“Defining Pain: Episode One” by Akwele Patricia

I saw her. I could almost feel her pain pierce through my soul, but I didn’t have enough strength to carry such a load. They say the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, well; she looked lifeless to have a soul, her eyes almost inexpressible only for the tears that run down the same lines falling to her ears every time she blinked.

Akwele: Oh my! Look at you, what have you done to yourself? Who did this to you? How… how long have you been like this? C’mon girl, talk to me.

Finally her eyes turned to look at me. The swift glare caused my heart to miss a beat whiles sending chills down my spine. A sudden breeze of heavily weighed down emotions just covered my entire body and for a moment, I almost looked like her; lifeless. A series of plausible scenarios that might have caused her state flashed my mind; pregnancy, terminal illness, rejection, theft, failure, suicidal attempts…

Nana Esi: I… I had to speak with someone

What happened to her voice? When was the last time she spoke?

Akwele: Speak to me. I’m here. We’ve had 4 mid-semester exams between last week and yesterday. You aren’t in good shape Nana Esi, talk to me, I’m listening.

Nana Esi: I have a story for you and I want it written and published so my message could be sent across. Akwele, I messed up. I messed up real bad and I need you to forgive me first but try not to judge me. I thought and considered ending my life, have I sinned?

Akwele: hey… hey… hey..! What’s that supposed to mean?

Nana Esi: Answer me

Akwele: umm… you haven’t done it yet and I can’t judge you as well so I guess it’s a NO.

Nana Esi: Mother kept me in the dark all this while. She said I had a biological father and that my twin brother’s my half brother. According to her, my mother was also her best friend and died when she delivered me, and that was about the same time she delivered Akwasi so she adopted me and made me hers. A week after this confession, she took me to my real dad’s house to meet with him. When we got there, he was ill, very ill. She told me he’d a few more days to go so had to tell me the truth. My biological dad is Mr. Smith. Who would’ve thought my favorite uncle would be my real dad? /coughs/

How long has she been like this? Her breath smells like the debris of a whole month’s meal stuck in between her teeth. Her lips gave the impression it’ll be torn apart the moment she utters her next words. I offered her some water. In lifting herself to take the drink, I realized her skin tone took two different shades of her pretty flawless chocolate body. The part that was exposed looked worse and dirtier than that which rested on the bed.

Nana Esi: About 2 days after the visit, he passed away. I felt… well, I don’t really know how to describe what I felt. You are the writer so find me a vocab. His wife for some weird and unknown reason detests me, and warned me to stay away from her family and not to show up for the funeral. Some days later, I felt really sick and was rushed to the hospital. After several days of tests and examinations, the doctor said one of my kidneys was malfunctioning and the other is infected. He advised a transplant and said I could live with just one. That was the same week my other dad started his medical treatment for HIV/AIDS. School was resuming the following week so I needed to psych up for the semester. But then my mother and other dad had a big fight after she caught him cheating on her again. How could he? He’s infected!! Mom wanted to leave the house. Hmph… She actually left and left me behind. All that while I was quiet and said no word about the occurrences. I didn’t know it was eating me up so bad. My medication got finished so I’d to purchase more but dad said he had no money. I started feeling sick again but I held on to the pain and relied on my singing gigs and paintings for money. I started well /chuckles/

Akwele: what of your boyfriend? Didn’t he know?

Nana Esi: he didn’t need to. He cheated on me with Ewurasi

Akwele: you’re kidding me, right?

Nana Esi: I met another man. He was sweet and nice to me, and would do anything for me. But I took advantage of him. I seduced him and dumped him, found a silly excuse not to be with him since I felt I wasn’t good enough for any other man. I mean, look at me, a true industrious Ghanaian man wouldn’t want to get involved with a girl who’s unsure about how far her education was going, a girl with unstable health and… and a painter /shakes head/ no way!

/silence/

Akwele: so what happened?

She looked up at me again. This time I could read eyes; pain, agony, remorse, only that the tears didn’t drop but stayed and filled her eyes. I bet she cried so much till she couldn’t.

Nana Esi: I slept with other men, Akwele. I loved sex. I love the way it takes my mind off the issues and doubts and uncertainties. But they weren’t random men. Alex came hard on me and said I was really sexy and asked me out on a date. Jason thought I loved him but well, he’s just fine. Peter /giggles/… Peter and I’ve got some sort of attraction so I just saw the opportunity. Kwame was just hot. He invited me over for a little family and friends get-together. I don’t think you know Theo, umm he came back from the States after school and I actually don’t remember how it all happened but umm yea… who else… who else… /shakes her head/ I lost count.

You sure did mess up.

Nana Esi: I decided to go low on the sex but interestingly, I took to drinking. I had a drink every night so I could sleep. My favorite was Vodka, Malibu and Bailey’s /smiles/ but then the doctor had already warned me not to drink or smoke. My illness worsened. My urine was painful and bloody, my abdomen and back hurt all the time, I coughed blood at times, with other funny symptoms yet I couldn’t stop drinking. Last week, the doctor told me I needed an urgent transplant else…

A tear finally drops from her left eye but too short to run down her cheek.

Nana Esi: I didn’t mean to destroy my body. I didn’t mean to sin against my body. I didn’t mean to sin against God. The sex and drink only satisfied me and made me forget all those worries for a moment. You see, at times when the burden is so heavy, you just wish you could lay it down for a moment and be relieved however it’s your burden and you’ll have to take it back. You’re the first person to hear all this. I’m sorry about my appearance; I’ve been in this same position for over a week now because I don’t know what to do, I’m financially unstable and stranded and I don’t have enough time anyway.

Akwele: pray, Nana Esi…

Nana Esi: Pray? With all I’ve done, I don’t think God will ever forgive me. And oh! I bet my illness is the price I have to pay. But why did he do this to me? Why did God give me this load? Why did…

Akwele: I know you’re going through a hell of a time right now but hey even the elephant has to fight off flies. Life… life is /stuttering/ life is… the

Joshua: Cut! Cut!! Cut!!! What happened to you? It was going on so well. Memorize your lines well. /addresses team/ Alright guys, let’s take a short break, and resume in 30. Good start, ladies…

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