I told Angela I was not going to marry her anymore. She laughed out loud in great surprise and I wondered what was on her mind. I never meant to hurt her feelings and I wished she would accept the news in good faith. She listened and nodded and laughed as she absorbed the information which told her so much and yet so little; so much because it might affect the course of her life and so little because I didn’t give her a reason why. As I was speaking to her, a war was going on in my mind. Was I doing the right thing or was I led by that Mabel of a lady?
“Andrew!” said Angela, amazed. “What a pleasant surprise!” She was one of those ladies who always looked happy. She looked so enchanting and charming and I felt guilty telling her that I was not going to marry her.
“I’m so sorry; I don’t know how to explain this.”
“Could you get out of my house.” She was on top of her voice.
“Don’t infuriate me further. Just get out of my sight, you disgust me.” She said acidly and hauled herself to her feet.
“I wish you don’t feel down. I wish…” I hesitated to add more words, not wanting to invite more trouble.
“Leave my house or I call the police.” She showed me the way out. “It’s a perfect idea going our separate ways.” She said out loud.
I left her house lugubriously. The drumbeats of my leaving deafened my eardrums and shattered my mind. I knew I wasn’t doing what I should have but Mabel’s condition influenced my rapid action. Angela was my feast of joy. I had given her the whole of my heart but destiny had put us asunder. If wishes were horses, I would have ridden with her to an unknown land completely out of sight. Like a flowing river, irredeemable promises had overflowed from my sugar coated tongue. Marrying Mabel was the last thing on my mind but her pregnancy had compelled me to be with her. Regrettable regrets had begun to creep in and sunk was I in the ocean of despair.
While I was driving home, I shuddered to think that my marriage to Mabel would be successful. I had no strong feelings for her like I had for Angela. In fact, I was engrossed with thoughts about Angela and I couldn’t forgive myself for breaking the relationship.
I was dodging some pot-holes on the rickety road as I was driving home when I hit a hawker. “Oh my God.” I exclaimed. I really thanked God she wasn’t injured because that might have been my end. A teeming crowd had gathered and was almost hitting my car and I with sticks when the hawker shouted and said she was alright. I gave the salesgirl some money before I entered my car. As I was kick starting it, my phone beeped. It was an unknown number, so I hesitated to pick it up. It beeped and beeped and beeped before I decided to answer the call.
“Hello, is this Mr. Andrew?” It was Dr. Lucy from the Federal Health Centre.
“Yes, how can I help you doctor?”
“Oh, Miss Mabel was rushed to our hospital after an auto crash and the only person she had been calling was you and one Miss Angela.”
“Auto crash? Where?” Tears had wetted my eyes.
“I’m sorry but you have to come to the hospital immediately.”
“I’ll be there soon.” I responded with a cracking voice.
The news of Mabel’s accident destabilized my mind. I was driving on high speed. I passed the Central Market full of people buying and selling. The huge crowd was doing commerce, moving from every direction, carried forward as if by ocean waves. Beggars were scattered on the streets and people passed them, dropping some notes. Among the beggars were women with loose hair, bare feet and bare shoulders with wrinkles of frustration on their faces. They were dressed in tattered rags as they begged for money. Disappointment, anger, bitterness and suffering were released from the way they looked which obviously and openly told their stories of misery and melancholia.
When I reached the Federal Health Centre, I was warmly welcomed by the nurses and when I introduced myself, they took me to the room where Mabel lay. As soon as I entered the room, the doctor spoke and I felt my heart breaking into pieces like a ceramic plate.
“She gave up.”
“Doctor, doctor, this can’t be true.” Angela shouted and began shedding tears
“Mr. Andrew, I’m sorry for your loss.” The doctor said as she walked out.
I regretted my relationship with Angela. What was in her that all and sundry loved her? Lovely, nice and kind she was. In her, I found love so rare. The day she glowed in my sight, a comely bright light took away my plight as her eyes radiated joy. With her, I walked with head held high.
“Was she the girl you wanted to marry?” Angela asked.
“Yes.” I said, nodding my head.
I knelt down, begging Angela and she smiled.
‘Years of fruitless search have shown me that I will never find another woman like you.” I said and I got a slap from Mabel.
“Get out of my sight, you wretched gold digger.” She hissed and walked out on me.