RCA In-House, Short Stories

Redemption (Part 4)

Prison Redemption
By Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda:

I am not one to fall in love. In fact, I do not believe in love. It is quite alright if others believe in it, and in fact, I encourage it; but for me – for myself, it is not my kind of thing. I suppose to believe in love, I would also be admitting to believing in God, and when it comes to God, I have many skepticisms. Meeting Baaba was interesting. She was running out of a party gone wrong but it also turns out she was running out of embarrassment for her friend. Girls! There is always something interesting happening in their world – something drama-like.

I was standing outside, catching some air. I am not big on parties at all but Dan would not have any of my objections to attending. He is also always trying to hook me up with some odd girl despite being in an odd relationship himself. The best or worst decision I could have made might have been to walk Baaba – still not sure what that name is about. However, since I was looking for an escape, I offered to walk her to her home. She seemed smart, spoke with a fluidity I found myself enjoying. And as most conversations between men and women go, the subject of relationships came up. It made me nervous until the magical words fell out of her beautiful mouth:

“I am not looking to be in a relationship,” she said.

“Ah, is that so?” I was trying very hard to contain my excitement.

From that moment on, everything Baaba said was beautiful. We parted ways with smiles, and a simple kiss on her cheek. An hour later and I realized I had not asked for her telephone number but I also knew where she lived. It would only be a matter of time before we bumped into each other again – intentionally. A month later, during one of my evening walks, Baaba was driving past one of the routes I take…and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

History, however, has a way of choosing its own journey: how it will unfold, the twists and turns, and how it must end. History needs us – human beings – to be a part of it, otherwise, it is empty and meaningless. On one Saturday morning, Baaba came to my place. It was her turn to visit since I had been to hers the previous weekend. Yes, it was a thing – a weekend routine we enjoyed. On this particular Saturday, I had found myself caught in an emotional rut; emotional wounds of an unhealed childhood.

“Do you ever think about love? Does it mean anything for you?” I surprised myself with the questions that came out of my mouth.

“Sometimes…but tell me, what is on your mind?” She asked.

“I don't think that my parents loved each other. I think they just lived together. Dad was hardly ever at home and when he was, he came to sleep. Mom had two different lovers, one of whom was an uncle of mine – dad's cousin, I think.”

“mmmhhh”

“I think Dad knew…I don't know. But each did as they pleased. Dad drunk more, and mom seemed to become bolder in her escapades with her two men. I was young. I shouldn't have been exposed to all that stuff!”

“I…I don't know what to say, Patrick. I'm sorry that you were exposed to such a childhood.” Baaba attempted to comfort me, her hand reaching for mine, her thumb gently rubbing soothingly against my fingers.

“I loathe them both, Baaba. I loathe the idea of love because it doesn't exist…it doesn't make any sense.”

Baaba let out a sigh. “You cannot allow other people's decisions determine how you do life. I think love exists. But I also think that each person has their own journey to pursue. It is okay to do life just as you are as long as you are happy. Are you happy?” She asked.

“I don't know. What is happiness?”

Baaba's thumb had grown hands and they gently massaged my hand, and sometimes rubbed my back. It calmed me so much, and in that moment, I was grateful for a friendship so real and pure. In that moment I wanted more…could I have more? Would it be okay? Would we survive it?

Looking at her lying in this hospital bed, helpless and technically lifeless, I am not sure what I should do. She has been good to me, and I am not repaying it well. Well, I have been repaying her equally well but not in this instance. A child would ruin everything. Everything was already ruined. She should not have kept the baby. It would take away everything we knew and enjoyed as friends. I kissed her forehead as I usually did at the end of our days whenever we met. But this time, I was saying goodbye – for good. She would never be able to forgive me if there was any chance of life for her. The doctor, however, did not seem to have any hope, and keeping her in a vegetative state was no good. She was better off somewhere…elsewhere…perhaps there is an afterlife…perhaps that's where the baby will be. At least that was out of the way.

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