“The reply came, again,” Viola says.
“I’m serious, look,” Viola says and fetches her phone from her handbag. She scrolls through and stops at a text message from her late boyfriend.
It has been 3 weeks since Edwin was buried. The whole village is yet to understand why Edu (as everyone used to call him), a very young promising dude, had to leave suddenly, without a goodbye, never to return.
Viola has been trying to get over the tragic loss, but grief is hitting her so badly. She keeps on remembering their first date, a rainy evening in their local town, two years ago. Edwin arrived late, with a bicycle, and rained on.
“The rain was unexpected,” Edwin said as he sat.
“You are late, I’ve been waiting for decades here,” Viola replied. She was disappointed. Not only did Edwin come late, but his dress code was also pathetic.
“I know I’m late, and it is our first date. Sorry.” He said while undressing his soaked jacket. Viola did not like him at first, especially his jacket. It looked odd on him, even his trousers. But later on, Edwin proved her wrong through both words and deeds. He spoke softly, with a touch of sarcasm and humor. Viola loves men who have a sense of humor. When the rain subsided, later in the evening, Edwin walked with viola to her home, while pushing along his bicycle.
“Thank you for coming,” Edwin said as he gave Viola a gentle hug. As they pressed against each other, she felt the warmth in his chest. For a moment, she held on to him, as if they were lovebirds. And that was the beginning of their love story. A story that sadly ended suddenly on a Wednesday afternoon, two years later.
Edwin, while cycling from the university, was involved in a grisly accident. Witnesses said the bicycle was moving at the speed of lightning, overtaking everything on the single carriageway. In that excitement of speed, Edwin must have failed to do calculations about an incoming trailer. The next thing, according to witnesses, there was a bang, followed by the sight of scattered objects flying in the sky. The remains of Edwin were collected 70 meters from the scene. He died on the spot.
Word reached Viola about the incident while working at the Spa, through a text message from Dee, her best friend. It was a thread of crying emojis, followed by ‘why Edwin?’ Unable to understand and believe what Dee was saying, Viola unsuccessfully tried reaching Edwin through a Phonecall. She decided to call his big sister, who confirmed her fears, that indeed her boyfriend was no more. Engulfed by grief, Viola switched off her phone and went to see her dead boyfriend at the mortuary.
5 days leading to Edwin’s burial, Viola stayed indoors. Her world had come to a close end, she could not fathom how life was going to be without her boyfriend. On the day of burial, at the mortuary, Viola requested to see Edwin’s phone.
“What are you going to do with it?” She asked Edwin’s sister as she scrambled the screen lock pattern.
“Mom says we will bury him with everything he treasured, he loved his smartphone.” Edwin’s sister said.
There were hundreds of missed calls and messages from people who knew Edwin. Even while she held the phone, text messages continued popping.
_RIP champ. We will miss you_
_I can’t believe my messages will never be replied. Edu _
And many more. Viola deleted all the photos in the phone, cleared the chats, and switched it to flight mode.
A tear dropped down from Viola’s eye as she handed back the phone. Edwin’s sister embraced Viola after putting the phone into the coat that dressed the dead body. She started sobbing as well.
The burial happened, and Viola was the last person to leave, as she stayed behind to witness the last action on Edwin’s grave. She stood beside the grave with watery eyes and stretched her hands upwards.
“It is okay Edu. You are in a better place. I will miss you.” She mumbled, then left.
Death seems like normal stuff until it snatches away someone close. When that happens, the sting hits differently. For a moment, you lose the taste of life and everything becomes blurred. Viola has been trying to recover from grief, but every night, she lays on her bed and cries herself to sleep. To help her handle the grief, Viola had Diana, her best friend, stay with her. She would cook for her and keep her busy.
Three weeks later, Viola had started catching up and getting back to herself. This particular night, she decided to delete Edwin’s contact from her phone. As she scrolled down on her chats with him, she found a conversation they had a week before his demise. Viola had asked Edwin if he could teach her how to swim, which Edwin said he would gladly do the following month.
_I will miss you babe, fare thee well_
She typed her last words and pressed SEND, then started sobbing.
“It’s well, he is in a better place.” Dee came over to comfort her. As Viola tried holding back tears, a notification popped up, it was a reply from Edwin’s contact.
“What is this?” Viola shouted and threw the phone at Dee.
“Who are you chatting with?” Dee asked as she tried to understand.
“It is Edwin, he replied. Look!” Viola responded.
“No way! Delete this chat!” Dee said and returned the phone to Viola.
_Who is there?_
She texted back. They waited for almost an hour, but there was no reply. She even made a phone call, but it was off.
“Maybe someone hacked the conversation. I was scared.” Viola said after deleting the old conversations with her late boyfriend.
Three days later, while Viola was in a matatu coming from work, a text message from Edwin’s contact popped up.
_It is me, Edu, when are we going to swim babe?_
To contain her shock, Viola quickly returned the phone to the handbag and muted, all the way back to her house. She bumped into Dee, who also had arrived a few minutes ago.
“Is everything okay? You seem uncomfortable” Dee asked.
“The reply came, again,” Viola says.
“What? You are kidding me!” Dee responds.
“I’m serious, look,” Viola says and fetches her phone from the handbag. She scrolls through and stops at a text message from her late boyfriend. Dee holds her mouth in shock.
“What is happening Viola? Are you sure they buried him with the phone?” Dee asked.
“Yes, I put the phone in his pockets myself,” Viola replied as he dialed Edwin’s contact to call. The line was off.
“Someone is playing with your mind. Edwin is dead!” Dee said.
_Where are you?_
Viola texted back.
“Stop texting back, delete those messages,” Dee said and grabbed the phone from Viola, who had started developing curiosity. As much as she was utterly shocked, there was a sense of comfort, she felt as if Edwin was still alive.
The following day during lunch break, a reply came from Edwin’s contact, again.
_I’m at the swimming pool waiting for you, here at the resort. Come._
The Spa that employed Viola shared the same compound with a big resort. So the swimming pool was only 2 minutes away. She decided to go and see whom she was chatting with.
To her surprise, Viola found Edwin in the swimming pool, gently playing with water.
“No way, you died Edwin! What are you doing here?” She shouted.
“Who died? I’m here babe. Come. I will teach you how to swim before the lunch break is over.” Edwin said.
Excitement could have overwhelmed her, because, in a minute, Viola undressed and jumped into the water like a professional swimmer…
Dee, while closing her beauty shop, sees a breaking news article about someone found dead in a swimming pool near Viola’s Spa. She tries to call her but the line is off. It’s a little bit early, so she decides to pass by the Spa and catch up with Viola. As she walks closer to the Spa, she sees a crowd in the resort, and an ambulance parked beside the swimming pool.
“What is happening inside?” She randomly asks a person.
“Someone drowned. A girl called Viola.” Came the response. Getting into the Resort’s compound, Dee could not believe her eyes, as Viola’s body lay lifeless on a stretcher…
Later that night, as she tried accepting the turn of events, a text message popped up.
_It is beautiful here, I wish you could join us_
It was from Viola…