The Diamond: Part Five.

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

…their stethoscopes worn like medals around their necks.

Present Day.

Having rejoined the land of the living, Bandile began to consider his circumstances. He studied his luxury surroundings, while recalling the contradictory fact that he had no medical insurance. Surely it had terminated following his sacking from the mine? He thought. He should have been languishing in a corridor in Cullinan’s state hospital or more likely in the mortuary.

Bandile lay in an expensive bed, surrounded by expensive equipment, in an expensive room which was obviously located in an expensive hospital. These facts puzzled him as much as his unlikely survival from the argument with the Cullinan Express.

Someone was funding his treatment and resulting recovery, he pondered. At that moment, the doctor entered; middle aged and white, he was pursued by a gaggle of young trainees in crisp white coats, their stethoscopes worn like medals around their necks.

“Here ladies and gentlemen we have the original miracle,” he lorded it to his adoring audience. “Multiple injuries following a collision with a bus. Died three times at the scene, eighty percent blood loss, and two weeks in an induced coma.” The consultant paused akin to an actor, awaiting applause for a Shakespearean sonnet.

The entourage gasped in unison, giving the performer his ovation, as if Bandile’s remarkable recuperation was his own personal marvel.

“How are we today, Bandile?” Was the man talking to him? He had never before been addressed in such a way by a white person, let alone one of such elevation. All he could manage in response was a nod and a smile from his broken face.

“Good man, good man! Mr VanKirk will be pleased.” The words uttered by the medic shot through him like a seismic event. Was Mr VanKirk THE  Mr VanKirk? If so, was he the benefactor? Bandile was struggling to take it all in.

Meanwhile, the consultant’s performance continued, to the reverence of his pupils. The troupe exited the room led by their Pied Piper in white and Bandile was left in silent contemplation.

He squeezed the pump with his left hand to alleviate his constant companion’s attention. Accompanying the wave of analgesia came initial clarity. He recalled his previous visitor, the beautiful young white woman. Not, nevertheless, sitting at his bedside, but in the pages of a society magazine. His recollection was of one of his colleagues at the mine who was a keen follower of Johannesburg society.

“One day I will marry an heiress,” he used to say, flipping through the dog-eared, glossy pages depicting another world. Was he in that world now? By some quirk of fate, even in his prone position, he seemed to be rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of South African society.

Something else tugged at the thin strand of his memory. An object this time, not a person. What was it? He tried to cut through the undergrowth of pain and drug-induced jungle.

Suddenly he found a clearing, a circular space of green in which lay the bundle. Like a daffodil in the first days of spring, she emerged.

Yellow.

Gold.

Blond.

Flaxen.

All of the words he had used to describe her came back to him. His heart pounded in his ear, in time to the nearby machine, and something stirred deep in his swollen gut. The sponsor of his recovery was not a person, it was an object! His Muse!

Bandile’s thoughts then became jumbled, as he backed into the thicket. She was the paradox, being the cause of his misfortune , yet the reason for his unlikely survival. Where was she now?

Another image surfaced, again of the young white woman. This time, she was sitting in opulent surroundings, behind a desk. He pictured her kind smile and his own giant, black hands holding the yellow bundle.

“Goodbye, my love.”

The scene faded as the morphine’s side effects kicked in and he lost consciousness.

1 Comment

  1. Ken Childs

    Time to wake him up.

    Reply

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