ENLIGHTENMENT : A CONTEMPORARY NOVEL, WRITTEN BY BEATRICE FOFANA
October 22, 2021
It was dark; she knew because the birds had started “chipping ”. It has been dark in her mind for a while now. She also knew that it was going to be a long night. The pillows were cold, just the way she likes them from a hot day outside. Truth is she has always preferred them warm by someone she likes. She lay on the pillow gently, eyes wide open but seeing nothing around her, she caressed the other pillow with no thought, that it is actually cold. Her mind has flown out to the events of the previous night.
She bit her lips softly as if she needed to punish them on why she had to say something. If wishes were horses; “I should have just let him be” she said aloud as she got up to go to the toilet. Slamming the door of the lure and making up her mind to pee.
Now the toilet sit is up, but she doesn’t even have someone to blame. She pulled her night gown up and hit the cold seat, she never wears any under garment at night, I have always wondered why,…so out came the pee. Well the benefit of peeing that’s easy as opposed to how she struggles to pee when she is out of the house – it never makes any sense. I can remember seeing her take off four garments to get a pee. I heard her say once that she hates wearing pants at night because she needs things to breathe.
As she sat on the cold seat, enjoying that feeling of releasing pee, she drops her face on her open hands which were supported by her knee that are tilted upwards letting her toes touching the soft rug on the base of the toilet seat. She stayed there until she almost fell asleep.
She was rudely startled from that sweet small pure nap by the ringing of her phone she had left on the bed. She stared towards the room for 23 seconds as she wish it will just go off, “how can a phone battery last this long” she thought. Her phone has been blowing off ringing since morning. Finally the ringing went off. She sighs in relief.
She felt her legs getting the freeze, the pins and needles you get from sitting so long in the toilet.
But that sleep, I mean that nap she got there is a miracle, she has been trying to sleep since she slammed the door at him at about 10:00pm. It’s now 10:30pm, in 24hours 30 minutes and nothing in connection to sleep has passed through her eyes, maybe the toilet seat has the magic. But what is it about the bathroom that has got her to sleep, is it the sitting position? or the funk of Dettol mixed with harpic gel? or the fresh Alate-Gold -Sheba soap from Ghana? ; she thought; “God I Love That Soap” she said almost aloud.
In a flash, she got it again and now she needs to entertain it, the thought of her husband leaving her. She has been keeping the pain of that thought abbey for over 24 hours; it’s just too raw to dwell on right now. He left? Wow after 5years, 2 months and 13 days. “God it has to be me, what is my problem” she shouted unashamedly as she crawled down on the rug at the base of the toilet chamber. “Why can’t I say my feeling without upsetting him, is it wrong to confront your cheating husband? But I waited until he got home, that’s what my church mothers advised me;…. she said I should not embarrass him outside the home” She kept crying until she caught herself in the act at the ring of her phone again. She wipedher face as if to fake it to the ringing phone that she is fine. And she finally flushed the yellow pee in toilet.
She has been a very health conscience person all her life. So she took time to think about that yellow urine. That is just who she is, as her soul I know that. Nothing is taken for granted when it comes to her health. “Can it be the alcohol I have been taking endlessly; “oh oh I have not drank water since 2AMish” she recalled. Now she knows she needs to drink water. Sluggishly she passed her room, ignoring her phone as if it has never called on her. She was determined to drink some water at least for the sake of her liver, that yellow pee is no good sign.
She came to the sitting room, and head on she faced their wedding photo. You know the big framed one all wives make after the big day? Exactly, that one you just envisioned. In a flash she felt a wave of hope as she reminisces how he had loved her, “look at that smile” she said smilingly, the first smile in 28 hours. It is 12 midnight already. She ignored him, I mean the picture, but all of a sudden hope filled her heart. Thoughts that he will come back to his senses and come back to her just flood her mind. He is my husband after all, she thought.
She took a huge bottle of water, her favourite Brand, Grafton spring water…..she knows drinking it was the best choice.
She lifted it up and made a resolve to go half way with it. She went for it, 33 seconds straight on tilted head, gulping and swallowing. She decides that she has had enough, or maybe her head hurts, I suppose. She looks at the bottle and she was ¾ths gone. “Wow” she said in admiration, “I doubted myself” must have been her second thought. She tried to put on the cap on the open bottle but it keeps derailing as she was looking elsewhere and paying no attention to it. She was screening the room, the dishes are still in the sink. The fish the house-help had made for their usual Saturday dinner is still sitting on the table as perfectly as Amina knows how. She is good at what she does you know, she has always appreciated her. She took a few steps to the dining table and open the vegetables bowl which was transparent. The thin film is still on it.with the bottle cap on one hand and the bottle on another. She perceived that lime wrenching smell as she lift off the lid. “The tomatoes are now waterish, she must have washed them with vinegar, or maybe she use that Italian dressing that has vinegar and garlic—-Hmmmm that man loves this salad”, she thought. She has always wondered why, Italian salad dressing has never sits well with her bowels, but she has always given specific information on the way her husbands like it……Oh ya , the things women do for love.
She dropped the bowl in sink, her usual sign that the food is no longer edible, she left that mess in the sink, and she walked through the sloppy sitting room as it is, making no effort to fix it as her usual self would have. She put her head down and finally closed the bottle.
She walks towards the door to check the locks, and there it laid! the fluffy white cushion she had thrown on him in frustration as he walks towards the door. It was not the walking away that frustrated her, it was what he said “you are just impossible to be married to, I am leaving you for good” he had said. She was stunned by those words. She had opened her mouth to speak but he quickly continued “she never nags at me and she knows about you, she knows I am married and she respects that”. If this where a “Tiffany Haddish” Character in a movie, I think she would I have said “ oh no you didn’t, you did not just say that” and for sure snitches would have gotten stitches at that point. But she, I mean myself and my body took the “Cookie Lyon” movie character move, not with the shoe thou, but……………………………. a soft, fluffy white cushion. I mean a very soft white fluffy pillow, I mean, the one with feathers. It did not even hit him, it was a fraction of a seconds late to hit his perfect bum as he slams the door. The dammed thing had hit the door and fell flat on the floor.
Damm, I knew that she has lost this on both sides. First she did not say what she wanted to say and secondly, the soft, fluffy white cushion did not even hit this mean man’s fine ass.
She shook her head in disappointment as she bend down to pick the soft, fluffy white cushion from the floor. She had done this just because it’s white. She can ignore everything but not her whites on the floor.
She opens the window cottons slightly to check for her gateman, wondering why he has not knock to check on her. He is not on his bench at the centre of the gate as usual, she was tempted to open the window and call him. She held back, but as she tilts he head to close the window cotton she saw the shadow of a foot at an angle the window can allow her see. The gateman was at the front pouch. She didn’t know what to think of the gateman’s new location. “Whatever” she said as she waved her hand in “I don’t Care” attitude. This gateman is the last thing on her worry list. She drags her feet and dangles the bottle of water in her hand as she makes her way to the room. “Crieeee” her bed room door open, “Gbamm” she slams it in disgusted with the old week door “crieee” sound. She flung herself on the bed and lay her forehead on the water bottle to cool off her head from the last horrible day and night that has lingered and have no end in sight.
The night has become painfully quite, even the birds have stopped singing, they must have slept, “they are not heartbroken like me” she thought.
She has not slept in almost 48 hours; she knew she cannot go on like this. She keeps wondering what she can do to sleep. She picked up her phone which has not rang for at least 10 minutes. I suppose even the callers are sleeping.
She open it and the password screen pop-up, she type in his birth-date which has been her password since they met. She didn’t notice at all that she just type his birth-date, it just a password and it has been so long that she does not even take notice of it, at this point typing in her password is a reflex action.
She has 74 missed calls, the most she has ever had, 16 SMS and 605 WhatsApp messages [mostly from groups]. She struggled on the decision on what to click first, SMS, calls or WhatsApp. SMS are more personal, people hardly forward junk on SMS. On that note she decided to check her messages, 10 already are from the network notifying her of her missed calls. Ok her mum has sent 2, very strange, she must have been desperate. And oh crap, she shouted, her heart is missing several beats, or is it pounding 200bpm. Its him texting……Six text from “My Love” as that the way she has saved his number in her phone.
Without thinking she open the first one, sent about 6:45 pm… “I never meant for this to happen I hope you understand.” she reads it aloud; She chocks and she could feel like she wants to cough, there is a monalisa (the Portrait) look on her face, not a smile nor a cry, not sad nor happy. She wonders what lay in the message sent at 6:43 pm precisely 2 minutes before what she just read. She needs to read it to clear her mind, maybe it just the valium she needs to go to sleep. Her finger like a gentle caress on a cubby baby’s face rubs through the message and opens it, it reads “Terrified*”. Terrified with an asterisk what does that even mean. She moved on to the Next message at 6:42 pm and it reads “I have fallen out of love with you, She is pregnant and she needs me, but she understood you needed me, so she let me come to you every night I really do love you but I am testified of what you knowing will do to our marriage.”
Now I get the second message it was a correction of a typo of the first message. Wow!!! He meant every bit of it. He read it over and saw that there is a typo, and made corrections.
This time around she wanted to cry but just could not, she held the phone parallel to her eyes, balance the bottle of water properly to the edge of her head, slide her finger to the power off button and turn off the blue light that shines on her face. The room went pitch black. you can now hear her heart beat violently if your where the pillow or the headboard of her bed. Her head was warm, her feet shock in a reflex with no connection to the rest of her body. That must be hard; she just took a course on anger management since he was always upset with her accusing her of anger issues. Can the tools she learned come handy to help her rage now? Can she manage her anger? She has to manage it for herself, tools or no tools, she is alone tonight, and she has to manage this for herself. Her mind went blank, she slept off almost immediately. There is nothing to think about, its over.
“Madam i will break this door ooo, madam open the door now” She has been hearing this voice, but it seems part of her dream. I saw how she shock side to side to make it go away. She is really drunk in her sleep, she has falling asleep for barely three hours. “Madam, madam” the gateman persist in calling. This time she woke up abruptly… “yes!! Yes I’m coming, she replied. After a minute of regaining her sense, she grabbed her bed side clock, which has already alarmed and went to snooze twice, its Monday and it’s 9:03 AM. “Madam, its me Amadu” the gateman cried. Without answering or saying a word she worked to the door and opens it. .
“Madam good morning” Amadu bowed as she greeted her “Madam i am sorry, i heard you crying last night so i came to the front door to monitor your sound and movement, i am sorry ma.” He said with his head bowed almost apologetically
Amadu, i am fine, but thank you for looking out for me” She said smiling sadly….. “if anybody come asking for me tell them i am not in” she ordered. She slammed the door and went back to bed praying that she can get back that sweet sleep she was just rudely woken from.
Her head hurts a little, but she knew it because she was in shock and has not had enough sleep. She thought about her mums message she had seen but not read, maybe its time to read it. She reached out for her phone. Its only 2% charged, she quickly went to messenger and open her mum message “hello lovely, my medications are running out, remember the doctor said we have to visit him when I am done with this medication, I hope you will make time to take me on Monday”.
She was shocked, not because the message was shocking but the thought that no one knows what’s going on with her and her marriage for the past 54 hours. Wow her mum has no idea. Really, and here she was thinking that all these calls where in relation to her marital problem. So what the heck let mecheck her other message. She reads it with relaxation on her mind that does not match the squint on her eyes “ I have been trying to reach you Jeneba,I have made my sons-in-law favorite; orbiata soup and foo foo oh, tell me if you can pick it up or should I put it in the fridge?”.
Oh God, she thought, she has shut out the world for almost two days, not even her mum knows what is going on, and she is the closest person to her. Now she thought, what are the odds that the order text messages from the office are not just about something else. She open the message from her Assistant from the office Elizabeth, she has texted her about the corrections she has made to the presentation due on Monday at 1 PM to one the biggest accounts their company has ever even have the opportunity to compete for. She has been calling to check if she can come over so they can simulate their presentation. She looked around and relies that her world is bigger than what she has made it to be for the last 2 days.
At this time her phone has gone completely off. She worked over to the charging area and plugged her phone and set it on her coffee table at the foot of the bed. She sat in one of the chairs and thought of her mum and by extension her sister who is having a baby soon and she has promised to throw her a baby shower, she thought of her enviable job that she enjoys and love so much, a flood of joy runs through her mind as she thought of her friends every Wednesday “drinks-after-work” thingy, the laughs they share made her smile for the second time in two days.
She just realize her life is really bigger than the past nights, her thoughts, or even her unreasonable resolution.
Thank God, now I can exhale, with that realization I now know she has come back to the seat of the soul. I am in her, but she usually does not come to me when she wants what she want. she just stays in her mind, but look, I see it all, I know what you are and what you are worth, now lean in to me, your soul and see how powerful you are. You figure out things are not bigger than you mind lets it believe if you lean in to the soul. She gets it now, she realize how much the world needs her.
She hits the shower and put on her favourite gospel songs collection. As she muttered the word of “I’m gonna wait on you” her favourite gospel song from elevation worship. She dresses in her come back black dress and pink blazer, strut the highest pair of pumps she owns and heads out. As she steps out, she smells the air, smiled at Amina who was sitting on the front pouch waiting that luck will smile on her and make madam open the door. “Please clean the house properly and make me pepper soup” she instructed her with a smile. “Amadu open the gate” she instructedas she climbed on her Bugatti, turn on the switch whiles her car door was still open, she made her favourite selection of Nigerian high praise music by Joe praise, she settled in to the grove of the music and slams her car door. She changed the gear, made a last glance at her lipstick and makeup, and finally drove off.
That’s the spirit and yes I see it all, the highs the low and that moment of enlightenment that leads to acceptance of what our life is, rather than holding on what it is suppose to be. The power to enlarge the essence of your life by bringing power to what is working and letting go of what is not is true enlightenment.
Your body nor mind has these power but your soul does, feed your soul with what is positive and lean on it when life boxes you into a corner.
About the Author
Beatrice Fofana is the founder and host of *THE THINK TALK PODCAST* a podcast dedicated to teach people how to get up from the ashes of hurt,regret, depression and pain to face life with their own power of sheer will. She has hosted more than 50 episodes on anchor.fm and her podcast are available on all podcasts platforms including apple podcasts. She is passionate about helping people live their best lives. She also visit schools and teach pupils on emotional intelligence a component she thinks is missing from the school curriculum but forms a strong force in the success of individuals in the 21st century.