He stood over her still holding the scissors in his hands, she could feel his breath on her face, she was so sure she was going to die that night. “Please don’t kill me” she begged again hoping to appeal to his conscience; slowly he lowered his hand, dropping the scissors on the floor, then he turned to walk away and went back to the room to lay his head to rest.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she opened her eyes still surprised that he didn’t do anything to harm her in his rage, she stood in the bathroom for a while staring at herself at the mirror and reminiscing on how close she came to meeting her creator in the last few minutes. Jeff had never been violent to her, not once in all their 5 years of marriage, “how could he suddenly become a monster overnight?” She thought, it was all too absurd for her to comprehend.
After a few minutes, she went into the room to put on her clothes, Jeff was fast asleep, she was too scared to lie on the same bed with him for fear that he might wake up much later and decide to strangle her to death, so she went to Jojo’s room and slept with her instead.
She had barely slept a few hours, when her alarm rang waking her up to get ready for work, she usually left the house very early leaving Lola to get Jojo ready for school because her office was far from home and her boss had zero tolerance for lateness.
She worked in the marketing department of a small company and her job involved marketing the company’s products to potential customers; she didn’t earn a fixed salary, her pay was dependent on how many customers she was able to convince to patronise the company’s products. Although she tried her best every month, her salary was usually only enough to cater to her needs and those of Jojo if she was lucky. Now that Jeff no longer had a job, she was forced to work extra hard to make ends meet and being queried for getting to work late was the last thing she needed.
She left Jojo sleeping on the bed and went back to her room to prepare for work, Jeff was awake sitting on the bed and fiddling with his phone when he walked in; she pretended not to notice and walked towards the bathroom, then he dropped his phone and ran to catch up with her before she locked the door, “I’m so sorry baby, I don’t know what came over me last night, I was drunk, I wasn’t myself” he begged, “you know I’d never do anything to hurt you” he continued, “I’ve never laid a finger on you since the day we met, why would I want to start now?” He begged , “same thing I asked myself last night” she mumbled, “Im sorry” he said kneeling down, I promise you, It’ll never happen again” he begged, “I was just frustrated.”
“It’s okay! I’ve forgiven you” she said helping him up slowly, “although it’s going to be difficult for me to feel safe around you again.”
“I swear on my life, I will never do anything to harm you, I cross my heart” he said placing his hand on his chest, she knew he was genuinely sorry but a part of her was scared that what happened yesterday was only the beginning of more horrible things to come.
She also feared that if he continued drinking the way he did the previous night, he might develop one of those serious medical problems caused by taking too much alcohol, possibly pancreatitis. That was the first one to come to her head because she had seen it in a medical tv documentary she had watched a few days earlier.
She learnt that pancreatitis was an inflammation or injurious process to the pancreas, an organ in the upper abdomen responsible for producing chemical substances that aid digestion of food and regulation of blood sugar. It was a condition that could occur suddenly and last for a few days or occur over a period of years. Although it had other causes such as infection, injury to the abdomen and smoking, alcohol was the major cause that concerned her, especially with what happened the previous night. The doctor in the program had explained that if pancreatitis was mild, it could go on it’s own but severe pancreatitis could be life threatening.
After a long embrace with Jeff, she hurriedly ran to the bathroom to shower and prepare for work as she was running late.
Jeff spent the rest of the week applying to different companies for both jobs that existed and those that didn’t but nothing seemed to work out for him, he found himself being forced to stay back home doing nothing most of the time, he had tried to apply for loans but most of his loan applications were rejected.
“Everything is going to be fine” Lara would always assure him when she returned from work, “this is just a phase, it will pass”, but he didn’t see how any miracle could possibly happen, it was getting to the end of the month and there were bills to be paid.
Just when he was beginning to think all hope was lost, he got a call from one of the banks he had applied to for a business loan asking him to come in for a meeting they scheduled for the following week. He had been so happy that he made dinner that night and shared the good news with Lola and Lara while they ate at the dining table.
“I told you it was just a phase” Lara said giving him a peck on the nose, “I’m definitely sure you’re getting the loan.” She added with a smile. Jeff’s mood began to lighten up from that day as he eagerly looked forward to the day of the meeting with each passing day.
Finally, the day came and he arrived at the bank an hour earlier, he didn’t mind that he had to sit down waiting to be attended to because he thought it was better he waited than risk losing his opportunity if he got caught in traffic or any other Unforeseen event.
“The manager would like to see you now in her office” the secretary announced, pointing towards the door at the end of the hallway after he had waited anxiously for over an hour. “Her office?” He thought to himself, all along he had imagined he was coming to attend some sort of conference meeting where he would have to defend his loan request and even if it wasn’t, he had just never imagined that the manager would be a woman.
He jumped up from his chair, adjusting his jacket with both hands and walked down the corridor knocking on the door when he reached it, “do come in” a female voice called out to him. He stood for a moment, took a long deep breath and said a short prayer before finally turning the door knob to let himself in.
“Oh my goodness!” He exclaimed in shock leaving the door open, when he saw who the manager was, “Ellen Coker?”
He said pointing at the lady sitting behind the desk with her arms folded across her chest, “it’s Ellen Dada” she corrected, “you didn’t think I was going to remain single forever after you left me to marry that woman, did you?” She added sarcastically, “I..I…I’m just surprised to see you here.” Jeff stammered, “I’m not surprised that you’re surprised” she said swinging round in her chair, “kindly shut my door and take a seat” she added pointing at the door that was now wide open.
Jeff turned around to shut the door, he didn’t know if it was better to just walk out altogether or if he should stay and see if things would actually turn out well. The possibility that the whole meeting had been a pre-planned trap to humiliate him suddenly dawned on him, “stupid me” he thought blaming himself, “I should’ve known that it was too good to be true”…….