You met her on a bus.
Every day after work you sat in the tired bus. Exhausted, you’d recline into your seat, hug the window with your eyes and will the bus to take you. Take you anywhere. But every day after six stops it willed you out.
A cozy place on the fifth floor of this apartment overlooking the sea with a breathtaking view. A red and black themed living room. A bookshelf full of books. The sort of books that take you to distant lands and gift you sorrow, joy, freedom, anger, music, hate, love – things you had never known because you had never read these books. A large bedroom with the sort of bed that coloured your sleep with magical dreams, dreams you had never dreamt because you had never slept in this bed. A spacious kitchen fully equipped, pans dangling from the low hanging roof, fine china, exotic spices – the sort of spices that are a journey to foodie heaven. A place you had never been because you had never cooked in this kitchen. And finally a large couch, the sort of couch that called to you as soon as you turned the key and soothed you to an empty sleep – the only sort of sleep you had known since you spent most of your time on that couch. The place you dreamt of when you were growing up; a place you could call home. But you didn’t.
Until the day you met Sabina.
Tall, long neck, eyes that reminded you of December, kinky hair in an afro, a sky blue bag in one hand, a potted orchid in the other. She entered the bus packed with depleted souls. She stood next to you. Without a second thought you stood and offered her your seat: the perfect gentleman. Except you don’t know the meaning of these two words so you didn’t offer your seat, instead you looked at her and her flower and wondered why she was carrying an orchid. Then her phone rang with a shrill ringtone that startled you as much as it startled her. She reached into her bag for the phone and dropped the flower pot on you. It hit you hard.
‘My flower also hates a man who doesn’t offer a lady a seat…’ she mumbled.
‘What?’ you asked, looking at her sharply.
‘I am so sorry,’ she said.
Her voice was soft, her eyes smiling and she was anything but sorry. You smiled and with that smile offered her your seat in the bus and your couch in your apartment.
Sabina was full of life. She breathed home into your apartment. She brought her orchid with her which she nurtured and watched bloom by the window. She got into your kitchen and together you created that heaven of food that had so eluded you, from Paleo Chili to Grapefruit Chicken. After dinner, you read from your bookshelf, sitting on the carpet and discovered places like Davao and Vienna and followed the characters as they followed their loves and hates in these places. When you couldn’t read anymore, you lay in your bed for long hours talking, imagining a future together and planning for that future before moving hand in hand into the world of dreams. Dreams you lived every day when you married Sabina.
You now have a home and a wife. You are just about to lose both and you don’t know.
When you married Sabina you promised yourself you’d make her the happiest woman on earth. She’d given you a home and you’d give her happiness. You told her to leave work, stay at home, relax, you’d provide for her. Anything she needed she just had to ask and you’d get it for her. She smiled, hugged you tight and held you to herself for a little longer than usual before letting you go.
Besides reading the books, trying out different recipes, and watering the orchid by the kitchen window, Sabina got bored sitting at home all day by herself. She talked to you about this many evenings when you came from work; you kissed her playfully and said many young women would die to be in her position. She forced a smile and thought she would die in that position. When she started going out during the day to chat with the other women in the apartment you got angry and told her to stay indoors. Those women were a bad influence. You forbade her to step outside.
Sabina, being Sabina, went out every day. And when you asked her in the evening if she’d been out she nodded in the affirmative. You got angry and hit her. Every day she went out. You came home in the evening. Every day you hit her. She looked at her flower.
Sabina has been out talking with the women today. They never ask her about the swollen eyes or the bruises. She never mentions them. This evening she is waiting for you to get home, to hit her. Her orchid has finally dried out.
She too will die.
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr