Nancy grabbed Dale’s right hand in the living room, and began to pull him up. But the moody and dejected-looking Dale was reluctant to get on his feet, his face dotted with worries, like stars dot the sky at night.
“Leave me alone,” he wailed. “I have given up on this stupid life....”
“No . . . . Don’t give up. Good luck will come your way someday,” said Nancy, whose sole aim was to motivate and liberate her husband from the shackles of hopelessness.
“Good luck?” Dale said, as if both words were a kind of poison. He got on his feet, trotted away for a short while and stopped. “Where is that good luck?” He quizzed in a low tone that was pregnant with anger, and right on the verge of unleashing an outburst. “That thing you call good luck must be mad!” Dale thundered at once. He did not stop there. “Why has it departed from me? That thing you call good luck hates me.”
“It does not!”
“Then why has it chosen to continue feeding me with its bad side? Ensuring I go out and never get hired?”
Nancy tugged at Dale’s right fingers in a gentle manner, which was an attempt to calm him down, and said, “I know good luck will find you someday.” There was no doubt she believed that Dale was good and quite skilful. “Keep searching, Dale,” she continued. “I know that, one day, a job for a chef like you will come up.” Dale countered at once. He found what Nancy had said unpalatable.
“Spare me that entire sermon!” He yelled. “When? You’ve been saying this same thing for the past one year I’ve been out of work.”
“Have I been complaining? Look, Dale,” Nancy went ahead in a calm tone that was also inviting. “I want you to cheer up. Let a smile come on that face of yours.” Dale’s face really needed a smile, for as it was, no other creature’s face, no matter how ugly, could compete with it a contest for the ugliest face in the world. His face badly needed a smile to refresh it. Dale tried to chuckle, but could not. This was before he responded. Nancy was all ears, full of the patience to go on listening.
“There you go sounding ridiculous. What kind of business could a smile have on the face of a man without a job? It’s been a year since I last had money I earned myself. Get the picture, Nancy.” Dale was now coming very close to having rage get the better of him once more. “Is it not sad that I cannot even go out in search of this long elusive job without your giving me money?” He yelled.
“Have I been complaining?”
“Oh . . . . . I should then make my face a place where all smiles reside? I should go and celebrate because you are not complaining?”
“I love you, Dale.” Nancy picked up Dale’s hands and stroked his chest gently. “Let’s be happy. My own job will support us until you get yours. I don’t mind whatever sacrifice I have to make to ensure this household carries on.”
“Yes. We can be a happy unit in spite of your condition.”
“Really?” Dale said again, with his glance thrown at Nancy, who was just not making sense to him. “Really?” Dale uttered once more. But Nancy had read it all.
“I know what you are thinking. I understand what is not making sense to you. What I earn is so small but it’s been sustaining us. Hasn’t it?”
“We just exist! We are not living life,” Dale shrieked, putting a little distance between himself and his wife. He then looked up quickly, doing nothing but thinking.
Nancy had a perfect understanding of why Dale had to be worried. The family car had been sold because they could no longer afford to keep incurring costs associated with having it around. Rooney had to drop out of school. Thirty pounds, just mere pittance, Nancy earned on weekly basis, was nowhere to being enough to keep him in school. Putting food on the table and paying rent had all along been difficult.
“Your worries are mine,” Nancy said to Dale as soon as her mind had broken away from summing up the daily unpalatable realities that confronted her family. “But I know we shall overcome.”
“I hope so,” Dale chipped in, but his response lacked optimism.
“Come on, Dale, believe it. This nasty condition will not last forever. Cheer up!” Nancy smiled. Her smile turned to a giggle in no time. There was no iota of doubt in her mind that a time not far away, would come and put their worries behind them for good. Dale sat down and thought for a while. Then he got up and embraced his wife. He had brightened up now. He laughed at long last, locking Nancy in an embrace.
“Who says women like this are not hard to have around,” said Dale. “They don’t come around all the time.”
“You are now the man I used to know,” Nancy responded, smiling. Dale then held Nancy tight. He was very proud to have a wife of Nancy’s calibre. Strong and ever supportive.
“It is not a real man that gives up when confronted with life’s hurdles. That is the real man’s spirit, Dale.”
“My wife is an expert in teaching me that.”
“You are welcome, “said Nancy, as huge joy surged through her, furnishing her face with a warm sweet glow.