THE FAST LANE - Episode 4

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog. HIV-AIDS, the streets of Frankfurt, she was HIV positive, returned to Germany, girlfriends in town

Some months later, she saw him off to the airport to join Sandra who was overjoyed to see him. At first, all was well. Things began to turn sour two years after Charles’ arrival – after he had received his permanent residence. He began to womanize, and blatantly too. He made sure to let Sandra find out that he was cheating. She went ballistic. “After everything I have done for you?” Sandra shouted. “Like sleeping with Chief and other rich men?” “I was not married to you then, Charles. I love you. You know I love you. You are breaking my heart. Please stop cheating on me. I would die without you,” she pleaded with him. “I don’t love you anymore!” Charles answered. Sandra threw things at him and asked him out of the house. He gladly went to be with one of his girlfriends in town. While he was out partying with his Polish girlfriend, Sandra went through his things. He found Njideka’s pictures and letters amongst Charles’ items.

She called Njideka immediately. “I know what you are planning Njide. I have found out that you want Charles and I to break up so he can bring you to Germany. That will never happen; over my dead body!” She yelled into the phone. “I don’t want to see your marriage end, Sandra. I don’t know what you are talking about.” “I have letters that you wrote to Charles. Look at this one where you are telling him that the plan is taking too long. It won’t happen!” Njideka cut off the line out of guilt. She cried herself to sleep that night. The next day, she called Charles. “I am not interested in the whole thing anymore, Charles. Sandra knows all about it. She called me and shouted at me. She knows. You have to be careful. The whole thing makes me sick to the stomach. I want none of it!”

“I have told her I don’t want her anymore, Njide. You can’t back out now. I love you so much. I am dying to see you. Please be strong. We can make this happen.” “No, I am through with it. I love you Charles, but I have come to the conclusion that my love for you was purely selfish – it was built on a shaky and messy foundation. I want a fresh start. Please don’t call me again.” Charles roamed the streets of Frankfurt, living with one woman after another. He tried to convince Njideka, but she changed her phone number and email address, cutting off every line of communication with him. Maybe, I should stay with Sandra, he began to think. He was tired of the flings, parties and the lack of a proper home he could go to. He had not been able to hold down a steady job.

One day, he waited for Sandra to finish off work. He stood outside her office building and waited. “I am sorry Sandy,” he said as she wanted to enter her car. He knelt down and begged. I was misled by Njideka. How could I forget what you did for me? The sacrifice you made for me. Please forgive me honey. I am ashamed of how I treated you,” he begged her. She walked over to him and hugged him. They rode home in her car. He took a proper shower in weeks and had a decent meal. They started on a new slate. Some weeks later, one of Charles’ girls in town called and asked to see him. He resisted the invitation, but she girl said it was urgent; highly important that they meet. He went over to see her while Sandra was at work. He worked night shifts at the time so he was home during the day.

“I wanted to tell you something,” said Ursula. “I found out that I have HIV-AIDS and we…we did it without protection. I don’t know how I got this, but I felt I should let you know.” It was a cold day, but a thick layer of sweat began to march furiously across Charles’ face. “Are you joking?” He asked. “No, I am not. I am really sorry.” Ursula had tears in her eyes. Not knowing what to do, Charles left Ursula’s apartment. He had never felt that lonely. He waked the teeming streets of Frankfurt, meandering through a sea of humanity, but it felt as though he was in a desert, alone, amid sand dunes that reflected the harsh sun rays into his eyes. When Sandra returned from work, he tried to maintain a smile on his face, before he left for his night shift. At work, he barely concentrated on anything. The next day, he went to the doctor and a test confirmed what Ursula had told him.

His legs shook as he walked to their flat. He forgot his phone at home while leaving for work that night. He barely remembered anything. As she often did, Sandra browsed through his phone. She saw Ursula’s text message asking him to come and see her, and Charles’ agreeing to see her. She looked at the date, and it was a few days back. A wave of rage swept through her. She dialed the number from Charles’ phone and Ursula answered. “Charly darling, are you still mad at me? I am so sorry,” Ursula said. Sandra dropped the call. She had gotten the confirmation she was seeking.  She pretended she had not seen the message. Returning from work the next day, she brought a package with her. Sandra worked at a chemical company. She secretly took a scoop of arsenic with her to the house. She made tea for Charles and added enough in it to kill a horse. Soon after drinking the tea, Charles began to complain of stomach pain. Sandra rushed him to hospital after about two hours. While he lay in bed, the doctors tried frantically to work out what his problem was.

They focused on common ailments such as food poisoning, while the chemical slowly destroyed his organs. When it seemed like he was recovering, Sandra fed him more. One afternoon, it was obvious he was going to die. Sandra sat by the side of his bed and spoke to him. “Charles, if you had kept your promise to me, you’d not be dying in hospital now,” she said. Charles had thought his HIV-AIDS was already manifesting. “What do you mean?” He asked, wondering if she had found out. “I saw your text messages to and from Ursula.” She stared him straight in the eye. He looked tired; drained. He had lost a lot of weight in a few days. “I told you not to lie to me again, but you won’t listen. You are dying because I chose to end your lousy life, Charles. I poisoned you. I want you to die knowing that I kept my word. If there was another life, you should learn to keep yours too, and stay away from women. You are a terrible playboy my dear husband and that has claimed your life,” Sandra told him.

Charles’ weak eyes glared at her. He coughed and a blood tainted mass of phlegm exited his lungs. Sandra did not bother to wipe it for him. Charles smiled. “Thank you,” he said. “For what?” “For making this easier for me, Sandra.” “What do you mean? Can’t you see you are dying? If I were you I’d be saying my last prayer.” “I already said my last prayer. You have saved me from the torture of living with stress every day; the torture of wondering when I’d die and how. You have spared me the emotional trauma of living with HIV-AIDS. The text you saw from Ursula was because she wanted to tell me that she had HIV-AIDS. I had slept with her without protection, you see.

“I have been thinking of taking my life and hers, but you have saved me that atrocity. I hope God forgives me my numerous sins. Suicide and murder will not be among them, but as for you, you have blood on your hands and you are living with HIV-AIDS. I wonder what you are going to do to yourself Sandra. I hope you to learn to forgive. You are very vindictive. I am sorry for everything I did, nonetheless. You have time to repent…It won’t be easy living with such a disease no matter how you look at it.” Shock was scribbled all over Sandra’s face. She got up and walked out of the room. She went to the garden outside and cried herself silly. By the time she returned, Charles was dead. She took a test and indeed, she was HIV positive.

Two Years Later
Sandra lay on the bed dying. She was as skinny as a piece of stick. Cletus and Anna Walked in. They had gotten married some weeks earlier. They were on honeymoon in Seville, Spain when the hospital called on Sandra’s request. They told Cletus that Sandra was dying and wanted to see him. They quickly returned to Germany. Tears filled her eyes the moment she saw him. “Would you please forgive me?” She pleaded with the last bit of strength she had. “I forgave you long ago,” Cletus answered. He felt a massive pang of pity for her. “I am very…very sorry.” “It is okay. I have been paying for you since I heard. Would you like to pray with us?” Anna asked. Sandra nodded slightly. After praying, she told them she had given her life to God even before they arrived. “I have lived a terrible life on the fast lane. I hope the other side would not be the same. I am trusting that God has forgiven me,” she explained. “I am sure He has,” Anna and Cletus echoed. He sent His son to die for us. Wipe your tears my friend. He will accept you in his house today!” Cletus told her. A few hours later, Sandra passed away. Cletus and Anna returned his corpse to Nigeria where she was buried.


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THE FAST LANE - Episode 4
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog. HIV-AIDS, the streets of Frankfurt, she was HIV positive, returned to Germany, girlfriends in town An African Literary Blog
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