Hey there! What’s poppin’? *teeth* I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little while, it’s been real busy around here but, I made up my mind to find some time today and, here I am! Lemme say at this point that I’m really grateful for the responses I’ve been getting – thanks y’all, means a lot to me.
I penned this a few months ago and I’d love to share. So, enjoy and as usual, I’d love to get feedbacks from you.
I have gone from a size 10 to 14, my footwear are now in the wide range, brassiere is two cup-sizes larger and my waist line is way past the border. This is the third time I’m shopping for wears in two months – it’s like in the last two to three months, I’ve been feeding on fertilizer – and I still have two months to go.
The cashier knows me already. She puts my stuff into three plastic bags and hand them over to me; my bill is just twenty thousand and two hundred – chicken feed! I dash her change and carefully balance myself between the weight of my bulging tummy and shopping bags. I walk out of the shop and head straight for my Venza.
As I’m looking for my keys in my handbag, someone walks up to me and stands a few feet away from my right side. I do not look up but I immediately smell him – menthol from lots of mint after smoking, strong, masculine fruity smell from that perfume he never changed – and I freeze. A thousand and one thoughts immediately begin to race through my head – run, like mad! Kneel down and begin to beg him, tell him you were raped or drugged – I ‘defrost’ and, still looking down, take a few steps backwards. Now, I see his feet in the leather slippers he is wearing – those feet, I could never mistake for another’s; the crooked toes, the glowing white nails…
I begin to tremble. My teeth are chattering and my hands vibrate in fear. Questions take the place of my thoughts and they race even faster – how on earth did he get here? Is he going to listen to me? – I can’t even raise my head to look him in the face; I’m scared, ashamed.
“I didn’t know that five years was too long a time to wait for the one you love” he finally speaks.
That soft but strong baritone voice makes my heart skip so many beats at once; I think I’m going to pass out.
“Fortunately for me, they caught the real criminal and I’ve been released. I’ve been out for three months and I’ve spent most of the days looking for you. You suddenly became a needle in a haystack – changed address, office and even phone number”
I think he doesn’t have any right to be angry and disappointed. I’m pregnant, yes, but it didn’t mean I’m married, I could have been raped and I’m going to open my mouth to say that when I realized that my left hand has all the while been resting on my baby bump and the rings on the fourth finger are too 24-karat gold not to be noticed.
I summon courage and raise my head but I can’t gather enough to look him in the eyes so I stop at his lips and I fight back the tears that sting my eyelids.
“I was so sure you would wait a lifetime. I guess I should have known when I didn’t see you for twelve consecutive months without notice” he continues, roaring like a wounded Lion.
I can’t help it anymore, I let the tears fall and they fall real hard as he turns and walks away. I want to run after him, yell after him, tell him how much I still love him and how I yearn for him to hold me in those enormous arms of his, but my feet are glued to the ground; my voice, I’ve lost.
Eight months before…
“Come on sis, smile” my kid sister pulled at my cheeks as she fixed my veil on.
I faked something close to a smile just to make her leave me alone.
“Close your eyes” my make-up artist instructed me.
I did. I used that as an opportunity to push back the tears that stubbornly wanted to find their way out. It was supposed to be my happiest day – my wedding day- but I was far from being happy. I didn’t want to marry Abdul but they had their way – my mum and my sisters. I tried to reassure myself that I was doing the right thing, that marrying Abdul, my childhood friend, was just the best since the man I loved was gone and there was no hope on him coming back.
“You’re not getting any younger”
“Forget about him and move on with your life”
“Even if he is released today, would you want an ex-con to be the father of your kids?”
“Abdul loves you; he has since you were toddlers”
Their voices rang in my head like a diseased alarm and I screamed, startling everyone.
“What is it? What happened?” my mother shouted, running into the room.
“I don’t know! She just screamed all of a sudden” my sister tried to explain, shocked.
My mother moved close to me and tilted my face towards hers.
“Darling, are you okay?”
I nodded, embarrassed.
“Why then did you scream like that?”
“I-I’m nervous, mother” I stuttered.
She chuckled. “Come on dear, its normal. Just calm down, you’ll be fine”
I nodded again, broken.
Thirteen months before…
It was my forty-seventh visit in the forty-seven months he had spent in jail. I couldn’t afford to miss a visit, I’d die. The one thousand I squeezed into the palm of the warder made my total ‘expense’ at the prison a whooping forty seven thousand – a whole lot of waste of money for a spinster who just moved out of her parents house, quit a six-digit annual salary job and poured all of her savings into a shoe-making business.
“Follow me” he said.
I walked briskly behind him as he led me along a narrow hallway I did not need anyone to lead me along anymore, and then, into a dimly lit room that had a measly set of table and chairs.
“Sit down!” I did.
He opened the door and went out. A few minutes later, he walked in again, this time, with my man and then roughly maneuvered him into the chair across mine.
Fifteen minutes a month; that was all we had together in the last four years and I always wished I could do something to extend it.
“Hey pretty face!”
My man could smile in fire. He did it effortlessly and captured my heart with it.
“How are you?” I always fought back tears every time I saw him.
He must have lost nothing less than forty-five pounds since he got behind bars. In place of his firm muscles were shrunken flesh and bones and his once full and fluffy afro was now tangled, unkempt and dirty.
“I’m fine. You?”
“Good, but I could be better”
“I’m glad you’re good”
I forced a smile. I couldn’t understand how a person could be so optimistic. He talked and I listened to his voice, filling my ears and heart with its warmth. He told me about his cell mates, how he almost got raped, the food they ate, the acres of grassland they had to cut in two days. He showed me his palms, blistered from the relentless gripping and swinging of cutlass to get rid of grass. I teared up.
“Time up!” the warder announced.
I stood up quietly and went over to my man’s side. He rose from his seat too and I gave him that awkward hug I had become used to – the type he could not return because of his chained hands.
“I will always pray for you” I said.
“I love you”
“It’s mutual, baby”
I stepped aside and let the warder take him away and then I reached for my handkerchief and wiped the tears rolling down my cheeks.
We had long stopped talking about his release. It always brought a depressing air to our meetings as it looked impossible. I, however, had never stopped talking to my lawyer to help in all the ways he could. I still had hope.
Sixty months before…
I shuddered as we awaited the judgment of the court. I was so scared and nervous I couldn’t sit straight for fear of toppling over the bench, so I leaned my head on my mother’s shoulder and shut my eyes, praying.
“…have been found guilty of the murder of Grace John, resulting from rape and as such, you are hereby sentenced t life imprisonment with hard labour…”
My soul ripped apart, my heart broke into irrecoverable pieces. I wept.
Sixty-seven months before…
I checked my face again in the mirror, making sure for the umpteenth time that I didn’t have lipstick on my teeth and then, I stepped out of the car. I had deliberately picked the v-necked carnation dress I wore to work that morning knowing that I was going to have lunch with my man later in the day.
I flashed everyone in the reception that radiant smile of mine as they said their ‘hellos’ and ‘good afternoons’ and I walked gracefully to the polished mahogany door that bore the tag ‘managing director’, making sure I held my left hand in such a way as to allow everyone that cared to see, my platinum-plated engagement ring. I was the boss’ girl.
“Hey love!” I dropped my handbag on his desk and walked to his seat.
He pushed his chair away from the desk so I could have space to sit on his laps.
“How’s the woman of my dreams today?”
“Hmmm… I can see. You look stunning!”
His eyes wandered to my neckline and held a gaze at the end of it… I got him just where I wanted him.
I planted a kiss on his forehead. “Are you ready?”
“Yup! I’ll get my jacket”
I got off his legs and he stood up and went for his grey jacket which I helped him to wear.
“How do I look?”
“Like I should eat you up!”
“I’ll take that as sweet then”
We walked arm-in-arm out of his office and to the receptionist’s desk where he told her that he was going to lunch with his baby. I blushed. I was going to unlock the door of the car when two uniformed men walked up to his side – policemen.
“You’re under arrest for the rape and murder of Grace John… you have the right to remain silent as anything you say will be used against you in the court of law” they said, after asking for his name.
“This must be a mistake” he said, smiling in confusion.
They reaffirmed his name and his position in the company and then, ordered that he came with them.
I stood transfixed to my side of the car. I had never seen such drama in my whole twenty-six years of existence. I couldn’t even utter a word, it looked like a dream.
They led him away from my blue car to their black one and as he quickly caught my gaze, he motioned to me, “Call my lawyer”.
Sixty-eight months before…
I held my wedding dress to my chest and stood in front of the mirror, squealing in excitement. It had just come in from the UK and he had asked to see it.
“Wow! It’s beautiful” he said, standing up from the bed and walking up to me.
“Like me?” I caught his eyes in the mirror.
“You’re more beautiful than it is. You’ll beat it hands down ten times over”
I smiled. He held my waist from behind and kissed my neck.
“Two months looks like forever. I can’t wait to be called your wife”
“You can’t want it as bad as I do. The wait is killing me”
“We’re going to have the best wedding in town”
“Talk of the century”
“A marriage that’ll leave everyone green with envy”
I blushed. “Awww”
He looked at me in the mirror and smiled broadly.
“What’s on your mind?” I asked.
“I’m wondering how long it took God to form you”
“You’re beauty personified”
My head was twice its size. I shut my eyes and basked in it.