The Arrival

The Arrival

December 17, 2010

Lagos, Nigeria.


I have always thought life was beautiful. Well, it was. But, now it just became more beautiful. What I held in my hands is the greatest marvel I have ever beheld. The truest sign yet that life is indeed beautiful.

Once again I steal a glance at the wall clock, it was just past 3 a.m. and I have been in the hospital since 8 p.m or thereabouts the previous night.

The reason for my visit? Wait, let me start from the beginning….

I had arrived home that the previous night late as usual. It is not easy negotiating the heavy Lagos traffic. This is made worse when you live in what you might consider a suburb like I do. It is always a rush to beat the traffic both in the morning and the evenings. Plus it was getting to the end of the year. There was so much to plan for, both at work and at home.

On the home front the planning had been going on for months. As a matter of fact, since we confirmed the news. It has been smooth and hassle free. Now it was nearly coming to an end. At work, the planning wasn’t as organized.  All the operational and market plan for the new year had to be quickly put together before the office went on break. The surveys, market segment analysis and the sales projection and marketing plan has to be reviewed and presented before the board first week of resumption. There was so much work and little time. No one can really complain, that is what we get paid for, but still I was beat.

Getting home was always a welcome relief. Waiting there was my wife. The joy of watching her roundness, the sparkle in her eyes when she speaks and the laughter that is quick to burst forth was always soothing. Sometimes, it makes the memory of her cries at night during our first year of marriage come flooding back. Those were trying times. But this story is about someone else. Someone who we both awaited anxiously. He had confirmed he was coming, but we weren’t sure when. Who knows what could happen at the last minute? Nevertheless, we had planned for his reception and waited in anticipation.

When I got home that fateful night of the 16th I was awash with the sense of relief and happiness at seeing her all cheery and lively. It was amazing because that day she had also negotiated the horrendous Lagos traffic with my sister. Something about goods that were supposed to have been delivered to her at home, but were delivered somewhere else.

As was customary, dinner was quickly served and eaten. While I took my shower I anticipated a long night with my computer. The ‘sectoral market report’ must be finished before my deadline next week. That means, no time for our nightly ritual of watching a movie curled up on the bed.

At least not tonight. I will have to sit behind my screen and punch out the numbers and make sense out of all the figures before morning.

All that quickly changed though, I had barely settled down for work when she emerged from the room. Her eyes shiny and confused.

“Honey, I got a call”, she said.

I looked at her and for a moment I was lost as to her meaning.

“A call?”  Then in a flash I understood, “let me get my keys,” I replied. Without missing a beat, I picked up the keys, pocketed my camera and pulled on a sweatshirt and sneakers. The all-night bag was already in her hand.

“Hopefully, he will hang on for us.” I said as we stepped into the car.

“I hope so too,” she replied. She was already fretting. I could see it in her eyes.

“Don’t worry babes. I think he will. We have waited this long for him, at least he can hang around for a short while till we get there.”  I reassured her. She smiled faintly and nodded. But that smile was pure treasure for me.

It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the hospital. And even less time for her to go through preliminary examination and be wheeled to the theater. I insisted to be with her and was allowed after initial refusal by the doctor. I guess they realized how important the call was to both of us.

I still remember the doctor’s knowing smile when I insisted I was going in with her. But, I was determined to ride it out at her side. To be there to see when he arrives, to be the first to welcome him home. Along with my wife ofcourse.

But after about four hours of serious sweating he was still nowhere. To make things worse, my wife was getting tired of waiting. That was scary. I kept looking at the doctor and the nurses – And the clock. He was not happy and the nurses seemed irritated I was there.  I could see they wanted me out of the room.

“Honey, I will have to leave you here with the doc. I need to make a call and see where he is,” I whispered to my wife.

“Don’t leave me alone here,” she shot back. Gripping my hands in fear.

“We need to know if he is going to keep us waiting much longer,” I replied as I kissed her sweaty forehead. I picked up my camera and turned to the doctor, “Do whatever you have to do, I will be right outside.” It was painful to leave, but also essential. I understood that and sensed the doctor’s relief.

I had been standing outside for not more than twenty minutes making my long distance call when I heard another scream, and then the baby’s cries.

I looked at the wall clock, 3.28 a.m.

Finally, he has arrived!





31 thoughts on “The Arrival” by shaifamily (@shaifamily)

  1. I like this one. I really like it.

    Though I feel like some parts might be confusing (like when ‘you’ went outside to call again, when the ‘who’ you were waiting for was in there)…I think it’s good.

    Well done.

  2. Hahaha…Thank you o….My head swell small.

  3. Pretty cool… Was indeed a suspense hit. Couldn’t really understand who you were expecting until towards the end. Congratulations on the birth of your child who’s probably 1 year old by now I guess.

    1. Hahaha…I got one more who bought it….hahaha! I hope for more….

      Thanks Dowell, U do well.

      As for ur congratulatory message, thank u.

      But, don’t believe everything u read. Hahaha.

      1. @shai, “another who bought your story?” why is your story in the contest if it isn’t true? I thought it was part of the rules – non-fiction. Nice story anyway.

        1. @Ife…pls let us enjoy this story for what it is…what I meant by that remark there shouldn’t b blown out of proportion. When u read non-fiction u believe everything u read in there happened exactly d way it wuz recounted? Pls, let us not overeact, abeg.

      2. My man, so as good as your story is, na lie you come feed us for here? Isn’t that part of the rules; that the story must be real life experience(s)? Guy, you spoil everything with that for me.

  4. @shaifamily, me I knew you were talking about a baby oh…not really surprised about that. Quite obvious when they went to hospital and even in the beginning where he was holding something in his hand in a hospital and saying life is beautiful, not really so suspenseful sha… but I liked this anyway. Nice one.

  5. Mr Shai. Where is the Christmas theme in this your piece? I just can’t find it. You might still get a vote from me if you point it out. You have a good story here.

  6. Nice story Shai, I might end up voting for this one.

  7. Well, should I be blunt?
    Not today.
    The story is…ok, for a poet.
    I agree with @Joseph Omotayo

  8. @ shai u don hammer!Wetin my own story dey do for d contest na when ur own dey here.Well done o

  9. I’d rather we do not make tOo much of the trueness or otherwise of this story. I fink I read d rules very well, and what I said about not believing everything you reead is just dt…do not BELIEvE everything u read. Please correct me if I am wrong, d rules say write on first person narrative, so…. I’ll take delight in d fact I was able to break d hoodoo of never writing anything other than poetry here.
    As for the theme, I don’t think the rules said write something specifically abt Xmas…but something memorable that happened in and around d period of Xmas…u can imagine the joy in that family on the 24th (if u re African enough to know the baby xtening will happen arounds dt time) and all thru Xmas and new year and on and on…
    Please enjoy the story for what it is.
    As for me, all na fun. And I’m enjoying it all here.

  10. amy78 (@amy78)

    It takes a lot to step out of once comfort zone and try something new and I commend your boldness. But there is work to be done…in terms of suspense I knew were you were going from the first line. Then you wrote on something I am not sure you know so much about.Your reaction to ur wife in a labour and her own reaction to it was kind of unreal.I guess I am speaking a little from experience here(lol.) Then I couldn’t make the connection between the long distance call and having the baby.All in all you made a fair attempt so please keep writing.

  11. @amy78, nice commentary…enjoyed it.
    @shaifamily, well done on the piece…enjoyed it though it smelt a little fishy – hee hee hee. Well, nice try.
    In all, I think most of the comments and thoughts are really valid. I wish you had been a bit quiet on the ‘fictional’ part of this but that has been done.
    Despite it all, it shouldn’t hinder us from enjoying the tale. If you ever decide to rework on this, and I hope you do, I would ask that you consider making the connection to Christmas explicit rather than implicit. Your explanation above really gave me the full connection of the nostalgia. However, that wasn’t done in the piece. Really, the piece should be able to stand for itself anywhere and defend its being in full.
    The call outside is really not clear and its relevance, import not defined or shown in the story. Maybe, that too should be worked.
    On the whole, this can be made far better… Whatever it is, congrats on breaking out of the verse-field and giving me a good read… Let’s see more.

    1. Thank u @Amy78 and suedfi. I appreciate the comments.
      We will see whether that happens or not. For now, I am thrilled peeps like the story for what it is…a story. Being short in certain areas, well… I will take dt on board.
      Thank you.

  12. Nice idea but honeslty i didnt feel the story the way i would have wanted. It wasnt so engaging.

    1. Too bad u didn’t ‘feel’ the story. I would av loved if u did…but, maybe next time under other circumstances…L☺ː̗̀(=)))ː̖́☺L

  13. You spent way too much time talking about aspects of the story that could have been relegated, and then left the later (and smaller) part to ‘try’ and narrate the real story….it didn’t quite work for me….and then there were several typos and other errors too….I remember the guidelines asked us to edit thoroughly before submitting, since you’ve been emphasizing ‘Guidelines’ since.

    Good luck.

    1. Na wa o @scopeman. Wetin? Anyways, I will take that on board too. But, like I said what this platform does for me is enormous.

  14. weirdpile (@weirdpile)

    At least you got the boy u wanted…congrats jare!!…Would have been a big christmas celebration for you that year.

  15. Congrats on the new born baby, imaginary or real.

    I enjoyed the story. Didn’t see a lot of ‘nostalgia’ in it shah. But be a good dad shah.

  16. Nice story of the baby’s arrival at Christmas but didnt feel Christmas in the story.

  17. loved how you tried to achieve the suspense, but that could be a bit confusing if one doesnt read through twice.

    Well done!!!

  18. After the first 2 lines, I knew what U were talking about. Congrats.
    However, I didn’t feel the Christmas. Not to rain on Ur parade (d rain don already dey fall…o_O) but the rules said something about the story happening on the 25th.
    On the other hand, I commend Ur bravery. Apart from the tense issues, U did good.

  19. Fred Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Nice one. Like the flow. Could do with some edits and some suspense would have lifted it higher. Kudos.

    1. Thank u so much, will work on that – if I ever try my hands on this again.

  20. Well what can I say? This was written a while ago and was probably a first try au prose. So strictly on that premise, I will say this is ok. Not very engaging but ok all the same. You would need to work on tense issues and the construction of your sentences. And who said poets can not be great prose writers? Trust me they always can…if they chose their style wisely.

    Nice one.

  21. shai (@shaifamily)

    @chemokopi well well Well! You blazing through my stuffs Man! Thanks for all d time and useful tips.

  22. Hehehe…blazing through you say. Well, good works whet the appetite and encourage further eating…

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