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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Love After Death (1)

 My husband is coming home tonight. I’ve waited for him all day and when the short hand on the clock hits twelve he’ll sit right beside me. I always wonder what he gets up to during the times he is not with me, whenever I ask him, his jaw tightens and there is something in his eyes which are usually so guileless. Like he is hiding something even when he says everything is fine with his extra charming smile.

  My mother doesn’t like him and she makes no secret of it. “I don’t trust that Jide boy, with his charming looks….will he stay, even if he wanted to? Will these Lagos girls let him?”

 All through her rants and tantrums I said nothing; I didn’t need to because Jide always proved her and her baseless suspicions wrong.

I sit on the bed and look up at the clock placed intently above the door; it’s exactly 12am. I almost scream as I feel Jide’s ice- cold hands on my thigh. After all this time he is still the same not even a beard or moustache. The same short curly hair in varied colors of brown, light honey-brown eyes that turns golden in the sunlight, his hooked nose and pink plum lips. He’s so perfect he looks almost surreal, like a dream. In that instant, I understand why my mother is so skeptical. I run my fingers through his hair and he pulls me in for a kiss.

“Hey beautiful.”
“How was work?”
“Let’s not talk about work, I have a better idea.”

He steps out for a minute and comes in with some DVD’s and two spoons. I give him a puzzled look before his ‘idea’ sinks in.
“We are taking a trip down memory lane.” It comes out as a statement rather than a question.

While he puts in our wedding DVD’s, I take out a tub of ice-cream from the mini-fridge next to my side of the bed. Minutes later I’m in his arms, ice-cream in hand laughing at the TV screen. I’m freezing; his arms are comfortable but so so cold-almost as cold as the plate in my hand. But I feel like the luckiest woman in the world and I sleep with a content smile on my face.

I wake up knowing. Knowing my husband is not by my side and immediately wish I was still asleep. He didn’t even stay for breakfast. I grudgingly tear myself off the bed and make my way to the kitchen.
“Mummy, good morning.” I call out from over my shoulder; she already made breakfast and served some for me.

“Mummy you didn’t have to, I’ve told you. You’re a guest here–”
“Ehn?! Guest where? In my daughter’s house, Biko. Stop that joke.”
I smile and take a bite of the food, boiled yam and eggs fried with beef and vegetables.

“Yes,” I mumble from a stuffed mouth.
“Ego.” she says slowly for dramatic effect. One look at her serious face and I drop the fork and take a gulp of water.

“Mum, what is it?” I ask while recalling the last time I saw this look on her face.
I remember with startling clarity that it was last year; I came home from the doctor’s with the news. I was pregnant! 

Before I could say anything she sat me down and with this same look she told me Jide had died in a car accident at the Benin/Ore road on his way home. There were no survivors.
“Wait, what? But I’m pregnant.” At that revelation she broke down and started crying. My mum, crying – blubbering- like a little girl in my arms. This had to be a dream. A terrible sick twisted nightmare that played on for months. I pinched myself, it went on, I slapped myself; it went on, I cut my wrists it still wouldn’t end. 

The same faces at our wedding were now at my husband’s funeral barely six months later and my unborn baby might have sensed the grief and opted out; I had a miscarriage and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back....

 To be continued 

 By Naima

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