Short Story: My Life in Ruins (2)…By Kachy Emeghi

MY LIFE IN

My name is Angela Jacobs, and this is my story…..
I was brought up in a nice christian home,I used to kid myself my family was the ideal perfect family. It wasn’t all Flowers,Butterflies and Rainbows; but we were happy and content.
My parents made sure my brother and I read the bible everyday; our friends used to tease us about being “walking bibles”. We were as comfortable as middle class could be,Never lacked anything. My dad’s company dealt with cars and my mom had left the banking Sector to be a full time housewife,she wanted to get more involved in our lives it seemed. She claims,she opted out so her children could be properly trained.
She would always bore us with tales of how she was the most sort after lady during her days as a single lady.

“You know, your father was always breathing down my neck,Never gave me breathing space,threatened to drink Rat poison once if I refused to marry him; I had no option but to marry him out of pity plus I didn’t want anyone’s blood on my hands”

This was always accompanied with a smile and quiet chuckle.

Then She’d always say…
“Don’t roll you eyes at me young lady!”
“You can’t even see me,Mom”.
Her back was always turned to me,so how in Heaven’s name did she know what I was doing?
I envied what my parents shared, they seemed perfect for each other. In my eyes,my dad was perfect and could do no wrong! I worshipped the ground in which he walked on. He was my hero.
I always said a prayer to Heaven to send me someone like him when the time was right..
Disaster came knocking when My elder brother got his driver’s permit. He was really excited and against the advice of my Mum took the Honda accord to drive around town, he wanted to show my dad what a good driver he was.

“I don’t think its a good idea for him to drive” My mum said.

“C’mmon give my pride and joy a break, I’ll be with him so be rest assured he’ll be safe” was my dad’s reply.

My brother was grinning from ear to ear as they waltzed out of the house.
Time for dinner and they still weren’t back, Lord knows I was starving. Ugh! I went up to my room to get my phone,when a loud shriek from outside the house got me running as fast as I could; I wondered what the commotion outside was about, and to my Horror I saw Two strangers holding my mum while she shed tears uncontrollably and tried to break free of them.
When she sighted me, she ran to me, hugged me and said “Everything will be fine,sweetheart”… I couldn’t help but wonder what the drama was about, I stared at her willing her to speak up,but she said nothing.
Then came the Bombshell from the gate keeper,
“Small madam, these men just come tell big madam say Big and small oga don go meet Jesus”.
I refused to believe what I had just heard,but the look of pity in the stranger’s eyes was my undoing; I wanted to believe this was a prank, some sort of joke;but I knew it wasn’t .
My eyes were open,but I wasn’t staring at anyone.
Sitting on the floor,clutching my mum,I wept but made no sound. My mouth softened and trembled. I rocked her and tears spilled from her eyes,coursed down her cheeks.
The perfect quietness of my grief indicated its intensity.

I was on the borderline between that darkness and the world of light. I spoke not a word for days to come, I wasn’t aware of anything other than the influx of relatives,neighbours and even total strangers to the house. Trust bad news to travel as fast as wild fire. Everyone wore a sad look, the air around the house was stiff and depressing.
They say there are 4 stages of Grief, Denial, Anger, the tears and then acceptance. I was in the second stage. I needed someone to blame what had happened on; I wanted so badly to lash out at somebody, anybody!
At this point pain was my only companion, I didn’t believe there was a God,If there was, he wouldn’t have allowed these happen. I thought of the days when my dad would make us stay up for hours,Singing praises,reading the bible and praying and my anger almost ate me up.
My mum’s elder brother ;Uncle Dede was there for us, My mum’s Closest friend Anty Camille too,bless her soul.

“The devil has advocates in the least likely places”, Uncle dede said.
Mom looked at the window.
“Two days ago I didn’t even believe in the devil”.
“But now?”
“But now.” Mom said

Anty camille decided to camp with us for a few weeks till the burial, she wanted to make sure we weren’t suicidal.
Uncle Dede looked at Anty camille “You take good care of them”
“Like they were my own” she said.

For a couple of minutes they were silent. They looked anywhere but at me. A whitney houston number faded away on the radio,and in a couple of seconds Bruce Springsteen began to sing a haunting song about how everything dies…
In my present situation, there was something decidedly macabre and disquietning about Springsteen’s lyrics.

The laying to rest of my Dad and brother came faster than any of us anticipated, I was a shadow of my old self; I could barely fit into any of my clothes and I wasn’t the least bothered about it. I was beginning to have wrinkled lines on my face. I was looking way older than my age. An anguished expression distorted my face.
I smiled for the first time since their deaths when a distant relation asked her 6 children to enter the grave one after the other…. In her words “we have nothing to live for since our breadwinner is gone,how do we survive?”
“Death!” She screamed spraying spittle.
I wished my Dad would come back from the faraway and lightless shore of the river that flowed darkly between this world and the next.
I looked over at my mom, and thought I saw the beginning of a smile; but it disappeared immediately; maybe I only imagined it,maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me.
At the end of the day,I was calm and had accepted my fate. I told myself tears wouldn’t bring back my loved ones. Enya and Yanni’s songs were my usual companions;I thought of my upcoming exams and decided to read for them, better to channel my energy into something positive right?

“You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself” that was my mum

“Mum,please not now…”. I’m giving her the “Leave me the hell alone look.

“All I’m saying is,you should be …..” I never heard the rest of what she had to say,I closed the door in her face.

I was depressed for days, I spoke to my friend,Joey about it and he promised to give me something to make me feel better. I doubted there was anything,but decided to play along. The next day,he offered me a white substance wrapped in a leather bag and said…
“There, that should make you feel better”
At my raised eyebrow, he quickly added, “that’s cocaine of course, you surely have heard about it,haven’t you?”

I was dumbfounded and to say I was shocked beyond words is putting it mildly.

“WHAT!!!!, Why would you have this sort of thing in your possession?” I asked

He looked at me in annoyance and said, “I’m just tryna help okay? Try It once;if you don’t feel better,I promise I’d leave you alone”..
Then he added, “I know its difficult,but it’s necessary”.
I had heard of the dangers of sniFfing cocaine,and what it did to people, but then an inner voice said to me, ” it’s just once; how bad can it get?”.
And that was only the beginning of my self-destruction.
Joey introduced me to some drug dealer named frank,who became my friend.
I became addicted, found out I was fast losing track of my life;but I didn’t care. The aggressive side I never knew I had surfaced. I was always on the defensive and began to steal from my mum to live through my Nasty habit.
My mum was worried about me and tried talking to me on countless occasions, but I never lent her a listening ear. I was no longer her little girl. I had opted to go into something beyond my control.
My uncle dede tried talking to me once, but I cuSsed at him. I used foul words even the virgin Mary would have turned purple had she heard them.
My family constantly lived in fear of me, I used their fear to lord over them. I drank in their fear, feeling powerful as time went by.
I had also become my worst enemy.
My Dad’s company savings were next to go down the drain, I had to feed my addiction; and what better way to live this lifestyle than showering the bank with affection?

My mum developed a High blood pressure and was advised by the doctor to slow down on anything that would worsen her situation. I wasn’t in the least bothered.
On christmas eve, Frank came over to the house on my invitation; my mum was really upset when she came home. She walked in on us sniffing cocaine and threatened to call the police on us, I thought she was kidding me till I saw her walk up the stairs to get her phone. I panicked and ran after her, told her not to call no one; but she was adamant! Then came the anger, then the blood…. Till date I still hear the echo of my mom’s scream. The look of shock in her eyes stays with me forever.
I walked down the stairs, I stooped to examine her face. Her eyes seemed empty,peering into them,I thought they were like two oval windows offering a view of an immense void that was as empty as the cold reaches of space at the centre of the universe.
“Mom?”
No response.
“Talk to me, mom.”
Nothing.
“Mom,don’t drift away from me,stay with me….”
Still Nothing
I realised that I was praying. The lord’s prayer. I hadn’t prayed in 6months.
Her face was so white that it might have been a mask carved out of soap,and her lips were nearly as bloodless as her skin.
I had pushed her down the stairs! In a moment of rage and madness; I had killed! I had snuffed the life out of a woman who had brought me to the world. I had tainted my hands with another human’s blood. I am a murderer! At that point,I felt as deadly and dangerous as Jack the ripper or as any member of the manson family.

The sound of police sirens put the fear of the devil in frank and he ran as if the hounds of hell were nipping at his heels. Who had called them? How did they know what I had done?
Fear both energised and paralysed me,filled me with an urgent desire to flee but simultaneously numbed my mind and legs.
I wanted to run, run as fast as my legs would let me; but I couldn’t . I stood there,rooted to the spot. My misery was so complete that I couldn’t restrain the tears. Who would have imagined the arguments could get this far out of hand? Or that my inner demons would be unleashed?
There was chaos in the living room, all I could make out was the silhouette of some men wrapping my mom’s body in a white sheet.
I closed my eyes cowering against the door,hoping that I might be able to hide,although I knew that I was deluding myself.
I was handcuffed and whisked away amidst the stares of bystanders and onlookers.
Now I believe that a violent savage hides within every man and woman.

“You,stand up! And embrace your future…” That was the police man with the battered torchlight, I looked over at Sergeant okoro and couldn’t help but notice the sneer in his face.
He couldn’t hide the smile forming on his lips.
I walk shamefaced to my New home, where I’ve been condemned to stay for the rest of my life. The washed out white buildings were a little bent,I had a feeling they were mocking me,like a mocking bird.

This wasn’t the Happy ending I had wished for, I silently cursed the day my dad and brother had been involved in that ill fated accident. With all my heart,I wished that I had never met Frank and Joey,wished that I had never set my eyes on the cocaine. Wished that I hadn’t taken it..
At that point,I knew in the darkest hour of a sleepless night,I would dwell too intently upon the past that might have been.

I made eye contact with a wall gecko, even that too was mocking me.

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