Short fiction | Old Love by Nana Sule | The Arts-Muse Fair

Photo credit: Aminu S Muhammad

OLD LOVE
BY 
NANA SULE

There was a knot in her throat. It was always there in moments like this. It would tighten right there, then well its way into her stomach, just below her navel. There, it would settle and the decision would be made. And she would feel the words climb all the way from her stomach, claw at her mouth, till she let them spill. The it’s not you, it’s me theory. And so when she opened her mouth this time and they came out, she did not stop them.

“It’s not you. I have… I have so many things I need to… to, to do. First”

The silence lingered a little longer this time. Longer than the ones from the last three.

There was the one she really liked. The one with the beard like Ahmed’s; trim and covering only his chin. The one that she had told over the phone, because she couldn’t look him in the eyes, that it wasn’t him. It was her. And then she listened quietly, memorizing every sob he tried to stifle, every word that caught in his throat. Listening, to how he broke.

“Is it because of him?

She took in a mouthful of air, as though it was the courage she needed to feed on.

“I… I just think that, that, that I am not in my right mind. I am not ready”

Silence.

But for his breathing. It was not so faint, the sound of his breathing. It came as short gasps; labored. Pained.

More silence.

“Aisha”

She closed her eyes. Yet a rebellious tear removed itself from her lids and caressed its way across her face, till it dropped on white sheets covering her bed. The phone was just besides her, his breathing reaching her from the speaker phone. She was lying in that position where she could hurt and feel protected all in one; curled like a fetus, hands under her head, knees almost reaching her chest.

“Please”

“I…”

“Aisha, please, just please. Don’t do this. You said you will try, you said that”

And she did. She tried. Yet every time she laughed at a joke he said, she felt Ahmed there; watching. And if she turned in search of his prying eyes, she would find nothing. And she would remain with the emptiness that he left her with.

“You can’t go on like this Aisha. Let me love you”

Silence.

This time, she felt that Ahmed was there, listening with her. His presence, even stronger than with the others. Maybe because he knew, like how he knew everything about her, that there was a part of her that wanted this one to stay. That maybe, a part of her was preparing to take on new things. And maybe she did like how he made her laugh, and cared for her. And the calming way he pronounced her name… maybe these were the reasons Ahmed was becoming stronger, keeping her in check. Keeping her focused on what really, truly mattered; them.

“Aisha…

Silence.

“Aisha. Please now, please”

“Goodbye”

She reached for the phone, ending the call and turning the device off. Like she did with the last one. The one who dared to suggest that she let Ahmed go. There was that thing he told her, how she shouldn’t go on living her life loving a dead man. As though he was as mad as the rest of the world. All of them, mad people. Praying for Ahmed’s death. All of them.

As she threw the phone off the bed, she patted the space besides her. She liked this part. Where, after resisting temptation with those men, her husband would lay besides her. He would tell her how proud he was of her strength. He would stroke her hair gently till the warm arms of sleep would carry her away. And she would wear a huge smile. She would feel safe, with her husband right beside her.

From outside, the moonlight would sneak through the thin curtains and come to rest on a sleeping Aisha. And an empty space beside her.


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Nana Sule is a contributing writer at The Arts-Muse Fair. An Environmental enthusiast, her writings have appeared in blogs. She is the Coordinator of the Minna Book Club and tweets @izesule.   

Comments

  1. Good read. Author promised it wasn't a sad story. Sigh

    ReplyDelete
  2. You write beautifully. Hoping to get the concluding part.

    ReplyDelete

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