She woke. Her eyes fluttering open reluctantly. It was 6.25am. She started as the phone rang again and stared at it annoyed. After confirming the caller, she took the call and answered drowsily.
The caller launched into an explanation. No apologies. This did not make any sense.
He couldn’t believe his ears. They should be talking about a wedding and she was calling it off?
“It can’t work. I have tried. Its not working.
She hung up, feeling suddenly drained. She believed she had done the right thing. She and Seye had moved from friends to more than friends and then they had become lovers. Something they both wanted. But it turns out, from her perspective that they had both come with too much bagage. A life she wanted to forget and a life he wouldn’t tell her about.
She gets off the bed and turns on her computer. She didn’t even give the break up a second thought. She had rehearsed this so often in her mind that it didn’t even shock her. The computer flickers on and the welcoming ‘Windows’ tone. She glanced to the bottom right. May 27th.
The dull ache started as she scrolled through her Twitter Timeline. People were throwing jabs and making jokes about Children’s Day. She read through, trying to contain herself, control herself. She couldn’t. It was another Children’s Day. Like the one when she lost her son 2 years ago.
Goshen was 8. She had been trying for another after he was born but God hadn’t smiled on her yet, so she endured everything: inlaws who were urging her husband who himself was an only child to take on another wife. So far he hadn’t.
When the school came up with the idea of an excursion to the Ibadan zoo on children’s day, Goshen was excited. There was no way he wouldn’t go. She had her misgivings. But she couldn’t even raise them. Anything to make her son happy.
As she packed additional lunch, just in case Goshen didn’t like what was served, little did she realise that would be the last time she would see her son.
The news came in the evening. She had become worried sick. All the numbers to the teachers in the bus and even Goshen’s phone was switched off. When she saw the proprietor drive in with her husband, she instantly knew that her world as she knew it, had come to an end.
She woke up on a hospital bed. Ikenna was seated watching her. The doctors had her on sedatives. Her BP had shot up to 180/120. She was awake for just a few seconds, but she wouldn’t, couldn’t forget the look on Ikenna’s face.
When she finally got home a memorial service was held for Goshen. His body was never identified. A petrol tanker had lost control and rammed into the school bus before bursting into flames. No one survived. Ikenna refused to speak to her for several days after the service. His younger sister Ada made scathing remarks and she just knew it was time to move on.
A week after the memorial service, she moved out of the house and stayed with a friend. Ikenna didn’t bother to look for her. Two months later his relationship status on Facebook changed. Ada was not his sister afterall. They were having a relationship right under her nose and she didn’t know.
She met Seye almost a year ago. She had finally decided she was ready to date again. He wasn’t perfect, but neither was she. She still believed any relationship required work, a shifting of grounds until a middle point was reached. But recently, she noticed she seemed to be doing all the shifting while Seye dug into the ground and waited. She really loved him, but in this instance they needed more than love.
She dug out Goshen’s photo and stared at it. He should have been ten this year. Her land of milk and honey dried up in its prime. She wanted to cry but the tears wouldn’t come.
She rose and went into the kitchen. She had made a decision and she had to keep to it. 38 and divorced didn’t look like a good resume, but she was going to make the best of this life. She wasn’t going to settle for less because life threw her a bunch of lemons.
She made herself a warm cup of beverage with plenty of milk. And took a mouthful. And then she walked back into the bedroom. She looked so unkempt. What did Seye even see in her? She picked up her phone and called her salon. She hadn’t called them since her first date with Seye.
“Yes, its me. I’m coming in”
She turned and saw Goshen’s photo where she had dropped it on the bed. She picked it and went back into the kitchen and held it over the fire and watched it burn. There was only one place she wanted to feel the presence of her lost son~her heart.
As the last bit turned to ashes, she gathered it up into her hand and walked out of the house. She stood at the veranda and opened her hands and watched the morning breeze blow the ash fly free.
And then the tears came.