Love Literati Contest: What is love? By Frances Okedairo

Love literati contest - elsieisy blog

What is love? Does it really exist or is it just a farce people tend to take serious? Those were my exact feelings and thoughts when my life was void of love and happiness. As I stared at the engagement ring on my finger, I was very sure that those thoughts have become bygones. I watched how the sun rays made the ring glimmer, and it made me remember the way Asher had made my cold and dark life shine once again. With the afternoon breeze caressing my face, I smiled as I began the journey down memory lane.

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 It was a Tuesday afternoon, I was at home because my school was on strike. Aunty Rose had gone to work, so did Uncle James. I was home alone or so I thought. I decided to sleep for a while. In my hypnagogic state, I heard my room door open and close. I woke up with a jolt when I felt fingers stroking my ankles. I saw Uncle James smiling at me with a lustful look in his eyes. I hated him so much. He had been abusing me sexually since I was 12. He threatened me not to tell Aunt Rose or anyone. There was something in me that made me fight that day, I didn’t know what it was.

“Get away from me, I hate you so much.”

The disgust and hatred was clear in my voice.

“Oh, I see you have grown wings. I’ll teach you a lesson so that you’ll learn how to curb your tongue when next you talk to me.”

He grabbed me roughly, and I struggled with him, I used all my strength to fight him so hard. In my course of struggling, I sighted an empty malt bottle and I reached for it. I smashed it on his head. He let go of me as he screamed out in pain, I quickly ran out of the house. I kept on running in different directions, tears streamed down my eyes. I felt sorry for Aunty Rose, she was nice to me but I felt she would hate me because of what I had done to her husband. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive but I had to do it to set myself free from the pain and torture. I was so distracted in my thoughts that I didn’t notice a car coming behind me. The last thing I remember was the screeching of car tires, me falling to the ground and slowly slipping away into darkness.

     I opened my eyes to find myself on a hospital bed receiving an intravenous infusion, there was a young man in his late twenties and he was seating on chair beside the bed. I couldn’t place his face. He looked relieved when he saw that I was awake, when I realised that I was in the same room with a strange man, I panicked. He calmed me down and introduced himself as Asher. He told me how I ended up in the hospital. I recalled what happened to me before the accident. I broke down in tears telling him that he shouldn’t have bothered to save my life. I told him that I wished that I did not survive. He looked at me with so much concern and sympathy and asked me why I wished for death. For the first time in my life I shared my sad story with someone. I told him about the death of my parents on my twelfth birthday and how I started living with my aunty and uncle. I told him how Uncle James abused me till my present age and all the threats he made. I told him about the turn of events that led me to my present state. I thought he would be disgusted with me when I finished my story. Instead he told me that I was brave to break away from the torture. He told me he was going to help me. It took much of convincing and cajoling from him to get me to live with him when I was discharged from the hospital. With time, he helped me further my education. He also engaged the service of a therapist that helped me to re-discover myself and regain my self-esteem and self-love. I overcame my past trauma and I faced my new life with hope and confidence. Asher was there for me throughout my therapy and in no time. In no time, I fell in love with him. Two days after my graduation he proposed to me. He advised me to reconcile with my uncle and aunty. To my surprise, Aunty Rose was relieved and happy to see me. She told me that my uncle had a ghastly motor accident and confessed all that he did to me before he died. She begged for my forgiveness and told me that she had been searching for me even though my uncle lied to her that I left a note saying that I had left. Seeing her finally put the past behind me, I was happy and grateful to God.

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That was how I found love or should I say love found me. My experience in life taught me that love is real.

 

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