Better by Sam Henshaw
“Wuraola, I understand that you are frustrated and angry. You have every right to be but these are my kids….”
I paused as I walked closer to her and sat next to her. She edged away from me.
I tried to place my hand on her thigh and she moved away again.
“Baby, it is my responsibility to care for and provide for these kids in any way I can.
I am just trying to do the right thing by these innocent boys.”
I looked at her as she wiped her tears and said
“They have a mother. She should raise them”
There was some selfishness to what she said.
But who was I to claim that after all she had been through, she didn’t have a right to be selfish.
It was hard as we tried to overcome another challenge. One of the many that had faced us in our young marriage.
“First thing tomorrow, I’ll go over to Bimbo’s with Sayid and we will sort it all out.
I tried to touch her again. She moved away.
I understood it, so I left quietly.
That night was hard for me. I couldn’t really sleep.
I found it hard to pray, so I almost just had a rhetorical conversation with God.
“Lord… I don’t even know whats going on right now. I know I have sinned and fallen short of you glory but is this it?
Is this my punishment?
To the entrust me with the lives of two children. They don’t deserve this…
It happened only one time and I am being punished for this”
My soul was weary and my heart was heavy.
It all seemed like a lot too heavy to carry but I just quietly mouthed out my words, as Wura gently snored next to me.
The next morning, I woke up very early and headed to Sayid’s house to pick him up.
He was concerned that we were going to her house.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t just involve her directly? Maybe even her brother.
I mean… I don’t know about showing up at her house”
He said as I drove to Bimbo’s
“Sayid, this chick has her brother dump two baby boys at my house without warning or notice and you’re telling me showing up at her house is making you feel weird?
You tripping bro… I’m going to get answers because this shit has to stop”
He stayed silent.
When we arrived at her house, the gate was locked.
I mean with a metal chain around it and two padlocks.
I tried to peep through the space between both gates. Her car wasn’t there and there was tons of bubble wrap all over the floor.
Almost like someone just opened new packages of furniture or something.
Still, there was no way to get in.
As we stood in front of the gate puzzled and unsure of the next move, one neighbor drove by and asked if I was looking for the owner of the house.
I said yes.
He then said
“Oh, she don move. Big big trailer come yesterday and the day before come carry all her load and big tins like chair and fridge.
I been hear say she dey travel go oversea”
I looked over at Sayid as I placed my hands on my head.
Bimbo played me.
The home front changed.
The tension was palpable. It was very uncomfortable moving through the home.
I just wanted to be out of there at any opportunity I got.
Not only was my guilt consuming me, but I could feel the resentment from Wura’s extended family and circle of friends.
One afternoon, I returned home and noticed that the boys hadn’t eaten. I believe it was the frustration I was nursing through the whole situation and I snapped at Suki
Why haven’t they eaten?!
Whats going on here?”
The glare she replied me with was classic Nigerian woman.
She snapped back
Is it my job to feed them? Besides they got back late. So chill abeg.
……be stressing yourself over children that may not even be your own”
Confused, I asked
“What do you mean?”
She turned away into the kitchen.
I followed her and said
“Suki, what the fuck does that mean?”
She turned, rolled her eyes and said
I have food to make”
I was so angry.
But what could I do. A grown ass woman, I couldn’t force her to speak.
I turned away angry and marched into my room.
I quickly changed and headed back out.
Off to Sayid’s I went.
We were sitting on his balcony as I said
“I don’t understand that chick.
Like what the heck man.
…how can she say the kids are not mine?
I was sooooooo mad! I had to leave”
He took a gulp of his beer and said
She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
You can’t let her talk to you like that bro. Especially in your house”
I shook my head and said
You know its only to make Wura happy.
Like have someone there to talk to and shit but she annoys me sometimes.
Anyways… let’s talk about other shit.
We chatted and joked about things and then I went back home.
Later that evening, taking into account everything that had been happening, I decided to move the boys to my mothers house.
She had offered to help raise them and I felt that would benefit from having someone who has raised kids before, watching over them.
So that weekend, I drove the boys down to Ijebu ode and they began living with my parents.
Over the following 7months, I would make the drive down at least once a month to spend the weekend with the boys.
They were growing so fast and my relationship with Wura was slowly being rebuilt.
I always thought that having the boys in the house was a difficult reminder of what she had lost.
I believe that the separation from the boys allowed us to focus on ourselves.
It almost felt like a renewal of love.
Date nights returned. Movie Sundays where we just spent the afternoons inside watching Yoruba movies.
Trust was the things that too the longest to regain but I could see she was working on it.
I wanted her to trust me again but I knew I had to earn it.
Part of earning trust is knowing that it is a process and one that requires true humility.
She had moments where her doubts and frustrations came to the fore and we had to work through them.
I had to learn to be patient and understanding.
But our marriage was heading back in the right direction.
This Wednesday as I left work, my mom called me.
She told me that the boys had been sick for a few days and she just wanted to tell me.
I began to worry even as she told me not to worry.
Being that Ijebu Ode was only under two hours away, I told her I was coming immediately.
I got off the phone with her and called Wura
“….so I’m going to head down there and check on them. I’ll be back tomorrow morning love”
“Okay baby. Please be careful and I’ll see you tomorrow”
A bit of traffic and hours later, I arrived at my parent’s compound.
I parked the car and stepped out. Matias and Tomas rushed to me and greeted me.
Playfully I knelt and gave them huge hugs.
There I was trying to understand what my mother said about them being sick.
I placed the back of my hand on Tomas’ forehead.
As I rose, I noticed the maid in the corner of the yard. I waved at her and the boys and I walked towards the door.
My mother emerged and I prostrated to say
“E ku ro le ma”
(Good evening ma)
She placed her hand on my shoulder and greeted me back.
I looked at her puzzled trying to get answers. She replied
“Oro wa” which translates to “we have to talk”
As we headed into the guest living room, she told the maid to start cooking rice.
We sat down and she said
“So by now, you must have known that the boys are not ill.
I had to get you here quickly…
So I had a conversation with someone and I did a bit of research.
Did you ever get a paternity test done on the boys?”
I shook my head and said
“ No. They are mine.
Why would I need to?”
She smiled and said
“Are you sure?”
I frowned and said
“I mean. I trust Bimbo.
She wouldn’t lie to me about something like that”
“About something like that?”
she asked and then continued
“A woman that would dump two young boys at your house without warning?
I think I would question someone like that”
I couldn’t say I was shocked but I was certainly concerned now.
“Mother, are you sure?
Because this can start so much.
How did you find out?”
She smiled and said
“One of Bimbo’s cousins was quoted that the Bimbo had said the baby was not yours.
I am not sure but I wanted you to know and seek the truth.
I would never want you and Wura to struggle raising children that may not be yours”
I thanked her and said
“Can you bring them to Lagos next week. I can set up an appointment with my friend?”
“Yes son. I will do that.
Oya let’s get you some food.
You’re leaving in the morning.”
I didn’t argue with her. I just said
As we walked out of the room, I texted Sayid
“Bro, mom’s just told me the boys may not be mine.
Getting a paternity test. I go enter Lagos for morning. I go enter your side after work”
My drive back that morning was heavy.
So much ran through my mind. I wasn’t sure what to think. Could Bimbo have truly lied to me?
What if they really weren’t mine?
I just whispered a prayer asking God to make it all clear.
As I pulled into the parking garage at work.
I paused for a few minutes in my car.
Without warning, I just I heard a few loud bangs.
I was shot 4 times.
One of the shots hit me in the back of my head barely missing my spine.
I woke up three days later in the hospital.
Wura, my parents and my pastor were all around as I woke up.
It was my father that told me I had been shot.
We all couldn’t understand it.
But somewhere within me, I felt a peace.
A new lease and perspective on life.
Later that evening, my mother told me that the boys weren’t mine.
Somehow, I knew.
Because I remembered that night with Bimbo that I didn’t put the condom on.
And I didn’t really feel like I had sex but in that state, how could I be sure?
I was in the hospital for a few weeks and rehab for 8 months.
I have lost full motion in my left arm but nothing prepared me for the revelation that would come to me.
Bimbo called me one day and essentially told me that when she had returned to Nigeria, she and Sayid had started sleeping together.
When they found out she was pregnant, Sayid came up with the idea to peg it on me.
She claimed that she initially didn’t want to but she felt me knowing I was betrayed by both of them would hurt more.
I hold no resentment or anger towards them but I wouldn’t lie and say it didn’t shake me to my core.
The real revelation was a few weeks ago when Sayid’s parents who are just like parents to me, came to my house.
Wura brought them in and we all sat down.
Sayid sat in the corner of the room with his head down.
He didn’t look up at all.
His father spoke first and said
“We are here with huge sadness in our hearts for what happened. But before God and man, all we can do is ask for forgiveness for sins we commit.
I am not a Christian but I know that God asks us to forgive.
When Sayid came to us and told us everything that happened, my heart broke and I was truly disappointed.
I couldn’t believe that someone I raised could be involved with such evil. Especially to someone that was like a brother to him.
But life is a lesson and we thank God for saving your life but here we are to beg for your mercy.
Please find it in your heart to forgive him”
I smiled and looked around the room to my parents and Wura. Back to Sayid who still didn’t look at me.
Then I said
“Sayid, I have forgiven you.
Like brothers, we offend and we grow.
It is not to my benefit to hold all that evil in my heart. So Sayid, daddy, mummy mi; I have forgiven him.
I now appreciate life a lot more because of that incident.
Believe it or not, my attempting to do God’s job for him is what got me here.
He gave me Wura and thats who I should have focused on. Not trying to see if Bimbo was still it.
But again sir, like you said, we all learn.
I thank God for the chances to get it right.
I have forgiven”
A teary eyed Sayid came and prostrated in front of me. I immediately got up and tried to pull him up.
We hugged as he sobbed in my arms.
“It’s okay bro.
I love you”
He just sobbed.
We separated and they left soon after.
That evening when they left, I cried.
I cried hard.
I thanked God for life.
He gave me a new lease on life but I lost a brother.
“…So that’s my story”
I looked around the room as the auditorium filled up.
Workers meeting at the church was beginning to wrap up.
Sitting on the stool in front of fellow members of the church, I felt a rush of emotion.
“Because I tried to pick for God, I went through trials that spanned almost 3 years.
Pastor and I had talked about sharing my story to not only exalt God but also help others.
I am still recovering but God is the true healer.
I have no seen or heard from Bimbo through all this.
My sons, whom I adopted, still live with Wura and I.
And even though we are still waiting our own blessing, we are grateful for the two God has blessed us with so far.
….So thats me. I thank you all for listening and I hope the importance of prayer and following God’s voice and direction is stated.
God bless you all”
As I rose and said
“Shall we rise to pray?”
I noticed Wura in the corner of the auditorium.
She was rubbing her belly with a huge smile on her face.
And my heart was filled with joy.
I stood there with a stunned look on my face and my mouth ajar.
She walked up to me and gave me a hug.
Tears started flowing down my face.
I was a blessed man.
She was my blessing.
Through her, he showed me so much about myself.
Through all the sniffles and tears in front of our entire church family, I whispered in her ear
“Wuraola, I love you”
I could feel her smile as she replied.
“I know you do baby.
I love you too”
I thought of the concept for the Her series while dealing with my own personal struggles of decision/indecision. For a while, I made personal decisions based off my own knowledge and many times, I fell on my face.
You need God in EVERYTHING you do.
I am truly blessed to have a heart that I believe seeks teaching. Many mistakes in life can be avoided if we just ask for his help.
In this series, Diji and Wura went through a lot because of Diji’s mistakes.
Yes, a lot was done to him that was wrong or bad but note that his initial acts brought that upon him.
Also, something of note I learned from my mother. There is no perfect man or woman out there. There are only people striving for perfection.
So pick the one that matches your values and is perfect for you.
Sometimes you can get lost in the sauce taking too long trying to find something that is not even there.
There is a “Her” for everyone out there. Find yours and be good to them.
Tell them The Wordsmith says so.
Thank you all for your birthday wishes and support through EVERYTHING. I truly appreciate it.
Your love and support humbles me each day.
Thank you all. I LOVE YOU!!!
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