Posted in Contemporary, Life commentary, Short story

Fool’s gold

Fool’s gold                

© Folakemi Emem-Akpan

Barbara stood in their ultra-modern garage and admired her glistening car. Today, she’d had one of the office boys take the red Ford Kuga for detailing, and it shone like new.

Going through the door that connected the garage to their kitchen, she couldn’t stop smiling. Life was good. She was in line for the top position of her company, just waiting for good old Bob to retire. On days like this, when she was bone-tired from work, she was doubly glad there were no children to demand her attention. And then there was Mike, her husband of many years. She loved him more than a thousand children put together, more than the top dog position of S&L, more than life itself.

Mike, of the gentle disposition. Mike, the humorous. Mike, who loved nothing more than being at home with her. Mike, who’d finally accepted that a child wouldn’t be a part of their lives.

The kitchen was as modern as the garage, every gadget known to man displayed on gleaming surfaces. This was Mike’s territory. As a child, he’d been raised on fast food by a carefree mother and an irresponsible father. As a man, the place he found peace most was in the kitchen. He owned a restaurant downtown and doubled as both manager and head chef. Each evening, he usually had dinner ready for her, heavenly and hot.

But today, there were no smells from the kitchen. No piping garlic smell. No oily smell of frying fish. Nothing.

Suddenly frightened but without knowing why, Barbara dropped her bag on the white counter and stooped to unstrap her high-heeled sandals.

“Mike, I’m home.” The house was silent, eerily so, and her heart began a crazy and uneven race. The living room was dark but a lone light shone from the flight of stairs.

She was on the fourth step when she heard it. The sound of a wardrobe slamming. “Michael.” She ran up the stairs, hitching up her skirt. The door to their room was wide open, the huge bed buried under an avalanche of clothes. On the floor was a huge suitcase.

Michael was pulling out clothes from the walk-in wardrobe, his face contorted in concentration.

“Michael, what’s the matter? Where are you going?”

He looked her way but seemed not to see her but through her. Then he shook his head and returned to his chore.

“What’s happening here?”

When he replied, his voice seemed to come from a faraway place, from within his very soul. “Going away, that’s what I’m doing.”

For a full minute, she stood statue-still, the words refusing to form on her lips.

“Eighteen long years, Barbara. That’s how long we’ve been married. I was barely twenty-three, you twenty-two.” His eyes turned dreamy, as he pulled them both into remembrance. “I wanted a little baby immediately, but you had to go to college. And after college, you wanted to take professional exams…”

She started to interrupt but he held up a hand to cut her off. “And after that, you had to start a career. And after that, you had to establish the career. Honey, it just dawned on me that you never meant to be a mother. And if there’s anything I desire more than life itself, it’s a child. One that we can call our own, one that we can love and give all the privileges we were denied as children.” His eyes glistened with sudden tears.

She struggled to rise from the cobwebby depths to which she had fallen. “But Michael…”

“Forget it. You’d only give more excuses why we should wait. But we’re no longer kids. I’m forty-one, and some men my age are already granddads. I can’t take it anymore.”

A wall of grief sprang up from her stomach, rising to her chest, constricting, cutting off the words she should speak, the pleading she should do. She stood there, arms stiffly at her sides, the tears cascading from her eyes.

She stood there, watched as Michael finished packing, watched as he lugged the suitcase out of the room, and listened as his car purred to life outside.

Then she sank to the floor, still not speaking, but weeping like a dam damaged and untended.

 

Author:

A Christian striving for perfection, a writer, a wife, a mother, a reader; passionate about life and family.

8 thoughts on “Fool’s gold

  1. Thank you for your comment and your kind words. Indeed, two cannot walk together except they are agreed

    Like

  2. Your works I must say are very intriguing and captivating. To deserve a Laurette price for this. Well done and keep it up. In relationships, one need to take their time to find out every detail about their partner before tying the not. Two cannot walk together except they agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such is life in many cases, marriage is a journey you make with a person for life, better to get some basic knowledge of the person first and don’t be carried away by whatever.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This. I believe, a fallout of not having deep and meaningful conversations. It is always important to know where the other person stands per time per time. Thank you for taking the time to comment

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad. So sad.
    To come to a realisation in many years of marriage that you and your spouse would never have what you truly desire because it is not what your partner really and truly wants. It’s so sad to think you have waited in vain, and you are so mad at yourself for not seeing it, for missing it, that your spouse does not want children and never would. And perhaps, it’s also disturbingly clear that you would never be able to convince her to consider having one or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The silent undercurrents of accepting what you really never wanted to accept. The waking up and realising you want one thing and your partner wants another thing.

    We should always get these things clear before going to far into these relationships else the long-term effects can and will always be devastating

    Liked by 1 person

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