“Mummy tell Steve to leave me alone” my daughter Mary said. Their noise was becoming unbearable and I yelled at both of them to shut up.
“Will you to be quiet, now go to your rooms” I said bad temperately.
At that moment they both cringed away from me as if in fright. I was becoming bad tempered lately, easily irritated and constantly edgy. Donald my husband often tasted this bitter bickering. I was always nagging him and I just couldn’t remember the last time that I laughed or had a good time. I wasn’t a particularly happy person anymore, oftentimes I felt empty and incomplete.
Donald came home late as usual that night and unfortunately for him I was awake. As he crept into our bedroom I turned on the bedside lamp and spoke. “Welcome home Mr. late night, we thought you weren’t coming home today so no one bothered waiting on your lordships dinner”. i began.
Donald took one long look at me, and said nothing. Rather he proceeded in removing his clothes. As he took off his jacket I continued to nag at him about his irresponsible behaviour. The only thing Donald said was” look woman I want to sleep goodnight!” he said turning his back on me. I was ready for a fight, I was too ready and I continued to nag at him, but he ignored me.
When I was exhausted I slept off.
Something doesn’t feel right, I opened my eyes it was still dark, I looked at the table clock it was two thirty a.m. in the morning, what had awaken me? I wondered. l turned on the bed, Donald was not there, I sat up and saw him sitting in the shadows. “What? I asked frightfully, what is it?” I asked again. Donald lit a cigarette and said “Tina I want a divorce”. I wasn’t sure heard him correctly. “What?” I repeated again.
He lit a cigarette, took a long pull from it and blew the smoke in my direction and repeated himself. This time after a lengthy silence had passed I asked “why Donald”?
“Isn’t it obvious we’ve fallen apart, this marriage is a sham, we fight all the time, and we never have anything in common anymore. We find it hard to be civil to each other”. He said in one breath “I will be moving out tomorrow morning” he said finishing off.” What about the children?” I asked. “The children will be fine I will be making adequate arrangements with my lawyer on when you can have them because you are unfit to take care of them”. He announced. Now that got to me and I was really mad. What did he mean by unfit was he crazy? I started to call him unprintable names and he got up and silenced me by saying” I am not ready to fight with you my mind’s made up, look at you” I stopped wondering what he was trying to tell me. “You are a stranger to me and the children you are not the same person I knew and married the children are frightened to death of you and don’t tell me you don’t know because we’ve argued over this many times. My god doesn’t it occur to you that I cannot live with you anymore like this nor can the children. You are abusive towards them, you are rude and uncouth, you do whatever you like and want without a care about anyone in this family but yourself and yet when we are among people you put up a front it is sickening and dishonest” He told me with eyes blazing.” Is that all” I asked rolling my eyes at him.
“Is that all?” he repeated “don’t u get it Tina I can’t live with you, I don’t love you anymore, you are an embarrassment to me and the children, I want out of this marriage, I need my peace of mind without your constant bitching and irresponsible behaviour”.
With that he left for Steve’s room. Sometimes he slept there to avoid me. The wind was taken away from my sail; I sunk back into the bed and thought about what Donald had said. I bet it’s all an empty threat, he had often said so in the past.” To hell with him I hate him”, I announced aloud to the empty room. Stubbornly I thought if he wants a divorce I was ready to give him one after all I was a successful business woman I have my work and money in the bank to hell with him I thought again.
Mary, Steve come downstairs I want to talk with you. I shouted for my children they both came quickly I guess they didn’t want to incur my wrath. I was taking a bit aback; with this realisation I admit it was a little disturbing. Sit down I told them. They sat across from me and I realised just how vulnerable these two were. They were my life and he wasn’t going to take them away from me. “Your dad and I are getting a divorce…” I said bluntly. “About time you two did” my son spoke up without allowing me to finish. I was taken aback! “You have been expecting this?” I asked. “Well mum we have both discussed this and we know that you and dad aren’t happy together and we think to be better if you got a divorce”. “Don’t worry we’d visit you regularly” my 14 year old daughter quickly added.
“You mean to tell me you both agreed with your dad to leave me alone all alone? I am your mother for god sake” I said hurting all over. You haven’t being acting exactly like one in recent times and we prefer daddy”. Steve said defensively I couldn’t believe what I was hearing obviously Donald had turned the children against me he’ll pay for this. Look at them ingrates…. No, not ingrates, these weren’t my children, they are strangers I don’t know these people. “I guess it’s too late to ask what I did wrong to deserve your hatred Hun. Obviously you don’t care what happens to me, I am your mother for god sake!” I cried out in despair. “Then act like one” Mary blurted out shakily “I have done my best you are both turning against me” I said ignoring her cries, perhaps you want a new mother, would you prefer me dead? Hun? Is that…is that it? I stammered with anger. “Does your dad have a new girlfriend? Do you like her better than me?” I started bickering at them again.
I began to abuse them and finally turned them out of the house. They were both crying outside where I had thrown them. The house was suddenly very quiet and I thought to myself I don’t need them the sorry lot! Thank heavens I am alone now.
I sat back on the sofa in the living room and tried to continue with my embroidery, I continued sewing till it was dark I didn’t know when the time had gone by. I switched on the television. It was all family sitcoms on air. I change the channels and I gasped out aloud “what is this world turning into? Romantic films! Poof! I turned off the television. I might as well go to bed.
The bed felt so cold and empty, it even seemed larger than usual or was it my imagination, was the bed expanding in size? Suddenly the room was in total darkness. I was seized with fear, a sudden fear that I was not familiar with. A gust of wind blew into the room upsetting the family picture frame on my dressing table right before my eyes, the picture seemed to move on its own accord and fell to the ground breaking into bits. I couldn’t understand what was happening, I was terrified beyond all comprehension, I couldn’t scream but yet I found myself flying out of the bed in a great hurry. There was something evil lurking in the dark and I had to get away. The children! Were there safe? I dashed to their rooms, they were in their beds but something did not seem right. I moved closer to Mary’s bed and discovered a monster instead of Mary on her bed. I screamed running away from her room it seemed everywhere I went in this big empty house I was chased by shadows and voices. As if that wasn’t bad enough kept on hearing echoes, the voices sounded like mine in a thousand places echoing the very words that I had used earlier “thank heavens I am alone, I hate you Donald, leave me alone! What do I care?” The voices were getting to me and I started to cry “I am so sorry”. I was so afraid and miserable I kept on crying and saying I am sorry but the voices wouldn’t stop their continued torment. Every time I stop to catch my breath I continued to hear my own voice ringing in my ears. I couldn’t take it anymore so I started to scream as hard as I could.
“Tina! Tina!” Donald started to shake me and soon enough I open my eyes and began to slowly realise that it was all a dream, a very real dream and I began to shiver uncontrollably.
“I am so sorry” I began to cry “I know I haven’t been a good wife, please don’t leave me, I can’t bear to be away from you. You have been the best husband anyone can ever have and I just don’t realise how lucky I have been, I know I have not been a good wife and mother but I swear i will change just give me another chance, don’t divorce me.
Donald responded “divorce?”
This Short Story was written sometime in 1997