Waiting By Joy-Episode 26

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Uchenna kept changing positions on the bed until he finally stood up and went to the parlour. He knew why he felt restless, and he decided he had to know if he did the right thing. He took his Bible, flipping through the pages, hoping for something to stand out to him, nothing did. He knew what he was supposed to do, he went in and woke Rita up. ‘Rita wake up’ he said, tapping her gently. She opened her eyes slowly, temporarily confused ‘What’s the time?’ She asked looking at wall clock. ‘It’s past 12:43’ Hearing the time, she got worried. ‘Is there a problem?’ She asked sitting up ‘Are you feeling sick?’ She made to touch his forehead. ‘I am very well’ he replied. He took her hand as he stood up, ‘Please come with me to the parlour. I have something to tell you’ Obviously wondering why he disturbed her sleep, she quietly took a wrapper and followed him to the parlour. ‘What is it? She asked him immediately they got to the parlour ‘You have been restless for a while.’ ‘Sit down’ he invited. She cooperated. ‘I have seen the driver. I saw him last Friday’ ‘What driver?’ ‘The one who stole the company’s money.’ Uchenna waited for the news to sink in his wife’s head. It didn’t take long. ‘What? How? When? Where is he?’ ‘That’s the problem, I had him arrested and I have not had rest of mind since then. I keep feeling like I did something wrong.’ Rita remained silent, wondering how to go about it. Not getting any idea, she finally asked ‘So what do you want to do now?’ Uchenna felt grateful for the fact that Rita didn’t make him feel worse. He knew she wouldn’t have supported his action of arresting Ochuko, she would have thought of another way. ‘I don’t know. I told the policemen to deal with him until he gives me the money’ ‘That was not the best way. Once it’s daylight, we have to go and see him. He did wrong, but it’s not our place to reward. Especially as God has seen us through the rough journey. We have nothing to complain about anymore.’ ‘I knew, but I still felt angry. Somebody had to pay, and it didn’t have to be me. But I suffered it. You can imagine how I felt seeing him as my new employee. I remembered all that we had gone through. The years of joblessness, trekking, the confiscation of our properties, the robbery attack, the selling of akara. Rita I just felt someone had to pay.’ Uchenna was close to tears. Rita was already crying. She got herself together before she spoke ‘It could have been worse, a lot worse. We are stronger, we are standing taller, our son is learning what it means to be a man, we have learnt to appreciate safety and health, my parents respect you more, I am more confident in your love for me, and we have our own businesses. All this because the driver stole from us. We would have still been in our comfort zone. God made us better than we ever imagined. Let’s not see only the struggles, let’s also be thankful for the positive outcomes. Let God be the judge.’ Uchenna didn’t have any reply, he could only see how ungrateful and myopic he had been. He felt so ashamed and went on his knees, without saying a word, he knew he had truly forgiven Ochuko. Hearing Rita crying by his side made him feel better and at peace. He knew the waiting was over, he didn’t know what the future held, but he was sure of God’s presence. When daylight came, they went to the police station and bailed Ochuko. He had already been beaten up by the policemen and he looked sick. Seeing him increased the guilt Uchenna felt. Ochuko didn’t understand what was going on. He was discharged and taken to a clinic where he was treated, next he was fed and apologized to. At a point, he couldn’t take it anymore, he had to speak out. ‘Oga, I don’t know why you are doing this, especially since I know I don’t deserve it. I am ashamed of my past, and I want you to know I have been saving and asking God to bring you my way, so that when I see you, I can give you back your money. I have about forty percent of the money, and I can give it to you if you follow me to the bank.’ Rita looked at her husband who was staring at Ochuko. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing, Ochuko might be a better man than he was, praying for someone he wronged to come his way so he could refund what he stole. ‘Don’t… don’t worry. You can have it. You have paid enough.’ ‘No Sir, I have not. I know what happened after I ran away with the money. At least take this one I have saved, even if you have forgiven me.’ No matter what Uchenna and Rita said, Ochuko insisted on giving them the money, saying it was theirs. After transferring the money to their account, he went home a happy man, the joy obvious on his face. Now he could forgive himself. Chidi couldn’t sit still, he was at Olanma’s school where he waited for her so they could go for the final test. The test that will seal his fate, the test that will act as a determinant of how their relationship will go. He came down from the car and started pacing, ignoring the fact that some people were staring. Olanma had volunteered to accompany him for support. He was grateful for her willingness to come, but he feared about her reaction if it is positive again. They both knew that the reason they weren’t more than friends was his HIV status. He had dealt with his loss, but he didn’t want to see the disappointment on her face. He started muttering and praying as he paced “Dear Lord, even if it’s not for me, but for her, please do a miracle. I know you can do anything. I am sorry I sinned against you, but please my Lord help me. I still have many ways I can serve you, please heal me. I am scared of what the future holds if I am truly positive. Olanma said she feels so sure it has been reversed, I pray you count her faith and make it so. Please my King, please heal me.” ‘You are obviously worried. Everything is going to be fine. Just trust God’ Olanma had arrived without his notice. He turned and, forcing a smile on his face, greeted her. ‘How was school today, Jambito?’ ‘Oh please, before you know it, I will be through. School was fine, but you obviously are not.’ ‘Can you blame me? I am afraid’ ‘I don’t know what happened, or why I am so sure but I don’t think you are HIV positive.’ ‘What is the basis of your conviction?’ Chidi asked ‘Let’s just say it has been confirmed to me’ Olanma replied, with a mischievous smile on her face. ‘Come let’s go so we can rest’ Chidi was silent on the drive to the hospital. He had chosen a different hospital after praying. He was silent through the procedure of sample collection, through out the whole process he only spoke when necessary. He was asked to come back the next day. Olanma also volunteered to accompany him. He only nodded. When he dropped her off at the house, Olanma knew she had to say something. ‘You have been silent. I hope you are praying and not allowing fear win. By this time tomorrow, we will be celebrating.’ As Chidi drove home, all he could think of was the kind of faith Olanma has. ‘I really need such a woman by my side’ he muttered just as he drove into his house. *The story continues*