So “When Words Fail You” was supposed to be a one-off but I am trying to see if I can write anything longer than a short story… Here’s chapter 2.
Before the pain… Before the blood… They were “just friends”. Dates disguised as study sessions… Study sessions by the beach… Her pathetic attempts to lure the hottest guy on campus… The desperation with which she wanted him then now amused her. She was amused in the way only a thoroughly devastated soul could be- totally used up, like her little chuckles at her former self were her last defence against circumstances battling her for her sanity. God… I wanted him…
And she still did… A part of her… The part that wasn’t too tired or broken to feel anything. It wasn’t always easy to find, though…
Suddenly, she couldn’t stand his touch. The warmth that she had sunk into now seemed stifling. Ada jumped out of the bed before she did or said something she would have regretted. She felt like no one understood, even though sadly, the man she left in bed did. She felt like she was going mad but Ifeanyi felt something even worse; that his wife was unravelling and there was nothing he could do about it.
Ada was standing by the window, staring out of it with the same aimlessness she felt typified her existence. Ifeanyi thought he had reached her finally, but she was gone again. Even Mama thought his arrival was the cure for Ada’s silence. Yet, even the person she loved most in the world could not drag her from the depths of the consuming darkness she felt herself plunging into. Four times… Four times…
She didn’t answer. Not because she was avoiding him, but because she didn’t feel like she was that person anymore. The very word irritated her. Like the love she felt. Or used to feel. I don’t know anymore…
“Ada… Please talk to me…” Ifeanyi sighed so deeply and sadly that Ada felt for one second that he might understand what she was feeling. He embodied the hopelessness she felt. One second. Then the darkness sucked her back in.
“Mama told me Mama Ifeanyi was here…”
Ada used to find it funny when Ifeanyi called his own mother that. If only she saw that it was a cruel joke fate would come to play on them. Mama had turned out to be more of a pillar of support to them than his own mother. In fact, to stretch the metaphor, his mother actively took a sledge hammer to that pillar at the slightest provocation. Ada pictured Mama Ifeanyi hammering away at a pillar. It cracked her up.
Ifeanyi didn’t know whether to be relieved that his wife was laughing for the first time in a long while or to be afraid that her mind was leaving her. Ada threw her head back as she laughed so bitterly that something broke inside Ifeanyi. The joy that drew him to her wasn’t there anymore. And he wasn’t a good enough reason to restore it. Not this time.
“She made quite the dramatic exit. Spitting and all. Her aim was quite off sha…”
She had locked herself away again. In her sarcasm. And her coldness. Ifeanyi felt helpless.
“Baby… I’m sorry… Just, PLEASE… Talk to me… Look…” Ifeanyi sighed as he stood to meet his wife by the window. “I need you to know that I am here… You are not doing this by yourself.”
“Well, I would hope not. Killing four children is a huge responsibility to shoulder alone.” She didn’t even look at him as she spoke, focusing on the mother hen outside the window leading her chicks across the grass. She was going to count them but stopped. If there were four of them, she might have screamed.
“Ada, why are you being like this? You know she is just saying her own… It has nothing to do with us. Just forget her… Don’t…”
“WHAT?” Ada spun sharply to face Ifeanyi as she directed all the anger she felt at the one person she still cared for. She wanted to stop but the words poured out of her like rain. The clouds had been too dark and too heavy for too long to hold back this down pour. It was too much for her.
“Don’t what? Question this miraculous plan of the Good Lord to take four of my children before I even know them? Or accept the fact that your family blames me for it… God… I don’t even know which is worse… My mother wants me to pray, your mother wants me to leave, you want me to talk…” Tears welled up in her eyes and in one flash Ifeanyi could see the internal struggle they hid. “Well, maybe I just want to die.”
And in another flash, she honesty and vulnerability he thought he saw were gone. “DON’T CALL ME THAT. Your baby… Your babies are DEAD.”
Anger flooded Ifeanyi’s veins. He glared at the woman he married and turned to leave the room. Ada wanted to make him stay, to tell him she loved him and she was sorry… To tell him she just wanted him to hold her… Instead, she watched the space between them widen until her husband slammed the door.