Short Stories

Short story: Forever

This short story is a guest post by Ben Ochuba K. It is a fictitious account of a broken man whose wife had committed suicide and who had to live with the knowledge that he had unknowingly perhaps buried his son alive.

… Until forever” her singsong voice called out cheerfully but my eyes did not moisten as they had ten years ago when I had first heard that in real life. Now, I just stare at the video, bored, and scratch my overgrown beard, which shoots out of my chin like spikes.

Forever had lasted for a very short time. It had ended three years after our marriage when baby Kingsley died. It had happened so fast and like a speeding train without functioning brakes it had knocked off the lights of love from Sandra’s eyes leaving behind clouds of misery. Those lights dimmed speedily until one day they were gone, replaced with cold marble with little of black in place of pupils and plenty of white. And poignantly, no lights.

Now I look forward to nothing anymore.

Maybe a walk by her grave to tell her how sorry I am because…

Weeks after Kingsley’s death – the doctors had been treating him for unbearable growing teeth pains – she wouldn’t say a word to me. I wish she screamed or even blamed me for it, I could have borne it gratefully. But no, she had turned the house into a graveyard and on some days, I could swear that I could hear my own joints creaked as I moved. My sperm cells must have matured into frogs from the cold.

Then I came back from work one day to find her dancing, a strange kind of dance as her feet didn’t touch the floor. A rope dangling from the ceiling fan suspended her body in the air.

It had taken two days to stop staring at the dance, switch the fan off and call her family. People whispered among themselves when they believe I was beyond earshot, that I must have been crazy to spend days with a corpse. But I was beyond caring.

Imagine: Twenty20

They had wanted to have her body discarded into the evil forest but I couldn’t allow it; I had to have somewhere to visit her, especially after I read the suicide note she had placed on the VCR.

Nnamdi, you let them take my right to grief away when you allowed them to throw my baby in the evil forest,” she had written with a red pen making it appear like she was writing with her last drops of blood.

The next words had made my saliva dry up and my skin moistened with hot sweat.

They could have buried him in the house and I would have been able to explain how we had killed him. The doctor called a day after he died and told me the nurse had given him a too powerful anaesthetic instead of malaria intravenous. We could have revived him if we had any sense, but all we thought of was the traditional rites of disposing of a dead infant.”

The note felt like stab in a wound and I tore it up with fury like I could eat up the pain along with the physical evidence but instead the words had registered in my mind and on days like these it keeps up reading itself repeatedly, first in the shaky voice I had used on that sad day seven years ago, then in Sandra’s voice that sounded like dry paper crackling in a hungry fire and finally in the voice I imagine would haven Kingsley’s had he lived long enough to learn to speak.

Sometimes, eternity is behind the next bend and we are just too busy walking to see it before it slams us in the face.

I switched off the TV. I wondered why I keep watching the video when I could replay it from memory – all 52 minutes and 13 seconds of it. Dragging myself upstairs, I wondered if sleep would eventually come this night and I hoped morning hurries.


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