I sat with my group trying my best to pay attention to the tenants of brainstorming versus brain-dumping in relation to planning and plotting points for our Organisational Behaviour assignment. I struggled. My heart was a storm and my head was a dump. I bolted. I made up an excuse that my sitter called and she couldn’t keep my daughter. Truth was, I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere. No where felt safe. No where felt comfortable. No where brought peace. At least, no where that I would go.
My phone buzzed, a text from Digicel that I missed a call from my mother. I returned the call. She was in Cascade with a patient who’s family left for the Carnival and she had the house mostly to herself. She heard death in my voice. The shell of the child she gave birth to some 29 years ago. She flexed a muscle she rarely used and offered me the opportunity to spend the long weekend with her in Cascade.
The house had a pool, it was near a green-space and mom made her own groceries. All I needed to bring was myself, my reading material for my project and a swimsuit. As for my daughter…it pained me but not her. I couldn’t look at her without seeing him. A face that once filled my heart with joy and pride brought rage and sadness. And it wasn’t even her fault.
I left her. Let him field the questions, deal with her pained face wondering where I am. When am I coming back? Why did I leave without her? All questions I’ve had to craft creative responses for her in an effort to save her father’s image in her eyes. I doubt he’d give me the same courtesy.
I arrived at the house. My legs stung from trudging up the hill. The house took up half a block in the gated community. The guards were lax as they just waved me in assuming I was a house-keeper or a geriatric nurse like my mom. My attire betrayed nothing about me, other than I was just tired. My mom greeted me with a hug. Something she usually asks for rather than take. She took it and I was grateful.
She showed me the room I’d be staying in for the next three days. It was small, it fit a built-in wardrobe and a full-size bed. I sat on the bed and saw the small green space outside. I decided that would be my hiding spot during the day. Just then, my phone rang. It was him. I couldn’t breathe. As far as he knew, I was still in UWI in my group meeting. I’m terrible at lying but excellent at playing dumb. I answered.
“Where are you? I have something important to do and you need to take our child.” I exhaled and chose my words carefully. “I’m out. Won’t be back until Tuesday afternoon” I heard his voice change in octaves before he responded, “Fucking Tuesday! Where are you? I’m coming for you in UWI now!” I somehow felt assured that he’s too far to do anything to me physically. My inner brat came out, “UWI is big, might take you three days to find me if you go searching. Either way, I’m not there. I’d be home on Tuesday. There is food for Sky in the fridge and if all else fails, you know your way around the kitchen.” He matched my attitude to deliver some jabs of his own, “I know all of this, I’m the one who cooked. You’re never in the kitchen unless it’s to make hair butter. If you cooked more…” I hung up. I knew where this was heading. I wanted to get away from that. My phone rang a few times, then came the messages, as quick and angry as the content and its sender. I left the room, and the phone in it.
The next day, I sat on the balcony overlooking the hills of Cascade. My laptop sat in front of me but my attention was captivated by the colours of the hills. I know nothing of birds, but they sang to me, or maybe to each other. My mom brought me a some toast and cheese with Lipton tea. I can count on my fingers the number of times my mother has attended to me so closely. Every single occasion I was sick. I guess this time was no different.
My phone buzzed. A message from Shivani popped up on my screen. Shivani, a new friend from Spanish class, had become both my sounding board and my ice-bath of reality since the whole ordeal started. I clung to her for her directness at a time when everyone around me treated me with velvet gloves. It also didn’t hurt that she was the best in the class at Spanish.
I opened her message, “So I’m in Superpharm with Chris, because I’m in need of deodorant. Guess who’s two lanes over?” I knew where this was going. I refused to accept it. But I had to indulge. I had beaten myself up for what had happened for too long.
“Who?” I asked the stupid question.
“Your husband, person or whatever. With her, the horsefly.” my heart sank at the sight of words which meant to inspire humour. As soon as I’m not around, he ran to her. But my imagination wasn’t enough to pacify me.
“Pics or it didn’t happen.” The pictures came. The two of them caught mid-flight like two criminals fleeing the scene. There she was in her signature attire of a cleavage bearing V-neck top and shorts that were two sizes too small. He wore a shirt I bought him back in his slimmer days. It clung to his stomach which hung over his grey shorts. He almost fell out of his leather slipper. His full attire, bought by me.
“I hope you appreciate me risking my life here, because he looks pissed.” I did. At least I had evidence that I’m not as crazy as he leads me to believe. There was now proof. Proof that would be helpful if ever there was a divorce. “I’ll keep you in my prayers, and sponsor your coffee next class.” Three hug emojis followed, “Make it a coke. So what are you gonna do now? If you’re confronting him, let me cash and leave first.” Made sense. I chuckled at how theatrical my life became. “Let me know when you’re out.”
I called him. Half of me didn’t expect him to answer. Half of me didn’t want him to. He answered. “What?!” Good. Give me attitude. Give me rage. Give me the liberty to peppa yuh muddacunt! “Where is my child?!” I stood up and walked away from the balcony as it was a bit too close my mother’s patient for this conversation. “Like you even care, she’s with the sitter. I had some turns to make so I dropped her there for a few hours.” I heard the car start.
“Turns? Did you somehow manage to turn up at Trincity?” I heard him honk his horn at fellow drivers. His fair to average driving skills fade to absolutely atrocious when he’s mad. Part of me wanted him to crash. Part of me wanted to hang up phone and flush myself down the toilet that I sat on. “So you have spies on me now? I see the coolie bitch and she faggot man taking pictures in Superpharm.” I laughed heartily at him. “Coolie? Ok dougla boy, self-hate is alive and well in you boy. A pity you’re behaving just like the father you hate so much.” I heard a car screech. Not sure if it was his. At the moment, I didn’t care.
“You ever thought that maybe the reason why I ran to her is because you’re such a cunt!” I did. But he’d run to her when I’m not being a cunt so why bother being nice. “Well you’re married to this cunt so how about you just divorce me and go live happily ever after with your slut. I hope she knows that wearing pants that tight causes yeast infections. Hope you like your fish cheesy.” He shouted something. I couldn’t make it out because his phone probably fell, a regularly occurrence, angry or not. “Fuck you! I wish I never met you! You ruined my life you fucking bitch!” Good. Lay the foundation, let me finish this house.
“Life?! What fucking life you had before me? With your two CXC passes and your security wuk?! Where were you possibly going that I hampered your future? I’m the one who was getting the degree. You hated that so much that you stopped me for two years from doing my Masters. Now I’m finally doing it, and you decided to fuck up my progress with this shit. You and all your insecurities.” My mind ran on my abandoned laptop on the balcony and all the reading I had to do. “My mother was right. I chose wrong. You, sir, were the one who fucked up my life and derailed my career for the sake of your legacy. The minute I no longer fell in line, you found my replacement. A diluted one at best, a fuck buddy at worst. You are the worst possible thing to happen to me. I should have taken another street instead of giving you a minute of attention by Nicholas Tower.”
He took a breath before he responded. A low blow would be a euphemistic description for my words. I knew him. I knew how to hurt him. And I also knew how to deliver a kill shot. “I wish you did too.” He hung up.