Staring out the window, Ada watches as people rush to work. She looks at the clock, its 07.20am.
She becomes lost in thought. The cry of a baby brings her back to reality.
Destiny is awake. She sighs and remains were she is for a few minutes. His cry becomes louder;
she rolls her wheelchair to his cot. She carries him as he stretches towards her. He smiles at her.
She gives him a bath and feeds him. He wants to play but she feels tired and tries to get him to nap for a while.
Ada rocks him and sings to him. She looks at him, he is finally asleep. She puts him down in his cot.
She feels happy she is finally able to carry him and love him for who he is. It hasn’t always been this simple to show him love.
The bell rings and she goes to see who it is as she was expecting Jude at 9am, she looks at the time and realises it was almost 9am. She opens the door and he walks in smiling.
Good morning Ada, how are you and Destiny doing today? He asks.
We are fine she says. I have just put him in his cot, he is sleeping.
He sits down and looks directly at her. She is uncomfortable. What would you like to drink? Tea, coffee? Nothing, he replies. I just want to know what you have decided. I have asked you for the second time to marry me and you asked me to come this morning for your reply. I really do not know what to expect so I made sure I kept my morning free and won’t be resuming at the office until midday he says to her.
She moves to the window and stares out for a few seconds, then turns to face him.
Jude, you have known me for almost a year and you have known me at church. In as much as you know a lot of things about me, you really do not know me enough to ask me to be your wife.
I appreciate that you love and care for my baby like he was yours and you have never questioned me about his father.
The main reason i have asked you here today is so i can share my story with you. if after i finish you still want to marry me, then I will marry you.
About seven years ago, I was an undergraduate in my first year. I was very young and naïve. I had been a good Christian girl and barely knew much about men or sex. All I knew was I was now in School and was looking forward to a bright future.
During registration, I met a guy named Osahon. He helped me with everything and made my registration easy. He was in his third year studying engineering.
Osahon became my bodyguard and before I knew it, we started dating.
By the second semester, he asked me to move in with him. At first, I told him it was wrong and would feel embarrassed living with him. But he convinced me that since we were officially dating and he planned to marry me, there was nothing wrong.
I thought about it and agreed as I knew my parents would never come to visit. I moved in with him and after a few weeks started noticing changes in his behaviour. He didn’t want me going to visit friends and he had a copy of my timetable. He knew my every move. He turned up anywhere I went.
One Friday, I decided to go for fellowship before going home. It was a two-hour meeting. When I got home, Osahon was waiting for me. I locked the door and was about to explain to him where I was coming from, but before I could utter a word, I received a slap. Before I could recover from that, I got a punch on my head, then a blow in my tummy. Osahon beat me blue-black all the while cursing and swearing.
He left me and went to the door, took the keys and went into the bedroom. I cried for hours. I could not believe a man I felt loved me could beat me up. I eventually curled up on the sofa and went to sleep as I was not ready to be anywhere near him.
The following morning, I woke up to him staring at me. As soon as he saw I was awake he began to plead with me.He blamed everything on earth except himself for turning me into a punching bag.
I told him i needed to go home, i needed him to open the door. “But you are home my love” he replied. i need to leave, i need time alone.
He stood up and stared at me with anger. You are going nowhere Ada, you belong to me.
The tone of his voice made me shiver. Who is this man speaking to me? what has he done with my Osahon? I was so much in love that I did not argue or fight. i decided i would obey him and show him i was humble.
Ada laughs. Humble, how stupid and naïve i was. Alas, that was the beginning of my woes.
When someone offended him, i was his remedy to calm down. Osahon beat me almost every day and for any flimsy excuse.
I sometimes went back home with bruises and one time with a broken arm. i would always give my parents excuses.
My close friend knew what was going on and tried to get me to move out. i love him i said. he will change. i am praying for him. I know God will change him.
He never changed. The beatings got worse and I was the talk of my department, as i always had one injury or another. I could no longer blame it on a bike accident or that i tripped, or walked into a wardrobe. Everyone knew my story and kind of had pity for me. Some looked at me with disgust and now i look back, i really don’t blame them.
Eventually, he graduated and left with a promise of coming to ask for my hand in marriage.
I had decided I would not argue but act like it was fine and what I wanted too. As soon as he had left campus, I was so happy and thankful to God for my freedom.
I was now in my final year and by the time I was graduating, he was at youth service in Adamawa State.
I decided to tell my parents everything and they went from anger to disappointment. After a few weeks, they called me and had a good talk with me. They too were sorry they had not had such talk with me before I left for school.
Osahon was barred from entering our home. The driver took me out and back. I wasn’t left on my own out of fear of him coming around.
I went for service and luckily got posted to Lagos, which is where I live. I did my three weeks orientation at Iyana Ipaja and there I met Ndidi. Ndidi was an amazing guy. I realised after a year plus with him that what I had for Osahon was anything but love.
Ndidi showered me with love. He was so caring and was a man with the fear of God. He taught me what it meant to court, no sex before marriage. Brought me close to God and I became a true follower of Christ.
Ndidi proposed and I accepted 2years after we met. Our parents were ecstatic and could not wait for us to say “I DO”.
Just as I was rejoicing and we were all making plans for the wedding, the devil struck. Osahon turned up at my parent’s house. He said he had just finally returned to Lagos. He apparently had an issue while at Adamawa State and had been arrested. He had only got released a few days ago only to return to the news of my wedding.
Osahon said he would never let any man marry me. He said he was a changed man and would never lay a finger on me. he expressed his undying love, but all I wanted was for him to leave.
I am getting married Osahon, I said to him. Please don’t make this difficult. Our past is what it is; our past.
As I said those words, he got angry and did what he knew how to do best, pound me. The security man came and tried to help me. That’s when I noticed he had a gun. He asked him to go away if he didn’t want to die. Immediately, the old man ran for his life. As I struggled to get on my feet, Osahon fell, I looked up and there stood Ndidi. What in Gods name is going on here? Who are you? He asks as he tried to get me up? Its Osahon, my ex I told you about, I said to him.
In a twinkle of an eye, Osahon brought out his gun and shot Ndidi. I screamed, help! help! somebody, please help us.
Osahon dragged me into the house, my parents thankfully were not home. He threw me on the floor and continued his madness. He then went further to pull my skirt up and forced his fingers inside me.
So you dared to go marry another man? Over my dead body! That will never happen he shouted.
He unbuckled his trousers and zipped down whilst holding me to the floor. I tried to escape and was able to wriggle free of him for a few seconds.
He shouted for me to stop but I just wanted to run and get out of there. Next thing I heard was a loud bang and saw myself falling. Osahon shot me in the back.
I fell and he came to me. Why would you run from me? See what you’ve made me do he screamed.
I was beginning to feel numb. Please, Osahon I whispered, get help. He laughed and then did the last thing I would have ever imagined.
He raped me. The man I thought I once loved and who loved me with all his heart raped me.
I broke down in tears. Even though time has passed everything still felt real and like it happened only yesterday.
Jude got up and came to hold my hand. I think I would like a glass of ice water now please he said.
I walk to the kitchen and returned with a bottle of water and a glass.
Thank you, he says. Please finish your story.
Well, I said. The next thing I know is waking up at the hospital. I was told I had been unconscious for a couple of days.
Luckily, The security guard had gone for help. The police came and Osahon was arrested.
And Ndidi? Asked Jude. Hmmm, Ndidi did not make it. He died.
I was in the hospital for over six months and during this time I was informed I had lost the use of my legs due to the gunshot injury to my spine.
On top of that, a few months later, I realised I was pregnant. I was over four months before I knew. It was too late to do anything. This was my worst nightmare and because of my condition on the wheelchair, I was placed at high risk and literally lived at the hospital.
I thank God for my parents. The spent almost all their savings on me. I was eventually taken abroad for better treatment and also to have the baby.
We had concluded I would give the baby up for adoption as there was no way I was going to keep it. A seed of an evil man. I hated the child even before he fully formed inside me and could not wait to get rid of it.
While in California, some ministers came to the hospital and prayed for people. One paid so much attention to me and always prayed for my healing. One day I said to her, I can never walk. Why do you keep praying for my healing? She said to me, the Holy Spirit asked me to pray for the healing of your heart, not your injury. But if you have faith and believe, you will walk again.
Those words shook me. I had stopped praying or listening to anything related to God since the incidence and to know that He was sending someone to me got me alert.
Slowly, I started to come out of the darkness I had left myself in due to the events. I decided to have a serious talk with God. I shouted and I cried and after everything, I went to sleep. For the first time in a long time, I slept like a baby. I was seen by a physiotherapist and he worked on my legs rigorously.
I began to read my bible again and pray. I started to ask God for all-around healing.
Just before I had my baby, I was able to walk a few steps with crutches and assistance.
I delivered my baby and named him Destiny. It took time but I learnt to love him and separate him from the man who would have been his father. I decided not to give him up for adoption.
It has not been an easy journey. Now he is 10 months old. I can stand to do things and walk a little distance. I am still in the healing process and pray that one day soon, I will get to walk as I used to.
I do like you very much and i know you will make me happy. I know with time i could learn to love you. But i am still healing and i don’t want to rush into making any decisions. Especially when it has to do with marriage.
You met me when he was a few weeks old and you have been great to both of us. I had shut my heart to marriage and love. I never thought anyone would look at me a second time. Me, in a wheelchair.
Jude walks up to her. From the first day I laid eyes on you, I knew you were the one. But I also knew I had to be patient. I have been praying and I knew it was time.
I have listened to your story and yes, it is shocking and worse than I had imagined. You are a strong woman and God has kept you for a purpose.
I am still ready to make you my wife if you will have me. I promise to make up for all the times you were hurt and to put a smile permanently on your face. But i understand how you feel and i will wait patiently for you. You don’t have to say yes now. Whenever you are ready, know i am here waiting.
He smiles at her and adds; don’t wait too long though. She laughs.
One more thing, If we do get married, Destiny will answer my name. I already see him as my son. He will have nothing to do with that beast. So, what do you say?
I smile shyly, thank you for understanding Jude. We hold hands and watch Destiny sleeping in his cot.