Love, a powerful feeling that can bring happiness as well as sadness and destruction.
I am a living proof of the destructive power of love. I sat on the cold floor, surrounded by shame and guilt; my head in between my hands and staring endlessly at nothing, I was totally lost in thoughts. Indeed, time is a thief, it escapes so quickly, but memory is like a scar, it never fades. I could recall the incident that happened ten years ago, for it was a day like this, on Valentine’s day.
I shut her eyes so tight that hot tears escaped from them. I could recall vividly now, it seemed as if it was happening all over again.
I used to have an elder brother by the name, James. We lost our parents in a ghastly motor accident and I was inside in the car. The car got burnt beyond recognition, but before that I was rescued, with half of my face burnt. That, I thought was the worst day of my life. How wrong I was! It was the incident that turned me into a loner and a sadist, I was just six then.
My elder brother, my armor, my shield, my strong tower who I could rely on at every moment of my life, promised to see me through school at the expense of his own education.
I grew up to love him deeply, I couldn’t tell if it was platonic love but I just didn’t care. He was the only guy in my life who saw me as a special being, no man had ever looked at me in a romantic way because of the irritating scar on my face, people always stared at me with disgust. At school, people always mocked me because of it; James was always there to console me and shield me from embarrassments.
I never understood the kind of love I had for him, but I really wished everyday that he wasn’t my brother but a lover.
It was a day before Valentine’s day, James had gone to work at the site where he works as a bricklayer. He had a girlfriend by the name, Cynthia, who he loved so much and wanted to treat her to a romantic date on Valentine’s day, and that was why he had gone to the site so early that morning so as to work for extra hours because of the pay involved.
At school, girls kept chatting about what they would do on Valentine’s day with their boyfriends, how they were going to have nice time and so much fun. I couldn’t partake in the discussion and no one cared to ask me to join in.
James came back home very happy that day, he got enough pay for the day. He started making plans on nice places to go with Cynthia and lovely things to get for her, and sincerely, I was jealous. I wished all those plans were for me. I went into my room and without much struggle, sleep took me away.
The next day, which was Valentine’s day. James wanted to surprise Cynthia, so he shopped for groceries, jewelries and lots of other goodies.
On his way to Cynthia’s home, he saw Cynthia coming out from an eatery with a man old enough to be her father, smooching and kissing him in public. He was shocked; he stood there in shame and disgust. The only word he could mutter to himself was, “Cynthia?”
He drew a bit closer to get a clearer view of the whole situation, and it was actually Cynthia. He tried to confront her but she denied him there and then. He went into a nearby restaurant and drowned himself with different brands of alcohol. He got back totally drunk that night and was talking gibberish.
He kept talking endlessly and lamenting his ordeal in a disordered manner. I understood him completely and wished he hadn’t gone through all that; I wished I was his girlfriend. I would have treated him right, I really loved and valued him and I hated the fact that we were siblings.
The weather was hot that night, I helped him pull off his clothes, placed his head on my shoulder, and a million thoughts ran through my mind. He came on to me, I could have stopped him, but because it wasn’t forceful, I didn’t, I couldn’t, I never wanted to. I wanted to have that experience that other girls had, and to me, that was my one and only opportunity, which I wasn’t willing to go of.
And it happened—I made love to my brother and that was the beginning of tragedy.
The incident that unfolded the previous night dawned on him when he woke up and saw the both of us in bed in the state of Adam and Eve when God first created them. He stood up immediately, panting and pacing around endlessly. The noise was unbearable, I sat up in bed, staring at him and not knowing what to say or do at the moment. The only question he asked was, “Did we do it?”
I nodded my head in shame and guilt. He dressed up and barged out of the house. I just stood there staring into space. He didn’t come back home for three nights and on the fourth night, his friends brought his corpse home. I was told that he hung himself in a nearby bush. Actually, I think the rope of shame killed him and I tightened that rope. I stood in confusion at that moment, not knowing what to do but knowing so well that I was the cause of his death.
A week later, he was buried with the help of family and friends. I told no one about the whole incident. In that same week, I realized that I was pregnant, I was carrying my brother’s child. I tried to abort the pregnancy and in the process I lost my womb because I could only afford a quack doctor who was willing and ready to do the job.
And today, it is another Valentine’s day, a day when the so-called love is shared. A day which holds the worst memory of my life, a day that shattered my whole world, a day of torment and sorrow, a day that will always bring great bitterness to me till the very end of my life, that day is here again…