By: Eneji Matthew Samuel
Amelia stared at the back page of her book, and forced a smile on her lips, the smile attempted to suppress the sorrow in her but it was a vain attempt. She felt her heart cracked into a million pieces again, it melted into liquid and then turned to gas and evaporated. Just when she thought she was going to collapse and die she touched her chest and felt the poor thing beating bravely, determined to live. The ‘About the Author’ stared back at her, she remembered how hard she tried to convince her publisher to publish it, her publisher was adamant insisting that it should be changed, until she threatened to quit publishing with him. She was one of the best writers in the country and the publisher was wary of losing her. She read it quietly
About the Author
About me? Hmmm
What’s gonna be is gonna be.
It is I whose soul now feeds on crumbs,
And drinks vapour for water.
I now rake the desert in search of my gold
Why and how did I lose it?
I believe I’ll find it soon,
I believe, What’s gonna be is gonna be.
She smiled again, the publisher will never understand. She flipped the book over, got up and walked around the room, then changed her mind, took her car key and left the room. Her mind insisted on dwelling in the past. She could still smell him, sometimes she felt his face so close to hers that she imagined breathing in the breath coming out of his nose. Caine was her prince charming in every sense of the word, every bit the guy she had always dreamt of: black sparkling eyes, broad chest, muscular arms, and average height, fair and handsome and with a wit better than anyone she has ever known.
For you, I’ll plug the sun,
And from its rays fashion a crown for you.
On rainy days, an umbrella with the sky I’ll make
To shield you from the kiss of the rain
Because my jealous heart dies with
Each kiss they plant on your skin.
For you, I’ll weave the wind into a throne,
And have you float to the sky
To outshine the stars in glamour
Your eyes are so beautiful,
Even a dead man will notice,
She stopped her mind from reciting one of the poems he had written for her. She so loved the poem she could recite it from A – Z, but she stopped herself knowing that the part she was about to recite so captures her beauty that she finds it hard to look in the mirror each time she was done reciting it, because the thought of him keeps coming back. She decided to go the beach; maybe the breeze will clear her head. She drove to the beach and parked where supposed. On her way in, she stopped by a purple hibiscus flower and plugged leisurely from it as she inhaled it. Then she remembered that it was what Caine always does, and started plugging angrily at the flower. She stopped herself on realizing the damage she was doing, then found her way to the water and watched the tide roll back and forth. She inhaled deeply, closed her eyes and spread her arms as the breeze blew her clothes backwards.
‘The ocean is beautiful’ she heard in her ears as she felt his hand around her waist. ‘See how beautifully the water rolls, it makes me wish I were an ocean sometimes.
‘Come on, go ahead, who is stopping you?’
‘If I become an ocean now, I’ll miss holding you in my arms, seeing that you’re afraid of water’
‘shhhh, I have a dream’
‘Come on dreamer, dream on. You always have dreams’
‘Yes, because you always inspire me. But listen, I have a dream that one day I’ll create a portable ocean, which we’ll keep in our room, with a remote too, so we could either shrink or enlarge it.’
‘In our room, who does that?’ she asked aloud jolting herself to present. She looked around to see if anybody was watching, fortunately for her, there was none. ‘What is happening to me? I need to get back home’ she murmured as she left the beach for her car. She got home, ran in and laid on the couch weeping. I shouldn’t have sent him away; I shouldn’t have shut the door on him. She heard a knock on the door, but ignored it; the knock kept coming persistently, so she got up, wiped her face and opened the door. What she saw took her aback, for some seconds she was confused as to what to do, she just stood and stared.
‘Can I come in?’ he asked. Wild thoughts went through her mind; she felt like stabbing him, kicking him felt like vanishing, she wanted everything else but to see him. ‘I understand how you feel, but at least, let me in, and hear me out first’
‘No, you have not the slightest idea how I feel,’ she barked ‘give me one reason I should let you set your foot in this room’.
‘I’m sorry Amelia, hear me out first’
‘Alright go on, I can hear you’
‘It didn’t happen’ confusion and shock featured all over her face, she felt weak in her knees, so she leaned on the door and created enough space for Caine to go in.
‘I know I don’t deserve you, I know I’m a coward, but I still love you’ he said. She started to walk in but staggered so Caine ran to her and help her into a couch; she started crying, her head on his shoulder. Guilt weighed heavily on Caine, he hasn’t been fair to her, he should have come to see her some time ago, but was afraid she may never forgive him, he assumed she had moved on with her life, not until he saw her ‘About the Author’. They had met during their NYSC, he: a merry-go-round guy, the life of the party, always catching fun and making people laugh, with jokes. She: the quiet type who does more of looking than participating. He hated her at first, because she never laughed at his jokes and when talked to, she rarely replied. He was starting to ignore her then one day she asked him an intelligent question that left him stuttering, and he could not answer. He started taking interest in her and to his surprise he found out that she was a writer. That caught his interest since he was a poet and performs on stage every now and then. They got closer and he found her an enjoyable company, in no time they were dating and inseparable. Marriage was next, but Caine’s father threatened he would disown Caine if he ever married Amelia, that it was against their custom for anyone from their ethnic group to marry from Amelia’s ethnic group. Caine tried to persuade him but to no avail; finally, he gave up the love of his life to please his father.
‘Why did you ever leave me?’ Amelia cried.
‘I’m sorry, I was a fool then, I promise I’ll never leave you again.’
His father had arranged for him a girl to marry soon after that, but he discovered that his one true love was Amelia and refused to go on with the marriage despite threats from his father. So, his father disowned him and he left, he would have gone back to Amelia but was scared she might never listened to him, so he spent his next three years in regret, wishing he could turn back the hand of time. He was also constantly following Amelia’s writing career and got a shock of his life with the last publication. His nickname was ‘What’s gonna be, is gonna be’ it was the name Amelia had given him because he was fond of shrugging his shoulders and intoning ‘What’s gonna be, is gonna be’ whenever he was out of options as to the next step to take in a situation. Most times when he was in a situation and had ran out of options and Amelia begins by calling him ‘What’s gonna’ he replies ‘gonna be’ they then exchange knowing glances and burst into laughter. On sighting the latest publication he knew it was a letter to him.
Three months later, they were married. He had gone to work in the morning and she was working on the meal for him. She checked the time and it was few minutes shy of 4pm, she intended visiting a friend by 5pm, so she doubled her speed with the food preparation. The phone rang for the first and second time but she was too busy to pick up, when it ran for the third time, she dropped what she was doing and went for it.
‘Hello’ she spoke into the phone.
‘Good evening ma, my name is Ignatius, I’m a police officer, am I unto Mrs. Caine?’
‘Yes sir, Officer I hope there is no problem.’
‘I’m sorry madam, there is a little problem’
‘What happened officer?’ She asked her voice laden with fear.
‘I’m sorry ma’am, an accident took place some minutes ago, and Mr. Caine is involved’ she grasped the cloth at her chest and let out a shriek, she panted and shivered.
‘I hope he is okay officer.’
‘I’m sorry ma, but we will like you to come to St. Jude’s hospital, the one opposite the former railway station.
‘Officer please, is he okay, please?’
‘I’m sorry ma, he is unconscious at the moment, but just do as I said. Sorry ma, I’ve got to go’ she heard a sound indicating that the call has ended. She quickly grabbed her car key and phone and ran to the car before remembering that she did not switch off the stove. She ran back in, switched it off and then drove straight to the hospital.
Some days later, she sat in the room and stared blankly into space, her thoughts roamed, she remembered how the machine peeped as her husband gave up the ghost, everything became slow, her head felt light and numb, she could not tell if she was dreaming or awake, it took seconds for her brain to register what had happened, she quickly screamed for the doctor who came and after checking told her that he was gone, she refused to believe him and called on Caine to get up so they could go, that the doctor doesn’t know what he was saying, the doctor and nurses consoled her but she would not hear of it. She wanted him back; that was all she wanted. And days later when he was lowered down to earth her heart sank within her, she lost all hope, fun memories she had with him flashed before her eyes, his love poems that he usually dropped in places where she could pick and read also floated before her. She ran for the grave but was restrained by strong hands, she wept and begged him to come back but rather than come back, he allowed them to lower him to earth and filled up the grave.
Tears streamed down her face, anger welled within, why did he die? He promised her he was never going to leave her and now he had failed her again, he had left for the second time, leaving her stranded. She stood up abruptly ran to the kitchen, got a knife and drove it into her abdomen. The pain came sharp and she regretted it instantly, blood gushed out, she went slowly to her knees. The pain was excruciating, she threw back her head and wished the pain to be gone. Images started appearing in twos, her vision too started to blur, then she saw him, two of him actually, one smiling and welcoming her, the other angry at her. With the last strength in her she murmured
© Eneji Matthew Samuel