When Oma brushed past him without a word, Joshua knew something was wrong. He wanted to hurry after her and ask her what the matter was but his legs felt stiff, so he went to fridge and poured himself some pineapple juice instead.
Sipping from his glass he tried to imagine what could have upset her. He had given her the month’s upkeep. He had serviced her car. He had kissed her on his way out that morning. He was blameless.
So with that, he rose to find his wife and the reason for her annoyance.
Oma was curled up in bed covered with a duvet. The room was quiet but he could see her shoulders rise and fall and he could hear her sniffle. He rushed to her side.
“Oma, are you alright? What is wrong?”
“Leave me alone. Joshua. Leave me alone!”
“You know I’ll never do that, honey. Tell me. What is wrong?”
“Everything. Josh. Everything is wrong. You told me this baby was going to be a boy didn’t you? You refused to try any family balancing options, laughed at all the Chinese calendars and said you knew. Well, I am just back from the hospital and the radiologist says it is a girl. Well done Mr Seer.”
A pool of ice settled in his belly. It couldn’t be. The baby was a boy. His spirit told him so, God told him so. He could still remember the exact words whispered in his spirit.
“You shall have a son and his name will be Prince. He shall eat the good of the land and he shall be a blessing to his family, his country and his generation.”
Oma’s sobs grew louder and more distraught, he gathered her into his arms and wiped away the snot and the tears. “It is okay babe. Don’t cry. A son will come.”
“When? Honey? When? Kayla is 6, Marla is 5. I am turning 35 next month. When will I have time to get pregnant again? And how are we supposed to care for another mouth? We wanted 3 children remember? I am tired honey. I prayed, I believed. Why?”
Joshua had never been a talking man, now words eluded him altogether. He adored his daughters, and even now that they were with his parents for the weekend he felt incomplete. He knew Oma had always wanted sons. And though he didn’t share her obsession, he had prayed and God had promised him his next child would be a boy. But now, he wasn’t so sure.
He wasn’t sure at all.
So instead of answering Oma’s questions, he held her and rocked her in his arms till sleep came.
* * *
The next few months were blur. his job as a company secretary had him traveling around the country. Thankfully he had saved his annual leave for July when the baby was due. Despite his schedule he couldn’t help noticing Oma had changed. She was no longer excited about the baby. She stopped buying baby and pregnancy magazines. She walked off when cute baby boys came on screen.
During their daily devotions her prayers were brief, like she was just ticking a register. He hardly saw her study. Nowadays she spent more time sleeping or fiddling with her phone.
In his times of prayer, he reminded God of the words he heard and listened with his whole being for a response. All he ever heard was, “Peace My Son, Fear Not.”
Once while looking for a nail cutter he stumbled on a half-empty baby bag and a list of baby items beside the dresser. “Honey, what is this why haven’t you bought any baby clothes?” Joshua asked.
“There is no need. The baby ll wear what we have.” Oma replied with a hard edge in her voice.
Ignoring her, he took the list and went to get the items himself.
“Pink or blue?” The sales-girl asked holding up two sleep-suit sets. “Or would you prefer green?”
Joshua thought for a while. Dressing a girl in blue would be so drab and might make the child feel unwanted. Every girl deserved pink. Green was doubt. Unbelief in action.
“I’ll have blue. Three sets.”
A week later, Oma’s water broke as she rose from bed. Doctors were on strike so they couldn’t go to the Teaching Hospital where she had registered. A couple of phone calls later they were directed to Shava Specialist Hospital. The lead midwife there spoke to them and told them to hurry, third deliveries were often much faster than previous ones.
As they got closer to the hospital excitement melded with anxiety inside him. This was the first time he was witnessing Oma in labour. Marla was born when he was in Malaysia for a course, Kayla while he was in London for a company meeting. Oma was panting and he had a feeling she felt more pain than she was showing. He found parking space and the orderlies came and took Oma in a wheelchair.
They had discussed it and she had told him she didn’t want him in the room. He was happy to agree. Some of his friends had followed their wives in, the stories weren’t pretty.
So he walked the grounds instead, praying for a safe delivery for Oma and their baby.
The midwife was right, Oma delivered after five hours. Fours hours faster than when she had Marta, six hours faster than when she Kayla.
Joshua held his baby and tears flowed down his face. The baby was so perfect. Pink, healthy, whole, nothing missing. The radiologist was wrong.
He was a boy.
Laughing through his tears, Joshua bowed his head, “Thank you Father. Your Word is final authority. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name.”
“Amen”, Oma intoned as he gathered her into his arms and they held each other, in silent awe of God’s goodness and love.