We dedicated this to Opeyemi Taiwo and Tobechukwu Rachel Okoh from Nigeria, Rachel Kizza and Mable Amuron from Uganda, Rudo Manyera, Nicole Kurebwaseka, and Coffee Queen from Zimbabwe, and lastly Josephine Amoaka from Ghana. Exceptional noblewoman when it comes to creative writing, your art of breathing life into characters through beautifully woven words. You do it to entertain us at the same time you teach us many lessons that shape us and the world we live in. Justine and I gossip a lot about you, more of backbiting your blogs that… in the process were inspired to try beyond our writing Frontier together and hope we make you proud;
It was one of those chilly Friday afternoons and the clouds were pregnant with rain, Andrew was in office crunching numbers, consolidating payments, and balancing books, all seemingly conspiring to keep himself in office till late. Had he lost his mathematical mojo? Thoughts bombarded his head constantly making him wander off into the past, one that he had hoped would be sent packing to the recycle bin because it was a scary one.
Anne was a well-built curvaceous smiling machine, whose charm had a magnetic effect on everyone around her, her laughter like the chirping of early morning birds, her eyes a highway to the future. There he was watching her go about her business, appreciating her beauty and wondering how he had kept such an angel in his life all those years.
Many times, a tragedy rocks your life like a hurricane, unexpected and unplanned, it stares you in the face and stops you in your tracks. A couple that was walking the high road to the altar was now faced with a challenge that was making their love boat sink like the titanic. All it took was an unfortunate day as they sauntered off lovers’ park that she grasped her stomach indicative of an excruciating pain that made her fail to walk. Andrew airlifted her using his hands straight to the car and drove off to her home. Upon reaching home, the pain continued to boil up extra that the only option left was to drive as fast as he could to the hospital. When all tests run turned out negative, the doctor suggested that an abdominal scan is run. And, lo and behold, this scan was the tiebreaker! It revealed a stage III ovarian cancer and this sent the couple into shock. This cancer was believed by the medical personnel that it would lower Anne’s chances of ever having a baby near to zero… something both Andrew and his family would not stomach.
There and then they first sat down to recoup their minds. The silence in the room was interrupted by the ticking clock, each of them not knowing what to say but choosing to embrace what was happening in silence. The thought of her lifespan being shortened often jolted Andrew out of his sleep with nightmares seemingly communicating that he should move onto another, something that created a force field of guilt that he moved with everywhere he went. The bottle of alcoholic beverage proved to be his temporary place of solace where he forgot what was going on in his life for a moment, creating a temporary solution for a seemingly permanent situation. He continuously chose to only mind about his work and also increased his social life at the expense of being available for Anne. He did all this with the thought at the back of his mind that she would understand that he too was going through a tough moment. This was however not the case, Anne was at her worst and all she needed was not an absent lover.
Each day as she crawled through her life hitting different medications just to help her get healthy again, she could not help but cry. Cry because she wanted to look for her love but was unable. Her love too was not helping as he had slid into his world. This made Anne lose so much weight beyond the effects of cancer that was eating up her body. Such situations make the victim develop a sense of insecurity, and make them easily irritable and that’s why she was starting to become over critical of Andrew’s behavioral change patterns, something Andrew dreaded hearing simply because it was true and he felt guilty.
The good times they had were slowly becoming a memory, a figment of the past that was fading away. Anne sat there wondering, alone in the dark recalling the funny moments they had, and settled in her mind that it was funny how sad the funny things get with each passing day. Andrew was no longer prompt in his communication, faking business meetings and appointments simply to reduce the contact hours, minutes, and seconds they would spend together. When a hurricane strikes, it takes along with it a chunk of debris which inadvertently causes more harm, and that is exactly what was happening here. No amount of eloquent counseling would convince her of having better days ahead and this was the sad reality. It was not until she convinced herself that in-curable meant curable from within that she managed to change her thoughts from within. Andrew’s ghosting only made her stronger since she now had one goal of managing chemo and beating whatever it was to accomplish all that she wanted to accomplish.
This prevailed till one fateful day when Andrew woke up thinking to himself that he had to do it, he had to end it! The thoughts of not having a mini version of himself had marinated in his mind for a while, and coming to the realization that Anne, the love of his life had minimal chances of helping him achieve this. He called it quits. He always had dreams of holding that little bundle of joy, a mini him but that was all dead and gone in his mind and opinion. He picked up his phone and called Anne to deliver the bad news. Even someone as jolly as she was sunk into the great depression, not a financial one but one of shattered dreams, the end of something that was blossoming. Her world became dark because what she had just heard through her phone turned off even the little light she still had in her life. All she had left was her family and the few friends as her support system to help her first concentrate on the journey to get healthy again. These used words which articulated to her various means of applying faith and positive thinking to beat whatever the enemy had thrown her way.
Years later, on one of those nights in the bar on 5th street, Andrew met Michelle and after a few minutes of small talk, they hit the dance floor. They were both dancing with uncoordinated movements because of the alcohol taking a toll on them and that made them develop a liking for each other amidst the uncontrollable laughter she was having and later headed to his place since it was too late for him to let such a beautiful soul go home alone to no one yet his heart was boiling up with some emotions that needed to be fed given that the other party with the cookie was available. They were both too ecstatic that they together stumbled into the sheets later that night and held a mini-concert which involved them exchanging all the pleasantries their bodies could produce including seeds that would definitely produce fruit.
Michelle was a loudmouthed girl from the suburbs, she later conceived and had a baby girl as a result of their continuous sexual encounters that prevailed beyond the first day they met. Andrew had no option but to prepare to be a daddy to a one child
Two years later, his baby girl was now a big girl who later became the only thing binding the two of them who had already drifted apart over time. The many verbal and physical exchanges with Michelle left Andrew with an unhealthy nostalgia, to a point where he preferred a peaceful baby-less house to what he had.
As karma would have it, on some cool Sunday afternoon, he bumped into Anne at the mall and they engaged in awkward small talk. He could not help but notice how cool, calm, and collected she was and very well composed. She was now cancer-free and he would never understand the toll the rigorous chemo had had on her. But the good news is that she had moved on, happily married with a beautiful boy. This hit him straight to his bones.
Downcast with an ocean of regrets, it dawned on Andrew that he had made a big mistake, choosing to take the easy road, but was now unhappy. He had realized that he had failed to hang on to the love of his life. He had cowered out and this made him hate himself for that, being that he even dreaded the thought of going home.
He dolefully and silently lamented, “If only I had stuck with her and fought for our love”
Anne was gone and Andrew could never get her at least, at that moment. All he could do was to try and gather up his shuttered bones and forge a way forward.
Chronic diseases have a huge toll on families especially those directly related to the patient. Beyond the huge expenses, they come with adverse body effects that sometimes also affect the social life of the patient for example inability to bring life into this world, something that society does not take lightly. Most men always look forward to leaving a seed of their own on earth and the thought of not having one usually sends them to hell and back thereby forcing them to make tough decisions especially when they are not patient. Both parties involved in such situations tend to have their mental health tested and the best solution is for each to get support before the worst comes to the worst.