Saved Or Not – A Short Story

He sat on his perch, the rays caressing his face. She walked past, looking at his neck and the back of his head, dark brown hair cascading down. He was oblivious to her passing him.

They were being watched.

“Hey” she said. He turned around, woken from his reverie.

“Why do you sit there every morning?” she asked.

He thought it a strange question as he never really considered it. It was the small pavilion where spectators crowded on during football matches every Monday night. During the week it was his quiet spot, close to the entrance and still far enough so that the cars would not disturb him.

She walked past every morning on her way from gym back to her room to shower before class. She had that fresh, dewy look on her face that can only be achieved post-workout, with a splash of cold water.

“I like it here” he said, twisting his upper body to face the girl in the road.

“Do you meditate up there?” she asked squinting at the aura of his sun encased head.

“Not really” he said, then turned back and looked back at her. “It’s quiet, I am alone and I am happy” he said.

What was ahead of him was not beauty to speak of. The sports field was not well-maintained, especially after the weekend when students used it as the unofficial watering hole. Also, beyond the field was the road and beyond that the factories, chugging up smoke and intruding on the horizon. No mountain, steps or the FedEx  postcard that foreigners came to expect. Just this ordinary campus that he had grown to love.

*

He, on the other hand, was fuming.  He layed on the roof of the maintenance shed opposite the sports field with the rickety wooden pavilion a metre or so from the road. He had been watching her ever since she left him, deciding that he was too possessive and controlling. It was then for her own good. What does she know, he would mumble to himself, walking around campus.  He had to be like that! What else was he going to do, leave her to fend for herself and let assholes like this prey on her?! Ah uh, no way, not my girl, he thought to himself. And what’s the deal with this one, sitting here on the pavilion like a bird, nes ‘n vokken voël, he huffed to himself.

He had been watching her for the past two weeks since she dumped him, walk past this guy as she left the gym.  She would stare at him, stop, then walk on. So today is the day the bitch decides to make her move, is it then? He held the rifle in his hand, looked at it, then in both hands as he aimed it at this guy’s head. He had to sell his laptop and ask his buddy who asked that Nigerian guy who everyone knows if he can organise it. But when he held it in his hand, he knew it was all worth it. He was lying on his front with the gun positioned towards the top of the pavilion. He angled it at the doos’s head and got ready to make his move.

What happened next went by as quick as the speed of a bullet. Tatenda decided, to hell with it, I’m going to ask this dude out for coffee. So she called out to Ian, sitting on his perch, “Yo, Buddha!” she shouted.

The Gods were watching over him as he watched over the world below, as he turned to his new friend from the day before, the 6:45am shuttle came by. It was like clockwork and was the only one for the hour, so he didn’t mind it bursting through his silent time. He half stood up as he turned as he could not hear her say “How about lunch sometime?”

He also cupped his hand to his ear as he twisted up, not taking note of his now off-centre of gravity. Had he waited a second longer; if he had attended those stupid fitness lessons with his ex-girlfriend Eva and been more limber; if Duane had actually excelled at target shooting practise at school like he did in smoking weed after school and had actually shot the rifle at least once before today and realised the impact of the shot; if Tatenda had not asked Ian out for that lunch or if Mr Aboagye had actually been late today, then Ian would have died.

However, all he did was fall. Toppled over the edge. She gasped and wondered if she had just killed a man all because she thought he was so cute and couldn’t look at him any longer just sitting there and not ask him out. She jumped over the low fence to where he had fallen just over a metre away from her and held his head in her hands as he looked up at her.

“Hey beautiful” he said as he looked up at her eyes, tears brimming and threatening to stream down her face.

She smiled at him; he smiled at her as the bus was now just a sound in the distance, Mr Aboagye unaware of how he had just saved a life. She helped him up after insistent pleas of male bravado-tainted “I’m fine, really.”

They limped off to the first aid unit and lunch followed soon after. Duane, on the other hand, was found later that day by the gardener. He had cracked three vertebrae in his neck and lost the use of his legs.

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