Seedy and Haddy are newlyweds who were living in bliss until a sudden adversity rocked their world. Seedy would be forced to make a bargain that would drive a wedge between them and worst, could lead to the destructions of not only their marriage but their lives as well.
All the way back to their house, Seedy was aware of the tension brewing between him and Haddy. The minute they stepped inside their living room, it was palpable, a living breathing thing that made Seedy extremely uncomfortable. Clicking the front door shut, he turned around and leaned against it, regarding his wife warily. She had seated herself on the armchair, her intense gaze fixed on him.
“Is there something going on between you and Mariatou?” her voice was low, barely carrying across the room.
Seedy felt his pulse quickened as he thought about the best way to answer that question. “Nothing’s going on between us. I don’t have any interest in her.”
“She, on the other hand seems to have plenty of interest in you.” She rose from the chair and came to stand in front of him. “I doubt she makes a habit of visiting the sick mothers of her father’s employees. Never mind the fact that I saw the way she was looking at you. For God’s sake her hands were all over you when I saw the two of you standing outside together! That did not look like nothing to me.”
Seedy covered his face with his hand, sighing heavily. His eyes bored into hers’ as he said in a soft voice; “You’re right, she has been chasing after me for a while now. Mariatou has herself convinced that she’s in love with me. But I’ve never welcomed her advances nor encouraged them. It’s all her, Haddy.”
Her eyes widened with shock as his words sank in. She backed away from him, seating herself at the edge of the sofa. “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?”
“I didn’t see the need to worry you without cause.”
She grew silent after he said this, staring at the center table as if in deep thought. “What were the two of you discussing today?”
Seedy’s heart began to pound louder. This was his chance to come clean, to tell her about his boss’s obscene proposal so that there would be absolutely no chance that he would accept it. Instead, he found himself saying, “I was warning her to stay away from me. Haddy, you have to believe me when I say that I would never be unfaithful to you.”
She rose from the sofa; the doubt had disappeared from her eyes, only sincere affection for him shone in their depths. He felt like a complete jerk for keeping the truth away from her but he just couldn’t bring himself to tell her about it.
“I believe you, darling,” she said to him, taking his hands into her own, entwining their fingers. “I’m sorry for overreacting. It’s just that I was so filled with jealousy when I saw her standing so close to you that I couldn’t think straight.”
He smiled at her, relieved that their altercation was over. He hated fighting with her. “What if you were thinking straight?”
She brought their entwined fingers to her mouth and kissed his knuckles. “I wouldn’t have forgotten the fact that my husband only has eyes for me,” she said and then added. “I better go and start preparing dinner.”
He watched her leave, his mind spinning in a thousand and one directions. When had his life gotten so complicated?
Two weeks later, Seedy was in a frantic state of mind as he dashed into the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH). He was unaware of the curious stares he attracted as he ran towards his mother’s hospital room. Haddy’s voice had sounded terribly urgent on the phone when she called to inform him that the doctor in charge of his mother had summoned him to the hospital immediately. He had rushed out of his work place without a word to his superior. The least of his worries was being reprimanded for cutting work. For the doctor to summon him like this, it had to be really serious. He pushed away the ugly thought that he was too late to save his mother. He had resolved to stay positive. He had to if he were to come up with a viable solution on how to get the money he needed for her treatment.
The ward his mother was admitted in smelt of disinfectant antiseptics. The rubber soles of his shoes barely made a sound as he strode through the spotless tiled corridor. He willed his galloping heartbeat to slow down when he reached her door. Taking a deep calming breath, he gently pushed open the door and stepped inside the room. A sharp pain pierced through him as it usually did when he came upon this sight. His mother lay unconscious in the hospital bed with all kinds of tubes attached to her frail body. Her breathing was laboured and her face held a permanently pained expression that plainly communicated her suffering.
His wife stood by her bed, watching her with a worried expression on her lovely face. She rushed into his arms the minute she set eyes on him. He held her tight, drawing comfort from the familiar feel of her body pressed against his. She was the rock he leaned on in this difficult time.
“How is she?” he spoke softly when she pulled out of his arms.
“She’s not doing well, Seedy,” Haddy told her husband, her eyes shining with fear.
Before Seedy could reply, Dr. Ceesay walked in. The grim look he wore alarmed him.
“Why was I summoned, Doctor?” he asked without preamble.
“The tumor in your mother’s brain is accelerating at an alarming rate,” he began on a sigh. “I’ve already told you that your mother can be saved if you have the funds required to get her out of this country as soon as possible. If the cancer continues to progress at this speed, she would be gone before an operation can be conducted.”
“And you don’t have the necessary equipment or the expertise to conduct the operation here,” Seedy finished for him in a dejected tone. “How much time do I have to come up with the funds?”
“Roughly three weeks,” Dr. Ceesay said to him. “Mrs. Saidykhan is in a very critical condition. I suggest you hurry.”
He examined her and then excused himself. Seedy watched his wife resumed her position beside his mother’s bedside. He sat down gingerly on the only available chair in the room, his eyes fixed on his mother.
The crushing weight of helplessness that was lodged in his chest made it hard to breathe. He was panicking, the desperation he had been keeping at bay finally overwhelming him. His salary was barely enough to pay for this private hospital room. There was no way he was going to come up with the kind of funds he needed to get her out of the country.
There was only one option open to him now and he loathed that he was even considering the despicable proposition but he was desperate.
As long as Mariatou didn’t change her mind about wanting to marry him, her father would never give Seedy the money he needed without him agreeing to his deal. She was determined to make him hers and her father wanted to fulfill his daughter’s wishes. Momodou saw Seedy’s predicament as an opportunity to be exploited.
Dare he even think about agreeing to it?
He stared at his wife and thought about how much they loved each other. They haven’t even been married for a full year and he was considering getting another wife. It would rock the very foundation of their relationship. She would be heart-broken. But what was the alternative? Let his mother die? He couldn’t do that. His mother was his world. He had to save her no matter what.
Just like that, the path that lay before him became crystal clear. He knew what he had to do. If he were honest with himself, had known it from the moment he’d lied to Haddy about his conversation with Mariatou.
He left the hospital without saying a single word to anyone. As he sat in a taxi-cab that was headed for Gumaneh Industries, he watched the world sped by, feeling completely numb. He wasn’t going to dwell on the consequences of his actions at that moment; there would be time for that later.
When he entered Momodou’s office, he didn’t even bother to sit down before he said in a resolute voice, “I have agreed to the terms of your deal, Sir. I will marry Mariatou if it’s the only way I can keep my mother alive.”
When the older man nodded his head and smiled, Seedy knew the die had been cast. There would be no going back now.
To be Continued;