Very soon, I will embrace my wife again as a farmer embraces the rainy season, or, like a groom embraces his new bride. I will be drenched in water. A sorrow–hidden moment it will be, just like January 1st, 2005. That was the last day I saw her heavy dimples and swollen abdomen.
It was a harmattan morning, the air was frosty. My blue car was carefully parked on the green lawn. I noticed her full beauty as she swayed towards me.
“We’re ready, Mr Blonde!”. That was the name she used from nine years ago when my hair really looked that way. The ‘we’ was for her and the obvious bump. She was wearing a long white taffeta that reminded me of our wedding at St Mary’s church just a few months ago. I started the engine and drove the car slowly out of the compound.
It was a thirty minutes drive to the popular riverbed. The place was already crowded with several families and couples. We found our way to a spacious green patch near the big river. It was really chilly and though I objected, she insisted. She claimed the baby was happily kicking. That really got me; so we had our picnic there. She brought out her blue camera and took pictures of us. She wanted barbecue and yogurt. I left her to go get them from inside a long tent that was erected not too far from us for refreshment purposes. A slow jam accompanied me into the tent. It was Billie Marten’s Anda:
‘… The sea, the sand, the air // The salt in your hair // I’m not going anywhere // Anywhere….’
I was about getting my barbecue when I heard a fearful crescendo from the outside. At that moment I wasn’t bothered, thinking it was those nasty youths who drank to stupor, that they were now wearing their shoes on their heads. But then came the loud cries. I dropped the yogurt and ran out. People were gathered around the small river; worse, beside our picnic! I thought I saw her among the crowd.
“Baby, what happened here? I’m very sorry to have kept you waiting.” I said to her. She stared at me as if she did not recognize me…Oh! It wasn’t Jane! It was another pregnant woman! But they looked like twins? Maybe not. But where is Jane?
I saw her sink, gradually, until her whole body vanished. But I was far away.
Yes. It was Jane. At some point Jane was laying beside the river. I wanted to join her but they dragged me back. I fainted and found myself in the hospital. I promised Jane I would return home.
Today is the day I fulfill the promise to join her and our baby. In case you can’t find me; I’m sinking already. I pray for a smooth and uninterrupted journey to the riverbed.
Abiodun Usman is a writer who writes from the western part of Nigeria. His works explore domestic violence, corruption, depression and love. His works have appeared on literary blogs online. He is currently studying Theatre Arts at the Premiere University, Ibadan.