C4 SECRET WOUNDS - BOOK 1
Before entering the house, Sean went to the small outside washroom and stripped. He had a rough but productive day on the small farm, which was situated around half a mile away from where he lived. He had almost every type of produce one could think of, particularly the ones he knew would grow well at this time of year. Today, he had plowed the soil, digging over twenty dirt beds for the yellow yams and sweet potatoes. With not much rain as last year, the soil was harder to break and dig up, so it would take him a bit over schedule. He had also managed to clear some space for a vegetable garden. Abigale loved her vegetables and each year he ensured that she had more than enough. If all went well, the garden would provide enough for them and most of the residents of the community. The extra income would come in handy.
The weather had been good lately; with light rain and sunshine it was not too hot. A vegetable garden did not fare well in the summer.
Pouring water on his head, Sean watched as the clear liquid cascade over his hard body. Not bad for a man his age. He was still all muscle; not a piece of fat could be seen. Placing a hand on the inner side of the window, he retrieved the small red container and pulled out a bar of blue soap. He used his underwear as a rag and gave his body a long scrub, taking great care of his face, hands and feet. After drying, he changed into the set of clothes he had taken from the laundry line, then he went outside to collect his knapsack and went into the house.
Josh was running up and down the room, hands in the air, making funny noises with one of the toy planes Sean had carved for him. The boy had so much energy. He was always in action. Suzie’s head was buried in a novel, and Abigale was preparing dinner. As the door closed behind Sean, three pairs of eyes looked up. Upon seeing him, Suzie lowered the novel away from her face and smiled a greeting. Then she went back to her book. Abigale however, simply turned her back on him and continued stirring whatever was in the pot on the coals.
Josh stopped and ran towards him screaming, ‘Papi you are back!’ Sean caught him before he toppled over, and affectionately caressed his face and hair
‘Yes my son. Papi is back. I am glad to see you too, buddy.’
‘What did you bring for me from the garden? Did you see any snails or lizards?’ he chattered.
Smiling Sean said, ‘Oh I did.’
Setting Josh on his feet, Sean straightened and raised both hands to demonstrate. Josh’s eyes got as round as a saucer and he exclaimed, ‘Wow that is a lot, Papi. I want to come with you next time to play with them.’
‘That can be arranged, but not tomorrow or this week buddy. Your Ma will make that decision,’ Sean said, glancing furtively at Abigale.
Josh turned to Abigale and whimpered:
‘May I Ma? please?’
‘Have a seat, Josh. You are asking too many questions,’ she snapped. Josh, oblivious to the tension between the two adults, grabbed his toy car and picked up where he left off earlier, running around the room.
Sean realized that Abigale had barely acknowledged his presence in the room. Most afternoons when he returned from the field, she would meet him by the door or outside and ask how the day went.
Opening the knapsack, he pulled some berries and plums, along with a large cantaloupe he had picked on his way home, and placed them in a large bowl. ‘Treats for everyone,’ he said.
Josh timidly came forward and pushed his hands in the bowl. ‘Suz, don’t you want any?’ Sean asked.
‘Not now Pa,’ she replied.
‘Josh, put the plums away before it spoil your appetite. Dinner is ready,’ Abigale snapped.
Walking towards her, Sean said, ‘Let me help you with that.’ He went to the sink and grabbed a few plates for her to dish out the one-pot stew. ‘It smells and looks really good, Abby.’
She ignored his comment as she rummaged in one of the basins for a few spoons. Sean realized that out of the four plates he had placed on the table, she only dished out in three, leaving one empty. He watched as Abigale called out to the children offering each a plate and took one for herself. So the empty one was his. Sean made his way to the pot and served himself and went to the couch to sit beside the children.
‘It tastes good, really delicious.’ Suzie echoed her Pa.
After the children went to bed, Sean dallied in the living room-kitchen trying to get his thoughts together. He had acted foolishly last night. It was an honest mistake. He did not make it a habit of staying out the whole night, but things happen. He thought that she would calm down during the day, but he could see that she was not a happy camper. He hoped that he would be able to get some sleep tonight, because if she was not satisfied with his explanation, there would be hell to pay. When he heard no more movements in either of the rooms, he got up and slowly made his way to bed.
Abigale silently brushed her hair and braided four big plaits, not caring that the sizes and separations were uneven. Her actions were jerky. She was getting angrier by the minute and she refused to calm down. Marching to the small, blue portable closet, she pulled out one of her head ties this one was red with white dots - and wrapped it around her head. She then slipped into a floral yellow nightgown which swallowed her small frame. The gown was too big for her, but she liked to wear it because it was cotton and really comfortable, plus it was a gift from her mom. On nights like these, when she used it, somehow it made her feel close to her mother. She missed her family. She was so far away from them.
When Sean entered the room, she was sitting at the end of the bed rubbing some homemade coconut oil on her feet. She inhaled the sweet smell of coconut and the hint of peppermint. The lotion was smooth and creamy as cocoa butter, as it disappeared into her chocolate colored skin. It was her concoction but quite good. This was what she used for the children; their skin was blemish free. Some of the women folk had asked her recently what she used on the children's skin, but she was not willing to say. The simple things of life can be the best and it was purely by accident she had invented it.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sean edging up to the head of the mattress. He was putting as much distance as he could between them.
Finally finding a position he considered safe, he cleared his throat and began ‘Uh, so what’s up? I tell you today was a rough one for me on the farm-’
‘Damn it Sean!’ Abigale whirled around, glaring at him angrily. ‘Enough with this nonsense. Where the hell were you last night! This is the second time this month that you have slept out. Cut the crap! What is going on?’
‘Now, simmer down, sweetheart,’ he began.
‘Don’t you sweetheart me. Stop stalling and answer me!’ Abigale shouted.
‘Woman, keep your voice down. The children can hear you.’
‘Well whose fault is that huh? Ou ka fè kon an gwan nonm, yet still you leaving your family all alone whilst you sleep out, God knows where, and don’t say a thing to me. What does that say about you?’
Coming closer to her he said, ‘I was out with the guys attending the council meeting. It went till the wee hours of the morning. You know how it is with the boys, I can’t just walk out when we have important business to discuss.’
Her turbulent eyes narrowed, ‘Is this the best you can come up with? This is your excuse?’
Sean held up a hand breaking her off and replied. ‘What are you getting at? Are you insinuating that I spent the night at a woman? Come on Abby, be reasonable.’
Folding both her arms, Abigale stared him down. ‘I do not know where you spent it, Sean. Why don’t you tell me? Surely this is not an unreasonable request from your wife.’
Sighing heavily, Sean got up from the bed and started pacing. ‘I told you I was out with the boys. I am the council leader. There were quite a number of things to be discussed on the agenda, and a few of us stayed back. Time flew. We might have dozed off also…,’ he faltered. When Abigale remained silent, he continued. ‘Do you want me to give up the post? Is that it? Just say the word. I cannot promise you that it won’t happen again. If you doubt me, you can ask any of the men on the council. Most of them were there. With that said, he removed his pants put on his old pajamas and crawled into bed.
Turning to him Abigale said calmly, ‘Why should I do that? I will not stoop to this level. We both know I will not involve outsiders in this. I can tell you this though, I am not going to be made a fool of by you Sean Montgomery. Make sure you make your bed good before lying down on it. Do we understand each other?’
Sitting up warily from the bed, he turned to her and whispered, ‘You are over analyzing everything. Pas jijé mwen twòp vit. Have a little faith in me Abby. Things are not always as it seems.’
Turning her back to him, Abigale slid into bed without offering a response. He was in the wrong after all. Deep down, she knew something was not right. He was lying. Living with him for the past twelve years she knew her man, or did she? She tossed and turned for over an hour. Eventually she fell into a restless, troubled sleep, trying to keep the shadows at bay.
Sean woke up in the middle of the night with a raging hard-on. ‘Oh man, not tonight,’ he muttered, pushing his pecker down between his legs. After the mood Abby was in, he did not want to trouble her. Nor did he want her to see him in this state. He would not get any from her anyways, he was certain of it. Why bother when he knew what her response would be. But he was horny. He twisted the covers between his feet trying to get a comfortable position, careful not to touch her. He laid still for a while, weighing his options. Cursing silently he got up. As soon as his feet hit the floor, Abigale voice stopped him.
‘Where are you going?’
‘Oh, I am off to the kitchen. I want some tea.’
‘At this hour? Are you sick?’ She croaked, her voice laced with sleep. Sean wondered how long she had been up.
‘No, no go back to bed.’ As soon as he stood, the covers slid from his body, his erect member jutting out. Embarrassed, he grabbed the towel.
‘Oh so that’s the problem,’ she muttered in disgust. ‘You better not come near me like this. I am not in the mood. I swear at times that all that goes through your mind is getting laid.’ Grabbing the extra pillow she stationed it in the middle of the bed, staking her claim on her side.
‘Oh come on Abby, you are really a piece of work. Do you know that?’ Sean huffed. ‘You are starting to sound like a broken record. How long will you continue to be ‘not in the mood’?’ he jeered waving both hands in the air.
‘When was the last time we had intercourse, three, four weeks?’ he continued. ‘Hell! Sometimes it seems way longer. I am not going to deny that I want you, what is wrong with that?’
Sean looked at his silent wife on the bed and felt his heart constrict. Whether it was out of hurt or something else he did not give himself time to assimilate. He turned and quietly walked out of the bedroom bringing with him a medium size piece of sponge he sometimes used as a bedroll. He rolled it out in the living room and laid down, curling on his side. Something was not right. He could not place his finger on it, but for the last few weeks Abigale had started acting strange. She was up at strange hours of the night, unable to sleep. Then this. He had indirectly compounded it by his actions.
His Abby was a good woman and mother. A bit rough around the edges and tough at times, steadfast in what she believed in. In all the years that they had been together, she had not openly turned away from his sexual advances until recently. Sometimes he got the feeling that she did not like doing the deed, but was only doing so to please him. Maybe it was all in his head. Sean loved making love. He was a virile man; most men in the country were. This was one of the reasons most of them had so many children. He was happy with the number of children he had. If God saw it fit and blessed him with another, so be it.
He had heard many stories at the pub, from sexually frustrated husbands who did not get any from the madam if she was mad or not in the mood. Most times, he turned a deaf ear to those types of conversations. He did not believe that a man and woman's intimate details should be ironed out in public, even if it was said among the men. He had never forced his Abby either. He was not that type of man. He tried to be fair to her and be the best husband he could.
After turning and twisting for a few more minutes he got up and made his way back to bed. She was fast asleep lying on her back, face turned towards the ceiling. Edging closer to her he silently slipped into bed. Gently, his fingers caressed her lips, he wondered why she did not want to be kissed there. Her mouth was small, with big lush lips that beckoned to be kissed. For as long as he could remember, she would allow him access to every part of her body except those lips of hers. She had accepted a peck now and then, but no open mouth intimacy.
He had asked more than once why she did not like it. Her responses were always the same. She said that is was unsanitary and gross. She just could not do it. He wondered if there was something deeper to her simple explanation.
The sad thing was he loved kissing but this was a tiny thing to hold against his Abby. They had lived with it for the past twelve years. He did not see why tonight it popped out and lingered on his mind. Pulling the coverlet higher to both of their bodies, he cuddled closer to her and went back to sleep.