Reading is an old hobby she had abandoned even though she still prides herself with the knowledge of literary writers like George Elliot, Mark Twain, Stephen King and a few others. She loves the way she silences her audience whenever she shares her extensive knowledge gotten from these books. They listen with hidden envy at how she lets their names, titles, and quotations roll out of her mouth with ease as though she were explaining the simple act of making moi-moi. Indeed, reading is a past hobby she loved but that’s all it is to her now, the past.
She fully unwraps the book Chuka had sent for her birthday 3 months ago. “I hope you enjoy it as I did” The printed amazon card read. She set the card aside and flipped the book back and forth. She had first set eyes on the book at St. Deny’s bookshop on her way back from a job interview she knew she would not pass, she barely had enough money to feed then not to talk of buying a book. Hunger had turned her mind to a dessert, there was no way knowledge could plant itself there. All she had ever thought of was food and money.
Had she mentioned it to Chuka during one of their Skype conversations or had he as usual spied on her thoughts. Anyway, it was about time she picked up reading again maybe it would take her mind off this chaos her life had turned into. She barely recognized herself these days and if not for her ever chubby cheeks her mother would not recognize her either during their skype calls. Her waist line had increased and her hips gave way to a forced thigh gap and no matter how much she closed her eyes to sleep, the visions would not stop hunting her. Poor Mira.
She gets herself a cup of hot chocolate and proceeds to close her windows to prevent the autumn breeze from freezing her. There is a cat standing below her window again. The same cat she had seen on her way back from work at 2am the other day. This cat was sending all the wrong messages, she thought to herself. She spits on it and the cat dodges and scurries for the trash cans close to the parking lot. “Stupid cat” she murmurs. Not like she was superstitious about cats or anything, after all, her grandmother raised 6 healthy cats including a limping one, she just had a low tolerance for animals and the animals here always failed to recognize when they are not welcomed. It wasn’t their fault, these Oyinbos had a way of spoiling them. She had once seen the girl in the flat next to her set milk for the cat. Acts like that encouraged the stupid animal to think she too would mix up some of her £7.99 peak milk for it to slurp. Not even if she got a bonus from work.
She closes her windows and settles into bed putting herself in a sitting position. She picks up the book and begins to read.
She has barely read four pages when her phone beeps. Ah… distractions. She picks the phone and sees 2 BBM messages. One is from Frank the Nigerian she had met at the library while studying overnight 2 weeks ago
‘So what do you say?
I don’t mind coming over since you are too tired to hang out
I really want to see you’
She doesn’t open the chat but reads the messages as they pop in. This one will not get the message, she curses under her breath. She has been stringing him along for 2 weeks now but there was no backing down for him.
“You look very sad, I can see it in your eyes”. Those were his words the first time he had opted to stop being the creepy guy who always stared at her across his computer.
” I know I can make you very happy”, He had assured. She never discouraged him but never encouraged him either. Mira loves to be desired. She is a tease, she craves attention; It is the oxygen she breathes so she lets him dream on. She allows him to analyze her in whatever devastating way he pleases.
She ignores Frank’s message and opens the second message and almost immediately, she regrets opening it because now she has to respond. It is from Tope.
‘Mira, talk to me. Are you alright?
Your silence and absence from devotion is starting to scare me’
She hates to make him worry but this is her problem with all these devout church hunters. They invite you to their church, you attend a few times and next you know, they start questioning your absence and inviting you for picnics and vigils as though you had declared a verbal interest in being a member.
She cooks up a brief response, something about how busy and unavailable she is and promises to get back soon.
She lets her mind drift to Nonso and she wonders what he is doing; Has he eaten? Is he at the gym or is he working on his laptop? Has he even thought about her today or about the argument they had two nights ago? Nonso, her toxic lover… Oh, how they had pushed blames. She had only wanted to punish him. Punish him for lying to her, punish him for not reciprocating her feelings, punish him for being insensitive, punish him for not loving her right and not having the courage to break up either. She only wanted to teach the coward a lesson, not push him away.
She can feel traces of her paranoia engulf her again just as it had the night before and the night before that. She sighs and opens her Facebook to stalk his page – last post; June 2015; proceeds to twitter, last tweet August 2015; proceeds to WhatsApp, last seen yesterday, 14:09.
“Liar!” She had accused, 15 nights ago, standing at the parking lot with her hands folded.
They had fought over his absence. Four days had passed without a word from him and he had shown up at her doorstep that night ‘to check on her’. At first, she had assumed he was suffering from blue balls and had prepared a speech for that but had failed to prepare a speech for his actual intentions. Did you take the pill? he had asked after pleasantries. He had asked with an arrogant concern as though the possibility of branching his family tree with her was an abomination.
She had cursed and called him all sort of names but never told him to leave her sight but he had insisted.
“I cannot stand you right now, I should go” he had responded. That was what he always did, make her seem like the crazy one with raging hormones. She had never been the crazy girlfriend but with him, she was a lot of things she barely recognized – Obsessed, paranoid, moody, insecure and ultimately… a soon-to-be murderer.
So much for the ripped chest and sharp jaws. She should have just stuck with her selection of lanky boys… Silly Mira.
Ten days have gone since he walked out and now, her phone is clogged with websites detailing signs of pregnancy in the first 2 weeks. So far she has shown signs of a few like dizziness, uncontrolled farting and spikes in basal temperature. In as much as she will love to attribute her increased temperature to work stress, the weight of her act refuses to let her be. Since the day her calendar circled 28, she’s lost sleep and it’s been 8 days gone.
Are you disappointed daddy? Look what your baby has become.
She has to brace herself for the worst. If the worst happened, she needs money to fund its elimination. God forbid she disappoints her struggling mother, God forbid she ruins her reputation. This is what she has become – A woman of questionable character.
Thou shall not Kill… but one sin led to another.
Foolish Mira lost in a maze. If only she had listened… If only she had obeyed.
She feels her eyes water and her bladder call to be emptied. Another sign…
…Run Mira, run straight for the bathroom… your unborn is hopping on your bladder, it is here to turn your life around
Her heart skips beats again like they always do whenever she notices a researched sign. ‘Oh God, help me’ she murmurs and heads for the toilet.
She does not look back. She plumps herself on the toilet seat and releases in trickles… her eyes are watery so she lets herself sob. What have you done Mira? You are a train wreck.
She reaches for the toilet roll and folds four boxes. Routines… Habits… Ready for a change Mama?
She changes her mind and rolls three more. Now wipe, front to back like mama thought you… as you will teach soon (Mama).
She wants to scream …to shut the voice in her head. Pathetic Mira.
She wipes her tears, pulls her pant up and turns to flush but pauses in the act. There it was, blood and water…
She flushes and goes back to bed trying to decide how she feels but there , on her bed are traces of her shattered egg. She is confused… does she laugh or does she cry? what a beautiful mess it has created; destruction never looked so good. She does not feel the need to change the sheets, get a pad or take a pill for the sudden cramps she is starting to feel; Instead, she lies back in bed and lets herself soak in the wetness as it warmed her insides and fanned her worry.
what is that you feel? relief? I don’t think so…
Had the pills worked? Or had there been no need for them in the first place… new questions…
Now, you will never know;
For one sin may have led to another…
….Foolish Mira, prepare to lose your sanity in 5..4..3..2..1…
Image from here