It was one of those dull evenings, when it seemed as though the sky wants to wet the earth with its tears. The moon was in its usual melancholic self. Outside, under a palm tree, whose leaves slapped each other in a playful manner, I found solace. I had met this dark poet the previous day. She was called Esther.
We met on one of the most popular social platform. Facebook. We would chat about Love. Death. Pain. Defeat. The most interesting thing about us chatting was freedom. Our freedom was mutual. It was as though we were trying to escape from something. Something that has caused us pain, mental pain. It truly takes two for one to embrace. Communication, constant and quality communication, birthed Love between us. I grew to love her. Oh, I really did, with all of me.
Having grown up under the care of a step mother, Esther knew pain as it was. The first time, I tried making it light. She would warn me never to mock her pains.
“ If you don’t know how to console me, say nothing. It is better, far better, to say nothing than tell me people are going through something worse ” She warned, her text came with a much felt force. I could read anger in the text.
Happiness was not something Esther was used to. She had never felt its popular comforting arms around her.
She saw life as hard and gray as stone. Everyday was always unkind to her. Each day leaving her with nothing lovely. All these, and many more, she said.
I dreamed of Esther the night we chatted about Love. It was the first time we did. I was surprised too. In this dream, I couldn’t find myself. I could only see my face. I was levitating in this dream too. Clouds of darkness swallowed me, leaving only my face. I saw her. Yes, I saw Esther. But, it was only her silhouette. I could hear her. She couldn’t hear me, I couldn’t hear myself too. It was as if I was being choked. I thought I would die, asphyxiation being the cause.
I woke up. Beads of sweat covered my face. I couldn’t make a thing out of my dream. I don’t know how to interpret dreams too. I buried my face inside my pillow, forcing sleep to come. I wanted to complete that dream. This time, I wanted to speak with Esther there. I wanted her to hear me. More importantly, I wanted to hear myself too.
I was running home that particular afternoon. It was all set to rain. People ran for cover outside and umbrellas were opened as the clouds prepared to spit out their beads of water. I quickened my pace as the clouds began to gather in the sky. It was beginning to form large pillows of cloud. It changed, continuously.
The once beautiful sky was turning into monstrous clouds. Halfway home, I got the first splatter of rain. Luckily, I got home before the rain started.
The roofs of the cars, my father’s car inclusive, danced with spray and I could hear the murmuring of the rain through the window. It sounded like the buzzing of angry bees, whose member just died. Through my window, it was a beautiful view. I could see children, naked children, dancing as the rain played with them. In one of them, especially the youngest of them, I saw myself. I saw my Mum dragging me into the house, with her left hand holding my right ear. It was so vivid. The pictures, the pain, were well remembered.
I saw traders shouting at their sales girl to make sure their goods escaped the heavy downpour. Mama Nonso, the mother of three, only had to close the left door of her shop. She had a kiosk, a small one, made of aluminum. It was so empty, I could count every item just by looking at them. I wondered how she catered for her three boys. A single parent with such burden, I shook my head in pity.
“ I know you’ll love someone else while I’m away. But, just know, your heart is my only home ” Esther texted, on that rainy afternoon.
Inside that text, I read so much pain. More pain than we’ve ever discussed. I read defeat too. Stronger defeat than we’ve talked about. We would go on to chat for more than seven hours that day. We chatted till the next morning.
But, this chat was different from the one we had three months ago. That of three months ago was filled with humor, smileys, voice notes, calls. This present one, we used words. We weaved words to sew poetry. Poems whose synopsis only forced tears.
She would go on to make me understand that gifts are not free. That, the giver would always want to know how well you’re enjoying the gift. I couldn’t allow this painful truth slice into me. I would bleed. I would break too with injurious edges. This will make me injure anyone on my path. After all, broken things have sharp edges.
Years later, I’d see her. Everything was still same. Perfect too, nothing changed at all. Her smile was still all perfect and beautiful.
Only that, it is her picture I see. The one I enlarged and hung on the left wall of my room. The one she sent to me on that rainy afternoon. It was her best picture. Her two beautiful hands pushing her jaw and acting as a pillar to her head. Just below it, I saw my writings. I wrote “ Rest in peace, Esther ” with my favorite black pen.
The doctor said it was Cervical…