I advanced under the pouring rain, unaware of the water seeping through my clothes, unaware of the thunder claps and flashing lightening, unaware of the wet bodies bumping into me, in a bid to get away from the rain. No, I wasn’t unaware, I was aware, but refused to acknowledge their existence. Yes, that is more appropriate.
I fished my house key from my pocket when I reached my house and opened the door. Warmth and familiarity washed over me, as my eyes met the house. I plopped into the couch.
There she was, dancing, spinning and twirling in a red, flared, knee length gown. She pulled me from the couch to join in her playful dance.
“Lamide, you know i cant dance”
“Nonsense, anyone can dance, it’s a natural response to music”; she said, moving my stiff body to the rhythm of the music. “speaking of natural responses…”she placed my hand over her chest, I felt her heartbeat. “….That’s my natural response to you”
She giggled; and the lithe sound reverberated across the parlour.
The sound faded into nothingness. I reached to hold her, my mouth felt dry, my soul, empty. She wasn’t there. An apparition, a mirage.
I stood up from the couch in my half dried clothes and glanced at my watch, it was still ticking. 1:01am. I peeled my clothes off and folded them neatly, just like she taught me, She taught me so many thing, changed me in so many little ways. I now placed my shoes neatly beside the door, now carried my plates to the kitchen, now wore my clothes only twice before washing them.
I sighed; ran my left palm over my face and walked to the room. I wore a dry shirt and shorts and lay in bed.
“Where are you going Tade?”
I looked around me, startled. Hearing voices again. I turned off the light switch.
“I’m free Tade, and so are you, where are you going to from here?”
I stared outside at the stars through the mosquito net. They burned with varying intensities against the dark velvet sky.
“Tade, lets have four kids.”
“Four! Babe, two’s fine o.”
She laughed “Ole.”
She laughed again and I joined her.
I heard chirping bird; the sun peeked at me through the window, wiping away the last trace of sleep from my eyes. I remained in bed lifeless, like an airless planet, like Lamide’s eyes at the hospital, like her gray lifeless face. I felt the sting in my eyes, felt the heat of the tears, the wetness. I didn’t try to fight it, didn’t try to hold it back, I just let it fall, like the rain had poured from the sky that day. I hugged the pillow and lay curled on the bed.
When the tears no longer flowed, and my eyes began to itch from dryness, I stood up from the bed.
“Tade, let’s travel out, to those grasslands and mountains we see on TV, the exotic beaches. I’ve always wondered what it would be like.”
“We would babe, we would. Soon.”
She pouted. “That’s what you keep saying.”
I took her in my arms and breathed in the scent of her skin. Clean linens. “I promise babe, I promise.”; I whispered against her temple.
A promise I never kept. I boiled some water and opened the fridge. The light at the top left side of the fridge came on. I picked the last piece of cheese in the grey pack and a quarter loaf of bread. I tore open the triangular foil of the cheese with my teeth and spread the cheese on the bread with a spoon.
I lifted the sandwich to my lips and chewed, slowly. The salty sweet taste filled my mouth, awakening my taste buds. My eyes fell on the framed picture above the samsung LCD TV.
Lamide was in her white wedding gown, I stood beside her, in a grey 3-piece suit, holding her waist.
I did not think I could take it anymore, how do you run away from your memories? your thoughts? They are you, you are them. The memories, her words, her scents are still so alive.
I went to the room and donned a Jalabia, put some money from my wallet into my pocket, picked my car keys from the centre table and stepped out the door. I drove and drove, I did not know where I was going.
“Tade, you’re free…”
I stopped at the bar beach and parked. Some men came to collect money for parking.
I pulled out a N500 note from my pocket. “Keep the change.”; I mumbled.
I felt the salty air on my face, inhaled it, revelled in it. The ocean swished back and forth, it’s white foam bathing the seashore. The sun gazed upon the sea, and the sea reflected its light.
“Tade, it’s a new beginning. Moving on is not betrayal.”
I turned, and looked at the lady in a blue, floral knee length gown. The gentle sea breeze lifted the gown in billows around her knees.
“Remember me?” She asked, cocking her head, a mischevious smile creeping up her lips. She reminded me so much of Lamide.
I smiled. “Yes. Dayo. Command secondary school. Our ever so bold class captain.”
I held out my right hand and she shook it.
She smiled. Lamide smiled. I smiled…