Love's Labour's Lost?
by Phyllis Inniss
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Love’s Labour’s Lost ?
So many children are born and don’t experience love and some who do, have love taken away from them. This is a story about a baby born into an environment of conflict. The mother decided that she did not want the baby, a daughter. She already had a son without a father around and that was enough. Nigel, the father felt great pity for his daughter. He knew too late that he couldn’t marry Anne, the mother. There were too many difficulties.
He brought Angela, the baby home, where he lived with his mother. Between them both they looked after Angela. With the help of a part-time nanny, they had a well-fed, happy, contented baby. Angie thrived, grew stronger every day and looked forward on evenings to her daddy coming home from work and would stretch out her chubby arms for her grandmother to take her when she came back from her errands. The grandmother took on her new duties wholeheartedly, knowing the ordeal her son had been through in severing such an unhappy relationship. It was a labour of love for her. Tiredness seemed to disappear when she saw this little creature of God needing her attention.
Nigel had no intention of keeping Angela and Anne away from each other. When he saw there was no contact at all from the mother, he suggested that it would be a good idea for him to take her, the baby, to see her mother. Nigel took Angie down in the morning and went to collect her in the evening. She was only about four months and knew only her father and grandmother, and of course, the part-time nanny, Olga. Nigel was in shock when he picked up Angie. His cousin, whom he took with him to hold Angie while he was driving, couldn’t help but comment on her appearance. “She looks so strange”, he remarked. “Yes”, Nigel tried to hide his hurt. When he brought her home, His mother wanted to know what had happened. “Neglect,” he said, “just plain neglect.”
After Angie was tucked into bed, Granny surmised about what had transpired. “God is not in her.” Granny chimed in. She didn’t want to lay it on too thickly about his choice because he had gone through so much. She had never wanted a situation where a son of hers would abdicate his responsibility in such a matter and he felt uncomfortable about it and downright unhappy. He said God had spoken to him, but he hadn’t listened.
Angie recovered from whatever she had experienced the day before. Love and tenderness brought out her smile once more and she seemed happy enough. Granny took her duties seriously and watched over Angie with grave concern. She kept the baby with her for the next three days, giving Olga the time off, so she could spend quality time with her. She never complained and Nigel marveled at her untiring devotion in looking after Angie.
Two months had passed and there was still no word from Ann enquiring about her daughter. The day before Ann’s birthday Nigel rang and asked if she didn’t want to see her daughter for her (Anne’s) birth-day. She told him he could bring Angie if he wanted. This Nigel did. Granny was apprehensive. The same result. Angie came back looking very lost. She was six months now and becoming more aware of people and her environment. “Why bother to take her if the mother doesn’t want to see her?” Granny put in. “I just want her to know her mother. Most children like to know who their mother is. It would be better if she does now,” countered Nigel.. Granny wasn’t convinced.
About a month and a half after that incident, Ann said she wanted the baby. Her friends and family told her she was doing the wrong thing by giving up Angie altogether and that she stood a better chance of getting Nigel back to her if she had the baby with her. Nigel didn’t object, but he didn’t really like giving up Angie. With Angie gone, the house seemed dead; that little bundle of energy gone, left a big gap in their lives.
Ann, on the other hand, was using friends of Nigel to persuade him to give her another chance. He was adamant. If she had only shown some maternal instinct , he might have considered it. Nigel and his mother continued praying for Angie, that God would protect her and keep her safe. One night while they were in the act of praying together, who should come to their gate cursing both of them and accusing them of terrible things. Nigel went out to her in anger, pushing her away from the gate. Granny called him back, fearing that he might do her some physical harm. Ann continued calling out abuses.
Four months later Angie’s maternal grandmother called Nigel to tell him the baby was ill. Nigel went and took Angie to the paediatrician. Soon after Ann allowed Nigel to bring Angie to spend a week. Granny was in shock. She was only eleven and a half months, but she looked older, thin, without that smile that used to come so easily to brighten her face. She stayed in Granny’s arms, quiet, not moving. It was one of the saddest moments Granny had experienced. Angie hadn’t the strength to stand on her own. At seven and a half months, Angie used to pull herself up in her playpen and walk around it with her strong chubby legs. Now, it was incredible.
Granny knew she had her work cut out for her. All that love and labour that went before must not be lost. With whatever time she had she must make it up to her granddaughter.
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Like Mr. Drury I too felt this is the first instalment. Yes, your art follows your heart! Shakespeare's play talked about precious labors lost; you may be pointing to Love's Gains. Thanks for the inspirational story... and the ones to follow. Neil DEO
Very artfully narated! This is a poignant depiction of an all too familiar scenario. It reads like a first intallment and I hope that is the case as I can't wait to read more!