One day, I'll be so delusional that you'll be afraid of me. I will say, you're mine while I own nothing. I'll tell everyone how you fled from me, how you fought with me, how you deceived me and how once you used to love me. You'll deny it all but because I'm a man and you're a woman, the world will believe me.
You'll run away again, with your new life in your arms. You'll scream at the crowd to help. The faceless horde—they'll quote scriptures, take pictures, shout advice from a distance but watch as I destroy everything you have built, in my madness. I'll claim that I don't see your pain. I'll see only your rejection of who I'm. I'll see it as my own rejection of myself.
For I've been afraid of being rejected my whole life. It is this fear that has broken something in me. I push people away then I want them, then I blame them. I accuse them in my heart of leaving, of not fighting with me then I blame myself for being broken, for not being fit for love. It's no surprise that I'll pursue you that I've spurned even as you began a new life without me.
One day, you'll flee with your child across seven rivers and seven hills and I'll followed you there. You'll dig a hole deep into the earth and burrow in like a mole and I'll follow you there. You'll change your identity and that of the girl and think to disappear into the horde but the horde will mistake you for someone else and betray you each time, to me. A single harried mother must have done something sinister, they'll say to themselves and it'll be a lie.
I'll come at you with all my family wealth and you'll manage to dodge me each way with nothing but your wit. Even in my madness, I'll come to envy you your intellect, your courage and revere you even. I'll place you on a pedestal and vow to make you mine but why would one own another human? I'll lie and connive, deceive and force but you'll always evade capture. I'll grow troubled. I'll grow afraid.
It'll be out of desperation that I'll seek the Orunmila priest. It is this blind old man who'll tell me that I'll die on this quest to get you back. He'll tell me that you have moved on. That you have given all your love to the girl by your side. He'll tell me to let you be. I'll not listen. Later events will show that I should have listened, that I should have gone back home to the woman that I'll leave behind. The woman who'll come after I leave you. The one I'll think would replace you and be a better version of you.
Later I'll ask myself, how'll I have known that as I'll hunt you across oceans and deserts, she'll hunt me with selfsame determination? I'll ask, how'll I have known that my delusions will be no match for her anger? It'll be at Ikenne, a small fishing village in the east coast of Bayelsa, that everything will change. I'll have heard rumours of you there. My source will have told me you appeared one day, willing to work the fishing vessels for a pittance, living in a small hut just at the edge of the community.
I'll be told that you don't even bother with the money I'll leave in your bank account, hoping that you'll withdraw and I'll then be able to track you through your spending. You'll live in penury just so you can be without my nefarious self. I'll have just arrived Ikenne on a fishing boat and paid for a room in a small brothel, the only space that would accommodate me, and then, lying on my bed, unable to sleep, I'll sense the wrongness of things. You see, you'll still be out with the boat and the child will be tucked away somewhere. I'll have seen her earlier but it is you I want so it'll not have mattered.
After all, I'd say I wanted no children. Infact, I insisted but you wanted the joys of motherhood, as you called it. When you said you were pregnant, my nonchalance drove you to violence. You could not understand what I was, how I could look at you with such cold eyes. I still did not want the child. I wanted you. I'll not even know why I still want you. It isn't love, I'm sure. Maybe it is man's way to possess things and people, to be a king, a god in the tiny cubicle he calls home.
I'll think of these things as I lay on that flat mattress, bitten by bugs, the cold sea sweeping its salt sweet air into my flesh. It'll be then I'll feel the cold blade on my neck and from the shadows drawn by the moon, the woman I'll leave at home will step out. Her face will be haggard from pain, her eyes violently hued. I'll plead for my life. Like a child, I'll weep but it'll be too late. Later, I'll dream of you in your boat, finally free, your hair sweeping in the wind.
As soon as we arrive Warri, I and this woman will be married. I'll be shackled to her forever. Her father will make sure I understand the consequences of leaving. I'll like to think that you are there among the crowd on that wedding day just to see me squirm and suffer but I'm sure you'll not even bother to remember my name. By the time you find this letter, I too will have tasted my own dish and the madness in me, well it'll lie dormant in the cold fireplace of my life.