Today, we bring you a short story by Farafina author, Eghosa Imasuen published on canopicjar.com. Titled The Cadavers, the story explores the lives of four Uniben medical students. It’s a story of passion, love, friendship and death.
So, grab a cold drink and enjoy!
Ewaen heard himself snore.
This was something he had not gotten used to even though it had happened more than once. Ewaen knew he snored; it wasn’t that. He had to know because Sissi would not let him not know. But Sissi did not know this: that at times when waking up Ewaen could actually hear a snort or two of his sonorous breathing. And this morning as on the few other mornings – and afternoons, or evenings – when it happened, it still brought a smile to his face.
This asleep-smile was something to behold, Ewaen knew. He could imagine his girlfriend looking at his face as he woke. He could see Sissi smile in response to the slight, silly upturning of the corners of his mouth. How she would think that he was waking up from a pleasant dream. How she would watch him for a few more minutes, not interrupting whatever she thought he dreamt about. He longed for when she would whisper in his ear. Wake up, Ewaen. Wake up or you’ll be late. Now that he was used to, but not to the point of being bored with it. No. He was used to it the way you got used to ice-cream, or a sweaty tumbler of Gulder. Sissi’s lips against his ear, whispering. She made his mornings smile, she did. Ewaen curled himself into a ball, his shin hitting the pillar of wood.
Pillar of wood?
Oh yes. Now he remembered. Sort of.
He opened his eyes and received his second surprise this morning. He was on the rug. He tasted it first – granules of sand mixed with lint – because his mouth was open and he had recently begun sleeping on his face. Sissi had suggested that sleeping face-down reduced snoring.
Still, he was surprised: sleeping face-down did not mean sleeping on the ground, did it? What was he doing down here?
He had not yet awakened enough to have the energy to move his head so he used his eyes. They took in through half-closed eyelids the foot of his bed that rested against his knee. They scanned across to the empty snow of an absent TV station. They glanced, and looked properly a moment later, at the socks that dangled in front of his face. Brown cuddly socks with a picture of Winnie the Pooh over each big toe, socks that smelled of old wrappers and an orange rind.
What were Sissi’s feet doing on his bed? Oh, that wasn’t even a good question. A better one was this: if Sissi’s feet were on his bed, why was he on the ground?
Oh, yes. The Onyinye argument.
Slowly other sounds joined his snoring. The banter of a morning at Aiwerioba Estate: water splashing into plastic buckets from the tap outside his window; the vroom-vroom of warmed-up cars. The noises, smells, and chatter from twenty-six kitchens travelled to him in waves, waves that drowned out the sound of his own snoring.
As arguments go, this was slowly becoming pyrrhic. There would be no winner.
“I cannot believe you’d call her name when we were in bed together. So you are dying for her?”
“I didn’t call her name.” But he did, didn’t he? Ewaen spoke above the roar of the shower. He hoped the flat was now empty. It was nine already, everyone would have left for class. As the spray of cold water hit, cold water that helped to rouse him now that Sissi and her waking-tongue were on strike, he tried to play the tape back. The tape of last night. They had been in bed. She was on top. She always liked being on top. She liked to wrestle him for the position and would give a whoop of triumph when he finally let her win. They had put on the condom before starting anything, even before Ewaen had all his clothes off – she said taking the break to put on the rubber later would kill the illusion of spontaneity. He now moved in her; he watched her climb towards her climax. He watched the reflection of the TV lights on her sweating breasts, he watched those breasts heave, watched them rise and fall, faster and faster. His hands were on her hips but his mind was on Anatomy, wasn’t it? Yes, Anatomy. Tuesday. Cognition, association, and word play: that was what he used to prevent coming too soon. Think of a very bad book, last weekend’s football scores – okay ignore the fact that Arsenal won. That mightn’t work. The brain moved in mysterious ways. He had been thinking of when they would wake up if they kept this up for much longer, thinking if he’d be late for class, thinking that it would be his turn to lead dissection tomorrow, that he would need to pack his pen torch, his lab coat, thinking that Onyinye would, as usual, be in front of the cadaver first, thinking that he would have to do better than last time, if only to prevent another argument with Onyinye. And as most brain teasers and association word games go, he had come full circle: if he didn’t want to prevent another argument with Onyinye, he had to be awake early, he would have to end this quick. Sissi’s breathing was faster now, irregular, more urgent. It wouldn’t be long now. Ewaen had spoken, tried to say something. Sissi liked it when he called out her name.
Ewaen turned off the shower, dried himself with the blue towel, a souvenir from daddy’s celebration of ten years as a banking entrepreneur.
That was what he had called out, her name. Sissi. Onyinye? But what did it matter?
“What does it matter? I am your girlfriend! Not Onyinye. And you know I don’t like you mixing with that stuck-up crew!”
Oh. Did he speak his thoughts? The shower was off. She heard. “That was not what I meant, Sissi.” He hated using that name Sissi, but next to the full version, Akpanusikekesi, he felt he had no choice. No one called his girlfriend Akpanusikekesi. “Okay, even if I said her name, what does it mean? You know she’s in my Anatomy group; I was preoccupied with prepping for dissection today.”
“You were preoccupied while making love to me? That is what I am now, a mercy fuh . . . you were doing it because of pity?”
*Eghosa’s Fine Boys will be published by Farafina in September 2011.