He was the personification of perfection- well buffed nails; carefully laid out, colour-coded wardrobe; impeccable table manners and etiquette. Fola would look at her husband and ask herself how she found Adam. Even more baffling to her was why he had asked to spend the rest of his life with her.
Her friends described her look as ‘The Glow of Basking Under Perfection’. She bit her lip every time she felt the urge to mention how burdensome it was living with Jesus.
His smooth, even toned voice sounded syrupy to her ears “Baby, you forgot to hang your towel on the rack when you finished your soak. I’ve done it now”. Maybe she wanted to leave the damn towel on the floor. Had he stopped to think about that?
Even his lovemaking was without flaws – “Let me know if you need me to stop. Oh does it hurt? Ok, I’ll be gentle”. No you muppet. Fuck me hard dammit!
When their daughter came, Adam spent the first few hours of her life inspecting her toes and digits. “Look Fola, her navel is so cute, a little inverted though. She must have gotten that from somewhere in the lost genes. She won’t be able to wear crop tops”. He smiled at her, and when she didn’t smile back, he walked over to her bed side and rubbed her hands in a sweet avuncular way, “You’re still clearly distressed from the delivery. Do you need something?”
The words formed – ‘Yes, I need you to stop talking about our new daughter’s inverted navel as if that’s what defines her’, instead she said “sweetie, can you get me some water? I’m parched”.
A few weeks after they got home from the hospital, Adam was the doting father and husband. He quickly incorporated his way of life into his new role. Sometimes, Fola felt he would run himself ragged from trying to make sure everything was perfect. He would change the baby’s diaper the minute he felt it was soiled, rock her if she so much as whimpered in her cot. Wondering about her inadequacy by comparison was a regular thing in her mind. With Adam constantly picking up every loose end, there was very little for her to do; times when she did have things to do, she believed she would soon be told off – gently of course. That silky, saccharine tone drove her insane.
She said as much to her sister when she called to catch up. “God! He never does anything wrong.”
“Many people would kill for what you have, you know?”
“I know” Fola said, as she randomly tore bits of kitchen paper on the floor, looking for some sense of distortion anyway she could get it.
“How did you guys decide on where to have Dara dedicated?”
“After arguing against the All Saints Cathedral for such a long time, he finally said his friend mentioned that Reverend Bassey had a track record of praying for the children who turned out to be best behaved in the diocese.”
“Yay! All Saints is truly great. We got endorsed. Anyway, I can’t wait to see you two at the dedication tomorrow.”
“Me too. See you tomorrow. Bye”
She had heard it said that motherhood changes one’s perspective of life in its entirety; how one views others, and especially how one saw one’s self. In her case, she wondered if it was true.
As she passed through the hallway, towards their bedroom, she caught a reflection of herself in the mirror. There was a long crack that ran from one end of the mirror to the other, but she loved it. It was the one thing she’d fought vehemently to keep. Adam had bought a replacement mirror that morning. She knew it was because he couldn’t bear to see his reflection so terribly marred. She didn’t mind.
She saw her hair, tousled from having no brush run through it in a couple of days. Her post-baby bulge altered her previously svelte body form, but she didn’t care. Someone described her face as having the unique structures of a Kenyan, with the skin tone of an Ethiopian – it was a scout from her days as a public relations consultant. He wondered why her job was getting publicity for models when she could have made a career as a model.
The following morning, Adam had laid out what he thought they should wear for the dedication – A white skirt suit for her, a white Kaftan for him and a little white dress for baby Dara. As she got ready for the service, she made a mental note that everything had been arranged. Another pristine day in their quintessential life.
At 8.48 am she picked up the house keys and watched as her husband pushed the baby in her stroller towards the driveway. Holding the baby bag in one hand and the handle of the stroller in another, he struggled to open the back door of the car. She called out to Adam, “hold on a second, when I lock the door I’ll come and carry her.”
He frowned at her, “we’ll be late. We can’t afford to be late to our baby’s dedication.”
Ah! Fola had promised to give her sister a copy of the latest Elle magazine at church. She remembered she had left it on the table in the living room. She ran inside to get it. The pearls mummy had loaned her for the naming ceremony. Those too. Opportunities to have family in one spot were rare.
As she scurried into her room, she heard a loud screech of wheels. Adam howling. Silence.
She sped out to the front yard, her pounding heart deafening. The magazine fell. The jewelry case broke. Her baby, mangled beneath the huge tyres of a the truck
Her perfect husband had forgotten to hit the brakes of the stroller; and away it rolled.
Away and away.