I have been writing this for a while. I do not like the description ‘disabled’. I think it is a proud word. It says ‘oh i am better than so and so because I have an ability they don’t have.’ I think we are all disabled in some way. For most of us it isn’t physical. But we need all the help we can get to get out of bed some days. Let’s remember to be kind to each other, let’s remember we are all dealing with something and a kind word might just be all we need to begin the healing.
PS The Bible has to be one of my best go-to sources of inspiration. 1 Cor 13 is especially amazing. Read it!
It started to rain not too long after she ran out of the house; away from their fight and into the comfort of the world’s arms.
The rain started as a drizzle, as if the clouds were uncertain of a reason to weep. It didn’t take them too long to find a valid excuse to do so though and once they did, they let loose a deluge of tears on the world.
Ekwe worried about his wife, out there all alone, in a storm that seemed to have no intention of blowing over anytime soon. He picked up the phone to call her but pride and the bad words they had hurled at each other only a few hours ago got in the way and made him still his fingers from dialing her number.
“Dammit” he swore to himself as he realized that he didn’t even know if she had remembered to take the phone with her.
She was so stubborn. It always had to be her way or the highway. Even getting her the phone had been a problem. She had insisted she didn’t want him spending so much on a special phone just for her. Why couldn’t she just let him take care of her? He was mad at her for making him mad, for making him say things he really didn’t mean.
“You stay at home all day long. I provide for us while you do nothing; still all I get to come home to is your nagging. I am sick of it Ngozi, so sick of it.” He had yelled at her when she had inquired angrily about why he was late for the dinner she had lovingly prepared.
He had not needed to yell. She had been wearing her hearing aid after all but Ekwe had not been able to help it. He had lost a patient just that afternoon and had spent the night nursing a drink that was not big enough to drown his sorrows. He had totally forgotten it was supposed to be their date night.
Ngozi had not always been this way. Once upon a time, she was Zika, the fun loving girl who wore Ankara shorts everywhere, painted her nails purple and smelled like good dreams. The girl who would sleep on his chest just so she could dance to the sounds his heart made in her dreams. The girl who knew to leave him alone to mourn the times he failed at playing God.
Once upon a time things were perfect; once upon a time, she was perfect, once upon a time, he could do no wrong in her eyes.
But years had passed since that girl, Zika who loved him with no restraints, and water had flowed ceaselessly under the bridge, aided by storm clouds that had gathered unnoticed like cobwebs.
Now she was Ngozi, a wife, a frustrated painter who struggled with blank canvases, a disabled woman suddenly afraid of a world she had once embraced, a handicapped woman who had once flaunted her independence but now had to depend on others and machines for so much. She no longer painted her nails.
Ekwe could not tell exactly when she became Ngozi. It was definitely after the accident but not immediately after which meant he had no ready punching bag to beat up for what they had become. It was a combination of things that had led them here, he knew; time, the accident, the loss of the cockiness he once had as young surgeon, the uprooting from a place they never thought would stop being their home, global warming and more thunderstorms in the one year they had spent in New Orleans than they had had in all their 6 years together in Chicago…
It was getting dark outside and Ekwe could feel his blood pressure rising. Where could she be in this rain? What could she be doing that she wasn’t back home yet? Was the storm out there better than the one in here? How had they gotten to this place where all they did was fight, make up and then fight some more? Could she hear the thunder? Was she wearing her hearing aid? Did it scare her to see the lightning but never hear the ending it heralded? Was there no end to this?
He couldn’t take it anymore so he grabbed his car keys from the dining table they had brought with them from Chicago. He couldn’t count the many times they had succumbed to their desire for each other on that sturdy table top in the early years.
He didn’t know where the umbrella was or if they had one but he checked in the living room closet in any case. That was when and where he found her. Curled up in sleep like a little girl.
She must have come back in silently and sought shelter here. It filled Ekwe with shame to think that she would choose here over facing him, to think that his wife would choose to hide from him.
Even curled up amongst things they didn’t need, she looked so beautiful. If he looked closely, Ekwe knew he would find no scars of the accident that had taken almost all of her hearing. All the scars were inside where his surgeon hands couldn’t fix.
‘Ngozi!’ He said, shaking her gently from sleep.
‘I am sorry,’ He said later when he had made her coffee and was sitting at the table with her.
‘I will come home early more often. I will be better. I will try harder. I promise.’ He continued.
‘I am sorry too, sorry I need you so much, sorry I am not the girl I was once.’
‘You aren’t needy. You are you and I love you just the way you are.’ He lied because sometimes the truth was a lie that needed time for you to get comfortable with it.
He didn’t love that she no longer heard the sweet words he whispered in her ears late at night, just before she fell asleep. He didn’t love that every day when he came home, she would reach for her hearing aid first before reaching for him to say hello. He didn’t love that she no longer curled up on his chest. He didn’t love that all they ever did these days on the dining table was eat or drink coffee like they were doing now. He didn’t love that she put all her energy in painting masterpieces while her nails went bare.
She smiled a smile that was knowing but accepting of his lie at the same time, and reached out to squeeze his hands.
The same hands that had driven them into the embankment that night. The same hands that had cradled her bloodied head as he kept saying her name, Ngozichukwuka, over and over again until help came to take them to the hospital.
He wanted to tell her he was sorry for the accident but he knew it would come out as a whisper she could not hear. He closed his eyes instead and let himself get comfortable with the lie that he didn’t need or miss the carefree girl she once was. He closed his eyes and let himself get comfortable with the woman she had become and would become. Because that was what love did; ‘it rejoiceth when truth wins…’ and what was the truth if not lie that needed time for you to get comfortable with it?
“But now these three are remaining— faith, hope, love. But love is the greater of these”
Song of the day: Magic!: Rude (‘Marry that girl, marry her anyways’…Lol, this song makes me giggle)