The Cradle 2
Ife by Asa
The drive was painful.
There was an uncomfortable silence as Amanda drove me to the emergency room.
I didn’t know what to say and I could tell she was scared. Very scared.
Her hands were shaking as she placed both on the wheel.
She barely turned to the right to look at me. It was like she was worried that if she turned, I would have disappeared or something.
We found a parking spot in the emergency room parking area and hopped out of the car.
We slowly made our way to the door and I stopped and gently guided Amanda into a turn using her shoulder.
I reached both hands up and placed them around Amanda’s smooth shoulders that moulded her 5’7 frame.
I don’t know what is in the American food but I just know she grew physically beyond my imaginations since we moved to the States.
I looked into her eyes and said
“Baby, it’s all going to be okay. I trust God.
We have no one but God and he has brought us his far. He will not desert us now. I am sure of it.
So don’t worry and channel your energy into praying.
Every time you get scared; pray.
His word says pray without ceasing. And that is what we will do. I will be fine because I serve a living God.
Okay baby. By his stripes, I am healed. Alright love?”
I could tell she was still scared but at least she tried to force a nod.
Who was I to blame her? Even after three phone call from the doctor and making my way into the hospital, I still hadn’t told her what I was there for. And I was scared too. I was trying to tell myself it would be okay but I was fearful too.
She knew it was bad but to what extent? That I was sure she didn’t know.
My children had never seen me cry. I had made it a point as they were growing to never cry in front of them.
I tried to shield them from those emotions until there were ready.
And I certainly wasn’t going to ruin Amanda’s big day. She was blessed to have been accepted into the school and to ruin that would have been unfair to her and all her hard work.
The check-in was fairly smooth. About an hour later and I was in my assigned bed with Amanda by my side.
For those of you that have been to hospitals, you can testify that emergency room waits are the doing of the devil.
You can have an exploding brain aneurism but they will still make you wait before they can attend to you.
I acknowledge that it’s not their fault, but you are more likely to guess the winning lottery numbers in the emergency waiting room before you get attended to.
This nurse came for this and the other for that.
Holes were being punched into my body as each person wanted a bit more of the red Kool aid inside my body.
Hours had gone by and I was tired. I remember dozing off and then I woke up.
Amanda was on her phone, I slowly opened my eyes and said
“Posting another portrait or selfie”
Trying to sound hip. She smiled as if to thank her stars that I didn’t say that in public to embarrass her.
“It’s called a selfie mom. We’ve gone over this before.
Just selfie and no I’m not posting anything. Just looking at other peoples pictures”
She replied in that classic 17year old “I have to help my mother be cool” voice.
We smiled at each other.
“So we need to take you shopping so you can start getting new clothes for school”
She looked at me as she lowered her phone and said
“Mom we don’t need to worry about that right now. We shouldn’t even be talking about that right now”
I had this look of confusion on my face as I said
I paused for a second and I continued
“I’m going to be out of here as soon as possible and I cannot have you not ready for school. College is a big deal.
So it must be done right. Don’t sit here worrying about me, i will be fine.
Sooooo what’s the latest you guys are wearing now?”
She was hesitant to change the topic and talk about her “vanities” but I think she sensed that I needed my mind off the current situation, so she started talking.
I honestly wasn’t listening to the words coming out of her mouth. I had just needed a distraction.
But mind was off to the races thinking
“How many days of work am I going to miss for this?
Where will I get money to buy her what she needs for school?
Will I even make it through it all?”
I was in my thoughts as I watched her lips close and part as she yapped away.
She was beautiful and mine. I was so proud of her.
Everyone was proud of her. Her poise, her big heart and her dedication to who she was.
I just stared in awe as I thanked God for at least making sure one of the three turned out right.
Not to speak ill of my other two kids but adulthood changes things.
Your little angels can quickly become distant strangers who just eat your food and do their laundry at your house.
I must have been lost in my thought because I didn’t notice Amanda tapping my right hand saying
I finally snapped back into it and noticed Dr. Fairborn standing to my left.
“Oh hey doc”
“Well hello here”
“I can see there is some mother daughter bonding going on here”
We both smiled like teenage girls meeting our crush for the first time at his concert while he made his way back stage. The man was just fine.
He smiled back as he said
“So do you want to talk in private about the details of the procedure”
As he glanced at Amanda who looked like an enthusiastic student ready to soak up all the information that was coming.
I was about to speak when my two other kids showed up; David and Angela.
“Oh we have a full house now. Are these your other kids?”
Dr Fairborn said as they squeezed into the room.
I nodded as I smiled. He continued
“Well the first bit of the procedure is the radiation. We would start that in a couple of days.
Right now we want to get your blood pressure down and get some more healthy stuff flowing inside of you.
So we will keep you here under observation and I’ll be checking in.
The other part I wanted to discuss with you which I mentioned over the phone is the payment and duration bit”
I swallowed hard.
“Because the rumors and in such delicate positions, we have to be really careful. And we might need to break down the process but we verified with your insurance and because they are terminating your employment in a few weeks, they are not obligated to pay for anything that happens after that date.
I am obligated by law to complete treatment once I start, so I will operate on you. But I just wanted to give you a heads up that there will intact be a huge bill coming your way once this is over”
I sighed and said
“It’s okay. God is in control.”
Dr. Fairborn nodded and said his goodbyes before heading out
“It was nice meeting you all. You have a lovely mom. Linda rest up okay and ask for anything you need. I’ll check back on you as soon as I can”
“Thank you doctor”
I replied as he left the room.
As soon as he was gone, Angela and Amanda leaned over the bed and hugged me. It was a warming feeling inside.
As the got up, I said
“Look, I don’t want any sadness around this. God is in control. All we need to do is pray and let him do what he does best”
I heard David say something under his breath. I knew it was something that he didn’t quite want me to hear and maybe I shouldn’t have poked but I said
“David, what did you say?”
I held my breath as he turned and stared at me. You could feel that burning in his eyes.
I hoped he would say something that would burn deeper than any radiation laser could. He turned and squarely faced me as he said
“I said, what will prayer do?”
I thought he would stop but he went on to say
“All you have been saying is pray, pray, pray and nothing has happened. Yet we have a father that has so much money but you won’t take it from him. Now you’re trying to go into so much debt for this. When you could easily ask him for the money and call it day….
You teach us to be humble and all that other stuff but you are too full of pride to even ask the father of your children for money that may save your life. You continue to hide behind God..
Is God going to send you thousands of dollars?…”
He stopped taking and I was bleeding. My heart was bleeding.
His words pierced so deep into my heart. I could see so much of his father in him. It frightened me.
The tears started to roll down my cheeks.
Angela turned to him and said
“Just leave bro. Not cool at all”
I didn’t want him to leave. Even though I was hurting. I didn’t want him to leave my side.
But the reality of our situation hit very quickly. He turned around and walked out of the room.
There are those moments you cherish with the ones you love. Often times, it’s the things that they don’t even realize, that causes you to love them more.
My son wasn’t always so “cold”.
I remember when I had begun to plan the trip to America with my children, seven years ago.
That day the driver arrived with David from school and before David even walked into the house, I instructed him to enter the car.
He was still in his school attire and he didn’t complain.
That was the way he was
I didn’t want the driver to drive us.
We headed out and I remember buying him some Fan Yogurt and two egg rolls while I bought one Gala for myself.
It wouldn’t have seemed strange for me to take David with me to his father.
David and I occasionally had mother and son time as I their father spent time with the girls too.
It was a balance.
That day we went and got his pictures taken so I could get his passports for the travel.
He was so supportive and always helpful with everything I asked of him.
Leaving his father was especially harder for him. He loved his father and they were very close.
When we arrived in America, not having hat father figure was hard for him.
He was also aware of the fact that I left but neither his father nor I, spoke about why I left.
And when he began to resent me, I should have trusted his growth and spoken to him but after a while, it just seemed like a lost cause.
And I had no one to really ask for help.
It was Saturday night as we headed back to our Magodo residence on the outskirts of Lagos.
The driver was carefully guiding us home from the Island.
We were coming from my friends 40th birthday party.
The party had been fun as we mingled with our friends and danced the night away while the househelp stayed back with the kids at home.
My husband, Rotimi, was in characteristically quiet on the ride home.
After 18years of marriage, I knew my husband , something was on his mind.
I didn’t want to pry in front of the driver so I waited till we got home.
I walked into the house with my Gélè (African headtie) in hand. I untangled it and hung it over the side of the rail as I inspected every room.
David was still awake playing video games. That FIFA did things to young and old men that I will never understand.
“David, you should sleep. Turn that off”
He turned on that puppy look and said without moving his face from the TV screen
“But mummy, it’s the weekend! I don’t have school tomorrow…”
He was right but I replied
“Yes but we have church and I will not be late. Thirty more minutes and then bed.
If I come back and it’s still on, you will be looking for my trouble o…
I pulled the door close and headed to my room.
I walked in and my husband was sitting on the bed taking off his shoes. I stood in front of my dresser and began taking off my earrings and my necklace when I said
“So babe, what’s been on your mind?”
He looked up as if he was surprised that I had noticed.
I knew he was lying. So I walked over to the bed and dropped my Iro (wrapper) and revealed my spanxs as I sat next to him.
I started rubbing his bald head. He loved when I did that and then I said
“My King, talk to me”
He looked at me
I could tell he loved me. He wanted to share but it must have been big
“It doesn’t matter what it is, you know I got you”
He smiled and then said
I asked in response. His head dropped and he said
“The house and cars are all we have left”
I paused for a second and then said
“Why don’t you just take some money from the company till we are back on our feet. We have gone through this before and we always come out of it. I can also sell some of the plots of land I have”
He looked at me like kid with a good heart that just didn’t have enough money for the ice cream truck.
“It won’t be enough. The company is bankrupt as of today. The government is refusing to pay us for the last contract we did. We used all our capital and even borrowed from the bank. Now we are broke and we owe the bank millions”
Now I understood why he looked so glum. This was bad.
Worse than we had ever had.
I got up and got in front of him. Standing over him, I bent down and kissed his bald head and I said
“We are going to pray and God will give us a way. It will all be sorted my love”
He placed his hand around my waist and touched my butt as he hugged me. I headed towards the bathroom to take a shower when he said
“What if God has already given us the answer?”
I stopped in my tracks and started saying in my head, “please don’t mention something stupid”
He sat up and said
I let out a sigh of relief as I now continued into the bathroom as i said
“That’s interesting. What does he want in return? A stake in the company?”
Chief was a wealthy businessman. He was also my husband’s mentor when he first came into the business world. He bought companies when they are on their knees, built them up and then consolidated them with his or just sold them for a huge profit.
He was a give and take guy I had heard. If he loaned you money, he wanted a stake in that company or to own it.
“So how much can he borrow us?”
I was about to get into the shower when Rotimi said
“Not a single dime.
He wants give it all to me”
I let out a squeal from inside the bathroom as I was surprised to hear what my husband had just said.
I said back
“So what does he want then?”
I could almost hear the sadness in my husband’s voice as he said
I stopped and froze.
I couldn’t believe my ears as I walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. I stopped in the doorway with my towel around my chest.
I gathered myself and said
“What do you mean he wants me?”
“He wants to have sex with you and then he will cover all we need for as a company and as get back on our feet”
I didn’t say anything. I just stood there dumbfounded.
I knew my husband and if he hasn’t already agreed, he would have never brought it up.
The look in his eyes said it all.
I couldn’t say anything. I actually didn’t have the words to say it but if I could it would be
What The Heck Man.
The next few days were hard. I felt betrayed.
How could he ask me that?
Didn’t he love me enough?
I desperately wanted answers and truthfully, it wasn’t something you walked up to your friends and told them about.
This was my family, my cross to carry.
He was slightly nudging me to take the offer and do it.
I battled with it within myself.
While I was hurt, I began to think about my children and their futures. I needed to ensure their safety.
I kept on praying but as a young Christian, I wasn’t patient enough for God to answer me.
I could feel that if I didn’t do this and we lost everything, my husband would never forgive me.
So I finally gave in about a month later.
That day I met up with Chief at the Intercontinental hotel in Victoria Island.
He walked into the room.
The man was not the cliché vulture of old men out here. No potbelly or colored teeth.
He was a well-groomed man that just seemed to have a thing for power.
I knew what I had to do and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I had to do it.
He walked into the suite and he was on the phone for about 10 minutes.
Once he was off the phone, he motioned at me to come over. I got up sheepishly from the couch I was sitting on and headed towards him.
I stood in front of him while he smiled and examined me.
“How old are you again?”
“Hmmm… You are very beautiful. I like it.
Okay let’s get to business”
I slowly began to unbutton my blouse and out of nowhere, I got this urge to kneel down.
So I knelt down in front of him and tears streaming down my face, I said
“Chief, I know you don’t owe or my family anything but I am begging you. I am a mother of 3 young children. I am even only here because of my husband and my children. I beg that you have mercy on my family and not have sex with me, sir.
I know my husband and I agreed to this but sir, my spirit is uneasy.
Please have mercy.”
I finished unbuttoning my blouse. He stared right at me.
The smile from earlier had disappeared.
He seemed insulted.
I was scared
“I’m sorry sir. I didn’t mean to offend you”
I quickly explained
He smiled and said
“Get up and put your clothes”
I felt like I was hearing a foreign language. I just stayed on my knees. He repeated himself and said
“Put your clothes on and get up”
I hurriedly got up and buttoned my top.
I stood in front of him and waited for directions.
He scanned me from top to bottom and then said
“Go and sit over there”
Pointing to the couch through the door in the front room. I walked over there.
Confused, I waited as I thanked God for this miracle.
I waited and waited.
He was on the phone talking for a while and I just sat there.
I slowly opened my eyes.
Oh my God no!
I had fallen asleep.
I quickly patted myself down to make sure that I had not been touched.
I got up and ran to the window. The sun was out.
It was morning.
Where did the night go? Where did chief go?
I checked the bathroom, bedroom and even closet; nothing.
I returned to the couch where I had fallen asleep.
Right next to my purse was a check for one hundred and fifty million naira (#150,000,000)
I couldn’t believe it.
God had my back. I couldn’t fathom what had happened.
I had fallen asleep.
I placed my hands on my privates.
Even in my confusion, I pulled my pants down to check myself in the secret regions.
It was a cocktail of emotions.
I was happy, scared and just shocked.
I left and returned home that morning. I wasn’t talking to my husband.
I just went to his side of the bed and put the check down.
He returned that afternoon and was ecstatic.
I never told him what actually happened.
Initially, I wanted him to regret giving up his wife for money but after a while it didn’t matter the trust was broken.
He was happy and his company survived and even boomed from then on.
But our marriage turned sour.
He began to keep late nights, unexpected trips and he started drinking.
Thought the time we dated and even all the years we were married till that point, Rotimi never took a sip of alcohol. At least, not in my presence.
He became mean and cold.
Like he regretted what he had made me do and so he pushed his anger on me.
One night he came home and I noticed his fly was undone. I just made a joke and said
“You just move around Lagos with your fly open now?”
I was still smiling when I felt a thunderous slap hit me across the face.
Angela heard it. Her room was closest to ours.
She ran to our door and said
“Mummy, daddy, did you hear that?!”
I gathered myself with shock still coursing to my toes as I said
“It’s okay love. I just dropped something”
There were more days like that, I was wearing more makeup than usual as I tried to conceal the bruises and black eyes.
It continued for a year till one night when he beat me till I couldn’t hear out of my right ear.
He just kept yelling
” you gave yourself for money! What kind of a mother are you?!”
I kept telling him to keep his voice down and our children must not hear.
In his drunken nights with his friends, he must have told them.
I heard of the stories from their wives as I fell from grace.
It was then, I knew I had to do something. So we packed up and without enlisting the help of anyone, I moved my kids and myself to America.
The sacrifice of love that i made for that man and yet for a year and even after I left, he tormented and bullied me.
For a while, I hated him but God helped me start to forgive.
But to go back to him for help, I was never going to do that. No matter who hated me for it and even if it was my own son.
Someday, the truth would come out and I would be vindicated.
I had been in the hospital for ten days and it was the second day after the second procedure.
My body was still weak and I was under the influence of some of the strongest legal drugs mad could find.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, I would be awake to briefly catch a conversation or two with Angela or Amanda.
David didn’t come by very often.
And I missed him.
I missed his smile and his deep voice that reminded me of his father.
The surgery had been successful so far.
Just one more procedure was left and I was sure God would finalize what he had started.
It was sometime in the evening and I was asleep. Well not in deep sleep because I could still hear Amanda and Angela arguing over Kanye West and Kim Kardashian getting married. One was arguing that it was for money and the other was for team love.
I just kept my eyes closed and enjoyed their banter. I was tired anyways and keeping my eyes open was a struggle.
Suddenly, they both went silent and I didn’t know why but I didn’t want to open my eyes.
I lay there.
Then I heard a voice, it was David
He was standing to my left with the door behind him.
I struggled to open my eyes and I said
“Hello son, how are you?”
He held my left hand and I felt a warmth in my heart. I loved that boy.
“I’ve been okay mom. Sorry I’ve been away so much”
“It’s okay son. I know you’re busy and all. How’s work?”
“Fine mom. It’s going well…
Mom there is someone I want you to meet.”
I started thinking girlfriend and I was hoping my son wasn’t stupid enough to bring someone to meet me in that condition.
“Who is she son?”
He smiled and then a voice behind him spoke and said
“Hello Linda, it’s been a while”
My eyes couldn’t deceive me because they could hardly get open but I knew that voice.
Oh I knew that voice.
It was Rotimi.
End of Part 2
My friend’s mother is doing well but keep your prayers going, please. She needs all of it.
God bless you as you bless her and her family.
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Lookout for The Cradle 3 starting next week.
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