Hauwa Part 3
Gloria was the first to sight madam come into the room. She took her hands from David immediately, and took a few steps away from him. Lydia stopped and took a long look at David and then back at Gloria. She had seen him move his head and hands without help.
Gloria had thought David would close his eyes, in pretence to be sleeping since he didn’t want madam to know of his recovery, but David was staring back at Madam; fury and hatred filled his eyes.
“What’s going on here?” Lydia asked, confused; she looked again from Gloria back to her husband. She knew something was definitely different in the room. David was sitting straight up, and not flapping around his hands.
Suddenly, David started to cough. Gloria moved quickly to the other table to get him a drink.
“No.” He commanded.
Gloria looked back at him. She wasn’t sure what he meant until she saw him started to move.
He pulled himself up, and carefully got down from his bed. He inhaled deeply, took his walking aide and walked to the table. He knew Lydia’s eyes were wide opened. She was mystified, and he felt triumph at every reaction. He took his time to pour himself a cup of water, and then walked back to the couch by his bed and sat down.
“David.” She whimpered, walked slowly to his side. “David.” She called out again; slowly brought her hands to his face. “Oh David.” She held him tightly in her embrace and started to cry.
“I knew you would come back to me,” she gulped a sob. “How did it happen, when?” How?” She looked at Gloria and then back to her husband and held him once again.
Gloria felt irritated at her the whole display. She couldn’t believe she was doing this; crying as if her husband had just come out of a coma but he’s been here all alone, lying helplessly in bed. For years, she’d never seen her spoken to him as if he was alive; he had been forgotten by the woman he loved and now, she’s wrapping herself all over him.
She swallowed the hard lump in her throat. Madam was still weeping and holding her husband in a tight embrace. Gloria decided to turn away to leave the room when she saw the intense gaze of David on her. He was looking straight at her. She took her face away quickly and walked out of the room. She wanted to run, but her feet wouldn’t let her. She closed the door, and leaned against it. She tried desperately to reduce the swelling emotion in her chest. She was breathing heavily; she held her hands against her chest, and closed her eyes. The feelings were there again; the ones that occasionally crept on her for a while now, but this time around, she had no control over it. It had a strong grip on her, and overwhelming her very soul.
She felt her heart pulling her back inside but she fought against it as tears threatened to flow out of her eyes. She felt something in her heart she’d never felt before; a raging emotion that took her whole body fiercely. His words kept ringing in her ears, I’m in love with you’. She felt her heart racing, and a strong desire to be with him. Suddenly, she realised what she was doing; what she was feeling right there did not feel right. Before she would tear her heart out there with the anger penetrating her, she walked quickly to her room; opened the door and found Hauwa pacing in the room.
“Aunty, what happened?” Hauwa asked fearfully, going to sit by her side.
Gloria looked into the thin air aimlessly.
“What happened?” Hauwa asked again.
“Nothing! Nothing happened.” Gloria snapped.
“What!” Hauwa gasped, confused. She had seen madam go into the room and the way Gloria came in now reaffirmed that something went wrong.
Gloria took her face away, trying to hide the emotion in her. Her plan was just to come in and drench her bed in tears, the unknown pain penetrating her was beyond words; she felt the sadness all over.
“I don’t understand.” She heard Hauwa’s voice.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know Hauwa!” She snapped again, which made Hauwa shudder.
Hauwa stared in disbelief; she couldn’t understand what was going on. “Is everything okay?”
Gloria looked up to her and then, the tears started to pour down her cheeks. Over the years, she had taken Hauwa like a sister and a friend, but carefully guarded her personal life away from their relationship. She had so many things she wished she could tell someone; just to listen to her. Now, she just want to cry herself out.
“Aunty, what’s wrong?” Hauwa asked again. She couldn’t bear to see her like this.
“I don’t know.” Gloria said in tears. “I really don’t know.” She wiped the tears from her cheeks, but they continued to pour down. “I’m feeling something I shouldn’t feel, something I have no right to think or even feel..,” She let her eyes settle on Hauwa for a moment, and saw she couldn’t understand what she was saying. “I feel something I shouldn’t feel, right here in my heart.” She placed her hands on her chest. “Is it wrong to feel this way, should I be feeling like this?” She saw more confusion on Hauwa’s face.
“I don’t understand aunty.” Hauwa was disconcerted.
“He said he loved me.” She looked straight into Hauwa’s eyes, stood up and walked towards the window. “He’s in love with me.” She whispered to herself.
“Who?” She asked.
“David…. Sorry, I mean Mr. Williams.”
Hauwa tried to hold back her gasp but did not quite succeed.
“Why would he say such a thing to me, why did he have to say it?” Gloria said to herself. “He can’t love me, he shouldn’t love me; I feel something I should not be feeling right here. What is wrong with me?” She shouted out.
She started to pace around the room. “This is not fair; you shouldn’t want something that you can’t have, you can’t just take something that does not belong to you, you just can’t. it doesn’t make any sense; he can’t have me so why would he tell me that he loves me when he knows damn right that he just cannot have me?” She kept rumbling her words together.
Hauwa went after her, and stood by her side. “Aunty, don’t do this to yourself.”
“He loves me Hauwa, Why would he say that, why?” She looked up in tears.
“What am I going to do?” She looked at Hauwa for answers.
She gently put her hand on her shoulder. “Don’t be too hard on yourself.” She said in a soothing voice; trying so hard to find the perfect words.
“But I cannot love him, I cannot!” Gloria interrupted.
“I know Aunty and I’m sure you will know what to do about this; you have to pray to God for wisdom. He will show you the way.” Hauwa said the only thing that came to mind.
Gloria looked at her confused. The fact that Hauwa mentioned God in her conversation surprised her.
Hauwa noticed the surprise look on Gloria’s face. “Don’t be surprised Aunty, I gave my life to God today, I accepted the truth; Jesus is the truth.” She smiled profoundly.
“What!” Gloria gasped.
“Mr. Emmanuel said something to me today; he opened my eyes to some truth and he prayed with me Aunty; everything is clearer now, I have a kind of peace that I cannot comprehend. I’m still trying to understand it.”
Gloria was fascinated as Hauwa went on about her encounter; she found her trying to explain deeply what she feels inside but couldn’t find the right word for it.
“My God!” Gloria laughed, almost in tears. She had spoken to Hauwa about God for many years, but she had always walked away. She always said she didn’t need God or any kind of God in her life.
“That’s great Hauwa!” She pulled her into her embrace. “I am so happy for you, praise God!” She smiled, but only lasted briefly. “I can’t believe what example of being a Christian I have shown today, God! I feel so ashamed.” She bowed her head in shame.
Hauwa carefully lifted her head up to look into her eyes. “I’ve only been a Christian for a few hours, but I still know we are all humans aunty; I really can’t tell you what to do about this but I pray God will guide you through your decision. One thing I have learnt today is the peace that comes with knowing God and I know you will have that peace when you make your decision.” She looked into her eyes in sympathy and assurance.
Gloria smiled and pulled her into her embrace again; she was grateful for what she said and also happy for her salvation.
The remaining hours of the day went so quickly; Gloria was still struggling with her thought. All her life, she’d never had anyone say those words to her. Her son was as a result of a reckless life as a teenager and since then, she’d withdrawn to herself while she concentrated on making a good living for her son and improve his health until his death. Love and marriage were two things she never explored, but these past few months, something had changed. First, it was the way David started to look at her, like looking right into her.
Other times, she had caught his intense gaze on her. It was the touch of his skin on her body when she held him or helped him with his workout. Then, she began to look forward to seeing him every morning and hear him improve on his speech. These things opened up something in her, a feeling she had securely hidden is trying to overpower her. But for him to openly say it to her face that he loved her was the height of it. She knew somewhere in her heart that she had began an unhealthy feeling towards him but never could think of having another woman’s husband all in the name of love. She believed there should be boundaries to such feelings and not even explore that area. She realized that the anger she felt at first was as a result of jealous, but now, she knew what to do about all these and prayed for strength from the Lord to do the right thing.
The next morning, Gloria avoided seeing David; she had intentionally sent Hauwa with his breakfast to his room.
Shortly after, Hauwa came back into the Kitchen.
“He asked me to call you.” Hauwa announced as she entered. She could also feel the tension when she went into his room, but pretended she knew nothing of it.
She looked back at Hauwa and dried her hands off the dishes she was washing. After all, he was still her boss and she knew she couldn’t avoid him forever; she took a last look at Hauwa who nodded at her and then walked out of the kitchen.
She inhaled as she stood right at his door, she knocked and went in; to her surprise, she found madam in the room. Gloria wasn’t sure if she had slept there, but seeing her in his room this early after so many years was quite shocking.
“Good morning sir.” Gloria greeted David. “Good morning ma.” She said to madam.
Madam flashed an angry look at her. “Yes, what are you doing here?” Madam asked angrily.
Gloria couldn’t understand her anger but again, she knew madam was always yelling and shouting at everyone, especially when she felt agitated or tensed up about something.
“I sent for her.” David said.
Madam looked at him, and quickly resolved the angry look on her face.
David smiled softly at her. “I was hoping we could start our work-out early today.” He said, looking at Gloria.
“Well, I can do that!” Madam spoke out, going to his side. “I can help you with your exercise while Gloria can help pack your things upstairs to our room.” She smiled at him, and walked to the chest drawers.
“What room?” David asked angrily.
“Our room of course.”
“I am in my room, where I belong, remember?” He straightened in his bed. “And as for helping with the exercise, I can manage with Gloria.” He countered.
“What!” Madam gasped, looking over to Gloria again with an angry look.
“After all, I have been managing without you for years now.” He said with his face fixed on Gloria.
Gloria was becoming uneasy about their conversation; she knew they both have issues they needed to sort out but was not about to be caught in the middle of it all. She noticed David spoke more fluently when he was angry as his stammering is lesser now.
“I can teach madam what to do sir.” She voiced out quickly to ease the tension in the room.
Madam and David looked at her direction.
“I can teach her what to do and all the routine.” She reaffirmed.
“No!” David snapped.
“But….” Madam was trying to say something.
“Lydia, what do you expect? That you can just walk back into my life and then, we start from where we left off, is it? He chuckled in disgust.
“I have been here all along David; I have been here with you.” Lydia cried brokenly.
He chuckled again. “Where?”He was amused at her words and then flashed the angry look at her again.
“I have been working so hard for this family, to put food on the table and to take care of our son, I had to make sure he has the life you desired for him and you had a business, remember? I had to take charge and work to make sure things does not fall.” She blinked back the tears.
“Then, go back to the business and other things you have to do, what exactly are you doing here?” David shouted at her.
“I am your wife David!” Lydia shouted in streams of tears pouring down her face.
Gloria stood there dumbfounded; the tension and anger in the room was beyond her so carefully, she walked towards the door and left the room. She wanted to keep walking but instead, she stood by the door to hear their conversation. She did never seen David talk in such manner, and for a second, she felt pity for madam.
David could not believe Lydia even had the gut to defend herself. He couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. She felt justified, and that infuriated him the more.
“Then where have you been for more than ten years that I have been lying here?” He shouted back at her, his eyes were moist.
“I have been right here with you, I have been taking care of our son, of our lives; I had to stand up and do something.” She continued in tears.
“Don’t you give me that. God!” He raged out. “Never would I have believed all you did Lydia, never; I loved you so much, I gave you everything and at the first opportunity you had to dump me, you took it and walked away from my life.” He said with pain in his voice.
“I did not leave you David, I did not.” She cried out. “I was confused; I didn’t know what to do about you; seeing you lying there broke my heart; please David,” she held his hands but he jerked away from her. “I love you so much and would never walk away from you.”She said in streams of tears.
“Stop it Lydia, stop it! What do you take me for? You left me to someone else to clean up after me, to take up your responsibility?” He cried out. “You know what, you can go back to whatever you have been doing, go back there.” He shouted. “I don’t need you here with me, go, go now.”He screamed out in pain with tears pouring down his face.
The anger in his voice jolted Gloria as she leaned against the door; quickly she took to her heels knowing madam would come out any time from now.
Hauwa has been home for a week now after taking a break from the hospital; things have been so tensed in the house lately. Madam being so sad, as her husband withdrew totally from her. She stayed in her room all through the day drenching her pillow with tears. Hauwa couldn’t understand all of these, but couldn’t imagine that a wife who abandoned her husband for so long especially when he needed her help and then comes back after so many years of walking away to say she is still in love with him. The irony of this is that, Mr. Williams cared less; he continued his daily activities without asking after her or even bothered to know how she was doing. After madam found out about his recovery, he’d been determined to work twice harder than before; a kind of anger and resolution in him to get better quickly was upon him.
Hauwa was on her way out to the market one day; opening the front gate, she found a familiar face waiting by a car. She was taken aback to see her eldest brother, Idris, standing there. She ran to him quickly and hugged him. He later related the whole story to her.
He had gone home a few months ago to see their parent after so many years and then found out his father had passed away few months before then due to illness. He was sad and ashamed of himself for leaving his family for that long. He had left home with the intention of working hard to provide for his family but stayed too long and forgot about them. He later found courage to go home and face up to his responsibility but realized it was rather late as his father had suffered a terrible sickness and due to lack of funds had led to his death.
After inquiring about Hauwa; he was told mallam Abu had come to take her away after finding a job for her in Lagos and promised to pay them her monthly salary which they never received. Mallam Abu had suddenly disappeared and didn’t come back to Nassarawa. Idris was so furious when he learnt about this especially the fact that Hauwa happened to be his biological daughter which was unknown to her. He was given a wife years ago who had died during child birth, so his parents took Hauwa as their own daughter while he went away to work and promised to return. He had only gone home twice after but never introduced himself as her real father.
Now, much older and realizing how he forgot his family and his responsibilities; he discovered his daughter was off to some job in Lagos and had not returned home since then. He came to Lagos in search for Mallam Abu and few weeks later, he got hold of him and after he brutally gave him the beating of his life for scamming his parents, Mallam Abu gave up her address.
Hauwa was shocked to hear all these; she never knew for once that her eldest brother is her real father, of which difference it wouldn’t have made to her then. All her life, she’d learnt to find her own way and not depend on anyone; altogether, she wasn’t sure what this new revelation will make for her. Also, the death of a man she had known to be her father brought sadness to her; he had been a good man to her even though he had no money to take care of her as he would have loved to, but he was still her father.
She sat there in his car and spoke at length with him. Hauwa had planned to go home a year after she got to Lagos but the fear of being married off as they did her elder sisters scared her. Idris asked for her forgiveness and was ready to take her home right there, but she refused and promised to come see them all soon.
It’s been few weeks since the whole episode with David and Lydia; Gloria tried as much as possible to avoid the couple; after almost a week of madam crying her eyes out and her husband was not yielding to her, she went back to her old ways; goes out in the morning and comes home late at night. Hauwa had been so nice working with him and also checking up on him when necessary.
One day, she was washing dishes in the kitchen when she saw David walked in.
“What!” she gasped in disbelief, since this was the first time David would climb the basement stairs to come upstairs.
“Hi!” David said, shyly impressed by his work-out. “I thought since you refused to come to me, I could as well come to you.” He smiled.
Gloria forced a smile, impressed by his work-out. “You need to come out more often.” She dried her wet hands on a towel. David walked straight to her and stood right in front of her staring in to her eyes.
“I know you are avoiding me Gloria, and that hurts.”
Gloria felt her heart pounding so fast, the feeling was intense; she moved away from him to occupy her hands with the dishes, putting them away.
“I have missed you Gloria, I missed you coming to my room.” He walked towards the fridge and helped himself with a glass of water.
Gloria found something else to do, trying to hide her trembling hands.
“Gloria!” He called out which brought her to a halt. “Look at me please.”
Gloria turned to him.
“I love you Gloria, I am in love with you; every day for these past few years, I have always waited anxiously to see you early in the morning. I tried ignoring the feelings for a while but I just can’t anymore…”
Gloria looked into his eyes for a moment and took a step closer to him.
“It’s only natural what you feel for me considering how many years I have been helping out.” Gloria said softly.
“I know what I feel right here.” David placed his hands on his chest.
“Your heart belongs to someone else David.” She paused for a moment.
“You and I know there’s nothing there for me with her; we both know this.” He allowed his words settle on her.
“She is still your wife and part of you still loves her.” She retorted.
“There is no more love between us; our love died a long time ago. What is left of us are hurt, pain and betrayal.” He said, dejected.
Gloria could see he was talking straight from his heart; she sees a man hurting, a man seeking for love in his life, someone to love and take him as he is.
“You know, my mom told me a long time ago that love never dies a natural death; it dies because we don’t know how to replenish it. It dies of hurt, errors and betrayal; the fact that you don’t feel something in here,” She placed her hands gently on his chest. “doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
“Maybe your mum is wrong this time.” David said as he held her hands on his chest. “Maybe our love never existed to start with, maybe there’s nothing to water and it’s damaged beyond repair.” He countered.
“Or maybe you just don’t want to fight for it.” She said, and walked out of the kitchen.
Gloria knew the fight going on in heart and was not about to be left alone with him there. She knew what her flesh wanted; another minute alone with him might lead to something she would regret. Also, she understood the couple do have issues to sort out and she was not about to be a reason why David would not fight for his marriage. She just wanted him to think about things without putting her in the equation. There must have been something he loved about his wife when he first met her and his willingness to go back to the beginning of their love and relationship might help to revive things.
Gloria had gone to the living room with an intention of cleaning up when the Programme on the TV caught her attention: it was an annual African fashion exhibit where designers would show off their designs. She was intrigued by every outfit and their design since she also had a passion for African styles. The fear of being rejected had held her back all this while to fulfil her long term dream and hopes. One of these days, she was hoping to work through her fear.
“So you think you can do better than me?”Lydia said, standing behind her.
The sound of her voice startled Gloria; she had not seen or heard her come in.
“Don’t you dare madam me! We both know what you are up to.” She looked angrily at her.
Gloria was taken by surprise, she was unsure of what she was getting at.
“I took you into my house, I gave you a job when you needed it most and you stabbed me in the back.” She shouted at her.
“I beg your pardon!” Gloria snapped at her. “I have served you well; did everything you asked of me and will not stand here for you to lure insults at me.” She looked her straight in the eyes. “I was the one, who took care of your business, you should be grateful.”
Lydia gasped. She had been taken by surprise at the way she spoke back at her. “I never knew you had it inside of you.” She jeered at her. “Why don’t you go ahead and take what is left of him.”
Gloria felt like shaking her up until she was back to her senses. “You should be grateful you have a man like him.” She said angrily at her.
“Is that why you want him for yourself?”
Gloria was fuming in anger, and trying so hard to control herself.. “I don’t want your husband. “God! “You should go back and beg him for all you did. You left him, do you understand how that hurts?” She searched to see some form of remorse in her eyes but it was blank of any. “You need to ask your husband for forgiveness.”
“That’s where you are mistaken; I don’t beg. If he cannot accept me for who I am and appreciate all that I have done for him, then he’s not worth it.”
“Exactly what have you done?” Gloria asked in anger; repulsed by her attitude.
“I had a son for him, I gave him the best part of my life while he was wasting away in bed, and I took up the responsibility of taking care of his son all by myself.” She shouted back.
“The same son you took away from him; the same son you deprived him of and made him look like a curse to be seen with him?
“I will not have you insult me in my home!” Lydia shouted.
She scoffed. “Insult you.” She straightened. “I would not waste my breath on that. If indeed you really want a home, then, I suggest you start making it a one.” Gloria countered.
“Fine! You want to have him; you can have all of him.” She stood there for a few seconds and, then, walked away.
Shortly after, she was back with her bags pulling it through the living room. Gloria stood there bewildered; she watched as she went back for more and more bags. t first, she wasn’t sure if she was leaving for her usual trips or actually leaving the house. She watched as she went back in to carry her handbag but instead of walking towards the door, she came up to her.
“Here, you can give it to him when he returns.” She handed her a letter and walked out of the hourse.
Gloria shocked and confused; this is the same woman who had cried for joy when she found out about his recovery. She sat there for several minutes unable to move. Mr. Williams had gone to his doctor for check-up but the fear of her delivering this letter scared her. She waited there until she heard the door open. There, Hauwa and David walked in. Gloria stood up quickly.
“Is everything alright?” It was David who asked.
Gloria took the letter from the table, and gave it to him.
“What is this?” The tension on Gloria’s face made him open the letter.
I have tried to stay hoping things will change but it is evident that there’s nothing between us and staying in this house is of no use to you. I have to leave David; I have to leave to find myself. Please forgive me.
David dropped the letter on the floor and walked quietly to his room without uttering any word. His heart was heavy and dejected; he had thought he would feel a kind of happiness knowing Lydia was no longer in his life, but far from it; all he felt was pure emptiness. A feeling he couldn’t explain overwhelmed him. He had thought he lost everything during his illness but even after his recovery, he was losing it all over again. The woman he is in love with would not accept him into her life, and the one he once loved has just walked away from his life. He felt alone.
Hauwa was in the laundry room doing some washing when Gloria walked in. She stood at the door for several minutes watching Hauwa. For days, she’d been trying to come to terms with her decision, but telling Hauwa was the most she dreaded. She had decided she needed to leave; She couldn’t stay any longer in the house with the feelings penetrating her spin, and David believing that she was the right woman for him. She decided it was time she moved on.
“I am leaving.” Gloria spoke out.
Hauwa jolted. “What.”
“I am leaving Hauwa, I’m going away.” She tried to fight the tears bunching in her eyes.
“Going where?” She was still standing where she was; confused.
Gloria walked up to her, took her hands, “I have to go Hauwa,” tears poured down her cheeks. “This passion, feeling, emotion or whatever it is called is killing me inside; I have fought and fought so hard to get over it but I can’t. I can’t Hauwa.” She swallowed hard, and blinked back tears, “I love him but I can’t be with him.” Her face filled with sadness.
Just then, Hauwa pulled her into her embrace.
“Oh Aunty.” She held her tightly.
She tried to fight the tears. “It’s going to be okay aunty; everything is going to be okay. Hauwa softly patted her back.
“I can’t bear to see him in pain and I can’t give him what he wants; I wish I could but I can’t” She continued in tears. “Something in my heart is holding me back.” She wiped off the tears and looked into Hauwa’s eyes.
Hauwa wept weepily. She wanted to say something but her lips trembled. Over the years, Gloria had been the closet she has to a family. She couldn’t imagine what her life would had been with her, and losing her now is like a sharp pain to the heart.
“You do understand that I have to leave, I have to find my own way.” She gently wiped the tears away from Hauwa’s eyes. Then, she smiled softly. “Oh Hauwa, you have been such a blessing to me right from the very day you walked into this house; you changed me; you made me believe in myself with your relentless attitude.” She laughed. “You had a purpose, a vision and nothing stood in the way of achieving that; you wanted to do something you loved and against all odds, you did it, you did it girl and I am so proud of you.”
Her face lilted up. “Aunty, you are a God-sent to me; you gave me a reason to go on. Can you remember the first thing you said to me when I stepped into this house? Don’t be afraid, she said.”
“I didn’t need to say that seeing how you pointed a broken glass at Edward when he trespassed, you were fearless.” She busted into laughter even with the tears in her eyes. Hauwa joined her in laughter.
Then, they stopped and stayed quiet for a while.
“Aunty, you know, when you are troubled about decisions in your heart, the best thing to do is to stay back in His presence,” She took her hands and looked straight into her eyes. “He will teach you and direct you in the path to go, hold on tight Aunty, just hold on. Then, she hugged her tightly.
Twenty minutes later, Gloria was gone. The only woman who took her in at the lowest point in her life; the same woman who fought for her and made her believe in herself was gone. A Part of her felt sad at this but another part knew Gloria had to go to find herself, to fulfil her own dreams. She had worked hard all her life, lived through pain and hurt of loosing her only child but now is the time to go forth and be happy. A happiness that only God could give her .
Hauwa inhaled deeply; instead of going back to her washing, she sat there on the steps flashing back to old times with Aunty Gloria. She was her angel.
To be continued.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Hauwa Part 2
Gloria stood there, stunned and mystified at the scene before her. She had heard Hauwa’s voice in the hallway leading into the room, but seeing her standing there in her towel and pointing a broken glass at Edward was beyond comprehension.
Hauwa became dog-smacked seeing aunty Gloria looking bewildered at the scene. She saw the look from the broken glass back to her, and saw the horrific look on her face.
Edward smiled profoundly. “Now, you were saying,”
His voice jolted her.
“Why don’t you do what you had in mind?” He jeered at her.
“Gloria!” he called out rudely, “Kindly tell this slave and slut who I am in this house.” Edward said in utter contempt.
Hauwa could see the irritating look on Aunty Gloria’s face; she was definitely repulsed by his attitude.
When he saw she was quiet, he looked sharply back at Hauwa, “In this house, I am the boss; I can ask you to do anything,” he looked hard at her. “You can do nothing to me.” He said arrogantly.
Gloria became more irritated than before; she hissed and walked out of the room.
Hauwa smiled at herself, she had watched him go on and on about himself and feeling so pompous. She wanted to burst into laughter seeing the shock on his face when Aunty Gloria left the room without uttering a word. She smiled once again to herself, and changed back to the angry look she had before Aunty Gloria interrupted. It was her turn to jeer at him.
She walked towards him. “Now listen and listen well; I don’t care who you are, and what you have. I actually don’t give a damn about you.”
Edward swallowed hard.
“You can do all you want in this house for all I care but the next time I catch you peeping at me in the bathroom or anywhere else for that matter, I will so make sure you don’t see again with those eyes of yours.” She stared into his eyes. “Now, Mr. Edward, could you kindly leave my room
Edward looked at her in utter confusion; he was dazed at her confidence. At first, his impression of her was that of an illiterate, but the girl standing in front of him was different. She had something in her, something that commanded respect. He took his face away, gathered his things quickly, and walked hastily out of the room.
Hauwa inhaled deeply in triumph, closed the door and went back into the bathroom.
It’s been few months now, Hauwa had been studying hard for her entrance exams and thanks to Aunty Gloria; she’s been helping her achieve her dreams.
She was glad madam was always on one trip or another since she started her plans for Edward to travel abroad to further his education. Hauwa always cuss under her breath each time she madam talks to some agents about her son’s travelling. She felt she was only wasting money on him since he does nothing but watch despicable videos and plays video games all day.
During these trips out of the house, Hauwa would sneak up to Mr. William’s room and watch him while he sleeps. Since Aunty Gloria told her about his accident, she felt so sorry for him and wished good things for him.
On this particular day, everyone was out of the house including Aunty Gloria who had gone to the market. Hauwa went into Mr. William’s room; she found him lying helplessly on his bed, staring away into the thin air.
“Hello,” she greeted him while Mr. Williams only stared at her. Hauwa moved closer to him.
“I’m sorry to bother you sir, but I was just alone in the house and thought you might need some company.” She smiled at him but his face was still blank of any expression.
“I’m not sure if we have been introduced but my name is Hauwa, she smiled at him. “I am working here as a maid.” She paused for a second wondering if he understood what she was saying. “Let me share a secret with you,” she whispered. “I know I’m only a maid but I’m planning to go to the University, I want to study to be a physiotherapist.” Her face lilted up in joy as she shared her dream with him.
“love to work with people; you see, I have seen so many lives wasted away in illness because of lack of care; I want to do something about it, I want to change lives, give them a new purpose, a hope to look forward to.” She went on and on about her aspiration.
“Now Mr. Williams, I think I should make a deal with you.” She straightened as she looked straight into his eyes. “I’m going to help you and you are going to help me. I will make sure you walk with your two legs someday,” she smiled profoundly at him. “I know I’m only a child but watch what I will do when I have all the knowledge I need, but you will have to do something for me too.”
She looked into his eyes. Part of her knew he could understand her, somewhere in his heart was still alive and he knew what she was saying. All of her life, she’d seen people treating disable or helpless people as if they aren’t there, she wanted to make him feel alive again, relate to him as if nothing was wrong with him. Her first plan is to lift up his spirit, make him come out of the depression that had settled upon him.
“So, what do you say, are you interested?”
“I’m sure Mr. Williams would like you to pass your entrance exams first before you talk of a deal.” Aunty Gloria walked up to them.
Hauwa froze as she saw her come in, but relaxed after seeing her smile. Aunty Gloria always has a way of sneaking on people.
“Now, off you go young lady and let Mr. Williams have his rest.” She said to her. Without hesitation, Hauwa took to her heels out of the room.
She really doesn’t understand the relationship between Mr. Williams and Aunty Gloria; her devotion and care for him is effortless. Despite Madam’s bad attitude to her, she never stopped helping Mr. Williams; she still respects him as if he was well; never for one day felt discouraged at her duties towards him. She wished she could learn from her; never to treat people as they deserve but with respect and dignity.
It was the day of the entrance examination. After studying so hard, Hauwa was satisfied she had answered all the questions completely so she went ahead to submit her papers. She realized she’s been gone for a long time and didn’t want madam to get back home before her. A few minutes to get home, her heart started to pound so fast, the anxiety of just taking an examination and the fear of being caught settled on her.
Entering the compound, she found madam’s car parked inside, there, she became more agitated than ever. She held the loaf of bread she had bought tightly to her chest; that was the plan just in case madam got home before her. They had planned that she had just stepped out to buy some bread.
She decided to go through the back door that led to the kitchen, but to her surprise madam was waiting in the kitchen and it looked like she was actually waiting for her.
The angry look on her face scared her to death.
“Where are you coming from?” She raised her voice at her.
Edward had walked into the kitchen with the smirk look on his face.
“Have you gone deaf? She slapped her in the back. “I have been in this house for almost thirty minutes; where were you? Is this how you go out on endless journeys when I’m not at home?” She hit her again. “You go around with those useless boys on the street, is that it, harlot?” She shouted at her.
Hauwa shivered in fear; madam hitting her made her more scared than ever. She went on her knees, trying to shield her face from the hands that were furiously attacking her.
“I will not have this kind of behaviour in my house.”
Gloria had been pacing in the hallway since madam came into the house and asked after Hauwa. She lied to her that she just stepped out to buy some bread but madam knew she was lying so she waited patiently in the kitchen for her return. She couldn’t bear to hear the soft scream and begging from Hauwa, so she ran into the kitchen.
“Please madam,” Gloria stood between them, going on her knees. “Please madam, she will never do that again, please.” She begged while madam stood breathing heavily.
“It’s my fault ma, I shouldn’t have sent her out.” She had tears running down her own cheeks.
Madam looked angrily at both of them and scoffed. “I don’t know what you two have got going on but I will find out.” She looked widely at them, “and if any of this repeats itself,” she pointed at Hauwa, “you are out of this house.” She hissed and walked out of the kitchen with Edward smiling after her.
Hauwa wept bitterly on her knees. Madam has always slapped her once in a while but never had she received such a beating before in her life.
“Look at me.” Aunty Gloria took her into her arms. “Look at me.” She brought her weeping face up. “You are not going to give up on me Hauwa; you will not let this put you down, ok.” She looked into her eyes. Hauwa sobbed quietly as she listened to her. “These are tough times dear and it will pass; I promise you, it will pass.” She took her into her embrace and patted her back whilst she continued to cry on her shoulder.
Hauwa stayed in the kitchen until she was certain madam and Edward were off to bed. She was so sad but had comfort and peace in the words of Aunty Gloria. She was determined to fight on and never allow anything or anyone to stop her from achieving her dreams. She wanted to be able to throw it all at their face, especially Edward that she did made it. She wasn’t about to give up.
It’s been few months since she took the examination; Hauwa would always go outside to check if they had any letter; she had instructed the security man to let her know if any mail comes in for her, in fact, she specifically wrote her full name on a paper for him to compare with any letter that comes in and keep it for her. During this time, Edward had travelled to the United State of America to continue his studies and Madam had gone with him for a few months to help him settle in. This time away gave Hauwa enough time to brush up on her studies; fortunately for her, Edward left his laptop at home so she practiced on it day and night, and taught herself everything that will help her achieve her dreams.
She was in the living room one day when she heard the door bell, she went quickly to answer it and found the security man standing there with a brown envelop in his hands. She knew instantly what it was, without any word; she took it from him and went back inside to find Aunty Gloria.
“It’s here!” She gave the sealed envelope to her. Aunty Gloria knew what it was since she’d been so anxious for several days about the result.
“You should open it.” Aunty Gloria passed it back to her, but she folded her hands in hesitation. “Take it Hauwa.” She said.
“No please, open it, my hands are already trembling.” She whimpered in fear.
“Alright then,” Aunty Gloria inhaled deeply. She was trying not to show any sign of fear, but her heart was pounding so fast. She brought out the paper and read it for few seconds.
“What does it say?” Hauwa was trying read the expression on her face.
“I think you should read it yourself.” Aunty Gloria passed it to her.
She took it whilst her face was still fixed on Aunty Gloria.
“You made it girl!” Aunty Gloria broke into a big smile.
“What!” Hauwa gasped. She read the score and immediately screamed out in joy. “I made it!” She threw herself on Aunty Gloria. “I made it! I made it!! I made it!!!” She continued to scream. “Thank you Aunty, thank you, thank you.” She hugged her and then, ran out of the room down to the basement.
“I made it Mr. Williams.” She shouted in joy. “I made the score, I made it.” She put the paper forward to his face. She noticed a smile on his face but she wasn’t so sure. “I am so happy Mr. Williams, I am so very happy. I am on my way to the University and of course, on my way to helping you get better.” She smiled at him. “I made it!”
The excitement and joy lasted for only a week and then, the thought of actually going to school while Madam is in the house, without her finding out became the problem. Another issue was the funding, she had no idea where the money would come from; her monthly salary was out of the question since madam paid mallam Abu who gives it to her parents. Aunty Gloria kept assuring her that all will be well and that God will provide all of their needs. Another thing Hauwa is yet to understand is the issue of ‘God’ in their lives; Aunty Gloria had tried to explain about the existence of God but she never considered it. Although, she had been a Muslim from birth but even as that, she wasn’t a practicing muslim but the thought of another God was something she wasn’t about to consider.
A few weeks later, another letter came in for Hauwa, she wasn’t sure what to make of it since she had already received her scores but was astonished when she read the content of the letter. It was a full scholarship to study Physiotherapy at a prestigious University in Lagos. She was shocked for several minutes when she read the letter. Although, she knew her score was very high but she had not expected to receive any scholarship, in fact, she had no idea such was given. Aunty Gloria was so overjoyed and excited when she read the letter; she knew it was God’s answers to her prayer believe if Hauwa believes it or not. Things were looking brighter now; with this new information, Hauwa was determined that nothing would stop her from achieving her dreams, not even madam.
Days were turning into weeks and weeks turning into months and months were almost a year. Hauwa had started University; Madam’s travelling’s to the United States made it easier for her and when she was home, Hauwa would either wait for her to leave for the day or not go to class for that day and that meant she would have to study extra hard to meet up. Things were looking good for her.
Towards the end of the first year, she realized she would have nothing much to do during the holidays so she made a plan. She searched every local hospital in the town, anyone who is willing to offer her some form of internship job, in fact, she had told them she wasn’t interested in the pay if they are not willing to pay her but she would like some experience to help with her studies. Being an intelligent student in school, her lecturers were more than willing to support her application with some recommendation and her progress in school spoke of itself. Finally, after weeks of searching and applying, the Lagos state teaching hospital was willing to give her a three months trial. She would come in three days in a week to work in the Physiotherapy department.
Hauwa wanted to be the best in all she does so she continued to work very hard. Everything she learnt back in school and in the hospital, she would come home and relate it back to Mr. Williams. Gradually, she was gaining his attention, she found him more responsive to her and one particular day, she heard him call her name. Hauwa was taken aback when she heard her name, she wasn’t sure she heard right but when he stammered again, trying to pronounce her name, she knew definitely, he was talking to her.
Hauwa watched carefully as the doctors worked with the stroke and accident patients in the hospital. Then, she would come back home and with the help of Aunty Gloria, they would put Mr. Williams on his wheelchair and massage his legs. After weeks of trying this, Hauwa was becoming weary when she couldn’t see any result, so one day; she spoke to one of the doctors who had taken her under his wings. She asked him if he could attend to someone on her behalf, just to do some general check-up and x-ray to determine the extent of his injury. Doctor Emmanuel was more than willing to perform this check and luckily, madam was on her usual trip so they hired a bus where they took Mr. Williams on his wheel chair down to the hospital.
Doctor Emmanuel diagnoses- he is definitely suffering from stroke- an illness in which part of the brain is suddenly severely damaged or destroyed. This results in loss of function of the affected part of the brain. It usually causes weakness, paralysis of the arm and leg on either the left or right side of the body, twisting of the face, and in some cases other effects which may include loss of balance, and difficulty in swallowing. He stated that if he had been taken good care of after the incident, he would have gotten better, so he advised he be admitted to some rehabilitation programs so that proper activities such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and recreational therapy can be administered to him. Hauwa knew this was not possible but she is willing to do everything possible to get him better, which was her deal with him.
Hauwa took him back home and started her research on helping him; she decided to focus on learning more about occupational therapist, which would provide exercises and proactive to help him do things he could do before the accident such as eating, bathing, dressing, writing and walking. Also to help in speech language skills.
She devoted her time and attention to this, the more she read and learnt at the hospital, and the more she was determined to help Mr. Williams. Something should have been done a long time ago but Madam just left him to die; a heartless and wicked woman. Maybe because she knew her husband is an only child and his parents have passed away which meant no one would be coming to check on him. She just wanted him useless. Hauwa couldnâ€™t understand why she would just leave him all alone without proper help. She knew there was more to this but her main concern now is to get Mr. William better.
A year later; there has been a tremendous change with Mr. Williams’s health and well-being; he’d able to stand on his own with an aide of walking stick. His speech had improved and his confidence was returning. During this time, Hauwa laid strict guidelines for his daily exercise and Aunty Gloria helped and supported her when she wasn’t not home. The relationship between the three were distinct and unique especially with the fact that they had to keep all these away from madam at Mr. Williams’s request. He said he wasn’t ready for her to find out. Aunty Gloria and Hauwa respected his wishes and hid this from Madam when she was home; not that she’d really cared enough about him to notice any changes in her husband’s recovery. She goes into his room once in a while and sees him just lying on his bed; she would look around the room and find something to complain about to Aunty Gloria. The room was never cleaned enough; she would see crumbs on the floor or the bed is not properly washed.
Aunty Gloria had learnt to ignore any of her outburst, she knew she was somewhat frustrated about life and the only way she could survive is to moan and complain at everyone.
Hauwa had been working very hard to be the best that she could. She would always throw extra hours at school and at the hospital to learn and work better. She was dedicated and determined to be the best she could. Things were working better at home; every success and improvement she saw in Mr. Williams was an indication of how far she’d come and she was determined to do better.
During this time, Hauwa was struggling with some personal issues. She felt she needed something better, more like a void in her that needed to be filled. She wasn’t so much interested in material things; all she did wanted in life was coming into place, but that was not enough. She knew something was needed to fill the void in her life, and she knew she wouldn’t rest until she found it. Sometimes she wakes up very happy and other times, she’d feel terribly sad for no reason; a kind of uneasiness settled on her and the search has been unending with nothing to come out of it.
One day she was working a Saturday shift at the hospital; she had received a message from one of the nurses that Doctor Emmanuel would like to see her.
She knocked on his door before opening the door.
“Oh Yes, Hauwa,” Doctor Emmanuel said to her, “Come sit.”
Hauwa smiled shyly and sat in front of him. Doctor Emmanuel had taken so much likeness to her dedication and commitment to her career. After working with them for almost one year with no pay but had remained steadfast and hardworking, the administrator in the hospital decided to give her some money every month for welfare and transportation. Over the months, she had become a valuable asset to the hospital and all the patients took likeness to her. She had her way of getting them on track and her encouragement was always near to anyone that needed it. She made them believed in themselves and lifted up their spirit when they are down or discouraged.
Hauwa stared back at Doctor Emmanuel, she felt something was wrong.
“Hauwa.” He called out.
Hauwa jolted at the sound of her name.
“I have something I have been willing to tell you dear,” The expression confirmed this was quite serious.
“Firstly, I will like to ask you a question.”
“Do you believe in God?”
At that question, Hauwa relaxed a little, she let out a sigh.
“Well, I think I do.” She answered, unsure of what to say.
“Hmmm, you think you do.” he smiled. “My dear, it’s either you do or you don’t. You see, I have been watching you for quite sometime, you are intelligent, brilliant, lovable; You have everything you need to soar high in this world but you are missing something.” His face was fixed on her for a few seconds.
Hauwa felt uneasy about the conversation. She’d heard stories and talks about God but never considered thinking about it; after all, all that she is now had been her own doing. She’d made it this far without any God in her life.
“I don’t think I need God sir, I am definitely fine without any God in my life.”
“You are missing the point Hauwa. No matter the success you have in life, no matter how great, wealthy or comfortable you think you are and have no God in your life, you are nothing! He looked straight at her.
“Now dear, I’m not talking about any religion; I am talking about accepting Jesus Christ into your life, I am talking about the Saviour who died for you and me. There is a void in your life, you need God to fill that, you need his peace in your life. Listen girl, he has brought you this far; all that you have or you are, is not your own doing. Before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb, he knew you, he called you by name.
Hauwa straightened in her seat; every word he spoke was piercing through her. It’s like a knife cutting through every bone in her.
“There is more to life than what we see here; there’s eternity; that is where you and me will spend the remaining part of our lives when we die. Have you ever considered what will happen to you after this world? Do you know where you will go?” He searched her face for few seconds. “I’m sure you’ve heard of heaven and hell before, the question is where will go after this earth, heaven or hell?” He paused again to search her face for answers.
“Except a man is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; except you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, you will not see his Kingdom. You know, most times when I see you at work, you look so happy, there’s something about you that even makes everyone around you happy but I don’t see peace in you, I see someone struggling to live everyday, someone trying so hard to be accepted. But with Christ, you don’t have to struggle- there’s a peace that is beyond comprehension. A peace you cannot fathom, a joy in your heart that he gives freely to you. My dear, you have nothing to fear when you are in Christ, your future is secured with him. He will take the pain and hurt away from your life and give you so much joy you can never imagine.”
Hauwa tried hard to stop the tears bunching in her eyes. She looked away from him for a moment.
“Grace is unprompted by man and undeserved by man.” Doctor Emmanuel said. “All that you have and all that you are and all that you are going to be, God had given it freely for you. It is called, Grace.”
Just then, Hauwa busted into tears, every word he spoke pierced more into her. She needed God in her life; all her life, she had thought everything she did or have had been as a result of her handwork and intelligence but no, it was all the Master’s plan. God had been watching over her even when she didn’t know him; he loved and cared for her. Although, she had her own share of tough times in life but God had helped her through every one of them, standing here today is as a result of his love for her. She continued to cry as she felt an opening all over her, like she was seeing things as she ought to have seen them; the void in her life needed to be filled with God, she needed to know this God who had been so gracious to her. She’d been abused but here she is today, she’d been looked down upon and here she is today, she’d been beaten and told she wouldn’t amount to anything but here she is today; she’d been broken but he mended her back together. He had watched over all her these years, and here she is today.
Doctor Emmanuel told her more about Christ and led her to him. He prayed with her and asked her to speak to God as she would talk to a friend. Hauwa knew she has so much to learn and she was definitely going to learn more about God. After the prayer, she felt a peace within her, she knew something was different; a kind of feeling you know it’s there within you but can’t explain with words, she knew God is present in her life.
David Williams watched quietly as Gloria helped him with his activities; Hauwa has given instructions on the exercise to be done daily. She was so strict to these guidelines that sometimes she would forget Mr. Williams was her boss. Since she was out today, Gloria was in the basement.
“I think we’ve done enough for today.” David stressed out the words as he gently made his way back to his bed with the aid of his walking stick. His speech has greatly improved these past few months, although he sometimes stammered.
“Oh no, we still have a few minutes to go.” Gloria warned.
“I am… tired.”
“You know how Hauwa gets when you don’t finish you laps.” She dropped the laundry she was folding and walked to him.
David smiled at her. “Hauwa…is not here.” He smiled. He knew he could get away with anything when it comes to Gloria.
“Help me please,” he said as he carefully lifted his legs onto the bed which Gloria gave him a hand to.
She placed his legs properly in bed and tucked him in. David looked at her; he tried to hide the uneasiness as his heart raced. He had been thinking a lot about Gloria for months now and he knew the feeling wasn’t going anyway. He was gradually falling in love with her, a love that filled his heart, a love he could not question but his fear was if she felt the same way.
Gloria felt tingling feelings within her, coupled with the way he looked at her. The power of a simple touch is amazing; goosebumps rising, nerves tingling and the heart racing. She wanted to stay like that forever, but something in her held her back.
A few seconds later that seems like eternity, she turned to walk back to her laundry when he held her hands.
“Gloria.” His voice was soothing and that drove right into her. She turned to look at him, but David became tongue-tied.
The eyes staring back at him made it impossible to utter any word. He swallowed hard. He stared into her eyes as she did for several seconds; he wanted to pull her into his embrace and thank her over and over again for all she did for him. He wanted something greater; the feeling in his heart was becoming difficult to tame.
“Thank you.” He stammered.
Gloria blushed and nodded.
“Really…. thank you for everything.” their two eyes locked together. “You have done so much for me Gloria,” his hands were trembling, Gloria covered his trembling hands with her other hand.
“God!” he flushed, and felt his heart pounding to the base of his pores. “I wish I can tell you every..thing in my heart; you have done so much for me….”
“You don’t have to thank me sir, you were there for me when I needed you, you are a good man, and you deserve every good thing in life.”
“You are the good thing for me.” He whispered. “I love you Gloria.” He looked straight into her eyes.
Gloria was taken aback at his words; she stared into his eyes, unable to utter any word.
“I am in love with you.” He uttered.
Just then, the door opened.
To be continued.
© Circlesoflove 2013
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It’s all about Grace…..
Grace is the full and free forgiveness of every sin, without God demanding or expecting anything from the one so forgiven. Grace is entirely the work of God, unprompted by man and undeserved by man.
Ephesians 2; ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gifts of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast.’
Enjoy the rest of the day folks.