LOST

Standing at the edge of a freshly covered grave, dripping from head to toe, bland rainwater mixing with salty tears and pooling at my feet, I wish the world would end.

Birds should fall from the sky. The sun shouldn’t shine anymore. Why do day and night follow each other in their relentless chase as though all is well with the world. All isn’t. She has gone and she’s not coming back.

The most beautiful person ever to walk this vile earth is now food for the worms. And though she taught me a lot in the little time we had together, she failed in one thing. She didn’t teach me how to live without her.

When I met Patricia I was a busy young lawyer with no social life intent on making his way to the top of the corporate food chain.

I had a routine. I woke up early in the morning around 5:00am, had breakfast which was prepared the night before, and by 6:30am sharp I was done and on my way to the garage where I got into my car and drove to work. I’d arrive by 7 or 7:15am depending on Lagos traffic and enter into my office straight. No time wasted on unnecessary greetings.
I’d be in the office working until 8:00pm.
Office hours ended by 5:00pm, but since the extra time meant extra pay, I did them.

Then I’d drive home again, make the evening meal, take a cool refreshing bathe and sleep till the next morning. Saturday was a workday and Sunday was a time to go to the sports centre to play some games to stay fit.

Then Monday arrived and the rat race continued. I kept my social activities to a bare minimum and couldn’t tell you the name of my own co-workers to save my life.

Then Patricia was posted to our office from our Edo branch. A light-skinned, light-hearted interesting lady, she made friends with everyone in the office the first day she arrived, charming everyone with little gifts and witticisms.
Everyone except me.
Then one fateful day, I got to the office complex, took the elevator as usual and on reaching the end of the hall where my office was situated, I met Patricia waiting faithfully.

“Yes? How may I help you?”
“Hi. I’m Patrica” she stuck her hand out for a handshake. I shook it.
“I noticed you rarely come out of your office even for lunch. So I brought some for you.”

Truly I rarely did. I sometimes had some extra food along for lunch but even then, I filled my little office fridge with snacks to keep me going during the day. But it would have being the height of rudeness to turn her away and so I collected it and muttered thanks.

At the end of the day, I cleaned the plate and offered it to her. She brought me a meal the following day.

And it became part of my routine. I came to the office. She gave me food. I ate it and returned the cooler clean to her in the evening.

Then one day she asked me to drive her home an hour before I regularly closed.
I did. Afterwards it felt awkward driving back to the office so since her house was on my route home I simply drove home. Once a week Patricia asked me to drive her home to cut costs.

Soon Patricia and I became friends. Then one day she slipped me a folded note as she got out of the car. After she entered, I read it. On it were three simple words- “I like you.”

For weeks afterwards, Patricia seemed to come up with every excuse she could to avoid being alone with me. She sent the food through co-workers and avoided research when I was to head it. Eventually I got fed up  and barged into her office. I was about to berate her and give her a proper tongue-lashing when it hit me.

I’ve missed this girl. I actually like her. She’s special. I would be stupid to lose her.

I’m not stupid. So I asked her about the note and she admitted to being attracted to me. I told her I was too and we worked an arrangement out. By the end of the month we were dating.

Soon she began to pull me along to events and finally convinced me to go to church. Patricia and I attended church together and I came out as a first-timer. The worshippers at the church were so nice and friendly and I soon became a regular. My office hours slimmed and I began to build a social life.

Four years down the line, I was certain of two things.

One I was in love with Patrica and I liked the life we had built together.
Two I didn’t want it to end.

Patricia and I got engaged- we were so happy and everything was perfect. Nothing could go wrong, so of course something did.

Then that week disaster struck. On Wednesday by 6:24pm I went to pick her as per our usual arrangement but as I approached the office I heard her sobbing.
Quickly I went in to console her. She couldn’t talk, she handed me an envelope. I opened it and found a doctor’s report. The sudden lump on her left breast which we had joked about was a malignant tumor. Patricia had cancer.
Quickly I got her in the car, and we drove to one of the best hospitals in town to register her for chemotherapy. Over the weeks, Patricia changed, but I loved her nonetheless.

I loved her when her hair started to fall out and she had to be shaved bald, I loved her when she lost weight. I loved her through the pain and aches, I loved her through the periods of incessant vomiting and depression.

Patricia was a champion. She took her drugs without complaining and always put on a brave face. She let the nurses stick needles in her time and time again, till it seemed her skin was pocked with holes, accepting her drugs even though we both knew it was killing her.

Finally, on the third of November, 2015, the most beautiful person I knew passed on at exactly 9:17pm while I was holding her hand. I almost ran mad with grief. I hear it took five orderlies to hold me down and that I had to be sedated. It hurt.

And even now, three years later, it still does. But I’m grateful for what little time we had together. We managed to somehow cram decades of fun and happiness into a few short years.

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Rest well Patricia, I’ll be with you soon.

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