It honestly feels like a dream! I have had mixed feelings about ending the Capital High series. It has become a part of my weekly routine- thinking about what to write in the next episode, doing my ‘mixed school’ due diligence, replying messages and comments, listening to and reading your reactions to the events that have unfolded in the last 15 episodes! I have grown attached to the characters just like you have and I hate to see them go, but this is not ‘Days of our lives’ and it must surely come to an end. I must say that it has been humbling to see how far this series has gone. It has pushed me in every way imaginable- you have no idea the kind of struggles I have had to overcome to post some of these episodes, but like I always say, you always make it worthwhile. Thank you for reading and sharing every week. Thank you for the hype- every blogger needs readers like you. Thank you for pushing me to be more consistent and creative with my posting. Thank you for falling in love with Capital High! ❤
First order of business! As a parting gift, Kwame Pocho of Team 1000 words took time over the weekend to do a Capital High shoot! (I keep telling you I have the most awesome readers in the world!) Those of you who follow the Facebook page may have seen a teaser or two earlier today. It was so humbling to see the story and the characters come to life- and I can’t thank Pocho enough for doing this. Special thanks go to Gerard Nartey (for assisting Pocho) and to Obuobi Emmanuel Bekoe, Naa Ahiney Laryea and Yasmin Lartey for graciously playing K Beck, Akpene and Gagert. You guys were awesome. I am happy to share a few of them with you..
K Beck shook his head a third time, his eyes following the motorcycle rider.
These are the days when he missed Christoff the most. He would have broken into some psychological analysis of the lawlessness that motorcycle riders in Ghana are associated with. There were days when he came to the conclusion that God had probably sent Christoff to Capital High just for him. They had gone past friendship to brotherhood and K Beck knew that he could always count on him if he needed someone to be there for him.
When dust had settled on the whole Akpene episode, he had tried to hook Awula up with Christoff, but he won’t hear of it.
‘Do I look like a rebound to you? I like unchartered waters’, Christoff said with a twinkle in his eye.
Instead, he had ended up with Denise.
‘Denise, as in I brought thongs to school on my first day Denise?’
‘Yes, one and the same.’
‘How is that unchartered waters?’
‘I may have forgotten to mention that I like a challenge. Denise is a challenge.’
That guy was a wise man. It didn’t surprise him when Christoff won the school prefect elections hands down. The pride bursting out of his chest as he watched his friend ascend the dais for his sash was unforgettable. There was another reason why he could never forget that day- it was the day that he discovered that Gagert had acute kidney injury. It explained a lot of things- her sudden openness, the show of emotion from time to time and even the way she had let Lawrencia off the hook so easily.
Lying in a bed, with all sorts of machines surrounding her, Gagert looked frail. When she opened her eyes, she smiled.
‘I knew your father would eventually tell you. Don’t look so sad. I am not dying or anything.’
She was a strong one- that woman- insisting on having the dialysis done in her house so that she would not miss the Capital High routine. She had also been secretly building an orphanage and a creative arts centre for the people in the Capital High town. Her reason was: ‘It is kind of vain, isn’t it, when a headteacher builds a hall or a house in the school and names it after herself? I am building this as a legacy. Many many years after I am gone, every orphan who goes through this institution will be touched by my hand.’
He still went back to see her from time to time. She had retired now but still lived close to the school.
‘I am proud of you, you know. I remember when your dad came to see me about your suspension.’
‘I knew he had a hand in it!’
‘Yes he did, and now look at you, almost an architect. No luck with Akpene?’
‘I still haven’t found her, but I won’t stop looking.’
‘I know. The Welbeck men are persistent!’
They both smiled. He reached for her wrinkled hand and rubbed it against his cheek.
This is going to take forever.
He was due for an internship this vacation with Design Consult, one of the major architectural firms in the country. The HR woman, an old menopausal woman whose glasses looked like they were about to fall off, had asked him to come along with a doctor’s report.
‘We need to be sure you have a clean bill of health.’
And that was why he was sitting in this long queue, between an overweight woman and a mechanic with foul body odour. He sighed for the hundredth time and began to fidget. One of the nurses walked past him. From behind, she looked like Akpene.
K Beck, get it together. Stop imagining things. We have been through this too many times.
When she turned and sat at her desk, his throat went dry. It was her. It was really her. He patiently waited for her to see him. It didn’t take too long. She looked at the folder she was holding and immediately felt her stomach turning.
When she called out his name, her voice was hesitant.
She could not believe it.
Yes it was him.
Kwamena Welbeck in the flesh.
Same cocky, heartstopping smile.
Same glint of mischief in his eyes.
Akpene was grateful that she was seated behind her desk or else her wobbly knees would have given her away. He sat in front of her, not saying a word- just smiling.
Her hands quivered as she wrapped the pressure cuff around his arm. He noticed and asked, ‘Shouldn’t we be checking your blood pressure instead?’
She unconsciously checked for a wedding ring and silently chided herself.
He is only 23 years old. And even if he was, it is really none of your business.
He watched her in silence, ten billion questions running through his head. When she was done, he knew he wanted answers- and he wanted them today.
‘We are done.’
‘You need to get up so that I can attend to my next patient.’
‘Goodness! I see you are still as stubborn as ever. But that’s a good thing- it would have been torture to talk to you again after all these years, if you had changed. Walk with me.’
‘You are going to make a scene. I have to work.’
‘Then walk with me.’
She sighed, shook her head and got up. Mumbling something to the nurse seated beside her, she dusted off imaginary dust from her uniform. K Beck knew that she was only trying to regain composure. He bit his lips to keep the smile from escaping, flattered however that he still had this effect on her. He drank in the sight of her. She wore perfume now. Her eyes looked tired, probably because she had done a double shift or something. She looked less guarded than she used to be, and his heart ached about missing out on part of her ‘healing process’. Her calves had gotten slightly bigger but firmer, making her legendary figure even more profound. He turned his attention back to her face.
‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
Akpene laughed out, startling a woman who was nursing her baby boy in the corner. She grabbed him by the hand and pulled him outside.
‘Is that why you pulled me from my work? I have patients waiting.’
‘Of all the questions, it is the most important. So yes or no?’
Never had one word meant so much to him. The hope in his heart soared.
‘Couldn’t find anyone like me huh?’
Akpene rolled her eyes.
‘I see you are still full of yourself!’
‘And I see you are still obstinate and sharp-tongued. But you know it’s true, don’t you?’
‘I won’t give you the dignity of a response.’
‘Did you find your brother?’
‘Yes, I did. It took a while but he is back here with me. He is almost done with primary school.’
‘You should enroll him in Capital High. It would be good for him.’
‘With Gagert gone? No,thank you!’
‘Polar Bear is not so bad, I must admit. He is doing well.’
‘You seem up to date with Capital High affairs. How is Gagert?’
‘She is fine. Responding well to the dialysis. My dad has been keeping her company, that’s how come I am so updated. Apparently they were lovers when they were in school.’
‘Gagert, in love? Never saw that one coming. How is Awula?’
‘She is fine, I guess. Her dad flew her to Switzerland. She is attending the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She might become your next Foreign Minister.’
‘That’s nice. I see how you put in the ‘I guess’ to subtly tell me that you don’t talk often.’
‘I like how you can still read me.’
‘I missed you Akpene. I don’t get how you could ignore all the letters I sent you.’
‘Letters? I only got one- and I gave it back to the letter girl without opening it.’
‘Yes, letters. I wrote you a letter every week and posted a copy to every school I knew that had the Nursing Training School option. I never got a reply.’
‘I am sorry, K. I didn’t know about any of the letters.’
‘It is fine. What matters is that you are here now. I never stopped looking for you.’
‘I don’t doubt that.’
‘I am serious. It was almost like a movie. When we left school, every short girl with curves looked like you. I can’t count the number of women I have startled with a bear hug.’
She laughed out loud again.
‘It is good to hear you laughing.’
‘You are such a clown. How could I not?’
‘My auntie used to say that you insult the guy you like. My auntie was a wise woman.’
Akpene shook her head. The March sun was showing off its splendour so she squinted. K Beck lifted his hand and shielded her from the rays.
‘Feels like a deja vu, doesn’t it? I remember doing this in Capital High.’
‘Oh you mean, the day you gave Curtis blackmail material by giving me a peck in front of the Liberty downs?’
‘Yes, exactly that. But I choose to focus on the peck, not the Curtis bit.’
They both smiled.
‘I have to go inside now.’
‘Call me. My number is still the same old one.’
‘Don’t vanish like that on me again, I am serious.’
‘And you better call me!’
A smile played at her lips without her permission.
Subconsciously, he did a victory dance in his head as he watched her go off to attend to her patients.As he walked towards his car, he couldn’t help but remember what Akpene used to say anytime something good happened.
God must be smiling down at me.