Done Deeds and Deeds Undone
The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny - Wole Soyinka
This quote has absolutely nothing to do with the story that follows.
The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back...
The alarm clock went off at 5:30 am. It was Tuesday morning. Charlie stretched out his hand to close the alarm on the mobile phone, but I was not there. He reluctantly opened his eyes to see the top of the bedside cupboard. The phone was not there. What was I thinking, the damn woman has changed the position, he thought. Two years ago, he didn't think of her as the 'damn woman'. In fact he did not know any woman by that name. She was Dream. He was Dream.
As soon as he was fully awake, he recalled the argument he and his wife, Dora had the night before. She said he's been unfaithful and he said her respect for him is gone. His wife now argues about any and everything. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became and the sight of her wasn't helping. He went to the bathroom and had his bath as he pondered the situation and how best to handle the toxic, deteriorating relationship he has found himself in. He came out out of the bathroom with towel still tied around his waist.
"I am going to work today but I'm not coming back. But if you cannot take care of the Bami, you go and I will stay," he said calmly. She didn't expect this twist in their story but she was too proud to plead. She pretended she did not hear, hoping he wasn't serious, hoping he didn't mean it.
To Talk or Not to Talk
Dora arrived work in the bank at 7:30 am, thirty minutes before the man-trap doors are opened to customers. She was still thinking about the condition at home and whether her husband meant what he said. I have to talk to someone about this but who? She considered most of her older colleagues too old school. Nelly! She would talk to Nelly. She approached Nelly's cubicle at the teller point and her heart sank: Nelly's not married. How would she discuss marital issues with her when she has no experience? Instead of talking about her marital issues, she did this.
"Hey babes, you're looking hot. This your short hair is da bomb"
"Thanks, babes. How is it going?"
"Nothing special. Babes, how is it going with you and Mobi?" she asked.
"We are very well, thanks," Nelly responded. She thought that was the end of it. No such luck.
"You know, you guys should really think of settling down since he is not getting any younger," she advised.
Meanwhile, Nelly had given thoughts to marrying Mobi or a host of others but she couldn't quite imagine it. Besides, he had to propose first, right? However, she did not understand how her not being married became such a big problem to other people. If she only knew the reason Dora came to her that morning, she would worry less about her singleness.
Two hours drive from Nelly's office in Sogal is smaller city called Nadabi where Molly was having a totally different problem. Molly had been married for almost two years. She never loved her husband but family and friends encouraged her to marry him when he proposed.
"You will grow to love him," they all said. Well, it has been almost two years and nothing has grown but the emotional distance between them. She has often wondered how it would have been if she had married her ex. She could not even recall why they broke up in the first place. She dialed his number and asked: "Hello handsome, why did we ever break up?"
"I wonder," He said.
"Well, I will be in Sogal today for a company training. It would be nice if we could catch up."
"Awesome," he replied.
Charlie had told his wife he was not coming home after work. How could he have known that her ex would call? Well, it was no big deal, he thought. I left her for Dora, not without a reason.
That evening, Charlie met Dora at the lobby of the hotel where her company had accommodated her for the four-day training programme. As soon as they sat down to talk, the years melted away and if there was any animosity between them, it disappeared. No conversation was necessary yet they talked until the restaurant where they are was ready to close then they continued until the early hours of the morning in her hotel room.
Neither of them could wait for their next day to end so that they could be with each other again. They spent each night after work and training together and the passion between them knew no bounds. On their last night together before Molly went back to Nadabi, they came back to the hotel very early.
They were kissing, whispering sweet nonsense in each other's ear when Charlie's phone rang. It was his wife. He had forgotten the damn woman, he thought. What could she want? He let the phone ring out, then she called again. He answered it this time.
"Hello. Is this Mr. Ako?"
"Yes, who is this? And why are you calling with my wife's number?"
"I'm sorry sir, but your wife has been in a terrible accident," the voice said.
Suddenly, he realised that they hadn't spoken for the past three days. When? How did the accident happen? How is she? The thoughts came in a torrent. He lost all desire to be in that well furnished, luxury hotel room. He became unaware of the presence of his lover whom he desired above all just a minute before. What would he do if his wife died?
"Sir, are you there?" the voice asked.
"Yes, how did it happen? When? How is she? I mean where is she?"
"She is as Matheson Memorial, ward 4, sir."
He quickly dressed, picked up his suit case and bid Molly farewell. He drove with his heart in his hands. Most businesses had closed for the day and traffic was building up in the city. It was supposed to be a journey of half hour but it took over one hour. Matheson Memorial is a long way from home. Where was she going? Where was Bami?
He arrived and parked his car then ran up the steps of the hospital to find the correct ward. There she was. A nurse stood over her bed, injecting antibiotics into the saline bag hanging over her. Her face was badly bruised and there were cuts on the hand.
The rest of her body was not visible. She seemed unconscious. He asked the nurse a series of questions but all she could tell him was the she was unconscious when the emergency brought her in, she had a wound that affected her liver, they were yet to do a CT scan to determine the extent of the damage and she lost a lot of blood.
Charlie called Bami's nanny who lived in their home and she informed him that Dora had come home after work and taken Bami to her mother's place. His world was crumbling around him. He ran back to the reception.
"Please, I'm Mr. Charles Ako. My wife is in ward 4. I just learned that she had our child in the car when the accident happened."
The receptionist checked her records and determined that the baby was in the maternity, unhurt.
Charlie breathed a sigh of relief as he was taken to see his son. However, the feeling that it was all his fault couldn't leave him. He prayed that his wife would fully recover and he vowed to be a better husband.
He realised, albeit too late that in marriage, keeping silent in the face of what seems like tyranny is a better policy. He realised that he still loved his wife and that she didn't mean any of the hurtful things she ever did to him. As he wished and prayed for a safe recovery, he could not help but think of the book of common prayer his family used growing up, "... We have left undone those things we ought to have done and we have done the things we ought not to have done..."
As he prayed for his wife's recovery, he could not have known that Molly is now pregnant with his baby and she has no way of explaining that to her husband. Will his wife recover? Time alone will tell.
A fiction authored by @churchboy