FLASH FICTION: “I’d rather die than hurt you”

“I’d rather die than hurt you”, he said, as they walked out of her father’s house in Tungan Maje. And he meant it. He didn’t know how else to let the superwoman walking beside him know how much he loved her. They had been dating for three years and he only just summoned the courage to meet her parents. The man Umar is he owed to the efforts and sacrifices Aisha had made, and marriage seemed like a good way to show appreciation. If he ever had to say anything in her honor, they would be summed up in the statement, “Aisha, the Faithful”.

So he took her hand, turned her to himself and reiterated, “I would never do anything to hurt you, Aisha. I’d rather die”. She smiled and kissed him. She didn’t want promises; all the men she had met never kept any. She loved him and she was grateful he felt the same way. “If you die, I die”, she thought, but she didn’t say anything.

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That was typical Aisha – do all the expressions of love in loyalty, caregiving, and sacrifice but never in words. If she ever had to say anything, she did so in a kiss.

Umar got to GIGM and bought his ticket. He smiled through tears as he bade her farewell. Now that they were out of school, he could not continue to depend on her. If he was to keep his promise of marriage, then he had to work. It was heart-wrenching, however, that work meant staying away from her. She didn’t want it, but she had to let it.

They called six months later to tell her of an accident. The doctors told her Umar was lucky to be alive. That he had walked into a moving tipper and got every bone in his body broken. When she finally got to speak with him, he said he had fallen in love with another woman.