My last post was on the 3rd of April 2014. I haven’t been able to sit down, clear my mind and do what I do. What do I do? I try out new things. So this time I saw an essay competition online and thought, hey, why not? The challenge was to write a short story. I’m a phenomenal story teller. Story writer? No. Never have been one.
The only reason I got high points in my essays in school was because I have a neat handwriting, you can look at my face and I always wrote about football. Those were the Arsenal glory days so if I was in school now I’d be getting full scores for the FA Cup win. So I wrote the essay, didn’t submit it and instead decided to put myself on the chopping block and post it on my blog instead. Why? I like the honesty in responses when people tell you,” I liked the first bit but why did you have to talk about shriveled nipples in the second part?” So here goes.
When it rains it pours
“Help me start afresh,” squeaked Linda as she lay on her bed, a shriveled skeleton of her former self. Her mother sat by her side, weeping uncontrollably as her father’s bulky silhouette cast a shadow over her bed. Linda, in her mid-twenties was once an energetic lady full of life and enthusiasm. But this had changed drastically over a very short period of time.
Six months prior, she was involved in an accident as she drove to church. A car rammed her vehicle from the back causing it to topple and roll multiple times. Shocked at the grotesque scene, the perpetrator called the police and took off almost immediately he hang up. A second car arrived and a man staggered out, barely able unbuckle his seat belt. He slowly made his way to the scene and peeped into the shattered windows and mangled frame.
He stuck his hand into the crack and felt a pulse on the lady in the vehicle. Immediately, he tried his best to master enough strength to pull her out. Immediately she was out, he bundled her into his back seat and sped off to the nearest hospital. He frantically made calls to people he deemed relevant from her contact list and secured all her personal belongings. Over the course of her recovery in hospital, he constantly visited and built a personal relationship with her.
Being on a wheelchair, she was limited in her movement. Reagan, however, since the accident, had breathed some life into her and she was hopeful of better days ahead. One sunny afternoon she received a call from her doctor, “Hi, Linda. Can you come in to the hospital in the morning?” He asked pensively. She had been awaiting this call and knew very well it would be the best news in her life.
Early the next morning, she gleefully made her way to her physiotherapist expecting the best news she could possibly have received at the time. Her doctor’s voice played in her head throughout the way but she consoled herself with the fact that he was the best money could buy and medicine could offer.
Her father slowly pushed her wheelchair as their laughter echoed the narrow hallways. “Welcome, let me get you something to drink,” the doctor remarked as he poured juice into two glasses. He handed them their glasses as they perused through some magazines on the desk. He pulled his chair and sunk into it. Before he could utter a word, the mood in the room turned sombre. A nurse walked in and blarted out, “Doctor, here’s the x-ray scan for the paralyzed girl you requested.”
Linda buried her face in her hands as she soaked her lap with tears. The nurse stood at the door wishing the small opening at the door would suck her out of the room and into another dimension. Linda’s father could only stand over her and watch as his daughter wept.
The drive home was soaked in silence and grief as nobody had the right words to share. As soon they pulled up to their house, a matte-black Mercedes Benz pulled in. It was Reagan. He stood at the door and looked at the despaired pair slowly dragged themselves into their home. He followed behind and a few minutes later walked out, Linda in tow.
Their destination? Wherever the car would run out of fuel. Reagan didn’t say a word and just drove on. He already had a way out for her. It had worked for him and he knew it would come in handy for her. He diverted from the main highway onto a dust road. He drove for half an hour before stopping at a gate. He walked out, opened the gate and drove along the tarmacked driveway to a palatial home. “We are here,” he calmly said as he opened the passenger door.
He helped her onto her wheelchair as they made their way into the house. The house was decorated in European vintage design. The walls were covered with expensive paintings and the wooden floor with a thick carpet.
He made her comfortable and went into the kitchen to prepare something for her. All this while, they didn’t share a glance. A former chef, Reagan knew his way around the kitchen. He prepared glazed chicken with jacket potatoes-Linda’s favourite meal. When he served it, Linda just glanced at the plate and returned to her zombie state. Reagan wasn’t going to force her to eat the food. He however, knew how to make her work up an appetite.
He retreated to a separate room and minutes later, walked back into the dining room with two rolls of weed. “Maybe this can help a little. It’ll calm you down and maybe we can talk about this,” he said as he handed over the joint to her. She had been around smokers in her life but she had never lit a joint herself. She was an anti-drug campaigner and was very cautious about indulging in any form of drug use or abuse.
At this point of her life, she knew she had no future as a performer so there would be no harm in just trying out one joint. Before her accident, Linda had enrolled to a dance school. Her passion for ballet had seen her travel across Europe to see the best acts do what they did best. She lit it and inhaled one heavy puff. It didn’t even take a second and she was choking on the smoke. Reagan smiled slyly as if to encourage her to have another go. She tried it a few more times and eventually got the hang of it.
“I feel funny,” she said as she leaned over to Reagan. He put his arm around her assuringly as he whispered, “You’ll feel better in no time.” She smoked away the remaining bit and heartily chatted about her childhood and varsity life. All the while, she didn’t notice that she had eaten her meal and had a second serving. That night, she slept peacefully, without a worry in the world of what might happen the next day.
She spent the whole weekend with Reagan. Her new get away was what she had been missing throughout her adult life. When she got back home on Monday, she was back to her old self. Every evening she would push herself along a lonely path and smoke at least one joint before going back to the house. Nobody noticed any change in her because she was positive about life.
Due to Reagan’s busy schedule, he would only stop by thrice a week to supply her with the joints she needed. Her tolerance for the drug was steadily increasing and she required more than what Reagan was supplying her with. Using contacts she had from her dance school, she was able to get a dealer near her place. She would meet him at a rendezvous point every evening.
Reagan found out about her supplier and confronted her. She was very defensive and even threatened to cut any ties they had if he meddled in her affairs. Reagan wasn’t going to let it go. He knew the struggles he was going through as a drug addict and didn’t want her to go through the same path. He threatened her supplier and even went as far as getting into a fist fight with him.
One evening as she going back to her house, she heard a loud bang. She quickly pushed her wheel chair up the driveway, got into the house and locked the doors. Her father walked out to see what the commotion was all about and moments later, walked back in with a blank stare on his face. “What happened dad? What was the noise all about?” asked Linda. Her dad just stood at the door and a tear dropped from his eye. “It’s Re..re..gan. He’s gone,” he stammered amidst tears flowing down his puffy cheeks.
Linda couldn’t believe her ears. “What do you mean gone dad?” she asked as she pushed her wheelchair towards the door. Her father restrained her as she cursed and threw blows at him in a bid to get out of the house. Police investigations concluded that it was a deal gone sour after they found several bags of weed in his glove compartment.
Her world had just come crashing down. The person who had given her hope in life was now gone. She blamed herself and would stay in her room for hours sobbing and smoking trying to forget what she was going through. At Reagan’s funeral, she collapsed and had to be admitted in hospital for a few days. For weeks, she barely talked to anyone or left the house. One sunny afternoon, she left the confines of her room to get some time away from home.
At this point, she was in depression and the weed could no longer sustain the high she needed to get away from the pain in her life. She decided to try out something stronger to fill the void left. She asked her dealer for a bag of a stronger drug. Something that would clear her mind and calm her nerves. He suggested cocaine.
He was however, very clear that it had an astronomical high but came at an extra cost. That was not an issue for her. She simply went to the ATM and paid in cash. As soon as she got home, she locked herself in her room and snorted the whole bag in one sitting. She had never felt so liberated in her life. All her pain seemed to ease off and for a moment, she even felt at one with Reagan.
She had now found peace in a world that seemed to be falling all around her. She continually used cocaine at regulated intervals with the hope of avoiding addiction. For a short period, this worked. But she needed to maintain her high and the periodical use of coke wasn’t working out for her. She eventually started using it on a daily basis. Her parents didn’t question anything of her withdrawn behaviour because in their minds, she’d been through a lot and needed some time to herself.
It only became a concern when she grew irritable whenever she delayed in her use. She would throw tantrums and even get violent. Her father restricted her movement and this made the situation worse because she started sourcing for whichever form of drug she could access. One evening, her parents noticed she had taken too long to come down for dinner. Her mother walked to her room and knocked severally. Her calls went unanswered. She opened the door and Linda was gone, nowhere to be seen.
She ran down the back into the room shouting, “Mark! She’s gone! Our baby is gone!” Her husband got up immediately, grabbed his car keys from the kitchen counter and left. He sped to the police station to report his daughter missing. The officer on duty took down his details and promised to inform him once anything came up. Her father tried calling all her friends and relatives to see if any of them had seen or talked to her. There was nothing. She was gone without a trace. After a month of searching, the parents started to lose any hope of ever finding their daughter.
Three months later, while Mark was driving to a chemist, he saw two men walking away from a young lady who was lying lifeless on the pavement. One of the men was buckling his belt. He feared the worst. He stopped his car, pulled out his gun and stepped out. The two men saw his gun and scampered off into the dark alleys. Mark went over to the lady. As he looked at her, his heart dropped to his knees.
The young lady was Linda, his lost daughter. He was overwhelmed by emotions and all he could do was call for an ambulance. She was in a sorry state. For two weeks, she recuperated in the ICU. She regained consciousness on the seventeenth day and the first thing she saw was the frame of her dad standing at the window, her mum holding her hand.
She looked up to her father as tears rolled down her eyes. “I’m sorry dad,” she muttered in a low husky tone. Her father walked over to her bed and embraced her as tears freely flowed down his face. “Help me start afresh,” squeaked Linda as she lay on her bed, a shriveled skeleton of her former self.