Location: El Deols, Anthanna
“Hello…” Sheila sang in a pleasant tone as she walked into the house.
Henry welcomed her with a smile. He was sitting in the living room, holding a health book in his hand. The book was closed and a finger was at the middle, helping him keep the page he stopped reading at. His attention had been turned to the television set previously before Sheila walked in.
She had two bags with her. Lesedi was following behind her with three extra ones. It was obvious she had gone shopping on her way from work.
“You can take those ones to the store,” Sheila said to Lesedi who nodded and continued walking.
“Welcome Sheila,” Henry greeted her, still carrying a smile on his face.
She smiled back at him as she settled on the sofa beside him. She stared at his face silently for a while and he also stared back, taking his eyes off the TV completely.
“Why are you staring like that?” he asked, already feeling weird about it.
“Well,’ she chuckled and looked away. “You’re looking so different tonight.”
“How do I look?” he asked, interested in hearing her answer. She stared at him intently for seconds without speaking, she seemed not to be able to point out specifically why he looked different. “Well, I just had my haircut today.” He gave her a clue.
“I see,” she took another look at him. “You look very handsome in the new haircut.”
His smile broadened, “Thank you.”
“So, I got you some things on my way back,” she said, handing him one of the bags. “I don’t know if you’d like them.”
“Thank you,” he collected the bag and looked into it.
“Why don’t you try them on now, especially the shoe?” she requested.
“Okay,” he dropped the bag and took out the carton of sport shoes in it. He raised one of the pair up first and then placed it on the ground to see if his leg would fit in. “I really love this,” he said as he unlaced it.
She watched him put on the pair and get up on his feet.
“They’re my size, how did you know my size without asking me?” he questioned playfully as he bounced on his feet with the shoe.
“Come on, you’ve been here for weeks. I definitely know the sizes of your shoes, your shirts and even trousers now.”
“Hmm…. Thank you, they’re so nice.” he said and sat back, taking off the sport shoes gently.
“You’re welcome,’ she said and rested her back in the chair. “Uhm…” she leaned forward again and looked at his face with a smile. She looked like she wanted to make a request but wasn’t sure if he would grant it. “I tried to come up with a workout program for myself sometime ago and for some months, I followed a workout routine. However, I stopped January this year. I would like to continue by starting tomorrow. I don’t know if you’d like to join me.”
“Oh! Certainly, I would like to work out with you, I’ve been doing some push-ups and other exercises on my own but I’d…”
“Huh?” She interrupted him. Her face got covered with a worried look as she squinted at his face. “How long have you been exercising without letting me know?”
His eyebrows gathered and his shoulders dropped weakly as he wondered the reason for her reaction. “Just few days ago.”
“Are you sure it’s really few days ago and not up to a week yet?”
“Yes, not up to six days. I only started after the doctor confirmed that most of the wounds were healed already.”
She let out a sigh of relief.
Henry smiled. He could see that she worried about him so much like he was a kid.
“So i was saying, I’d like to go out and do some more, probably some dumbbell exercises,” he added.
“Dumbbell exercises?” She widened her eyes at him in shock. She let out a loud laugh. “I’m sure you’re going to ask for heavy barbells soon.”
“I’m not going to let you have that,” she said, shaking her head in total disagreement. “You are still recovering from a lot of wounds. You have to recover fully before you think of building more muscles.”
He sighed. He wasn’t going to argue with her, the look on her face made it obvious she wasn’t going to agree with his reasons.
“Come to think of it, you have enough muscles already.” she said, punching him hard on the shoulder. “Ouch!” she yelled, shaking her hand vigorously as she felt some pain on her knuckles.
“Haha! Sorry about that,” he laughed at her.
She gave him a childish look and then sat back on the sofa. “So we would continue with my workout routine tomorrow, we’ll take a jog for a few kilometres tomorrow morning to the public gym. There we would do some more exercises suitable for both of us, No dumbbell or barbells yet,” she said, stressing her tone in the last statement to emphasize her point.
“It’s okay Sheila,” Henry agreed.
“Good,” she picked up the other bag from the ground and was about to get up.
“I have something else to talk about Sheila,” Henry stopped her.
She sat back and looked at his face. He was carrying a serious look and his tone also sounded serious.
“Please go ahead.”
“Sheila,” he began in low tones. “I must say once again that I am grateful to you for being so kind and patient with me.” he took a brief pause and sniffed. “You helped me and saved me from death and you don’t seem tired of having me around you since then.” he paused again and looked at her face. Her eyebrows were gathered together as she listened to him with utmost seriousness.
“Why are you talking about this Henry?” she asked, wondering what he was driving at and suspecting it would be something she would not like.
“Sheila, you’ve done your best to help me regain my memory. I know and I’ve seen all your efforts in trying to help me find my roots but no one seems to know me in the whole of Anthanna. I probably do not have a family, or I have one who do not want me anymore.” he continued after readjusting his sitting position. “Since we’ve not been able to identify who I was in the past or find out if anyone has been looking for me, I would suggest we stop spending time and money on helping me regain my memory.”
“Don’t talk like that Henry, I believe we just need to try more. You’ll get back to yourself soon again,” She tried to encourage.
Henry sighed and shook his head. “The doctor explained that I was seriously injured by those who dropped me at the Nura River. It was a narrow escape from death and it led to retrograde amnesia. I have taken my time to read about retrograde amnesia online. With my findings and the doctor’s report, I’m sure there’s no way I’m going to recall those memories any longer. It’s better we just stop troubling ourselves and let me start a new life.”
Sheila closed her eyes and inhaled and exhaled lightly. She opened her eyes and looked into his eyes. She knew he was saying the truth but could not openly agree with him. The doctor had told her that there was a higher possibility that he would never regain his memory again and even Tom had told her several times to stop wasting her time and efforts.
“So what do you plan? What kind of new life do you want to start?” she asked.
“I think I should leave to somewhere very far from El Deols, somewhere far from Nura.I can learn a new craft and take a new job afterwards.” he explained.
“Why do you want to leave to somewhere very far?” she asked, not liking the idea even though she knew deeply inside that it was the right thing to do for his safety.
“Sheila, some people tried to kill me. I don’t know them and I don’t know why, this makes me afraid. These guys may still recognize me and come back for me if they see me, the only way I can forget about them is leaving here.” he replied.
Sheila could see fear written all over his face and it seemed funny to see a man well built like him so frightened.
“Listen to me Henry, you are safe with me, you are safe with us. My Dad has got great influence in this country, especially in El Deols. No one can touch you as long as you are with us.” she said, trying to dissuade him from thinking of leaving.
“You may be right Sheila, but that would mean I would have to live the rest of my life depending on you and I haven’t even met your father yet. I know you won’t like me to remain dependent on you, I need to live a life where I would be free to live without fears at all. I also need to stop being a disturbance to you, very soon you would get married to Tom and I don’t want you to continue to be a burden to you.”
Sheila sighed. She wasn’t excited with the thoughts of getting married to Tom. “I haven’t told you that you are a burden, have I?”
“No, you have never told me that or even acted in that way but I have to let you live your life, soon you’d be married and start raising kids, you can’t be worrying about me at the same time.”
Sheila let out a breath and shook her head briefly. She kept her eyes staring at his face for a moment without saying anything.
“I’ll let you meet my father,” she finally broke the silence. “Tomorrow, you’d meet with him. We’d find time after the workout program to go see him.”
She saw his facial expression change and realized that he may have thoughts that she wanted him to stay against his will. “I’m not trying to stop you from leaving, no. You would leave when it’s time,” she quickly added. “But I believe you should understand that you cannot go anywhere until you fully recover. Once you recover fully, it’s settled.”
“Thanks Sheila,” he said gratefully.
She smiled faintly. “So have you thought of where to move to?”
“I’m not sure yet, I just want to leave to somewhere far from public eyes for a moment. Once I work and I raise enough money, I would move out of the country to another.”
Sheila made a chuckle, she stared at his face with a ridiculous look. “I have enough money to get you out of the country comfortably and start a new life wherever you want to in the world and you’re talking about raising enough money first?”
“You’ve done so much for me already Sheila, I don’t want to add my problems to yours anymore.”
She shook her head. “I’m not going to let you struggle to make money. When you’re fit, I’ll pay for you to get to any country of your choice and we would set up something for you to do there. Have you thought of any job?”
Henry was silent for a while, then he let out an amusing smile.
“i just keep getting these ridiculous ideas of wanting to be in the army,” he said and chuckled. “But I think I’m too old to join the army now. So I already joined a developers class online, I could improve up something in that area later.”
“You know I own a developing firm as one of my businesses, don’t you?”
“Yes, I actually got the inspiration from you.” he added a smile. “I want to be like you, I like the way you play around with codes when you work at home.”
She smiled too. “I’m going to organize a personal trainer for you.”
“Oh! Thank you.”
She responded with a smile. “I have to go in,” she said as she reached for the handle of her bag. “I’ll be back later.”
Her phone rang as she got up and she stopped to take it out. Tom was the caller.
“Hey Love!” she said into the phone as she walked away.
Henry watched her go, he could hear her giggling on her way to the room.
Date: 19 – 09 – 2015
Henry sat eagerly in the well furnished living room, waiting for the arrival of Emery Jack. He had heard so much about the man from Sheila already and also read about him online. He had seen several of the man’s pictures and he was sure he would recognize him once seen physically.
He was seated on an armless sofa, his hands placed on his raised knees and his eyes scanning round the sitting room. It was beautiful and expensively decorated like he expected. He turned sideways and located some pictures hung on the wall. The first picture that caught his eyes was that of the Emery dressed in black suit, his late wife’s picture was by the side and a wedding picture of theirs was in the middle. His gaze lingered on the woman’s picture for a while, he couldn’t but admit that Sheila had gotten her beauty from the woman. Sheila was an exact replica of the mother.
“My mother! I wish you had met her alive, she is the kindest woman I know of.” Sheila said as she entered into the living room with two cups of cold milk in her hands. She had seen him staring at the picture intently.
Henry turned back to her slowly. “You look just like her,” he said, staring at Sheila’s face again.
“Yeah, people say that a lot but my father never agrees, he always wants to believe that I look like him.” Sheila replied as she got closer to him.
Henry turned again to take another look at Emery Jack’s picture. “No, you don’t look like your father. You look like your mother,” he said as he received the cup of cold cream she offered him. “Thanks.”
She smiled in response and moved back to a seat adjacent to him. She rested her back and took a sip from her cup.
“You shouldn’t let my Dad catch you saying I look like my mother, he’s gonna start a debate with you.” Sheila said and Henry laughed out loud. She joined in the laughter and waited until he was silent before she spoke again. “He would join us soon, I told him you’re waiting to see him.” She said to him.
Henry’s anxiety returned and he quickly changed his sitting position. He had read that the man was a well disciplined man and had no time for nonsense. He wasn’t sure how the man would feel or think about him.
Sheila notified his anxiety. She smiled and spoke some words to ease his tension, “My Dad is a nice man, you need to relax yourself, you would enjoy meeting him.”
He smiled back at her.
The man arrived three minutes later. He was putting on a white shirt which had one of his companies’ label inscribed at the center. He had black shorts on with white sneakers on his feet.
“Henry,” he called pleasantly as he walked into the living room.
Henry looked up and stood to his feet immediately he saw the man. Surprising to him, the man had a pleasant smile on and stretched out for a handshake as he got closer.
“Good evening Mr. Emery,” Henry greeted with a smile.
“Good evening Mr. Henry,” Emery Jack replied.
Henry took his hand in his and they had a firm handshake, more like business partners.
The man appeared taller than he looked in his pictures, Henry noticed he was only a little taller than the man. It was obvious that Sheila got her height from him.
“I’m glad to meet you sir,” Henry answered.
Emery Jack chuckled. “It’s my pleasure to meet you Henry, the man who rose from the dead.” He joked.
Henry also laughed briefly.
“Please do have your seat,” Emery Jack said and also stepped back to take a seat not too far.
“I’ve heard a lot about you from my daughter here already and I must commend her for being brave to help you.” The man began. “She didn’t give me the details until you rose back to consciousness and I’m proud of her for being so kind to you.”
Henry flashed a look at Sheila and caught Sheila with a shy smile at her father’s remarks.
“I’m eternally grateful to her sir, I could have been dead if she wasn’t there.” Henry replied gratefully.
There was silence for a while with the exchange of smiles going on.
“So I heard you plan to learn a new skill and get back on your own soon.” Emery Jack continued, he decided to skip talking about Henry’s amnesia.
Henry gave a sharp look at Sheila, wondering how she already told him what they discussed the last night. “That’s exactly my plan sir.”
“It’s a good one I tell you, I see you as a brave man since you’ve decided to take the bull by it’s horn. You’ve decided to go on with life regardless of the circumstance. I’m also aware of your security fears and I’ll join Sheila to work on it and ensure you’re safe during your stay here and even after you leave for another country.”
“Thank you sir, that’s kind of you.”
The man smiled back in response.
“Well, I was dressing to go out when you both came in. My friends are waiting for me, we planned to take a drink together this evening.” The man said as he adjusted himself on the seat, ready to get up. “Would you like to come with me?”
Henry became suddenly dumb, he didn’t know what response would be appropriate. He stared at Sheila’s face and she didn’t help matters by staring at him without any facial expression.
“I think he should go with you Dad, it’s time he spends time with men like himself.” Sheila suggested.
“He has to be willing,” the man replied and then stared at Henry’s face.
“Of course, I would like to come with you sir.” Henry replied confidently.
“Great,” the man got up to his feet swiftly.
Henry noticed the man’s swift movement and considered it quite fast for a man of his age. It revealed the agility of the man. Henry joined him on his feet.
“See you later, Henry.” Sheila bid him goodbye as she watched them walk away.
Henry followed the man sheepishly, wondering why no one was talking about how he was going to return to Sheila’s place.
“Hey love, I’m at Dad’s and I’m coming over to your place.” Sheila said into her phone.