Take Gabriel. We might as well give him a biblical pseudonym. I am really keen in preserving this man’s right to remain anonymous. He is going through a terrible time from the snippets I gathered from his parable; so the least I can do is afford him one of the many basic human rights that he is so convinced was taken away from him.
Gabriel is a man who is a strong advocate of the better together campaign. Better together as a family: Mum- Dad- Children. But his visions were short lived. It transpired after what he described as a minuscule marriage lifespan that his wife had other plans. She didn’t share his apparition, so she devised an evil plan to eliminate his presence and put a callous end to this union. She ignored the majority vote comprised of Dad and Child for a union. It wasn’t long before he found himself in the dog-house with the law enforcement agencies imploring him to surrender or to suffer the consequences of an alleged domestic violence case he was accused of.
At times, during his narration he seemed so close to welling up that I had to call a time out and excuse myself to the toilet so as to avoid witnessing a nervous breakdown. Such scenes are too disturbing for someone who is emotionally unstable these days to witness. I either cry in solidarity with the person (bogies and all) or I lend a sound track of intermittent nervous laughter to an already awkward situation. I am never quite sure which way the hormonal wind will blow. And frankly, I don’t get paid enough to provide my new boss with a shoulder to cry on nor am I professionally equipped to deal with such cases. Is there organisational training for such things because I sure as heck didn’t get any..?!
By the time I visited the toilet for what was the dozenth time in the space of an hour and this time Gabriel being at a real breaking point, closer than ever to a point of no return… I decided to save us both from the imminent. To borrow the local vernacular save him face, and of course protract my sanity!
So I resorted to the only thing I know when placed in such discomfiture – verbal diarrhoea! This time it took an unintended, unexpected religious turn. Gabriel and I were both taken aback
I went on a self-inflicted sermonette on how God knows best, and how Gabriel should put his trust in Him and that everything will work itself out, with the help of God that is!
His pupils retracted those tears faster than I could have anticipated. They were now widening and awestruck. Relieved of their heavy watery task they were now beginning to dance in joy given the gospel I just dropped.
He spoke of marriage idealisms that I haven’t encountered since Sudan was one country. “My son needs his dad”, he would contest. “It is not good for him to grow up in this world fatherless”. “I can’t even see him”, he said dejectedly; those tears threatening to do a comeback. I quickly reasumed my sermonette.
“God is on your side Gabriel” I reassured him. “He won’t leave you to face this alone. Put your trust in him and He won’t disappoint you”.
I was more than happy to continue with this theological monologue, to avoid witnessing this man cry or until the clock indicated home time. God seemed to have answered my prayers because my escapade was nearing. Ten minutes to home time.
He spoke with the fervour of a new convert. “My wife should obey me” he would contest. “She shouldn’t have done what she did and gave me the respect that I deserve as head of the family”. His conviction was infectious I almost believed him too. Thanks to my caffeinated beverage of choice at the time, my sound judgement was somewhat still intact.
The last time such levels of subservience was being practised anywhere; Scotland and England were embarking on a not so holy matrimony of their own…Heck the last time anyone really practised such nonsense the world was one big fat country!
“I still love her though despite everything”, he eventually declared. “I just want us to be united”. I don’t know why the preacher in me turned devil’s advocate. “Maybe she doesn’t want unity, maybe she wants to move on with her life, maybe this union you so desire isn’t a healthy solution for all parties concerned, maybe it is better to part ways. You know how the saying goes if you love something you should set it free. Self-determination and all that jazz”!
I can wholeheartedly attest that this wasn’t the best thing I ever said. He looked troubled. This was troubling. Can I possibly get sacked over this? Shall I just resign now?
“I want to punish her”, he finally said after few moments. “I am going to marry a second wife, then she’ll realise my worth”. Nothing like being part of a concubine to make you realise your husband’s worth, eh.
I felt obliged to reiterate the position of the English legal system on polygamy given that this man was already on bail. Lock yourself up and throw away the keys while you are at it, why don’t you?!
He saw some sense, i think. I saw a man that needed professional help. I could also foresee an ugly divorce battle ensuing.
But it wasn’t long before he started questioning me on how one can acquire a second wife. This was now worrying. I wasn’t sure at which point in this conversation did I indicate that I had a spreadsheet priming with details of women wanting to take the leap into concubine-hood! This was messed up. I was insulted. I acted like I didn’t hear his question.
My Casio watch starting beeping indicating my release. I did my time and I was more than ready for my freedom. “Gabriel I would love to continue this talk with you but I have got to go now”, I said. God doesn’t like liars I reminded myself. He apologised fervently for keeping me behind and offloading his problems on me. Will my services be rewarded with a promotion, I wanted to add?!
“Do you have any children?” he asked just as I was leaving. “No”, I replied. “Ohhh so you won’t possibly know the feeling of parenthood”, he conquered.
MIAOW…Gabriel … MIAOW
I didn’t think you had such cattiness in you!