Updated: Mar 31
Boxes. Check. Sellotape. Check. The paper type of course. For as much as she had. Morals were upheld till otherwise compromised at the last centimeter.
Marker pencil for labeling. Check.
Square feets of a past life packed. Of what they all once called home even in May.
Or June. Maybe as far as July. But certainly not by September. No by then, it was all too far gone.
A barren shell filled with what she considered objects of their life.
Filled with what he would come to describe as mere functional pieces.
Some inherited by him.
Others gifts to her.
September had brought a cold. A cold even felt on the inside.
Even with the floorboard heating.
Nothing bent the cold.
Holes in the wall, plastered? As much as she could. Surfaces wiped. She tiredly tried. Oven? Really? She would leave that to the updated replica and the master.
Heart willing. Maybe. Correction, why not?
Every night, tears welled up. Two tiny snores webbed into the lullabies.
Five mechanic lullabies that were on obligatory repeat during two separate post-Patrum times.
Now soundtracks to those memories.
The first time around he seemed patient, gave her time to recover. Months when the norm and only worries were the backaches of co-sleeping, numb hands of breastfeeds, frequent diaper changes at un-godly hours, the screams of babes being sleep trained & sleep deprivation all in hopes of reassuring that colic too would pass.
More recently, before she left, she had had night after night in tears putting them to bed, as the ghost of a once well-known person snuck out into the sunset through to the night. She had held on too long till the numbing of her hands returned.
Carried it all, until she couldn't tell if the weight she felt in her spine was actually from childbirth or it was just all becoming a mental response to her inability to be happy here, with him.
"Shake it off hun" she reminds herself. "You drift too often". Her first after says, "you got this".
Encouragement drenched in lust.
Something she didn't know she needed to feel anymore.
Until she did.
She knows its vague.
At it is best, wishfulness.
Every morning, pride rises though.
So it has done some good. She says to her reflection in the guest bathroom "You can do this". But can they?
She has been broken in the flesh and self-esteem.
It went down in the DM.
She used to think it was her. Her friend felt insulted by that when she revealed it on a long drive through Cantonments to Spintex. She reminded her this was way past digital ruins.
Maybe she was mistaken. Could it have been a phase? Should she have kept her mouth shut, allowed her mind to take control?
Plotted and planned.
She takes a moment, every now and then. Takes in the view. Sniffs. Sips. Spits. Not only for metaphoric analysis.
She thinks to herself "Could I have?"
She knows though, she could not have.
She could not have found meaning in any of it. Chosen to stay instead of Rising. Nope.
Sit ruining each other for a lifetime? Nope. She could not have done it longer.
"Do not do it" she whispered.
She should have said something. Too late after the mom had spoken. Hopeless love and all, you know. That first-timers illusion. Look she hated him at that point. He left a bad taste in her mouth, like a meal you knew was ruined
but you couldn't put your finger on why. She hated them. Maybe not them, but it all without a doubt. Bad taste and all. "I take him to be"...She gave it 5 years. In 2, a baby would come, then the mirror would start to distort and whisper the same things her reflection used to, how she felt.
"Cry now, yes honey, do it now while you still look pretty enough." She thought. The hopeless part of her though still hoped more for the two of them.
Ironic, she knew.
She could have scurried to pack at night you know. Crossed forbidden lines of Female and Male quarters, like the harmattan night of 2007? But where did that get her back then? Rumors across Accra and a tramp stamp on a virgin. Her mind had played all the smarter ways on loop since June's tingly senses kicked in.
When she finally logged in this time, like many others because of her suspicions.
Phone calls, screenshots, and send. She had been raging in the unknown for a month at this point.
By now, lying was his thing.
Lying to him, lying to them. Allowing the lies. Especially accepting them, Herself. Nah, wrong number. Plus, all this happy talk was tiresome. Past point of reason.
Then reason kicked in.
She realized the lack of real-life anxieties was unteachable.
She had grown up in a place fully paved with those.
"Victims are those that declare they are." So how could she have expected a first-world kid to get that? Even when in the valley, on paths winding and ascending with dense forest.
You could acknowledge hustle was known.
But real suffering because of unconditional survival, that was 100 years past here.
Here suffering was self afflicted.
Only as deep as history books, museums, and art galleries. Man, the sacrifices.
Apparently that was her problem.
Inability to see his pain. Devil's drinking well? Drink well.
Look there were reassurances. She swears there were. The rareness in their names. The first love made down for the culture.
Correction, some of it at least. Rose's delivered to work.
Talks of babies on long train journeys.
Hands held across locations.
Families were so willing to give them to each other.
Scared and inked skin cells as reminders of their love.
Thankfully none on hers.
Even the precious cat labeled as a burden because it needed to be begged off the roof and left them gifts in bed. Being there during a strong, older man's farewell moments.
Random, legacy visits to a place she and he would have rather died off before ever reaching. The shade of Amatis in the picture-perfect hour of the sun`s rays.
Shared last names.
What felt like near-death experiences on birth beds. Twice.
The drive to leave?
But walking down past white rose petals scattered,
She knew there was something wrong.
1/2? Good guess. Another chapter. She always knew, actually. On that day at least her first doubts really surfaced. But then she walked.
What was she going to do differently by that point anyway?
A family was on the way.
It all began with conceiving herself that the sequel of looped night terrors from day one, were mere fears.
Her insecurities playing on her. Not IRL. Plus she had not had a lucid paralysis for years after that first May night.
Those thrown croissants though, that was a sign.
The night she still cannot recall, that was a sign. The metal bins and sweat-soaked sheets are probably still traumatized. That girl. She barely knew, taking out the time to warn her. Given she had misplaced foresight.
But foresight none the less. She was too willing to be blinded though. Her words are as clear as the day she spoke them years prior.
Now it's the last week of September. Babes in each hand. The last box loaded. Blue wagon too far down the road to see.
Solid. Solid tears on all four cheeks as they drove past a view that seemed like a Saturday market day forever.
It couldn't have been different.
See you in a warmer terrain filled with purpose.