19 Oct 2013

BITTER CHOCOLATE





I loved his smile, I loved it when he laughed. It sounded like the sound of the ocean waves hitting the banks of the beach early in the morning. It was refreshing and infectious. It made him look younger, like a mischievous school boy, about to play a prank on his teacher. He cracked a joke with the waiter, tipped him, and continued laughing. He was happy.

The restaurant was beautiful. It was different from his favorite Chinese restaurant on the Island. The food was delicious, the waiters were nice. He had exotic taste in food, wine, cars and everything. Why wouldn’t he, he was an only child to wealthy parents. He never spared a second thought showering me with gifts. He said that was his love language. He wanted me to have everything I ever dreamed of, everything in life. I was his woman, I was to be spoilt silly.

He knelt down and smiled at me, snapping his fingers in the air. “Femi, what are you up to, we are in public. If it’s about the Louibuton shoes that you ordered a wrong size for my birthday, I am not pissed off again, I could always return it, and get the right size, just get up”, I said, coming back to reality, feeling uncomfortable with the attention Femi was pulling. The lights went off, the only light left was the candle light on our table. He pulled out a small red velvet box, opened it and asked, “Kemi, will you marry me”, his asked smiling.


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“You are in the second stage of  breast cancer, Madam. Why didn’t you come for early detection, so we could start treatment immediately? Your chances of survival is 50 / 50. We have to put you under treatment and medication. You might be fortunate might need radiation therapy. Did any member of your family or any of your relative suffer from breast cancer? We need to know your family history as regards this illness”, the doctor asked, peering over his half moon glasses. 

“You would be fine, you would live”, wasn’t that what they told her, before she died two weeks to my 11th birthday. Wasn’t that what she said the doctor had assured her of, before she dashed my hopes, and left me in this cruel world to fend for myself alone. I had grown so used to the drug filled smell of the white washed hospital, dreaming of the places we would visit when she got well, and left the hospital. I slept in her ward for two days, refusing to leave the dead corpse, hoping  she would wake up, give me my good morning peck, slap my bottom, and make me lead the morning prayers, even though she would be too weak to respond. But then the doctors had lied, she never woke up. Maybe that was why I never checked myself, believing that it wasn’t hereditary, that maybe she had contacted it from the market where she sold meat. Or maybe, she chose not to fight it, and live.

                                
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“Kemi, you haven’t answered me, would you marry me?” his eyes twinkling in the reflection of the candle light. I was grateful for the darkness, he couldn’t see my tears, or my sad smile. I would fight it, I would live, and I wouldn’t leave him. I hugged him tight, and whispered, “Femi, I feel sick, I need to go home”.







October is the international breast cancer month. Get your loved ones and yourselves tested and treated.


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