Just two years after our marriage, hubby brought up the idea of asking Mother to move from the rural hometown of Rusape and spend her remaining years with us. Hubby’s father passed away while he was still very young. Mother endured much hardship and struggled all on her own to provide for him, see him through to a university degree. You could say that she suffered a great deal and did everything you could expect of a woman to bring hubby to where he is today. I immediately agreed and started packing the spare room, which has a balcony facing the South to let her enjoy the sunshine and plant greenery. Hubby stood in the bright room, and suddenly just picked me up and started spinning round and round. As I begged him to put me down, he said: “Lets go fetch mother.” Hubby is tall and big sized and I love to rest on his chest and enjoy the feeling that he could pick me up at any moment put the tiny me into his pockets. Whenever we have an argument and both refuses to back down, he would pick me up and spin me over his head continuously until I surrender and beg for mercy. I became addicted to this kind of panic-joy feeling.
Mother brought along her countryside habits and lifestyle with her. For example; I am so used to buying flowers to decorate the living room, she could not stand it and would comment: “I do not know how you young people spend your money, why do you buy flowers for? You also can’t eat flowers!” I smiled and said: “Mum, with flowers in the house, our mood will also become better.” Mother continues to grumble away, and hubby smiled: “Mum, this is a city-people’s habit; slowly you will get used to it.”
Mother stopped saying anything. But every time thereafter, whenever came home with flowers, she would ask me how much it costs. I told her and she would shake her head and express displeasure. Sometimes, when I come home with lots of shopping bags, she would ask each and every item how much they cost, I would tell her honestly and she would get even more upset about it. Hubby playfully pinched my nose and said: “You little fool, just don’t tell her the full price of everything would solve it.” There begins the friction to our otherwise happy lifestyle.
Mother hates it most when hubby wakes up early to prepare the breakfast. In your view, how could the man of the house cook for the wife? At the breakfast table, mother facial expression is always like the dark clouds before a thunderstorm and I would pretend not to notice. She would use her spoon and make a lot of noise with it as her silent protest.
As I am a dance teacher in the Children’s Palace and am exhausted from along day of dancing around, I do not wish to give up the luxury of that additional few minutes in the comfort of my bed and hence I turned a deaf ear to all the protest mother makes. From time to time, mother would help out with some housework, but soon her help created additional work for me. For example: she would keep all kinds of plastic bags accumulating them so that she sell them later on, and resulted in our house being filled with all the trash bags; she would scrimp on dish washing detergent when helping to wash the dishes and so as not to hurt her feelings, I would quietly wash them again.
One day, late at night, mother saw me quietly washing the dishes, and “Bam” she slams her bedroom door and cried very loudly in her room. Hubby was placed in a difficult position, and after that, he did not speak to me for that entire night. I pretended to be a spoilt child, tried acting cute, but he totally ignored me……. I got mad and asked him: “What did I do wrong?” Hubby stared at me and said: “Can’t you just give in to her once? We couldn’t possibly die eating from a bowl however unclean it is, right?” After that incident, for a long period of time, mother did not speak to me and you can feel that there is a very awkward feeling hanging in the house. During that period of cold war, hubby was caught in dilemma as to who to please.
In order to stop her son from having to prepare breakfast, mother took on the “all important” task of preparing breakfast without any prompting. At the breakfast table, mother would look at hubby happily eating his breakfast and cast that reprimanding stare at me for having failed to perform my duty as a wife. To avoid the embarrassing breakfast situation, I resorted to buying my own breakfast on my way to work. That night, while in bed, hubby was a little upset and asked me: “LD, is it because you think that mum’s cooking is not clean that’s why you chose not to eat at home?” He then turned his back on me and left me alone in tears as feeling of unfairness overwhelmed me. After some time, hubby sighed: “LD, just for me, can you have breakfast at home?” I was left with no choice but to return to the breakfast table…….(to be continued)