She wiped the tears silently flowing down her cheeks using the corner of her pyjama top. She could not stop the tap of tears. Morning had arrived and if sleep could be all 24 hours, she would have signed up for it, to escape her miseries. "Thank you," she mumbled to herself as she got out of bed and tiptoed to the bathroom. Looking at herself in the large mirrors that lined her bathroom walls, she picked up her toothbrush. The toothpaste was running out, she had to slowly squeeze from the bottom to get what remained to the top."I will get some more," she quietly told herself. She started brushing her teeth as her mind wandered to the many messages that awaited her on Whatsapp. All were about bills not paid and money owed. She turned the tap to rinse her mouth as she rehearsed to herself what she would say to each person in response. At first she did not notice, then she did… no water was coming out of the tap. "Ohhh Nooo!," she sighed loudly as she spat out the toothpaste. Two days ago her electricity had been disconnected and now they had cut off her water too. The tears were flowing again. She slowly walked to her bedroom and crawled into bed whispering, "I know you are with me. I have no idea how to make life work, I have so many questions and I don't know which direction to go but I know you are with me," she said as she continued crying.
The phone started ringing, it was her mother calling. She did not answer the call. Immediately after, a message came through and she read it from her drop-down screen. "It's urgent, please call me back as soon as you can," her mother had written. She panicked. Her grandmother and her father had been unwell of late. Her mother was braving it, though she also was not faring so well health wise. She quickly wiped her tears and dialed her mothers' number." Hello Mum, is everything OK, is something wrong, how is Dad and how is grandma?" she asked with fear and anxiety dripping in her voice. "Hello daughter, yeah yeah they are all well, I just got a message from the landlord though, about our rent," her mother responded. Immediately her palms and underarms started sweating, she had been taking care of all her parents' bills. She had not let them know that their rent had not been paid for the past two months after she had stopped working. She had just assumed that she would have it all sorted out in good time and she really did not want them to worry, however at this point it seemed that had not worked out so well in the end. "Why didn't you tell us dear?" her mother asked. She could sense the worry and fear in her mother's voice too. They had been four months in arrears and were being evicted at the time she had taken over paying their bills and had promised the landlord that there would never be another late payment again. Now she felt like she had let down her parents and their landlord. "Are you still on the line?" her mother asked. "Yes Mum, I am here," she replied. "I lost my job and I thought I could work everything out before you even knew. I don't want you to worry at all," she blurted out whilst battling to hold back her tears. "You should have told us, I'm sorry we are being a burden to you now," her mother said in a sad and troubled voice. "You will never be a burden to me. I know God is with me, I just don't know when and how things are going to shift but they will Mum," she replied in a hoarse voice. "I will talk to your landlord and I will let you know their response, I will fix this Mum," she said, more to herself than to her mother. "I love you my daughter," her mother said, "I love you too Mum," she replied and hung up the phone.
She sat there for a moment overwhelmed. She stood up and started pacing the floor slowly. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Her job was gone and she had no sales coming through in her side business. Her rent and her parents' rent was unpaid. She had nasty messages and threats from people she owed who wanted their money back. Her electricity and water had been cut off. She barely had any food left in the cupboards and she had no idea what to do. Fear and anxiety were visiting too often than she would have wanted and as she stood there going over everything going wrong in her life, she remembered an invitation to a business seminar for women taking place that afternoon. It would be a good space to breathe,learn and network and who knows maybe sales would come out of it, she thought to herself. She quickly went to the kitchen in search of the five litre bottle of water she always kept in case there was a water crisis. Today, of all days, she wished she had kept more of these bottles of water. She wet her towel with just enough so she could save up on her reserve. She quickly started dabbing at her underarms and cleaning up dry as best as she could. In a few minutes she was all dressed up and went to the cupboard for the dry pieces of bread she knew she had. She quickly forced the bread down her throat and had a glass of water to wash it all down. This did not fill her up but it would do to keep her alive. She picked up her handbag and took out her wallet to check if the money she had in there would be enough for the taxi to the event and back home. She took out the coins and as she counted them, she realised she did not even have enough to make it one way. She kicked off her shoes and sat on the bed. "There goes all the sales I could have made," she thought to herself. She stared blankly at the wall, all the prior excitement gone.
Everything was falling apart and yet there was a ripple of peace that she could not understand or explain amidst all she was going through. She knew that a lot of people did not believe in her, and though this rarely moved her, there were times she longed for encouragement and support. She wished she had friends and people she could turn to especially in moments like this. As she sat there, she asked herself, "do I have a choice in all this?" "Yes!" the answer sprang up from within her. "My choice will just be gratitude that I am alive," she thought to herself. "What if I choose to believe too," she continued thinking. "It's hard, it's challenging, I am standing in a place where I don't know what to do, who to go to or lean on,or how to solve any of my problems but if I have a choice, I choose faith and gratitude.," she quietly said to herself.
Her mind wandered to the month before when she had to let go of her relationship. Her boyfriend was a busy man and was always travelling all around the world for work as he held an executive corporate position with one of the biggest companies in the world. Looking back, they had started off their relationship well during the covid times and their communication was great at first then it progressed to being not constant but it was there. As the world opened up more and restrictions were dropped, he started travelling more. Messages went for weeks unanswered, calls were never picked and appointments to see each other were constantly being rescheduled. She felt like she was the last thing on his list or maybe she was even non-existent to him now. She desired to speak to him face to face and talk about their relationship and the development she had become aware of two months back. Tired of read messages which were never replied, she finally just sent him a message saying goodbye and that she wished him the best. It had not been easy for her, she still loved him, she always would and she wanted the best for him. She just could not live her life waiting without knowing what she was waiting for. He had read the messages but had not responded. It hurt her. Everything seemed to be hurting in every area of her life these days.
She rubbed her belly as she spoke to the life growing within her, "Any ideas from in there, Mummy could use a little help my angel," she said speaking to the baby growing within her. Worry started to creep in, how would she break the news to her parents that she was pregnant. She had not even gone to the doctor to get checked. She barely ate enough these past two months and constantly worried about the baby's development. Maybe at some point she would have to just text her boyfriend the news. She felt it was fair and important that he should know, however she had more pressing issues to deal with at the moment. "What went wrong between us," she said to herself. The tears were flowing again, it seemed all she ever did was cry these days. She was just grateful that she had no pains and aches or any sick moments like many women experienced during pregnancy. She had never imagined her first pregnancy would have turned out this way and that it would happen at one of the lowest points of her life. She felt exhausted and decided to take a nap. "Maybe this will help calm me down," she thought to herself.
She woke up suddenly to the sound of a loud banging noise. It was now dark and as she listened she realised someone was banging at her apartments' front door. She quickly jumped out of bed and rushed to the door. She opened it slightly and her landlady stood there with a stern face. "Hello Lisa," she said with a tight face. "Good evening Mrs Mare,, I was going to call you about the rent, I just need…," she answered her landlady. "Stop!" her landlady interjected before she could finish speaking, "I'm tired of your stories, today is the 20th of the month and I am giving you ten days to move out," Mrs Mare said looking angry. She had never seen her like this and they had never had this kind of problem for the past two years she had lived there. She had no strength or will to plead or beg, she just said,"Thank you Mrs Mare, you are and have been the best landlady one could ever ask for." "Stop trying to make me feel bad, I have bills to pay too, I have waited for two months now, I cannot wait any longer," Mrs Mare responded in a gentler voice. "I understand," Lisa responded. "Here is the eviction notice and my lawyer will be in touch with regards to settlement of the rent owed," her landlady said. "Take care of yourself and that little one inside you, you are a good child Lisa but I'm sorry I have to do this. I am a pensioner and this is the income that I rely on, I hope you get a break soon child," Mrs Mare said, patting Lisa's shoulder. "Thank You," Lisa responded with tear filled eyes. They said their goodbyes, hugged and she went back into the house.
She was toying with the idea of eating some of that dried bread when her phone lit up with incoming messages. She dropped down the screen to read without opening her Whatsapp app. It was her boyfriend sending messages saying that he needed to speak to her in person and asking if he could pass by. She froze staring at the phone screen. A part of her wanted to see him and a bigger part of her wanted to never see or speak to him again. Finally she replied and told him to come over. Around 10pm, he called and said he was on his way. It had been four months since they had last seen or spoken to each other. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Moments later she heard footsteps and a light knock at the door. She opened the door for him. As soon as he saw her, he took a step forward and wrapped his arms around her, she just stood there rigid, then after a while without him letting go, she also wrapped her arms around him. "I missed you," he muttered. "I missed you too," she replied. He finally let go of her and put his hand on her belly, "Are you….?" he asked without finishing the sentence. "Yes I am pregnant," she replied, looking down at his hand on her belly. "Why didn't you tell me? " he asked, his eyes popping. "Why don't you come in first and take a seat since we have a lot to talk about," she said with a forced smile. She was trying to keep things light. "Why are your lights off, does it disturb the baby?" he asked. She could not see or read his facial expressions in the dark but it touched a part of her that his voice was gentle and concerned. "Not really, it's a long story," she replied. "I have time to hear it all," he replied. "Can I make us some tea to drink whilst you tell me the long story," he asked. He was making himself at home, like old times. There was no hiding now. "My electricity and water were turned off as I haven't paid my bills for two months now, I also lost my job and today I received an eviction notice as I'm also owing on rentals," she blurted out. "What… ? Why didn't you tell me?" he asked. Just as she was about to answer his phone rang. He answered it. "I want to stay, but there is an emergency I have to attend to babe, this conversation is not over," he said as he stood up and walked over to her. He kissed her on the lips and was gone as quickly as he came. She felt so depressed. For a moment as he spoke gently to her she had thought some things would be better tonight just by him being there. She crawled into bed and cried herself to sleep, regretting that she had even said he should come see her in the first place. She felt rejected and not prioritized. She felt unloved.
Her phone woke her up. It kept ringing even though she had pressed the power button to silence it three times now. Whoever was calling was persistent. As it rang the fourth time she picked it up, slightly annoyed. The number calling was unknown to her. Who could it be? Maybe it was one of the people she owed calling with a different number. She started debating on whether to answer or not. "Life should not be like this," she thought to herself. It rang until it cut and the caller called again for the fifth time. She answered on the first ring this time. "Hello," she said. "Hello, is this Lisa?" the caller asked. "Yes it is, may I know who I am speaking to?" Lisa asked. "You are speaking to Valerie, I sit on the board of an International Organization for women," the caller responded. "You came highly recommended by one of our board members. We are hosting a three day event for Women Executives and we are told you are the best person we can hire as a speaker to speak about life and transformation to these women," Valerie said. "Please don't say no," she continued with a begging voice. The event was in two weeks time and the arranged speaker had been involved in an accident and was in the hospital. The woman who had recommended her, had been one of her Life Coaching students. She felt honored and she felt scared, was this something she could do. If she said yes, they would cover all her costs to and from the event and pay her ten thousand pounds for her speaking duties. Her mind reeled. "Ten thousand what…?" she asked. "Is it too little," the caller asked. "No, no, it's just ok," she responded. She could not believe this. "Yes I'll take the offer," she said tears of joy rolling down her cheeks and she was trying so hard not to sniff so that the caller would not hear she was crying. 'Thank you Lisa, this is such a relief and I am looking forward to you speaking to us as I've heard so much about how you helped my friend," Valerie said. She received commitment forms via email, completed them and emailed them back to Valerie's assistant. A message came through but she did not recognize the sender. It said, "Rent settled, water and electricity bills paid and please listen for a knock at your door. Someone should deliver breakfast anytime soon. Hope you and baby love it!" Could it be her boyfriend? True to Valerie's word, after an hour she received an international payment notification to the sum of ten thousand pounds to her. She sat down and just cried, this time they were tears of joy. This was a rainbow in her storm, she never could have guessed unexpectedly coming into a large amount of money like that. "Thank you," she said whilst looking up.