MARRIED TO A GHOST ( A short story by Rwang Judith)
The room was beginning to feel stuffy even though the air conditioner was on. “May I?” I asked politely as I took slow steps towards the window. I slid it open to inhale the fresh chill of the mid-day Jos breeze in December.
The light bulbs seemed too bright for just one office, I lied to her that light affects my eyes and she switched both bulbs off. The office was filled with nature’s light only.
It was me, her and silence for the next few minutes. “Sorry ma’am, I’m just taking my time, I just don’t know where to start from”
“It’s normal darling, start from anywhere or rather, start from the very beginning” She had her way with beautiful pet names and the calmness in her voice reassured me that I was in safe hands.
Her office was on the third floor of a three storey building. I looked out of the window far into the distance and began.
“The love story between Kim and I is not the regular fairytale romance you hear all the time and watch on TV. Well, it might sound regular to you but it felt surreal to me. It was different and special in many ways. It was my Hollywood love story experience in a country in West Africa”
“I was at a friend’s party that night, we were playing truth or dare until I was dared to go out of the bar, pick a random dude and convince him to go home with me for the night. The consequence of not carrying out that dare was getting back with my ex, Femi(the Yoruba demon that plagued my soul and wasted two years of my life only to discover that I was a side chick)”
“I knew it was a plan for us to get back together as he has been begging me and putting more pressure the past weeks especially because his main chick dumped him for a richer guy. He knew very well that I don’t do one night stands and will never even entertain the thought of doing it, hence this dare. I looked at him and saw him smile at me. It was a mischievous smile- the type I see each time he is up to no good.
You know that smile that says ‘you are exactly where I want you to be?’ that smile. I smiled back at him, took one last sip from my drink and walked towards the door”
“Truth is, I don’t know till date if it was the wine controlling me or the zeal never to get back with Femi. All I know is I walked out of the bar, stood for about ten minutes before I made my pick. A guy was standing next to a car just across the road and he looked so lost and harmless. I crossed over, striked a deal with him and he agreed without a word in contradiction. I went back into the bar, said goodbye to everyone and blinked an eye at Femi. I could see the rage in his eyes and I won’t lie, I never felt so proud of myself we I did, that moment”.
“The drive home was quiet. Neither I nor the stranger said a word. I drove into my house, showed him to the guest room and went off to my room. I think I slept off immediately because I only woke up the next morning with a headache and I was still in the clothes I went out with the night before”.
“Memories of the previous night came flooding my mind and they made me jump out of bed rushing to the visitor’s room. A whole lot went through my mind like what if I brought a thief into the house, what if he had stolen from me, mhen, I thought of everything in the one minute or less run to the guest room”
I kept quiet again, this time, I turned from the window and walked back to my seat just opposite my therapist, legs crossed, I took a sip from the glass in water in front of me. She looked at me with keen interest and smiled softly as our eyes met. She nodded at me as if to say ‘continue darling, I’m all ears’.
Then I continued with my story, “I came to a halt that when I flung the door to the visitor’s room open and there he was sitting by the egde of the bed with both feet on the ground”.
“It seemed he did not get any sleep as the bed looked untouched. He was startled by the way I flung the door open and he stood up immediately. ‘Oh it’s you’ he said in a tone that seemed disappointed to see me and sat back at the same spot. At that moment, I felt embarrassed, I mean who barges into anothers room without knock at least”.
“I excused myself, went back to my room, took a shower, changed into fresh clothes and strolled into the kitchen to make a simple breakfast. It was Saturday and as such, I did not have to go to work”
It was at breakfast that I regretted taking on the dare. I found out the stranger I carried bears the name Kim and he can’t remember anything from his past but his name. I thought he was just lying so I sent him out of my house. He left without even trying to explain himself”.
“All my life, I’ve never seen a man look that clueless before. I felt bad and mad at myself for being so inconsiderate. I ran after him and thankfully, he was walking down my street when I caught up with him, apologized and took him back to the house’.
“He slumped as soon as we entered my living room. I guess it’s cos to the hunger. He did not even touch the food I served him and I got to understand he has had nothing to eat for four days. He was just lost, homeless, clueless and did not even care for food”.
“After he was discharged from the hospital, I booked appointments with different doctors and they all said he has amnesia. They adviced us to give it time and try to live past it. I took it upon myself to help Kim out of whatever has befallen him. After all, the apartment my company gave me had enough space to accomodate both of us”
“We later found out he was good with words and many other things. He created social media handles and built his accounts from scratch. He had the looks to the get the attention of just anyone and was witty enough to keep them glued to his page with contents. He was freelancing and influencing. He got a job at my friend’s company in the media department and in less than a year, was doing pretty much for someone who was lost some months ago”.
“I can’t even say at what point I became attracted to him or he to me, I just know that I refused him packing out when he wanted to. And after three years of being friends, flatmates and later an item, we got married. It was the happiest day of my life. After loosing both parents to an accident, this man was the missing piece in my puzzle. Being with Kim was not all rosy as we had our rainy days but we scaled through. He made love beautiful and loving easy”.
“I was at work one day and was scrolling through Facebook during my lunch break when a friend request popped in. I was not the social media type of person and as such, my account was almost void of pictures. I had just about ten pictures of me and I hardly ever related with anyone online. I just go through my news feed on happy days and that day was one of those”
“I went through his profile accepted his request and along the line, we got talking. I told him I was married and he apologized for sliding into my DM. He explained that he would have shot his shot if I had not told him as my profile said nothing about my relationship status. What he said made me update my relationship status and also post a picture of my husband and I to keep ‘toasters’ at bay”.
“I was offline for a few days and what I found waiting for me in my DM from this new Facebook friend of mine changed my life to what it is today. Sometimes, I wished I remained ignorant of the truth, I wish I never accepted his request and I wish I never posted my husband’s photo”
“I saw more then 20 messages he’d sent explaining that my husband looks exactly like his dead brother who has been dead for four years. He even sent me pictures. He said “If I had not seen his dead body myself, I would have said, your husband is he”
“I stared at the pictures and all I saw was my better half, Kim. I can’t even explain the flood of emotions that rushed through my body that day. It was as if I was floating in the air. I asked what his brother’s name was and he said “Kim”.
“No, this must be a big joke”, I said to myself. According to my Facebook friend, his brother died in an accident and died right on the spot. He sent me a picture of his dead brother just before the accident and guees what ma’am?
“What” she replied. “That man was putting on the same shirt, same trouser and same shoes Kim was wearing the first night we met in front of the bar and the date of the accident was same day I met Kim”.
“I could not cry, I could not laugh, I just did not understand. It seemed as if I was running mad. I grabbed my car keys and zoomed out of my office building straight to my my house. Kim wasn’t home which was unusual because he told me he’d be home all day since he was on leave. I ran into our bedroom and every single trace of his existence was nowhere to be found. His side of the wardrobe was empty. His shoe rack was empty. Even his toiletries were gone”.
“The only thing I found was his wedding ring on my dressing table and a note that says “I was real until you found out otherwise”
I stared at my therapist and saw her looking like someone who had just seen a ghost. He mouth was wide open and she just could not speak a word. I smiled for I’ve seen that look too many times from different people who have heard my story.
“I know I seem like a crazy person, but who wouldn’t be. I was married to a ghost, I was two months gone with his baby when I found out, now I am eight months gone and still lost. My husband is gone, but I have a mini him growing in me”
“Tell me ma’am, who will not be as carzy as I am carrying the child of a ghost?”
“a ghost baby”