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Victor Oladutemu – “Paths”

The depressing thoughts had a firm grip on me by now and I found myself typing; ‘how to peacefully end my…,’

My thoughts, from the moment I stepped out of Dr. Bisi’s office, had been coloured entirely by negativity. Even though she had assured me that my condition was still very treatable, I couldn’t get over the overall feeling of despair. The news of the test result wasn’t the only thing affecting me now. It had stirred up thoughts about all the challenges I’d had to deal with up to this point.

“Ideally, women my age should be married with their own kids by now,” I thought to myself and then proceeded to ponder on the supposed reason why I wasn’t. I had been in two previous relationships that had high prospects of ending in marriage, and my then-partners had affirmed that they didn’t mind that I was different. “You just don’t have melanin in your skin and eyes, and that’s all. So?” Tobi – my last partner – had said on one of the days I was expressing my worries. “I love and will always love you unconditionally,” he had concluded. But then, he just left at some point for no clear reason – just like David did. 

“And what about all the teasing and stares I’ve had to endure?” the thoughts continued. I had even earlier noticed the reaction of the woman now two seats away from me, as I got into the bus. “But I’m already used to such and really couldn’t care, especially now that I have more in mind,” I tried to ignore, but to no avail. It still hurt. “And gosh! the coming expenses of the treatment I am to commence,” and on I kept going the downward spiral, thinking to myself that if only I hadn’t suffered from albinism, things would have been very different – for better. I was getting really overwhelmed and had somehow begun to consider ‘ending it all’ when suddenly I was rudely interrupted by some really stinking odour that had apparently escaped from a co-occupant’s rear end. “Ahn ah! This person wicked o,” a passenger seated behind me said out loud as others either covered their nostrils or waved in front of them. “Na God go punish that yansh o,” another angry passenger yelled out as I shook my head, fingers on nose, and gently smiled. However, it didn’t take long before I went back to drowning in my sadness.

“Ipetu wa o,” I spoke out loud and in response, the driver slowed the bus to a halt and I got off. I had briefly battled with suicidal thoughts before now, and they were beginning to loom over my head again. “No one will care or miss me anyway,” I thought to myself as I walked on, trying to ignore the truth that my supportive parents, siblings and friends will. The depressing thoughts had a firm grip on me by now and I found myself typing; ‘how to peacefully end my…,’ when suddenly I collided with someone who then pointed the knife in his left hand at my stomach and said in a low voice “your money or your life?”. His words sounded so cliché that I was tempted to think this was just one of those plays we had as kids but was jerked back to reality when he gently prodded me with the knife. 

Even though I was earlier thinking about dying, I didn’t want to die at this point. Shakingly, I handed over my phone and bag to him and quickly walked on. I had barely moved two metres when I heard what seemed to indicate a physical struggle between people. On looking back, I saw a man apparently in his early thirties overpowering the robber. He retrieved my belongings, handed them to me and leaving the robber writhing in pains on the floor, we both walked a safe distance from the enclosed area for fear of other possible attacks.

Still quite shaken, I managed to thank him. “You’re welcome, and I’m James by the way,” he replied, extending his right hand for a shake. I was getting my hand out of my bag in which I had just placed my phone, when my test result fell out. James picked it up and handed it back to me. “I recognize that,” he said and went on to tell me how he had been diagnosed four months earlier with a stage II lung cancer and that it was now in remission. Obvious to me that he sure had an idea of my condition, I went ahead and told him I had been diagnosed with stage I cervical cancer earlier that day. He then told me of the support group he belonged to and urged that I joined. He proceeded to get my phone number and promised to keep in touch and help me with subsequent adjusting, after which we waved each other goodnight.

“Maybe things aren’t that bad afterall,” I thought to myself as I made for my house. I wasn’t sure about the things that lay on the road ahead, but I was convinced that I was going to start living up to my name – Ireti (Hope).

4 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Iyanuoluwa David!reply
May 31, 2020 at 8:59 am

There will always be light at the end of the tunnel, peradventure we do not quit!
It was a great read!

Larareply
June 2, 2020 at 2:02 pm

Beautifully written

Kotreply
June 6, 2020 at 6:53 am

This is wonderful

Kotreply
June 6, 2020 at 6:55 am

Nice writeup

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