She’s frowning by the bakery aisle, looking like a child that has been told a hard no. If she were a child, like my little angel Laura, she’d be sprawling on the floor, screaming and demanding whatever it is that she wants. Parenting has taught me a few things about women; attention. They value attention.
She’s new around here. He used to come around alone, or in the company of his male friends, until she started frequenting here with him. I don’t exactly remember when I first saw her, but when she got to the counter and picked out white chocolates I remember. They were smiling ear to ear, holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears the entire time they were on the line. Their energy was infectious and my eyes always shone with delight when they stepped in. Theirs is a romance worth watching.
He walks back to her, tries to hold her hand and she throws it in the air.
He’s holding a pack of Kotex Sanitary pads, wet wipes and ice cream. Anyone watching them can guess it’s probably that time of the month. Laura’s mother is often grumpy during these periods of time. He does it again and she moves a step back, shrugging her shoulders. I laugh softly. She reminds me of Laura most of the time. She’s short, with chubby cheeks and likes wearing short dresses and her boyfriend’s shorts. She’s always sneaking chocolates, a pack of sweets, ice cream or biscuits in the shopping cart, and then smiles sheepishly when he discovers them at the counter.
She half smiles when he picks out a pack of muffins from the shelves and throws them in the shopping basket. You should see how she happily puts her hands in his and walks happily towards the counter. She’s a child’s soul, logged in the body of a beautiful young woman. At the counter, their usual fight ensues.
“What are we having for dinner?” he asks.
“I don’t know,” she replies, smiling.
“Try again.” He responds with a serious face.
“I decided yesterday, you most probably should decide today. You know… sharing responsibilities…” she says amid laughter.
“Do we always have to fight about this?”
“Who said we are fighting?” she asks.
She’s already opening a piece of chocolate, leaving him to figure out what they will have for dinner on his own. At this point, I’m pretty convinced that he’s used to her. Besides Laura, she reminds me of her mother during our honeymoon days. She was easy, fun and quick to jump on the next trail of laughter. I don’t know what happened, but she has morphed into this mean-looking, extremely critical woman that is always checking out for my flaws. I’ve tried to rekindle the romance that we shared without much success. She’s always irked about something. If it’s not my shoes, it’s how I parked the car, how poorly done the sausages are or how I’m always late when it’s my turn to prepare the kids for school, it’s annoying, but she calls it ‘marriage life’.
I wonder if they too will grow into a couple that tolerates each other because the children have taken up most of their alone time. Mama Laura snores barely halfway through a movie and when I complain about it, she reminds me that she’s working and taking care of my family at the same time. It doesn’t help, that Karim, my younger brother moved in with us.
Karim is a free bird. Unlike most people, he lives life on his own terms. Mama Laura has complained to him about his stinky socks for ages now, yet he just looks at her and goes back to his phone when she’s done. She finds it disrespectful that he does nothing about it, but the last thing I want is for my brother to move out. Only he and Laura care for the little things that make me happy and are actually willing to do those things.
She quickly hands him the shopping bag after making a weird noise, trying to lift it up. I smile as I tend to the next customer in line. They always light up my days, I hope I can tell them one day, without sounding cringe.
“Babe! Look out!” I hear a loud scream, followed by a heavy bang and screeching of tyres. I turn in a huff, and I can’t get a clear glimpse of what’s happening on the road, as a mammoth crowd is gathering already.
“It’s the couple that just left here!” The security man says.
“What?” I ask.
“The one in a light blue hoodie and a grey trench coat” he adds.
“Oh, my God!” I get up from my workstation and rush to the scene.
She’s crying uncontrollably, seated on the road, holding his head in her hands, soaking in his blood. My heart breaks at the sight of her tears and her boyfriend lying in their helplessness.
“Somebody call an ambulance!” I shout at the security personnel standing by the supermarket doors.
“We already called one,” a man in the crowd says.
“Anyone here that knows how to perform first aid? He’s losing a lot of blood”, I ask.
No one in the crowd volunteers to help, and I feel awful that I cannot be of help. Her silent tears are torturing and I only wonder what’s going on in her mind. The desire to help has taken control of me, so I walk to the supermarket and let my bosses know that my help is needed at the accident scene. I hear the siren of an ambulance just as I’m putting on a sweater, I hurry outside.
I help her board the ambulance, and we ride in the back with a medic and her boyfriend. My mind draws back to my daughter Laura. She calls me to remind me to get home early for dinner so we can eat together. She likes helping with my shoes, running around with my socks, and often misplacing one. She makes a point of giving an account of everything that transpired while I was away, before telling me all about school. Laura doesn’t sleep if I’m not home, and here, looking at her tapping her knees, and wiping her tears with her hands, I wonder if Laura understands the meaning of death.
She’s a sea of emotions when we get to the hospital fifteen minutes later, and the staff asks me to keep an eye on her. She lost her phone at the accident scene, but she doesn’t want to call anyone yet. All she wants is to go in and hold her boyfriend’s hand. I admire her courage and I’m jealous of their love.
We’ve barely sat down, and the awkward silence between us is settling, when the doctor from the emergency room walks out, looking defeated. I’m hoping that he hasn’t seen him, but she’s already on her feet, running towards him. I can tell by his face, that her boyfriend didn’t make it. Fear has taken over me, and I watch in pain, as she falls to the ground, screaming at the top of her lungs. You can tell from her eyes, that this is the kind of loss you never bounce back from.
In my mind, I’m thinking of all the good times I’ve shared with mama Laura, and I want to make the most of every day. I’ll buy her food and a stunning set of earrings, she likes outstanding pieces of jewellery.
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This story first appeared on the blog as Her Loss Is My Resolve To Do Better In My Marriage