#5DaysToVals Contest Entry – Submitted by Charlene C. Chikezie
I woke up with a start, trembling and sweating profusely, I had that nightmare again, that same terrifying one. The very one that disrupted my sleep two nights ago.
I was gradually losing it; my mind, my peace and sense of humanity. My life was no longer what I wished it to be.My thoughts ran endlessly and wild into memories I didn’t want to relive until my ringing phone jolted me out of them. I switched on the lights and looked up at my digital wall clock, it read ‘2:11am’.
“Who could be calling me by this time?” I sighed as I rolled over and picked up my phone without checking the caller ID.
“Hello Grace, I’m sorry I’m calling at this late hour…” the caller’s voice sounded husky, I recognized that huskiness, how could I forget? I used to sleep and wake to that voice. The only masculine voice that sparked up twinges of passion in me… but tonight as I listened to his voice, I felt nothing, not even an ounce of passion, I was immune to his charm and that, for me was victory.
“Kunle, what do you want?” I spat at him, gripping my phone tightly.”I’m not asking for much Grace, all I want is to discuss something important with you tomorrow over lunch.” He pleaded.”Look, Mr Kunle Randle, I don’t want to have anything to do with you now or ever. As a matter of fact, I do not want you to ever call my…”I was about to verbally unleash my demons when he spoke again.”It’s a matter of life and death, Grace please don’t hang up on me.” He whispered, almost choking.Silence fell upon me, I had never heard such pain and hurt in his voice. This might be really important. I wanted to ask him what was eating him up but the pride in me didn’t let me, so I sucked up my curiosity and played it cool.”Okay” I replied”Good, then let’s meet at the French restaurant close to your office by noon”. He said, his voice back to normal.” Alright, I need to get some sleep Kunle” I feigned a yawn.”Good night Grace””Night” I said as I hung up the phone, turned off my lights and went to sleep.* * *At work, I could barely concentrate, my mind kept drifting to my late conversation with Kunle. I was so restless, my hands kept hovering over the mouse aimlessly.It was so obvious my personal assistant, Oluchi noticed it.”Grace, you don’t look yourself today, is everything okay?She asked with concern. Oluchi had become a valuable friend and sister and she knew about my divorce case with Kunle. “You know, you really should give him some audience and know what’s up with him. You can’t continue playing haunted forever” she said, massaging my shoulders.”Well, the least I can do is hear him out, anything more…I can’t guarantee that” I sighed and got up to leave. It was almost time.The walk to the restaurant was brief, as I walked in, I felt unusually nervous but I brushed it off like one would do to dust.After few seconds of searching, I spotted him at a far secluded corner as he waved.I went over, muttered something close to a greeting, we shook hands like business partners then sat down.”Want a drink? “”Yes please.” then he ordered a creamy juice for me and and Carlos Rossi for himself. I smiled inside, he still remembered my favourite.”I see you’re now a smoking hot single lady ” he said, eyeing my ringless wedding finger. I looked at his fingers, his wedding ring was still intact. I felt a pang of guilt, keeping mute was going to be a dead giveaway, so I spoke instead.”You didn’t give me a reason to continue wearing mine.” I said, anger creeping unto my voice as I remembered his escapade with Angelina, one of his board of directors; the major melting point of our ten year old marriage.”Don’t go all defensive on me, Grace… that’s the last thing I want right now.””Better, so what is it you wanted to discuss?” I snapped.”Its David…” he said with a big sigh.Panic took over me. “David? What happened to my David? What did you do to my son!”I screamed in fear, vehemently shaking him, not minding the numerous stares from people.”He was diagnosed of Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, three weeks after you walked out of the house.” Kunle spoke again, not stopping . I could see it in his eyes, he was weak, tired and helpless.”Take me to where he is now” I got up, holding back the tears welling up in my eyes.I sighted David as soon as I walked into his ward, I almost didn’t recognize him, my so-full-of-life and chubby son had emaciated beyond recognition. His hair had faded off, the little left were yellow. He looked like one of those disease stricken children we saw in war torn countries on the TV. My tears flowed down freely, this was just too much for me to take in.”Please don’t, Grace…don’t cry please, not now” Kunle said, his own tears pooling as he pulled me into a tight embrace.The doctor came in and briefed me on David’s condition, he had undergone Chemotherapy and would be placed under physiotherapy at home by one of the doctors.”Mrs Randle, you son needs you, try to follow the procedures and instructions daily and hopefully, he’d be back on his feet.” The doctor told me.I had to move back in with my husband and son. They needed me now more than ever. I imagined how Kunle handled this alone all the while. Even after our separation, he was still a caring father but my ego didn’t let me be a loving mother to my only child.As days and weeks went by, Kunle and I fought hard to keep David alive. His illness was our meeting point. Physiotherapy was in full swing and it hurt like hell to watch my nine year old son learn how to walk and move around again.But our struggle wasn’t good enough. We lost David to cancer, I was shattered and broken, every living bit of me.Angelina sent me a condolence message and apologized for making Kunle drunk and seducing him so he could sign an endorsement file for her father’s company. I cried till my eyes bulged from their sockets.”Mummy, promise me you won’t leave daddy again” David said in my arms before he passed on.I learnt to love again in a hard way.True love is understanding and seeks the truth before concluding.My only child had to die for me to learn to love… I’ve learnt in a hard way.