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Story Story



TheMystery of Life

Lifehad just taken a twisted turn. How would Elsie’s parents react whenthey heard that she was pregnant with John’s baby? Would theydisown her? These were among the many questions that were runningback and forth in her mind. Elsie dreaded for the worst but hopedthat they would hear her out. John had accompanied her to the healthcenter after she had informed him that her body was not feeling righta few days after their encounter during the prom night. Throughoutthe journey back home, her mind was not at ease, her body wastrembling, and she had blurred vision, blinded by a cloud of tearsthat had filled her eyes. She could not believe that this washappening to her because she had been brought up under strictChristian values. She pictured her mother’s horrified face as shebroke the news to them. In her mind she saw the enraged face of herfather. She pictured his angry gaze, his disdainful expression. Itwas going to be hell, and she was not quite sure she was preparedenough to go through it. Her anxiety was as intense as it wastorturous.

Herboyfriend, John, had been Elsie’s sweetheart since high school. Thetwo had known each other throughout their high school lives and hadfantasized about getting married one day and living beautiful livestogether. Little did they know that their expectations would beshockingly different from the perfect fantasy they had come tonurture. Therefore, when John convinced her that having a one-nightstand with him would mean no harm, and Elsie agreed to agreed,trusting him completely. At no time did she fathom that she would endup pregnant out of a one-night stand experience. To the two excitedteenage lovers, this was nothing but pure fun. It was with greatshock that the revelation that she was pregnant came to her. Considering that the damage had already been done, John convinced herthat he would take care of the situation and he would be the one toapproach Elsie’s parents. From his reaction, she could tell that hewas scared, but he wanted to act up and be the one to comfort her.Seconds passed into minutes and minutes into hours, and after awhile, they had already reached home. She could tell that her parentswere at home after seeing both of their cars parked in the driveaway. At this point, she felt like running away and let John handlethe situation by himself. How could she face her parents while insuch a condition?

WhenElsie’s parents received the news, they were disappointed with her.She cried her heart out to them begging them to forgive her but herfather was red with fury. He could not take the embarrassment anddisappointment that Elsie had brought him. As a result, her parentsdecided to chase her away from home to fend for her unborn baby andmyself. Besides this, they gave her a few coins that would sustaintheir livelihood for a month or so. Dark clouds of despair and sorrowloomed over her head. At this point, she lost all hope in life. Shecould not believe that her parents would kick her out without mercyto the streets.

Theydid not have plans for future yet therefore, John took her to hishome where she would stay with his family as the two planned on theirnext move to securing themselves their home. Unlike the mansion inthe city where Elsie had lived with her parents, John’s home wasnot what she expected. It was a wooden shaft that had accommodatedonly two rooms separated by an old cardboard dangling from the roofto the floor. One of the rooms was used as his parents’ bedroom,and the other room was used as the living room, kitchen, and a placeto sleep occupied by John’s four sisters. There were two doubledeckers and a piece of an old mattress that was one inch thick lyingat one corner of the room. It was needless to say that, that would bewhere John and Elsie would be sleeping together with his siblings.This would be her life for the next one year as promised by John.

Dayspassed into months, and there was no hope of leaving the shaft. Bythis time, she was already four months pregnant, and it had alreadystarted showing. Occasionally, she would join the family in attendingto their farm’s produce since it was a corn-harvesting season.John’s family except his mother had accepted her condition, andthey treated her as one of their own. However, his mother was alwayscomplaining to John that the house was congested and that we neededto look for another place to settle. Occasionally, Elsie would hearher pressuring his son to approach his pregnant wife’s parents andask for support since her parents were known to be among thewealthiest people in Aber town.

Afterseveral months, John’s mother succeeded in poisoning his mind andevery time the young couple had conversations about money he wouldask her what would be her parents’ reaction if she asked forsupport from them or if they would grant her the inheritance that shewas entitled to. However, knowing of her father’s attitude and hisstern belief in Christianity, she would not bother about it since therepercussions would end up being worse than what she was goingthrough now.

Whencorn-harvesting had season passed, there was no other source ofincome for the family. Days would pass without them taking anythingbut water. On the few occasions that John’s parents would securesomething to eat, it would end up being too little to divide amongeight heads. We would be served a share that one would eat in lessthan a minute, and after half an hour, the hunger pangs would beback. It was an entirely foreign experience for Elsie, who had beenused to luxury and comfort at her parent’s house. The farthest thatElsie had encountered such levels of poverty before she came toJohn’s home was in movies and on the television, where she wouldwatch the international news on people starving due to drought. Shehad grown thin, and her oily skin had turned to slacken and dry. Hereyes were sunken, and her long hair was now so rugged that she usedto wrap it with a headband almost all the time. With the increasedlevel of poverty and responsibility, John turned his frustrationsinto anger and violence and on most occasions, he would beat her upout for nothing.

Onone rainy evening, John came home in the middle of the night. He wasvery drunk and angry. He immediately ordered her to wake up and puton something warm since we were going to take a short walk to thecity, a twenty-minute walking distance. Elsie’s eyes were heavywith sleep, but she could not resist since she knew if she did, heavyblows would land on her. She wore one of her warm gowns that she hadcarried from home, wrapped herself in warm clothing and joined himoutside the shaft where he was waiting for her. When she came closeto him, she realized that he had a black silky tool on his hand thathe was busy dusting and cleaning in his futile rage. Getting to him,she realized that it was not just a tool but a rifle. What was he upto? Had he joined the gangs in the village in search for money andwas up for a mission? Was this a farewell to her in case he did notcome back? She could not fathom what was going on.

Thiswas new to her. It was not the John that she knew. After a moment ofpin-drop silence, John broke the news to her that he was going tothreaten her parents to give him her share of their wealth so thatthey could have a better life. He claimed that her parents weremanipulative and merciless and he would prove to them that he wasalso a man of his words. From his speech and actions, Elsie couldtell that he was serious about it.

Theweather was beyond being friendly. She could feel the heavy drops ofrain landing on her hood and drenching her clothes. The roofs of thehouses in the neighborhood were dancing with sprays of water, and shecould hear the whirling noise of the rain that could be compared tothe noise produced by the blades of a helicopter. She was shiveringand drenched in water. For a minute, Elsie wished John would changehis mind, and they would go back to the house, but this was a futilethought. He held her hand tightly as he staggered his way through themud to the tarmacked road. Cars passed them, splashing mud and wateron them as if they did not exist.

Thetorrents were becoming heavier to the point that the two couldneither walk nor see what was ahead of them. It was at this momentthat John decided that they could take shelter and wait for the rainto cease. They spotted a canopy and approached it to shieldthemselves from the rain and the wind frenzy that had accompanied it.She was shivering from the cold, and her entire body felt sick fromthe rain and the pregnancy as well. As we almost neared the canopy,Elsie suddenly felt something hard hit her from the back and sheimmediately lost her consciousness. That was the last thing that shecould remember.

Onwaking up, Elsie found herself lying in a hospital bed. Her back washurting, and it felt like sharp thorns pricking her skin. Her bellywas so painful that she could not raise her body. There was no one inthe vicinity, and there was grave silence. However, from outside herroom, she could hear people whispering and others shouting from afar.The light in the room was too bright for her eyes and she found ithard to see what was taking place around her. Barely had a minutepassed by when a nurse joined her. She examined her body and askedher how she was feeling. Elsie was given a collection of drugs andassured me that all would be well. The nurse, however, told her thatshe had been involved in an accident, that the baby did not survive,and that she was lucky to be alive. The nurse then left the room, andpeople thronged her room. At first, she did not notice them due tothe tears that had welled up her eyes. No one could express the griefand agony she was going through. She felt as if her world had beenshattered into small pieces. It was too much to bear.

Aftera few minutes of grief, John’s parents and her parents reached outto comfort her. It was at this moment that Elsie realized that Johnwas not among the crowd. She asked of his whereabouts, and was toldthat he was in the Intensive Care Unit and that his right leg hadbeen amputated. It came to her attention that a truck that had lostcontrol while on the road hit them while they walked to seek shelterfrom the rain. It had veered off the road and landed into a treekilling the driver on the spot.

Elsieand John had survived death by a whisker. Her parents felt sorry forthe young couple and apologized for their irate behavior earlier. Inher shock, ditress and pain, Elsie could not immediately accept theapology now since there was too much damage that could not bereversed. Although knew she was also at fault, she blamed her parentsfor everything that had happened to her and John. She was angry atthem for having cast her out of her home and condemned her and herlife to a life of hardship and suffering when they could easily havetaken care of them. She would not have lost the pregnancy had theyaccepted her condition and taken care of her, like most parents wouldhave done. Neither would John have lost his leg. It was an ordealthat would take Elsie a long time to recover from one that she wasnot even sure she could ever recover from.