Theme Song: I’m Never Getting Over You – Gone West
“I’m sorry, I don’t love you.”
Six words that come to my mind everytime am looking at her. She’s smiling at me right now, a double-dimpled smile that would melt the heart of the coldest of men. In her arms she soothes our new born to the sound of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.
It’s a breathtaking scene meant for fairies and saints in a world where villains like me do not exist.
Tando is our second, a spitting image of me. I would do anything to turn him into a girl, a mini Trisha with chubby cheeks and the most beautiful pair of eyes in the whole world. The world could certainly use more of her kind than mine. I should be loving the hell out of this extraordinary moment…and the woman who has blessed me with so much.
But I don’t. I feel suffocated.
“I’m sorry Trisha, I don’t love you.” Why can’t I ever bring myself to say these words to her? Here they are, at the tip of my tongue, begging to be released. It’s been five long years.
“Trisha, I have never loved you. Let me go.”
The music comes to a screeching halt. The baby too has stopped crying. Apart from my thoughts and the tears trickling down Trisha’s face, everything else has come to a stand still.
Trisha stares at me, an almost blank expression on her face, if not for the raw emotions leaking from her eyes. I have finally done it, shuttered into pieces the heart of the woman who has brought so much light into my once cold dark world. I have finally broken her.
“Baby-” I will my mind to walk over to her and explain myself but my body is rooted to the ground and my lips cannot form the words. So I keep standing here hoping yet again that this turns out to be just another bad dream.
“Did you hear that?” Trisha asks. Her eyes wide open and a huge smile spreads across her face as she looks at our boy endearingly.
“Hear what?” I suspect I missed a whole chunk of information in those few moments I was rehearsing how to say those dreadful words. Why is she smiling? This is not the reaction I was expecting.
Trisha swirls around and she’s now standing right next to me. “He just said ‘ta-ta'”.
I’m confused, but only for a few seconds as realization dawns. “He spoke?” Her excitement quickly rubs off on me and now we are both all over the baby like a pair curious onlookers at the zoo yelling at the monkey to do the trick again.
It never does.
Trisha gently sets the sleeping Tando into his crib. Still smiling, she takes my hand and quietly leads me out of the room. Downstairs, a pregnant silence looms over us. It is only when Trisha releases my hand that I realize we have been standing at the bottom of the staircase for a while, unsure of which direction to go or what to do. A true reflection of our marriage these past five years. Well, at least from my point of view.
“I know,” Trisha says just as she let’s go of my hand. She sighs heavily and sits down on the second step of the staircase.
At this point I don’t know what to say. What does one say in such a situation? For a moment I had entertained the possibility that I had not actually said the words out loud. However, looking at her now, the words had come out as clear as the daylight under October’s blazing sun outside.
Did she say she knew? I want to ask how, but that would be a stupid question. Of course she knows. It was her hand I had held onto tightly as if for dear life when they lowered Chuma’s casket six feet deep. That day I said goodbye to the love of my life. Trisha was left with the burden of comforting her childhood best friend through the grief.
It was selfish of me to allow myself to succum to a moment of weakness in her arms two days after the burial. I should have kept my hands to myself, and Trisha should have pushed me away. But this is Trisha I’m talking about here. She can do anything for me, even something as stupid as pretending she had no feelings for me whilst rooting for my relationship with another woman to work. She was genuinely happy for me back then, because that is the sort of person she is.
This moment should be so tense and a hype of emotion but because it’s Trisha, it’s the complete opposite. This makes the guilt a thousand times more.
I lean my back against the wooden rail of the staircase and watch Trisha as she nervously plays with the seam of her skirt. She does this whenever she’s overwhelmed with emotion and is desperately trying to maintain some semblance of control. She is hurting at her very core but she does not wish for me to see.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I ask.
She looks up at me with a quizzical expression that seems to say, ‘really?’ Out loud she says, “I don’t know. Maybe because I hoped one day you would realize she is never coming back and you would notice me.”
“It’s fine,” she says dismissively through her tears. “This isn’t your fault. Never was. I knew what was at play and I willingly played along.”
“Please don’t say that.” I don’t want her blaming herself for my foolishness and selfishness. I am the bad guy here, always have been and always will be.
“You don’t have to stay out of guilt anymore,” she says. “I don’t think I want that kind of love either. I want more Bryan. I want so much more.”
I reach out my hand to wipe a stray tear from her face but just like that, she vanishes into thin air.
Upstairs, Tando starts wailing at the top of his voice. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what just happened but my child’s insistent crying grabs my attention and I ready myself to take the stairs when I wake up in a cold sweat.
The bright light shinning through the translucent curtains tell me it’s already morning. I look on the bed next to me and Trisha is not there. Tando is clearly not a morning person. I get out of bed and walk to his room, expecting to find Trisha there. She is not.
I pick up Tando from his crib and I notice the folded white paper lying on top of the drawers where we store Tando’s diapers. My heart immediately starts racing. It already knows what my head is still struggling to comprehend. I have seen this scene before. I know exactly how it plays out.
“I’m sorry, please forgive me.” Trisha’s letter reads. It ends with, “I will always love you. Trisha.”
Like a mad man, I’m running through the whole house searching for my wife. Nothing else is missing apart from her. Namakau our first born is soundly asleep in her room. Trisha’s phone is still lying on the table next to the lamp on the side of her bed. All her clothes, accessories and other valuables are exactly where they have always been.
Trisha is gone. I can feel it in the deepest part of my being. It is a cold cold place.
Its been 13 hours since Trisha has been gone. I have just managed to put both kids to bed and the door bell rings. My mother answers as I come down the stairs. Two uniformed policemen are standing on the other side of the door. I would give anything to turn this moment into just another nightmare.
They found Trisha. She had meant it when she said she hoped one day I would realize Chuma is never coming back and finally notice her. She had said those words in my dream, but their echo in my ears is as real as the salty tears of regret am tasting.
In her death, I see Trisha everyday of my life. I notice her everywhere around me. In my children’s eyes. On my daughter’s face. On the faces of every woman I encounter. The sound of her free-spirited laugh still echoes through the walls of the house. Her smiling face pierces my heart and renders me motionless everytime it flashes across my face.
“I’m sorry, I love you.” I have lost count of the times I’ve said these words to the ghost that haunts my existence. I have cried the words out. Laughed them out. I even curved them onto my skin right above my heart.
But she is never coming back.
Now two ghosts haunt my life. One is the woman I once loved. The other is the love of my life.