“IF I COULD TURN BACK THE HAND OF TIME” Shankyula Andrea
“Desmond”, was the first thing she called when she finally regained herself, having all the flashes of what happened two days back in her head, making it spin and at the same time hurting the more. She shifted on her side, not seeing clearly who was holding her hand. It was “Ladi”, her house help who brought her to the hospital on that very day of the incident.
She burst into tears again, seeing that she was the one, “I killed him, how can ever deal with this for the rest of my life?” Jane cried, as Ladi leaned over to hold her head close, “Madam stop crying” was all she said. “I could have saved him, Jane said as tears kept itching her throat. “My husband was the only good thing that ever happened to me, we were married for barely a year, I killed him!”, She said again as tears ran down freely to her cheeks. Ladi held Jane’s head to her chest, patting at her back continuously, “Madam stop crying”.
Desmond and Jane had been married for about a year, and for the whole time things went smoothly with the couple, their outings were mostly on weekends since they had little time for themselves on weekdays, all so busy with work.
One fateful morning, Jane woke up earlier, since her husband told her the previous night that he would be leaving very early to the office the next day. Jane prepared breakfast, she served her husband’s and her’s at the dinning table and also went in to shower. When she finally got dressed and came over to join him, he had finished his meal and was already up to leave for work.
Jane was full of rage when she discovered that Desmond had eaten the piece of meat from her own plate of rice. “Why will you do that?, Why will you eat my own piece of meat, knowing that I kept two pieces for you?”, Jane asked, feeling irritated. “I’m sorry darling”, but I guess there’s more in the kitchen”, Desmond said as he hurried to get the door, ” see you later my love, I’m really sorry” he said again as he shut the door.
Meanwhile Ladi came in to inform Jane about her visit to her Grandma. “Madam, Abeg make you allow me go see my Grandma for village, I go today, tomorrow I come back”, Ladi said, gesticulating as she spoke every word. “It’s okay Ladi, you can go, but before then have this”, she said, removing some money and handing them over to Ladi. My regards to everyone and especially your Grandma, one more thing, make sure you return before nightfall”, Jane said emphatically, stressing the “NightfALL”. Yes Madam, thank you very much Madam”, Ladi replied as she ran happily to get dressed. When Ladi later left, Jane had to quickly clean up the house and left late for work that day.
When the couple returned from work that day, Jane quickly made dinner and served her husband quietly and went to bed without touching her own food.
That same evening while they lay in bed, Jane turned her back to Desmond, while he kept pleading, telling her how sorry he was about earlier, that did not matter to her at all.
Later that night, Desmond woke up trying to reach Jane, he touched her arm, but she shrugged it off and then he made a little sound like someone who had hiccup, Jane still did not move, thinking it was one those tricks he did whenever he wanted her attention. Desmond made for her again, this time holding tight her arm and then slowly letting go of it. Once again Jane slapped off his hand and for the next few minutes she turned and noticed he was fast asleep.
In the morning, Jane prepared breakfast and left it at the dinning table for Desmond, she dressed up leaving him still in bed and left for work.
She noticed that everything was in the same position she she had left it in the morning when she returned home that evening, her husband’s breakfast still untouched, and what shook her the more was that, her husband was still lying in bed, in that exact position she had seen earlier. She went close to him, touching him and at the same time asking if he was okay. She felt him all cold and still, stiff and numb. When she leaned closer, she discovered that his inhaler had rolled over and was under the bed. It then dawned on her that something was not right, and for a moment, everything felt blank, it seemed like darkness everywhere, nothing seemed real, nothing seemed true, Jane found it uneasy to breathe, it didn’t even make any sense until the last thing she could make sense out of was the fact that she was waking up in the hospital with Ladi beside her. She had returned from the village and found Jane lying lifeless on the floor. She screamed out of fear, and luckily with the help of the neighbours, they carried Desmond to the hospital. Desmond had already been dead, right at that very moment he tried calling out to Jane.
“Ladi”, my husband was asthmatic, though he called out to me for help, but because of a piece of meat, I let him die…I let him die Ladi!'” my husband’s last words were “I’m sorry” things wouldn’t have gone this far if I listened to him, if I forgave him. Can I ever free myself from this guilt? As tears feel freely from her face.
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