‘‘Be kind to everyone regardless of the circumstances. Everyone deserves to be loved and cared for.’’ These were Maryam’s father’s words to her on her 21st birthday and it stuck ever since then. But then, isn’t it important to show oneself kindness as well? How do one fetch from an empty cup? She’s given all she could to her Victor. Now, she has nothing left to offer.
She takes another look at the house that has been her home for the past thirty-eight months and heaved a deep sign. Her mind is made up, she’s leaving; the divorce papers are all signed anyways. A glimpse at the wall clock set her feet in motion. She should leave before Martin; her ex-husband’s son gets back from school.
Against all odds, she’s grown to love her ex-husband’s bastard. The feeling she has towards the boy is the purest feeling in the entire world. But then, the best thing one can do for oneself is to know when to cut ones’ loses and move on. There’s no point fighting a lost battle, she said out loud, parked the last of her luggage to the car, and headed for the room and parlour self-con she rented some five streets away.
It was barely a week after she left when she begins worrying about Martin. Is he all right? Does he eat before going to school? Who helps him with his homework? The maternal instincts just won’t let her turn her back to her son. That’s right her son, she affirms. Martin isn’t a product of her ovaries. But he is the son she’s chosen. A mother never leaves his son in distress to wallow in her own misery!
Maryam picks herself up from the couch and dressed up to go see how her son is faring. It’s a Wednesday, so she heads straight to his school. On-getting there, she got to know Martin hasn’t been in school that week. Torn between her resolution to stay off her ex husband and the yearning in her heart to see her son, she headed to a nearby park to clear her thoughts.
As she sits there trying really poorly to silent the rubbles of her thoughts, her phone rings out “…nothing’s gonna change my love for you, you ought to know by now how much I love you uuh…” At that point, ignoring the host of people in the park, she gave in uncontrollably to her emotions and cried to her heart’s content.
Some ladies immediately rushed to her side to hush her. But, her tears were like a dam set loose. The call was from one of her ex-husband’s lines. It was on the day he proposed to her she customised the song as his ring tune.
After her hiccups subsided, the ladies who came to console her encouraged her to share what the problem was. She explained how her husband concealed the fact that he has a son from her during the days of their courtship; how he lied and cheated even after they got married; got himself the HIV virus; and served her with divorce papers.
As fate would have it, these ladies happen to be HIV/AIDS Advocates; they had come to the park for a luncheon organised for their movement against stigmatisation. Also, one of the ladies, Barbara happens to be a therapist. They were able to lift her spirit a little and exchange contact numbers. What really stuck from the many words that were spoken was –‘HIV is not a death sentence’. Why should she kill the feelings she’s got in heart and all those years she’s spent with Victor?
When Maryam got home that day, she decided to call Victor and asked why he called her earlier and most especially check to see if Martin is doing okay. She would find out that it was the gateman that called from the phone while on an errand to get both Victor and Martin some food. Victor had given him one of his phones so as to further communicate whatever they’d need in the hospital.
Few days back, Martin discovered his father in the bathroom drowning in the bathtub. He’d gone to the gate to call for help and while at it, fell and lost consciousness. Luckily, the gateman was able to get help for both of them. And they’re both still recovering at the hospital.
Maryam can’t explain how she got to the hospital that night. On seeing her six years old Martin on the mattress, all her resolve to stay away vanished completely. That was her son looking at her with eyes full of longing; beseeching her to show mercy and kindness. It was at that moment she knew she was coming back home.
Victor could barely look at her. She’d later be his strength for months, constantly giving him her forgiveness until he’d be able to forgive himself for how he treated her and his promiscuity. And she, her strength would be nurtured by her new made friends from the park and the movement they belong to; which she and Victor would become a part of.
It would not be easy, but after several therapeutic sessions, much forgiving, enlightening talks on how they could still live their best lives as a couple, and introduction to programmes such as:
- ART – Anti Retroviral therapy
A combination of antiretroviral drugs that maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of the disease;
- PMCT – Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
This programme offers a range of services for women of reproductive age living with or at the risk of HIV to maintain their health and prevent their babies from acquiring HIV;
- PrEP – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
This is also an HIV prevention strategy where HIV-negative individuals take anti-HIV medications before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. Although it isn’t a cure for HIV, it works magic in preventing HIV fro establishing infection inside the body;
- And the good old Condom use as well.
Maryam and victor would once again find their sparks. Although, they’d never have a child together as Maryam won’t be able to get past the thoughts of bringing an innocent child to the world at the risk of getting infected. They’d however care for Martin together and give him the best life a child could ever ask for…
PS: This is a sequel to “For Better, For Worse” Day 20th Story. I tried to make it an independent story. So, if you didn’t read that you might not have to. You could check it out though 🤗.
This Sequel is for you, Purpose and Shulamite. I hope it resonates with you as it’s prequel did.