It was torturous: being in the only place which was highly intoxicated with Kelechi slowly brought me closer to his current state. The whole room was filled with him: his scent, his image, his voice was all over the place, and I couldn’t stand it.
My heart was screaming at me to get out of the room before I pass out; the pain of accepting he was no longer going to be with me ever again had already submerged me in itself. My brain, on the other hand, had no power over my nerves as it couldn’t command them to get me out right away.
My fingers clenched, forming a tight fist when I heard an echo of his laughter. My heart tore apart when I glanced at the bed. He was seated on it while I stood in front of him. He held my huge stomach before placing his ear on it to listen to our twins kicking inside me: I was eight months pregnant then.
Immediately, that image faded. Now, I stared at his still form on the bed – just the way he was this morning. Honestly, I don’t know how but I made my way to the bed. I knelt down and stretched out my hand to touch his side of the bed.
I retracted my hand, throwing myself onto the rugged floor. I curled myself on the floor as I continued to glance around the room. I saw more images and heard more sounds which were produced by him. Several of his facial expressions – the times he was sad, mad, happy, and more – kept flashing.
“What?” I cried. “What did I do wrong to deserve this? What crime did I commit to lose Kelechi?” I searched my brain for answers. Unfortunately, I could not find any.
I had never done anything to be in my current situation. I was thirty for crying out loud! Even if I was going to be a widow, why did it have to happen to me at such a young age? Why did it also have to be at a time when our kids just started school? Why did it have to be at a time the business I and Kelechi handled was at its critical moment? Why? Why did it also have to be at a time I was not in good terms with his family?
More tears covered my face as I imagined the things his family could make me go through. Even though I made up my mind to stand and fight, the thought still filled my mind that they might try to claim our properties as only his and therefore theirs. Who knows: they could even disown me as part of their family as I’m not completely an Igbo woman?
“Honey,” a faint sonorous voice called.
My whole body froze at the mention of my nickname. I knew that voice – anywhere, anytime. At the moment, it was absolutely not possible for me to hear that voice. More importantly, that was the only voice that called me ‘honey’ – a nickname given because of the colour of my eyes. So why on earth was that voice calling me?
I raised my head up to look at who called. I gasped and moved backwards. He was there, standing in front of me with a sympathetic smile on his gorgeous face.
My eyes blinked several times as I stared at his familiar form. He was still wearing his night clothes, which were still stained with his blood. His black hair was tousled just like his eyebrows. His dark eyes were also apologetic, making me wonder why.
What baffled me was that he looked nothing like a ghost would: he wasn’t pale, and he looked so healthy that I almost believed he wasn’t dead.
He slowly stretched his hands towards me whilst saying softly, “Don’t panic. I’m not here to hurt you.”
He slowly advanced in my direction. All that time, I stared at him with wide eyes and in disbelief.
Kelechi walked past me and sat behind me, placing me in between his legs. Cold shivers ran through every nerve cell in me as he hugged me from behind. He could touch me! And, I could feel him! How that was ever possible, I pondered over it. I could feel my blood rushing as he buried his face in my neck. He was so warm which tempted me to snuggle up against him.
Probably sensing how scared I was, he whispered, “Don’t be scared, honey. I don’t intend to hurt you. I love you, remember?” He pulled me closer to himself.
As he reminded me of his love for me, I relaxed in his embrace. Why was I paranoid? We were on good terms before he kicked the bucket so why was I afraid he was here to get back at me?
“I’m sorry you’re like this,” he whispered again. “I never intended to put you in this situation.”
“I know,” I whispered back. I rested my head on his shoulder.
He stroked my arm as he placed soft kisses on the side of my neck.
I continued: “But I never expected this to happen. I wish…” I sighed. There was no point telling him what I wished for. The deed had already been done.
“What do you wish for?” he whispered.
“I wish you’d just come back to life, Kelechi. I’m not ready for the aftermath.” I raised my hands in frustration, yelling, “Heck, I can’t still accept the fact!”
“You’ll be fine.”
I raised my head from his shoulder and stirred to stare at his face. “Can you guarantee me that, knowing the kind of family you have? Last night I told you I don’t want the hatred your family has for me to escalate to something we” – I pointed at him then myself – “can’t handle. Your death is certainly going to cause that.”
He held my chin. “I promise you’ll be fine. I’ll be here for you.”
He’ll be here for me? How ironic that was! I wanted to believe him. I really wanted to.
However, I knew I would be deceiving myself. He was a ghost and even if he was always going to be around, I knew he couldn’t comfort me as much as when he was alive. Just the fact that he no longer had the breath of life would be enough to make me all the more depressed.
“I have to go,” he said just as I was about to reveal my thoughts.
“No,” I retorted, holding his shirt. I leaned closer to him and pecked his lips.
He gasped softly, seeming surprised at my action. His hold on my waist tightened as he pecked me back.
Against his lips, I, almost inaudibly, requested, “Don’t leave me. Please stay.”
He heaved out a sigh and put my head on his muscular chest.
As if he knew what I was going to request from him, he began to hum a melody. I buried my head in his embrace for me to listen, for the last time, to his voice.
Kelechi didn’t really have a good singing voice – and he knew it. He usually hummed, saying that he voice was terrible when it came to singing. All the same, I loved listening to his sonorous voice – especially in times when I felt all hope was lost.
More tears escaped my eyes. At times like this, he was always the one to make me feel better. Now that he was no more, I had no idea how I was going to go through life without him.
There are other men out there, a part of me whispered. My stomach tightened at that thought. How could I be thinking of moving on already and right now when he was comforting me? I didn’t want any other man; the only man I wanted was my husband. There was no way I could bring myself to letting another man claim Kelechi’s wife and children as his.
Kelechi kept humming. I put all my concentration on it, knowing that it would be last time I’d get to have this moment again.