I was twenty three years old when I married Stefi. She was all beauty can be when it does some of its best jobs of adorning a woman with physical features that exude far-reaching scent of attraction. Stefi was tall, smiley and sparkling. Taking a look at her kept leaving me with a strong conviction that I could not be wrong in my taste.
“I am like a pilot,” I had said to Stefi, on one of the nights we went out on a date. She giggled. On her face was a kind of look you get from a woman so into a man to the point she cannot help herself. Luscious look, an interested one that hid nothing about the truth that she wanted to hear me speak further.
“I am like a pilot,” I said again.
“So what does the pilot want to say?” Stefi asked gently. A smile had come to land on her face now.
“My plane is about taxiing for take-off on a journey called marriage,” I responded.
“And so…..” Stefi said, waiting for me to go on.
“Are you willing to be my co-pilot?” I asked Stefi. Though her eyes blushed a little, there was no doubt she understood exactly where I was going.
“I’ve been waiting for you to ask me, Jan,” she said in a soft tone, a tone as piercing as a hot knife passing through butter. “I can’t say no,” Stefi went ahead to say. “I wanna get on that plane with you, Jan. I wanna fly it with you to joy and happiness as we make more co-pilots, Jan. And that is if you know what I mean.”
“How can I not know what you mean, Stefi?” I said, very determined to let her know how much I understood and connected with one of her passions waiting to literarily explode in the fashion of celebratory fireworks. “We gonna make babies, right?” I said.
“Make babies and live as one happy family, Jan,” Stefi responded. And the next moment had us wrapped up in embrace that followed a kiss that did a good job of leaving me with no doubt that I was in for a jolly good and happy ride. Then life stepped in as we went on to become a married couple. Not so fast, it seemed to literarily say to me. Not so fast, Jan. Happiness does not always come to people in ways within their ability to orchestrate. That was right. I would have been quite happy early in my marriage if not for one thing. Stefi and I could not have a child after two years of being married. I worked hard on my emotions, did a good job of staying calm, told myself that children or no children, staying in love with Stefi was the most important thing in my life. I knew I loved Stefi, and that she loved me, but as time went on, it became so hard to see how being a childless couple could not begin to eat away at the foundation of the love we had for each other.
“Jan,” Stefi called me one day. She was in the kitchen making us a meal when I went to her. It was in the evening. The time was three minutes past three on a Thursday. The year was nineteen ninety nine, and time of year was when it was common to have plenty of white ashes fall from the sky, ashes called snow.
“What?” I responded. This was a way I never used to respond to Stefi whenever she called me. My one word response was a result of irritation and disgust that had begun to possess me.
“What are we gonna do?” Stefi said.
“About what? What, Stefi?”
“Oh… You suddenly forgot we’ve got an issue?”
“What issue, Stefi? If you wannna talk, just go ahead and talk straight, okay.”
“We are still childless, Jan.”
“That’s no longer news,” I replied, feeling a little bit angry that Stefi would bring up the issue in a manner I thought was suggestive of me being the cause.
“Well,” Stefi went ahead to say. “What makes news is that I’ve been to the doctors.”
“And tests have shown nothing is wrong with me.”
“I see where you’re going. Well done, Stefi,” I yelled in anger. I’m the one who has got a problem, right? Thank you very much, Stefi. Thank you very much for this load of insult I will never forget.”
“You call that insult?” Stefi said. I could notice anger in her tone. “A reasonable man listens. And right now, you’re far from being that.”
“Here we go again! Another load of insult. Thank you very much!”
“Call it what you like! I’m only suggesting you have yourself checked out. That’s my point!”
“This is nonsense! Nonsense! How could you even begin to suggest that I might be…”
I could not finish the words that I had to say. Anger would not let me. I stormed away from Stefi’s presence.