Chapter 8: A new life
“How do you like this house Amy?” Asked Nick.
“I loved what you’ve done to this flat.” Amy replied.
“When do you want to move in?” Nick was surely nervous. He was going to ask Amy to marry him but he wants Amy to trust him.
“As long as you want to care for our babies and me, I’ll learn to care for us too. I promise you that I’ll make sure nothing bad will come to our kids. I’ll always check with you before making any decisions.” Amy said with tears well up in her eyes.
“I’m sure you’ll be a good mother. I know how you’ll make sure to read about caring for the children. Besides, we will both have to take up the parenting class together.” Nick reminded Amy.
“You don’t forget to arrange for the social worker’s next visit to our house, ok Amy? We need to make sure this house is going to be safe for our kids. No sharp edges around tables or chairs. I have personally made sure to choose the cabinet doors that won’t slam shut on our kids…”
“What did you say?” Amy butt in on Nick.
“Our house…?“asked Amy.
“Yes, our house. Amy if something were to happen to me, I’ve bequeathed this house to our kids and I want you to care for this house too. That is why I’ve made you the co-owner of this house. I’ve asked that Anna come here everyday to see you. In fact, do you see the extra bedrooms I’ve got? I’ve asked Anna to move in with us.”
“But why am I the co-owner? I didn’t fork out a single cent. Why are you inviting me and my family into your house?” Amy was bewildered.
“Amy, when my father passed away, he gave me this house. He made me the co- owner and wrote in his will for me to own fully. My other siblings are successful at what they do. My father thought I needed it more.” Nick said solemnly.
“Amy, promise me this; if we come to a point that we cannot tolerate each other anymore, please do not leave this house or make us sell this house. I made you the co-owner for the sake of our kids. I am no longer young. I am soon to be 43. Amy, that is my real age. I want to watch my kids grow up. I want to have a family. If I do pass on too ,one day, I cannot ask you not to remarry but please remember that this house is for our kids.” Nick repeats himself.
“Nick…I will never leave..” Amy couldn’t bring herself to say that she loves him. Love him for being so here for her. She loves him for staying with her even though he knew she had developed mental illness and for not telling her to abort her kids even though he saw signs of her being ill much earlier in her pregnancy.
“Amy, after you have delivered our kids, I want you to be my wife. I want you not because of what we’ve done or if I’ve pitied our kids at all. I want my Amy back. The fun loving bubbly Amy that I knew. Amy works hard to get what she needs. The determined Amy will achieve her goals.” Nick explained.
“Regardless of what happened, I want to be your husband. I will support you in your Zumba career or your writing career, whatever you want to become. But I am a man. Naturally I will be jealous if you talk to another man. Amy, I need you to stop that telephone operator job. I will support you and our kids the best way I know how. I can cook. I cannot promise my food stall business will be good but I can only try.” Nick continues.
“I have tendered for a food stall, I hope I can get it. I’ll know the outcome in one month’s time. Let’s be serious in saving money for our kids’ education. I need you to be serious about your career too. Just in case something bad happens to me, you will have something to fall back on.” Nick cannot contain his emotions. Tears rolled down his cheek.
Amy went to him and hugged him tight and whispered to him. “I’ll marry you Nick because I’ve learned to love you. I’ll marry you because you’ve worked hard. I can see that. I am not blind. Whatever I say, please never divorce me. Take on another wife if you must but never leave me. I can never have another man like you, truly.” Amy cried too.
Amy has been given emotional support and encouragement by her neighbourhood’s Family Service Center. They put Amy on counselling on how to prepare for her birth and child caring arrangements. She is also advised on taking care of her nutritional needs during pregnancy by a Dietitian in the hospital. Amy is also seeing the Medical Social Worker at the Institute of Mental Health otherwise known as IMH. They are there to give advice on Psychoeducational family programs. They are discussing how Amy could manage her illness and prevent relapse. They also discuss what Amy could do in case she finds herself in trouble.
Amy was very happy that she found help early. She sometimes feels that her sister jinxes her chance of being a mother. She thought that when she was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, she would have to give up her children. Amy has read up that in the past, they would be advised to do that. Now, social welfare or social workers are more informed on how to handle cases like this. They now would look into how they can support the children in these cases and support the parent. Separating the family will be the last resort.
Both Anna and Amy reconcile with Aminah, their mother. Anna knew that Aminah was only looking out for her. Anna just wished that she could have taken care of her children. But Anna knew that in her situation, she is not in a good position to care for her children just yet.
Amy was getting ready to scoop up the dishes on the chafing tray. More guests are coming. Nick and Amy had already packed Amy’s belongings to Nick’s house last week. They are inviting guests to their home welcoming kenduri and to celebrate their engagement. Their twins, both baby boys, are almost seven months old. Amy has already settled into a routine. Amy was glad she took her twin boys for paternity testing. She is due to give birth in two months via cesarean. This baby is going to be born prematurely as Amy’s first pregnancy has some difficulties. Anna’s kids came too. They have been coming home every weekend for the past few months. They are very happy to see their mother.
Dawn and their mother, Aminah, have been coming over every weekend. Aminah was happy her children are coping well.
Anna, though bitter about her children’s adoption, was getting along fine with Aminah. She still remembers that she could see her children. She is just happy now that she has got more time to do what she wants to do the most. Anna is helping Amy out.
Amy is still freelancing as a desktop publishing designer and writes in her free time. To date she has a dozen published books under her name. She’s been saving money.
Anna is writing a children’s book series. She is writing for Amy’s babies. She is doing well these days. The e Publishing market is hard to break these days but they both have been doing well with freelancing as desktop publishing designers or what they call these days as graphic designers. Anna has decided not to move in with Nick and Amy. She is doing so well that she can afford to buy a two room flat on her own! Anna chooses a nearby location so that she can come by to help with whatever she can. She makes Amy’s home as her ‘office’ and she also pops in to bounce ideas with Amy.
Anna has now realised that if she continues to fight for custody, care and control of her children it will mean they will have to change schools and get into a new routine. They will have to restart their lives. Anna doesn’t want to be selfish. She rather spends quality time with her children and just hopes that they’ll remember how she was with them and love her true self.
Nick has been busy too with his food stall. His halal Chinese food stall is getting a lot of business. They are not well to do but it’s doing okay. Nick even got himself an assistant so that he could be home more. He also makes time to accompany Amy on her monthly visits to the psychiatrist.
Amy looked at Nick and gave him a long sweet kiss. Even at the age of 44, he is as dazzling as ever. He looks like he hasn’t aged since 33. Amy has been looking great herself.
To Amy, life is not perfect but life is good.
Written by Nur Amyza