Fate – In Memory
I sat behind my curtains and watched him. The ashewo boyfriend of mine.
He had been there for over two hours; outside the apartment I shared with Monica and Hauwa. He stood there, squatting every now and then to relieve his legs. He stopped knocking a while ago and I just ignored what I hoped was his last call.
Really, what did he want?
To apologize for sleeping with that slut of a girl Yinka? Was he drunk? Crazy or what? Did he think I wouldn’t find out?
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?!” I said, half out loud. I was sure he could not hear me so I was understandably scared when he raised his head and looked directly at where I was hiding. I gave a little jump.
He looked around at the gate in a listening attitude before turning back towards the house and bowing his head. How could he?
“How could you?! How could you…after everything….” To my horror, I broke into tears.
I had gone through so much only recently. So much. For his sake.
I sobbed quietly, head bowed. I was thinking about the baby I lost only six weeks ago. ‘Lost’ is the word I feel more comfortable using, because while I hadn’t intentionally aborted it, I had used some drugs I knew wasn’t good for expecting mothers. What did I think was going to happen?
But I had not told him about it. I didn’t even tell him I was pregnant.
I was wrestling…I had been wrestling with so much after that; guilt, hurt and insecurity. And I couldn’t tell him; this guy who I loved so much.
At some point I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with him and so I asked for some space. I should have told him – I should have. But I thought I was protecting my man from what was my own carelessness. I told my bestie Nneka about it, and she agreed with me. But I didn’t think he would go ahead and do…do…
Wiping the tears as best as I could, I peeked outside the window again. He was still there, but now he was on his feet, typing something on his phone. Maybe he was sending another of those text messages. It didn’t matter. My phone was switched off.
“You should speak to him you know,” someone spoke over my shoulder. I jumped before I realized it was my roomie Hauwa. I woodenly kept my face towards the window because the crazy girl had a habit of walking around naked in the house. And while she had the body for it – I just didn’t think it was normal.
“You can look. I’m not naked,” she said. I couldn’t help laughing.
I turned to look at her and indeed; she wasn’t naked. She looked like a pin in an envelope in a very large t-shirt; a gift from her brother, and I could see shorts peeking from underneath it.
“Thank God,” I muttered.
“You should say something…” she started again. I interrupted her.
“I don’t want to say anything to him! Na by force?! Whose side are you on sef?”
She leaned over and spoke into my ear, “I’m not concerned about him. He’ll be fine. It’s you I’m worried about.”
I followed her with my eyes as she left.
The squealing of tires called my attention back to the window, the dust cloud alerting me to the presence of a car. Some seconds later a blue Toyota Camry materialized in front of the house. It was one of his friend’s. He walked towards the vehicle, and I could hear the low murmur of voices.
It sounded like they were arguing.
He turned and looked directly at me before getting into the car. I heaved a sigh of relief as they drove off. My head was pounding so I went into my room and took a couple of Panadol tablets. And then I lay on my bed and tried to sleep.
I thought about Hauwa and what she said to me earlier. I thought about Nneka and how she’d refused to tell me about my boyfriend and Yinka, even though she had known for a while. I was mad at her; I was still mad at her but I had to understand that was her way of protecting me. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
One of my lecturers who taught us Logic had a habit of telling us girls that the idea of a heart ‘breaking’ was totally ridiculous. He would say ‘all your heart does is pump blood. It does not feel – it cannot feel. All those your Mills & Boon rubbish…”
I wanted to ask him at that moment to explain why I felt so much pain in my heart – why the left side of my chest hurt physically. I wanted to ask him to explain the pain away; to tell me it’s just my imagination. After all, the hurt I was feeling wasn’t logical, right?
Thanks to my boyfriend. My thoughts drifted back to him and the tears started to trickle slowly down my face and unto my pillow. Stuffing the edge of my bed cloth into my mouth, I bit down on it to keep from sobbing aloud and continued crying…
A loud scream jerked me awake and I flew into a sitting position before hurrying off the bed, almost tripping in the bedclothes. I pulled my left leg free without slowing down. The scream…
It sounded like Monica.
I ran out of the room and almost collided with a crying Monica and Hauwa who was holding her with one arm and trying to cover her mouth with the other hand. Hauwa also had tears in her eyes, and then I started to feel afraid.
“What’s wrong? What is it?”
They continued walking, Monica looked away, crying quietly while Hauwa addressed me over her shoulder.
“Something happened to one of her friends. I’ll come and gist you now,” she said as she led Monica towards their room. I walked back into my room to lie down, but I found I was trembling so I sat on the edge of my bed and switched on my phone. As I waited for it to load, I heard the house’s main door open and footsteps came towards my door.
I jumped up in agitation and opened the door. It was Hauwa and Nneka – and Nneka was crying. She was crying hard. Immediately I started crying again. This was really bad. I couldn’t talk – I couldn’t ask her what the matter was and she refused to meet my eyes.
“Hauwa?” I mumbled through a tear-logged throat. I couldn’t stand any more of their silence.
It was Nneka who answer.
“It’s…it’s him,” she said. I just knew she was talking about my boyfriend.
I passed out.
That was seven months ago.
I am standing in front of his grave now; my boyfriend.
They burned him and three of his friends alive. They said they were thieves and cultists.
I can start to tell you how sweet and innocent my baby was; how impossible it was for him to be anything remotely like what they accused him of. But there would be no point. He is dead and gone, and nothing anyone or I say will bring him back.
It’s not like you would believe me anyway.
That terrible day when I heard, my heart stopped beating. I wasn’t hospitalized but Hauwa says I kept fainting. She said she had to make sure she was standing behind me anything I left my room – so she could catch me in case.
I can smile about it now. However, for a long time I felt so guilty I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t stop thinking about what could have been if I had just let him into my room that day. Everyone (Nneka and Hauwa) said it wasn’t my fault but it took a while before I could stop blaming myself.
I still think about it. What if…?
I met his parents; his mother is so beautiful. The first time I met the woman – someone had pulled me out of the group of students that went to visit them and introduced me as his girlfriend. She had hugged me to her ample bosom and cried so hard.
She practically adopted me into the family; I’m on my way to see her now.
I really did love him. Unfortunately it took for him to die for me to realize I would have forgiven him anything – anything to stay a while longer with me.
I’ll move on, not because I will forget him but because that’s how it works. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget him, or stop thinking about him at some point. We’ll see.
Rest In Peace, baby.
I love you.
In Remembrance of the four…The ALUU 4: Tekena, Ugonna, Chiadika and Lloyd.
They say the people we love only truly die when they die in our hearts.
Words fall short – but God speaks in silence.
May He comfort those they left behind.