The sun lazily pierced through the curtain into the room. It threw particles of rays onto the bed. It shone on the face of Kwabena who faced it. His wife was also on the bed but she looked the other direction. Both seethed with anger and disappointment. Their relationship had been growing cold by the day. Their six-month-old marriage had seen series of turf wars – often violent, but not bloody.
The giant clock on the wall read 6am and Kwabena had barely thirty minutes to be ready for work. He hadn’t spoken to his wife for the past week and he had been taking his supper at the Achimota branch of Papaye Fast Food. Complaints by Adwoa had often been met with assault and abusive words. The recent event was last week. Kwabena shoved Adwoa out of anger when she complained about the challenges in their home. The push was fierce that it sent her crushing to the floor. She wasn’t badly injured but she suffered a minor injury in the right arm. The doctor who took care of her said she would be fine in a matter of days if she took more rest and her medication.
Kwabena sized the figure beside him. Adwoa hadn’t met his expectations since he married her. Her food didn’t taste nice. The last time he asked her to consider enrolling in a catering school to improve on her cooking skill, she was acidic towards him. Again she would not use her salary to buy little yet essential things such as soap, sponge, bowls, and toothpaste for the household. She would walk to him to ask for money for to buy everything in the house. Kwabena expected her to cushion the cost but she wouldn’t do that. Also, whenever he told her to do one thing, she ended up doing another thing. Adwoa hadn’t come near the perfect woman he had envisaged. He was disappointed and he didn’t hide it from her.
‘I’m tired with this marriage,’ he sprung from the bed and walked to the window. He opened it and smelled the morning air outside. It was crisp and moist at the same time.
The cloud had begun to gather, causing a sudden change in the weather. From where he stood, Kwabena could see the rain on top of the cloud. He took a curious scan of the road and caught a VW Golf which was on top speed. The driver was overtaking vehicles ahead of him as though he was in a contest. He whisked past a woman and nearly knocked her had she not jumped off the road. But the wind that accompanied the vehicle lifted her skirt. She held it down but it was too late, as Kwabena saw her dirty black underwear. She was peeved by the incident that she hurled invectives and curses at the driver. Oblivious to the swear words out there, the driver sped out of sight.
Something cold fell on Kwabena’s forehead. It was iced. The sun had proven unmatched for the other elements in the heavens. It bowed for the wind and the darkened cloud to have their turn. Within minutes, discarded papers, rubbers, and polybags that decorated the road dishonourably were in the air. The wind suspended them in the air and teased the ground for seconds before journeying them to the other part of the road.
The elements outside became violent. Branches of trees danced, passers-by took to their heels and night fell without notice. Something choked Kwabena which got him to cough, violently. He shut the window.
‘Why must I always be the one telling someone what to do?’ he said when he had turned to face the wife.
Adwoa sat on the bed to face him. She sobbed in her heart and wondered if this was the man who had proposed marriage to her on his knees at the Accra Mall and promised to love her no matter the circumstances. Several ideas raced through her mind. ‘Perhaps, we weren’t meant to be,’ she thought.
Kwabena paced in the room. He started murmuring, but it was unintelligible. Nobody heard him and you can bet he didn’t hear himself either because he spoke so mechanical.
‘I’m going to phone your father and tell him I can’t put up with this your behaviour,’ he said, looking at his wife in expectation of a response but he had nothing.
Already tears had begun to well up in her eyes. A drop fell on the bed but it was too tiny to make it out on the multi-coloured bed sheet she sat on. She closed her eyes in an attempt to stop the rest of the tears from dropping. She was late as tears coursed down her cheeks like the flow of the sea.
She remembered an incident that appeared to have predicted her current situation. She had a disagreement with her best friend Esi months back when she went to break the news about the wedding to her. It was a month to their wedding and Esi advised her against marrying Kwabena. Unknown to Esi, Adwoa was in love and no one, not even her parents, could talk her out of it. Esi told her she ran into Kwabena and a final year student of the University of Ghana by name Emelia Frimpongmaa at the Legon Total Filling Station having lunch together.
‘I don’t want anyone to hurt you,’ she was blunt about her doubt. She didn’t Kwabena’s love for Adwoa but her friend would have none of that.
‘Get this straight. Kwabena and I love each other and we’re going ahead whether you attend the wedding or not,’ Adwoa said with her eyes full of fury.
Esi inched closer to her and reached for her right hand. She locked her eyes in hers and tried to offer her a seat. ‘We’ve been the best of friends for sixteen years and we’ve become like sisters. I’ll not wish evil for you but the best. Please think about what I’ve said.’
Without hesitation, Adwoa withdrew her hand and moved back. ‘We’re going ahead, but don’t ever try calling my number again,’ she ended the friendship or sisterhood without any warning.
Esi jerked as though she had been forcefully awoken from a deep sleep. She looked intensely at her, counting the colours in the polo T-shirt Adwoa was wearing. He bathed the room with his eyes as if it was enough to cause a change of the verdict.
‘Do you mean it?’ she explored, but there was no response.
Adwoa walked of the room and shut Esi’s metal gate on their friendship. The common bond they both shared together was extinguished. They were now enemies.
Esi dropped on her mattress which was on the floor and wondered if she had done the right thing by telling Adwoa what she knew about the boyfriend and now husband. Adwoa was still on the bed soaking in every detail as though the incident had happened yesterday. Here she was with the man she had defended. Now he didn’t want to have anything to do with her anymore. He had refused to eat her food after she had toiled prepared them and he had divided the bed into two with a pillow to avoid contact in the night.
She had also been starved with sex. The last time they made love was a month ago. Adwoa had been yearning for a touch from him, but it hadn’t come. And it appeared would be for a while because of the poisoned relationship between them.
Kwabena curled a towel on his shoulder and made way to the washroom. He had less than 45 minutes to get to the office. He was scheduled to give a presentation to shareholders of Life360degrees Media where he served as the Director of Finance at 9am.
The Monday briefing session was introduced after the company made some huge and unexplained losses last year. The Chief Executive of the company, Solomon Nti, displeased by the loss discussed with shareholders to put in place an effective monitoring process to aid them monitor the daily input of workers. He was convinced the briefing session would enable them to track the success of the magazine company on daily basis.
Adwoa went to the kitchen to fix herself breakfast. She wanted to prepare a beverage for Kwabena but she was unsure if he would accept it. They used to have breakfast together first thing before work but not anymore. She missed their little breakfast conversations. During one of such conversations, Kwabena introduced where they both would share their ‘To-do-List’ and each one would contribute to the others list. Adwoa would often end such sessions by asking Kwabena what he would eat for supper. The atmosphere had often cordial. She knew their relationship was beyond normal and that experience was in the glorious past.
She poured water into the kettle and plugged it. She took out a dirty-coloured mug from the cabin and scooped five teaspoonful of Richoco into it. After a while, she unplugged the kettle and poured the hot water into the mug. The steam snaked into the air odourless. With her right hand, Adwoa embraced the mug to examine the temperature of the water.
When she was satisfied with the temperature, she stirred it and stood to take the mixture. She didn’t like her morning tea with bread. She preferred it light. “You don’t need to be full in the morning,” she would caution Kwabena.
She believed when one was too satisfied in the morning he would be unable to accomplish the business of the day. ‘Light food is good,’ she would pipe out.
Kwabena entered the room and went to the dressing mirror to prepare for work. Within minutes he was done and reached for his car key and stormed out of the room. He had 20 more minutes to get to the office so he opened the garage door and deactivated the car alarm which he set every evening because of upsurge in armed robbery activities in the area. Two days ago, his neighbour’s vehicle was driven out without his notice. A complaint was lodged at the police station, but nothing came out of it.
He revved the car and drove out of the garage. But before he could drive outside of the house, his phone rang. He killed the ignition to receive the call. Mr Nti had called to tell him the briefing session had been called off due to an emergency. Mrs Nti had been killed in an accident when her vehicle was smashed by a Daf truck on the Accra-Cape Coast highway. She was rushed to the Winneba Government Hospital minutes after the gory accident but she died on the way. Mrs Nti was on her way to Accra after attending a conference in Cape Coast when the accident happened. Her vehicle was completely mangled that it would be a miracle for her to survive.
‘Meet me at the hospital,’ Mr Nti told him. The line went dead.
Kwabena sat in silence for several minutes disturbed by the news, but more especially by the challenges in his home. He thought about several things – the impermanence of life, his wife, their sour relationship, and Mrs Nti’s untimely death.
Adwoa hadn’t met his expectations since they got married, but he knew he hadn’t been the best husband either. He had anticipated a smooth relationship, the likes of what they had during the courting period, but that appeared elusive. His eyes were moist with tears. The silence around him deepened. He had promised to protect and love Adwoa, but he didn’t expect their individual differences would stand in the way of their marriage and happiness. He knew the buck stops with him and whatever he would suggest carried weight. He revved the vehicle and drove out.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are the Author's and do not necessarily reflect the position of management of Multimedia or Myjoyonline.com. The writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at Joy99.7FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com
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