3.47 a.m Lagos, Nigeria.
I had always thought life was beautiful. Well, it was. But, now it just became more beautiful. What I held in my hands is the greatest marvel I ever beheld. The truest sign yet that life is indeed colorful.
Once again I steal a glance at the wall clock, it was just past 3 a.m. and I had been in the hospital since 8 p.m or thereabouts the previous night.
The reason for my visit?
Wait, let me start from the beginning….
I arrived home that night late as usual. It is not easy negotiating the heavy Lagos traffic. This is made worse when you live in what you might consider a suburb, like I do. It is always a rush to beat the traffic both in the morning and the evenings. Plus it was getting to the end of the year. There was so much to plan for;both at work and at home.
On the home front the planning had been going on for months. As a matter of fact, since we confirmed the news. It had been smooth and hassle free. No unpleasant surprises. Now it was nearly coming to an end. The expectation palpable. The anxiety gamely masked, but easily discernible. f you take the time….
At work, the planning wasn’t as organized. All the operational and market penetration plans for the new year had to be quickly put together before the office went on break. The surveys, market segment analysis and the sales projection and marketing plan has to be reviewed and presented before the board first week of resumption, and all of these are all in a matter of five short weeks.. There was so much work and little time. No one can really complain, that is what we get paid for;but still I was beat.
Getting home was always a welcome relief – waiting there was my wife. The joy of watching her roundness, the sparkle in her eyes when she speaks and the laughter that is quick to burst forth was always soothing. Sometimes, it makes the memory of her cries at night during our first year of marriage come flooding back. Those were trying times.
But this story is about someone else. Someone who we both awaited anxiously. He had confirmed he was coming, but we weren’t sure when. Who knows what could happen at the last minute? Nevertheless, we had planned for his reception and waited in anticipation.
So, when I got home that fateful night I was awash with the sense of relief and happiness at seeing the missus of the house all cheery and lively. It was amazing because that day she had also negotiated the horrendous Lagos traffic with my younger sister. They had gone scouring the Isolo end of Lagos – something about goods that were supposed to have been delivered to her at home, but were delivered somewhere else.
As was customary, dinner was quickly served and eaten. While I took my shower I anticipated a long night with my computer. The ‘sectoral market report’ must be finished before my deadline next week. That means, no time for our nightly ritual of watching a movie curled up on the bed, or on the couch in the sitting room. Or some real good sex to relax her and me.
At least not tonight. I will have to sit behind my screen and punch out the numbers and make sense out of all the figures before morning.
All that quickly changed though, I had barely settled down for work when she emerged from the room. Her eyes shiny and confused.
“Honey, I got a cal,l” she said.
I looked at her and for a moment I was lost as to her meaning.
“A call?” Then in a flash I understood, “let me get my keys,” I replied. Without missing a beat, I picked up the keys, pocketed my camera and pulled on a sweatshirt and sneakers. The all-night bag was already in her hand.
“Hopefully, he will hang on for us.” I said as we stepped into the car.
“I hope so too,” she replied. She was already fretting. I could see it in her eyes.
“Don’t worry babes. I think he will. We have waited this long for him, at least he can hang around for a short while till we get there.” I reassured her. She smiled faintly and nodded. But that smile was pure treasure for me.
It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the “pick up point”. And even less time for her to go through preliminary examination and be wheeled in. I insisted to be with her and was allowed after initial refusal by the doctor. I guess they realized how important the call was to both of us.
I still remember the doctor’s knowing smile when I insisted I was going in with her. But, I was determined to ride it out at her side. To be there to see when he arrives, to be the first to welcome him home. Along with my wife of course.
But after about four hours of serious sweating he was still nowhere to be seen. To make things worse, my wife was getting tired of waiting. That was scary. I kept looking at the doctor and the nurses – And the clock. He was not happy and the nurses seemed irritated I was there. I could see they wanted me out of the room.
“Honey, I will have to leave you here with the doc. I need to make a call and see where he is,” I whispered to my wife.
“Don’t leave me alone here,” she shot back. Gripping my hands in fear.
“We need to know if he is going to keep us waiting much longer,” I replied as I kissed her sweaty forehead. I picked up my camera and turned to the doctor, “Do whatever you have to do, I will be right outside.” It was painful to leave, but also essential. I understood that and sensed the doctor’s relief.
I had been standing outside for not more than twenty minutes making my long distance call when I heard another scream, and then the baby’s cries.
I looked at the wall clock, 3.28 a.m.
Finally, he has arrived!
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