The pain assailed crudely, bent on tasting blood. It burnt like fire, bite like ice, and darkness became the king. At that darkest hour, I knew death was nearby but it was torturing my soul rather than killing it. How can dying be more gruesome than death?
My eyes snapped open amidst splashing pains and there he was by my bedside. My husband was sleeping, his head resting at the edge of the bed. That moment, desire flowed through my vein like a sparkling spring. I wanted badly to stroke his head one more time. I wanted to look into his eyes and once again soar on the magic of his fingers, but my arms failed me. The only thing I was capable was tears and it burst again and again.
For fifteen years, we had both loved. Despite not giving him a child, he loved me all the same. A medical doctor, gifted in the art of mellowing poetry, Toye knew how to spice my smile with those soft words. On our wedding night, he told me I had the best breasts in the whole world and nicknamed them his little beauties. Each time he wanted to prepare me for what was to come in the evening, he would pick the phone and call me from the office.
‘Hi darling, how are my little beauties doing?’
I would chuckle. ‘They are not doing badly. They are even saying hello.’
‘Tell them I have a special treat for them tonight.’
‘Yes. I am going to perform some searing magic on them.’
‘They can’t wait for their master to come.’ I would say and we would both laugh.
And much more later, I would watch with fascination as he paints my nipples with edible colours, kissing them with a yearning. Some other time, he would come to bed with ice cream, smears my breast with the cream and the excitement would linger.
He loved me. He loved my breasts and we loved him in return. But unfortunately for all of us, his little beauties were infected with cancer and they were taking me away from him.
He seemed to have sensed my tears; he lifted his head and moved swiftly towards me.
‘Please don’t’ he smoothed my brow.
‘The pain. Please make them go away.’
Tears gathered in his eyes. ‘I will if I could.’
‘But you can.’
‘But how?’ his anguish mounted.
‘Make it easier for me.’ I shut my eyes. ‘Kill me.’
‘What are you talking about?’ his voice trembled.
‘Please do it. I can’t stand it any more.’
‘Stop it! How can I kill you? How can I kill the woman I love?’
‘I am suffering. The woman you loved is in pain.’
‘I believe in miracles.’
‘Then be my miracle. Do this for us. Let me go in peace.’
Confused, he left the hospital and my pain lived on. Alone, I thought about my past and my dreams. About the sovereign God who watches while scores of women die everyday of breast cancer.
The next day, my husband came back. Without saying a world and with tears falling from his eyes, he injected peaceful poison into my soul and set me free. I floated like a super woman, reaching for immortality.
I died and my breast cancer too.