Chapter 2: The Unbroken Spirit

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IT WAS THE SAME SENSATION EVERY TIME, like something hazy and vague always on the edge of his consciousness yet he couldn’t grasp it however hard he tried to concentrate.

Sometimes he felt like someone walking in a fog with both hands stretched out in front of him, seeing something vaguely outlined before him but when he reached out and tried to touch it, it disappeared, leaving him confused and very frustrated.

“Phillip what do you think?” The voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he looked around the conference table realising that he hadn’t heard the question.

He shook his head. “Sorry?”

His three companions looked at him with expressions of concern. All had noted that he seemed to be distracted quite often and sometimes seemed confused. He was increasingly irritable and this behaviour had started after the accident he had two months before.

“Why don’t we take a break? It’s almost lunchtime anyway,” David suggested.

The others nodded and left, casting furtive glances at his brother whose face was set in tight rigid lines. Hell, they could understand if he was a little rattled. It was rumoured that he had almost died, not that anyone had ever heard him talk about the accident.

“Don’t you ever do that again,” Phillip bit out once they were alone.
“You were spaced out. I didn’t think it would do any harm to take a break…”
“In future I’ll make the decision alright?”

David nodded and noted that his brother looked tired, haggard even. Thirty two years old and three years younger than David, today he looked a lot older. Since the accident he had lost more than ten kilos and now weighed 70 kilos which looked gaunt on his six foot two inch frame.

The pale blue shirt he was wearing used to fit him perfectly but now drooped in the shoulders. He tired easily and still experienced headaches and just like a few minutes ago had problems concentrating. David was concerned about him and felt that he should have given himself more time to recuperate before coming back to work.

“I’m worried about you.”

“I’m fine,” Phillip waved his hand in dismissal. He got up and went to the window to stare outside. David noted the clenched fists and knew the intense frustration that his brother could not voice.

“What happened just now,” he began cautiously, “was it another flash?”

Phillip nodded. “The same as always. I get an image of movement, or a rocking sensation followed by this face…” he gripped the bars on the window, “…if only it would become clearer. I reach out; there is a blinding light then nothing, dammit!”

David broached something that had been on his mind for some time. “Do you ever wonder if these flashes are real?”

“Why?”

“The doctor told us you suffered severe head trauma which also affected your memory. Maybe the face you keep seeing is a result of the confusion in your mind about the accident and events immediately after that.”

Phillip did not say anything at first and then he turned to face his brother. “Maybe you’re right. But it seems so real. I can sometimes hear her talking to me; mostly in bits and pieces, except her eyes…” his voice trailed off.

“What about them?” David asked his attention caught by his brother’s tone of voice.  He had never mentioned this before.

“They are the only constant thing in all the flashes. I didn’t think eyes could say so much. She was worried and scared yet her eyes showed such strength and determination. She made me fight to get better…” he stopped abruptly and shrugged.

“Why not take a few days off and go to the farm?  Mum and dad would be very happy to see you.”

Phillip shook his head. “It’s better to keep busy. Besides, if the flashes are not real then they should fade away in time.”

“How about some lunch then? We can resume this later.” He moved towards the door then paused in the act of opening it. “There is one thing we have not tried.”

“What?”

“The person who took you to hospital may be able to fill in the gaps in your memory.”

“But how do we find them? Anne says it is one of the hospital staff who called to inform her that I was in hospital.”

“We could try putting a notice in the newspaper, or appeal to the person to come forward using the ‘Watchman’ column in the Daily Nation.”

Phillip looked at him in surprise.  “You’re serious?”

“Why not? You have nothing to lose and if we find the person who helped you it could lay the matter to rest once and for all.” Privately he was hoping this would help his brother forget about his vision and aid in his recovery.

“Fine,” Phillip agreed.  “Let’s try it.”

The book is available at Magunga online bookstore, Text Book Centre, Savanis, Prestige Booksellers.

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