Mike Dammy here again.
Like I mentioned in my last post; Age is just a number, I was bored some days back and I decided to bring a nursery rhyme character into life. You know, give it more depth than we ever imagined when we recited it in school and everywhere basically. It wasn’t hard selecting Solomon Grundy and I quickly drafted out a plot. This is the first episode inspired by the first verse in the rhyme.
I hope you enjoy it.
Do drop a comment and share when you’re done. Have a wonderful week ahead. 🙂
Born on Monday
4, November 1985
The heavily pregnant young lady tugged at the soft pillow encased in a navy blue cotton material and ripped it into shreds. Her voice plummeted more decibels and the cotton insides of the pillow floated haphazardly in the car as she reached for another identical one on the car mat that had half a dozen others on it. She wrestled with it like the former and yelled her husband’s name as she writhed in agony.
“It’s okay babe, we’ll be at the hospital soon.” The man behind the steering wheel of the Peugeot 504 replied. He wiped the sweat off his face with a handkerchief and tossed the already soaked hanky in the corner. As he hurried, a yellow public bus half filled with passengers overtook him making him jam against the brakes instinctively. He stuck his fist out of the open window and brandished his middle finger at the culprit.
“Bloody negros!” His voice quivered and he withdrew his hand when his wife’s wails climbed another pitch. He turned to look at her in the back seat briefly as he approached a bend and felt his tyre skid along the paved walkway.
Shouts of Yeeh!… Aaah! rang on the street as angry pedestrians jeered and cursed at him.
“Oniranu, stupid white man!” An old man that had just jumped out of the way bawled. “It is not your fault…it is…”
The voice of the man dissipated in the air as Dan sped off. On a different day, he might have decelerated to hear the rest of the comment but today was different. He didn’t care about anything except getting his pregnant wife to the hospital.
Five minutes later, Dan drove into the almost empty compound of the EKO hospital along Bank Anthony way. He yelled his predicament to a security man slouched against a column at the hospital’s entrance and the man disappeared into the building emerging almost immediately with two medical personnel and a stretcher. They balanced Jane gently on the stretcher and wheeled her towards the main building. As they approached the entrance, she groaned in pain and yanked some buttons off the white shirt Dan was wearing. The group ignored the clattering sounds of the buttons on the hard cement floor and continued towards the main entrance.
As they approached the theatre, a dark skinned doctor with a stethoscope around his neck hurried towards them as he put on a white overall. Dan halted in his steps and puffed his cheeks as his anxiety climaxed. He approached the doctor who was already barking orders to the nurses and gently tapped his shoulder.
“No offence please, but can I get a white doctor?”
The doctor swivelled on the spot and shot him a menacing look. He starred at him for what seemed like eternity to Dan and smiled.
“Sure, you can get a doctor that has your skin colour. He’ll be in by a week from now.” He answered.
“For the mean time, you can take your white wife out of the building, find a way to stop her labour pangs and come back in a week’s time.” He added and turned to return to his office.
Dan grabbed his arm and swiftly apologized. The doctor retained the stern look on his face, sighed and reluctantly walked back towards the theatre. Dan tried to follow him into the theatre but a male nurse impeded him at the door and motioned him towards a bench along the corridor that already had a pregnant woman sitting on it. She beamed a smile at him as he joined her on the bench and buried her head back in the fashion magazine she was engrossed in earlier.
Boredom soon engulfed him and he let his imagination wander. He travelled back some twenty years and pictured himself in his family home in Wilmslom, Manchester. He saw his short burly self munch on some bread and omelette while his parents ate in silence. Rose, his younger sister was seated opposite him. She had a frown on her face and he remembered this was the day their mom chopped off her pony tail. He smiled when he remembered the short tail that barely grazed her neck. She was seven and she already dreamed of being a famous movie star. He wondered if she remembered all that now with her busy schedule and uptight lawyer job in New York. He had to visit soon. Perhaps she would make it for his baby’s christening.
Jane’s wail from inside the theatre jolted him back to the present and he shuddered in anxiety. The pregnant woman had disappeared and in her stead was a frail looking old man. Two hours crept past and a young chap and his a younger lady joined them on the bench that was meant for two. Dan hissed to show his displeasure and was about to say something when the doctor came out of the theatre. He jumped up and was in front of the doctor in a single stride. He let his weary eyes do the talking and the doctor smiled in return.
“Grundy… It’s Grundy.”
“Congratulations Mr Grundy then, you are the father of a bouncing baby boy.”
“Yes!” Dan exclaimed, punched the air and hugged the doctor. The doctor laughed and let him hold on to the embrace for as long as he wanted. After some seconds, Dan released him and held out his hand.
“I’m sorry for what I said earlier. The thing is I was wo…”
“Its fine Mr Grundy, I understand exactly how you felt.” The doctor interrupted.
“Can I see her then?”
“Of course you can, but not right away. A nurse would be out to usher you in pretty soon. For the mean time, you can sit over there.” He pointed at the crowded bench and Dan nodded and strode towards the bench like an obedient child. The old man shook his hand and congratulated him. The young man mouthed some incoherent words and managed a smile but the girl just retained the sullen look on her face.
After the turn of events, Dan had no grudges against them anymore. He observed them for a while and guessed they both looked gloomy because of a sudden predicament, an unwanted pregnancy the most likely option. He shook his head in pity when he realized they had probably seen the same adverts and received the same warnings as other kids from their parents and guardians on avoiding ‘doing it’ without protection and they mostly ignored it. He was once like them. A young college student that just wanted to enjoy life. A young nurse came out of the theatre and scanned the occupants of the bench like she was trying to decipher who was the likeliest father and husband or spouse to the lovely young lady that was just delivered of a child. She finally settled her gaze on him and motioned him to follow her into the room without saying a word. Dan cast a quick glance at his brief companions and shot up from the bench like it was made of burning coals.
He entered the theatre and saw Jane on the bed in an ocean blue overall. Her stomach hadn’t fully recessed and a white cradle was beside her bed. He walked towards them cautiously like a gazelle not wanting to upset the probably sleeping baby and took her hand in his when he was beside her. She managed a weak smile and he grinned back. He took a peek in the cradle and saw the white baby sleeping like he had no care for the world he just arrived in. His tiny hand was curled around his blanket and his pink ears twitched as his chest heaved up and down in a slow rhythm. Dan fought the urge to carry him in his hands and tickling him till he laughed out.
“Solomon…” Jane’s tired voice sounded in his ears.
“What?” He asked absentmindedly and turned to her.
“Solomon. Thats his name.”
Dan let out a chuckle and shot her a mischievous look.
“You do know what that means right?”
Jane smirked and winked at him. “Of course I do.”
A nurse in the distance smiled at them and turned down to the form she was filling. She ran her finger along the plastic pen and scribbled something in the section reserved for the name of the newborn child. The wet ink glistened in the light and she chuckled as she said out the name.
To be continued…
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