African American Christian Fiction

My husband, Sinclair, looked like a black lumberjack. He bounced into our room and took out my yellow suitcase and dragged it across the hardwood floor leaving stuff marks along the way. I sat on the edge of the bed and watched him piling his clothes inside. I knew that he was going to ask me if I wanted to go to the convention with him and he knew that my answer was going to be the same as it had been the ten hundred other times he had asked. 

“Do you want to go with me to the convention?” He asked me to fold his white tee shirt and put it in the suitcase. 

“No, I told you that I didn’t want to go. There is nothing that interested me about a woodworking convention. You go and have a good time.” I said. 

Sinclair tried to close his overstuffed suitcase and I put on my bunny slippers on the floor beside my bed and grabbed my robe and went downstairs. I needed a strong cup of coffee. 

Sinclair and I met at church. I had just moved here after my friend, Michelle convinced me that I should. I had just been laid off from my boring job and she told me that I should come to her city and get a husband. I had no intention of finding anything but a job. I was 40 years old and had never been married and had no children and didn’t have any desire to have either. Michelle was married and had four kids. She believed that I should be like her. I disagreed. 

I bought a house and got a new job that I loved at a TV station. My life was finally getting better. And I loved it. 

I had found a small church a few blocks from my house. Sinclair’s big brown eyes captivated me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him in the third row of the choir. After church he introduced himself. He told me that I looked beautiful. I knew that was a big lie. I had my hair pulled up into a tight bun on the top of my head and was wearing my dull purple church dress with the lace collar. It was so snug that it showed off a little too many curves that I wanted to hide. I also knew that my light brown skin was a little too shiny from the baby oil and the only makeup I had on was lip gloss and mascara. 

When he shook my hand I never wanted to let go. We had our first date a week later. He brought me a dozen of red roses. I didn’t know how he knew that those were my favorite flowers but I was glad that he did. For each date he brought me different colored roses. He moved into my house a year later. 

Sinclair was good at working with his hands and when he moved in with his tool belt I knew that everything in the house would be repaired. When Sinclair was laid off from his construction job I was not worried. He had 24 units before he completed his degree in engineering. But Sinclair had other ideas. He wanted to take some courses in woodworking. So, after a few months and $2000 later Sinclair was done with the classes and our garage looked like a small furniture store. There were stools, tables, desks and chairs all over the garage. Finally, we got a loan and he opened up a shop around the corner from our house. The store did well and he went from being unemployed to being a small business owner in less than a year. 

For the first 8 years of our ten year marriage it was great. I went fishing with him even though the thought of a fish dangling from a pole moving around made me want to throw up. And camping was no thrill either. I didn’t like to be out in the wilderness listening to animal sounds all night thinking that some wild animals would come in the tent and eat me alive. And the football games that I sat through took too long to end. But I endured those things to get to know him and he went to long foreign movies with subtitles with me and watched what he called “girly” movies with me a couple of times per week. We also went out to dinner twice per month just to get out of the house and keep our romance alive. We toasted

each other with expensive bottles of wine and ate big plates of pasta and garlic bread and the occasional fish dinners for him. 

Now Sinclair’s idea of a romantic dinner and a movie is sitting in front of the TV watching one of his home improvement shows and ordering from the fast food place down the street screaming our order through a box speaker and coming home opening greasy bags of food and eating lukewarm hamburgers and soggy fries while sipping on watered down soda through a straw. 

I used to love the feel of his big arms around me as we laid in the bathtub together as I pressed my back against his body. I never wanted to leave those strong arms. I felt that I had found Mr. Wonderful and I was glad that he had found me. Nowadays I wonder where Mr. Wonderful has gone. 

“Are you sure that you don’t want to come? It is going to be in Vegas.” Sinclair said, poking his head into the kitchen. 

“No. I don’t want to go. I don’t even like Vegas. I don’t gamble and neither do you. You go and have a good time.” I said sipping on my now lukewarm cup of coffee. 

Sinclair rubbed my shoulders and then kissed me on the cheek and went out of the door to the garage. I waited for him to return a few minutes later. He always forgot something. Sinclair ran up the stairs to our bedroom and came down holding his cell phone. 

“I forgot my phone.” He said. 

He walked back over to me sitting at the kitchen table and bent down and kissed me again on the cheek. This time he let his lips linger a second longer. I was grateful for the effort. 

My phone rang a few minutes later. It was my friend, Michelle. 

“Hey girl. Did Sinclair leave yet?” She asked. 

“He just left.” I said. 

“So, what are you going to do?” Michelle asked. 

“What am I going to do in general or today?” I asked, knowing full well what she met.

“What are you going to do about your marriage?” Michelle sounded irritated. 

“I think that we need counseling. We just don’t communicate anymore. He comes home and plops down on the couch and watches some home improvement show on cable and I cook

dinner and go to bed with a good book while he goes to his office. We say very little to each other.” I said. 

“Do you think that he will go?” She asked. 

“We talked about it and I think he will be open to it.” I said. 

“Well, good luck. I am about to pull into the parking lot. I will talk to you later.” Michelle hung up the phone. 

I walked back upstairs to my office. I needed to work on my story and for that I needed my laptop. I turned it on and the screen stayed black. I didn’t even hear the beep that I hate after  I turned it on. I knew that it was dead and I forgot to charge it. I plugged it in and walked to Sinclair's office and sat down on the wooden chair he built behind the desk he also built using an old wooden door. I turned on his computer and put in the password. What I saw on the screen made me do a double take. About ten bikini clad women popped up and they were messaging him things that I couldn’t repeat in mixed company or ever. So, this is what he does when he comes to his office to “work.” I thought. He was talking to bikini clad women. I closed the computer and before I knew it I had put it under my arm like a football and ran down the stairs. I opened the patio door and threw it in the deep end of the pool like I just scored a touchdown. I wiped off the water that splashed on my clothes and went back inside. 

I picked up the ringing cell phone and slid the button to answer.

“Hey, Anna. I am here.” Sinclair’s voice echoed on the other side of the phone. 

“Glad you made it. Hey, my computer is dead and I need to do some work. Can I use yours?” I asked. 

“Well, my computer has a virus.” Sinclair said as his voice started to crack the way it always did when he lied. 

“How do you know it is a virus? “ I asked. 

“Well, I don’t know what else it could be. It’s not acting right. Don’t you have your work backed up on your work computer?” He asked. 

“Yes. Do you have your computer backed up?” I asked. 

“No. I don’t.” He replied. 

“Well, maybe you should.” I said hanging up the phone.

A week later we were sitting  in front of a marriage counselor in a dull brown office building. He was our age, in his early 50’s. His  salt and pepper hair was slicked down to his head and his mustache matched his hair.  He sat there with his legs crossed on a black office  chair across from us wearing black slacks and a white shirt. I couldn’t help noticing his brown loafers. They reminded me of the ones that Sinclair had which he wore every time he dressed up. He thought that those shoes went with everything. I disagreed. 

The marriage counselor asked us some questions which I thought made no difference at all in our situation. But, I answered them thoughtfully. I told him about the early days of our marriage and now. When it was Sinclair’s turn to talk he would answer in one or two words and on occasion in a short ten word sentence.  Then he would turn his gaze to me. I would ignore his “I want to be anywhere but here” look and look straight ahead at the counselor. 

Six months later we knew that our marriage could not be saved. I told Sinclair that I didn’t want to be married any more and I know he was just waiting for me to say what he was thinking. He moved out of our bedroom that day to the guest room down the hall.  A  month later he had rented an apartment a few miles from our house. I watched him as he packed the last box and as he was putting it into his cherry red truck he turned around and said, “Baby, we sure did give it a good try.” 

I looked at him and smiled. “You don’t know unless you try.”

March 08, 2022 00:20

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