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I woke up to a horrible pain in my left arm, a bitter taste in my mouth and a ringing sound in my ears. As I tried to open my eyes, the brilliant white light stung them, forcing them back shut. I tried again and my eyes came open, slowly adjusting to the light. I was lying on a bed, and a mechanical beep was going on and on incessantly from something very close to my head.
“She is finally awake.” I heard someone say as a woman in white doctor’s coat and glasses hovered over me.
“Your fiance is awake.” She told someone opposite her, out of my field of vision. I tried to turn but my left arm exploded in pain.
I saw Eugene lean over me. He was the one the doctor had been speaking to. Eugene held my right hand and kissed it reassuringly. The feeling was warm, nice.
His messy hair fell like spun gold around his face in the whiteness as he hung over me. He looked beautiful as the bright light illuminated every feature on his face. His green eyes were blood-shot. I was sure he had been crying.
The tear stains on his face reinforced my presumption and I didn’t know when I chuckled.
Eugene focused on me and I smiled at him. He smiled back.
“Seems the drugs haven’t completely worn off doc.” He said to the doctor while still staring at me.
“Hey you.” I croaked. “Am I in heaven? Because I’m pretty sure you are an angel?”
He laughed. “Definitely hasn’t worn off.”
The doctor aided me from my lying position to a sitting position and I realized that I was in hospital. I must have been admitted after the accident. Everyone was there. I saw my Mom, Suzy and Max holding Israel and Angela. Angela held A bouquet of sunflowers.
“Aunt Inita.” Angela said bringing the flowers to me. She always found it hard to pronounce my name.
“Hey. Angie. I don’t think I have told you happy birthday.” My throat hurt as I spoke.
“Thanks but that was two days ago. How are you feeling now?”
“My body hurts a little. What exactly happened?” I said to the doctor. My memory was still in fragments. I knew I was driving Suzy’s car that evening, I knew I was crying but I couldn’t remember anything else until now.
“You were involved in a car accident. You fractured your shin and your left arm but other than that, and some minor bruises, you are stabilized now. The shock of the impact knocked you out and we had to do some surgery so that accounts for the missing days.”
I looked at mum whose face was red with anger. “Don’t ever try that again.” She said.
“What?” I said. “Take a drive?” She eyed me. “I’m so glad you are okay.”
“It’s best she has more rest. I’ll give her something to help her sleep.” The doctor said.
“We should give her some space. By the way, Anita, you are so buying me a new car.” Suzy said jokingly.
As they were about to leave, I told the doctor who was about to inject a drug into my IV to give me a minute with Eugene. “Can I have a word with my fiance?”
“Sure.” she said as she left the room followed by the others. Eugene pulled a chair and sat beside me.
“Fiance huh? Is that who you’re telling everyone that I am to you while I’m unconscious. It’s creepy you know.” I joking.
He laughed. “Might be creepy, but it might also be a proposal.”
“I say no unless choppers are involved. Choppers, doves and rose petals.”
So it had to take a car accident to knock some humor back into you.”
“Well, yeah. But on the plus side, I got you to cry for me.”
“I’ve not been crying.” Eugene said
as he rubbed at his tears-stained cheeks. “There was a bug in my eye.”
“Bug shmug. Your eyes betray you Eugene. I guess I get you back for that day you almost drowned.”
“I guess.” He said quietly. “I thought I was going to lose you, Anita Russell. When we heard about the accident, we thought that maybe you were trying to do something terrible, like to-”
“-kill myself?” I cut him off. His eyes were glistening again. I saw the sadness around him. This man truly loved me and since he came back to town, all had been doing was rejecting and torturing him.
“I wouldn’t even think of that, not when I finally have joy in my life, not when I have you.” I reached out with my good hand to touch his face.
“I’m sorry Eugene.” I said as he took my hand to his mouth and kissed it tenderly
“I’m ready to hold on to you now .” Tears spilled from my own eyes. “I don’t want to live the
bitter life anymore. I want to let myself love you. I chose to be happy now, I really do.”
“I will never let you go Anita. I promise. Not even if the universe tries to tear us apart. I’m here till the end. ” As he spoke, I saw Eugene as I had always known him all those years ago; kind, spirited, determined, honest. The same person who I was totally comfortable with, who knew me as much as I knew him, my best friend in the whole world. The thirteen years had evaporated and so had the conviction that I and him has now become different people.”
“I love you too Eugene.” As the words escaped from my mouth, I felt weightless for the first time in years. I felt free. I felt like a bird spreading out its wings, soaring high, making a mock of gravity. All the negativity that ruled me had vanished, and my mind surfed through the possibilities of our wonderful future. I let the load fall. There was no need letting my fears control me anymore.
He dipped his hand in his pocket, pulled out an engagement ring and slipped it in my finger. “Let me just establish that we are having fifteen kids.”
I laughed so hard that my arm hurt. “How long have you had that?”
“I got it since I earned my first pay. It has been in my pocket since then.” he said “I always thought that if I ran into you anywhere, I’d bring it out and say ‘hey, remember me? How about we get married?”
I laughed again louder. “So you wear the same pair of pants every day?”
“I missed your terrible laugh.”
I pouted. “My laugh is melodic.”
“Sure Anita and so are the sound of tribal drums.” He said with a grin.
I laughed again and he stiffed the laughter with a kiss.
“You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to do that?” he said as he stared deep into my eyes.
In that moment, we foresaw what intimacy was lay out in our shared future, coming together to build a lasting home just as my mum and dad had done.
Love was a choice. I understood that true love did not have an expiry date; it did not grow tired, it could die for you, yet it was eternal, it gave you eternal life. It superseded this plain of this existence and reached far above to galaxies beyond this one. It bared no burden. It didn’t care about tomorrow because it was strong enough to make every day beautiful. True love is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and…