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.
After Dr. Ceesay had finished giving Seedy and Haddy all the painful details about the malignant brain tumor, the couple left his office and went into Ndeye Fatou’s hospital room. Seedy gingerly perched himself on the edge of his mother’s bed and gently took hold of her drip covered hand. She stirred from her drug induced slumber, her eyes boring into his. For a second, she seemed disoriented, as if she didn’t recognise her only son but then the fog cleared and she gave him a tender look. His heart twisted in his chest and he fought to rein in his tumultuous emotions. He could feel his wife’s eyes on him from the corner where she stood, silently fusing him with her strength. He took a deep breath and forced a smile on his tense face.
‘Ma how is the headache?’ he asked gruffly. ‘Have they lessened?’
‘They’ve become more intense and more frequent, son,’ she replied weakly. ‘But I’m on sleeping pills and painkillers most of the time so I sleep through the worst. Why are you staring at me as if I’m going to disappear at any minute? What did the doctor say about my illness?’
Seedy swallowed hard, not knowing how to break the news to her. What was he going to say? That there is a big possibility that you’re going to die because I might not be able to come up with the money needed for your operation?
Thankfully, his wife came to his rescue. Haddy went around the other side of the bed and sat down. Ndeye Fatou’s gaze swiveled to her.
‘Haddy, what’s wrong with me?’
‘Ma, it turns out that your illness is more serious than we thought,’ she began in a soft voice, returning his mother’s steady gaze. ‘You have brain cancer and we would have to take you out of this country for brain surgery in order to cure it.’
‘Isn’t cancer the disease that kills people?’ His mother asked, looking from one to the other. ‘Well, answer me,’ she pressed when they both grew silent.
Seedy nodded grimly and then added in a quiet tone, ‘But if I can take you abroad and you have the operation you needed, that wouldn’t happen.’
The smile that came to his mother’s face was knowingly sad. ‘I doubt that you have the kind of money such an operation would require.’
‘I would figure out a way, I promise,’ his voice rang with conviction.
Later that night as he slept, Seedy dreamt that he had been unable to come up with the money needed and as a result, he had been forced to watch helplessly as his mother passed away, right before his eyes. He woke up with a gasp, sweating profusely, waking his wife up in the process. She sat up, took one look at his ashen expression in the semi-dark bedroom and knew it had something to do with his mother.
‘Did you just have a nightmare?’ she asked in a sleep-drugged voice.
He nodded, still panting audibly. ‘I can’t lose her, Haddy. Not in this way.’
‘Come here,’ she murmured, pulling his head in the crook of her slender neck, wrapping her hands around his shoulders. ‘We would find a way out of this, my love. Ma will be fine.’
He felt some of the tension dissipating from his body as he breathed in her scent, felt the comfort of her touch but the fear still weighed him down heavily. His four sisters were all married in the neighbouring villages around theirs. Neither they nor their husbands could contribute much to the funds they needed. He and Haddy had set up a joint account when they got married. It was supposed to be a trust-fund for their future kids but it didn’t contain much and neither did their individual bank accounts. He had little or no assets which meant the banks would never give him a loan amounting to such a huge sum. He could only think of one viable option as he drifted off to sleep again in the loving arms of his wife and he resolved to put it in motion first thing in the morning.
As Seedy sat opposite Momodou Gumaneh in his plush office the next morning, he felt a nervousness which he ruthlessly battled to squash. The owner and CEO of the huge empire that was Gumaneh Industries was staring at him with an assessing look, as if trying to wheedle out of him the reason of his visit before he even stated it. The wealthy entrepreneur was dressed in an expensively well-tailored suit, its silver cufflinks gleaming brightly as they caught the morning sunlight that streamed through the open glass windows.
‘What is the purpose of your visit, Seedy?’ he rasped. ‘You told my secretary that it’s a matter of the utmost urgency and importance.’
Seedy nodded. ‘It’s a delicate matter, Sir, one with which I greatly need your help. My mother has brain cancer and I need to take her abroad for an operation. I don’t have the funds to do so and I doubt very much that the banks will loan me the money. That’s why I’ve come to you.’
‘You want me to loan you the money and be deducting it out of your salary until it is completely paid off,’ Momodou finished for him.
‘Yes, Sir, that’s about it in short,’ he said, holding his breath for his reply.
‘An operation like that will definitely require a huge sum of money, young man,’ Momodou told him. ‘I sympathise with your plight but I’m a businessman first before anything else. I would have to think this over and then get back to you with an answer.’
Seedy exhaled sharply, inwardly praying that that answer will be positive. His boss waved his hand, signaling that he was dismissed. He walked out of his gigantic office with a ray of hope in his heart.
Mariatou watched the object of her desire walked out of her father’s office and strode toward the public elevator that would take him down to his department but instead of getting in; he just stood against the wall, deep in thought. She wondered whether he would have looked as vulnerable as he did at that moment if he knew she was watching him. She moved away from the private elevator she had used to climb up to her father’s floor and leaned back against the wall, breathing heavily. Her heart rate accelerated as she continued to stare at him from a distance. Why did the man affect her so much? Why did she always react this intensely to his mere presence? She was helpless against the rush of yearning that suddenly flooded her being. By God, the man was handsome in the truest sense of the word. She hungrily took in his caramel complexion, thick eye-brows that perfectly ached over hauntingly beautiful eyes that were as white as cowrie beads. This man plagued her dreams, occupied her every waking thought. She wanted him with an intensity that defied reason, needed to wake up every morning and be able to call him hers.
She didn’t move away from her position, not until he went into the elevator and disappeared from view. Her father was talking on the phone when she entered his office. She sat down on the leather couch, waiting for him to finish his phone call. He came over and sat beside her when he hung up, his smile affectionately indulging.
‘What brings you by, princess?’ he asked.
She smiled back. ‘That can wait. I need to ask you something else now.’
‘Which is what?’
‘What was Seedy doing in your office? He seemed to be very worried when I saw him outside.’
Her father told her everything he and Seedy had just discussed. As Mariatou digested his words, she couldn’t help the calculating thoughts that ran through her mind, a manipulative plan forming in her head with a vengeance. The thing she had coveted after the most was finally within her grasp.
‘Daddy, remember when you said to me that as your daughter, there shouldn’t be anything I want and can’t have?’
‘Of course, princess. You deserve the world and I would gladly lay it at your feet,’ her father replied without the slightest bit of hesitation.
‘Well, you now have a chance to prove it.’
To be continued:
by Adam Nyang