THIRD PARTY IN MARRIAGE
Richard and Ophelias sat opposite each other on the lawn right in front of the theatre. Lovers, families, friend sat clustered on the lawn with picnic baskets. Some gisted and laughed while some busied themselves with taking pictures trying to capture the beautiful sculpture of a man riding a horse with their snapshots.
Rebecca walked around just revelling in the euphoria of the love she felt in the atmosphere. She admired the couples there who were busy playing love, she wished it was she and Richard all alone in such beautiful environment. She quickly checked herself when she realised she was drifting away from her purpose of going there which was to find some peace and tranquillity in the midst of her chaotic life.
Ophelia turned back and placed her head on his laps gently, not knowing how to broach the topic to him.
Richard: “Is anything wrong love?” he asked when he noticed her discomfiture.
Ophelia: “Nothing really. I just wanted to tell you I am ready now” her cheeks flushed bright red
Richard: “Ready for what?”
Ophelia: “To finally have … with you”
Richard: “Hey babe! You don’t need to feel pressured about this okay? I am not in a hurry at all”
Ophelia: “I know you are not pressuring me at all and that’s why I want to do this. I don’t think I have ever been this nervous before in my entire life”
Richard: “But why are you nervous exactly? Is it that you’ve never had … before or what?”
Ophelia: “No ooo I have had … several times before just that it’s been very long I had … last so I might not be as good as I am supposed to be”
Richard: ‘Well you’ve got nothing to worry about at all. I will help you through but why did you stop having it? Did something happen?”
Ophelia: “Well my boyfriend whom I loved so much broke my heart and cos of that I swore never to have anything to do with any man again till I am fully sure he is the one for me”
Richard: “and baby, I love you so much. Thanks for counting me worthy. I promise never to disappoint you” he said, bent his head and gave her a long lingering kiss on the lips just then he heard a faint “Richard” he looked up and saw his wife looming over them with her protruding stomach kissing the sunset.
Rebecca: “Richard… how could you do this to me? How?”
Richard: “What are you doing here? Please go back home” he said as Ophelia sat up.
Rebecca: “Why? Why? She repeated weakly and slumped down on the floor.
Richard: “Oh God! Quickly help me, let’s get her to the hospital” he said emotionlessly to no one in particular as people gathered around to know what was going on.
Sammy sat in his room wondering why his parents were not back by that time of the night. He felt sleepy and tired after a long day at school for their weekend training pending the inter-house sport but he knew he had to wait for them. They had never left all alone by himself like that especially when his nanny was on leave. He felt jittery with fear. The horror movies he used to watch went haunting him like a terrible nightmare. He had to hide himself under the blanket, yet he felt like the haunted ghost of the wizard was under the blanket with him. He closed his eyes tightly and imagine how it would be like when his sister arrives. That thought brought a smile to his face and he forgot about his parents and the ghosts for a moment. Just as he started drifting off to sleep, he heard the blaring of his dad’s car horn, sprang to his feet and sprinted for the door and waited there for him to step into the house.
Sammy: “Daddy…” he ran and embraced his dad as soon as he had stepped in.
Richard: “Hey little Champ! Aren’t you sleeping yet? You should be on bed by now” he said holding him by the hand as they stepped into the living room which laid juxtaposed to the main bedroom.
Sammy: “Where is mum?” he asked ignoring his dad’s rhetoric
Richard: “Sammy I will need you to be strong. Remember you are a strong boy? Ghosts don’t scare you anymore right?”
Sammy: “Dad where is mum? Is my mum okay?” he asked like an adult intolerant of people who beat around the bush.
Richard: “Hmm… “ he sighed
Sammy: “Dad, what do you mean?”
Richard: “Ok, tell you what? Your mum is not coming home tonight” he said looking down at his feet.
Sammy: “What do you mean by mum is not coming home tonight? She always comes back home. Where is she? Take me to her please!” he wept.
Richard: “Sam, I told you to be strong, didn’t i? I told you men should be strong and you are a man”
Sammy: “Why do you keep telling me to be strong? I cannot be strong without mum so take me to her daddy or ask her to come home. Daddy please?”
Richard: “Hmmm….” He sighed again “Your mum is in the hospital, that’s why she wouldn’t be able to come back today”
Sammy: “Hospital? Is she okay? Is it time for her to get delivered of my sister? But she told me it will be due in two months’ time?” he said with eyes blazing with tears.
Richard: “She suddenly fell ill. But she will be fine, doctor said she will be fine”
Sammy: “When do I see her? Tomorrow right?”
Richard: “Yeah sure! I will take you to her tomorrow. Go back to sleep now okay? And don’t worry, your mother will be fine”
Sammy: “How about you? Will you be fine? Just know that if anything happens to my mum, it will be your fault. Your fault” he said and ran off while his dad watched from where he stood with mouth agape. He could not believe he was aware of all the happenings in the house. He raked his fingers through his neatly kept afro hair and sighed heavily.
He walked slowly to the room he had shared with her for years, the room that had both good and bad, happy and sad memories they shared together in it. He looked around and saw the huge mirror at the side of room, the place she sat first thing in the morning to tend to her face and every night to do same. The wardrobe still had some of his things in it, he saw a bag at one corner of the closet, opened it and saw it contained baby things. Cute little girl cloths and he realised how much he had missed out. How much he had neglected her despite her apologies to him. At that moment he knew he had to make things right, he knew he had to make amends if she will forgive him. He still loved her.
That night he slept in the main bedroom, pretending to have her wrapped in his arms and whispering sweet somethings into her ears. His sleep was filled with dreams of her.
At the hospital the next morning, Sammy watched as the doctor and his nurses ran to and fro his mum’s ward. He knew something was definitely amiss. He looked at his dad and noticed he was pacing up and down the hospital hallway restlessly.
Sammy: “Daddy what is happening to mum?”
Richard: “Sammy I am not in the mood to answer any of your numerous questions now. I am really really tired so pardon me for now please?” he replied and continued pacing around.
Sammy: “He could have just answered the question rather that all those he just said. What a waste” he muttered to himself.
The doctor appeared at the hallway and beckoned for Richard to follow him.
Richard: “Wait for me here. Don’t move from that spot okay?” he said to his son.
Sammy: “Okay daddy” he admired the retreating figure of the doctor with his labcoat flying in the air behind him till they disappeared into another hallway leading to the consulting rooms.
Dr Wilson: “I am very disappointed in you Richard. There’s no way i will lie to you about this. I have known you guys for quite some time now and I can’t say you don’t have your own faults in the conflicts between you and your wife. She made a mistake and she apologised to you with the last drop of her blood but this is how you paid her back?” he said as soon as he entered his consulting room and shut the door behind them. There were mirage of people in the hallway.
Richard: “What is going on? What are you talking about?”
Dr Wilson: “To cut the whole story short, your wife is suffering from a heart disorder called peripartum cardiomyopathy. I am sure you have heard of it before since she didn’t just develop it?”
Richard: “Shit! Shit!! Shit!!! I am damned. She did not fucking tell me all these while?”
Dr Wilson: “She said she tried telling you countless times but you kept shutting her out. Saying you don’t wanna hear anything about her and the baby. What kind of a man, husband and father says such to his pregnant wife?”
Richard: “Oh my God! I had no idea. I really had no idea. Wow!” he paced around the office aggressively.
Dr Wilson: “We have to operate her in order to at least save the baby. The baby is in danger as we talk, your wife’s heartbeat is already too faint, it can cease anytime. So I need your permission to carry out the CS?”
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