That time, I had not got pregnant yet, and when he told me about it, I went literally mad. I began to fret and wonder why he was so heartless as to do such grave things to me. And the worst of it all was that my reaction, prompted by my friends’ advice to that revelation, had turned out to be the chief stumbling block to my continuous marital bliss.
It would have been better if he had not opened his mouth to tell me at all. Should I blame his ignorance?
I had been a mood reader, a very good one, long before I even met Collins and when I saw his face wearing that sad look that day. I knew something grave was amiss. For the seven months we had been together as a married couple, I could differentiate between his moments of sadness and happiness, of his joy and sorrow, which occurred once in a blue moon. That was why I did not find it very difficult that it was a negative façade that day. No artist can vividly construct on the face the thoughts conveyed by the mind, that is true, but when I see kettle and I see pot, I should know the difference or else I would be judged blind. I know clearly the difference between the two. It is good if one is ill to know his pill, as far as Collins was concerned, I knew my pill.
Because of the make-up, his face was wearing, I was all out to act my role of a comforter as his second half. After all, what was the fun in marriage if my partner fell into a psychological pit and I could not send a ladder down to him, in form of encouragement and advice for him to climb back to life? It would amount to selfishness. It would be much easier to explain if the person in question, who needed help was not married. In that case, his help would have come from good Samaritans. But this was different because I was there.
I looked at him searchingly again and what I saw on his face frightened and saddened me the more. It was a complete eyesore that flouted all the rules of happiness and it gave me serious displeasure to see that temporary (or was it permanent) mask of sadness and apathy, glued to his face like he was some horror masquerade. It was itching inside of me to damask him and make him happy, and if possible return his joviality and cheerfulness.
“Darling”, I called like a woman about to dupe her husband in a tricky way.
“Your face is making me afraid and restless.”
“How?” he managed to ask, trying to disguise his difficulty and emotional miasma.
“I mean you are not looking happy at all,” I said.
“Is that what you mean? I am happy.”
“No, you are not. What is wrong sweetheart?” I had asked reassuringly.
“Nothing, really”, He answered again, feigning courage and confidence to handle his problem himself. But the inner feelings conveyed by his outward mien still showed on his face, so I probed further.
“Are you very sure?” I asked again.
“But your face doesn’t wear this look always, that is why I am worried.”
“Don’t worry. It’s nothing serious. “He sighed. “Nothing, I will get over it.”
“Get over what, darling,” I cried out.
“We’ll talk about it later.”
“Why not now? Is somebody dead? Have I done anything wrong. Please forgive me… tell me, what have I done?”
“Nothing. You are not the problem. Rather, you should be the solution. Just exercise patience and pull yourself together.
Okay? I will tell you about it later, right?”
“Yes”, I replied.
Collins had a way of making me follow his own suggestion and that was why without arguing further, I surrendered.
But I was still not comfortable seeing him look like he had lost a big fight. I looked at him dismally, while he gently pulled off his shoes, shaking his stockings in the air around him as he did. I was worried about him and I was ready to take up the fight on his behalf, whatever the danger that was lurking behind the corner. As a clear testimony to my commitment to offer him a helping hand, to support him sort of, I began to look at him quizzically, his face still maintained that angry and depressed look.
“Darling, what is it? Please tell me now?” I asked, my voice carrying a tinge of anxiety.
“Later, please,” he replied. “I am tired. Let me sleep first.”
I looked at him with a glare of defiance and he noticed it. As if he sensed that that anger, he apologised.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to hurt you but I will tell you later.”
“It’s okay,” I replied. I shook my head, and left him. Not quite long after, he fell asleep even before his food was ready. It dawned on me truthfully that he was very tired. I wanted him up to eat before he slept fully but I decided against it.
…to be continued