Waiting By Joy-Episode 25


Nine months was a long time to wait for a gift to arrive, but Stanley and Ngozi were patient. There were days both of them wished Stanley could take over and carry the pregnancy for a while. Ngozi cried to Stanley about everything, ranging from the fact that she can’t see her feet any more to the fact that she has to sleep on her back every time, but she knew she’d do this as long as it took for her to get her gift. She had waited long enough for this, and no inconvenience seemed enough to discourage her. They had agreed not to inquire about the gender of the baby. They will be grateful for whatever gender God gives them. Ngozi also saw how wonderful her mothers could be. She now believed she had the best mother in law in the world who called almost everyday, and visited once in a while, bringing goodies for her, and pampering her. Her mother was no exception. She invited her over to her house once in a while to rest. Ngozi felt so loved that she promised herself to do the same for her daughter and her daughter in law. The older mothers should care for the young ones, teaching them how to face the challenges of motherhood. She promised herself to do that for other mothers as she got older. Ngozi was brought out of her reverie when Stanley called her. He was at her office gate to pick her up. That was a new development implemented by Stanley, he didn’t want any other person driving his wife and his child. The thought made Ngozi smile as she picked her handbag and walked slowly to the gate. ‘Hello beautiful’ Stanley greeted as he kissed her and opened the door for her. ‘Hello handsome’ she replied as she returned his kiss and entered the car. He helped her with her seatbelt, put her bag in the bag seat, and went around to the driver’s side. They talked about everything and ended up arguing about baby names. Despite the argument, Ngozi smiled as Stanley drove her home. She put her hand on her unborn child, and blessed him or her. She felt contented. Even though she was still waiting, she knew this was a different kind of waiting. She was waiting for the manifestation of her miracle. Chidi found himself smiling for no good reason. Since after the first dinner with Olanma and her mother, they had formed a routine, every Thursday night was for them to hangout. They took turns hosting each other, with Olanma’s mother acting like a mother and a chaperon at the same time to him and Olanma. His knowledge of his HIV status was the only shadow on his otherwise bright days. He found himself wanting to run everything through Olanma, asking for her input or just to hear her thoughts and views on the subject. He also found himself sharing any new knowledge with her. More than anything, he regretted meeting Laura. He almost hated her, he cringed when he remembered how he thought he had loved her back then. He strongly believed Olanma would have been a good wife for him, his single act of stupidity was still haunting him. He knew they can never be more than friends, as he could never marry someone without the virus. Each day he saw the way men looked at Olanma, and knew it won’t be long before she got married. She was smart, beautiful, driven, and she was a Christian, what else could a man ask for? She could not be his, but he wouldn’t change the past weeks for anything. Knowing Olanma had given him the strength to face each day, he knew she worked on putting smiles on his face, and for that he was grateful. She had made herself his antidepressant, making sure he didn’t dwell on his status. He accepted his result, but knew it wasn’t over as he was yet to tell his parents. Olanma advised him to wait, until he did the final test. He didn’t want to retake the test, as he knew what the result will be, but Olanma seemed so sure about it. She prayed for him, more than any other person apart from his mother. The test was scheduled for next week, and after the result, he knew what he had to do. He was going to inform his parents, and start the treatment and maybe join a support group. He knew he was also going to withdraw from Olanma. Though he enjoyed her company, he didn’t feel comfortable being with her so much when he knew nothing could come out of it. He saw the hope in her mother’s eyes each time they got together. Olanma was a woman, and no responsible man will come for her hand if he believes she was taken. From a glance, it looked like she was with him. He knew he had to withdraw so that the right man will see her. For the first time in a long time, Chidi didn’t feel good about doing the right thing. Olanma came out of the tall building a proud woman. She was now a student of the National Open University of Nigeria. She had promised herself that she will go to school, and she just started the journey. She has gotten the admission, and she was to start soon. Olanma knew she was happy, but she still felt a bit numb. She had waited so long for this, yet she couldn’t place her feelings. She killed the urge to tell Chidi. Chidi. Her new friend. Few people, if any, understood her like he did. He seemed to accept her just the way she came, with her stubbornness and all, and she loved him for that. She wished things were different, although her intuition told her things were. She had an intuitive sense which told her things she couldn’t be sure of, and they were always true. It was telling her that Chidi’s HIV result was a false positive. She saw his battle with moodiness, and tried to help him smile. He was a good friend to her, making her mother smile, though it pained her each time the thought crosses her mind that her mother may be disappointed at the end when she and Chide go their separate ways. Her ringing phone interrupted her sad thoughts. She picked it up, and after confirming another job, ended the call and waited for a bus to take her home. She decided she was not going to tell Chidi of her good news yet until he took the HIV test again, and it comes out negative. As the bus took her home, Olanma remembered that she had promised herself that she won’t have anything to do with any man for marriage until she got into school. She just got admission, but the man she liked seemed out of reach. She smiled wistfully at the turn out of things. Mentally ordering herself to quit worrying about what she couldn’t do anything about, she focused on planning for her next job. *The story continues*