The sun pierced through the curtain into the room lazily throwing particles of rays. Kwabena laid on the bed with his wife Adwoa. He’s facing the sun while his wife looks the other way. Their relationship has been growing cold by the day. Their six-month-old marriage has had series of turf war – often violent, but not bloody.
The giant clock on the wall read six o’clock a.m. Kwabena had two hours to get ready for work. He hasn’t spoken to his wife for the past week and he had taken his supper at the Achimota branch of Papaye Fast Food. Complaints by Adwoa had often been met with assault and abusive words.
The more 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 a minor pain. The doctor who took care of her said she was healthy only that she needed some rest.
Kwabena sized the figure beside him. Adwoa hasn’t met his expectation since he got married to her. Her food doesn’t taste nice. The last time he asked her to consider going to a catering school to improve her cooking. Another thing he doesn’t like about is that she always comes to him for money to purchase some of the little things for the household needed such as soap, sponge, bowls, and toothpaste. He expected her to cushion the cost but she doesn’t do that. Also, whenever he tells her to do one thing, she ends up doing another thing. 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. He opened it to smell the morning air outside. The cloud has begun to gather. The weather is heavy with rains. He searched the road and saw that a VW Golf driver nearly knocked down a woman who was on the right side of the road. The woman cursed the driver. He didn’t stop. The driver sped.
Kwabena’s felt something cold touched his face. The weather had begun to change. It heavy wind settled in. Something choked him so he coughed. He quickly shut the window.
“Why must I always be the one teaching someone what to do?” he continued.
Adwoa had turned to face him. She was examining the figure before her. 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 irrespective of the circumstances. Several ideas rushed through her mind.
“Perhaps, we weren’t meant to be,” she thought.
Kwabena paced in 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 the wife in expectation of a response from her.
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 multicoloured bed sheet she laid 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.
She remembered an incident that appears to have predicted her current situation. She had a disagreement with her best friend Esi when she went to break the news of the wedding to her. It was a month to their wedding. Esi advised her against marrying Kwabena. But unknown to her, Adwoa was in love and no one not even her parents could talk her out of it. Esi told her she ran into Kwabena at the Legon Total Filling Station with a final year student of the University of Ghana Emelia Frimpongmaa having lunch.
“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.
Esi inched closer to her and reached for her right hand. She locked her eyes in hers.
“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.”
Adwoa withdrew her hand. She went 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 awoke 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 was had reached the door. She closed Esi’s metal gate on their friendship. The common bond they both shared together was extinguished. They will be enemies forever.
Esi sat on her mattress which sat 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’s with the man she had defended. Now he doesn’t want to have anything to do with her anymore. He doesn’t eat her food after she toils to prepare them and he demarcates the bed with two pillows to avoid touching her when they are sleeping.
She has also been starved with sex. The last time they made love was a month ago. Adwoa has been yearning for a touch from him, but it hasn’t come. And it appears that will be for awhile because of the poisoned relationship between them.
Kwabena curled a towel on his shoulder and made way to the washroom. He has less than 45 minutes to get to the office. He’s giving a presentation to shareholders of Life360degrees Media 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 of the company, Solomon Nti, displeased by the unbalanced account discussed with shareholders to put in place an effective monitoring process that will help them to monitor the daily input of workers. He was convinced the briefing session would enable them to track the success of the magazine company daily.
Adwoa went to the kitchen to fix herself something. She wanted to prepare a beverage for Kwabena but she was unsure if he would accept it. They used to have breakfast together before they each leave to their respective offices but not anymore.
She misses the little conversations they usually have when 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 eat for supper.
She knows their relationship is beyond normal. That experience is in the glorious past.
She poured water into a 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 out into the air. She embraced the mug with her right hand to examine the temperature of the hot water.
Satisfied, 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 tells Kwabena.
Adwoa feels when you’re too satisfied in the morning it makes the accomplishment of the business of the day very difficult.
“Light food is good,” she would caution.
Kwabena entered the room and went to the dressing mirror to dress for work. Within minutes he was done and reached for his car key and stormed out of the house.
He has 20 minutes to get to the office. He opened the garage door and deactivated the car alarm which he puts on every evening because of activities of armed robbers in the area. Two days ago, his neighbour’s vehicle was driven out without his notice. He lodged a complaint at the police station, but nothing has come out of it. He revved the car and drove out but before he could get outside 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 has been killed in an accident after her vehicle she was smashed by another car at 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 has been mangled.
“Meet me at the hospital,” Mr Nti told him. The line went dead.
Kwabena sat in silence for awhile. 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 especially the likes of what they had during the courting period.
His eyes were moist with tears. The silence around him deepened. He has promised to protect and love her, but he didn’t anticipate their individual differences standing in their way of happiness.
He knows the buck stops with him. He revved the vehicle and drove out.