© The Klever Magg
Maya entered the plush living-room and looked around in awe.
She had not seen anything like it before. The hall was a long one with as many gadgets as one could imagine. There were pictures all over on one wall. Pictures of Nurse Araba and her husband. The pictures were expertly arranged to tell a story of love.
The picture that caught her eyes was their wedding picture. It was the biggest in the hall. The smile on the couple’s faces was beautiful and poignantly blissful. It was evident they were so much in love.
The thought of love saddened Maya a bit.
She had always dreamt of meeting her Prince Charming when she grew up, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after. Now that was something she was not sure of. She was sure no man would want her knowing she had a son. A son whose father she knew very little about and had no clue how to locate him.
She looked at the baby, wrapped nicely in a white sheet and tears glistened in her eyes. He was extremely good-looking just like his father. He had all of Prince’s features and that unsettled her greatly.
She did not need a constant reminder of her serious blunder that had left her at the mercy of strangers and being totally on her own. Now, every time she looked into her son’s eyes, she would be looking at the boy who had come into her life briefly but impacted it greatly. She had felt on top of the world, in those two weeks they camped in the beautiful Aburi gardens.
Maya looked around, with her baby still in her arms. She admitted she was in some paradise of some sort. The hall was indeed breathtaking. The curtains, the paintings, the sofas, the flowers, the aquarium that covered a whole wall and the manner in which they had been arranged were really heart-warming.
“Are you still standing?” Nurse Araba, who had vanished into a room when they got in, said as she came back to the hall.
“You have a very nice place here, Madam. Thank you once again for taking me in.”
“You don’t have to thank me. Like I said, this is temporary, until you find your way. Besides, I did it for the boy. I don’t think he deserves to spend the first days of his life in the streets. Moreover, my husband is in the oil fields as we speak and wouldn’t be back until after eight weeks, I could use the company.”
Maya was very grateful anyway. Not many people would open their doors for a total stranger like her? Nurse Araba was, indeed, an guardian angel.
Nurse Araba took her to where she would be sleeping and she felt at home immediately.
The bed was comfortable and nicely made. There were more paintings in the room with a flat television set mounted on the wall opposite the bed.
“Rest a bit while the baby sleeps. I will give you a proper tour of the house after that. I’m going to take a nap too.”
“Thank you very much, Aunt Araba. May God richly bless you.”
Maya lay on the bed and thought of how she could survive in this world. She promised herself she was going to break all the chains around her and live again. She was going to do all that it took to make a name for herself and her son with or without a man by her side. She was going to change her life for the better.
She went over a million and one ways of making it.
With her educational level, she was sure she would not be getting much to live on. She needed to do something that would give her enough for herself and her son.
She knew a little about baking and cooking. Her mother was a very good caterer and decorator and she learnt an awful lot from her. She had always been with her during her functions and had seen how she expertly decorated and organized all her contracted events.
She was sure if she started from somewhere, she could become successful one day. She still had her mother’s special recipes book and an album of all the events she managed from weddings to outdooring to birthday parties and funerals.
Right now, she had to heal from the sores of childbirth which was not like anything she had imagined. She still wondered how she had been able to go through that much pain and still be alive. She wondered how some women went as many as six times. She remembered telling the nurses she would never give birth again when they asked her in the middle of her contractions how many more children she would have.
The nurses had laughed and told her she would be back for more, but she had been very serious about her decision then.
But now, looking at the little miracle beside her, she knew the story would change if she met the right person; she would certainly want more of such a bundle of joy.
But right now, she had to set her priorities right. She needed to make a name for herself and her son.
The cry of the baby beside her interrupted her.
She got up slowly and picked up the boy. He still cried. She tried to breastfeed him but she could not get the breast positioned right. She felt so inexperienced and helpless.
Nurse Araba came into the room and helped her get the baby to latch onto her breast. He sucked a bit and stopped.
At first, she felt uncomfortable feeding him but the thought that another human depended on her for survival gave her enough reason to make it work.
Nurse Araba was kind enough to show her around the house as promised.
The sight of the interior decorations took Maya’s breath away and made her resolve to strive to get something close to that. The huge house seemed like two estate houses joined together and Nurse Araba had confirmed it.
Nurse Araba mentioned that she inherited some fortune from her father five years back, and not wanting to waste it, she went looking for a house to buy. She found one and bought it. Her initial plan was to rent it out and make some money out of it but then she fell in love with the environment and decided to move in.
It was a three bedroom semi-detached house.
She said that shortly after she moved in she encountered a problem. Her next-door neighbor was very noisy. He would play music deep into the night depriving her of sleep. One evening, when she could not take it anymore, she pounded on the guy’s door until he answered the door. He came out only in his boxers and acted all rude. He did not understand why she was pounding on his door like that. She told him quite forwardly that his loud music was keeping her up.
He laughed and went back inside without saying a word.
She waited to see if he would turn the music down and when he did, she left.
She did not hear the loud music or see him for more than two months.
Then one evening, as she waited for the electronic gate to her house to open, he came by and asked if she would care to listen to some good music with him.
She reluctantly agreed and one thing led to another and they were married a year after. He came up with the idea of merging the two houses and she had watched him put in his best efforts to make it what it was now, their beautiful paradise.
The house had a main hall, six executive bedrooms, a living area and a plush library. The corridors on each side of the living room were decorated with pictures on the walls and vases filled with beautiful flowers lined up expertly on the floors. The pictures were arranged in a chronological order.
The part of the house that took Maya’s breath away was the main hall.
It had eclectic collection of silver trays on all the walls. Two huge bouquet of flowers stood at each side of the biggest flat screen TV Maya had ever seen. The sofa alone was breath-taking. They were huge, beautiful and comfortable. There were two end tables stacked with magazines and other reads at each end of the sofa. Maya’s favourite were the curtains. Their beauty and extensive design made her feel at home. The floors were beautifully patterned, adding tactile and visual interest to the hall. A huge aquarium has been used to divide the dining area from the hall. There was a huge painting of Nurse Araba and her husband hanging inches above the television set.
That night as the crickets sang their beautiful songs, Maya told herself she was going to be successful. She knew it would not be easy but she was going to do it. She was going to start small and make it big. She told herself there was nothing that would stop her. She was going to try till she made it. She was going to put in her best efforts and succeed. She had to do it for her parents’ and her son’s sake. She wanted to live comfortably. She did not want her son to lack anything in life.
She had some small money saved. All she needed was a place and a few things for the kind of vocation she wanted to embark on. She jotted down her ideas and went to sleep after feeding the baby and taking a descent bath for the first time in nine months.
For two months Maya became the helping hand Nurse Araba needed. She cleaned, washed cooked and did all she could to please the one person who had shown her kindness and mercy in her darkest moments in life.
Nurse Araba grew very fond of her.
Maya woke up early one day and made sure the furniture was polished, the laundry was done, the floors cleaned and the flowers dusted and watered. That night, Nurse Araba’s husband was coming home. Nurse Araba cooked that day.
She was really excited her husband was coming home.
He arrived in the night. Nurse Araba was in the shower when he arrived and because he was not using his own car, which had been configured with the electronic gate, Maya went to open the gates for him. Maya helped him carry his luggage and other items into the house and left for her room. The baby was sleeping so she decided to go over her mother’s recipes. She had settled on selling toasted bread and ‘sobolo’ drink for starters.
She had paid for a small place near a provision’s store in a developing residential area. She had purchased a manual toaster. All she was left with were some bottles for the ‘sobolo’, a container she would use to transport the items around and a table for the evenings.
She realized to her dismay that her son’s temperature was a bit high and decided to go to the medical cabinet in the kitchen for a painkiller for him. That was when she heard Nurse Araba and her husband arguing and it was over her.
“Why the hell didn’t you tell me about her before you let her into my house?” he said.
“Honey, I took a rush decision, forgive me. I didn’t think it would be a problem. I also didn’t want to worry you with domestic issues whiles you were working. I live here too, you know?”
“So you think you can bring any thief in here without my consent? I’m the head of this family and you better start respecting that. I am not going to argue with you over a tramp like her. She has no business in this house. I want you to send her parking in the morning. End of discussion.”
“But, honey. The poor girl has no one to go to. Besides she is the help I have sought for all the while. She’s very helpful around the house. I was thinking of keeping her.”
“Lady, you’ve heard me. That’s how they are. They warm up to you and strike when you least expect it. They are wolves in sheep skin. If you want help, go to the agencies. They will give you someone reliable. I don’t have to feed anyone and her bastard son. She’s not staying, that’s my final word.”
“Honey, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. Please reconsider. I would have understood you if I were in your shoes. Please support me on this one. I’m begging you to be a little patient. She will go, but give me a little time, please!”
“You’ve heard my word on that. Let me warn you, if I come to meet her here tomorrow I will leave and not come back. The two of us can’t stay under one roof if you are not going to respect me.”
Maya was devastated.
She started putting her things together that night whilst she watched over her son.
By the time she was up, Nurse Araba’s husband was already out of the house.
She cleaned up and told Nurse Araba she overhead their argument in the night. She lied to her that she had decided to go back to Sekondi to see if her Uncle and his wife would take her back.
Nurse Araba wanted her to wait till she got some money from her account for her the next day. She would take her to a friend’s house that day but Maya felt it was time to find her own feet. She was now a mother whether she liked it or not and she had to sweat to care for her son .
She would not like Nurse Araba to suffer all that emotional pain because of her presence. She had to break free and the time was now. If she missed that chance to move on, she would never make it.
She tearfully bid Nurse Araba well and wrote a little thank you note for her husband too.
Somehow, she understood him. She was a total stranger. Some men were realists and did not allow their emotions to take over their judgments.
Maya moved from place to place that day looking for a place to lay her head. Every place she went to that had accommodation were looking for an arm and a leg which she did not have. She walked through the developing area and found an uncompleted building with no occupant. She just needed a place to lay her head for the night.
That night she cried when she heard the sounds that came from the numerous mosquitoes around and told herself she had to work hard and get out of there soon. She had to stop looking for people to help her.
She needed to change her story.
She promised herself that next thing she would do when she succeeded after getting her own house was to build a shelter of some sort for the homeless. It would not be free but they would be affordable. They were going to pay by the day. They would not need to look for two years advance before they could get a place to lay their heads. The thought was very refreshing for her. It would bring her so much joy if she could do that in her lifetime and since she did not know when her days on earth would end, she had to do it soon.
Maya was however grateful to be alive. She was also grateful for her son, who was sound asleep under a baby’s mosquito net in a building that was half roofed without doors or windows. The inside floors were not even cemented but in all things, Maya was happy she got somewhere to lay her head.
As she lay surrounded by total darkness with the moon as her only light source she felt scared but knew God was with them and nothing bad would happen to them.
She told herself she was going to break all the chains that bound her and let go of all the pain and disappointments that had been her only companion since her parents died.
She was going to heal the wrongs her delicate heart had suffered and make sure happiness found her.
She was going to let go of all the regrets she felt and make sure she never repeated the mistakes of the past. She was starting afresh, the past was gone with its troubles. She was going to live as if her life had begun all over again.
She was sure a new and a better world was waiting and all she needed to do was the willpower and wisdom to take it.8