LOVE SICKNESS

She couldn’t believe it. Had she not told him that she had made sure to protect herself. Zainab had been diagnosed with a very common disease, one that could only be contracted out of sheer carelessness. The words of the doctor came ringing back in her head as she could hear him saying, “I’m sorry Miss.Zainab, but you’ve just been diagnosed with a very severe case. And this might require our having to keep you here until you get better.” “But doctor…” Zainab had tried to respond almost in a shout while holding back the tears that burnt her eyes. “H-How could you be so sure I have…?” “Well, from what the tests indicates, including the symptoms you’ve exhibited, it’s quite obvious that you are suffering from a severe case of “Limerence”, the doctor replied sounding somewhat indignant. She couldn’t blame him, who was she to question his judgment. “Limerence, limerence?” Zainab thought to herself as her eyes rolled round the corners of the office room as if in search of something. “Lime-rence”, she tried to pronounce the word thinking she would find its meaning by doing so.”Please, I do not understand what you mean by the term doctor”, she finally blurted out, not able to hold in her confusion anymore. Dr. Akpan, who looked like he was approaching his sixties, with tiny strands of gray hair spread sparsely across his head looked up from the clutter of papers and files he had on his desk, his pen held lightly between his index and middle finger.
“Limerence, well it’s just a medical term used to describe a state of feeling lovesick, an involuntary romantic infatuation with another person, usually combined with an obsessive feeling of having one’s love reciprocated. This is exactly what you’re suffering from”, he answered in a tone that expressed more of pride and mockery than of sympathy. Couldn’t he have said that, just put it in a simple way, “Zainab dear, I’m sorry but you’re lovesick” Showoff much, she thought to herself, while trying to hide the hateful expression on her face, hoping that he wouldn’t get the hint. “Oh, so that’s it, I should have known better”, she answered trying to force a weakened smile on her face. “Yes, Miss. Zainab, that’s your present situation, and if you do not allow us admit you so we can administer proper treatment, I’m afraid things might worsen for both you and your family.” he paused for a while then added ,”You see, yours isn’t the first, we have numerous cases boys and girls alike. And we continue to warn the society of issues like this. What we do not understand is how you allowed yourself  become so addicted. And then you started losing concentration in your studies. You should have seen the signs earlier. Now look at you, looking all pale and worn out from the stress, you could be mistaken for an anorexic. No, we can’t keep up this way. We have to create an awareness among the society, especially youths like you. We can’t continue this way. Absolutely not.” Dr.Akpan went on already forgetting about poor Zainab who was supposed to be the center of his attention. Zainab, remained in the office chair too preoccupied with her own thoughts to listen to or hear Dr.Akpan’s voice. She was lovesick, she had been all along and as the days passed, she had allowed herself deteriorate. Thank Allah for her brother Ibrahim who discovered her on time and shouted for help from the neighbours, her corpse would have been on its way to the mortuary by now. What would her parents think or say by the time news of what had happened got to them. As she thought of all these, she felt really sorry for herself and this made her hate herself even more. “I’m better off dead without him. Nobody else would love a person like me, not after I  tried to carry out such a disastrous act. I’m a monster, I’m better off dead.” she repeated to herself in between sobs.

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Lovesick illustration by artbyellz
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