I’m sure you’ll understand why I’ll skip all the pleasantries, and go straight to rambling out my heart. I’m sure you’ll dig through the debris of my mind like farmers digging for the ready to-be-harvested yams, and find therein my heart’s anguish. My heart is heavy, nkem, and threatens to fall through my body to the sordid floor of this godforsaken place.
Perhaps understanding is all I need now. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Understanding won’t stop tomorrow from happening. It wouldn’t stop the treacherous sun from labouring over the horizon to send rays like death spears upon me. It wouldn’t stop the fowl’s crow, that sound that will send death’s fear crawling up my spine like a thousand spiders, giving off that unpleasant sensation. Understanding will change nothing except me. Now, does that matter?
Nkem, two years I waited, trapped in this hell-hole. Two years I looked out for the sunshine to break through my gloom, the lugubrious cloud darkening my days; a ray would have been enough, but I waited in vain. I never got to see the familiar contour, the gait I knew so well. I waited like the child would wait for its mother, wanting nothing more but to see your face, and know that you understand. But it was not to be. Days rolled into weeks, weeks begat months, months turned to years until my hope of seeing you became an echo, rescinding rebound after rebound after rebound. It became a passive thing, a lifeless hope.
Ekene was here yesterday. He told me you’re getting married to Nnamdi. I’m writing this letter hurriedly so he can take it to you when he comes to see me for the last time. Did you get that? The last time nkem, the very last time. I’ll be mad to wish you a happy married life. Why will I when that will mean watching all my dreams come crashing down like the twin towers of 9-11? Why will I when it will mean sinking the pointed part of a blade deliberately and slowly into my heart? Wishing you well in your marriage will be like gulping down a bottle of poison that kills slowly and painfully.
You won’t respond, but it’s alright, I won’t even live long enough to get it. I’m alright with the liability I’ve become: a condemned gladiator in the name of love. I know I shouldn’t have hit him so hard, Nneoma, but he came onto you with a knife, a knife! He wanted you dead, I had to fight for my treasure, nay, lost treasure. You were surprised I had a gun? You condemn me for this? I have only this to say: greater love has no man than this, to lay down his life for those he loves. I’ll walk to that electric chair shivering outwardly, but at peace with myself. I loved, and I proved my love.
Why not come and watch me die, then get married? Why not come and watch me dance my last dance on earth? A ghostly dance. I’ve become the black ant that guarded the palm nuts only to be shaken off at the end.