Everything was going on fine but the allure of the office beckoned and as I resumed work, started closing from work late and still went to work occasionally on Saturdays. I started missing birthdays, school/Parent meeting, dinners, Maureen’s poem recital day, first day in school, etc. My only excuse was my job, or you might say “my reality”. Spending more time with my daughter and my wife and building a family with them was a reality too but I choose another until that Saturday I wish never came. It rained heavily; the roads were clear but slippery. I was heading to work after Uju had asked me as usual not to go. I was on Edo road already trafficating to my left to join the Aisosa/Debs Expressway, when Uju called to tell me I forgot a file on the kitchen cabinet and she was on her way to the Tasty Time Restaurant junction on Edo street to give it to me. I told her I was already at the turn entering the highway but I will wait at the road side. I waited for 30 minutes and then became apprehensive because from my house to my current location was only a 10 minutes drive, coupled with the fact that I saw fire fighter trucks speed pass me and heard ambulance vehicle approaching. My heart was throbbing too fast in my chest, I didn’t have time to drive, I just started running down the road. Collusion between a Chevrolet Jeep SUV and a familiar car that I was too much in shock to admit to myself to be my wife’s. The rest is now history which I hate to relive but whenever I see Maureen; a stunning imagine of Uju, I cannot help but blame myself, it was my fault. If I had chosen the reality of spending more and quality time with Uju and Maureen, I would not have gone to work and she would not have driven out and there would not have been any accident and she will still be alive. Maureen played all through the burial ceremony, too young, too innocent to know what had happened.
I suddenly lost taste and flavour for life, nothing seemed interesting, nothing made sense or held any value or worthy to me. I relive every horrific and agonizing moment and blamed myself all the time. I soon became depressed. Yes, I resumed church after much preaching from Reverend Tekena. He often said “You have to come out from this dangerous state or else you will become suicidal”, hmm! “State” does he mean “Reality” and if so, then what he does not know is that I “inadvertently” chose this reality when I ignored the other, it will be my doing, one that I deserve. Hence my long absence from the company; my journey to recovery
I am visiting Maureen in school today. Today is the Girls Guide Day with so many activities lined up in the programme for the day. Seeing her with her classmates all dressed in their lovely, bright and beautiful uniforms, sparkling white socks, well polished black shoes, green scarf around their necks made be happy; I feeling alien to me. She hugged me tight in excitement, I embraced and kissed her on the forehead, holding back the tears of joy to see her and guilty of denying her her mother’s presence. She was ready to start telling all the stories, details, gist, happenings and everything that comes to mind when the principal announced that the programme is about to start and so the girls had to take their seats separate from their parents. As the initial speeches and talks from invited guest started, I was lost in thought, completely self absorbed into the abyss of my own guilt when someone repeatedly tapped me gently on the shoulder, I returned back to my senses, turned around and guest who it was? To my surprise, it was Mrs. Fimie.
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