Too many surprises | Sunday Observer

Too many surprises

28 March, 2021

Sarah and Nicolas, the soon-to-wed couple bring Samara across the border to Canada, hidden in their vehicle as she’s wrongfully accused of carrying illegal drugs. At the border, they pretend to be married, although they aren’t, and Sarah is arrested for carrying an ornamental gold pagoda in her handbag. She’s bailed out the following day and a court case is filed. She wonders why Nicolas and Samara don’t turn up to inquire after her, and learns later that they’re in a secret affair and they’ve betrayed her. She attends the court case alone, pays a fine and faces a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment. The following week, she flies to a city far away, finds employment there and settles down. She follows a university course to become a teacher. She coincidentally meets a young man (Sherman) and falls in love with him. He suggests Sarah be his niece’s home-visiting tutor, and introduces her to his family. She gets negative vibes from his sister Kumberlin, whose husband has faced a tragic death in the past, caused by a sudden heart failure, after learning that his wife has deceived him. The relationship continues between Sarah and Sherman. She moves in with him.

Episode 11

Sarah walked into her bedroom. She wanted to lean on the door and wait for him, open the door and see if he was coming, stand outside at least for a moment, expecting his arrival, sit back in bed for a while…and she did them all. So, he arrived. They were silent, but her silence was more expressive than her talkativeness. No conversation distracted them. There was perfect harmony and silence everywhere. She could hear the twinkling of her friends, the shiny ones in the galaxy, giving rhythm to their beautiful meeting.

Every day, they took walks outside by dusk and when darkness was falling in pieces they came inside, Sarah first and Sherman next, to join her later in her bedroom. Sarah’s gentleness was taken by the whole household. It happened in a very harmonious manner. There was a contradiction to this toning whatsoever. It came from Kumberlin, unplanned but well planned.

Once, when they were walking outside, Sarah asked an unexpected question.

“Have you ever explained the maze to anyone else?”

“Yes, to Sonia.”

“Who’s Sonia?”

“She was my ex-girlfriend.”

“Why did you break up with her?”

“Oh, she went for a rich man.”

“I see. I had a boyfriend, too, Nicolas, and the situation was complicated. He preferred my friend.”

A question was drawn on Sherman’s face, and Sarah began to tell her story. It started at the crossing of the border and went on till she met Sherman on the bus.

“And we pretended to be married when we went to get Samara. We were going to get married, but it didn’t happen ‘cause he liked Samara, not me.”

“But why did you pretend to be married?”

Sarah thought for a while, trying to find an answer to his question. Why did she really pretend to be married? She kept asking herself, and finally realized that there was no solid answer to it. It was a general question that continued to flash within even before it was steadily thrown at her by Sherman.

“I don’t know why I did it. I really thought it was okay. I thought I’d marry him right after.”

Sherman laughed. For him, it was too hilarious, although the bringing of Samara, the gold pagoda, the arrest and everything that followed were nightmarish.

The following morning at the university, Sarah felt something strange about her body, and returning home, she visited the library in the convent. Sitting at a table, she was overwhelmed by dizziness and kept her head on the table looking for support. Sister Priscilla observed this, and walked towards her.

“Sarah, are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine. The whole day I was feeling weak.”

“I heard you’re going out with Sherman Tilford?”

Sarah was stunned to hear the words.

“How did you know?”

“One of your neighbours told me. Also, you’re living there now?”


They looked at each other and smiled and there was much more in Sister Priscilla’s smile. Sarah knew that she tried to communicate what she already knew, although nothing was said. However, it was blurted out in a quick second in a specific way very special to the nun.

“Perhaps there’s some good news about the dizziness you feel now.”

“What do you mean?” Sarah asked, although she knew very well what Sister Priscilla tried to convey.

“What I mean is, I think you’re pregnant.”

“What makes you think so?” Sarah asked with a smile, knowing it all her heart way before it came from Sister Priscilla.

“Your face says it all.” The nun confirmed.

The two friends parted. Sarah was feeling heavy and restless. She went home straight, eager to meet Sherman when he came home after work. Well, he would be happy to hear it.

Being almost a member of the family, Sarah had a separate key to the gate, and she entered. She noticed that the house was silent, although the door was open. She had expected Kumberlin and Kristina to be home. She also had a planned tuition class with Kristina that afternoon.

However, they didn’t seem to be home. Perhaps they had gone out on some sudden errand. But someone was home, obviously and that’s why the door was open.

She entered, and she could hear a sound in Sherman’s bedroom. She walked there to meet Jerad face-to-face, leaving the room. He was alarmed to see Sarah. It looked like he was disturbed that Sarah saw him leaving his brother’s room. He had some papers in his hands, and Sarah’s eyes stopped there.

Jerad gave a pretended smile and proceeded. It was bizarre. What could he have been doing in there? And why did he look so disturbed to see Sarah? Definitely he was up to no good, and Sarah’s presence there was quite unexpected.

Sarah came to the conclusion that Jerad had gone into Sherman’s room for some corrupt reason. It was really the truth, but what could she have done with her knowledge? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! She walked to the front having the same thoughts. The house looked very peaceful and tranquil, but really, it wasn’t. She stood at the front door, having her eyes on the gates and noticed a vehicle parking outside. The bell rang and she answered.

“We’re from the police. Please open the gate!”


“Yes, to meet Jerad Tilford.”

She opened the gate, unsure why the police would come for Jerad, but she speculated. Well, he was probably involved in some misdeed. She hurried inside to pass the news to him.

“The police...” she began to speak, but she was stopped by him before she said anything else.

“I know that. I saw them, but I can’t face them now. Tell them I’m not home!”

Sarah was alarmed. Was it right to tell them that he wasn’t home? Would she get into trouble if she said so? She was silent for a moment.

“But they’re the police. How can I lie to them?” She asked.

“That’s okay. Besides, it doesn’t affect you anyway. If I’m not home, I’m not home and there’s nothing you can do about it!” he confirmed.

She had nothing else to say. She proceeded to the front, and the crowd was standing outside. They looked relieved to see her. There were men and also women. Sarah walked all the way to the front door. Two of them were police officers, and a young female spoke.

“We came to meet Jerad Tilford. Is he there?”

“He’s not in.” She replied in a low voice.

“Well, Jerad is in debt to the bank. He hasn’t paid his instalments. We’re sorry to have missed him.” A man said.

Sarah wasn’t sure of the purpose of their visit. Of course, it was evident that Jerad was in debt to the bank and they wanted to find him, just like they said. But were they going to arrest him? She gave way to her thoughts. In no time, one middle-aged man walked in, almost pushing her. Then followed the rest of the crowd, and Sarah was thunderstruck.

“It’s not right to walk into a house without permission!” she firmly said.

“You can’t talk to him like that. He’s a court officer.” A policeman explained to her.

His explanation sounded almost like a threat and Sarah was silent. She realised that apart from the two policemen, the others were from the court, and she was surrounded by all of them. A certain sense of anger rose in her.

Why did Jerad hide himself, leaving her to go through all the chaos? Well, for him, that was a good way out, and Sarah was an excellent bait. She glanced at the surprise party, the sudden visitors, the police and the court officials.

They were speaking very loud. She faintly got their words into herself. They were sounds, just sounds. They fell in her ears and produced an identification. Was it wise to do upon her identification?

“Jerad has to pay his debts.”

“He has tried to mislead us.”

“He got away many times.”

“He keeps away from coming to the bank.”

“He can’t do this always.”

It was one big hullabaloo. Sarah covered her ears with her hands. Suddenly, she felt heavy inside. She could see the chandelier from a distance. She was overwhelmed by its light, even if it wasn’t lit. It was too bright, and she felt dazed. Her feet were just about to take her off the ground. She was going to fall, but she managed to slip through the crowd and isolate herself, standing all by herself, and the crowd turned to her again. The young girl walked up to her, having a paper in her hand. It was a legal document, and unfortunately, Sarah didn’t know it. She didn’t know that a legal seizure was just about to happen in a very unlawful manner.

“So we understand that Jerad isn’t home. But he has to be informed that we were here. Please hand over this paper to him!”

She placed a paper in Sarah’s hands.

“Also, you need to sign here confirming that you accepted this paper. Now it’s your duty to pass this to him.”

Sarah signed the paper without thinking twice. It was an acknowledgement of receipt. Also, the honest court officer had told her that it was so. Sarah believed her. Oh, she trusted her and signed the paper!

“We’re going now. Make sure that you give the paper to him. The deadline is mentioned there.”

The crowd walked out of the house. They got into the van. Clearly, it was an official van. It was white and had the state logo on it. They disappeared from her eyes. She was relieved out of the commotion. It was a matter of handing over the paper to him now. She turned back to go to him and saw him standing right there. He had his eyes aimed at her, and she walked to him with the paper.

To be continued next week

Copyright - Santhoshya Jayamali Seneviratne