hearts & minds

    81

     

     

    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.

    EPISODE ONE

    ‘’Honey, breakfast is ready!’’

    Seedy Saidykhan heard Haddy call out from the sitting room of their London Corner apartment. He fastened the last button on his shirt quickly and walked out of the bedroom with his briefcase in hand. He smiled, his heart glowing with love at the sight that greeted him. His wife of eight months was bending over the center table in the living room, placing a mug of hot coffee and a loaf of bread with sandwiched chicken on a plate for him. She looked up and caught him staring. He still had a hard time believing this lovely creature had agreed to be his for the rest of their lives. Their marriage still felt like a dream.

    ‘’You’re going to be late if you continue standing there and looking at me,’’ Haddy chided softly but the way her eyes sparkled told him she enjoyed the attention.

    He grinned at her as she walked past him and sat down to devour his meal. They were still in the honeymoon phase and if he had his way, they both wouldn’t go back to work for another year. That’s how much besotted he was. The coffee was scalding as it slid down his throat but it awakened his dormant senses. He looked at his wrist watch and quickly munched on his bread when he realised that it was almost eight o’clock.

    Haddy was sitting on the dressing table in their bedroom, delicately applying her make-up.

    ‘’I’m leaving, darling,’’ he informed her, standing at the door.

    ‘’Don’t forget to come to the hospital as soon as you close,’’ she wasn’t looking at him as she spoke. ‘’Dr. Ceesay told us that he would have mother’s results ready today.’’

    He strode inside and kissed her on the forehead. ‘’I won’t forget,’’ he said and left the house.

    The May sun was peeking through a bank of clouds as Seedy hurried past the tall iron gates of Gumaneh Industries located in Kanifing. It was the food company he worked in as a marketing officer. It was one of the biggest industries in The Gambia, manufacturing and selling soft and energy drinks, biscuits and chips in the entire length and breadth of the country and even beyond. Every kid adored its many flavoured chips and biscuits and its Nekh Nah soft and energy drinks were the most widely sold beverages in the country. He greeted his colleagues as he strode along the marketing department, heading towards the office he shared with his friend, Basiru.

    When he pushed open the office door and stepped inside, Basiru was nowhere to be found. To his dismay, it was Mariatou Gumaneh who was gracefully reclined on his desk.

    ‘’Not again,’’ he muttered under his breath.  ‘’Morning Mariatou,’’ he said out loud. ‘‘Is there anything I can help you with?’’

    She gifted him with a dazzling smile. She was the daughter of Momodou, the sole owner of Gumaneh Industries which meant she was spoilt rotten and used to getting whatever she desired. And Seedy could tell from the way she has been behaving towards him lately that she had set her sights on him. He regarded the fair beautiful heiress dispassionately, thinking to himself that it would be a cold day in hell before he ever became receptive to her advances.

    ‘’My father has told me about the wonderful job you did during the CRR campaign,’’ she replied, still smiling. She was wearing an expensive pair of blue jeans and a silk shirt with a low neckline that showed enough cleavage to convince him that it was a seductive move. ‘‘I would like to take you out to dinner in appreciation of your hard-work.’’

    Seedy chose his next words carefully. He had no intention of offending the boss’s daughter, not if he wanted to keep his job. ‘’I would really love to but I have to pay my mother a visit after work. I’ve brought her from the village because she has been afflicted with a peculiar disease and I want her to get proper treatment for it,’’ he told her. It wasn’t difficult to sound honest because he actually was.

    She slowly got up from his desk and glided over to him. She was standing so close that the powerful scent of her perfume overwhelmed his senses. ‘’Seedy, one of these days you’re going to run out of excuses,’’ she whispered softly, her eyes sparkling with wicked mischief. ‘’See you around,’’ she added and left the office with a flourish.

    Seedy ran and slumped in his chair, heaving a sigh of relief. Just what was wrong with her? She didn’t seem to care about the fact that he was a married man at all. Mariatou was delusional if she thought he would ever betray his wife for her. His thoughts turned to his mother and he was instantly assailed with worry. He prayed fervently that whatever was wrong with her would be easy to cure.

    The second the bell had rung for closing time, Haddy Saine bid her students farewell and left with all haste. She was a third grade teacher in Serrekunda Lower Basic School for three years now. She had promised her parents that she would drop by after work and she didn’t want to be late for the appointment with Dr. Ceesay. She was anxious to find out what was wrong with her mother-in-law. Ndeye Fatou Touray had always treated her like a daughter and loved her like one. She had lovingly told Haddy that marrying her was the best thing that could have ever happened to his son. The woman was as kind as she was religious and Haddy couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to her. After spending some time with her parents, she was about to leave when her sister arrived home, wearing the white and navy blue uniform of Nusrat High School.

    ‘’So you’ve already done your last examination paper,’’ she said to her.

    Ajie Fatou nodded with a smile. ‘’My high school days are over, thank God.’’

    Haddy shook her head at her excitement. ‘’Let’s hope the results you produce are favourable.’’

    Her younger sister looked offended. ‘‘Have you ever known me to not pass an exam?’’

    ‘’WASSCE is different. Everyone knows that.’’

    ‘’No exam is too great for me,’’ she boasted confidently. ‘’You’ll see for yourself soon enough.’’

    Haddy left her sister bragging to her parents and boarded a van for Banjul. She met Seedy outside the gates and hand in hand, they proceeded inside the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, EFSTH.

    Dr. Ceesay asked them to be seated when they entered his office. His expression was grim and this alarmed Haddy. She looked over at her husband and saw the tension that marred his perfect features.

    ‘’Seedy, you must take care not to panic after hearing this news,’’ Dr. Ceesay began in a gentle voice. ‘’It won’t help your mother’s situation in any way.’’

    ‘‘What’s wrong with her?’’ Seedy asked without preamble and Haddy squeezed his hand in comfort.

    The doctor seemed to hesitate, as if dreading whatever it was he had to say next. ‘’Seedy, your mother has malignant brain tumor.’’

    Haddy felt him stiffened beside her, his expression one of absolute horror. Her own heart lurched in her throat at the sound of this heart-breaking news.

    ‘‘Brain cancer?’’ he whispered the question. ‘’My mother has brain cancer? Are you sure? Could you be mistaken?’’

    ‘‘All the tests we’ve conducted confirmed it,’’ the doctor replied. ‘’And I’m afraid it’s fatal. If she doesn’t undergo an operation soon, she’ll die.’’

    A heavy silence descended over the room. Haddy’s head was reeling with shock as she stared at her beloved husband, the pain in his eyes cutting her to the core. His mother was his whole world and she didn’t want to think about how inconsolably devastated he would be if he were to lose her.

    To be continued:

    by Adam Nyang