Mary kissed her son’s forehead and covered him. She loved watching him sleep, always fascinated by how he turned his head or stretched his arm. Sometimes looked as if he was mumbling something. Sometimes, he looked as if he was crying, or smiling at something interesting. This, 6 months old baby boy, was the only thing that brought joy to her. Mambo, was the name that she fought to give him maybe because of the drama that revolved around his birth. Or maybe because his father never wanted him but took him because of custom. He was Luo and wasn’t going to leave his son as a bastard. She remembered how it all happened. How she found herself in this cold, empty house that resembled prison. It resembled shattered dreams, broken promises, above all an empty life.
‘I am pregnant.”
‘How did it happened?You told me you were careful. Or are you trying to trap me? To make you be with me?”
“I was careful, Nick. I swear I was. I don’t know what happened. Sheet happened.”
“Sheet? you call this sheet, or a nightmare? I am not ready to be a father. I do not want this child.I do not want you. I have never loved you and you know it.”
“This is about her isn’t it?But why Nick, when I’ve given up everything to be with you, why me? why tell me this now?’
‘My heart belongs to someone else, not you. I warned you before all these happened. You said you would be careful. I swore that I will never leave my child as a bastard. I will take you in but you will just have to bear the consequences.”
With that Nick left the house and Mary remained standing still, petrified by the entire situation, tears streaming down her face. She felt voices in her room laughing at her, mocking her at the trap that she willingly led herself into. She felt like a character in a soap opera. The ones who love and never get accepted and they have to endlessly beg for attention, to a man or a woman who belongs to another. Who only wants you as one of her friends, not even her best friend. You know them, don’t you?
Nick was in love with another.Her name was Angela. She was a lawyer. She came from a powerful family. Their love for each other was only broken by Angela’s family who thought Nick was not good enough for their daughter. And they vowed never to let this code of their undying love be broken.
‘She is the only woman that I love and ever will love. ” He would constantly repeat this phrase during their conversations when Mary was trying to plead her case as to why he needed to let go and move on. “If we date, its at your own risk.” He would tell her, in that cold, distant tone, like those oracles from Nigeria movies who blocked people from entering an evil forest. But Mary persisted. She was in love with him.
Nick never missed Angela’s special days. He took her on expensive trips. Sometimes in Dubai, other times in Seychelles, the next in Bahamas. Leave alone that he didn’t actually have that much money. He would save it. “Angela has to be happy. She has to smile.” This he would tell Mary, who had now become fond of him. For some strange reason, he was always comfortable sharing his heart with Mary. Strange because despite of his stubborn nature and cold heart, he gave his ear to her. Always encouraging her, pushing her, advising Mary to be better. Maybe it’s because of this that Mary loved him.
So when Nick called her to tell her that they could start dating, Mary was ecstatic. She was thrilled just like a little girl who has cried for a doll for a long time and then bam! She has it. He told him it was going to be exclusive, no strings attached. He didn’t have any emotions left to be in a relationship with anyone but since he was getting old and his mother was getting in his nerves, he had to look for someone. This he didn’t say with words, but his actions spoke louder. And so they dated.
You would think that things would get better for Mary now that she had the man that she loved by ‘her side’. Noooo…Nick continued with his lifestyle. He had numerous friends, all of whom were his exes. he went out with all of them, making excuses that he couldn’t change, that’s who he was and he enjoyed their company. They did business together. Above all, he still took Angela on her special days. He called those days sacred, and there was nothing that Mary could do to change that. She just had to accept that it was going to be part of their lives for a long time. That is, if she still wanted to be with him.
Mary endured all these because he loved him. They say love is some form of madness. A level of stupidity that can’t be cured with reason. Well, Mary’s behavior depicted all these. She gave in to him each time he demanded, she gave up church, went to crazy parties in the middle of the night just to please him. Just to make him see that she too was fun. Though she never liked all these things. This wasn’t her. But he wasn’t bothered.
Then one night they made love during a camping trip that Mary had insisted on. It was the first time he was tender towards her. The first time he looked her in the eyes and gave her that look that made her feel pretty again. How could she have said no to that look. And then she missed her periods and felt nausea and one plus one…She was pregnant..Nine months later Mambo is born.
A baby changes everything. Melts people’s hearts but not Nick’s. He only gave them money, not his heart, constantly reminding her that he wasn’t ready to be a father. That he didn’t love her. Mambo was the only thing she had. The only form of a changed Nick that she had been praying for ever since he met him. The only piece of Nick that could quench the thirst of love that she had.