WORDS AND ITS WONKY EFFECT (A SHORT STORY)

SANCTIONED BY HER WORDS

The rains have been coming down heavier than expected. It usually pours this way every four years, but this time, it defies all prediction and fore-knowledge, puking upon earth in torrents the excess of what it has gathered in vapour for the second consecutive year.
One would imagine, that the cold prompted by this rain should make warmth to be sought in the bosom of many who are privileged as such, but wishes have never been horses, thus, beggars will most likely tread their entire journey rather than ride on horses.
Thunderstorms shattered the silence of the night, bringing its companion, lightening to make momentary spark light across the sky. Water floods the entire neighbourhood, though the roads in the area have been rehabilitated, rains of this kind could completely wash off the tar, leaving the ground in utter mud.
Patters of the rains get superseded by the heavy pouring on the rooftop. This is very unfamiliar, especially since coming to live in the locality twelve years ago. Another thunderstorm makes her turn to face left on the bed. Although the night brought cravings that could be met, the past six months have turned sour the sweetness of her longings, throwing all she thought was stable off balance.
The rain kept its pace then later subsided, but the sound made by its contact with the rooftop suggests the heavens will cry all-night. Its accompanying wind is commensurate to its volume, creating panic that rooftops could suddenly develop wings, joining ranks with nocturnal creatures to fly away. Such was the force of the wind on the night. The night brought memories which caused her to shudder in introspective pleasure, taking advantage of memory, while savouring the abundance of her retrospection.
Life and time truly levels everyone as even little could be done when seemingly in-surmountable challenges appear to overcome the will to survive. She heard a sound from the kitchen area which stood adjacent her room. No other person was in the house with her, except the occupant of the boys’ quarter. Becky had travelled over a week ago for a special training to the Netherlands and her partner left the premises soon after she left.
Sooner had she returned to her bed than the rain became heavy again, coming down with forceful winds and doing damage that will not be quantified at the dawn of the morrow’s light. The sound she heard came from a loose plank used to cover the generator stand. It was on a night like this that she wished her hubby was around. Oh, ex-hubby she thought. How else could one describe a man that has been living separately for from his wife for the past thirty six months?

*******

It cannot be forgotten in a hurry. Three years into their marriage with its attendant challenges, it began from issues they easily overlooked for the entire period they dated before he proposed to her. They could not however find the same grounds after marriage, as arguments and disagreements weighed down on the smooth affairs of their home front. It was even after three years of dating that he proposed to her. A day she least expected that such would come from him.
It has been a very irritable experience from her office on the day. Her bosses were on her neck for a proposal to be submitted to their international prospects for a mining contract; her mother’s asthma crisis happened on the night preceding the deadline, thus preventing her from finishing on time. The dry cleaner added to the barrages of discouraging blows when her clothes were not delivered as agreed, making her completely harried by the disappointment. She eventually went to bed at 02:00hrs the next morning to wake up three hours after. These were the challenges up her throat, giving her little room to heave some relief on a Monday.
It was however the best experience of a lifetime and the most delightful of feelings after a day packed with stress and all what not. He took her in his car and asked to see the waves of the evening within forty minutes drive from her office. She felt it would help her relax and was in the affirmative to his request. The evening paid of indeed, as she felt refreshed after about half hour. When she expected they depart for home, he held her hand and said the words which culminated in their wedding three months after. It was the beginning of a journey that brought her to where she is at the moment.
This was a juncture she wished not to find herself, but when life brings the wind that pushes an unwilling ship farther into uncharted waters, the captain must do well to sail with the wind until nature reverses its course. She did what she knew best to allow her marriage remain intact, while he made effort as well to work hard on the areas that needed such, but maybe couples need time apart before things begin to work well again.She smiled as the rains continued intermittently but showing no signs of cessation.
Looking into the darkness of her room resulted in memories she may have preferred tucked into an unknown repertoire. The first night together with her estranged husband had a similar scenario. Everyone had gone after the day’s celebrationof their wedding and the electricity company had been fair enough to make them have the light for use. Electricity is a huge concern all over Lafia, the state capital in Nasarawa state, but the people are used to the near-darkness, as they hardly complain but even pay for power not supplied.
They were cuddling, basking in the euphoria of the wedding night when suddenly there was power cut. Their fun was almost affected, but her husband asked that they remain together rather than resort to the available alternative source of power. The weather was temperate and as such both consummated their union in the harmony of unbridled pleasure mongers, hopeful for what should last a lifetime. They lay in each others’ arms until the dawn of the next morning, rising to the sun symbolic of the future that could best be described inclement.

*******

The morning trudges, keeping night on a long vigil. She thought so, switching from emotions to retrospections as sleep bade her momentary adios. Her recall of the wedding night dovetailed to the first argument between them. He had returned late on the night but did not put a call through to tell her that he would not be home early. The fact that his phones were not reachable added to the apprehension of waiting for a man whose whereabouts could not be ascertained.
He knocked on the door at midnight to the mixed emotions of a wife, whose cries trailed her reprimands of her husband for keeping late, while not deeming it proper to let his wife know. The wife was however shocked when he shouted her down about the needless cries causing him irritation. He told her he has had enough and does not need anything to add to the woes of the entire day.
Malice best describes the painful silence between the couple for two weeks. Except for the exchange of sundry pleasantries, they stayed incommunicado; as his wife thought she would be pampered and begged owing to her husband’s reaction the night past. It took the visit of his aunt to break the ice that was not ready to melt. She noticed their conversations were at best monosyllables, and being the one who won’t mind her business in instances of this nature, she intervened thus handing out the olive branch.

*******

The clock chimed three times, indicating the readiness of sleeping cocks to crow the community awake, clearing sleep off their eyes ahead of the day’s concern. She has not been able to sleep and the rain sounds as though it is subsiding, but as at other times it continued heavily. How could sleep greet her eyes when her heart is heavy with deep-seated issues?
Dawn will be Saturday and she needs to rest well to make up for the ever busy weekdays.  She sat up and propped herself well with the pillow. The darkness of the room suddenly gave way to light, as power gets restored. She sighed and got drowned in her thoughts once more. The lights led her to another chapter in the journey of her matrimony, leaving a smile on her lips.
*******

It was their second year of marriage and quite true she was looking forward to it. He was away for three weeks on official assignment and luckily her husband would be back on the morning of their wedding anniversary. He returned very early and sneaked in on her when he turned the lights of the room on. She least expected him that early but was in describable joy to have him back. It was a return that warmed her heart and does even more to her body, culminating in the gift of a car and a three day get-away. The illumination of her bedroom was symbolic of her retrospections, giving her the impression that it was a bright moment in her journey with the man she never expected this separation from.
Three thirty in the morning was the indication on the bedside digital clock. Thirst prompted her to trudge to the kitchen for some water. The off-white flowered kitchen tiles delight her. It leaves a feeling of elation and hope anytime she enters “her revered office” as she loves to call it. She often wondered if it was the space, neatness and arrangement of her kitchen that gladdens her or the repeated encomiums showered on her by her husband. He hardly ate out and even at the moments they had misunderstandings as couples often would, he did not joke with his meals.
She returned to bed and her phone beeped. Thinking of ignoring it or otherwise, she reached for it and on opening saw a message from Becky who is away in the Netherlands.
“Rejoice in the Lord and in the power of his might”
It was an unusual message from the occupant of the boy’s quarter. Although the absence of her husband from home had been too obvious to deny, she never said a word about his whereabouts to anybody but her parents, let alone a tenant. What could she be thinking at this hour of the morning? Holland is just an hour ahead of Nigeria on the GMT, so what could have happened to warrant this message, especially when she finds it difficult getting some sleep.
Her phone beeped again
“For the battle is not to strong but the almighty who gives strength”
She felt a bit irritated by her brazen message and considered it an affront. What on earth could be prompting these messages and on a lonely night as this one. Becky had never texted for the nine months she has been occupying the back-house apartment. It was this that left her thinking how her messages could be addressing some issues in her life at this auspicious juncture. Her parents had told her to keep praying; while the one-off calls still coming from her husband should be leveraged to get her marriage back on track.
It was not long after that her phone rang and she saw her mother’s call. What is really happening here she thought?  Indecisive whether to take the call or ignore, the phone rang and ceased after three successive yet unanswered calls. The call would be returned when the day is bright, she figured.
It was four in the morning and her vigil continued. Sleep was no more on the cards but the day’s concern takes precedence in her every thought. She should make her hair and fix herself a meal before checking in at the grocery store. Shopping should be made so that her week will be covered but what is the need to shop for when the man that makes it fun has been away to only God knows where. Her thoughts almost put paid to her strength and ability to make her stay afloat the current challenges, but being strong-willed, her inner capabilities were at its best.
The rain continued heavily at four fifteen in the morning, making her cuddle the pillows in the hope of catching little sleep having sat up all along. Smile crossed her lips again, remembering how they looked into each other’s eyes each time they made love. He loved her she knew, but the reasoned they argued often and would not talk to each other at times remain huge mystery. He never beat her or abused her, but his silence stifled the air and made her miss him even more.

*******
It was a visit to Catherine’s, her colleague that gave her some hope four months earlier. They visited a prayer house where the man they met, who looked a bit unkempt told her all she ever did without her husband’s knowledge. Nothing bad she thought. Her marriage vows had never been violated, while she had done her best all along to keep the marriage ship away from the rocks.
“Words are powerful the man said, and your pitiable plight could become plethora of pleasure”
The man’s expression sounded rhythmic and intelligent, but the words pitiable plight and plethora of pleasures sounded confusing. What does Daddy K.N as he was fondly called by Catherine meant.She just listened on as the man perused the holy book and doled out scripture after scripture to complement his admonishment.
“Marriage is a union of words, for those are in it are brought together by words. Words from the spiritual take effect in the physical. Anything negative disrupts the balance of the cosmos”
She wondered what the man meant and listened on with rapt attention. In the course of the minister’s utterances, she had a flashback to when an issue came up between both of them. She was in the bathroom, crying and said she would end the marriage as she was tired of the bickering. Unknown to her, on the day she was born, the elements gave her the power of words, which takes prominent effect when she cries and stayed bare.
It was on that morning that her husband’s mindset got affected and he started contemplating walking away from everything they had built. Although the marriage was weeks to three years and therewas no child between them, the clean bill of health by the doctor gave them the assurance, that having children was a matter of time. It was in the course of her stay at the mystery prayer man’s she realized, that her words triggered the predicament that had befallen her. She had spoken and the winds placed the seal of definiteness on what she said.

*******

He had been planning on leaving it all. He loved his wife, but the unbearable emotions seem to be getting too much. He overlooked a lot of things when they were dating, but his impatience is a source of worry. How could one love his wife and not easily forgive her or strengthen her in areas of weaknesses. He made his plans already. He would set his business up in another part of the country and go to there for as long as he wished without a word to his wife. He would only call her at his will but continue his family support to her from a neutral source.
This plan was carefully executed, disrupting his wife’s state of health and peace of mind. He left for the North Eastern part of the country, making his journey on an afternoon, choosing to take a walk rather than fight to win what rightly belongs to him. He was lonely and alone in Kaura state where he has been living all these years, but his pride was the difficult ingredient he could not give up in a hurry. He had his ups and downs, but the way to make an appropriate reverse and be re-united with his wife was an uphill task.

*******

She checked the time and decided on a bath. It was dawn already and the rain, rather than cause her to sleep had kept her awake. She remembered what the man told her when she was departing his place. The power to change resides with her, and it must happen with the same emotion that she stirred the hornet’s nest. It was now five and she could hear sounds of early risers even on a Saturday morning. People hardly ever rest she imagined, but how would they rest with the hardship across the land.
She moved to towards the bathroom and her eyes focused on a sheet of paper dangling from the book shelf. This looks strange to her because the library is always well kept. She carefully looked at the book in which it was kept. “The ways of the Mystery Couple”. It was written by Eric Freeman. This book does not register any form of resemblance or familiarity. Pulling the sheet from the book made her sit at the table in the library section of the living room.
“I have tried the much i could to make this marriage work, but we argue and quarrel too often that I feel tired. Really tired and does not have the strength to go on. I love my wife and even if we wait longer before a child comes our way, I will always love. I just need to move on, even if for a while”
The date shows that it was written thirty six months ago. On the same day he left without a word, he wrote a letter that was not given to his wife; perhaps a change of thought resulted in tucking it away from other eyes. She held it and tears ran down her cheeks. From the sleepless nights that came with horrors, to the visits to police stations and reports on her missing husband, to her family and her in-laws concern. It is obvious that he truly took a walk and not that something evil had befallen him.
Tears still in her eyes, she took off her clothes and cried her heart out, renouncing separation and uttering favourable words to have her husband back. It was even deeper feelings than when pains numbed her emotions. Her mind kept going back to the words, “I love my wife”. These words were as re-assuring as when they just got wedded. It was a juncture that created a newness of incomparable measure.

*******

He did not know what was happening, but he just packed his belongings in a bag, locked up his machine shop and stepped on the way that leads to the mini-garage along Kaura road. He could not explain what kept nudging him, but he knew his heart was home and nothing could change his mind now. Is she still in the same house, has she left for another place and now re-married with children? These thoughts sustained him when the loud engine of the van zoomed onto the dusty road. Home wards and nothing more.









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