It was break time, but she didn’t feel hungry. Ngozi knew she felt really happy, but she couldn’t say why. Try hard as she might, she couldn’t place her finger on the reason for her obvious joy. She felt like she was in a balloon, cocooned from everything negative. Or maybe she knew the reason why she felt good, but did not understand why it should make her feel so happy.
It has been thirteen days since Stanley started his night prayers. It was as if he never slept. She’d wake up and see him praying… every night. The prayer was not the only new thing, there was his new kind of relationship with her. Stanley treated her like a new wife. Or better still, like a lady he was wooing. He found a reason to give her a gift each day, ranging from the fact that the gift reminded him of her, to the tale that the colour suits her, or that he saw it at a cheap price, but she knew he just wanted to please her.
She found herself feeling more like a woman with him, she found herself being feminine with him. At work she was an epitome of a strong woman, but with Stanley’s new ways, she found out she looked forward to being a total woman, soft, calm, beautiful and loved. She basked in his obvious love and devotion to her. But one thing tainted her joy. Her relationship with her mother-in-law. Stanley had told her the whole story, and how his mother had been shocked on hearing that he was the one at fault. She really felt sorry for her mother-in-law. No woman deserves to hear such news, and not in such hard way about her son.
Ngozi picked up her phone, and building up courage, called her mother-in-law. Something she had been postponing for days. She picked at the third ring.
‘Mama good afternoon Ma’
‘Good afternoon Ngozi, how are you doing?’
‘I am fine Ma. Mama I…’
‘Are you back in your husband’s house?’ Ngozi felt the tears build in her eyes and then felt them roll down her cheeks. She was her mother-in-law’s friend again. Quickly wiping away the tears, she tried to answer the question
‘Please go back. I had no right to do what I did, especially when it was not your fault. I have been too ashamed to call you.’
‘Mama, I am back home. When I agreed to marry him, you made me promise to always forgive whatever any of you did. I am keeping my promise to you. And mama, you don’t have to be ashamed, you are my second mother. You did what you thought was best for your son. I was hurt, really hurt, but I also understand your point of view.’
‘I had no reason. Thank you for your forgiveness. How is Stanley? I hope he is not hard on himself’
‘He is fine ma. We have been praying, and he has overcome the guilt. Mama, I also called to ask you for a favour’
‘What is it my daughter?’
‘I want you to pray for Stanley, for us. You are his mother, and I believe you have a say and a part to play in his destiny. I want you to put in your prayer all the love you feel for him and call down heaven if possible. My mother is also praying.’ Her mother-in-law was quiet for so long, Ngozi thought she was annoyed at her.
‘Mama, I hope I did not offend you? I’m sor…’
‘You did not my dear. You just taught me what I should have done instead of trying to put asunder.’ She sniffed as she tried to gather her words. ‘I will be praying for both of you night and day. Thank you my daughter. Can you give me your mother’s number? I need to apologize to her.’
‘Mama, there is no need for that. She has also forgiven you. It was her who made me see it from your point of view.’
‘Now I know where your good heart comes from. I was surprised to see the credit alert from you, even when I chased you from your home.’ Ngozi had decided to be giving her mother-in-law a certain amount of money each month, apart from the one she and Stanley gave her together. It had never occurred to her to stop it. ‘I still need to apologize, and I want to talk to her too. It has been long we spoke.’ Her mother- in-law concluded.
‘Okay ma’ Ngozi quickly called it out for her.
‘Thank you my daughter. May God bless your home’
‘May He live in your home’
‘May He hear your every prayer’
‘May He grant your heart’s desires’
‘Soon, very soon, we shall begin to hear cries of your babies in your home’
‘Amen’ Ngozi was in tears, tears of joy. Her joy was now complete. ‘Mama, thank you. I feel better now knowing you are praying for me, for us.’
‘I will not stop. Greet Stanley for me. Help me ask for his forgiveness.’
‘Mama, he has forgiven you. We love you.’
‘Thank you my dear. Let me allow you get back to work.’
‘Thank you Ma, bye bye.’ Ngozi ended the call, with a huge smile on her face. Her stomach growled and she knew she was hungry. She brought out her lunch box and began to eat, still smiling. Stanley’s mother quickly called Ngozi’s mother as soon as the call ended. She wanted to do it before her nerves failed her.
‘My Sister’ Ngozi’s mother answered on the first ring.
‘I’m sorry’ Stanley’s mother blurted out without greeting.
‘I forgave you a long time ago. So please let’s leave that matter. Let us, you and I, fight the challenge together. The devil wants to separate them with this challenge, let us stand in the gap for them.’ Stanley’s mother smiled. She had forgotten how godly Ngozi’s mother can be, seeing everything through the spiritual angle, and she was always right.
‘Okay, so what do you suggest we do? I am ready to fight for my son and daughter, and fight by them.’
‘I think we should have a prayer and fasting session. We will put all our emotions, expectations, hope and love into the prayer.’
‘You sound just like your daughter.’ Stanley’s mother said, unable to withhold her observation.
‘You spoke to her?’
‘Yes she called me. She is a good woman. You trained her well.’
‘Thank you, but it’s all God. Now back to the plan…’ The two mothers planned a strategy for battle, battle for their children’s happiness.
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Chidi felt a mixture of dread and hope as he drove to the hospital. The traffic was not helping matters. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, barely holding himself from blaring the horn.
‘God please help me.’ He muttered, repeating it like a mantra. His heart felt like it was in his stomach. This was the second stage of testing for the virus. The months had moved so slow, he had wished he could fast forward the days. He looked for his CD plate of hymns. Finding it, he inserted it in the player and felt himself calm down a bit at the first hymn
Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best. Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest.
He subconsciously sang along as he drove. Getting to the hospital, the fear settled back in his chest. He walked to the doctor’s office and waited as he got the result.
‘Err…, the doctor started ‘I just want you to know that it’s…’
‘Just tell me the result!’ Chidi shouted, surprising himself and startling the doctor, but he didn’t allow himself care about how he will be perceived, he just wanted to know his fate, though he could already deduce what it is.
‘Well…’ This was the part of his job Dr. Kingsley hated the most, delivering bad news.
‘You are HIV positive. But as I was saying, it’s not the end of the world, there are treatment procedures now which…’ Chidi tuned off at the word “positive”.
‘Give me the result’ he demanded, cutting the doctor short.
‘Mr Kingsley, you need the counselling, and…’
‘Give me the result’ Chidi repeated, speaking so calmly and scaring the doctor more than he had when he had shouted at him. Dr. Kingsley quickly put the result back in the envelope and handed it to Chidi, and watched him go. He shook his head, people reacted to bad news in different ways. He has seen men cry at the news that they were HIV positive, he has seen women faint, he has seen every manner of reaction. Today he saw anger. ‘Wonders will never cease’ he muttered.
Chidi walked out of the hospital, in his hand the result which he saw as a death warrant. For some reason, the only thought in his head was Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
The story continues…