“I, Sarah Adams, take you Lawson Lawrence as my lawful wedded husband, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” She smiled at him through her veil.
“You may now kiss your bride Mr. Lawrence.” The Pastor beckoned.
Lawson’s heart raced as he gently unveiled his bride’s face. She looked so beautiful. He gently bent over and placed a soft kiss on her lips. Sarah in turn embraced him tightly with tears of joy streaming down her face.
“Never leave me, Sarah.” He whispered in her ear.
“I will never leave you.” She whispered and they slowly released themselves from the embrace.
“I present to you the latest couple!” The Pastor exclaimed excitedly.
The church cheered and Sarah cried more in her husband’s arms.
Five Years Later …
Sarah silently tip-toed behind her husband. He was in his study, engrossed in reading. She smiled to herself and gently covered his eyes with both hands.
“It’s just you and I in this house Sarah. Plus, I smelled you the moment you walked in.” He said.
Sarah released her hold, sighed and sat on the study table, “Why do you figure me out so easily? I can’t even surprise you! That sucks.” She curled her arms around his neck.
“You are my wife; nothing you do is supposed to surprise me.” He playfully pecked her nose.
“But you’ve been in the study all day and I’m bored!” She rolled her eyes.
“So what kind of fun do you suggest we have then?” He swooped her off the table in his arms.
“No! Not that kind of fun!” She hit him playfully until he put her down.
“Ok.” He folded his arms on his chest, looking into her eyes, “So what do you want us to do?”
“Not us. Actually, all I want is to play with your play station and you’ve hidden it again! Just give it and you can continue your reading. Pleaaaseee.” She blinked her eyes playfully.
“No way.” He went back toward his study chair and sat, “Not my play station.”
“Why! You never let me touch it…like it’s your baby.” She sulked.
“Well,” he rolled his eyes, “Not like you’ve given me a baby yet.”
Sarah paused for a moment. Did he just say that to her? The words struck her deep down. “You shouldn’t have said that Lawson…” She managed to say, her countenance changing.
“But it’s true…I’m only saying the truth Sarah.” He turned to face her, still sitting on the chair.
“The truth? You think I don’t want us to have kids?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that…” He stood to face her now.
“Then what are you saying Lawson? Tell me, what is the truth?”
“Let’s not do this today…please. You can have the play station and play all you want. It’s in my footwear locker and the key is in my Bible.”
“You always do this…hurting me with your words.” Her voice began to shake.
“Don’t start Sarah, please.”
“Tell me why you said those words to me! I want to know!”
“Because I’m tired! I want to be a father! I want to have my own kids Sarah…”
”And you think I don’t?!” Sarah flared, trying not to let the tears pour.
“Then why can’t you get pregnant Sarah? This is the fifth year we are trying.” He clenched his teeth and walked out of the study.
Sarah was in shock. She sat on the chair for some seconds, stood up again and sat on the chair again…this time she held on to her blouse and burst into tears.
Two Weeks Later …
“Lawson, wake up please.” Sarah tapped him
Lawson gently opened his eyes and looked at the alarm clock by his bedside, “It’s 2:00am Sarah…”
“I’m listening.” He said drowsily.
“Mother says we should come for tests. She says she’s spoken to her doctor and he said we should come.”
“What?” Lawson opened his eyes now, “Your mother is the UK for Christ’s sake!”
“Let’s just do it. We can go for the weekend; let’s just give it a shot, please.”
“No. That would be rather expensive and…”
“It’s my birthday today and the only thing I want from you is this trip.”
Lawson fell quiet now. For the past two years now, his wife’s birthday has been skipping his mind…totally.
“I’m…I’m sorry Sarah…It skipped my mind…”
“It always does.” She lay down back on the bed, backing him.
Lawson wrapped his arms around her waist, “I said I’m sorry…”
Lawson sighed, “Fine, we go this weekend.”
“Really?” She turned sharply, excited.
“If it will make you happy today.”
“Thank you baby.” She hugged him.
A Week After …
Sarah jerked at the vibration of the phone in her pocket.
“Hi mom!” she pressed the phone to her ear with her shoulders, wiping the washed dishes with her hands.
“What is it mom?” she pressed it harder.
“The result…the result of the tests…” her mother cried.
Sarah gently dropped the plate and the wiper, heart racing… ”Just say it mom…”
That Night …
“I can never have children Lawson…” Sarah cried.
Lawson felt his world crash right in front of him, “W…what?”
“Mama called today…she’s gotten the tests results.”
“Jesus Christ!” Lawson stood, placing his palm on his head, “B…but you told me you were okay before we got married. You told me the doctor said your abortion didn’t damage your womb.”
“Don’t bring my past into this!” Sarah flared.
Lawson laughed and got serious almost immediately, “You are crazy. I married a crazy woman!”
Sarah looked at him in shock, like he’d lost his mind.
“The results say you can never have children and we both know that this has to do with the abortion you had before we met!” he flared, “Are you happy? You know we’re screwed right? No kids? What are we going to tell the world?”
“Lawson we can adopt…” Sarah cried.
“Adopt? Wow!” he laughed again, “I married a funny woman too!” He got serious again. “It’s still not our baby! The dxxx baby is not my flesh and blood! You are full of deceit Sarah.” He looked into her eyes. Sarah could see him fighting his tears.
“Lawson stop…you are hurting me…” Sarah fell on her knees crying.
“You want to know what I’m thinking?” Lawson looked at her with disgust, “I’m thinking how on earth I’m going to stand seeing your deceitful face for the rest of my life.”
“Sarah cried harder, “Don’t give up Lawson. So far I have a womb, I can still carry our baby…”
“I am not giving up on having my baby, I’m giving up on you.” Lawson turned around to leave.
“Lawson!” She held his feet, “I’m hurting too…”
He dragged his feet from her hold and drove out of the house. She wept.
A Month Later …
“Mother, he’s not even talking to me. All of a sudden, we are both strangers. He doesn’t eat my food, he comes home late, he hates me so much and it’s killing me. I’m confused, it’s truly hurting…”
“For how long will you hide the truth from him? You’ve got to let him know…you can’t carry his…”
There was the sound of a car horn.
“Mom I’ve got to go…he’s back.”
“Baby, you’ve got to let him know. It can work when you two are one in mind.”
“Bye mom.” she ended the call.
Lawson came into the house, about to walk past her.
“Lawson.” She held him.
“I’m tired.” He didn’t want to look at her face.
“I know…can we talk for some minutes?” She tried to help him remove his suit.
“Look what is it?” He jerked from her.
“Do you hate me this much? You can’t even look me in the eye. You can’t even stand my presence. Lawson…it’s me Sarah…your best friend…” Tears began to well up in her eyes.
“I’m in no mood for this.” He turned around to walk away.
“Don’t you dare leave when I’m talking to you!” She dragged him by the suit. Just then, some papers fell to the floor. Sarah quickly bent to pick them up…her hands shook and her body became numb all over.
“D…divorce papers? Lawson?” She searched his eyes.
“Answer me goddammit!” She held him by the collar of his shirt, crying.
“They are for you to sign. I want out.” Lawson announced.
“Y…you what?” she slowly freed him from her hold.
“It’s not going to work Sarah, can’t you see?”
“Lawson, I can’t believe you would think of a divorce and even go this far…why are you so wicked!” she cried, angry.
“No! Why are you so wicked?” He retorted, flaring. “Think about me for once. I am a man for Christ’s sakes. My children are my pride! And you are about to deny me that for the rest of my life because of your stupid mistake!”
“What about me! Have you stopped for once to think about what I’m going through?”
“It’s your cross, carry it.” Lawson fixed his angry eyes on his wife.
“No, it’s now our cross and I am not signing those divorce papers! We vowed never to leave each other!”
“Isn’t it better Sarah that you save yourself more hurt and sign these papers than to see another woman move into this house before your very eyes?” He said with a tone of sarcasm.
Sarah’s heart thumped, “What?”
“You heard me…another woman who can help me raise a family, so save yourself the stress and sign the d… papers. I need it tomorrow.” He turned around to leave again.
“She still can’t carry your baby.” Sarah dropped.
“Not all women had abortions. Not every woman was like you.” He scorned.
“You are the one who can’t give me a child!” Sarah let out, crying.
Lawson stopped now, turned around and walked towards her, “Whatever your plan is won’t work.”
“I told you I could never have a child because it’s you who can’t make me pregnant.”
“Shut up! Shut up, Sarah! What the hell are you saying?” He shook her shoulders violently.
“You are infertile Lawson…the doctor says you have primary infertility…” Sarah burst into tears.
Lawson gasped, losing his balance.
“Mother called me to give me the news. I was shattered, I felt like my world was over. But, more importantly, I thought of you. I thought of what the news could do to you, I thought of the best way to tell you. That was why I said I can never have children. Not because I can’t give birth to babies; but because I can’t have them by you. Never for once did I think of leaving you. I bore your insults, your scorn, because of my past. It was so easy to judge me and think of yourself. I am the one who is hurting; I am the one who should bring some miserable divorce papers…but I thought of you…I thought of hope, faith and a miracle…I thought of my vow to you on that altar. In sickness and in health, remember?” She smiled through her tears, “All of a sudden, you are as weak as a baby…looking in your eyes, I can see you suddenly have lost all your guards, you are so wicked.”
“Sarah…” Lawson fell on his knees, torn.
“No!” She quickly fell on her knees too, “No Lawson…” She couldn’t bear to see him cry.
“I’m…I’m infertile,” he cried, “What is left of me?” He searched his wife’s eyes.
“Lawson please…” she held his face, “I understand…it has been so hard for me…I have put myself in your shoes since the first day…”
“You don’t deserve this…you deserve better…I can’t believe I scorned you all along…please let me leave you.”
“No.” She shook her head, “You are my husband. I won’t leave you. I won’t let you leave me…I believe in miracles”
“I’m doomed…Sarah I’m doomed…” He allowed his wife take him in her arms and he wept like a child on her shoulder.
In the Morning …
Sarah gently opened her eyes; looking beside her bed, it was empty. She quickly sat up on seeing a note on the bed. Hands shaking, she opened the letter to read:
I cannot bear the shame. I have treated you so unfairly, yet you love me still. You are with me even in this condition of mine. To think that you knew all along and you never for once gave me a clue that it is my fault we are in this mess makes me so unworthy of you. I love you enough to let you build another life with a man who can make you happier.
I’m torn Sarah, and all I ask is your forgiveness. I have always loved you and if you truly love me then please start your life over again – without me. I am truly sorry for disappointing you.
Sarah couldn’t control the tears. She couldn’t think straight anymore. She picked her cell phone, shaking.
“Hello, Mr. Lawson’s office please”
“Hi Lola…” she cried, “Have you seen my husband today?”
“No…no ma’am, we’ve been expecting him at work. He has a presentation in 15 minutes.”
“Oh God…God…” Sarah dipped her hand into her full hair.
“Everything ok, ma’am?”
“Thank you.” she ended the call.
She quickly got down from the bed and she ran into her car in her pyjamas. She dialled his mobile repeatedly as she drove…no answer.
At 2:00pm …
She sped into Fred’s compound, a close friend to her husband.
“Fred!” she banged the door hastily until the door flung open.
“My God Sarah, what’s wrong?” Fred held her.
“It’s…its Lawson…have you seen him? Is he here?”
“No…Haven’t heard from him in a week.”
“Oh God!” she held her hair.
She was already dashing away into her car.
“Sarah!” He called after her.
She zoomed away.
“Mom, Dad, I can’t find Lawson…I can’t find your son…” she cried as she paced in front of the elderly couple who looked lost.
“You have to calm down and tell us what happened.” Lawson’s mother put her arms around Sarah.
Sarah burst into tears, “Please Dad could you try his number, maybe he’d pick your call?”
“Have you been to his office?” He picked his cell phone and dialled his son’s number.
“I have been everywhere I know him to likely be.”
“It’s ok…calm down please.” Lawson’s mother consoled her.
“He’s not picking. What exactly went wrong between you two?” Lawson’s father searched Sarah’s eyes.
Sarah was still in her pyjamas and on her way back home, exhausted and stuck in the traffic. She had told Lawson’s parents everything. The poor couple was so shattered and begged her to begin a new life. Sarah buried her head on the steering, crying; she didn’t realize the green light was now on.
“Hey get off the freaking road!” a driver cursed from behind her.
“God please don’t let him harm himself… keep him safe and lead me to him…please God…” She quickly started the car and began to move.
Suddenly she remembered the church where they had wedded and took their vows. It was two hours from here; she made a u-turn and headed for the church hoping to find some solace there.
She got down from the car drenched and exhausted. She trudged into the open entrance of the church. She paused for a moment; shocked…it was Lawson sitting at the front row of the empty church, facing the altar.
“Lawson!” She began to run towards him, happy, relieved that he was ok.
“Sarah?” He quickly stood as she approached him, “Sarah…”
They both ran into each other’s arms. He hugged her so tightly.
“I looked for you everywhere….this was the last place I thought you’d ever be…I just came and I saw you…Lawson….I’m so happy you are ok.” she touched his face.
“I didn’t know where else to go…It just feels like I can’t face the world anymore…” he slowly released her from his embrace.
“Take my hand.” Sarah stretched out her hand, “C’mon, just take it.”
Lawson gently clasped his hand into hers and she took him to the altar and stood to face him. She searched his eyes intently. She hadn’t seen him so weak and helpless.
“Five years ago Lawson, we both stood on this altar. Remember our vows? Remember you whispered in my ear never to leave you. I told you I wouldn’t…that’s why I’m here. I am your wife Lawson. I am meant to be with you forever, through the bad and good times. We’ve had good times, why would I leave you now? All I want from you is to believe that you can still give me a child despite what the result said. I want you to believe in a miracle.” She held his face, “Remember when you told me I was a miracle in your life? Our children will be our miracles too. Trust God with me because I know it won’t be long.”
“Who are you Sarah…” Lawson was weakened by her words.
“The one who vowed to be with you till the end.” She smiled through her thin tears.
“God, I love you so much Sarah.” He hugged her again.
“So will you come back home with me?” Sarah searched his eyes.
“I have no other place to call home.” He placed a soft kiss on her lips.
2 Years After …
Lawson and Sarah were on the sofa watching a late night movie. Sarah was resting on his shoulders when she felt the movement.
“Lawson, Lawson, it moved again…don’t miss it this time touch…touch.” She gently placed his palm on the side of her stomach. Both felt the movement of their child.
“I can feel him…I can feel him!” Lawson placed his head on her belly.
“I can feel him growing each day inside of me…”
“What do you think its saying now by this movement?”
“Thank you dada for believing in me.” She laughed. They both laughed.
“The movement has stopped.” He slowly removed his head from her stomach, “I think he’s sleeping.”
Sarah rested on his shoulders again, “In six months you’d be a father, “You finally got your miracle.”
Lawson tilted his wife’s face to him, looking into her eyes, “Sarah…you were the miracle I needed. Thank you for not leaving me.”
Sarah tickled his nose with hers, “I love you too. Always will,” she smiled, “We missed a whole lot in our movie.”
“The movie can wait, but this can’t” He gently planted a kiss on her belly.
We forget our vows so easily, so quickly that once our marriages start hitting the rocks, we fail to realize that there is power in union. When there is union, every mountain can be subdued. The problem is people don’t yet fully understand the concept of marriage; until you do, please don’t go to the altar because what you don’t understand will eventually become a burden and confuse you.
The concept of marriage is ‘for better, for worse.’ The “worse” moments always come. Not that you should always expect bad things, it is a statement of fact that challenges come in marriage to make you stronger in oneness, so don’t use it against each other. In addition, miracles are real and it is better we all learn to have the patience to wait until our miracles come. Always remember that marriage is a ‘stick and stay’ relationship, not a ‘hit and run.’ You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Thomas Odia is a writer, film consultant, producer and director. A graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan, he has worked with various organizations in the film industry and is presently working with Mnet Nigeria as a film director.