Present day – 17/5/2008.
It’s your birthday today and you are 25 years old. It’s a Saturday but you woke up trying to remember what day it is. You don’t easily remember because you are weird. You are weird because you don’t like birthdays. You don’t like birthdays because your life has been a sour one for the past 15 years.
Your life has been sour because you always lose something so dear to you, on your birthdays. ‘’Today won’t be an exception’’, you say to yourself. You are about to walk to the bathroom when you hear it, that familiar knock which you always hear on your birthdays. That knock which belongs to nobody and to somebody. Knock… Knock…
You walk apprehensively to the door and open it but see nobody. You quickly step back in and close the door with a bang. Then you hear that tiny voice, tiny but very clear, ‘’I told you i would come back, didn’t i?’’. You then realize that it’s about to happen again.
You are going to lose a part of you so dear to you, again. It has been like this with you
For the past 15 years. You fall to the floor with your back to the door and cry yourself to stupor.
16 years ago – 13/9/1992
It’s your best friend’s birthday today and she is 9 years old, same age as you. Excitement is in the air as the birthday party has begun. Everything is in order; the food, drinks, and the cake. Your friend looks so beautiful in her knee length pink dress with a white bow tied to her hair and her white flat shoe with pink dots on it. She walks around with smiles on her face, greeting her friends. Music is playing and everyone is showering the birthday girl with gifts and birthday wishes.
The MC invites her to come and dance. She is not shy at all as she steps on the dance floor. You stand at a distance and watch. You are supposed to be happy for her but you are not. Because, jealousy. Because, anger.
‘’Why should she have all the good things?” you ask yourself.
‘’What is so special about her?’’ Impulsively, you walk into the house to ‘’deal with her’’. Everybody is outside dancing, so the house is empty. All the gifts that she had collected earlier are sitting on the floor of the sitting room.
You go into the kitchen, get a box of matches and a gallon of kerosene, come out to the sitting room, pour the kerosene on the gifts and set it on fire. You quickly run out of the house to join the others outside. Moments later, the shouts of ‘’Fire! Fire! Fire!’’ rend the air. Your friend’s house is on fire. Everyone is running around trying to put off the fire. You spot your friend in a corner crying and you smile with satisfaction. Her birthday has been ruined. The house was not completely burnt but the gifts were.
It became obvious to everyone that someone set fire to the gifts. Your friend is shattered and inconsolable. You are there pretending to console her when she says, ‘’Whoever it is that set my gifts on fire and ruined my birthday will always lose something he/she loves dearly on his/her birthdays until the day he/she dies’’. You knew not that her words were serious and that bad karma would come after you.
Those words have been your undoing until today. You have tried so much not to love
anyone or anything for some years now because you don’t want to lose them to the cold hands of death.
You’ve lost everything. Last year, on your birthday, your house mysteriously caught fire and you managed to escape from it unscathed. Everything got burnt including your younger brother. Karma has really dealt with you. You lie on the floor pondering on the words you just heard, ‘’I told you I would come back, didn’t i?’’. This is strange, because for the past 14 years the words had always been, ‘’I told you I would come back, didn’t i? Well see you again, same time, next year’’.
Today, why doesn’t it say ‘’See you again next year.” Maybe it is because there is nothing to lose this time. Happiness which has eluded you all these years begin to fill your heart. ‘’I have lost everything. I have nothing else to lose. I am free!’’. You get up from the floor with agility, ready to go about your daily business. You enter the bathroom to take your bath, but in the twinkle of an eye, you step on water, slip and fall hitting your head hard on the tiles. You hear it again before you finally welcome the darkness, ‘’I told you I would come back, didn’t I?”
Little did you know that today, you’ll lose one last thing which you love so much – your life.
Egbo Precious Nzubechukwu was born on 3rd August 1996 in Enugu State Nigeria. She is from Umuagu-Obeagwu Ozalla in Nkanu West LGA in Enugu State. She is the last of five children. She completed her secondary education at Federal Government College Enugu in 2014 and is currently a university aspirant who wants to study Medical Rehabilitation. She lives in Enugu state. She loves writing, reading, singing and listening to music