Short story

From the future

Stacey loved to say that she used and discarded boys as she pleased, but at the end of every affair, she was the one left feeling empty and spent. She loathed her lifestyle, but it was impossible to stop when all that kept her sane was the few minutes spent within the four walls of the bedroom, be it a strange or familiar one. For few minutes, she could quiet her raging thoughts and focus on the rhythm of her partner’s pants, the sounds his body made as it slapped against hers, the fan turning slowly above their heads, or the TV playing in the background, drowning whatever noises they made. It was an old game, but she never grew tired of forgetting.


Her life was a royal mess, with her business crumbling and her grades hitting an all time low, she felt useless in every way. But no, she wasn’t useless in the bedroom, and she wasn’t ready to let go of the one thing that she was excellent at, regardless of how it ate at her self esteem. Seated at the balcony of her one bedroom apartment, she briefly contemplated ending her life. She had no great love, just a series of men who would call her up whenever they desired a good time. The one man she truly loved, well he saw her as nothing more than a way to relieve tension. They were great friends, and they often shared a good laugh right after they had completed their nocturnal activities. However, he often told her about his wedding, and she never featured as his dream bride, so she left his bed at the crack of dawn, before anyone could spot her. He wasn’t proud of her. Who could blame him? She wasn’t proud of herself either.


Agitated, she decided to take a stroll, scrolling through her messages as she pondered about whether she would spend the night club-hopping, in the bed of an acquaintance, or with her friend, Eric, feeling loved when it got dark.


Her thoughts consumed her and ate at her spirit, and she felt the full extent of her loneliness. Her solitude wasn’t by choice, as she had found herself bitten by poisonous friendships in the past, so often that she had opted to be alone, for the sake of preventing further heartbreak. It was a lonely and painful existence, and she wasn’t quite sure if she could keep subscribing to a new dawn after every unfulfilling night.


She spotted a truck in the distance, and made the spur of a moment decision to walk into the oncoming traffic, extremely tired and spent. She went through her contact list to see if perhaps she would spot someone she had overlooked, someone who could talk her out of her madness. However, she found no one. She was completely and utterly alone.


A foot reached into the road just as someone pulled her backwards suddenly. Shocked, she spun around and locked eyes with the oddest girl she had ever set eyes on. Sprouting from her scalp was a vibrant pink afro, and her eyes were purple, contact lens and hair dye, Stacey assumed. Stacey hoped.


“You know, suicide is illegal in this part of the world ” The girl mentioned pointedly, meeting Stacey’s eyes with a raised eyebrow.


“I wasn’t trying to–”


“Yeah, save it for the judge.”


“I’m Stacey.”


“Ochanaya,” the pink haired girl replied. “So why do you want to walk into traffic?”


“You don’t mince words, do you?”


“No, I don’t. Tell me.” Ochanaya insisted.


“I highly doubt this is a conversation I should be having with a stranger by the roadside,” Stacey said with an eyeroll.


“Stranger? Oh no, I’m your best friend from the future, sent to prevent you from being crushed to death by a trailer, or a Keke. I mean, death by Keke would just be lame, wouldn’t it?”


Stacey found herself laughing, despite the situation. “Okay, even if you were my best friend, I still don’t think we should have this conversation by the roadside.”


“Okay,” Ochanaya said, looking around for a brief moment, “let’s stroll to Jovit, or final fantasy. We can talk there.”


“I don’t know…”


“Come on, what could it hurt? You may not know me at all but I feel we could be great friends. I mean, you didn’t freak out at my pink hair or purple eyes.”


“I guess it makes perfect sense why I should spill my guts to you, then ” Stacey returned with sass.


“I saved your life, you owe it to me to tell me why you wanted to end it in the first place.”


Stacey briefly thought about telling Ochanaya that she didn’t owe her anything, and that she didn’t ask to be saved, but then she realised that she actually would like to talk to someone, and the pink haired girl in front of her gave off more positive energy than anyone she had ever interacted with before. For that reason, she found herself falling into step beside the purple-eyed stranger, strolling to Jovit, a restaurant that was a thirty minute walk from where they had met.


It took the pair thirty minutes to walk to Jovit, during which they filled the air with getting to know one another. Within that time, she found out that Ochanaya was studying Plant Science and Biotechnology, and was in her third year, she also found out that Ochanaya worked as a painter to support herself through University, and had no support whatsoever from her family members. In turn, Stacey filled Ochanaya in on her own life, telling her about her time so far as a fourth year student of the same University, studying Computer Science. Ochanaya expressed admiration, but Stacey briefly cut her off, informing her that she was failing at school, and quite possibly every other aspect of her life. She also told Ochanaya how her parents had disowned her when she got pregnant in her second year, how she had to work as a pastry chef to support herself and how she had lost the baby due to stress. To this, Ochanaya expressed sympathy, and they traded jokes and anecdotes up until they arrived at Jovit restaurant.


They both ordered ice cream and sat at a booth in the corner of the room to talk while they enjoyed their treat. Ochanaya was friendly and attentive, patient and very thoughtful. She never interrupted Stacey, all the while holding her hand. At a point, Stacey began to cry, and then she felt warm hands wrap around her, gently patting her back. For a few moments, her mind stopped racing, and she experienced something far better than what she usually experienced in the bedroom– a peace of mind that didn’t come with the sacrifice of her self worth. Stacey wondered why Ochanaya was being so nice to her. For someone who had been abandoned all her life, it felt extremely strange to experience love from a total stranger, kindness too.


Stacey told Ochanaya about the man she had grown to love, Eric, and how she felt he was only using her for her body. Ochanaya told her that it could be that Eric was only using her, but it could also be that Ochanaya was misinterpreting his intentions, and that he was only taking what he felt Stacey was willing to give. Ochanaya urged Stacey to find out the truth, and also not to settle for being a dirty secret.


The pair talked for hours until it was well into the night, and they both had to return to their respective homes. However, Ochanaya didn’t let Stacey go without making a promise.


“Promise me you’ll call when you’re down. I know you’re going through a lot, I can’t imagine how stressful this period must be for you, but I want to help you. I believe it’ll get better. So promise me you won’t give up.”


“I promise,” Stacey said with tears in her eyes
They both parted ways, promising to text each other later at night.


Later on, Stacey would come to see that Ochanaya was actually her best friend from the future, one of the truest she would ever have, one that helped Stacey build her life back from the ashes. That night, things slowly started to fall into place, although Stacey didn’t know. Ochanaya would prove to be the key that helped Stacey get back on her feet, fix up her grades, and graduate a year later with an adequate result.


Stacey’s phone buzzed and she saw a text from Eric. She briefly contemplated ignoring it, then remembered Ochanaya’s advice to find out where she stood with him, and so she replied that she would visit him in a few minutes. His house wasn’t far from hers, and she was there in Fifteen minutes.


Eric let her in with a cautious smile, it was as if he knew that the visit wasn’t with the intent of her previous ones.


“Eric, there’s something I need to ask you.” Stacey began, her mind racing with thoughts, anxiety welling up in her. There was a good chance Eric didn’t want anything more than what they already had, but she also knew she couldn’t keep giving of herself in order to fill the loneliness that ate at her every night. It was a tiring game.


“Okay, hit me.”


And so Stacey went ahead to bare her feelings, and just like she feared, Eric didn’t want to exclusively date her. He was content with their arrangement as it was, but Stacey didn’t feel the same way. She wanted to feel loved and cherished, she wanted to be shown off, not hidden like a guilty pleasure. And so, although it hurt, she cut all ties with Eric. Later on, she would meet a quiet man who respected her and thought the world of her, someone who made her breakfast, introduced her to his friends and took her on dates at random times of the day. His name would be Chris, Ochanaya’s elder brother.


After cutting ties with Eric, Stacey focused on improving her grades. Although she bagged an extra year, she worked hard to pass all her papers and improve her CGPA, and graduated side by side with Ochanaya, who helped her through it all. She met and made new friends in her final year at the University, good friends who didn’t judge her at all. She quit spending nights out in strangers’ beds and connected more with herself and the new friends she made. She worked on building herself up and slowly, she got over her demons. It wasn’t an easy fight, but it was a successful one.


Later on when she ended up having kids, she would tell them about her mistakes, and about how Ochanaya actually saved her life. They ended up being friends forever, helping one another through even more trying times.


Occasionally she would bump into Eric on her street before she moved out, but she didn’t let those chance encounters break her resolve. She stayed away and stayed strong, putting all her efforts into loving herself fiercely. Eventually, she found someone who loved her with such an intensity, it left her breathless.


And slowly, her mind stopped racing with negative thoughts, but became filled with positivity and enough light to fight the darkness. Life was better, and she found peace.

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