Waiting By Joy-Episode 15


Ngozi looked at her wrist watch and realized she was running late. ‘Yikes!’ She exclaimed, and quickly packed up her things. It’s been two months since she and Stanley came back from her mother’s house. They worked better together, but there was still the yearning for a child. They visited the motherless babies home every Wednesday evening. They discovered that the love for a child didn’t have to be for a biological child. The children were beginning to get used to them, and the staff see them as regular visitors. She and Stanley had fallen in love with a little outspoken girl, Rose, whose mother had come into the home really sick, and had given them her daughter and all the necessary details about her before she had died. Today was Rose’s birthday, and they had planned a birthday party for her. She was turning 8. As Ngozi was driving out of the company’s garage, her phone rang, it was Stanley calling. ‘Zizi, where are you?’ He asked ‘I don’t want to go in and face Rose’s questions alone.’ He continued laughing. ‘You will have to. I’m just leaving the office.’ ‘I will wait, I want us to give her the gifts together.’ Stanley explained, ‘But that doesn’t mean you should drive too fast.’ ‘Yes sir. What did you buy for her?’ ‘A teddy bear. You?’ ‘A book of short stories’ ‘Nice! I will be waiting for you.’ ‘Alright dear, I’m on my way.’ Getting to the home, Ngozi parked behind Stanley’s car. On sighting her, Stanley alighted from his car and went out to meet her, with the teddy bear which had a ribbon on its neck. He walked up to her, and kissed her before giving her a hug. That had become there mode of greeting after anytime away from each other, sine they came back from their leave at Ngozi’s mother’s house. ‘How are you?’ Ngozi asked ‘Better, now that I have seen you. You?’ ‘I’m pregnant. I mean I’m fine.’ ‘You must be so eager to get pregnant, that it shows even in your speech.’ Stanley joked. Ngozi could only smile. She felt very surprised. “Where did that come from?” She wondered, “I wasn’t even thinking about it!” Stanley led her, with his hand on her back, into the home. On sighting them, the children ran to them, the children ran to them hugging them and showing how happy they were to see. Ngozi felt a pull on her heart string, and tears came to her eyes. She wished for this from her own children. They are yours as much as you want them to be. She nodded acknowledging the voice. She turned to Stanley and saw him watching her with something close to worry in his eyes. She gave him a watery smile. The party was more energy demanding than Ngozi had envisioned. She sat down tired but feeling fulfilled, she smiled as she watched Stanley playing with the children. He was meant to be a father” she thought. She felt a tug on her skirt, she turned to see Vivian raising up her hands and asking to be carried, she apparently needed a calm place to sleep. Vivian was a three year old who loves everyone, and who have gotten Ngozi thinking, more than once, who her parents were as she acted so matured and collected for a three year old. Ngozi quickly lifted her up to her laps, and laid her in a way she would be comfortable when she slept, but Vivian sat up and started talking to her stomach ‘he is a fine baby.’ ‘Which baby are you talking about?’ Ngozi asked. ‘This one’ Vivian said, pointing to Ngozi’s abdomen. Ngozi raised her eyebrows at her, but Vivian chose that moment to snuggle up to Ngozi, and was soon asleep. Ngozi wondered what just happened, but she soon let it go, carried away by the activities of the party. ‘I see it as a part of training. I’m not saying he will sell akara, but I want him to learn the value of work. So he will know he can work to earn money for himself. It will always teach him that there are other ways to do things without totally losing out in a place.’ Uchenna was explaining to Rita. ‘Uche, are you sure about this? You know I trust you, but I don’t want our children to feel like we can’t take care of them, and start looking for ways to cater for themselves.’ ‘I know’ Uchenna said, nodding. ‘But you need to see what happened. It occurred to me that he can work with me, but I decided to run it through you first. Only for him to me saying he wanted to drop out of school so he could help. I decided to employ him, but made him promise to excel in school. I really think it’s God’s will.’ Rita closed her eyes and snuggled closer to her husband. They were home for the weekend, just the two of them. Since the robbery incident, Rita have been afraid of coming back to the house, begging Uchenna for them to move out of it, but Uchenna insisted that they use it until the rent was due. He had decided that they should “escape” there for the weekend. It had been tough on her, but she had agreed so she could get over the fear of being robbed. Now the farthest thing on her mind was the robbery, but her first son’s strange request. “Thank God he spoke out” a voice told her. ‘Okay’ she said to her husband looking up at him. ‘He is our first son. Train him well.’ ‘Thank you for trusting me’ Uchenna said, breathing a sigh of relief. He kissed her forehead, and snuggled down to sleep. The training for becoming a man starts next week for Stephen. Olanma was back in the village, and her mother was telling her of people who had come looking for her. ‘They came with a big car, and were disappointed that you were not around.’ ‘Thank God I was not around’ Olanma muttered. ‘I heard that you know.’ Her mother commented. ‘Mama I’m sorry, but I don’t think I need a man who is coming across to me as flashy and all. Why will a man within the village be coming with a car? Couldn’t he have walked?’ ‘Olanma, when did it become a crime for a man to drive a car? Tell me what the true problem is. Don’t you plan on getting married?’ Olanma gave her mother a glance and saw her watching her patiently. She walked up to her mother and sat down by her side. ‘Mama, I hope to get married, but I don’t think it will happen with mistakes or pressure. And I want God’s will. I don’t want to worry about it. Please understand me.’ ‘Okay. But can I ask just a simple question?’ ‘Okay Ma.’ Have you ever seen a man you were attracted to?’ ‘Yes ma’ she said, shocking herself and thinking about Chidi. ‘I have.’ And before her mother could ask her a follow up question, she excused herself. ‘Mama, let me go and start dinner.’ She left without waiting for a reply. She was peeling the yam when it hit her that this was the first time she and her mother have ever discussed something this personal. She realized she was now a woman. Chidi looked at the result. It was negative. But he remembered what the doctor had said The test should be taken again in three month’s time, and then three months after. It might be too early to detect. He didn’t know how to feel. Happy or worried. ‘I am taking this a day at a time, a step at a time.’ he said to himself as he drove home. ‘I have passed the first stage. Dear Lord, please let your grace remain.’ He felt lighter, and prayed for this storm to end soon. The story continues…