Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 17

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This entry is part 18 of 24 in the series Dawn to Dusk

When his arranged marriage went haywire, James has to juggle from being a father to his eleven months old son, keeping his job, finding love in the strangest place, maintaining a balance and peace between his family and that of his in-laws, who are lost in the battle of power and authority.

EPISODE XVII

The driver jerked on the brake, screeching as he swerved off the road, trying not to hit her. She jolted, tears mustered in her eyes as she realized that suicide after all is not as easy as its spelling.

“Are you crazy?” the driver yelled, popping his head out of the window. “You should go home and die if you are tired of life. Don’t make me a murderer,” he added, pissed.

She could feel the driver’s rage from her shock. But she was not able to speak even if she wanted to. It happened like a flash. She could swear no car was coming when she made to cross the road. But it was obvious she didn’t look well, or maybe she was actually blinded by her worry and devastation. Nevertheless, she genuflected apologetically to the man, with her palms rubbing against each other. Her face thwarted, wallowing in self-pity

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“Take your accursed self off my way,” the man yelled again, reversing his car back on the road.

She suddenly realised she was still standing on the road. Tears gushed down her cheeks without any prior notice. Quietly and even more broken-hearted, she scurried dejectedly to the direction she was coming from.

The man drove close to her, halted, his head popped out of his window, and spat, “You should get help, woman. You desperately need some,” then drove off.

She sat down by the gutter, with tears in her eyes, unaware of what exactly happened. Yet the man’s words got stamped in her heart. She could not, even if she tried, dismiss the fact that she was accursed; several suitors gone without explanation, marriages failed without reason. She really needed help. She sat there, like abandoned garbage, tears clouding her eyes, as she waited for a clearer thought or idea on what next to do.

People walked past as she sat, glued to the edge of the pedestrian walk, facing the road while backing the pedestrians. She was meditating on her damaged life and thinking about the way out, amidst the unattended distractions from the scurrying footsteps behind her and the whooshing of cars and bikes in front of her. The little concentrated part of her mind was filled with regrets over things she would have done differently if given the opportunity, starting from never yielding to her father’s convincing sermon of how people grow in love. With that, the flashes of her conversation with her father when James was shouting a big and emphatic ‘No’ vividly clouded her memory.

“Relax sweetheart.” Nnadi had told her with his hand around her shoulders as they walked around their horticulturally adorned duplex. “James is stubborn because he is intimidated by your beauty. But one thing I want you to always know is that he loves and will marry you. Eventually he will realize that and be the man that he is. Just give him a chance.”

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“How can you be so sure, Dad?” she remembered asking. “I am scared it might end up like the others.”

“I have told you, those ones left because they are not yours. But this one is God-sent. So relax okay?”

“Sometimes I think there might be some truth in what Smith said.”

“What did he say?”

“That I have a problem,” she stopped and Nnadi’s hand dropped from her shoulder. “He said I’m a power monger, a control freak, a lazy and pompous person, and those are the attributes which break my relationships. He said that I feel all men must be like you, pampering, caring and loving, and because I don’t see those features in men, I unknowingly misbehave and end up coming back home. Do you think he is right, Daddy?” Queen asked as her countenance changed. She became scared and tensed up. She knew, maybe Smith was right, but she needed her father to tell her he was not. So she paused, in anticipation, hoping that her father would align with her.

Nnadi laughed hilariously. “Smith said all that and you took him serious? Common, he is no authority in relationships. He barely can take care of his girlfriend.”

“But they are still together.”

“Well, he is not right,” Nnadi dismissed. “Right now I want you to trust me and believe the battle is over. James is yours. That I am sure of, very sure of.”

“Yeah,” Queen said with indifference. “He is quite loving and tolerant, too demanding though. So much house chores: cooking, washing and all that, God! Am I really ready for this?”

“Of course, you are. I know that. Cooking isn’t really a problem now, I ate your stew last night, you have learnt quite well at that.”

“About that, he has eaten my food just once. Other days he would just claim he ate out. The food always turns sour. I guess I am not getting any better after all,” she sadly reported.

“He sure will get used to it. When you finally move in after the wedding, everything will be just fine.”

“He was right,” Queen said.” Smith was right. No man can ever be like you. And that is why I always misbehave. I want every man to be just perfect as you are. But I guess men are never perfect.”

“That could be true, but then I am a man, and I am perfect,” he chuckled. “You know, no man is born a devil, but he can become one when damaged by a nagging wife. The perfectness of any man lies on how his wife treats him. So treat James like a king and he will treat you like the queen that you are. You are beautiful and any man would, besides all things, die to be with you.”

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“Die?” she scoffed. “James would never do that!” she added morosely as her father chuckled.

She snapped back to reality with clear and immaculate conscience, produced from a truthful self-examination. It was always her suitors leaving, citing her unwomanly attitudes, but this time, it was she who left a husband; one who sacrificed everything but his position as a man. She then knew that she was the problem. It was her love for comfort, her quest for authority, control and power, and her desire to live out the earthly meaning of her name, just as Smith recognised years ago, that actually destroyed her, not her father. Her father only served as a means to such an end. She faulted herself for at least not knowing things she should have known, things her siblings learnt and accustomed themselves with even without the help of their father. She wished to fix and make things right, yet if that wish was granted, she wouldn’t know what to fix.

A cold hand brushed her shoulder, startling her. She turned and saw a little boy toddling behind her on the pedestrian walk with his mother, cheerfully.

“I told you Junior, do not touch strangers, okay?” The mother rebuked her son, and quickly turned to Queen who was looking in utmost admiration. “Sorry, ma,” she said and grabbed her son, who stopped in remorse.

Tears converged in her eyes as she watched the chemistry between the mother and the son, whose name coincided with hers. The tears snaked down her windswept cheeks as she imagined the pain and loneliness her son must have been through since she left, having deprived him of breast milk, the essential growth food for a baby. Her head engorged as goose bumps overshadowed her. She sat on the pedestrian walk, lacking hope and help as she cried over her life; a spilled milk.

Read Dawn to Dusk every Tuesdays on Memorila.com!

Series Navigation<< Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 16Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 18 >>

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E.C Micheals

E.C Michael, a graduate of Theater Arts, is a passionate writer who believes that stories should blend with education so as to help correct social vices in the world. His watchword is edutainment. He writes screenplays, novels, short stories and essays. When not writing, he is blogging or watching Game of Thrones and Designated Survivor.

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