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Creative Nonfiction Adventure Drama

Sar Hannah, 


Today’s entry immortalizes you. I’m 99% sure these words wouldn’t see the light of your day, but I apologize if the name “Hannah” offends you. I want to address you like you aren’t some figment of my imagination, hence, my naming you. Needless to write, after a mental debate between Sarah and Hannah, names I happen to have chosen on a whim, I decided to go with Hannah. 


My hands are eerily still as I write todae this. Okay, maybe thinking about composure isn’t the best way to keep it. But, today came as a real shocker. Countless people scurrying like a pack of ants around sugar is a blur behind my lids. However, the thought of you near death on the ground remains as vivid as any detailed nightmare. 


Early this morning, on the quiet streets of Abuja, everything was as normal as normal could be. I was sitting on the grass patch that surrounded the statue of a woman balancing a basket on her head and a baby in her arms. I had my earpiece plugged in, more out of habit as nothing played on my phone. With the hint of a smile, I watched the market on the other side of the tarred road buzz with activity. Women gossiped in the Hausa tongue I didn’t understand, beaming like the world has always been good to them. Hannah, you were probably one of them, all of us unaware of the impending incident. 

Beautiful morning aside, I wasn’t there to lose myself in the dewy atmosphere. Simultaneously, I observed the road, so as not to miss the bus that routinely took people to the heart of the city, where I had to shop for clothes. I thought I was very observant. Until I heard the scratch of tyres swiftly followed by the thud of a head banging concrete.


Even now, thinking about it wraps my brain in a blanket of confusion. I was watching the road. I’m sure some other people were too. Somehow. I don’t know where you came from. One minute, everything is normal. The next, a van with the famous insignia of Cowbell Milk skids to a halt after colliding with flesh. Your flesh. 


Before an accident, I’d assumed there’d be a premonition of some sort. Maybe people screaming in fear of the inevitable, or the fated motorist honking like his life depended on it. I don’t know… it’s what I see in movies. Naturally, I expected the same in reality. But none of that happened. It was a horror movie cutting right to the climax: sudden and scary. 


Initially, it was hard to identify your gender because the market women were on you almost immediately. I don’t even know the reason your gender mattered in the first place. Maybe I needed little facts like that to distract me. The driver of the Cowbell car joined them later on, red against the yellow of his T-shirt. I couldn’t tell if red was simply his complexion, or a colour he’d acquired due to fear, confusion or a mix of both. If there’s one thing I can tell, it’s that he’s a good man. I didn’t expect his stopping to face the music. And somehow, that questioned my morality. His joining the women somewhat dispersed them, enough to give me a clear view of your motionless body. I was able to deduce your leanness, however, your dressing, akin to that of Mahatma Gandhi(God rest his soul) made it impossible to notice breasts or any other indication of your femininity. So I waited to see your face.


When he knelt amidst the tearful women to check your pulse, I didn’t dare inhale. As if, somehow, my not breathing would provide you with all the air I was certain you needed. Thankfully, he confirmed your escape from death right before fishing for his phone and distancing himself from the crowd. If he was jumpy, he didn’t show it, and not surprisingly, no one harassed him for his actions. All attention was on you. And all I did was freeze my butt to the grass and clutch my phone, wondering how you survived. I itched for the women to move aside too, so I’d see your face. Pathetic, my train of thoughts, given the grave situation.


Sometime then, a balding man pushed past me, some of the many spread-out spectators, and through the crowd. He gesticulated wildly, ordering the women to give you space to breathe. Obeying, the women resorted to fanning you with their Ankara wrappers. That’s when I saw your face. Lean like your body, bejeweled, and the palest shade of dark. A steel tray lay beside your head, some goods I didn’t bother identifying scattered on the ground next to it. I assume those were your goods, though? Not that it's important. 


I’d already attributed your pallor to the loss of blood, so it shook me when I realized you weren’t bleeding. This, alongside other things that showed how different your... misfortune was from those portrayed in movies, scared me mute. I don’t know why, but after seeing you, I realized something. You could have been anyone. Me, the next person, anyone! I’ve always known life is precious, but Hannah, you made me understand. Honestly, I’m grateful. But, at the same time, my heart is heavy with the fact that I only sat there, pointlessly replaying your accident in my head. 


My ride arrived soon after, an ambulance in tow. Thankfully. I scrambled to a seat at the back of the bus, not sparing you a second glance (sorry). My driver took in the scene expressionless. The wails of the women had turned into fervent prayers. More onlookers had joined the gathering, wearing faces that belonged to victims of electrocution. When you were hauled onto the bed and into the ambulance… I went numb. We waited until your ambulance rounded a corner and vanished before we followed. My driver’s goitre gave me something else to focus on on the way, other than my actions—or lack thereof—today. 


Frankly, if it were just you and me on that road, Hannah, I doubt I would’ve been of much help to you. Despite my knowledge of first aid, I admit I would’ve been too wrapped up in fear to do anything. If this admittance sickens you, trust me, I’m way greener. Courtesy of my cowardice. I don’t want to witness—or experience, God forbid—an accident, but if I ever witnessed one again, I would prefer to write an entry elaborating how I helped rescue a victim like you, not how I stood by and did absolutely nothing meaningful. 


Stacy. 


April 08, 2020 19:16

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4 comments

Elizabeth Prater
02:29 Apr 16, 2020

You write in a very poetic manner and it is lovely. I can feel the guilt in the narrator’s voice ripping apart the day in question... hauntingly beautiful. As many writers have said before, “show, not tell” is one of the best things to remember while writing. In your second paragraph, it states “today came as a real shocker”, I felt that this was unnecessary and distracted me from the imagery throughout the entry. I want to see those shaking hands, fists in hair or hear heavy breathing. Overall, I enjoyed reading your piece!

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01:31 Apr 18, 2020

I'm really grateful for the criticism! Thank you so much really❤

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P S B
17:46 Apr 14, 2020

You created an interesting world with fitting descriptions. I liked the comparison with the ants but not the one of the onlookers.

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01:40 Apr 15, 2020

Thanks for the comment...and the observation. I understand that it sounds off haha.

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