My palms suddenly became sweaty. The room temperature was quite cool but I noticed I was beginning to perspire.
I read the mail again. The sender ID was blocked and I’m sure untraceable. Who could have done this? I wondered.
And what indeed had I done?
I think you know. The thought came to me without warning.
“Honey, you haven’t touched your meal…aren’t you hungry?”
Her voice jolted me to reality. My wife. The woman I Iove.
“Uh…I’m not really hungry.” I replied faking a smile.
“Are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost.”
At the mention of “ghost” I panicked and I had no idea why. Visions of my daughter flooded my memory.
“Mo?” Suddenly she was beside me and with a quick reflex action, I shut the laptop.
“Are you okay?” She asked again.
I looked up at her and saw the eyes of my daughter staring back at me. I couldn’t hold myself any longer, so I said;
“I’m sorry baby.” I pulled her unto my laps. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you and Shirley. If I could turn back the hands of time, I swear I will. Will you forgive me?”
She looked at me with such tenderness that I wanted to confess to her. Cradling my face in her hands, she replied…
“It’s not your fault, honey. Don’t blame yourself.”
“Maybe if I had been there…”
“No. There’s nothing you could have done. She…she was badly damaged when we got to the hospital.” The pain was etched in her face as she spoke and I wished I could take it away completely. She had not spoken to me about that day and what had happened and I hadn’t asked because I felt she wasn’t ready to talk about it.
“You don’t have to talk about it.” I said, more for my own good than hers. I didn’t need to feel guiltier than I already did.
She shook her head and I saw the tears gather again. “I keep having these nightmares…the scenario keeps showing up in my dreams and I wonder if there was something I could have done to save her…”
“Ssshhh.” I held her. “You did your best sweetie. No kid could’ve asked for a better mother.”
And you? Were you the best father? It was that voice in my head taunting me again.
The contents of the mail came back to me again and I shuddered involuntarily.
“I love you.” I told her. And yes I needed to reassure myself that I could still say those words to my wife.
“I love you too.”
There was a knock on the door at that moment.
Kemi went to get the door while I cleared the dishes. My mind was still on the mail. Who would want to blackmail me? Enemies? As far as I knew, I had none.
And what had I done exactly?
Could it be what I was thinking?
So many questions…
I resolved to get answers soon.
When I opened the door, Delia my closest friend was standing there. She hugged me immediately. We hadn’t spent time together since the incident and that was largely my fault.
“Darling!” She exhaled sharply. “How are you?”
“Much better, Del.”
I led her to the living room. Delia and I had been friends since our first year in college. Approximately, we’d known each other for nine years. Another amazing fact about our friendship was that she was Caucasian.
Our friendship was weird; when I met her she was timid and shy, rarely speaking until she’d been spoken to…even after being friends for nine years there were times I felt her closing up.
I was surprised at her flowery mood this morning…
“And where’s Mo?” She asked.
“Somewhere inside, I think.”
I was happy to see her but I was a bit distracted. Mo’s behaviour this morning had left me unsettled. He’d been jumpy and tense.
Even the look on his face when he was apologizing to me was one I thought I recognised as guilt.
What did my husband have to be guilty about?…