Now, I hear about Christmas and all I feel is a terrible languor of the spirit, soul and body, a deep seated feeling of intense pain and gut churning nausea. The season has lost its flavour and now tastes now better than a sour pot of egusi soup.
“You’ve got to let yourself live again. You can’t feel this way forever. “My sista, Tina said to me, just the other day as she drew up her list of people to send cards to.
“I know, but I just can’t help it. I moaned, turning over and over again the picture of Chris I had with me.
“Listen, Anita. Chris is dead.
That’s a fact and it’s two years now, two whole years. You’ve got to pull yourself together and let it go. You’re young and you just have to enjoy what’s left of your life. Tina said, dropping her pen to look at me.
I raised my head a bit and I had to learn to enjoy what was left of my life, she said. But that was the whole problem. There was nothing left of my life to enjoy. With Chris death, I’d lost an integral part of my life. The problem was that no one seemed to realise the fact.
“I know and I can understand how you feel about it all, but it’s been long time to mourn. You should let it go. I appreciate your pain but you’ve got to let it go.
“My sister said, reaching over a palm to cover mine.
I felt the tears escape my lids and slide down my face and I stifled a rising sob. My sister meant well. They’d all meant well but it had never been enough and it would never do.
Chris was mine, my lover, friend and brother. We connected on a whole different level and no one could understand what it was that we had and shared and so no one could really understand what it was that I’d lost and how much it hurt then and still hurts now to know that another Christmas is here without my Chris, but with the terrible knowledge and pain for company, as I watch everyone struggling to grab his/her own slice of fun and happiness.
Chris! The name escaped me involuntarily and my sister looked at me. She shook her head and went back to her writing. I sighed, rose and walked out to the porch and even without looking, I could feel my sister staring at me and shaking her head.
I sat on the front porch swing and let it rock me to and fro as I tried to forget my sister. Had the Bible not said, “Many waters cannot quench love,” and it was true. Nothing can ever quench true love. Not death. Nothing whatsoever.
I sat on the swing and let my eye wander out down on the short walk that led to our gate and looking down there I could see the blue Subaru car inching its way to the gate and the gate man let it in. then Chris was out, smiling and waving up at me.
“Anita, Anita! I heard my sister’s call and I broke out of my reverie.
“What’s Auntie Caro’s address?” I supplied it and went back to my thoughts but the moment I had passed and I now sat there and tried to think of what we’d been doing now or planning to do for Xmas if Chris was still alive. I thought of the trip he’d promised me to Ivory Coast for this Xmas and wondered whether he’d had altered the plans. I thought about this and that, Chris’ handsome face flashing through the screen of my mind.
My mind was heavy and I could feel it pounding. I raised my hands and hugged myself as a shiver ran through me. Chris was gone but I’d be damned if I forgot him. Chris was so good, so nice, so charming, so caring, so loving for me to ever forget and I just know that nobody, no man ever, would come close to what Chris meant to me. He was the best there ever was and will ever be.
Chris brought me joy and happiness. He made me see life in very brilliant colours. He showed me how to live and love life. He was like a big chunk of the sun for me to keep forever and he brought so much light and warmth and love to my life.
Chris brought and redefined the concept of joy for me. He was like a tap that leaked out joy into every part of my being. But it is one of those ironies and paradoxes of life that the things or people who bring us the greatest joy, almost always causes us the most pain and anguish. That’s the way it was with Chris. His coming into my life turned it into a picnic. But his death has left me awhirl and staggering in deepest gloom. Yet, to be honest, he never did it intentionally. It was fate, and fate, that reached out its claws and snatched away my lover, friend, and brother, all rolled into one big bundle of joy and happiness.
Thinking back now through the years, I still can’t understand why Chris affected me the way he did and had such a profound effect on me.
“It’s because you never had a brother,” Edith, my friend would say.
But I don’t think that was what happened. I’d had other boyfriends before Chris but the affairs had all fizzled out before they took off the ground. But when Chris came in, it was a whole different kettle of fish entirely. He swept me way off my feet and left me wondering where he’d been all my life. With Chris, it was like a gaping and yawning hole in my life had just been filled up. He seemed to know all the right things to do and say and he kept me smiling and laughing from the minute I met him to the very last day he died.
My parents had four of us; girls all round. I am the last and by the time I was growing up, the male cousins who’d lived with us were all gone. So I grew up with my sisters without a boy to relate to. The only males around were my father and our driver. And because I went to an all-girls school, I grew up not understanding or knowing the first thing about guys.
They were strange creatures who I had to be scared of and it really affected my relationship with them.
It got real bad when I was in my third year or thereabout in secondary school. That year, something terrible had happened in my family. My immediate elder sister had got pregnant. She didn’t realise it until she was almost three months gone and by the time she summoned up enough courage to tell my old man, she was four months gone. My old man hit the roof and thinking back now, I remember how much the house quaked as we all cowered in fear as my father raged. Abortion, Dad ruled, was out of the question.
To be continued…