Shade my nightingale, will you marry…
I flinched as the door closed with a bang.
I was in a dim-lit interrogation room. The walls and structures reeked of age and zero maintenance. In front of me stood a one-way glass, I could see my reflection – the doom and gloom in my eyes. I knew there would be people watching me from the other side, I was their specimen and they were here to study me.
The sturdy-looking detective holding a pack of files had walked in. He dropped the files in my front, sat down opposite me, and picked up a black cat that had been walking behind him.
For close minutes, sat in silence as he stroked the feline that had curled up into a ball in his lap. I tried my best to avoid eye contact with him but he stared continuously into my eyes. There was nothing spectacular about the room, so I had to keep glancing at him.
“Do you want anything to drink Miss Shade?”, he finally said breaking the ice.
“No, thank you”, I replied absentmindedly.
“Ok, if at any time you want anything, please don’t hesitate to ask for it.”
” I am detective Ash, I am here to interrogate you on the untimely demise of Engr. Chuka Ibekwe, popular tycoon and philanthropist. I hear you guys were an item while he was alive, is that true?”, he asked.
“Yes, it is true”, I replied reluctantly.
” Ok, I know you’re probably in a world of hurt right now but it’ll be better for both of us if you cooperate and give me all the information I need.”
“This …,” he said pointing around, “… not an ideal place for anyone to be for too long, let alone a pretty young doctor like yourself”
” So Miss Shade, I want you to tell me everything you know about Mr. Chuka up to the point of his demise.”
I burst into a sobbing fit, he didn’t show any sympathy but kept on petting his now sleeping cat. He waited till I was done and had comported myself, he seemed to be a very patient man.
“I… I… will tell you everything but…” I said amidst sobs, “…but I don’t want any cameras or observers.”
” I understand”, he said.
He stood and switched off the camera on the wall and it stopped its incessant blinking.
Walking back to me, he spoke into the microphone on the table.
“Can everyone in the observers stand go get a doughnut or something, the young lady needs some privacy.”
“Ok Miss Shade, let’s hear your tale.
I sat back more relaxed now, knowing I had only a pair of eyes watching me.
“I met Chuks in…”, I said as I walked swiftly down the aisle of memory.
“I met Chuka, or Chuks as I loved to call him 5 years ago, it hadn’t been love at first sight, for as a freshly inducted doctor, I still had the air of focus and goals embedded into my skin”
“He finally cut through my heart of ice and ever since it’s been fun and vibes, not a single day went by that I didn’t thank God for bringing him into my life, we’ve been comfortable ever since, had one or 2 couple rows, but that’s normal, isn’t it? I can’t see anything that’d make him do what he did” I said, tears from my eyes flowing freely.
“And all through your years together, you didn’t notice any unusual behaviours?” Detective Ash asked.
“No, not one, he didn’t drink, smoke, or possess any nefarious habits, apart from his continuous lavish spending, which he made up for with humanitarian donations. Chuks was also famous for his fevers, though his visits to the hospital got very frequent of late, it’s quite a normal occurrence.” I replied.
“So for someone so rich, what would you say went wrong that could have led to suicide?” He asked, “he had the world at his feet.”
“Chuks wasn’t always so rich, he was born with a silver spoon but he had to work for his money before the death of his father after which he inherited the multimillionaire company, and about his suicide prompt, he had me, I gave him heaven on Earth” I sobbed, my heart bleeding as I remembered the words of his betrayal – …I can’t have you, I want you to have the best life ever, we can’t continue this relationship I am sorry.”
I answered continuously for the next half hour, only getting about 5 minutes break when my sobbing got out of hand.
“Get some milk for Blackie and bring in the envelope,” Ash said into the intercom, as he dropped his now awoken cat.
“So did anything bizarre happen within the last few days of your relationship before his suicide?” he asked.
“Of course the last few days were the best days of our relationship, we’ve gone on many vacations to different locations but the last one which we went for was unique because he showed more care than usual, he let go of work for me,” I answered.
“Hmm, tell me about it,” he said.
“We had a karaoke night just alone in the best suite facing the waves of the Bar Beach, we sang all night long, he was in high spirits. The next day, we went on a boat cruise. That wouldn’t be the first time but this was different, he turned out the external world, he refused to take the elevator even for once during our stay, he’d give me a piggyback ride up and down the stairs, my laughter always resounded all through the resort during those moments” I said as I felt temporary relief over such beautiful memory.
“Wow, so what happened yesterday, the last day?” he inquired.
“Yes, yesterday, we had the most elaborate meal ever, only both of us at the dinner table. After which, he proposed”
“He proposed?” Detective Ash asked, looking confused.
“Yes he did, he went on one knee and sealed our age-long relationship. I replied “yes” immediately, he cried, kissed me, and said “Thank you. Afterwards, he took me out and said the most bitter words ever, it hurts to even remember”, I said sobbing.
“Please, take your time” he encouraged.
“No, I want to get this over with, I haven’t taken an official leave of absence from work. He told me –Shaddy, I am sorry we’ll have to part ways now, I can’t have you, I want you to have the best life ever, we can’t continue this relationship I am sorry. In other words, we’re breaking up. With that, he got into his car and zoomed off.
“I guess minutes after that you heard he’d jumped off The Third Mainland Bridge,” he said.
“Yes”, I replied, curtly.
At that moment, an attendant walked in with a bowl of milk and an envelope.
He set the bowl down for his cat to drink from, he then handed the envelope to me.
On it was written To Shaddy, my heart, my love, and my nightingale. Not to be opened until she sits at the interrogation table.
“You see, a few days ago, Mr. Chuks dropped this envelope over himself and gave us strict instructions on how it was to be handled. You’re here now, so I think it’s ok for us to open it.”
I opened the envelope with shaky hands, there were a bunch of papers in it. The first read:
Shade, I am sorry it had to end like this, I love you more than life itself, I can’t stand seeing you hurt, I couldn’t tell you I had been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, it would have crippled you. Don’t think about the possibilities, it’s stage 4, it has already metastasized to all my organs. I have just a few weeks left. I can’t bear becoming emaciated, you know how I love my looks. I wanted your last memory of me to be with my perfection. The next vacation is a prototype of what our everyday life would have been, but fate said otherwise. I had to arrange it this way to prevent these law dudes from giving you a hard time. I am not a coward baby, it had to happen this way. Yes, I planned the piggyback rides, hope you loved them. Affixed are my test results and my will, you now own 80% of my kingdom, use it well, if possible stop this from happening to any other lovebirds in the future. I love you, baby, even in death. Your Chuks.
“Oh Chuks, you coward”, I sobbed as the envelope slipped from my hands to the floor.
Bismarck Faola is a medical student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. He writes as a hobby but also yearns to make a career out of it because he has so many thoughts struggling to be set free into the universe. He writes poems, essays, articles, etc, and has taken various training and courses on writing and editing. He can be reached via email@example.com