To break Bread:
- to eat a meal, especially in companionable association with others.
- to distribute or participate in Communion
Omololu is on a gluten free diet. Another of those fads she tries out to lose weight in the parts of her body Bankole loves the most: her thighs and the way they straddle him when they make love, her stomach and the folds he likes to falls asleep in, her buttocks and the way they move when she walks fast…
Her smile too has been losing weight for a while now. Bankole wishes it was as simple a thing as another of these diets. Then he would get her to stop or wait it out till she got bored and craved croissants from the French bakery downtown.
Today though, he knows better than to add bread to the grocery cart he is pushing through the aisles. She had handed him the grocery list without a word as he announced his plans to restock their dwindling food supplies. He knew there and then that even though the sun shone brightly outside, it was going to be a cloudy day for him:
- Chicken soup
- Clam Chowder soup
- Spinach or Kale
- Turkey Breast
- Whatever fruits are on sale
- Chia seeds…
The first miscarriage had caught them by surprise. Tumi had been 2 by that time, conceived on their wedding night and carried to full term with no problems. She was a strapping 10 year old now, with 4 dead siblings she never got to meet.
The last miscarriage had been the hardest. Tumi, like most children had bounced back easily, flourishing like a plant watered with an unstoppable supply of hope. He for his own part had waited till his wife returned home from the hospital before holding her left hand in his right hand to say:
“We have Tumi. She is enough.
Omololu had said nothing but her tiny hand in his had gone limp so that it was as if she was there but not there.
He sees a flicker of it every now and then, the joy she used to have. It never shows up in response to him though and that feels even worse than death.
They are strangers again now, as they were in the beginning, except now they are the type that are not open to knowing or being known.
He has everything on the grocery list, including Tumi’s gooseberry cereal so he starts to head for checkout. That is when he sees them; the man, his wife and their daughter. The child cannot be more than 2 and it makes him smile with the memory of Tumi at that age. She only however catches his attention for a short while. It is the woman, the mother that holds it.
Omololu has been pregnant too many times for him to miss the signs of the invisible. The woman’s breasts look too full for her svelte figure and there is a glow to her that is unmistakable. There are eye bags beneath her eyes that tells him she hasn’t been getting enough sleep and that this is not the easiest of pregnancies. More importantly, it is the joy that stands her out. The joy of knowing she holds new life within her. It is a joy he has seen 5 times before in his own wife so it is not hard to recognize.
Bankole gets a quick look into their cart as he lets them go in front of him at the checkout. The man smiles his thanks as Bankole’s eyes spies Pumpernickel bread, 2 gallons of milk, Fruit Loops, eggs to feed an army and vegetables of different sizes and kinds.
It is the Pumpernickel bread though that gets him to retreat from the checkout counter and back into the aisles.
Ten years ago, while pregnant with Tumi, Pumpernickel bread was all Omololu had craved. He had never tried it himself. Bread was meant to be white or nothing else as far as he was concerned. He doesn’t even know till today where she had picked up a taste for it.
There are a few brands of the bread on the shelf and he picks two of the most expensive type.
Today, they will eat bread for dinner while Tumi eats her cereal. They will break bread like a family – he finds that even the thought of this is strange to him, the thought of sharing a meal with the two people he loves the most. This is how he knows it is the right thing to do.
When dinner is over, he will put his daughter to sleep and then find his way to his wife. He will kiss her sorry a million times. Sorry for saying the wrong things, Sorry for not saying the right things, Sorry for closing his eyes and seeing only blood rather than the children they could have, Sorry for being afraid, Sorry for not being there when the bleeding began the last time so that it was too late by the time he came up to put back the pieces together of Humpty Dumpy.
Then he will take his place between her thighs and begin to kiss the pain in her womb away. Finally he will find his way inside her and together, with renewed hope, they will make another child. His name will be Omotanwa, Adurodoluwakiijofo, Durotimi, Aderopo Dideolu.
The family and their Pumpernickel bread are long gone by the time he gets back to the checkout with his recently updated cart but no matter-he knows now what he must do. He is a man with a purpose.
Song of the day: Cory Ashbury – Strong Love