She stood behind her desk completely frozen and wide-eyed. Her bloodied hands were on her desk and she was panting. Her legs felt numb. She was sweating profusely. The ruckus outside her office door only grew louder. The police were coming to get her and she knew that her life was about to change in a few minutes.
She clutched her chest, wishing and praying that she would have a heart attack and die before they came in to arrest her. She cursed herself for being so cautious of her health, which included daily jogs each morning and a strict vegetarian diet. That lifestyle would certainly not allow for a calamity of the sort.
She sat down on the chair, petrified of what was coming. Her sins had been exposed. A few feet away from her lay her sin in a pool of blood that was turning cold. The weapon, her husband’s favorite pocket knife which always sat in her pen holder on her desk, remained firmly wedged in the back of his neck. She couldn’t believe that she had allowed herself to fall into an ugly blend of deceit, betrayal and lust. She thought of her husband; a respectable man who supported her in all her endeavors, never once giving up on her. She thought of her children; her bubbly four-year old son and her beautiful two-year-old daughter who smiled always and rarely cried unless she was sick. What would she say to them? Would they ever forgive her?
Tears were streaming down her cheeks now, but she could not make a sound. She thought back to the day her life took a turn for the worst and wondered what would have happened had she walked away from it all.
It started out as a harmless friendship, she and the man who now lay lifeless in her office. She was his boss and they spent much time together making sure that the company’s accounts were intact and valid. They ate together at work and occasionally worked late. They were both married with kids and enjoyed sharing the perks and blessings of marriage and parenthood as they learned new tips that would keep their lives exciting. They were, truly, great friends.
His wife was diagnosed with leukemia and he was caught in the grief of keeping together a family that was now broken. His teenage children were scarcely at home as they went in search of happiness outside of their family, and he felt lonely.
Her husband had been promoted at his job and often spent his time traveling outside of Ghana as part of his new role. She had never felt lonely, but somehow, raising two children alone made her crave the comfort of a significant other.
They had sex one rainy night in her office while they were working late. It was unintentional, frightening yet still deeply satisfying and they vowed never to repeat it. But the next day, they were at it again, this time in his car, and the next day, at his office. It continued and became something they eagerly anticipated. It was exhilarating to be sought after and she never once regretted cheating on her husband, who remained a doting family man.
She often had him over to spend time with her children who lovingly called him ‘Uncle’. She was emotionally invested in this new, racy lifestyle and often thought of getting a divorce to marry this man whom she believed she loved.
His wife was due for a bone marrow transplant and he needed a large amount of money to cater for the cost of the procedure. In her quest to make him happy, and as the senior accountant of the firm, she immediately misappropriated some funds to aid him in paying for his wife’s procedure. He was grateful for her kind gesture and promised her the world.
The procedure was a success and his wife was back to living a normal life. Things were getting back to normal and his relationship with his family was greatly improving. She felt him distancing himself from her and it broke her heart to watch this happen. She wanted to be with him and wanted him all to herself. She cared less what that meant for her and for her family. She needed to have him and that was what mattered.
They fought that night after work. He told her he wanted to be with his family. He wanted out and hoped she would realize that it had always been a stupid mistake.
She was devastated and failed to tell him of some activities she had noticed earlier in the week that indicated that management suspected her of embezzling funds and had opened an investigation into her work. She was called in for questioning twice and calmly denied any knowledge of it, but knew that eventually, she would be miserably exposed. It terrified her.
She had asked him to stay and help her with some work later in the day. She believed that having a calm, mature conversation about the sudden turn of events would change things.
She wished that he had not been brutally honest with her. He described their lustful encounters as “moments of weakness.” A “stupid fling that was fun while it lasted but meant absolutely nothing” to him. When, through tears, she told him about the trouble she was in, he informed her that he never asked her to steal on his behalf in the first place, and he angrily began walking out of the office.
She still could not remember when she grabbed the pocket knife, or how it ended up in the back of his neck. She remembered his agonizing scream right before he fell to the floor. She remembered watching him struggle to crawl away while clutching his neck. He couldn’t breathe and she tried to save him; she tried. But he stopped breathing right when she told him she was sorry.
And now, he lay there, dead and cold.
Someone, in a firm voice, was asking her to open the locked door. The police were threatening to break it open if she refused to do so in thirty seconds. She felt faint and nauseous. She was crying, loudly. Her life was over. She could never be forgiven. She could never forgive herself.
She slowly walked over to his lifeless body, knelt before him and gingerly pulled out the knife from his neck. She stretched out her left arm and put the knife to her wrist. Her family will forgive her, right? Her husband will marry a beautiful woman who would love her children. Her children will excel in their education and become the wonderful people they were destined to be. They didn’t need her. If she died, they could start afresh, but if she lived, they would forever be haunted by her sin.
She was bleeding profusely. The police were breaking the door now. They entered and she saw them rushing to her side. “It’s going to be over soon,” she said as she slowly blacked out.
WRITER- VANESSA AMOAKO