“Someday, Maybe,” the debut novel by Nigerian author Oni Nwabenle, is our “GMA” Book Club pick for November.
The story is about one of the most painful human fears: losing someone you love so much to suicide. Nwabenli explores grief, loss and healing from the perspective of Eve, a young woman who is part of a strained Nigerian family when tragedy strikes. When Eve loses her husband to suicide, her vision of the world – her happiness, her loving family and her loving husband – crumbles.
How will Eve pick up the pieces of her life?
Nwabineli was born in Benin, Nigeria, grew up in Glasgow and now lives in London. She is a co-founder of Surviving Out Loud, a fund that provides sexual assault survivors with resources including legal aid, treatment and temporary relocation. The youngest in an “exciting Nigerian family” herself, Nwabenli recounts her own experiences in “Someday, Maybe.”
Read and listen to the excerpt below and get a copy of the book here.
‘Someday, Maybe’ by Oni Nwabenli
GMA Deal: $26.03 • 7 percent savings
Original: $27.99 Correct: Incorrect date to Incorrect date
By clicking on this shopping link, visitors will leave Goodmorningamerica.com. These e-commerce sites operate under different terms and privacy policies Goodmorningamerica.com. ABC will receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Prices are subject to change from date of publication.
This month, we’re also teaming up with the Little Free Library. Since 2009, more than 250 million books have been shared in Little Free Libraries worldwide. Click here to find a copy of “Someday, Maybe” at a Little Free Library location near you.
Read with us and join the conversation all month long on our Instagram account – GMA Book Club and #GMABookClub.
While my husband was dying, I was pulling ice from the freezer in search of the ice cube tray in the back. But only because I was taking a break from filling his voicemail with accusations about his inability to talk anywhere. The memory of it, along with countless other things, filled the hat of blame that I carried in the days and weeks after his death.
So, in the spirit of continued honesty, here are three things you should know about my husband:
- He was the love of my life, despite his unfulfilled desire to leave.
- He was, as far as I and everyone else could tell, quite happy. Which is important because…
- On New Year’s Eve, he killed himself.
And here’s one thing you should know about me:
Bonus fact: No. I’m not well.
I once read that going through a breakup is like experiencing the death of a partner. They called it “kind of grief.” While there are some similarities — the involuntary tears, the despair, the need to press items of clothing to your face and inhale the scent of your beloved — the emotion is wrong. a coward Well meaning, perhaps, but foolish nonetheless. Of course death breaks the breakup. always How could it not be?
Death makes it impossible for you to list the causes of death of your relationship. Logging into Instagram earns a free reward for touching his profile. There will be no updates, no new faces, no experiences without you. Your beloved is frozen in time. There are no relationships, unplanned nights filled with memories of excitement, followed by bittersweet mornings where you navigate to get dressed, suddenly realizing your jeans are ripped, your The hands down have been standing for the past three weeks.
But the worst thing about death, the thing that makes the comparison laughable, almost cruel, is that there is no chance of reconciliation. There is no work over with death. Snowballing into hours-long memories without the doldrums, which culminate in a reunion — the kind of shit-tying make-up sex that stops you in your tracks when you’re engulfed by a flashback. It’s not something that can be forgiven with a kiss.
Your suffering with death is eternal.
When someone you love dies, there’s this period of disbelief — a time when you refuse to accept your new reality. An example of true denial, which brings its own lies and declarations that it’s not true and not you, girl. someone else.
I spend the first two days after Quentin’s death visiting the house, pulling down the curtains to see the parade of visitors who come just to say goodbye and shake the hands of my family, whom the police finally stop questioning. Let go, start asking yourself. “How could that be, Eve?” “Did he have a doctor, Eve?”
“But you saw him that day, didn’t you?” How did he look, Eve? Eve, Eve, Eve. My own name becomes a curse. I have no answer for them.
Then, when I learn that an autopsy is to be performed, the emotional duct tape holding me together finally gives way. I took to my bed like a Victorian lady. And so here I am. I can no longer remember him as I have been, as there is an end in sight. I am no longer suspended in that dreadful limbo. He is gone. The house is quiet, his noise is conspicuously absent. He is not coming back. The feeling keeps hitting me, knocking me over the head, hitting the back of my skull, it was just too easy to break with me. But Q was nothing if not perfect.
In the movie Run Lola Run – one of Q’s favorites and ultimately one of mine – Lola, the red-haired heroine, runs through the streets of Berlin in an attempt to earn an obscene amount of money to save her beloved, Manny. She runs because she has only twenty minutes to save the cash. During her mad dash to save a man who, frankly, she’d rather be dead, she bumps into strangers along the way. The best thing about this movie and one of the reasons Q fell in love with it is that we, the viewers, are shown flash-forward sequences that show the future of Lola’s encounters. We are privy to the results of Lola’s occasional conversations with these people and they are often cute or sad. It’s a funny thing to watch and see what we did, over and over again, never getting tired of Franka Potenti’s late ’90s fashion or the way we felt when the credits started rolling: spent, like ourselves. We had run, but also like this. thank you
I slip our well-worn copy of Run Lola Run into the DVD player (because Q insists that DVDs live in perfect harmony with streaming services) and watch it end up in a continuous loop. start And I imagine a series of alternative futures for Q and myself. The future where he lived as he was meant to be. In my little scenes, there are the usual things that most married couples imagine for themselves: trips and anniversaries, home improvements and career advancements, but mostly I dream of simple things like calling in sick to work. So that we can spend the day in bed. Someone controls the bees who do the work as they pay the rent. It’s a future full of moments I’d sooner sell to get back.
I focus on the back of Lola’s head as she runs around a corner and ignores my sister, Gloria, who is standing next to my bed with a plate of food I won’t eat. “Eve,” she says, “it has to be.” Sixth time you’ve seen me today, love.” Her voice is soft. A voice that has silenced the yearnings and courts of a thousand little children across the country. She has the right to use it here. My attitude is strange. , and people who don’t understand are afraid, more so when five days ago, the person in question was able to dress himself and form coherent sentences.
I don’t say anything but reach under his pillow and pull out Q’s sleep sweatshirt – a gray thing with puffy sleeves. My stomach pops out as I pull it over my head. A slightly acidic tinge of wood and soap and photo-developing chemicals—his own scent. I scream in a ball, desperately pressing the sleeve to my nose, wishing I could bring her back to life, and when I start to cry, Gloria pulls up the duvet and curls around me until I don’t sleep.
Grieving is scaring the people you love. My behavior seems to have scared my husband’s name out of my family’s vocabulary. They treat me like a patient suffering from an unknown disease. But patience or not, they don’t leave me alone.
“Please try,” Gloria whispered from the stage-my bed. Two days have passed since I was laid up in my bed and I have neither spoken nor moved. “Ma is constantly speaking in tongues.” If you get out of bed, she will stop.
My mother loves Jesus. Therefore, she does not get stressed; She becomes holy. Hardly, I could hear her milling about the kitchen, a stream of spiritual filth. She should be beside herself. I responded by wrapping Quentin’s sweatshirt around my face. Gloria eventually disappeared. But not for long. As I ignore all the advice offered to me – to eat, to wash, to move – because this particular case of misery escapes the company, and since Gloria started Nigerian Gayle, she sends my niece and nephew. They hold my hands and look at me with wide eyes. Eyes until I am moved to sit.
I drag my heavy muscles into the bathroom, where I spend half an hour in the shower, trying to wash the burning stench of loss and sadness from my skin. Using your own children as soldiers to fight your emotional battles is the kind of strategy that will one day rule Gloria over us all.
As I walk out of the bathroom, I hear my phone ringing and I’m sorry, can’t I think, just for a second, that it’s him. My mind races for the familiar. I know Quentin is dead. But I am stuck in that gap between reality and memory. I forget about the police and the blood, and my husband’s lips, which I kissed only hours ago, cold, blue and lifeless. The time I’ve spent has melted away under our blankets. He’s on his way home, swinging by Sainsbury’s to pick up a cheesecake for dinner because he’s a man and, as such, lacks the genes that make common sense. No one tells you that irrational optimism is a side effect of grief. And they should because it is dangerous.
I ran into my bedroom, calling his name, the sound of the chirping lighted up, a deep sense of happiness welling up inside me. When I reach for my phone and the name Aspen is flashing on the screen. This error prompts my reaction so strongly that I stop thinking that it is not actually my husband, but the person I want to remove my fingernails from instead of addressing, and then I I kept screaming for so long that I called Baba in the emergency room. of diazepam. These are the benefits of becoming a doctor for a father. Hands on my shoulders and my wrists pull me from the floor to my bed. My towel slips. My screams turned into roars.
It turns out that you can only scream until you lose your voice. Mine burns itself like a spent match. I turn to my family, who have gathered around my bed and are looking at me with mixed expressions of fear and helplessness. I am exhausted, but as usual when I close my eyes, sleep is out of reach.
When Baba returned, there were two pills, which he pressed into my palm. I hold her hand while I swallow them dry and I wait for the dark. When it arrives, I step into it, thankfully exiting as Gloria calls her father from the room.
“She finally got to talk to Aspen.” She is his mother.”
From “Someday, Maybe” by Oni Nwabenli, published by Graydon House. Copyright © 2022 by Onyi Nwabineli. Reprinted by Graydon House.