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SHORT STORY: Rekindling hope in the middle of the ocean

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Perhaps it was these memories that held our marriage together. Perhaps it was my wife’s prayers. Either way, separation or divorce was never mentioned. Life became drudgery; we plodded through the despondency. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Evans Kosgei Toroitich

Posted  Saturday, January 7   2017 at  12:58

In Summary

  • Our best couple came to our rescue. They suggested we go on holiday and offered to foot the expenses. Lamu was the destination, and it was here, in the middle of the ocean, that the question of whether my wife and I could swim had been posed.

"Can you swim?” the boatman asked.

“No,” I replied, curiously.

“What about your wife? Does she know how to swim?”

“No. Why do you ask?”

“Because if you don’t hand over an extra $100, we will throw you overboard,” he threatened.

At this, the boatman who seemed well advanced in years, switched off the engine and languidly smiled at his young assistant. An eerie feeling came over me. I pulled my wife close lest she considered taking her chances with the sharks over the two strangers on the boat.

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It had been a difficult year for us. I recalled the time when she called me at the office, all excited and incoherent. I tried to calm her down. She said, “I am pregnant.”

I did not hear anything else she said after that. I jumped from my chair, danced around the conference room, and just fell short of standing on the table.

After years of trying to have a baby, the Good Lord had at last answered our prayers.

The journey to delivery began in earnest; monthly visits to the gynaecologist, taking food supplements, home improvement, and of course, telling all who would listen that we were pregnant!

It was a beautiful time anticipating a child; watching my wife’s belly grow and praying that the one inside was doing the same; being at my wife’s beck and call... whatever she wanted I delivered, no matter the inconvenience.

All went well, and then came labour. I had read all about it, the different stages and the right time to check into hospital. However, all that was forgotten as I watched my wife in pain. She was calmer than I was, and constantly assured me that she was fine. Then another wave of contractions hit her and for a few seconds her agony was palpable.

I held her hand until the wave passed. I called the office informing my boss that I would not be coming in the following day.

I looked at my wife; thin beads of sweat streamed down her face, she breathed as she had been taught in the Lamaze classes; her left hand supported her back and her eyes rolled backwards as if she was about to faint.

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