THE ATHEIST - EPISODE SIX
Copyright © Ufuomaee
That question hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course this was more than my death. This was a woman I built a life with...only for her to discover me at my passing.
It wasn't like this was something I planned. It wasn't even habitual. Kim was just, well Kim. She was everything Angela wasn't and, at first, she was just a friend. A pleasant escape from my married life and responsibilities. She made me feel like I was youthful and vibrant again, and I could be everything and anything I ever wanted.
You see, Lucy was born with cerebral palsy. It was a tough blow for us after three miscarriages, but Angela was still over the moon to finally have a child. She devoted all her attention to looking after Lucy, and life at home became all about Lucy. The pressure and the guilt of desiring to be anywhere but home soon got the better of me. So, when fun-loving Kim came along, I was drawn to her like nickle to a magnet.
She'd just joined a firm in my building, and we first met riding the elevators, though she hadn't taken much notice of me then. Some days later, I noticed that she was having trouble with starting her car when I was about to leave the office. Well, my father had been a mechanic, and I'd picked up a few things from him. After about 20 minutes of fiddling with some components, I was able to rev the engine. I'd advised her to take her car to the mechanic as soon as possible for a permanent resolution.
After that, we'd see each other at the canteen and greet, until the day she invited me to sit with her. It had been harmless and friendly from inception. She'd even been dating someone when we met. No one, least of all me, would have imagined that we'd end up in bed together, only a few months later...
I knew I could never leave Angela, even though I was unhappy, and Kim understood that. We didn't claim to be in love, but it stopped being casual sex after a few more months. And the Friday before the accident, we'd taken our first trip away together. I'd told Angela that it was a special weekend-long training organised by my firm. She hadn't been bothered at all. I'd listened as she spoke of taking Lucy to the beach and visiting with her parents on Sunday. We'd parted with a brief, unaffectionate kiss on the lips... I didn't know it would be our last kiss.
Did I still love Angela? Yes, very much. I missed her. But I knew she couldn't be the woman I needed her to be anymore. She was now Lucy's mother. And I saw in her eyes that my expectations for her to be more than that was exhausting. If only things had been different. If only I'd known how to be there for her and Lucy, like she needed me to.
"I'm so sorry," I muttered, at last.
I turned away from her, because I could not bear to see her crying over me. How could she ever forgive me? Every memory of our love would have been shattered by my betrayal. She could never understand why I did what I did. And I could never explain...
Before I could say "Let's go," to Samuel, who had been surprisingly quiet throughout that short ordeal, a wave washed up and wet my feet, and I looked and observed that we were at the beach. Turning, I saw Samuel walking along the shore. He looked peaceful, but I didn't want to follow him. Somehow, I knew, this was where I wanted to be.
I took some steps back from the waves and settled on the sand, watching the water. It was so rhythmic and relaxing. My mind drifted to the past, to happier times with Angela. We used to love coming to the beach together. It was her favourite place when she first fell pregnant, just months after we were married. But at six months, we went through our first traumatic miscarriage. We never came back to the beach together.
The anxiety began from the moment she discovered she was pregnant again, a year later. We made more trips to the hospital than anywhere else, and she was finicky about everything. Still, we lost the baby. On our third pregnancy, the doctor advised lots of bedrest, and her mother came to stay over. Yet, we lost the baby at four months. The doctors advised us to stop trying and consider adoption instead. And as hard as it was, that's all we could do.
Lucy was unexpected and undiscovered until almost 10 weeks! We took every precaution, and Angela was laid up in bed, right until she was 37 weeks, when the doctor advised that we do a caesarean, instead of going through the stress of labour. But from the moment she was delivered, we knew everything wasn't okay. It was so unfair after everything we'd been through. Yet, my mother was dancing and singing praises to God, as if he had anything to do with it! How could this have been his plan, and how could anyone think to say it is 'good'?!
I watched as Samuel walked towards me. My proof of God's existence, yet no understanding about what type of God would allow people to live such painful lives. I wished he would disappear. I wished he would leave me alone. I wished this would all end. Why the fuck am I still here???
Samuel finally got to where I was sitting on the sand and sat beside me. I breathed loudly in frustration. He had to know my thoughts. I was so angry, I was seething.
"I'm done with this!" I said.
He simply nodded.
"So, can we get this over with?"
"What exactly are you asking?"
"I don't fucking know! I died, didn't I?! So, what now?!"
"Okay... If you're sure you're ready. Let's go."
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com.