The sun dimly pierced through the curtain into the room lazily, throwing particles of rays. Kwabena laid on the bed with his wife Adwoa. Both of them faced different directions, Kwabena faced the window, his wife the door. Their relationship has been growing cold by the day. Their six-month-old marriage has had series of turf wars - often violent, but not bloody.
The giant clock on the wall read six o’clock a.m. Kwabena has two hours to get ready for work. He hasn't spoken to his wife for the past week and he has taken his supper at the Achimota branch of Papaye Fast Food during the period. Complaints by Adwoa were often met with assault and abusive words.
The most recent event was last week, where Kwabena shoved Adwoa out of anger that sent her crushing to the floor. She wasn’t injured, she only suffered some minor bruises. The doctor said she was healthy, but recommended more rest for her.
Kwabena sized the figure beside him. Adwoa hasn’t met his expectation since he got married to her. Her food doesn't taste good and the last time he had asked her to consider going to a catering school to improve her cooking skills, she dismissed it. Another thing he detests about her is the way she runs to him for money to purchase basic things for the household like soap, sponge, bowls, and toothpaste, when she could cushion the cost. Kwabena had expected her to do that, but she doesn’t. Also, whenever he tells her to do something, she ends up doing the exact opposite. In all, Adwoa hasn’t come near the perfect woman he had envisaged.
“I’m tired with this marriage,” he sprung from the bed and walked to the window and opened it to smell the morning air. It was crisp and moist. The sun had given up and the cloud had begun to gather heavy with rains. He scanned the road and witnessed the escape of a woman who was nearly hit by a VW Golf. She cursed the driver. He didn't stop, but sped on.
Kwabena felt something cold touched his face. The rain was about to start and brought with it strong winds. Papers and polythene bags littered on the wayside had begun to tease the ground. They flew into the sky as though propelled by a catapult. Something choked Kwabena, he coughed and quickly shut the window.
“Why must I always be the one teaching someone what to do?” he mumbled.
Adwoa had turned to face him. She wondered if this was the man who had proposed marriage to her on his knees at the Accra Mall and whether he was the one who had promised to love her no matter the circumstances. Several ideas rushed through her mind. “Perhaps, we weren’t meant to be,” she thought.
Kwabena paced up and down the room. He was still murmuring, but it was unintelligible. Nobody, but himself knew what he was saying. You can bet he didn’t either.
“I’m going to call your father to tell him I can’t put up with this your behaviour,” he said, turning to Adwoa in an expectation of a response, but there was none.
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 multicoloured bed sheet she laid on. She closed her eyes in an attempt to stop the rest of the tears from gushing out, it was too late. The tears coursed down her cheeks uncontrollably.
She remembered an incident that appeared to have predicted her current situation. She had a disagreement with her best friend Esi Amoah when she broke the news of her wedding to her. It was exactly a month to their wedding. She advised her against marrying Kwabena. But unknown to Esi, Adwoa was in love and no one, not even her parents could talk her out of it.
Esi had told her she ran into Kwabena at the Legon Total Filling Station having lunch with a final year student of the University of Ghana by name Emelia Frimpongmaa. “I don’t want you to be hurt by anyone,” she doubted Kwabena’s love, 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 disappointedly.
Esi inched closer to her and reached for her right hand. She locked her eyes in hers. Adwoa looked away.
“We’ve been the best of friends for 16 years and we’re like sisters. I’ll not wish any evil for you, only the best my dear. Please think about what I’ve told you.”
Adwoa withdrew her hand violently in protest and went back. “We’re going ahead, and 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 awoke from a deep sleep. She looked intensely at her, counting the colours in the polo T-shirt Adwoa was wearing. She bathed the room with her 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 had reached the door. She closed Esi’s metal gate on their friendship. The common bond they both shared together for years was extinguished and they will be enemies forever.
Esi sat on her mattress which laid out 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 is now with the man she had defended. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with her anymore and he doesn’t eat her food after she toils to prepare them. What saddens her is that Kwabena, lately, demarcates the bed with two pillows to avoid touching her when they are sleeping.
She has also been sex starved. The last time they made love was a month ago. Adwoa has been yearning for a manly-touch, but it hasn’t come. And it appears that will 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’s giving a presentation to shareholders of Life360degrees Magazine where he serves as the Director of Finance.
The Monday briefing session was instituted after the company made some huge losses last year. The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Solomon Nti, displeased by the unbalanced account in 2004, discussed with shareholders to put in place an effective monitoring process that will help them to track the daily input of employees. He was convinced the briefing session will enable them to track the success of the magazine company.
Adwoa went to the kitchen to fix herself breakfast. She had wanted to prepare same for Kwabena, but wondered if he would accept it. The two used to have breakfast together before they each left to their respective offices, but not anymore.
She missed the little conversations they have whenever they are having breakfast together. They used to share their ‘To-do-List’ with each other and contributed to the others list. She would then ask Kwabena what he would like to eat for supper.
She knew their relationship had gone beyond normal. That experience is in the glorious past. The thought of that sends sadness into her veins through the brain.
She filled the kettle with water and went to plug 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 emptied part of its hot content into the mug. The steam snaked into the air. Odourless. She embraced the mug with her right hand to examine the temperature of the hot water. She withdrew her hand, letting out a silent scream.
She stirred it and stood to take the mixture. She doesn’t like her morning tea with bread. She prefers it light. “You don’t need to be full in the morning,” she would tell her husband.
Adwoa believes one doesn't need to be too satisfied in the morning since it makes the accomplishment of the business of the day very difficult. “Light food is good,” she would often caution.
Kwabena entered the room and headed to the dressing mirror and within minutes he was done dressing up. He reached for his car key and stormed out, without uttering a word to his wife.
He had 20 minutes to get to the office. He opened the garage door and deactivated the car alarm which he often activate every evening because of activities of armed robbers in the area. Two days ago, his neighbour’s vehicle was stolen without his notice. He lodged a complaint with the Dansoman District Police, but nothing positive had come out of it.
He revved the car and drove out of the garage. But before he could drive out of the house, his phone rang. He killed the ignition to pick the call.
Mr Nti had called to tell him the briefing session had been called off due to an emergency. Mrs Nti has died in an accident after her vehicle was smashed by a truck on the Accra-Winneba highway. She was rushed to the Winneba Government Hospital minutes after the accident, but she didn’t make it. She was on her way to Accra from a conference in Cape Coast when the accident happened. Her vehicle was mangled.
“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 house. He thought about several things - the impermanence of life, his wife, their sour relationship, and Mrs Nti’s untimely death.
Adwoa hasn’t met his expectations since they got married, but he knew he hasn’t been the best husband either. He had anticipated a smooth relationship, the likes of what they had during the courting period, but that appears elusive.
His eyes were moist with tears, while the silence around him deepened. He had promised to protect and love her, but didn’t expect their individual differences would stand in their way of happiness.
He knew the buck stops with him and whatever he says 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