About this writer
Tearing Me Apart
The real father of my children stared back at me. Somehow, I found the
strength to utter the words.
‘You have to leave,’ I said. ‘I am falling in love with you and it’s tearing me
A pained look crossed his face. He let go of my hand and swallowed hard.
‘I understand. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.’
He went over to the cot where the twins were, fast asleep. He kissed them
both and looked at me again.
‘Take good care of them. And give my regards to your husband.’ Then he
stepped out of the room and closed the door.
I felt my heart break.
When William had found out he was infertile, it was my idea for us to use a
donor to get me pregnant. What I hadn’t bargained for was developing
feelings for Gavin. He was just supposed to be a sperm donor and nothing
more. But I found myself being drawn to him over time. And now the joy of
having our babies was mixed with the pain of a marriage being shaken to its
A single tear traced its way down my left cheek.
I applied my make-up carefully, making sure that my face didn’t give
anything away. But if anyone asked, I knew what I was going to say. “I
cracked my chin against a door.”
He said he was sorry for hitting me. I accepted his apology. I always did.
Maybe a part of me believed it was my fault for making him upset in the first
place. I looked at his profile as he lay on the bed, still asleep. He was
breathing softly; nothing remained of the raging fury of last night. He looked
so peaceful; so handsome. I looked away.
In the two years before we got engaged, he had been the perfect gentleman. It
was only in the last four months that he started to get aggressive. At first, he
said that it was because I was stressing him too much about the wedding.
Then it was about his job. Then it was because I nagged him for coming
home late on a few occasions. Now, I was getting on his nerves for just about
I looked at my reflection and tried to smile. It hurt, but I braved it and smiled
brighter. There. That looked convincing. My smile would tell the world that I
was a young, beautiful, happy lady, engaged to her prince charming, and
having her dream wedding next week.
The bruises on my back will tell a different story.
Their friendship had begun when she rushed into the lecture hall fifteen
minutes late, flustered and out of breath. She had taken the seat next to him,
and discovered to her dismay that she’d forgotten to bring her course
handbook with her.
Charles had offered to share his, which she accepted gratefully. After the
lecture, they shared a cup of coffee and a chat.
From then on, he looked forward to his Monday morning lectures.
Today their friendship was still going strong.
All his friends couldn’t understand it.
“Guys and girls can’t be just friends,” they said. “Sooner or later you want to
take it further.”
He and Amaka had proven them wrong for the past seven years.
His phoned buzzed.
“I’m back in town,” she said. “I’m just taking a taxi from the airport.”
“Great. What are your plans for tonight?”
“Get dressed. I’m taking you out.”
“Really? What’s the occasion? A client just paid you?”
“No, I’ll tell you when we see.”
“Okay, see you soon then. Pick me up at seven. Bye!”
He hung up and put on his jacket. Then he picked up the black velvet box
containing a diamond ring and put it carefully in his pocket.
I remember leaving my body ten minutes after the impact. Before then, it was
a blur of tyres screeching, horns blaring, a loud scream, a dog barking and an
awful thud. I fell off the bonnet of the car, and landed on the stony tarmac.
Then I heard voices, and footsteps of people running towards me.
“Call 999!” I heard someone shout.
For the few minutes I was suspended between life and death, I recalled my
mother’s warnings. Always look carefully before crossing the road, she said. I
thought about her then. How would she react to the news of my accident? I
imagined her crying, and I felt sorry for causing her trouble.
An ambulance arrived with a wail of sirens. My head hurt. My back hurt. My
left foot throbbed. A light was shone into my eyes.
“I’ll check for a pulse,” a man said.
Somebody touched me. I heard sounds that I couldn’t comprehend. Then I
suddenly felt cold. Slowly, I started to rise above the scene of the crash.
“Will she make it?” A voice floated to me, as if from far away.
I thought of my father and baby brother, Paul, barely two years old. He
wouldn’t understand any of it. I hoped someone would tell him that I’d gone
I visited that spot later. People had left cards and flowers. I wished I could
thank them. But what I wanted most was to say goodbye to my family.
These stories are the creation of Nigerian writer and author, Tolulope Popoola