Broken promise

Broken promise

Broken Promises.

I know you never wanted to hurt me, so you didn’t. You broke me.

Several people passed by, hurried footsteps to their respective destinations. Cars sped by and honked loudly.

Nobody noticed her sitting quietly by herself at the bus stop, with her head hung or the tears streaming down her face. If they noticed, they didn’t care.

The sun hid behind the cloud and the moon peaked, ready to bless Earth with her glorious presence to mark the night.

The footsteps ceased and the walkway became quiet. The noise coming from the cars seemed faraway as everyone as was in their respective homes.

Anna stood up wearily and made to walk away. Her head spun from hunger and weakness but she closed her eyes and held on. When she regained her composure she left only to settle in front of a closed shop for the night.

“Madam!, Madam!!.”

Anna stopped and turned as the man walked up to her. He seemed to be in his mid-thirties, tall with good features. He was well- dressed and that put Anna at ease because she doesn’t have anything if she were to be robbed.

“Madam, I’ve been seeing you around for quite some time, is anything the matter?. Do you need help getting home?.”

“I’m fine thank you, I’m just going to lay there for a moment,” she said pointing. She quickly withdrew her finger when she realized she might have said too much and put herself in danger.

“I mean no harm, it’s just not safe for you out here. I have a spare room you can manage in my house for as long as you want.”

The promise of a soft bed and warmth was all she needed and she followed the man home, damning the consequences.

The next morning, she woke up early and tidied the house, thanked her host and wanted to leave.
“You don’t have to leave just yet, you can stay as long as you want till you get your own place. It’s not safe for a pregnant woman to be roaming the streets. My name is Zach, what is yours?”

She was dumbfounded and tears started to stream from her eyes. Has God finally pitied her and sent her a helper?.
“My name is Anna.” She replied.

“Well Anna, I have to go to work now, but there is food in the kitchen and some money beside it in case you need anything.”

“Thank you so much”, said Anna hardly believing her good luck. She followed Zach to his car and waved as he drove off.

Back in the house, she rearranged the whole house again even if there was no need. Tired, she finally slept.

“Anna, I’m ho…” He saw her on the couch sleeping so peacefully and decided to let her sleep on. She is such a beautiful girl.

“What was her story?. Why was she pregnant and roaming the streets without a home?”.

About a week after Anna moved in with Zach, she had started to get comfortable and she smiled more.

One night, after a particularly delicious meal, they sat together. Her smile was brighter and her skin healthier.

“Anna, what really happened to you?, Why were you roaming the streets?.”

Her smile suddenly faded and she looked around the room, anywhere but at him.

“It’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it, no pressure.”

She didn’t wanted to seem ungrateful. This was the man that offered her an accommodation when no else did. She felt she owed him an explanation.

“It’s fine.” She said. managing a weak smile and trying to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill forth.

“My parents died when I was fifteen, and I had to go live with my uncle and his wife. At first, they treated me like a princess, giving me all the love in the world.

Soon my uncle’s business crashed and he was bedridden for months. His loving wife blamed it all on me. Told me I was a symbol of misfortune and I only brought pain to people around me.

I believed her and tried to run away, but my uncle found me. He chastised his wife which just added to my own ordeal.

My uncle died a year and half later because he could not afford his medical bills. I was now in the full custody of my aunt and she did what she wished. I was beaten for the slightest of offence, she would tie me up and lynch me like a thief in the market. I stayed out her way but it was never enough.

One day, my neighbor uncle Emeka called me into his room for an errand. He raped me and threatened to kill me, worse he also threatened to tell my aunt whom I was deathly afraid of.

Very soon, I became pregnant and my aunt turned me out after beating me and leaving me for dead. I spent the last energy I could muster walking as far away from there as possible before getting to that bus stop we met.

“Pregnant, unmarried and without a job.” Nobody pitied me, instead they said I got what I deserved for spreading my legs for boys. “How do I explain I was raped?”.

Zach moved closer to her and held her tight. “You’re fine now, no one will ever hurt you again. I’ll always take care of you, I promise.” He said raising her head up to look at her.

She stopped trembling and smiled at him, giving him her best smile.

Months passed and Anna came close to term. Zach had registered her in a near – by hospital for her ante – natal care and also got her things for the baby.

Her labor was hard and long but she preserved. When she heard the lustful wailing of her baby boy, her heart melted. She knew then that as long as she had her baby with her, she could endure anything.

The baby had to be pried out of her hand as she wouldn’t let go. She named him Ade ( a Yoruba name for Crown). He was her crown, her little king and she would never let go.

Zach wasn’t there at the hospital as he had travelled for work.
When Anna and her baby got home, she wouldn’t let anyone carry him, he was hers alone and she didn’t intend to share. She woke up to his cries with joy and a smile that seemed plastered on her face now.

She wouldn’t think of his father. He had given her the greatest gift of which was a son.

When Zach returned, he seemed a bit withdrawn and anxious. He played with the baby but was always so absent-minded.
“Zach, you’ve been all moody since you came back from your travels, you can tell me what is wrong then we find a way out together.” She said looking worried.

Chuckling. ” I’m up to my neck in debt with some very bad people, and I have no way out of it. The only way is to leave the country, but even then, they will find me and kill me.”

“Can you get a loan from your workplace, it can help offset some of the debts.”

Just then, Ade woke up and started crying for attention.

“He’s really priceless, such a beautiful baby”, Zach said. Looking lost in thought as Anna tried to feed her baby. All her attention now on the baby, their previous discussion forgotten.

Zach!, Zach!!, Ade!!.. Anna called frantically. She had woken up and did not find Ade beside her. At first, she thought he was with Zach, as he sometimes picked him from beside her so he won’t wake her up.

Zach was nowhere to be found in the house, so was Ade. There was a note on the table which read, “I’m gone.”
Anna was confused, gone to where, why?. Where was her baby?. She tried his number but it wasn’t connecting.

She went out and asked the mallam who owns the shop that overlooked the street.” Alhaji, did you see Zach today.”

“Yes I saw him with Ade, he was carrying a heavy bag, he said he wanted to travel. I thought you had already left before.”

“Travel?, To where?, With my Son?.” She had started to cry by then. The neighbors gathered and inquired what was wrong. She told them. They all tried reaching Zach to no avail.

She went to his workplace where she found out he has been dismissed weeks ago on charges of embezzlement.

Anna didn’t know what to do or where to turn to. She was  looking unkempt and kept talking to herself imagining where her son would be.

Few days later, she got a letter. Addressed from Zach, it read:
Dear Anna,
If you’re reading this, it means I’m long gone and you’ll never see me again.
I had to do what I did, I’m sorry. I needed the money to pay my debts and leave the country and Ade was the only thing of value.
With Ade gone, you can restart your life and move on. He is in a better household now and they will take care of him in ways you can’t.
I hope you can forgive me one day, but I did it with your best interests at heart.
Love,
Zach.

Anna fainted out cold, hitting her head in the process. The neighbors heard and rushed her to the hospital. When she woke up, she slid in and out of consciousness screaming for her child.

When she finally came to. The doctors pitied her and let her go. She had no baby, no money, no family.

The police couldn’t help her as Zach already left the country.
She slowly lost her mind. Refusing to come out of the house and talking loudly to herself. The neighbors believed she has gone mad and steered clear of her.

Few day later, she was found dead with a knife poking out of her chest. The police chalked it up to suicide and the neighbors claimed not to have heard her scream.
Her face was contorted in perpetual agony.

She was laid to rest but her ghost didn’t. Her ghost haunted the house forever and she could be heard at night humming a lullaby and rocking a baby.

Her ghost roamed the house forever after, a broken woman waiting for her baby to be returned to her.

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