I watched Victor stagger into the living room very late that night. I had dozed off on a twin couch after a purposeless day waiting for him to return home. He reeked off alcohol and cheap perfume, I was disgusted by the sight of him so much that I pitied him.
He moved straight towards my direction as if I was invincible, he fell straight on the other side of where I sat, snoring as he slept. I felt something tore at my chest, I didn’t know whether it was anger, hurt or rejection. I pulled off his shoes, got a blanket and covered him up.
I didn’t sleep much, I kept thinking, “where could she be? and how much time would we spend together”
Anna was five when she passed away as a result of my carelessness. I got pregnant in my finals for victor while we dated in school. He denied it and broke up with me. I kept it and it produced an angel, Anna, who became everything to me.
Five years after victor comes back asking for forgiveness saying “I can’t stop thinking about her, I just want to see her”. Anna saw him and they bonded on the very first day, she would laugh so loud at his jokes and it made me smile to see her so happy.
Victor walked with Anna one afternoon, as she rushed into my arms pulling me to come out.
“You didn’t go to the cinema anymore” I asked following her. “Just come mummy” she said and I followed without hesitation opening the front door to go out. Victor stood beside a car I couldn’t help but notice it was new.
He bent on one knee and said “you’re priceless and you give me so much joy and happiness, will you marry me”.
I stood there like a statue regardless of the constant pulling on my hand by Anna, “ye yes yes” I stuttered. He didn’t seem convinced so I went to him and we hugged each other as Anna joined in the hug making us laugh.
It was a memorable day, we’ve been happy ever since, until happiness was zapped from our lives by one silly mistake. Victor got her a bike as I tried teaching her to ride it in front of the house.
We went out that day like other riding days, I felt she was getting better, so I stopped following her at her back while she rode to boost a little confidence.
“Biggest mistake of my life”. A drunk man in his early twenties lost control on the steering while driving, to avoid a major accident he turned towards a tree, where she rode her bike, hitting Anna in a second she tumbled with the bike and landed on her back with the bike falling on top of her.
I rushed towards her in a mad state screaming. The neighbours helped me put her in a vehicle as we rushed to the hospital, she was immediately taken to the emergency unit. I tried calling victor it wasn’t going through, so I left him a message.
He rushed into the room where Anna was admitted, looked at me with tears in his eyes as he walked towards the bed where she lay, kneeling very close to her he whispered “come back to me, you make me a better man”.
The doctor strolled in, we both stood up hastily to meet him anxious for some news. He just tried to calm us, which was not helping because it made us more tensed. So he realized he just had to tell us either ways.
“She’s in a catatonic stage”, he continued some more but I had lost track by then all I knew was my baby wasn’t coming back.
I walked so fast from the hospital and walked all the way home not realizing how much distance I had gone until our neighbours saw me and tried to help me with a bath and a meal. They didn’t understand, "I don’t know how to exist without her".
Days had stretched to months as we moved into a New Year and the pain that we felt hasn’t reduced in any way, I found some form of comfort in junk food which caused me to add extra weight while victor had found solace in late nights and alcohol.
“It was already quarter of the year, we can’t continue like this”. I muttered looking at the clock, it was already five in the evening, and the day was drawing to a close.
I tried to stop victor from going out for another round of his crazy nights, standing by the door obstructing him from going anywhere.
“move away Stella” victor said, I didn’t bulge and we struggled with the door so he pushed me away with so much force I felt my head hitting the floor so hard, I was unconscious. He paid no attention to me and left.
I laid there till he came back drunk as usual, while I was still on the floor. He made a joke about it,went to the couch and slept.
Victor woke up to me still on the floor, that was when it dawned on him what he had done, he quickly rushed as he carried me out opening the car to put me inside. He speedily drove to the hospital.
“Not her too, I promise to be better” he prayed.
“She’s alive, if you brought her in two minutes late, she wouldn’t have made it” the doctor told him.
When he could finally see me, I was surprised to see him at the hospital.
“What are you doing here" I asked? He tried to speak, not understanding if I was angry with him but I cut him asking “where’s Anna”?
“The doctors said there might be complications but he wasn’t sure”. Victor remembered repeating them to me. "Complications" I said dismissing it almost immediately.
“Why are you all of a sudden here and now after four years"? I asked, staring at him with much hate and pain.
“She had lost her memory and it was all my fault, she didn’t remember two years from now”. Victor thought to himself as he walked out of the hospital more devastated than ever before.
Regardless of where you find yourself or whatever you’re passing through you owe it to yourself to keep fighting. Taking a step each day to stay strong not because you want to, but because it’s who you are. Keep floating you’re much stronger than you think.
Blossom Obi writes from Owerri, Imo State. For comments and responses, reach her via firstname.lastname@example.org