Her husband was downstairs getting ready to dismiss a few of his friends so that they could spend their first night together as a married couple.
Meanwhile, Sapphir’s mum, Mrs Briggs was with her upstairs as they made light talk about their intended honeymoon in Dubai. Mrs Briggs got up from the edge of the bed as… she prepared to leave and walked slowly towards her daughter who was applying a cleanser to her face in order to get rid of the tonnes of foundation and concealer that had been layered on earlier that day.
“Baby, I’ll be on my way, but before I go, there’s something I have to give you”, she said as she stood behind her daughter.
Sapphir turned to face her mother, her brown hair swirling around her shoulders as she did. “What is it, mum?”
Her mother stood for a moment, admiring her as she stood in front of the mirror. She had truly inherited her beauty and elegance. “Now my little girl has grown- and is married…” she thought to herself.
Mrs Briggs snapped herself out of her brief reverie. “I have something for you”, she repeated. As she moved closer to her daughter, she pulled a package out of her black leather handbag and handed it to Sapphir.
“Another gift mum? You’re spoiling me”, Sapphir said as she took the package and gave it a cursory look. It was neatly wrapped in a silver coloured wrapping paper and felt extremely light.
“What’s in it?” she asked as she proceeded to open the package without waiting for an answer.
“No, no, no, my dear”, her mum stopped her, placing a hand on hers. “Don’t open it now. Open it only when you feel inclined to take any drastic steps in your marriage”.
God bless our Mums
“Haba mama! What kind of talk is that? Are you anticipating problems for me in my marriage?” Sapphir asked in a slightly apprehensive voice.
“No! Not at all, my dear. But you see, every woman’s wedding day comes with a lot of thrills and excitement, and you may find it difficult to retain any valuable lesson or sermon which you heard today unless you go and watch your wedding video”, Mrs Briggs added trying to lighten the mood. “Wait for your head to clear a little”. She gave Sapphir’s hand a slight squeeze as she looked into her eyes. “Promise me you won’t open it now”.
“Oh, mum!” She objected, her curiosity gaining the better of her. Maybe the package contained something, an elixir, which would instantly cure the stress of marriage!
“Promise me”, her mum insisted, giving her hand a tighter squeeze. She looked into her mom’s eyes and saw wisdom, a wisdom borne out of experience; an experience gained through thirty-five years of marriage and raising five kids of which she was the last- and the only girl. Her silver grey hair though slightly mussed from the gele which had sat on it for most of the day, further gave her an aura of sagacity and dignity. At this point, Sapphir could not refuse her mother, not after her mother had given her the “look”; the special one reserved to tug at her heartstrings.
“Ok mum I promise”.
“That’s my girl”, Mrs Briggs said as she released her hand and gently drew her closer for an affectionate hug. When she released her from the hug, she planted a kiss on her forehead in a way that reminded Sapphir of the kiss of the good witch on Dorothy’s forehead on her journey to meet Oz. The kiss protected Dorothy from the many perils she faced on her journey to the emerald city. The Wizard of Oz had always been Sapphir’s all time favourite. Maybe her mom’s kiss would protect her from the many unforeseen “perils” of marriage. Sapphir smiled wryly at her derailing thoughts.
“God bless you my darling. Be happy”, Mrs Briggs said.
“I love you mum”, Sapphir replied, wiping a tear from the corner of her eyes.
“I love you too”.
It will get tough
Eighteen months down the line she was fed up! The man she married had turned into a stranger. Was this the same man who promised to love her down to the ground she walked on? Sure, he had started off doing that, but he suddenly changed; He started ignoring her and would hardly look her in the face. Whatever happened to change him was not clear to her, but she was sure it wasn’t through any fault of hers. Like any married couple, they quarreled, but was that breaking news? Two different people with their individualistic concepts on life and a character that was pretty much formed, suddenly attempt to mold a new life and views? Of course, there was bound to be fireworks from time to time.
She didn’t like being ignored; the last of 5 children, she had been doted on by her brothers, and she tried to put her husband straight on that score, but apparently, it had not worked.
As a result, she was leaving and that was final! She wouldn’t tell her mum. Mrs. Briggs would pretty much talk her out of leaving and she wasn’t about to change her mind. Not now, not ever!
She waited until her husband had left for work, on Tuesday morning, having called in sick at the Publishing Company where she wielded her pen for meager pay. As she threw the clothes into her boxes, most of which had been purchased as part of her dowry, the tears burned her eyes as she gave them free vent. She caught sight of the sultry evening gown which her husband had given her as a gift on their first anniversary. Slowly she picked it up from the wardrobe and was wondering whether it was worth the space it would occupy when her eyes alighted on a package wrapped in a silver coloured wrapping paper, wondering what it was when she remembered her mother’s words;
“Open it only when you feel inclined to take any drastic steps in your marriage”.
Why?! If it was not the marriage Elixir that her mum gave her! Dropping the gown, She sat on the bed, and with shaky hands set to open the package. Ripping off the wraps and revealing a small, black, eight-inch long rectangular box. She opened it and inside was another smaller rectangular box. With mounting curiosity, she tore open the box and saw a piece of folded, white paper. Opening it, she saw scribbled in her mom’s neat writing, the words
She opened it and inside was another smaller rectangular box. With mounting curiosity, she tore open the box and saw a piece of folded, white paper. Opening it, she saw scribbled in her mom’s neat writing, the words
“Learn to say ‘I am sorry’ ”.
She stopped packing immediately and stared at the little piece of paper for like ages. Learn to say I am sorry? Her thoughts ran riot.
It can be difficult
“Why should I be the one saying I am sorry?” Sapphir pondered. however “I have not done anything wrong. Duke’s the one who won’t talk to me, or appreciate how hard I work to keep this home and his body in one piece while juggling a job at the same time. I am the one who suffered, especially after the trauma of a miscarriage that I faced all alone while he took off to South Korea on that stupid training exercise. Me, it is all me. So I raise my voice and slam doors, besides who would not?”
Sapphir prepared to toss the little paper and its wrappings into the trash can when she flipped over the offending instrument and halted abruptly; on the back page in the same writing, was written bodly;
“The greater one says it first; in apologizing, there is forgiving”
Taking the first step
After a while, towards when Duke was to come back from work. She was standing by the dining room door in anticipation of his return. She greeted him warmly with an open smile but he merely grunted in reply without even glancing at her.
Instead, he gazed long and hard at the ornate clock as though counting the hours before which he would escape his gilded cage, and with a sigh, he trudged upstairs to the master bedroom. She not ready to give up followed him into the room and watched him as he sat on the bed to undo his shoe lace. His brown eyes had lost its lustre and his forehead was all crinkled which indicated that he was either in deep thought or in extreme stress or distress.
With lots of efforts, She finally said “Honey”, twirling her fingers.
Her husband froze and slowly looked up at her, surprise written all over his face. It had been quite a while since she had called him that; 5 months and 12 days to be precise. That was when he noticed that she was wearing the gown he’d bought for her on their first anniversary. It was a dark purple halter-neck silk gown, form fitting, and just how a woman’s dress should be: long enough to cover the subject matter, but short enough to be interesting.
“I’m sorry for everything”.
He looked briefly at her before resuming the task of undoing his shoe lace, he said nothing in reply.
Follow it up
She walked over and knelt before him like she did when she handed him the cup of wine- but this time with both knees, placing her hands on his knees.
“Honey”, she repeated in her best bedroom voice, “I am really very sorry. I know I’ve caused you a lot of stress and pain I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to at all She added” Afterward, Her calm sexy demeanor collapsed and gave way to heavy sobs.
“It’s ok Sugar. It’s ok”, he said as he took her face in his hands. He had never liked to see her cry- it broke him up completely. “I am so sorry too; I am so sorry my baby, I was not there for you when you needed me most, it is my fault, I was not there”.
As a result, His eyes were filled with tears which would not be shed; He stood up and raised her to her feet, running his hands over her bare arms, leaving a blazing trail of fiery passion in its wake.
A relationship was restored, and a marriage saved thanks to three simple yet powerful words “I am sorry”.
In conclusion, always strive to say those magic words, It isn’t a sign of weakness when you sincerely apologize to someone you offend. It is rather a sign of the strength of your character, a humble spirit to which God gives more grace. And yes I know; it is easier said than done.
Moral of the story
Above all, “learn to say ‘I am sorry’ ”, for “a gentle answer turns away wrath”, and “… a gentle tongue can break a bone”. Proverbs 15:1, 25:15b.
By the way, Jenny Nkem is a young writer, the author of “Golden Apples In A Silver Basket” – a collection of short stories, poems, and essays. Her blog address http://www.jennienkem.blogspot.co.uk/
Read this story here on God’s grace, and deliverance.
© 2012 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.