The sky was overcast and sullen. The heavens, deprived of merry sun rays got peevish and wept rain. The weather matched the gloomy mood of the driver. Even though he was sheltered in the warmth of his car, he felt beaten, exposed and cold. He watched the wipers clean the tears that streamed down his windscreen and wondered who was going to wipe his away. The drains along the road were clogged with dirt and debris; hence muddied water overflowed the gutters. Naturally, as it was wont to do in Lagos on rainy days, the roads were flooded and so were his emotions. All kind of depressive thoughts and wrathful feelings eddied in his soul and spilled over into the basins of his tear glands. He found himself hitting his steering wheel making his horn scream agonizingly, breaking the solemnity of the sombre morning. In his frustration, he nearly veered off the road into a ditch. When it rained in Lagos, water covers everywhere and making it difficult to know where the road ended and drains or canals began. This made uttermost concentration with no distraction whatsoever imperative. He was a breath away from being drowned if not for the frantic waving of another unfortunate driver whose car had been immobilized like a paralysed turtle.
He could not believe he had nearly slapped her this morning. He had raised his hand and brought it almost to her cheek before he caught himself. He had always considered himself the SI unit of gentlemanliness. For him to have fallen off that perch shows how deep he had sunk into the morass drowning his marriage .He could still see the look of horror, disbelief and confusion in her eyes. If the slap had landed, it would have knocked her right into the middle of next week.
Whatever happened to his marriage? He had signed the dotted lines for a wife and got a lawyer combined with a teacher instead. He was not a perfect guy in any way but he could have sworn he gave it his best shot. He always came short though. His best efforts were never appreciated or good enough for her. She made him feel like a miserable clown performing all sorts of circus tricks for a crowd that was extremely difficult to impress.
Of late, at the slighted considered infringement, she came out of her corner fighting, claws unsheathed like Wolverines, ready to battle. The pain of it all gnawed at his soul like a ravenous, demented rat. He felt emotionally raw and bone tired. Life had become a burden and worrisome due to her list of dos and do-nots. Flashes of irritation, frisson of friction flared up in his home at the slightest infraction. He never thought a day would come when he would not feel like going home after a hard day’s work.
Lately, he wondered whether he should have ever gotten married, but he was so sure he heard from God. The certainty of that was an immovable rocky foundation in his heart. Recently, he got the revelation that hearing from God does not exclude you from challenges; it just gives you the strength to overcome them. The man who built his house on the rock and the one who built it on the sand all had issues; it was just that at the end only one stood.
His marriage bed had gotten so cold that it was like sleeping on a slab of ice in a deep freezer. Over the months he had gotten so resentful and bitter that he was nearly tempted to make out with a colleague in his masters class just to get back at Titi, his wife. What was the point of holding back when someone else was ever so willing to yield all she was holding back from him? It was his relationship with God over the years that prevented him from succumbing to the monstrous pressure that had built up in him over the weeks. He had managed to pass.
Furthermore all those things that attracted him to her were the things he has come to despise. “Yeah, right! Opposites attract but the marriage specialists should have told me that opposites also tear apart,” he snickered to himself.
Question is, where did his marriage go? They used to be quite an item, Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Tristan and Isolde. However, it was the tragic aspects of these pairs that played out in their lives in the past months. They lived right in the eye of the heart-rending maelstrom of the mentioned doomed lovers. The days of ice cream and candle lights, star fire and moonlights, flowers and poems, paired market runs, love and affection that were associated with so much peace were so far away now. Lost in the mists of cantankerous time, they seemed as unreachable as the mountains. Worst of it all was that his love for her was been eroded and he was beginning to feel nothing. His love system seemed to have been anaesthetized.
In all fairness, juggling the acts of life, had taken the juice out of his romanticism and like she always pointed out, it appeared he did not have enough capacity to shoulder more than one thing at a time. He would come back from work and fall into the kind of sleep that would have shamed sleeping beauty. His carefree attitude was also an issue.
As he drove on, a clipped voice recounted the chronicles of John from his CD player. At a certain point, his entire being perked up. Outside, the heaven kept weeping, lightning flashed and thunder rolled. He paid attention as it rained and rained…
….Clarinets, tambourines, lutes, psaltery, harps and all kinds of instruments filled the atmosphere with the electric buzz of celebration. Food was in abundance but more importantly wine flowed like a sea in high tide. Cana was agog with the merriment of it all. Finery, perfumery and jewellery were on the highest display. The fragrance of nard was heavy in the air. People rollicked and frolicked. Life was beautiful.
In the midst of the joyous jubilation, crisis suddenly reared its ugly head. They ran out of wine. The edge of wild euphoria got blunted. The merry making slowed down. Disgrace loomed its head. Disaster smacked its chomps. It was dishonourable for wine to run out in a Jewish wedding. It was ignominy that would make the rounds for a long time.
Rumour had it that little foxes had spoilt the vine of the winery that got the contract to provide the drinks. Hence, the quantity came short. The circumstances of the wedding had overwhelmed the capacity and the resources on ground. The budget had fallen short. Expectation had failed. Intensive planning had been shot to bits. Like the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men…
Fortunately, The Galilean had been invited. The servants obeyed his ridiculous command to serve water to the guests. Divine alchemy took over. Supernatural chemistry happened. The tepid became sweet. The ordinary became extraordinary. The perfunctory became joyous. The essentially normal became intoxicatingly heady. Water turned to wine. The servants had been warned, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!”
The Chairman was astounded at the quality of the wine. The best was saved for last. The wine got better as the marriage progressed instead of the other way round.
The Galilean placed so much stock on the wedding ceremony that He initiated the miraculous even though His time had not come. Honour became the union….
The story was just winding down by the time he got to work. He put off the tape while reflecting on what he had heard. His marriage had run out of wine even though it did not seem so. Most people, as it was at the wedding in Cana, were not privy to the inside details especially when they saw he and his wife wearing the same lace on Sundays. Reflecting on Eden and Cana, he surmised that every marriage had the potential to fail. He also came to the conclusion that little foxes, like not saying “excuse me” or flying off the handle when it was not said should be given adequate attention. He noted that it was not the bride or groom that saved the day but servants. A marriage relationship is about service. Most importantly, the saving remedy was the presence of The Galilean and to do whatever He commands should be done.
While raindrops beat on the roof of his car with the cadence of marching soldiers, he closed his eyes and invited Jesus into his marriage. While praying, he resolved in his mind to do whatever Jesus asked him to do no matter how bizarre. Later when he climbed the stairs leading to the lobby of his office building, he noticed that the sun was weakly breaking through the clouds with the needle of wan light….
He had just returned from a trip to Switzerland and could not wait to see her. Even though he was so tired from the connecting flight, he could not wait another second. They had told her someone was waiting for her in the car park on his request. When they saw each other, they started running and melted into each other’s arms until they became a homogenous whole. The kiss sent tingles all the way down to his toes. As he drank in the nectar from the sweetness of her mouth, the scripture “kiss me with the kisses of your mouth for your love is better than wine,” kept running in his mind. He would gladly tell you that it’s been tough but things had gotten better since he invited The Galilean. Some days, he still fell flat on his face, other times; it was difficult doing whatever he was asked to do. However, grace was always there to help. As they drank of the best vintage wine from the vine of their marriage, the sun rose to its zenith, smiled and showered them with golden coins and rays of confetti…..
HE THAT FINDETH A WIFE FINDETH A GOOD THING AND OBTAINETH FAVOUR OF THE LORD…
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere