Life! With Habika… ~Ep 5

​At that moment in time, the stench of unleashed testosterone was so strong in the room. Even little NJ seemed to be exuding small puffs of it.

I turned to Barak and fixed my gaze steadily on him. In my head, I slowly counted five, four, three, two…

“I didn’t do it.”

Bingo. He’s always the first to break.

Arji threw him a disgusted look and faced me squarely.

“I did it. And I’m more than ready to do it again if he doesn’t answer my questions satisfactorily.”

“What is wrong with you? You can’t just go around punching people in the face!” I yelled at him, moving closer and tugging hard on his earlobe.

“Ouch! Habika, that’s undignified,” Arji protested, smacking my hand off.

“Habibi, no one draws the ear of a man above thirty.” Barak concurred, “Come on, show some respect.”

“You shut it or I’ll give you a wedgie,” I warned, advancing towards him menacingly, “Then we’ll know if a man over thirty feels pain.”

“Okay okay. Sheesh, can’t you take a joke?” Barak carefully walked towards NJ’s high chair to put as much distance as possible between us.

“Eh hem, wounded man still here. Awaiting trial.” Nathan said with hands raised in the air to get attention.

“Shut up!” chorused Arji and Barak.

I glared at them in consternation.

“Nathan, kitchen, now. We need to place some ice on that before it gets really ugly.”

“What, you think I’m ugly right now?” 

I looked at him in shock until I could tell he was joking. 

Nathan Okeke. Joking. With a swollen eye and lip. Wonders really never end.

“A fine time you pick to make a joke Nathan.”

“Seriously, no one’s…” Barak began.

“Not one word from you!” I cut him off, eyes narrowed in warning.

I marched into the kitchen and retrieved a cup of ice from the deep freezer.

(I’m one of those weirdos who like munching ice. So I always have a ready supply available).

I pulled out a stool and instructed Nathan to sit on it.

If I wasn’t so angry, I would have laughed at the sight of a man about six feet tall perched precariously on a stool about two feet high.

As I wrapped the cup in a kitchen towel, Nathan quietly observed my jerky, angry movements.

“You’re angry.”

“Congratulations Nathan. You’re the smartest kid on the block to have noticed that.” I replied sarcastically.

“I’m sorry.”

I sighed. Suddenly at a loss for words, all I could reply was “Don’t be.”

I soaked a clean towel in warm water from the tap and proceeded to clean the cut on his mouth. Nathan flinched at the first touch, but remained remarkably calm as I continued.
“Here,” I handed him the ice wrapped in a towel, “Keep this pressed against your eye.”

As I turned to put away the bloody towels, Nathan put out a leg to stop me.

“You have dark circles beneath your eyes.”

I gasp in horror.

“What?!”

“You have da…”

“I heard you the first time.” I cut in, thoroughly irritated. “No I don’t!”

“Yes, you do.”

“Didn’t your Momma teach you that you don’t outrightly tell a lady the truth about how she looks?” asked Arji, leaning against the door frame, shamelessly eavesdropping on our conversation.

“No one asked you.” “Really?” Nathan and I replied at the same time.

“Forgive my manners then Habika. My ‘Momma’ did not teach me that.” Nathan apologised, staring intently at me, knowing I understood.

(He was communicating that he knew I knew his family history. I felt guilty, and I wasn’t sure why.)

“Ignore him.”

“No, don’t ignore me.” Arji retorted. He walked up to Nathan, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back towards the living room.

“Now that Nurse Habika has cleaned you up and made you all better, you still have questions to answer.”

“Arji, stop this non…”

“Zip it Habika! You want answers just as much as we do. So stop your whining and get with the program.”

As usual, whenever Arji talks to me in the same tone my father uses when he is dead serious, I fall in line immediately.

“Eh, NJ needs a diaper change. May I be excused?” Barak asked, placing NJ’s soiled bum before us as evidence.

“Yes Barak. Thank you.” I replied, blowing a kiss at NJ as they passed by. I caught Nathan looking oddly at Baraka. So did Arji.

“You don’t have to look so surprised. Men change diapers too. I changed Habika’s diapers on occasion.”

“Too much information Arji.” I protested.

“Interesting.” A slight grin touched the edge of Nathan’s lips.

I glared at him.

“Back to business.” Arji declared, drawing up a chair so he’d sit facing Nathan.

“What is your plan? What’s the next step? What happens to NJ now?”

For a beat, Nathan does nothing more than stare at Arji, almost like he hadn’t heard the question. Then he said;”For the first time in my life, I have no plan. I keep drawing a blank when I try to come up with one.”

Silence.

“You’re kidding right?” I asked.

“I’m afraid not.”

“You don’t have a plan. And that is supposed to imply what exactly?” I probe, feeling myself on the verge of exploding.

“Habibi, relax.” Arji urged, knowing that I was close to losing it.

“Don’t tell me to relax. You’re the one who insisted on this Grand Inquisition. So I demand answers… real answers.”

“Habika, my life was just thrown off kilter. I’m suddenly the father to a boy I have had no relationship with…”

“He’s your nephew for goodne…” 

“I’m suddenly the only surviving member of my family,” Nathan went on, “I’m suddenly having to clear off the remaining legalities of a guardianship I don’t want. Did I mention I’m a father now? I have bad history with children. I know nothing about fatherhood. I’ve had no role model to follow after. I don’t have a wife to help me out. And here’s the icing on the cake, I HATE KIDS!”

(That was by far the longest speech I’d heard uttered by Nathan. It was scary).

“Oookay.” Arji said, clearly as at a loss for words as I was.

“Habika, don’t think I don’t have a soul. I see what you go through and what you’ve sacrificed for the child…sorry, NJ,” Nathan corrects himself as he sees my eyes narrow dangerously.

“But I don’t have a plan. Zero. Nada. I don’t know what to do.”

“Bummer.” said Barak as he walked back in with a sleepy NJ. 

“Where does that leave NJ? And Habika? Her life is basically on hold because of you.”

Nathan sighed. A sigh loaded down with exhaustion and regret.

“It leaves me at her mercy really. I can’t do this without her help.”
(The inner me is grinning from ear to ear at this. I like the sound of that).

All eyes in the room are now fixed on me.

“Don’t look at me.”

“Of course we’ll look at you Habibi. It’s in your hands now.” Arji leaned against the back of his chair, crossed his arms and waited.

I looked at Nathan. Swollen eye and lip notwithstanding, he looks like he can take on the world. But in that moment, he was undone by a little boy. I looked to my brothers, stepping in whether I wanted their help or not, ready to stand by me no matter my decision.

Then I looked at NJ, head against Barak’s shoulder, stubbornly fighting to keep his eyes open. He is the one I had since fallen in love with, and I knew what I had to do.

“I’ll take care of him.”

“That’s not news. We all knew you’d take care of him…” said Arji, rolling his eyes at Barak.

“I didn’t,” Nathan refuted, clutching his chest in relief.

“The question is about ‘how’. How will you combine your work and caring for NJ? How well can you handle being a single Mom? What role will Nathan play? How long will this arrangement last?” Arji fired the questions at me, ticking them off his fingers but with his gaze steadily on Nathan.

“I’ll need time to iron out all the creases Arji. It’s not that simple.”

“Tell me about it.” Barak stage whispered.

“However, there are some things I can say here and now.”

I turned to Nathan, hand on hip and said;

“You pay for everything. I mean everything. By the way, why haven’t I received a credit alert yet? You owe me.”

“Coming right up” Nathan replied, pulling out his phone and tapping swiftly.

“Better. Two, you check in on him twice a week, for a minimum of thirty minutes. Then on Saturdays, he is all yours for the day.”

Nathan paused and stared up at me in wonder.

“That won’t be possible.” He simply replied.

“Yes, it will.”

“Saturdays are my busiest days.”

“Sundays then. Don’t try to weasel your way out of this. Immediately I return from church, I’m heading straight to your house to drop him off. If you disappear, deal’s off. If you return from church so late that it doesn’t count as a day anymore, deal’s off. If you hire a babysitter to be with him on that day and I find out, deal’s off.”

Arji and Barak by this time were doubled over in laughter at the look of horror on Nathan’s face. 

“She can’t be serious…Is she?”, Nathan asked no one in particular.

“She is Bro, very serious.” Barak answered.

“Make no mistake Nathan. She means every word she says.” Arji warned, taking the baby from Barak and walking out of the room to lay him down to sleep.

“Are you guys done? Good. As I was saying. Third, this arrangement ends on NJ’s first birthday. The day after the elaborate birthday party you’ll throw for him, I’m bundling him up to move in with you fully. No excuses, no explanations. I’ll be done!”

No one makes a sound.

“Er, Habika, that’s a bit…”

“Harsh, ridiculous, impracticable… I could go on…” Nathan protested quietly, looking at me like I had lost my mind.

“Exhaust all the choice words in your dictionary, that’s your business. This is what it’ll be. You have approximately seven months to learn to be a father to this child. Use it well.” I walked to the sofa and sat down, feet and arms crossed.

“Do we have a deal Nathan?”

Now, all eyes were on him. Arji, who had returned clapped him on the shoulder;

“My man, you won’t get a better deal from anyone else. Just say yes.”

“Are your rules flexible in anyway Habika?” Nathan asked.

“In matters of life and death, yes. Anything else, no.”

“But…”

“In exactly three minutes, the deal is off the table Nathan. Deal or no deal?”

“Okay! I accept.”

(Frankly, I was surprised. I had thought the analytical Nathan would analyze the thing to death first. Thank God for small favours…).

Barak clapped his hands together and declared in an announcer’s voice; “Round one goes tooooo…Habika!!”

“Good choice Nathan. Good choice.” Arji congratulated him. “Now, does anyone else realise that we are about to be seriously late for the midweek service in church?”

“Oh shoot!” I exclaimed, glancing at the clock as I dashed towards my room.

“I’d better get to work too.” said Nathan, rising to his feet and heading for the door. “Habika, when you return, we’ll meet and work out the kinks in this deal.”

I stopped in my tracks.

“Work? I thought you got fired? And don’t you have a midweek service to attend?”

“Fired? Now why would you think that?”

“Er…nothing…”

“I see.” Nathan smiled knowingly. 

“Well, our midweek service holds on Thursdays. And I can’t be fired. I own the company.”

And with a mocking bow, he walked out the door.

As I walked on to my room, ignoring my brothers’ snickers and swallowing the disappointment I felt, my phone in the pocket of my robe beeped.

As I dug it out to check the notification, my eyes widened in astonishment. It was a credit alert. Nathan had paid back double the amount on the bill I sent him.

Show-off…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Three days later, I had to say goodbye to my brothers.

 Even though they had somehow managed to turn my house into a bachelor pad in the few days they stayed, I would miss them. 

It was a particularly tearful parting for NJ. Kids seem to have an inner antenna that alerts them to a change they won’t like. Every time I tried to take him from Arji, he’d start wailing so pitifully, I began to fear the neighbours might think I’m maltreating him.

It took some hilarious, distracting techniques from Barak and Arji for them to drive off without NJ noticing.

But when he eventually did, he cried and cried until he lost the strength to do more than whimper. And when he slept, he was out for several hours.

The following day was Sunday, so before I laid down to sleep, I sent Nathan a message;

Hello Nathan,


I’m thrilled to remind you that your daddy duties officially starts tomorrow! 

Isn’t this exciting?

Church dismisses by 11.30am, but I’ll have a meeting after that, so let’s say by 1.30pm I’ll be back home.

I know for a fact that you’re usually always home by 1pm on Sundays Nathan. I can set a clock by your schedules, so no tricks. 

Nothing will come up to delay you tomorrow, if you know what I mean.

My advice? Pray hard tonight. You’re not alone. The Lord will teach you what to do and speak His peace over your heart.


Sweet dreams!


Habika…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I must confess, that Sunday in Church, I was so distracted at the start of the worship service I barely received anything. It wasn’t until a time I was called out to attend to an extremely fussy NJ, that I had to pray under my breath for a few minutes just to focus. 

It worked, as always.

As the service ended, I went in to see the Pastor’s wife. She had been a confidante, an anchor and a listening ear to my numerous drama for a long time, so I needed her advice more than ever before.

She was happy that I had chosen to care for NJ, but she also had some reservations and a caution to pass across (and no, I’m not telling the details of what she said. At the time, I secretly felt there was no basis for some concerns she expressed, little did I know….).

I drove into my compound a few minutes to two o’clock. As I turned off the engine, I noticed that Nathan’s apartment looked too quiet, like no one was home. 

I just smiled, because if indeed he had run away, he’d eventually come back, and the sight of all his windows smashed would be his welcome.

I got into my apartment first to pick up the carryall I had packed with all that NJ would need. Then I carried a sleeping NJ to meet his uncle.

I banged hard on the door. Few minutes later, it opened, and there was Nathan, looking like he was about to face the hangman’s noose.

I smiled widely.

“Good afternoon Nathan. How was church today?”

“Fine.”

“That’s it? Fine?” I pushed past him and headed to the living room. “Well, mine was a blessing. Guess what I took away? Philippians 4:13. You know what it says right?”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He responded solemnly.

“Excellent! Remember that today Nathan. You can do this.”

I spent fifteen more minutes there, giving him instructions on feeding, diaper change and nap time; warning him that NJ was quite fussy but he should be fine and that I wasn’t to be disturbed except it was on account of a health emergency. Then I left.

For some reason, on getting to my apartment, I dozed off almost immediately. I love NJ to bits, but these few hours of quiet were priceless.

I woke up about two hours later, shocked at how much time had passed. I immediately set out to do my weekly bulk cooking and cleanup. As I moved about, a part of me registered that I heard no sounds from my neighbour’s apartment. I kept up what I was doing until I became really worried.

I went out to investigate, and indeed, Nathan and NJ were not in. Panicked, I rushed back to my apartment to get my phone to call him. Just then, I saw Nathan drive in.

I breathed a deep sigh of relief (I tell you in those few seconds, a million possible scenarios flashed through my mind, each one worse than the previous).

I headed out to greet him, and catch a glimpse of NJ (I was already missing the little guy).

At first, Nathan didn’t see me. His head was down and he seemed to be clutching the steering wheel for dear life. 

I knocked on his windscreen. He jerked up and looked at me with unseeing eyes. Now I was really worried. I rapped again to get his full attention. He slowly rolled down the glass.

“Yes.”

“Normal people say ‘Hi’ you know.”

“Hi.”

“What’s up with you? One would think you’d been asked to fight in the front…” I trailed off as I noticed the car seat in the back was empty.

“Where’s NJ?”

No response.

I grabbed his chin and forced him to look at me.

“Where. Is. NJ?” I spat out.

Nathan abruptly turned in his seat and stared at the empty car seat behind.

“OH MY GOD!”

“Oh my God what Nathan! What did you do?! Where is the baby?”. By now, I had reached into the car and grabbed him by the shirtfront, shaking him as violently as I could.
“I….I….I think I ….” He stuttered, a spaced out look on his face.

“WHAT? You’d better answer me now or I promise I’ll call my brothers right now to beat you to oblivion.” I threatened, fear gripping my heart and squeezing painfully.

“I think I left him back at the park.”

He continued with some frantic explanation of being overwhelmed by endless crying and blah blah… But I wasn’t listening, all I could hear was a deafening ringing in my ears.

Then I blacked out.

Photo credit: Black Art @Pinterest

@123RF

#OLD #babies #LifeWithHabika #unexpecteddad #ourlittledarlingss #Momforhire #LOL
This is Episode 5 of
Life! With Habika…

{I’m so sorry people. The juices were just not flowing, and I couldn’t release anything half-baked and insult your intelligence.

 I still excitedly await your comments, likes and shares.}

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14 thoughts on “Life! With Habika… ~Ep 5

  1. No need to call Arji and Barak, I’ll be Habika’s new brother from another mummy. If Nathan ever survives my “treat”, then he’ll earn a title.
    I hope his car has nitro boosters, they’d better be heading to the park immediately. Oh poor Nj!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *Blacking out also… pls find NJ fast…
    I’m reading so late so no need to accept the apologies. I really like this episode. More drama, more scenes, more faces to imagine and now…suspense.
    Good job Ma’am.
    #Greatpen

    Like

  3. Left NJ @ the where? *FaintswithHabibi*
    Okaiy, i’m up.lets rouse Habibi and go find the little darling!
    Nice one splendoura. Keep it flowing, we are following.But dont keep us waiting for too long ma.

    Like

  4. Wish I had brothers like Arji and Baraka…so cute
    As for ‘what is his name’…I like the part where he paid double, wish I have neighbours like that!!!
    Well Splendoura…this is awesome, like fine wine, it keeps getting better

    Like

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