I opened my eyes, or at least I thought I did, but if I had thought harder I would have realised they were already open, it was just that I couldn’t see anything. Not that I cared, it was the last thing on my mind. All I could remember were the beautiful memories of the wedding ceremony with Lisa, the most beautiful girl in the world.
It had been a magical few days, the best of my life. Azure Jamaican sunsets and sweet scents of sunshine fruits were flavoured with sounds of steel drums and reggae rhythms. The time when all my hopes and dreams had come true and I had finally married the woman of my dreams, no, not just of my dreams but of my very being, my soul, my life.
All my life I had been around her, drawn in by her aura. Throughout infant school I had followed her around the playground like a needy puppy, joining enthusiastically in her childish games. Primary school was a world of wonder that we discovered together, the closest of friends, with adventures shared and futures still too distant to be contemplated. Our teen years tried hard to alter our relationship and though teenage culture demanded we sought the fellowship of our peers, we still glanced at each other across crowded dance floors, often walking home together yet saying goodbye at her garden gate before talking into the small hours on the phone.
She had a boyfriend once, encouraged almost rabidly by her friends and I hated him with a vengeance, yet even when they finished a few days later, I still shied away from asking her out, terrified of rejection, not realising that these were sentiments she also shared.
But eventually, the inevitable happened and something special developed. I still remember that starlit night, when I paused at her gate a moment too long. That awkward few seconds, that void of silence, crying out to be filled. Waiting for me to scream out as loud as I could:
‘Don’t you know how much I Love you? Don’t you know how much I want to take you in my arms and hold you until the stars above burn themselves out? How I want to spend the rest of eternity alongside you, looking at you, knowing you, loving you?'
But I didn’t shout out, and neither did she, but what she did do was something else, something completely different, something infinitely better. She tiptoed up and kissed me gently on the lips.
That was the beginning of my life, the day I was really born, the point at which my existence took on meaning. Since then, I smile at the oft asked question, What is love? The answer is easy, It is lisa. She is the very essence of love and nothing in the universe exists apart from my love for her. I will live for her, die for her for she is now the sole reason I exist in this suffocating yet intoxicating entrancement.
The wedding had been everything we had dreamed of, and, having decided to wait until our wedding night to consummate the marriage, was a sensory overload of love and tenderness. We found each other at last, physically, mentally and emotionally while the world stood still, waiting for us to see it again. The moonlit walks, the starlit passion. Days filled with laughter and nights filled with wonder. This was it, the very reason I had been put on this earth by whatever entity existed up there.
That had been weeks ago. Why had it stopped, what had I done so wrong to deserve this. Why did the cruel hand of fate deal such a devastating blow.
Everything had been perfect that night, the last night of our honeymoon and we had returned early to our chalet on the beach, keen to spend our last night alone before leaving this paradise.
They shouldn’t have been there, they had no right. My mind had span as it struggled to take in the situation, the shouts of the attackers and the screams of my beloved. The struggle, the noise, the flash of light…….the pain.
But it was as nothing compared to the pain that followed, the pain of seeing her dragged off by the two men to a lustful fate. The pain of trying to move, to help her, to rescue her from harm, unable to move yet conscious to what they intended What sort of husband was I who could not even protect my wife in the first weeks of our union. The world became dark and the last thing I heard was her voice calling my name, begging me to help.
How long had I lain there, summoning my will to overcome my bodies limitations. It had taken time but love conquers all, a triumph of mind over matter, love over hate. I knew that at last I would be able to do it. To rise again and seek her out and take her once more in my arms, and this time, no gun on this earth would stop me joining my love.
Gradually, as my consciousness returned, so did my strength, though how such malnourished muscles could even summon any power whatsoever was beyond me. First the movement of a finger, forcing its way past its neighbour, encouraging its fellows to join it in its task. Then my hand became free and clawed at the surrounding dankness, forcing its way upwards through the cloying blanket of hopelessness. Finally, with a flourish that mirrored the birth of a baby, my hand pushed forth to pierce the cool Caribbean night, breaking free of the shallow grave where I had lain for the last two months.
'Don’t worry, Lisa,' I said as the soil fell from my empty eye sockets, ‘I’m coming to get you.’