There is a form of silent torture that everyone goes through at some point in life. I call it the torture of the unknown. It was a cold and cruel kind of torture that gripped you in the chest and messed with your insides. It was what we faced that morning as we stood outside the chambers waiting for the outcome of the meeting with the judge. Edison had said we didn’t need to come but we couldn’t help ourselves. We wanted to be there. Perhaps we should have spent the time thinking up trial strategy. Mrs. Madu was yet to hear back from her husband.
She had sent a response through post but it would likely be weeks before anyone heard back from him. We had looked for other means of contacting him but all seemed futile. He was no longer answering his emails and she had no phone number. How on earth were we to get to him in time?
As I held Ike’s hands in mine, I sent a silent plea. God, please don’t let them take him away now. Whatever battles we had to fight, we needed to fight it together. We were both silent, hands clasped, lost in thought. Afraid to ask what if?
Edison came out with a small smile.
“We won,” he said. “You won’t be taken into custody.”
“However we didn’t win on the other case. I pushed my motion for the trial to be delayed again because of our star witness but the judge declined.”
I let out a whoosh of air as Ike hugged me in relief.
“We will take the victories as they come,” I assured Edison.
“Now what?” Ike asked looking up at his lawyer.
“Now we need to go to my office and come up with some very good ideas on how to win this thing,” Edison said with a glint in his eye.
I was pleasantly surprised. He had seemed so composed and unaffected before. Now he seemed to be warming up to the challenge.
“What are we waiting for then?” I asked. “Let’s go.”
Three hours later we still had nothing close to a plan. To my surprise, it was Ike who was the strong one. He told us to stop and then he prayed.
“Lord, we’re at our wits end here. The date for the trial has been set and fixed and we don’t know what to do. Lord, you reign in the affairs of men. Please give us your wisdom and show Yourself strong in this situation.”
On the way home, I forced myself to sound cheerful but I still couldn’t help worrying. There were so many things to think about. I missed Anna. Because of my crazy schedule and all the running around, I had taken her to my mother’s house to stay for a while. I was supposed to resume work the week following the trial. I was supposed to be shopping for new clothes and dusting my college material. But here I was, faced with the prospect of my husband going to jail and losing everything we had worked for. And I had been brave. I had tried to be. I had gone through all the emotions anger, denial, bargaining but as the days grew closer I felt it. The cold icy fear. I kept wondering what would happen to me and Anna if the worst happened.
Ike tried to pull me out of my reverie. “It’s ok hon,” he said placing a hand on my shoulder. “Have you heard from Titi?” he asked.
I suddenly remembered that Titi had gone to see her son. She said she wasn’t scared of her husband anymore and she was thinking of getting a house and a job. I dialed her number. At least some things were going in the right direction. But before I could get through to Titi, my call was interrupted. It was Mrs. Madu.
“Hello, please can you come over to my house? I just received some shocking news. I need to speak with you.”
I was flummoxed. What could the news be? I quickly told Ike and called Edison to join us there. Were our prayers already answered? Was Madu back?