Ever since he was born, my son has always been my strength through all the challenges I’ve faced in life. I got pregnant with him when I was young and shortly after finding out I was pregnant, the father of my child abandoned us. Some family members suggested that I should get an abortion or dump him at a children’s home but I was determined to have him and raise him even if I had to do it on my own. While I was 7 months pregnant, I got a job as a secretary for a businessman.
The salary was enough to cater for my daily expenses but I knew that it wouldn’t be enough to sustain me and my son once he arrived. As fate would have it, I met a man during a work trip who fell in love with me. I found it hard to believe that a man would be in love with a pregnant woman since I thought that I looked unattractive. I used to avoid him like a plague and lie to him whenever he called me at the office.
“Are you busy after work?” He asked.
“Yes, I’m going to pick up my brother from the bus station,” I replied.
“I wanted to treat you to a meal.”
“Okay. Then buy yourself dinner when you go to pick up your brother.”
He would always send me money when I didn’t meet with him which I would save to use for clinic visits or to buy more stuff for the baby. After a month of avoiding him, we finally went for dinner and he revealed how he felt about me.
“I want to marry you.” He said.
Confused, I asked, “You know that I’m pregnant, right?”
“No, I just thought you ate a lot of food and that’s why you never want to go for dinner with me.” He joked.
“Why are you so interested in me? There are so many other beautiful women out there who don’t have children.”
“When we met in Mombasa, I felt a strong connection to you and I don’t take that for granted.”
By that time, I was a month away from giving birth and Jack helped me organize everything. We went for clinic visits together, bought the things I needed during delivery and booked a delivery date at a nice private hospital. He even rented a new apartment for me. He wanted to rent one in Riverside but I refused and opted for a cheaper option.
“I just need a place with a bigger space. I don’t need that expensive lifestyle.”
“You’re really special. If it was any other girl, they would run to that Riverside apartment.” He answered.
I moved to the new place and got a house help to help me with the chores. For the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I could relax. I wasn’t worried about anything since Jack assured me that he would take care of us.
When I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Jack was at the hospital. He was the only one who came even though I had told my family members that I was going to deliver.
It didn’t matter since Jack was all I needed. He used to come to my apartment every day to check on us. We started dating officially a few months after Marlon was born and two years later, we tied the knot in a civil wedding.
I went to live with him at his apartment somewhere in Riverside and that was when I knew what a good life was. Anything I needed, I got. He bought me a nice car, and expensive clothes, and gave me money to do my hair and nails at high-end salons every month. Most importantly, he treated my son like his own.
The two were inseparable. When Jack would come home from work, Marlon would go to play with him until bedtime. Their bond only grew stronger with time. The older Marlon grew, the closer he grew to Jack.
However, when Marlon was around 15 years old, Jack got into an accident and passed away. It was a shock to all of us but it hit Marlon the hardest. He became unruly and started getting in trouble at school. At some point, the school wanted to expel him since he was giving everyone a hard time.
“You have to behave yourself at school or they’ll expel you,” I told him.
“They can expel me if they want. I don’t want to be in school anyway.” He said.
After a tense argument, he left the house and didn’t return till the following day. It wasn’t the first time that he had stayed out all night and every time he came back he smelt like alcohol. I was concerned since he was only 15. Besides, no mother wants to see their son in such a condition.
I tried talking to him but nothing worked. He got worse. He completely dropped out of school and stayed out for days without coming home. When he came home he would demand money so he could go out again.
“It’s my father’s money! I have a right to it.” He yelled.
Eventually, one of his old classmates came to me to tell me that Marlon was hanging out with a bad group of people who had introduced him to hard drugs. I nearly collapsed but managed to compose myself.
“Thank you for letting me know,” I said to Marlon’s classmate.
When he returned home, I confronted him about it which he denied vehemently. I tried everything to make him stop taking drugs including taking him to rehab but the situation didn’t change. He would come out of rehab and go straight to buy drugs.
We were stuck in that cycle for three years. The money that Jack had left us was depleting fast and Marlon’s health was deteriorating fast. I was also getting drained emotionally because of stress. So, I thought that relocating would make things better. I sold the car and rented out the Riverside apartment then bought a modest three-bedroom house in the outskirts of Nairobi.
As soon as we moved, I checked him into another rehab facility. They treated him for six months then one day, they asked me to go to the facility to meet the doctor. That was when they broke the most heartbreaking news I’ve ever received in my life.
“Marlon is not just dealing with addiction. He has a mental disorder known as schizophrenia. We’ve seen patients who started doing drugs at a young age develop this disorder.” The doctor explained.
I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. I broke down crying for more than 30 minutes before the nurses managed to calm me down.
When I was calmer, the doctor informed me that they would continue treating him but he would need lifelong care to manage the symptoms.
“And most importantly, make sure that he doesn’t do any drugs, not even alcohol.” He said.
Marlon stayed at the rehab for another 8 months and resumed school when he got out. I had to be with him all the time. I used to drop him at school and pick him up every day until I was sure that I could trust him.
He finished school without any incident and performed better than ever before. He’s now in university pursuing a degree. He still goes to therapy regularly and takes medication for his disorder but I’m just grateful that he can function normally.
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