Loss

This is a guest post from a StoryCrafting Alumni, Rachael Onuigbo.

I run through the hospital. Everything is moving too slow and too fast at once. I run, the room numbers blurring. 201…202…203…204 and then finally, 205. Doctors are outside the room. A doctor moves out of the group when he sees me running towards them. He is saying something but I can’t hear him. I shrug out of his grip and push through to get in but I don’t have to.

Nurses roll out a stretcher. A body lies unmoving on it, completely covered. I refuse to believe till I see it. I struggle against the hands that hold me and pull the covering back then I see the evidence I need. The world becomes a roar. My husband is dead. The face that had smiled at me, the mouth that had kissed me goodbye this morning. Gone.

I start screaming and crying, begging the doctors to do something. To save the man that meant everything to me. My pleas and screams fall on deaf ears as someone pulls me away so the nurses can roll out the stretcher.

Day 1

I feel like I’m in a haze, going through the motions but not really going through them. The accident is on the news and the phone rings non-stop but I don’t pick it. Pictures of both of us together are everywhere. Our wedding, our honeymoon in Paris, the impulsive vacation to Hawaii. Memories move as if in a slideshow and I know that I can’t survive without him. I can’t find the will to. Visitors come pouring in, offering their condolences and asking me if I’m okay. What can I tell them? I will never be okay. I am told that I have to eat. My husband will never eat again so why should I? Nobody understands how I feel and I doubt anyone ever will.

Week 1

I stand in front of the mirror and cannot recognise the woman staring back. I have lost weight and my clothes hang off me in unflattering angles. My face is pale, my hair a messy bun. Before, I wouldn’t be caught dead with messy hair. Everything is now categorized as ‘before’ and ‘after’. Before my husband died. After my husband died. I can’t do this, I whisper to my reflection. I can’t do this. I give in and cry.

Month 1

Today is the burial. I tune out what the priest is saying and look at the closed coffin at the altar. Everybody tells me that God knows best and He has a reason. To me, that means that God likes to see people suffer because why would he take away what was most important to me? The burial ends and we drive to the cemetery. I am quiet throughout. After the priest blesses the coffin, the pallbearers lower it to the ground. I feel like someone is cutting off my oxygen supply as I watch. Tears fill my eyes as I realise, yet again, how much I’ve lost. People come over and in a robotic voice, I thank them for coming. They offer words of encouragement that do nothing to help me and tell me I’ll be okay but I don’t believe them.

Month 3

By now, I’m numb. I have locked my grief deep inside me because I’ve realised that sometimes, it is easier to bear your pain alone. People ask me if I’m okay. I nod and give a fake smile, knowing that they wouldn’t want to hear how I reach out on the bed for someone that isn’t there. Or how I wake up every morning thinking it is all a bad dream and break apart again when I realize that it isn’t. I cry myself to sleep every night, holding on to his things and inhaling his scent. I rage at God and ask questions that are never answered. My life is a big question mark and I wonder if the hole in my heart will ever fill.

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Month 7

I haven’t dreamt of him since he died and I am yet to decide if that is a good or bad thing. I push myself out of the bed and in front of the mirror and cringe at what I see. There are shadows in my eyes and hollows under them. I look like I have aged thirty years and I feel that way too. I put my hand on my chest. I can feel my heart’s steady beat. Even though my world has been torn apart and has lost its axis, I’m still alive.  I decide to stay that way for him. I have to put all his things in a box and take them out. Oh God, I can’t do this. I want to crawl back into bed again but something in me refuses to keep drowning in the pain. I’ve been drowning for so long, maybe it’s time I learnt how to swim and for the first time in a long while, I have hope.

1 Year

I’m at the cemetery, in front of my husband’s grave with a bouquet of white roses in my hand. I can’t believe a year has passed. I’m not the woman I was before or the woman I have become. I am something else entirely and I am trying to make that something good. My heart hurts in a million places as I drop the bouquet and kiss the headstone. I wonder if he is watching me, if he knows how much I miss him, if he knows that I will love him forever and will keep him safe in my heart so that death does not become what defines our time together. As I leave, I accept that maybe God had his reasons. It is time for me to live again. I cry a little in my car as I feel my heart go lighter and maybe I’m being paranoid but I feel someone-maybe God or my husband-smile at me from above.

 

Onuigbo Rachael is a writer, natural skin-care enthusiast and fitness coach. She won the 2015/2016 My Rainbow Books writing competition and is currently writing a book based on her life experiences. She is an ardent reader and loves romance, young adult fiction and thrillers and is usually found with her head in a book- or her phone- depending on where she’s reading from. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found at the gym, sweating it out and coaching other people wanting to loose weight too or making tutorial videos to show how you can use natural products to treat a lot of skin issues
She uses social media to share her works and you can connect with her on Instagram or on Twitter @_lilaurora or Facebook.

 

Abowu District Episode 49

Dear reader, 

Thank you for coming with me on this journey to Abowu District. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series. 

You can trust that another series is already on its way. 

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Enjoy the last episode and please leave a comment! 

Continue reading “Abowu District Episode 49”

Abowu District Episode 48

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Uche stood in his cell, thinking about his predicament. It was over twenty four hours and no one had come for him yet, which was strange. What usually happened in the case that one of them got arrested, was that Richard the boss, would either send someone to rescue them or silence them. He was held in high regard within the gang, so he assumed that there would be no plans of silencing him. Yet he had not been rescued. Either option didn’t bother Uche as much as the silence he perceived from the gang. Why was no one coming? Was he being abandoned? Continue reading “Abowu District Episode 48”

Abowu District Episode 47

Florence heard about what happened to Philomena when she went to buy some pap for her children two days after she recovered them. The news of the rich storeowner who had been beaten by her husband was being told by a middle-aged taxi driver who stood in front of the fascinated pap seller.

“She must have shown some arrogance to the man, because there is no way that a man can beat his wife like that without being provoked.” Continue reading “Abowu District Episode 47”

Abowu District Episode 46

“So you don’t know where she is now?”

“No, I don’t.”

Sewa watched the frustrated look on Doyin’s face and wondered what the man’s motive was. He had deliberately turned Becky against her, yet he seemed unhappy about her absence from the restaurant. She observed him closely, trying to determine what his game was. Continue reading “Abowu District Episode 46”

Abowu District Episode 44

“What are you going to do now?” Sewa asked Florence whose eyes had become bloodshot with incessant crying. They were seated a little distance away from the cooks who were cooking the last batch of meat for the day. It had been four days since the incident with Uche.

“I don’t know, I have searched for them everywhere. I don’t know why he would take my children. Even if something happened between that evil man and I, does that take away my capability as a mother?”

Sewa sighed and watched her friend wiping more tears.

“I did this for us, even though he said I shouldn’t have anything to do with them, he never complained about eating bigger pieces of meat, living in a bigger house or wearing new clothes, but the minute he heard that I was in a terrible situation with Mr Okafor he took my children.” She cried some more. “I did this for the family, how can he repay me like this? How can he be so selfish and jealous?”

“Have you been to his family house?”

“I’ve been there, they insulted me and sent me away, and they said they’d not seen him nor the children.”

Sewa sighed again. “Maybe we should go and report it at the police station…”

“The police didn’t even believe that Mr Okafor wanted to rape me, how can they believe that my husband took my children away?”

“But we have to do something. Have you been to his school?”

“I have, I was told that he is on an indefinite leave. Sewa, was I so wrong because I wanted a better life for myself and my children? How could Philomena even do this to me? Is it my fault that her husband found me attractive?”

She wailed and wailed to the dismay of her friend who could do nothing but hold her hand. After a while, Sewa cleared her throat and patted her friend’s back.

“What is going to happen to the shop? Are you going back?”

“No, no I’m not. I’ve gone there to take all my money and all my things. Their shop is there with all their goods.”

“What if they go to your house?”

“I’ve moved out of the house.”

∞∞∞∞∞

Philomena slipped the file she’d given Toye back into Uche’s drawer, and shut it just as he walked into their bedroom.

“What are you doing there?”

“I’m looking for the records of the bags of rice that your boys brought in.”

“Why?”

“I think my workers are cheating me, I just want to be sure of what was brought in.”

“Don’t you have records in your shop?” he asked suspicious.

“But I’m not in my shop now, or is there anything wrong with checking the records at home?”

“I don’t want you snooping in my drawer, do you hear me? They are not for you.”

She nodded. “I have heard you.” she got up, grabbed her handbag and began to walk out of the room.

“Where are you going?”

“To the shop,” she replied, cocking an eyebrow.

“You’re changing.” He stood in her way and looked into her eyes. “There’s something different about you, I don’t know what it is, but it is there.” He held her chin and tipped her head upwards.

Philomena squirmed, wondering what he saw in her eyes. “Uche what do you want?”

“I want you to remember that I own you,” he pinched her chin hard as she tried in vain to loosen his hold. “I own you, so don’t start growing wings, do you hear me?”

She nodded vigorously.

∞∞∞∞∞

Becky was at the back of the restaurant, helping to put the hot amala into plastic wraps when Doyin walked into the building and sat down. When the waiter got to his table, he asked to speak to the proprietor.

Sewa was at his table in a short while, curiousity evident on her face.  “Good afternoon Officer, can I help you?”

“Please sit down.”

She did.

“I just thought that I should let you know about one of your girls. Her name is Becky.”

“Becky? How do you know her?”

He laughed. “I know a lot of people in this district.” He tickled his gum with a toothpick. “Anyway, this is what I came to tell you, and I’m telling you this because I don’t like liars or cunning people. “She’s meeting all sorts of men, even her ex-husband. It is only a matter before she gets pregnant again.”

Sewa looked doubtful and he could see it. “Alright then, ask her if she met with her ex-husband recently, ask her if she slept with him.”

∞∞∞∞∞

“So is it true? Have you been sleeping around?”

Becky’s heart raced. She glanced up from the book she was reading. Sewa looked furious, had Doyin fulfilled his threat? Was it the reason why she had been snapping at her all day?

“No it is not true…”

“Have you slept with your ex-husband?”

Becky got up from the floor. “No…yes… it’s not what it looks like.”

“Which is the answer, yes, or no?”

“It didn’t happen the way you think…”

“How then did it happen?”

“He forced himself on me…”

“He forced himself? How did that happen?” Sewa was shouting now. “Where were you when such a thing happened? Did he force you or did you go looking for him? Did I not warn you about daydreaming? Did I not say that you should be content with what we can provide for you?”

“I’m telling you the truth ma, he forced himself on me, I was…”

“If that’s the truth, why didn’t you tell me when it happened?”

“I was ashamed, I didn’t…”

“Ashamed of what? Am I not a woman? You’re a liar and an ungrateful person!”

“What is happening here?” Babatunde came out of the house, into the sitting room. “What is happening?”

Sewa heaved. “A policeman came into the restaurant today and told me that this girl has been sleeping around. He said I should ask her if she’s been sleeping with her ex-husband. I couldn’t believe it because she was always so diligent. Now she’s telling me that he forced himself on her. She’s lying, she can’t even tell the truth!”

Babatunde found the accusation hard to believe. “Maybe we should calm down and ask her what really happened.”

“What is happening is that Becky is a dreamer and she is greedy. We give her everything she wants, why would she be going to her ex-husband at all?”

“Let me explain ma…” Becky was on her knees now.

“Let her explain…” Babatunde tried to intervene.

“No Babatunde, I will not listen to you. This is how you said I should listen to you and it put me in trouble with those heartless women. Before she brings thieves into my house because of her greediness, I will chase her out first. Go inside and pack all your things, everything, and leave my house now.”

“Sewa…”

“Babatunde please! I have done it your way enough. I told you I will do things my way from now on.”

Becky had started to cry, her son, Bolutife woke up and was crying too. Babatunde’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Within the next half hour, she had packed her things and left Sewa’s house.

∞∞∞∞∞

Becky walked into the Patrick’s Children’s Hospital and asked for Yomi. He had left, but a nurse was kind enough to call his residence and tell him about her presence at the hospital. Yomi promised to be with her shortly. Five hours later, it was one o’clock in the morning, the hospital was deserted, and Yomi still hadn’t come.

∞∞∞∞∞

Toye was surrounded by the men of Richard’s gang, to discuss the big operation that Doyin had mentioned. As usual, Richard was smoking, a cloud of smoke had formed over his head and was gently spreading throughout the stuffy room.

“We’re going to intercept the bullion van as soon as it reaches Thompson Road. Toye, I want you to look at the plan and search for the loopholes.”

A file landed on Toye’s laps, he opened it and began to study the plan as outlined by Richard.

“We shoot on sight anyone that tries to stop us, I want that money, I can already smell it. And if anyone tries to stop this plan in any way, I will kill him and send his body parts to his family. Am I understood?”

The men did. Toye’s body went cold.

∞∞∞∞∞

When Toye got back home, he found Annabelle sitting in the sitting room with her hands folded on her laps. She looked at the wall clock to check the time, it was almost two in the morning.

“Welcome,” she said.

He grunted in response and sat down. She helped him to remove his shirt and his shoes. “I made vegetable soup, should I bring it now with some pounded yam?”

“No.”

“You’re not hungry?”

“No, I am not.”

Annabelle was confused. “Have you eaten elsewhere?”

“Yes.”

There was an awkward silence between them.

“Are you still angry with me?” she asked.

“No.”

“So why aren’t you talking to me like before?”

“I don’t trust you, you will have to gain my trust again.”

“Alright.”

“I’m going to sleep.”

When Toye walked into their room, he saw a tape recorder on the bed. It was the one he had been using to record the things he wanted to share with Bala. The tape in it was clean but he had kept it in his wardrobe. Annabelle had brought it out and left it there deliberately. He stood staring at it.

“What are you doing with a tape recorder?” she asked with derision.

“Why were you snooping through my things?”

“What are you recording?” she asked calmly.

“Since when do I have to start explaining my job to you?”

“I have never seen you with a recorder, I think I will ask Doyin if it is something you all use…”

She saw the look in his eyes, a look that told her that she was not supposed to see the recorder and Doyin was not supposed to know that he had one. She smiled, feeling back in control.

“You think you’re the only one who can make demands? I have given you everything Toye, I will not let you treat me as if I don’t matter. I am not Becky. From now on, you will come home on time, you will help me to take care of the baby and you will be caring to me, otherwise Doyin will know that you have a tape recorder, and I will leave him to speculate and ask you all the questions there are to answer.”

Toye smiled coldly, he picked the recorder from the bed, put it back in his wardrobe and lay on the bed. Something began to grow inside of him until it consumed his mind, pure hatred for the woman lying beside him.