She walked into her office again that morning, just like she had done every day for the last three months. It was exactly 7:30am. The sun seeped in gradually through the window drapes and she pulled her chair out and sat down.
It was really early but she was already tired. The fatigue spanned over three months. She was stressed and stretched and she was at her wit’s end. For the last three months, she’d had a perfect smile on her face, like it had been grafted in by an expert surgeon. Her laughter had been loud and rowdy, her tone high and pitchy. She had looked alright. She had appeared fine to every eye that scrutinized her. But not this morning. This morning, she was tired.
She sat and stared blankly into the wall. A cockroach crawled out of a crack and slowly made its way up but she didn’t even flinch. It was weird. ‘Roaches terrified her. She couldn’t explain the reason for this particular mood- well, if she could call it a mood. She just knew she was fatigued and it was not physical.
Her phone vibrated in her handbag and she reluctantly pulled it out. It was her cousin-in-law. Or ex-cousin-in-law. The mathematics of that relationship was hard. Ify was Jason’s cousin, full stop.
She sounded out of breath, like she was madly excited about something.
“Dora! Amaka is dead o! She had a stillbirth and she died.”
Dora was numb. She felt nothing. She couldn’t even process the information. Ify would not stop talking.
“Are you there?! Dora! God has done it o! See? I told you He would never forsake you! Every husband-snatcher must die by fire.”
On a normal day, Dora would have found some humor in that statement, but today, she was tired.
“God forsook me a long time ago.”
“Hian! Nnem! Biko kwa! Ekwuzina! Don’t say that! I’ve been talking to Jason. He now knows he made a mistake. He’s really sorry and he wants to make things right. He’s coming to Owerri tomorrow.”
Dora’s heart did not miss a bit. You would think that Ify had only said the price of garri in the market was still the same. Her tone remained normal.
“Ify, tell your cousin I said he will burn in hell. Tell him I said if I ever see him near my house or my office, I will have him arrested. Tell him I said he can go and die.”
Dora hung up and smashed her newly acquired Samsung S5 into the wall. The phone fell but it wasn’t quite ruined.
Dora got up, picked it up and smashed it into the wall repeatedly. Then she stamped it beneath her feet.
Idayat, the office cleaner, a young girl of 21 rushed into the office, a frightened look on her face.
“Aunty, are you okay?”
Rather than give the generic “Yes dear, I’m fine thank you” with the poster smile she had put on the last three months, Dora shook her head and broke down in tears. She sat on the soft rug in her office and wailed. With every cry she let out, with every tear she shed, she finally purged herself of the last vestiges of hurt and pain.
Dora cried for the son she lost to Leukemia at 13 months, she cried for her marriage of two years that ended three months ago, she cried for the love she once shared with Jason, she cried for the betrayal she felt when he told her some other lady was pregnant for him, she cried for the hurt she felt when he moved in with the lady in Asaba where his hometown was located… When the tears finally stopped thirty minutes later, she felt relief and she felt peace, like she had never felt before. A kind of peace that surpassed human understanding.
Idayat sat beside her, handing her tissues from a box, tears in her own eyes. Dora smiled and blew her nose.
Dora pulled her close in a hug. It was something she ordinarily would never have done. Idayat smelled of stale sweat but she did not mind.
She got up slowly and rubbed her eyes. Idayat stood up as well and looked at her awkwardly.
“You can go now, thank you.”
As Idayat shut the door behind her, she heard voices and shuffling feet, an indication that people were resuming work. She locked the door behind her, pulled out her laptop and typed an email.
It was her resignation letter.
In that moment, she knew she wanted a change. New environment, new friends, new life, an entirely new beginning. She would travel and leave everything behind. Who knew? Perhaps she would find a nice man on a flight to flirt and amuse herself with.
She placed a Skype call to Anita who worked with Aero Contractors and asked for a ticket to Ghana. Anita told her there was an available flight for 4pm from Lagos.
At exactly 9am, Dora walked out of her office, perfect smile in place. She did not say a word to anyone. She was home in 15 minutes and within the next hour, she had a small bag packed and was on flight to Lagos.
Boarding for the flight to Ghana was announced at exactly 3pm and she queued up with other passengers. She got a window seat and while the plane filled up, she stared at the sky and marveled at how beautiful it was.
“I wish I’d gotten a window seat myself. Always a beautiful view once you’re airborne. But I don’t mind this view though. The lady is just as beautiful.”
Dora turned to look at the person seated next to her who had spoken.
He was strikingly handsome. He smiled and flashed her a dimple. The only thing that looked out-of-place on the perfect work of art that was his face was a scar on his forehead. It looked like a birthmark gone wrong. He must have been in his late thirties or early forties.
Dora smiled and pressed her face back to the window without a word.
New beginning? Maybe she just wasn’t ready yet. Or maybe she would never even be ready
Image credit: Google images