Dreams from Yesterday III – short story

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“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” ~ Walt Disney

Read the second episode here

Part 3

***

Kunle flung his brief case on the bed, later that morning. Then he rummaged through his well-arranged-clothes drawer for his international passport. He found the small green booklet nestled at the back of the lower drawer, in his unused underwear, where he had hidden it months earlier.

He had put Harriet back to bed after cuddling her for many minutes. It was easy to put her to bed after her fainting spell.

All it took was a sedative to help calm her flailed nerves, before allowing her to fall asleep in his arms; her safe place, her cocoon.

She was always a strong woman whom he adored and loved. They shared everything together and were the best of lovers.

This perhaps was one of the reasons why when he handed her a glass of juice to drink occasionally at nights, before they retired into their bedroom, he put some increasing doses of arsenic, enough to kill her, if only but slowly.

He told her it would help with the fertility issues they had been working to resolve for years, and he always had a cupful of the juice himself right in her presence.

She believed him, why wouldn’t she, especially if it made him happy.

Most nights, he let her sleep peacefully, without a cup of the juice, and the other nights he put enough doses of arsenic to make her numb.

Lately he didn’t like the fact that she woke him up with screams much earlier than he would like, ruining his beauty sleep. For this reason, he reduced the frequency of the drinks.

Sometimes, he got carried away with the intensity of work at the office and would be too tired to serve her the drink. If he returned home really late, Harriet would have helped herself to a cup. He would smile sheepishly when the empty glass cup stared him in the face as it sat in the kitchen sink, knowing there was no arsenic in the one she prepared for herself.

“I think she likes the juice” Kunle would amuse himself.

Sometimes, deep inside, he would laugh whenever Harriet asked why there was no more bottles of the drink left in the house.

The juice was beginning to cost him money.

On those nights, her irritated posture and fixed forward gaze were the first concrete signs that she wasn’t happy to go to bed without her juice.

Kunle had a checkered history. He always found forgiving people who hurt him impossible. As a child he was steadfast in his coldness, contempt and hate for friends who betrayed him. He “treated” their wrong doings with double measures. He would hurt them and enjoyed as they suffered.

It was impossible to forgive Harriet for what she had done to him. It was no longer her secret; it was their secret. The betrayal of the century.

She made him a laughing stock. He had wasted years of his life chasing a distant dream when she knew exactly what the problem was.

But now he was going to make everything right.

Before he walked out of the house with his briefcase dangling in his right hand, he took one look at the bedroom where his wife laid peacefully in deep sleep, scanned the room from window to the door, shook his head, and shut the door.

Harriet opened her eyes the moment he stepped out of the door.

There was something unusual about the way her husband left the room that morning. But she couldn’t figure it out. She had been awake while he dressed, but laid still not wanting to answer any further questions about who Hayden was.

She sat up on the bed for several minutes lost in thoughts before she approached the bed side table to take a cupful of the drink her husband promised would help calm her nerves and clean her innards so they could conceive.

Whatever it was, it didn’t quite matter, tonight Chioma was having her baby and she was going to be by her side in the delivery theater. It was their big moment.

She knew she wasn’t supposed to have a cup of juice that morning, Kunle never allowed her until it was twilight.

But why was the bottle on the table in her room that morning she wondered.

She downed a cup full of the recommended juice, that had the highest dose of arsenic her husband had ever put in a cup, unknown to her. Her tongue sneaked out between her lips to lick off the remnants of the juice from the corner of her mouth.

Not long after, sleep arrested her.

*****

30th December 2013

When the tears came, hot and endless, Harriet knew that her son would never come back to life.

This was the first time she was outdoors in her dream.

She cast her eyes to the freshly dug soil. Hayden was down there, and God had taken him away from her.

What in God’s heaven did he need him for? The priest said he “Called him home” with a dopey look on his smug little face. 

“Home?” She questioned him in her mind.

How could he die? Do people die in dreams? He had only choked.

She didn’t want to be there.

She walked away briskly and under her bare feet, the golden leaves in the cemetery were as noisy as the static in her head. Nothing was making sense anymore, not even the trees.

She didn’t want to be there.

She heard the melodious tune of a familiar song as she walked past the only chapel in the cemetery. She couldn’t make out the song, but she was sure she knew that tune. She even hummed the tune.

At first the music sounded from a distance, but as she walked on, it appeared to wash over her body like waves, transient yet always there, rising, falling.

Soon, like the waves, it was over-pronounced in decibel and impossible to ignore.

*****

 It was the mobile phone that woke Harriet up. She woke up with a start, a blinding headache again!

She opened one eye to peer at the brightened screen, it was Chioma calling.

“Harriet, please hurry, please hurry. I am having contractions and at the hospital” the urgency in her voice shook Harriet so badly she rushed into her closet to pick up something to wear.

Chioma sounded quite distressed on the phone and this worried her. Confusion descended on her as a fog at dawn in harmattan. The headache didn’t help. But she managed to get her car keys before racing out of the house.

She wasn’t going to miss the moment she had waited for all this time.

****

Harriet held Chioma’s baby in her arms, with tears trickling down her face. It was a cute little boy, the greatest gift God can bestow, a sacred responsibility of love and nurture.

She stood with the baby in her arms in the hospital hallway, watching as the nurses raced back and forth trying to save Chioma’s life in futility.

Something went wrong during the delivery. There was a complication, it all happened so fast and there was blood everywhere.

Her best friend passed on.

Harriet had no idea what to feel. Her brain stuttered for a moment as her teary eyes take in the unravelling scenes at the hospital, every part of her was on pause while her thoughts played catch up. It felt like she was in a trance, disconnected from reality, yet smack in the middle of it.

When she arrived the hospital an hour earlier, Chioma had asked for a moment alone with her bosom friend, before she was wheeled in for the procedure, in the aftermath of the emergency.

“My love, please find a place in your heart to forgive me” She started with tears in her bloodshot eyes.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you my dearest friend, but I want you to know that its his baby. It’s Kunle’s baby. If anything happens to me, please take care of our son. I want you to………” her voice trailed off as the effect of the anesthetics kicked in.

Words eluded Harriet as she watched the nurses wheel her friend away into the theater.

Now she was all by herself. No husband. No friend, but a bundle of God’s greatest creature. HER SON.

She unbuttoned the top buttons of her shirt to fetch her left breast from the confines of her bra, before squeezing the swollen nipple, dripping with milk, into the baby’s mouth. She was indeed lactating.

“I will call you Hayden!”

******The End****

This story is the ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, written to celebrate the third anniversary of rediscovering my passion.

The story is fiction and a product of my imaginations. The names and descriptions relate to no known person in my social and professional circle.

Please be kind to drop a word of congratulations as you comment. I would love to know what you think about the story.

 

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21 thoughts on “Dreams from Yesterday III – short story”

  1. Pingback: Dreams from Yesterday II – short story – Akin Akingbogun

  2. The fact that you weaved two critical health issues within a story in a simple and yet compelling way is mind blowing….thanks for raising awareness for these challenges in “your” unique way

      1. Congratulations for third year anniversary. I wish you more progressive and prosperous years.
        I couldn’t stop reading until I finished all the three parts.
        A life based on deception will eventually crash, even though the were said to be in love. No secrets should be kept from your spouse. Openness liberates and brings happiness.

  3. Lovely story I must say. I wouldn’t have expected something less. I’m still in awe though, how come Harriet was lactating since she’s not pregnant and can’t even take in. Or getting pregnant and giving birth in dreams can get one to lactate in the physical realm.

  4. Unstoppable Nikky

    Congratulations on your third anniversary DOST. The concluding part of the story makes me want to watch the movie ” Sandman” all over again. Good job.

  5. I perceive intelligence, uniqueness and creativity in this piece. One writer I know that not only writes to entertain, but to create awareness . Dost has never underdelivered. You can never see the end from the beginning of his piece; I’m always like, “where is he driving us to” ? Not to flatter, you’re one of a kind and I look up to you. Congratulations sir.

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