That Friday the 13th.

I remember the last time I saw you. Yea, I do. One month down the line and I remember it like it was yesterday. In detail. Funny how the brain chooses to remember some things and never the answers during an exam. Sigh. Anyway, what was I saying? Something in the lines of how well I remember that day, the details are actually overwhelming. I can almost smell the air in the room that morning. Early morning air. Crisp, clean filled with unspoken emotions and unanswered questions. How does air even smell? In my mind, I reach out to touch you. My mind playing games on me. Why do I remember these things at the randomest (Randomest even a word?) of times? It’s 3am for crying out loud! I grab my pen and paper, no use forgetting a memory so clear.

You were so happy that morning. I stood aside and watched you go about your normal morning routine. But boy, were you happy? Reminded me of a child. A child in a toy store. so happy you could hardly sit still? Why were you so happy anyway? Morning routines, me attempting to make your morning smoothie, you following me into the kitchen with your belt in hand. Me mixing the ingredients, you tying your belt.  You taking the cup from the nutri bullet before I could blend it and adding an extra assortment of ingredients. I never get it right do I? It never seems to bother you anyway, especially not this morning. You chat away as you go about your tasks. The blending damn!!! That thing does make a lot of noise, no? Watched you down the brown liquid, then walk to the bedroom to grab your socks.  You come back to wear your socks in the sitting room. Some kind of routine you  had unconsciously formed, you following me around, pieces of clothing in your hands as you got dressed for the day.

Your happiness was almost palpable. I debated on whether to reach out and touch it or would that ruin the magic of the morning? Seeing you so happy made me happy. Isn’t happiness like yawning? You only have to see it to be infected. I was having mixed feelings though, I knew it was the last time I was seeing you in such a long time. Why were you so happy then? You asked if  your outfit was ok, I answered that it was fine. I should have said you looked amazing. You did. You wondered if it was too casual for the office, If you should maybe change your shoes. I sat there looking at you, feeling amused. You decided to keep the shoes. They matched your outfit.

You picked your laptop bag, unplugged your phone from the charger. All the while chatting away. I responded with aahhms, ok’s and mmhh?s. I was happy to just sit there and watch. You came where I was sitting, stood right in front of me and reached out for a hug. I ignored you. I knew that hug would be sealed with a kiss, and with that, you would be out of the door. Instead, I asked you a question. Something silly. Was trying to buy me some time. You answered silly question. Cheerfully in fact. Normally you would have taken a moment, mused at the silliness of said question and then looked at me intensely to establish if I was indeed being serious or not. Not that morning though. You answered silly question.  You were that happy. I obliged you the next time you reached for that hug. Stood up to be enveloped in the warmest of embraces. To fit perfectly in your arms. A long hug. You tried to let go but yours truly held on. You must have sensed my shakiness because you  held on tighter.  As if letting go would cause me to tumble in a pile. Nothing lasts forever though, and especially not warm tight hugs.

On your way out, you told me I could open that curtains if I wanted to. Yea, that’s how you said it. “Open” the curtains. I remember because later as I “opened” the curtains, I mused at how random that was. You stopped to look at me one last time as if taking a mental picture. An intense look, so intense it made me look away. I am not one to look away.  You smiled at me and said I looked like I had something to say. I said no. Truth is, I had so much to say. You looked at me doubtfully and asked if I was sure, I nodded yes and reaffirmed it with a “Yep” that I hoped was more convincing. You smiled, bade me goodbye and just like that, shutting the door behind you were gone.

I leaned back against the door and wrestled with my emotions. Finally, I walked back, sat on my chair and felt alone. Almost empty. Why does English not have words for such deep yet sensitive feelings? I wondered if I should have spoken my mind.  Maybe I should have begged you not to leave and proceeded to tempt you not to go to work. Maybe I should have asked you to come back inside even if for just an hour just so i could busk in that happiness you had that morning. Maybe I should have asked for another hug and this time not let go so quick. Maybe I should have said nothing, pulled you back inside, shut the door and hid the key, made you sit on your seat, and watched you do the things you loved to do inside the house. I didn’t though now did I? Instead, I let you go.

Knowing me, and with this being all in my imagination, a factitious writing like  this would have had a sad ending. You would befall a somewhat gruesome conclusion. And what with it being Friday the thirteenth? Fiction or not though, I will not allow anything to happen to you. I will not let my imagination harm you. No, my fingers on this keyboard will not be how  you meet your untimely end. Instead, I will sit back in my chair, and remember in detail the last time I saw you. Happily leaving for work. On a Friday morning, dressed ever so casually, laptop bag in one hand and you randomly asking me to “open” the curtains on your way out.

See you again soon my love. Carry that happiness wherever you may go despite the curves life might throw at you. We will meet again I solemnly swear. Even if it only be in dreams such as these.

 

 

 

 

 

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And now he will never know

He told me he loved me. On a lazy Thursday afternoon (yes, some of us have lazy Thursday afternoons) as we lay goofing around in bed. Phone in my hand, playing candy crush or something of the sort. head on his chest, his hand lazily tracing a zigzag on my thigh.

Hold, up. That took me a second to process. what was that he just said? Phone dropped, candy crush forgotten. Head up, looking at him cheeky smile on my face. Are those tears in his eyes? I am not imagining this. No. I’m not. Ok… A split second. “Awwww”. I stupidly mumble and lean in for a kiss. “Are you ok?” I ask  palm on his forehead as I pretend to check his temperature taking the seriousness out of the moment. He laughs. Draws me closer. “Yea, never been better.” I get a kiss back. On my forehead. “Come on, lets see if you can finish this level, he says handing me back my phone.  A fleeting moment.  it has passed. Gone. How I wish…

He leaves a couple of hours later. Things have been done, romantic things, naughty things, sweet things. Naps  have been taken, showers had, cuddles given, food consumed, beds made, dishes washed. Life. Routine texts.  Thanks for a lovely time, hope you got home ok.  Yea, got home ok, have a lovely shift tonight. Good nights exchanged, life goes on.

Text comes in at 2 in the morning. Busy at work. Shouldn’t even have my phone at work. Busy busy busy. Phone ignored, text forgotten. Running around. Bells won’t stop ringing.  10 minute coffee break at 0400. Oh wait, wasn’t there a text I received a couple of hours ago? Might be Vodafone reminding me to top up my bundles. It’s not.

Whatsapp.

Him: I am feeling extremely depressed at the moment, It has just hit me like a train.

Me: (Alert, coffee mug pushed aside without even a sip). Hey, are you awake?

Him: Yep.

Me: How you feeling? Sorry was a little bit held up at work.

Him: That’s ok. I feel like shit.

Me: Ooook, not good. Anything in particular happen to cause this?

Him: No, I don’t know. I just feel so unwell. Unsettled,  Like total crap. Hopeless.

Me: Oh baby, i’m sorry to hear that. have you taken your medication? Did something trigger today’s feelings? (We have been through this before, the medic in me is on high alert). Anything I can do to help? (I now have this sinking feeling down in my gut. A bad taste in my mouth. I get up, coffee mug in hand, coffee down the drain).

Him: Medication taken, nothing in particular, it just comes this feeling. Thanks but nothing you can do to help. No one can help. I will sail through it. 🙂

My break is up. I manage to sneak in a few more texts. He manages to assure me he is ok. Work is busy. Seems busier than usual tonight. I’m feeling some type of way. It gets worse. Somebody has had a fall, incident reports to fill, pads to change, medications to sign off and help administer, early morning showers, hand over and stuff, it just never ends. My back hurts, my legs hurt, what!? even my brain hurts. My eyes are heavy. I need a coffee somebody please!

Finally, 0700, time to knock off. I’m in the car. Key in the ignition. sleep on my mind. Eyes refusing to cooperate. Phone in hand.

Me: Hey babe, you up?

Him: Yes never even slept.

Me: Oh! No sleep at all! how are you feeling? Better? Doctors or Work?

Him: No. No work. Not ever.

Me: Oh that bad huh? Want me to come over? You can come over if you like? Maybe we should call the doctor?

Him: Nah, i’ll be fine. You know me. You go home and sleep. (Always thinking about others this one). Catch you later. Get home safe.

How I make the 20 minute drive home is short of a miracle. It’s a blur how I shower and get dressed for bed. What is this unsettling feeling  in my gut? I unconsciously swap my pillow for his. Why does he always smell so good though? I smile sleepily. Better text him see if he is ok.

Me: Babe?

I wake up with  groggily. My clock says is 1400. How did I manage to sleep that long? A reminder of our last conversation jolts me to alertness. I must have fallen asleep waiting for his reply. I reach for my phone. No reply yet.  Mhhh… this is so unlike him. Maybe he decided to go to work after all I reason hopefully. I will call him anyway. No dial tone. Call cancels immediately? Strange. Very strange.

Why am I wiping tears off my face? I don’t remember the drive to his place. It does not even occur to me that I am driving around in my pyjamas at two o’clock in the afternoon. I do not even care. Cars  on his drive way. Why are there cars on his driveway? I park across the street. Door bell ringing. An oddly familiar older lady opens the door. Looks like she has been crying. I take a closer look. His mother? Why is his mother opening His door? Why? We look at each other in silence. I give her the ‘where is he?’ look. She makes the first move. Hugs me. Gut wrenching sobs.

Me: He came to say goodbye. Said he loved me. I said nothing, and now, now he will never know.

NOTE: Depression is real. Suicide is not the answer. Please seek help. For you and for your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like rain

Was that pounding I heard at my door? I looked at the time on my alarm clock, 4:30am. No I must be dreaming, I convinced myself. Yet the pounding continued. Someone was definitely knocking at my door. It wasn’t even knocking, it was pounding, continuously, it wouldn’t stop, it sounded like raindrops on an iron sheet roof, only louder, consistent, it went on and on, It just wouldn’t stop!!! It was messing with my head, and it was starting to irritate me, most importantly, it was depriving me of my much needed sleep.

I wanted it to stop. I needed it to go away, It didn’t. So I opened the door. Yes I opened my door at 4:30am. Who even opens their door at 4:30 am?I wondered. Still, I walked over and opened mine. He stood there smiling. His forehead was bleeding. Yet he was smiling. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get the sleep out of them. Definitely I was dreaming, I had to be, this didn’t make any sense!!! Yet there he was, real as could be, smiling at me, with blood dripping from his forehead, at 4:30 in the morning.

I stretched my hand and touched his forehead, he didn’t flinch, he just stood there, smiling, I looked at my fingers, the blood was real alright. He started to shiver, just a little bit, a small shiver that would have gone unnoticed had I not been looking at him so keenly. And he stood there, just smiling.The blood was starting to drip on my door mat, and he looked cold, so I let let him in, cleaned his wound, inquired if he was ok, and made him some hot chocolate. He assured me he was ok, drank his hot chocolate, and told me to go back to sleep.

I woke up in the morning, I woke up at 6am. He wasn’t there. where had he gone in such a Short time? I went to my dustbin, I had to make sure I hadn’t been dreaming, yes, there was my proof, the bloody bandages staring back at me as if daring me to doubt, I went to my door, and sure enough, it was open. So where was he? where could he possibly be? I started to panic. A deep sense of fear gripped me. What was going on? where was he? I called out his name, “Jim?”, but I could only master only a whisper, I called out again,  trying to be louder, He didn’t answer. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t really. I wanted to find him, wanted to make sure he was ok. If only I could find him, if only could talk to him. Text him, that’s what i’ll do. Better still i’ll call him.

It took me a minute to locate my phone. It rang  before I could dial his number. The caller ID said “dad”. A feeling of dread overcome me. Why would my dad be calling me, at six o’clock on a Saturday morning? He was calm when he told me they had found him, that he was hurt and had been acting bizarre, they didn’t know if he was going to be ok. He was at the mental hospital, and could I go there as soon as possible? Everybody was there and he was asking for me.

I started to cry, I wondered why I was crying at what should have been good news. They had found him, hadn’t they? I should be relieved, and yet the feeling of dread wouldn’t leave me, I knew something bad had happened, if not, something bad was about to happen! Try as I did, I couldn’t shake off the feeling. My crying got louder, it turned into wailing, I could feel myself trembling, sweat was dripping from my forehead. That’s when I heard it, the constant, persistent pounding at my door. Like raindrops on an iron sheet, only louder. Had I been dreaming this whole time?

I woke up. For real this time. A sense of hope filled me, it must have been just a dream, but then I looked at my alarm clock. 4:30am, and yes, it was still there. The constant, persistent pounding on my door that just wouldn’t stop! Like rain drops on an iron sheet, just louder.