Thursday, April 15, 2021

Love Letters by Adesola Adewale

I remember it like it was yesterday. The jury looked on as you crumpled to the floor. Your eyes were the ocean, hands a tambourine. You could see their faces, agape and pitiful. And me. Your own wife. I just sat there, staring. Like I was afraid. Like you weren’t my husband. 

But, at that time, I was afraid. At that time, you weren't my husband. Love, Yasmin


My eyes flickered open and arms broadly stretched, incidentally hitting the four grey walls that confined me. I looked up to see everyone in a line, gnarling their teeth like lions in a cage. It was horrible. I was so out of it. I just jumped up, my arms scrambling around the room to search for my briefcase; the brown one with the scuffed corners. And all that time, they were just staring at me, like I was a fish out of water. Smirking and whispering and staring. I started calling for you, wondering why you wouldn’t answer. ‘What have I done wrong now?’ It took me ten minutes to realise where I was. Ten whole minutes. I’ve never been so humiliated. Anyway, how are you? How’s Daisy and Ben? Do you think they remember me? I love you, Richard


I had a daydream about the car ride the other day. It was emotional, to say the least. Do you remember the weather? The clouds cried more than me. I remember analysing your face as your jaw clenched whenever the clouds let out any supernatural grumble. I feel like that was the first day I ever really saw you. I’m so used to the Richard whose ocean eyes were cloudy, whose hands were always clenched and bruised. I’m not sure what was different. Maybe because it was the last day you’d ever be able to appreciate nature again. Or maybe because you’d never see me again. All I know is that the conversation we had was indelible. I won’t ever forget the way your face lit up and your eyes scrunched. How your leg stopped being so restless and you seemed so relaxed, so at ease. I miss that. Ben and Daisy miss you. I miss you. I’m seeing you in two weeks! Make sure you don’t forget me. Love, Yasmin


Someone got hurt. A lot. His head was stained the colour of your ring. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I keep reading your letters, and in everyone you say you’re scared, afraid, that I never was your husband. You think I did it, don’t you? You’re not handling the pressure at home. They’re liars, everyone is lying. I have been nothing but truthful. I didn’t do it. I need you to believe me because no one else does. Friend or wife, I love you. Say it back. I’ll see you next week. I love you, Richard


My family aren’t handling it well. No one is handling it well. I’ve been dragged into this shameful ditch and I’m still trying to clamber out of it. So sorry if I seem distant. Sorry if I seem like I’m having a hard time. I imagine that your situation is more important, more significant, but mine is dire too. My husband is in prison. That will not take me a week to get over.  Yasmin


You didn’t come. Richard


Richard. I’m sorry. I mentioned in my last letter that I was nowhere near the right mindset to see you. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t know what you were going to do to me. Send another angry letter? Send someone to get me? Hurt me? I haven’t seen you in two months,  and I’m still not sure if I can. My breath quickens when I think of you, and my fingernails dig into my skin when I see another letter. I don’t think it’s supposed to be like that. Yasmin


I’m not sure if two weeks were long enough for you. I’ve been swimming in this pool of emotion for fourteen days, trying to think of what to say. As I look at the four walls surrounding me, besmeared with a sense of neglect and melancholy, I think of you. I painted you to fit our status quo, and I’m sorry. Every time I look out of my frowzy window, I see people who deserve to be here, yet they’re being compared to me. I feel as if there’s nowhere I can go but down, even though I’ve reached my lowest point. The floor is scruffy, and the ceiling has streaks of green and brown snaking around it. I don’t fit in here, Yasmin. I need you to take me home. It feels like God flicked a switched and now my life is irremediable.I’m sorry, Richard


“To love and to cherish, till death do us part”. That’s what I said to you. And I don’t think either of us are dead yet. I’m sorry for being a negligent wife - for never taking your emotions into account. I sent you some Windex and antibacterial wipes, hopefully you get them before I come. I was looking at our wedding photos the other day and an overwhelming wave of depression just crashed over me. I never knew how incapable I was without you, and now that I know, I’m never going through it again. I hired a better lawyer, Oliver McBrady. It made a bit of a dent in our income, but I think it’s worth it. I really think you can get out now, Richard. Just stay strong for me. I’ll see you on Thursday. I love you, Yasmin 


*


“Hey, Richard.”

“Hey, hi. How are you?”

“I’m good, a little shaken up, but good. You?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m doing fine. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this whole situation. I’m up all night trying to think of ways to leave.”

“Leave? Richard, I spent two-grand on a lawyer. I don’t think you need to plan your escape anytime soon.”

“Yeah, sorry,”

“It’s fine,”

“So how are the kids?”

“They’re fine. I don’t think they really notice you’re gone,”

“Yasmin, I’m sorry. You know with the balance between work and --“

“Did you do it?”

“Pardon?”

“Did you hurt him? Did you kill him?”

“I --“

“No one is here. I won’t look at you differently. I’ll still be your wife,”

“Yasmin.”

“What did you do that night? You never came home,”

“I really don’t think you have to be concerned with what I was doing that night. Or any nights for that matter,”

“I shouldn’t be concerned? Richard, you’re my husband. I’ve got a right to know where you were,”

“Well it’s not like I knew where you were. All those nights where you had late meetings. I never asked, I just went along and nodded. And look where that got us. A broken relationship and two children that aren’t even mine. So, no. You really shouldn’t be concerned.”

“Don’t change the subject. I told you in the end, didn’t I? Richard, look at me, did you kill Thomas?”

“I don’t know,”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I don’t know. I think I did. I knew what you were doing with him, all those secret trips to the hotel down the road. It’s like you weren’t even trying to hide it. You thought I wouldn’t make such a big deal out of it. You thought I’d be fine and we could continue being the happy married couple down the road. Why weren’t you fine with that? What was wrong with me?”

“Richard--”

“No. Let me finish. I stormed out and went to that pub round the corner. Everyone kept staring as I drank drink after drink but I really didn’t care. I left the pub and I remember stumbling to every hotel near us and knocking on every door until I found him. You didn’t even try, Yasmin. It was only 15 minutes away. Why didn’t you try? 

The next thing I remember, I’m in the back of the police car with red hands and a bruised mouth.”

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t think you’d confess. You killed the only man who ever loved me. I’m sorry.”

“Yasmin? Who are those? Did you bring them? Did you bring the police? I was just joking. I 

was just telling you what you wanted to hear,”

“Richard Lawrence. You are under arrest for murder. Your trial is in fifteen minutes and 

you’ll be expected to face a life sentence in prison, in the likely event you are found guilty.”

*

Dear Yasmin,

This is the last letter I can send before I live in solitary confinement for fifteen years. I’ll miss 

our letters. I’ll miss you. I’m sorry you felt you had to turn me in. I hope you live a nice life 

with someone better, more caring. At least I have our ‘love’ letters.

Richard. 


© Adesola Adewale

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