Carol was just like every other woman in the neighbourhood. She was a newlywed bride dreaming of a perfect life with no intention of leaving the dream.
Her husband’s schedule entailed going to work early in the morning in the busy city while Carol watches movies all day long without lifting her fingers until sunset when she prepares her Husband’s dinner. She was a contented woman and nothing inspired her to carry out any financially rewarding task.
She loved the tiny apartment which she lived in as long as her gadgets were fully charged and their generator was working.
Carlo was starved but undeterred as long as she had the opportunity of watching her favourite TV shows on Zee world and Telemundo.
There was this time she burnt the food because she was engrossed in “Ring of Fire”. The grandmother had just discovered that Sakshi was a fake doctor.
How about that time that she forgot her purse in a shop because she was rushing home to meet up with one of her favourite TV shows.
Little things like that made her happy.
Some whispered that she was a fool and others thought she was simple minded.
Then the insults began, the abuse, the loss of self-esteem and others followed. It was a torrent of emotions poured from the skies. She got soaked in it all. Depression set in and that was worse.
Carol thought of ending it. She couldn’t take the insults, cut in monthly upkeep allowance and worse of all was the constant starvation.
“If you don’t think I am doing enough for you… then you can leave my house.” Her husband said.
She wanted him to give her more money for petrol and food.
But he refused. He didn’t see any reason why he should do that.
So one day she bought brand new blades and decided it was her final day on earth. Then the thought in her head was strong enough to calm her.
“Don’t do it.”
“Why” She cried.
“Death is better than living. I am starved. He would rather care for everyone else than me.” She said to the empty space.
“I am with child, but it’s tough because I am constantly hungry.”
“Why shouldn’t I?” She screamed into the silence.
Everywhere was quiet.
“Talk to me. Or did the cat cut your tongue? ” She jeered.
“You are worth more to the world alive.” The voice said.
“How? Show me how. Tell me how. I am just useless. Nothing ever works out. Remember the show business I started? It’s gone, just like the wind. I can’t even explain it. What of the coffee business? That one is gone too.” She cried.
“And the gold business? I lost everything to that Mallam who promised to sell it for me.” She shouted.
“You are what you want to be. You can still succeed if you set your mind to it.” The voice said.
“How do you expect me to have a normal child, after months and months of starvation? I eat just once, in case you don’t know.” She said in a bitter tone.
“That too will pass away.” The voice said.
“Show yourself. I want to see you. I want to show you my sunken eyes and my sagging breast, I want you to see my protruding collarbone and my unkept hair. How about my belly which is not as big as it is meant to be even though I am 7 months gone. How about the beatings? Cold nights of tears and pain and suffering ?” Carol asked.
But no one came out.
“I will slash my veins if you don’t come out.” She threatened.
“Don’t do what will make you regret for the rest of your afterlife.” The voice said.
“Oh! Regret is all I have. I regret being born, being married to this man and even being pregnant.” Carol said.
She sobbed for a long time.
She felt a tap on her shoulders and she jolted back to reality.
She looked up, it was her husband. Why are you holding a blade in your hand? Pregnancy! Are you also craving blades as food?.” He laughed.
He noticed her countenance.
“You are cold, come out of the bath.” He said.
“Did you cook? I am so hungry.” He said.
Carol thought of the suicide note on the dining table. She had a quick scrub and put on her bathrobe.
“Let me make something for you to eat.” She said.
It was the beginning of the month and she had just bought about 5 packs of indomie noodles. She thought of making it, but without eggs, she couldn’t afford to buy eggs.
“How difficult is it for you to cook? I mean I left the house without breakfast and I am coming home to an empty plate.” He said.
Carol was jittery, she couldn’t take another beating. He did flog her with a belt 3 days ago. The welts just disappeared yesterday and the thought of his belt flooded in memories of the pain.
“I … I… will cool rice for you.” She said her head bowed.
“Forget it, just make noodles.” He said.
She looked up at him, his countenance had changed.
She rushed to the dining room to take the note but it was gone. She knew he must have taken it.
She cooked the noodles and he praised her cooking for the very first time even it was made with pumpkin leaves.
“Lovely noodles. Cooked to my spec. Well done C.” He said.
“Thanks.” Carol muttered.
“So tell me, what are your plans for tomorrow?” He asked.
“I will go to the market and make some moi moi.” She said.
“I don’t mean what you intend to cook, I mean what you intend to do to develop yourself.” He said.
She was perplexed, he had never been interested in her day.
“I haven’t thought about that in a long time.” She said.
The room was quiet.
“How How How How wa s y our day? ” She stuttered.
“It was good, actually it was excellent. I got promoted.” He said excitedly.
“Wow! Congratulations. This is good news.” She said.
“Yes.. by month end I will give you bulk money to start a business.” He said.
“Thank you. By the way, did you see any sheet of paper on the dining ?” She asked.
“No. Did you lost something? ” He asked.
“I…I…I…” She couldn’t complete the sentence.
“I told you, there is more to life.” The voice said.
“Yes. But …” She said.
“But what?” Her husband asked.
“I wasn’t talking to you.” She said.
“Who were you talking to? It’s just the two of us here.” Her husband said.
Carol was quiet.
The next day, she was anxious for her husband to leave the house. She needed to speak with the voice. The voice was soothing and there were lots of unanswered questions.
“Bye.” She muttered as her husband walked out of the house.
“I am alone, you can come out, I want to see you.” She said.
The house was quiet, there was no sound.
“I am talking to you.” She said.
“Ok. I will slash my wrists.” She ran to the room and frantically searched for the razor blade.
“You are bluffing.” The voice said.
“How did you know?” She asked.
“I know your bluffing face.” The voice said.
“Then you don’t know me.” She said.
“I know you quite alright. I know you married your husband to tick that box on your list of things to achieve. I know you did not want to get pregnant. I know you are ambitious but circumstances have held you down. I know you are not living the life you want. So I know you quite alright.” The voice said.
Carol was quiet.
“Things will change for the better and the memories will come flooding on a day you do not expect, the emotions will be so strong that if you do not curb it, it will consume you.” The voice said.
“Who are you?” She asked.
Everywhere was silent again.
Just like the voice said, life took a turn for the better. She was highly celebrated, she was a mother of two lovely children. She held party after party night after night, celebrating one achievement or the other. She owned buildings and her wealth was enormous.
But that night after her birthday party, she took her life.
No one knew why. She was the jewel of the society, the centre of her husband’s world. He worshipped the ground she walked on. Sometimes she couldn’t help but feel that his new found worship was as a result of her wealth.
She had it all and she left it all behind.
The suicide note read: I remember.