at the station, a kombi heading for town pulled by. He hugged his mom a goodbye, jumped in and off they drove towards the district capital. he didn’t waste time in Inyanga. He was so fortunate to coincide with an already full kombi heading for the capital. The journey to Harare was a bit long. He engaged in thinking of his dream that morning and it puzzled him. He then decided to ignore it- at least it was only a dream. He smiled.
He arrived in the capital in appropriate time and hiked a taxi to the airport, smiling all the way and thanking his God who had propelled him this far. He arrived at the airport just in time of his flight’s check-in and performed the necessary procedures. At 1735hrs, he was seating fast in his seat as the flight attendants announced: we are now preparing to take off in a few moments, you are advised to fasten your seat belts and switch off all electronic gadgets…
Just before the voice finished, a loud ear-deafening explosion shook the whole airport. Debris was seen rising and seeding flames all over the lethal distance of the accident. Before an emergency exit was announced, a Boeing 777 engine bolted Thomas’ flight, lifting it off the ground for a split second and threw it a few yards like a wrestling champion furious at his opponent. It took less than a millisecond for flight 345 to reciprocate. Its engines burst into flames enveloping the eerie cries of helpless passengers. Thomas had only a second to look around and see the horrific faces of other passengers, chocked by smoke and dying a very painful death. The next moment he was standing in a strange green meadow, facing a man wearing a milky white rob, with an arm stretched to hold his. Focusing his eyes, he noticed golden stairs rising into the sky- a dazzling brilliance decorticating the sky as the heavens open. “Thomas!”, the voice boomed characteristically in his ears. Strange enough, it sounded so familiar. He moved a step towards the man, and strangely, he noticed that he can levitate. This means he had died in the airport accident. He was so troubled, he wanted to cry out loud but just as he opened his mouth to cry….
“Thomas! ” the familiar voice boomed again. This time he woke up, relieved that he was alive and it was a dream. It was his friend who was calling him. It was nearly 8:00 on Monday and evidently, he had managed to hibernate for the whole weekend in the computer lab in front of the computer he was using for researches the past Friday. More strange was his realization that he had been dreaming of winning the scholarship and his travel to the airport. He ran to his room and without even daring to bath, changed into a fresh new pair of uniform. Off, he ran to class coinciding with the teacher at the door. He was pardoned since it was his first time to be late for lessons.
That Monday was different from all the sucking Mondays. His crush had chosen to sit next to him. After nearly a day of hushed conversations, he realized that she was also into him. He decided to say the magic phrase. She cooed when he finally uttered it; showing a lot of interest, gladly accepted his proposal. The duo skipped lunch that day so as to buy a lot more time together. Still, it was not enough so they decided to meet privately after evening study in the dark corridors. Surely enough, the time came and the two had a first-time passionate conversation. It was so romantic as they hugged and hold each other’s hands. He asked her to kiss him and she gladly accepted. She seductively drew close to him, putting her hands around his neck. Thomas nearly froze as she was bringing her head close to him, her soft sweet breath caressing his face. Their nose touched and chill feeling rushed up and down Thomas’ spine, creating goose bumps all over the surface of his body. Their lips touched and …
He woke up aggressively. He couldn’t move because something was binding him down. He moved his head so that he could see around and was stunned! The whole circumference of the bed was marked by nurses. They looked at each other and smiled in celebration. This flabbergasted him. Before he could ask what was transpiring, one of the nurses who obviously looked senior elucidated everything.
He had been in a comma for a couple of weeks after falling from a mango tree. He had never gone to St Mary’s. This confused him but the nurses strengthened him to accept the reality. After some hours, he was discharged from the hospital….
His head was in a pandemonium; if this was a reality, and everything else was a dream; then that means time is somewhat wrong. Maybe it was an alternative timeline in a parallel universe
Only God knows