4.30 PM

valtoybob! 4.30 pm

Life gives you a hundred but you crave thousand. I’m perusing CPR flyers at the ER wondering how unimaginable it could be for the average man to comprehend. I’m thinking “how would this effect save someone especially my roommate who just fainted during an exam?”


I was called from my book club meeting. We were to review Tade Thompson’s ‘Rosewater’ – a book I had read 3 times. So, I was (in my mind) ready to finish them and kill off anyone who picked any flaws from the book. The call came several times. The beeping was becoming uncomfortable and interrupting the sentience of our review. I was mad. Who would be calling me at 12pm on a Friday? I picked up and tried to act normal while speaking softly. “What! Tayo? Hospital? I should come now?” My roomie, Rambo (as I described him to strangers) was just admitted. I thought in my mind, “that guy is as hard as nails”. He once called himself ‘ponmo ibo’ (Igbo Ponmo) because they were very tough. I’m surprised it could be him. A guy who beat 3 people with one hand tied behind his back at the ball house. It must be some form of prank. The caller sounded tensed and I thought, “Rambo would not do this”. No! Not like this. It would be grander, almost impossible, which would make it flawed in the end. Not like this. I left the review and raced to the hospital at the end of the road, hoping I was wrong.


And now I’m back here, reading CPR flyers. Thinking about how Rambo had to faint just to drag me here. I saw the place as a caged wall with sadness reeking from its vents. A place where creativity loathes. It has been 3 hours. Rambo was still unconscious. Yes. That’s what the doctor said. Cerebral malaria. He would be in the hospital for some time. Maybe for over a week. I kept muttering. “Why Tayo?”. He has never had any illness worse than headache before. I said to the doctor, “Can’t we do CPR so he can just return to his room and read for tomorrow’s exam?” He laughed. He couldn’t blame me. I was an English major. Science class was the devil in high school. Had the ugliest babes and the meanest boys. Art class was the peach and the pride of the set. Our oratory sessions and debates were lit. The doctor told me something about some complications which included seizures. “What! Wárápá (epilepsy), nítòrí kíní (because of what)”. I was pulling up unimaginable theories about how messed up his life would become if he had any complications. I looked around and saw other patients in pain, many unconscious and holding on for dear life. I walked out of the ER in sadness and thinking to myself how broken sickness makes you. How easy it is for hope to seep out through broken dams of good health.


Outside I saw group of people gathered, holding hands, praying as an unconscious man was being wheeled in on a gurney. A paramedic and a nurse were doing the CPR I had just read about and I was keen to see how it was going to save him. I followed the crowd and the man as they approached the door. I prayed silently for Rambo that God healed him and removed all complications. The crowd didn’t enter the ER but I did assist in wheeling the man in. I got a closer look. He was in his mid 60s and was not breathing. The CPR was continued for another 15 minutes. I heard someone say it was a cardiac arrest. All attempts to save him were futile. And then in that instant his time of death was called. 4.30 pm. I grew cold. I walked out of the ER as tears rolled down my cheeks. I just saw a man die. Apparently, he had died in the ambulance that brought him. Life had come to an end.


It’s nightfall. Rambo still hadn’t woken up but his sister had come to stay the night by his side. She had perfect teeth and black curly hair. I had promised Rambo that I was going to work hard enough to marry her but all that thought were lost away now because this is not the time for ‘package’. Focus. Today is the hardest I had ever thought in my life. Of course, besides the day I was trying to cook up lies about missing pieces of meat in the stew pot at home. I was thinking about that dead man, how his shallow grave would be filled with the tears of his relatives and the wailing of those who prayed. I was thinking about how many had thought and preached about how God was a miracle worker but decided to leave out their own relatives on the day of glory. I kept rambling how it could have been my own pops on that gurney and my mother would be drowned in her own tears. I thought about how isolated from suffering and pain I was because it was other people’s problems. I imagined how steep the cave of sadness and emptiness had become for the family of that man. This life is really a madness. 4.30 pm. Would never remain the same. Again. Life gives me a hundred and I intend to be grateful for every piece of it.

Written by:

Biola Olanrewaju
AUGUST 2019.

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8 thoughts on “4.30 PM

  1. Valtoy B. says:

    Thank you for reading. Please share your opinions and thoughts. Much love!

    1. Isi Ogah says:

      This is a beautiful piece and gives one a lot to ponder on and be thankful for. The style is writing is beautiful and engaging. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Christian Ajibodu says:

    4:30. Hmm… So many reasons to be grateful. This is really nice

    1. Valtoy B. says:

      Yes, bro. We have millions of reasons to be grateful 🙂


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