In between my tears, I am laughing and clapping my hands. All my friends beside me think it’s part of my mourning process, but it isn’t. I am remembering funny things and laughing, and then crying harder because I’m laughing during my husband’s Lying-In-State.
My husband; he was always so stubborn. The first day I met his mom, she called me to the kitchen and said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not calling you to cook or test to see if you can cook. Emmanuel has already told me you’re “in the process of perfecting the art”, which I know is code for “she does not know how to cook but I can live with that“‘ I tried to protest and she just waved her hand and said, ‘Please, don’t bother. There are things more important than cooking. If I don’t know anything, at least I know that one. As chef-y as I am, this is my third marriage. ‘ I smiled and relaxed.
She poured the diced carrots from the chopping board to the pot, closed the lid of the pot and looked at me, ‘I gave birth to a stubborn child.’ She walked down to the sink and put on the tap. ‘Emmanuel is stubborn, Desola. It is not because his father and I did not raise him well. He just is! So I just thought to tell you ahead of time because now that the love is fresh in your head, you might think it’s adorable. He’s an amazing and gentle man. And I’m sure you’ll have the best times of your life with him. But when he gets stubborn, I want you to remember this conversation and please treat the situation in a mature manner’
‘Umm.. Okay ma.’ was my confused reply.
Fast forward to the very first month of our marriage. Emmanuel began displaying stubbornness of varying peculiarities. Sometimes I was appalled, other times, I was just amused.
I soon realized that the best way to get him to do something which you suspect he would not want to do was to make him not want to do the opposite of that thing, so then he’ll do the thing.
Like doing the supper dishes. We had agreed that we’d share house chores when we got married. But fortunately, I had once overheard him say that he hates to wash plates just as bad as he hates broken glass or ceramic on the floor. He said it was like a phobia for him. Hence, it was an easy thing for me. I bought a couple of cheap china and during the first month of my marriage, I broke at least 15 ceramic plates while doing the dishes. I would clean them up and complain about how I don’t know if it’s extended wedding jitters that was making me so clumsy. He would stand afar off and say, ‘Damn, I wish I could come and help you clean up. But I can’t come in there. I hate broken pieces and glasses’
One day, I shamefully went ahead to ‘mistakenly’ step on a small piece of the broken ceramic. While he tended to my injuries, he said, ‘You know what, let me help with the dishes sometimes? I’ll do night dishes at least; maybe you’re tired at night. Be resting’
I know that was very low of me; and not very suitable for a happy marriage. But it was a score in that period of time.
Weeks before he died, he had told me he was meeting with our lawyer later that day to make his Will. ‘I figured that it’ll be a shame for a very strong-willed man like me to die without a Will. What better make a statement than dying consistent to your living?’ he said.
I smiled as he gave me a quick kiss. ‘I know how important a Will is honey, ‘ I said, ‘But I’m still not comfortable with it. It makes me think that you can die’
He laughed and said, ‘Yes. I can and will die. But there’s no way I’m dying and leaving you here. I am too stubborn to succumb to death. So it’ll take a while. You sef sabi. No bloody way. We’ll be fine’
We high-fived as he stepped out.
Three weeks later, he died.
I laughed again. No bloody way he was going to leave me?
Apparently, where there’s a Will, there’s a way.