“Mom? Where’s daddy? Why is not the one taking us to school today?” The questions flew fast and thick, as innocent as there were, it felt like a spear poking at Mabel’s heart, automatically she switched on that million megawatts smile and roughed up her daughter’s hair (aware that Isabel hated this little act of motherly love) at which the girl quickly pulled away but not fast enough as Mabel with ease placed a smooth hand on the small delicate head, much to the complaints of her child, Michael sat at the back, sucking on a Barney shaped flask, intelligent eyes following the battle of wits between his mother and sister.
“Daddy had to work really hate honey, but am sure he’ll be back in time to bring you home and have lunch with us” She was upbeat and cheerful, she had to be for their sakes, maybe it was working for her but not on either of the kids, beneath the jovial expression, she simmered , lines of worry creased her delicately boned face, with good reason too. Jeff had never done something like this before, he always kept her informed, almost NEVER slept out , that was a rule, well besides the yearly managers conference which he chaired and even that was on weekend and he came back home the next day, this was nothing like that . something was clearly amiss, she did not like being in the dark, another disturbing event was the alert from the bank they both had a joint account with, informing her of a withdrawal, the timing was odd and raised even more questions and very little answer, relax she said to herself, there could have been an emergency somewhere and he hated carrying cash around. A devout Christian and good mother, she believed within her that nothing was beyond solution and of course she would not hesitate to dish out a good portion of her anger on him when he got home, not even his sweet talking and kisses would bail him out this time. He had better have a damn good explanation; she stole a peek at the phone lying next to the stacks of books, no recent event. None of her calls to him had gone through and he had not called back either,
The blue and red gates of Spring of Life International School came in to view, she slowed the car to a moderate speed till they came to a halt, Mabel knew she had to be strong, no matter how trying the events of the future would be-had she not prayed this morning, and all her life? Warding off any threat to her marriage and family? She believed that the rock which their love was built on would hold steady no matter what troubles the clouds brought, on the visor a picture of him and the kids during a vacation at Disney land stared down at her and she felt reassured
“We are here! The last one to the gates is a monkey’s baby’ it was a game all three of them had invented, and the winner usually got something extra in his or her lunch pack the next day. She got out and opened the back seat for Michael, and then she watched as they raced to the gates, where an elderly man escorted them beyond a giant glass screen and immaculate gardens with cartoon characters tacked on the walls, they turned to wave and she blew kisses at them, then there were gone. Feeling all alone again like she had the previous night in their bed, hours after she had made dinner , fed the kids and dozed off on the sofa, waiting for his return, his plate was still untouched when she scrambled awake, a tear stole down her cheek and she knuckled it away, this had to stop she said to herself about the hundredth time, she scolded herself for not keeping up the tough girl act long enough, yet she missed him terribly and worried about his safety, he should have called by now, the confines of the car and unassailable fear of the unknown was starting to play games, refusing her mind the peace she needed . Jeff should have called by now. The clock on the dashboard read 07 55, she turned on the ignition and the car engine coughed in to life, slowly Mabel pulled her frayed thoughts together and began the long drive home. Her eyes shifted to the phone once again, a blank and flat emotionless screen stared back, she navigated through bumps and tree branches that lined up the school premises resigned to her fate, then the phone rang splitting in two the screen saver picture of her and him with the kids on Michael’s birthday, she did not bother to check the caller, just that instant rush of joy that her phone had rang, It was a call she wished she never answered, a phone call she that turned her entire life upside down.
‘Hello? Who’s this?”
“Are you Mabel, Mabel Azare?” The voice was feminine, bold and assertive.
Who is this? Now Mabel’s tone was alarmed, sweat dotted her face.
Silence, then the connection was broken.
Poetic None Nee. 2013