2:65 pm; Exactly one month since Eno’s death. ‘One day at a time, one day at a time’ Ani whispered her new found mantra over and over and over again. She had said it to herself so much that it stopped making sense to her but she had to keep saying it because it kept the silence away and she couldn’t stand the silence. The silence gave way to memories, the day she found out she was pregnant, all the fun she and Gabe had fixing up Eno’s nursery, the day they brought her home from the hospital, her first smile, first tooth, her first…no, she didn’t want the silence so she continued to mutter; ‘one day at a time, one day at a time’. She had given up driving entirely after she hit a pole twice in two days so she just took the bus and walked the rest of the way home. She was so tired, tired especially of all the pity that was being piled on her, everyone walked on tip toes around her and treated her as if she were breakable and she was so sick of it. She was already steeped in grief and she didn’t need the constant reminders of the child she had lost, she and Gabe just wanted… she and Gabe, sigh…
Gabe hadn’t said two words to her since the day the buried their daughter. It was almost alarming how much they had grown apart in the space of a month. The tragedy that was meant to bring them together had driven them apart like the earth from the sky. That first night that they spent without Eno, Ani tried to cry with Gabe or talk to him even so they could grieve and mourn together but he wouldn’t say a word to her. He had shut her out completely. One night she was jerked awake from her fitful sleep by the sound of Gabe dismantling Eno’s crib, she heard him sobbing and when she went to put her arms around him, he got up to leave the room but he turned around and walked back in and yelled. He yelled at her with such viciousness that she nearly passed out. He blamed her for being negligent and that if she had paid more attention, Eno would still be here and when he couldn’t yell anymore, he turned around and walked out, leaving her with the broken pieces of the beautiful white crib, broken pieces of their dreams.
Gabe walked out of the manager’s office looking deflated. He had just been issued a warning for throwing an object at his secretary. He couldn’t even remember what the poor lady said to him that made him so mad; all he knew was that he was suddenly taken over by a red hot rage that he couldn’t even comprehend. He got back to his office and after apologizing to his scared secretary he shut his office door and sat on the floor with his head in his hands. He was so mad, all the time; mad that his baby girl, his angel died and he wasn’t even there, mad that he was so busy rushing to work that he didn’t even kiss her goodbye like he always did and that he made Ani do it for him, mad that she was all alone in a dark cold grave but above all, he was mad at his wife and it was eating him alive. What was she doing? Where was she? Why didn’t she check up on Eno? Why??? he asked and asked but got no answers so he stopped asking and just swallowed his grief. It was way past close of business but he didn’t want to go home, home didn’t feel like home anymore. Home was just a sad, quiet and empty place. Every night, Ani left dinner for him on the dining table, every night he ignored it and went straight to the guest room to sleep. Every morning she packed his lunch for him, and every morning he ignored the purple lunch bag on the table as he stormed off to work, because in his twisted mind that was just another way of punishing her, of making her as miserable as he was. He finally got up and went home but as he walked past the dining room, he did a double take. There was no dinner waiting on the table, Ani had given up.
5:39am; Ani sighed deeply as she tried for the umpteenth time to find a more comfortable spot to fall asleep on. She had tossed and turned all night and she could only sleep through short uncomfortable stretches of time. She could already feel an intense headache coming and she was tired and oh so exhausted even before she got out of bed. She finally gave up the struggle and felt her way through the dark room until she got to the bathroom and switched on the light. The intensity of the light hurt her eyes and she closed them till she adjusted to the brightness.
She stared at herself in the mirror and she almost didn’t recognize the agonized person staring back at her. She splashed some water on her face and as she started to brush her teeth, the pain came crashing down on her all over again and she burst into tears and cried deep racking sobs until her tear ducts gave up on her and the tears stopped coming.
Ani was a blissfully happy wife and mother, up until two weeks ago when her sun set in the morning and her whole world went dark…
‘See you later darling’, Gabe said to his wife Ani as he kissed her goodbye on his way to work. She turned around to face him, wound her hand around his neck, stood on her toes and kissed him right back.
‘I love you honey, have a good day at work and don’t forget to carry your lunch downstairs.’
‘Ok babe, I love you too and give baby Eno a big kiss for me, bye!’ He hurried down the stairs to pick up his lunch and as he drove away, Ani stood at the window, with one hand on her chest and the other hand on her lips blowing him a kiss. She knew he couldn’t see her but she blew him the kiss any way and when she couldn’t see his car anymore she turned around, whistling a happy tune and was ready to start her day.
Still whistling and smiling, she made a mental note of all the things she wanted to do before noon and she walked into her baby girl’s room to pick her up and get her ready for day care; but as she got to the edge of the crib she stopped dead in her tracks. She suddenly couldn’t move or breathe and as she forcefully willed herself to look into the crib, her eyes confirmed what her heart already felt. Her baby girl, her precious little angel, lay dead in her crib. Ani’s heart thumped furiously as she stood there holding her cold, stiff baby. She finally let out an ear piercing scream that had the gate man racing upstairs to find her.
‘I’m terribly sorry Mrs Ime but Eno is dead and the cause of death is suffocation, for some reason her air supply was cut off in her sleep and her brain couldn’t survive the sudden lack of oxygen so her heart gave out and…’ Dr Thomas went on and on but Ani no longer heard a word that came out of his mouth and as the last of the adrenaline holding her up finally drained out of her, she passed out and fell right into her husband’s arms.
The rest of the day went by in a blur but mentally Ani had checked out. She was there, but she was gone in her head, she hadn’t shed a single tear and she moved as though she were a robot. The sun was setting as she walked back into her baby’s room to pick an outfit for her funeral. She picked the white and gold dress that baby Eno wore for her christening, it was only right that she wore it to go meet the Lord. Time seemed to go by in such a hurry. In less than ten hours, a plot at the cemetery had been paid for, a tiny little white coffin had been bought and as the last rays of the run reflected on the tiny coffin being let down into the tiny grave, Ani knew that her life as she knew it was over…
The shrill sound of her phone ringing brought her back to reality…she sighed deeply and left the bathroom to brace herself to face the day. One day at a time she said to herself, one day at a time…
*** Hope you enjoyed the story! I was so excited to have my friend/blogger Adaugo agree to take on part of the Fiction Friday posts this month. She’s amazing and her words are so real! Gee! You could almost see yourself in her stories. Do check out her amazing blog Adaugo DiaryThanks for reading!