Today is my second day of sobriety.
I am still with the “lady of my dreams”.
I am eating well, sleeping extremely well, and behaving myself.
All things being equal I will be going back to Bangkok on Friday to meet up with Bob and to visit with Dave again. Then On Monday I will be going up-country for a few days with my new lady.
More on this tomorrow.
AZZY – MY LOVE (Part 10 )
Azzy was true to her word, and after breakfast the following morning, she confirmed her plans to go out all day, and leave me to take care of the ailing Andy.
I gave her a wad of money to make sure she wouldn’t run out half way through the day, and as soon I was sure she was really gone, I immediately started packing up my things.
It didn’t take long, and then I went downstairs to call a taxi. I advised the landlord that Andy and I were going away for a couple of days, but that my wife would be remaining in the room and would await my return.
I told the driver to take us back to my parents’ flat, where I would plan my next move. I couldn’t stay there long, for it was more than possible that Azzy would be able to find her way there and confront me.
Knowing her capacity for making trouble and violent confrontation, anything could happen. I didn’t want my parents – in particular my mother – and of course Andy, subjected to any more mayhem and mental trauma.
I decided to rent a car, and after calling my brother who lived the other side of the river Thames in Kent, I drove there with Andy to stay a few nights, and see what transpired with Azzy.
The illness and all the emotional upsets of the last few days had taken their toll on Andy’s equilibrium. He was barely eight months old, but I am sure that even at that age babies are susceptible to outside influences, especially negative ones, and by the time I arrived at my brothers’ house, Andy was screaming the place down, and the only way I could pacify him was to hold him permanently in my arms. The minute I put him down, he started to scream again.
It was very difficult for me, and also for my brother and his wife. They were as yet childless and were not used to caring for such young babies, especially one who was stressed and wouldn’t stop screaming.
Andy had to sleep next to me in the bed, as it was the only way I could settle him and get him to sleep. I was terrified that I might smother him, but I really had little choice.
The following day my brother and sister-in-law tried to help me in sharing the burden of looking after Andy, but it wasn’t to be. In fact when my poor sister-in-law found that that she was unable to help, she became so distressed that she burst into tears at her own helplessness. She wanted to help, but she couldn’t, and as a result of what happened, it was a number of years before she finally managed to put that early experience of babies out of her mind and have one of her own.
So once again I was ‘between a rock and a hard place’. I couldn’t stay with Azzy, I couldn’t stay with my parents or my brother, and I couldn’t extricate myself from my disturbed baby for more than a few minutes at a time.
I spent the afternoon and evening ‘holed up’ in the spare bedroom with Andy, and I became very worried and very depressed.
I spent a second, very troubled night at my brother’s house, and when I finally emerged the following morning, my brother had some news for me – some bad and some good.
He had been speaking to my mother. As I had feared, Azzy did indeed mange to retrace her steps to my parent’s home the previous evening. I learned from him, and from later accounts, what had transpired on that fateful evening.
She had pounded on the door and demanded to see me and her baby. My father had insisted that I wasn’t there but she didn’t believe him.
Her pounding became ever louder and she started screaming and shouting obscenities at my parents through the letter box. When she grew tired of this, she would go outside and scream up the the flat which was located on the second floor, from the communal garden area, throwing anything she could find up at the windows. Then, after a while, she would returned to once again bang on the door and continue her foul mouthed screaming.
Inevitably, many of the neighbours’ doors opened and a crowd assembled in the garden, watching and listening to her antics with increasing dismay. Then tempers began to fray and they started to make their own contributions to the row. They shouted at her to shut up and go away and made menacing gestures
Azzy was having none of this, and she attacked a couple of men who approached her, and such was the vehemence of her attacks that the crowd retreated with some trepidation.
Inevitably, someone called the police, and after half an hour or so, the boys in blue turned up to sort out what was becoming an increasingly violent, domestic incident.
It didn’t take long for the police to identify the focal point of the trouble, and when they approached her, she redirected her abusive behaviour at the police, complaining to them that my father and son had kidnapped my baby.
By this time my father had decided that enough was enough and he emerged from the flat, approaching Azzy in an extremely menacing manner.
The police quickly came between the two antagonists and a police sergeant escorted my father back into his flat where he explained to them what had happened.
Whatever my father may or may not have been, he was a highly intelligent man, and when it suited him, he knew exactly how to behave in such circumstances and how to talk to the police.
He told them of his daughter-in- law’s selfish and reckless behaviour towards her baby, including her refusal to let him see a doctor, and of the ‘tug of war’ that had occurred when he had tried to take the baby to get medical treatment.
Looking at the volatile behaviour of the young woman outside, (for by now she was becoming increasingly hostile to the police who were trying to restrain her), it wasn’t difficult to accept all that my father had said to them, especially as my gentle, quiet spoken mother was on hand to confirm every aspect of the events.
At length, one of the police who had been trying to calm Azzy, came upstairs to consult with his sergeant, the result of which was that the police asked my father for permission to search the flat to ensure that I wasn’t hiding there with the baby.
My father immediately agreed to this, and a few minutes later, both policemen went back outside to tell Azzy that I was definitely not in the flat.
Azzy became even more enraged, and when they told her that she had to stop causing a disturbance and leave the area, she managed to pull herself free and aimed a well aimed punch on the nose of one of her police ‘minders’.
All hell broke loose. She was immediately wrestled to the ground by three, burly, six foot cops, handcuffed and dragged unceremoniously to the nearby police car, all the while screaming and accusing them of lying to her.
That was the last anyone saw of her that evening and my mother assumed that Azzy would have remained in custody. After all she had assaulted a police officer.
That was the bad news.
The good news was that one of my brother’s colleagues who worked with him in the local council offices had expressed an interest in helping out on the baby front, when my brother had recounted the story of what had been happening and the distressed state of his nephew.
The colleague’s name was John and he was a respected figure in a local Christian group. John and his family had fostered a number of children over the years on a short term basis, and he offered his services to take care of Andy in order to free me up to take care of my business.
This sounded like an offer I couldn’t refuse, as I was anxious to get back to London and see what was going on with my wife, for in spite of everything I still felt responsible for her, (after all I did bring her to England),and I had to plan what was going to happen as regards my job and my future was concerned. I was due to return to Nigeria with my family in less than two weeks.
I could certainly do very little as long as I was taking care of my baby, twenty-four/seven, but whether or not Andy would agree to be left with John and his family remained to be seen.
My brother took me over to see John and his family that evening. John was in his thirties and already had two children of his own – a son and daughter.
Coming from an unhappy family, and growing up in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, I was immediately bowled over by the happy, kind and loving atmosphere I found there. Everyone was so kind, and they couldn’t do enough for us. They were indeed a lovely family, and Andy immediately took to them, actually grinning for the first time in weeks.
There is no doubt in my mind that even the youngest babies feel emotional vibrations from those around them, and as much as he reacted badly from the negative ‘vibes’ when he was with living with his scrapping parents, he clearly responded to the obvious love and affection that pervaded John’s family home.
We agreed that Andy would stay there for a week or so, until I had sorted out my future and what was going to happen with Andy. So the next day I drove back to London to find out what had happened to Azzy, and to consult with my employers.
My father had been making some enquiries on my behalf, and he established that Azzy was being held a few miles away in a cell at a local Police station, so I took off to go and see her.
I was somewhat surprised to learn that so far she had not been charged with any offence, but was being held in custody for her own protection.
After waiting alone at the police station for quite a while, I was introduced to a social worker, who said she wanted to talk to me about Azzy.
It was then that I learned that following her arrest, Azzy had behaved in an increasingly bizarre and psychotic manner and that they were now becoming concerned about her mental state.
Apparently she had refused to eat, shouted abuse at anyone who came near her, and when alone continually talked to herself in her Yuruba dialect. The social worker told me that she had managed to have a brief conversation with her and Azzy had complained that there were evil ‘spirits’ in the cell with her and that they were trying to kill her.
I recounted Azzy’s extreme behaviour, both since we arrived in England and also when we were home in Nigeria. The social worker made copious notes, and after a while she asked me if I thought that Azzy was ‘psychotic’. I thought about this for a long while and answered in the affirmative.
She told me that she was arranging to have Azzy examined by a psychiatrist, and if he concurred, she would arrange to have Azzy ‘sectioned’ – locked up in a secure mental institution for while and undergo treatment.
She told me that it would be better if I did not see Azzy at this point. She said I could visit her later, once she had been admitted to hospital.
I left it at that, and drove into central London to see my employers, where I explained what had happened and asked them if it would be possible to postpone my return to Nigeria. They were extremely sympathetic, and said that they would inform my boss in Lagos that I would be delayed for a few weeks on compassionate grounds.
I will be brief on the conclusion of this ‘Vignette’ which seems to have grown into a saga.
One thing led to another and my son Andy remained with John, who adored him like his own son and some years later, with my permission, legally adopted him.
It broke my heart, but I realized that I was in no condition to become a single parent – especially in those days when there was no governmental support, and John had come on the scene – as if from heaven. John and his family could give Andy a stable, loving home life and raise him in a manner far better than I could ever aspire to.
For me, at barely twenty-five years old, it was a ‘no-brainer’. Whether it was the correct decision, and whether I was just being plain selfish, is anyone’s guess, but that’s what happened, and although we have never been close, we did keep in touch, and Andy grew up to be a fine, highly moral and lovely young man.
Azzy was ‘sectioned’ and I went to see her a few times. She was obviously sedated, but whatever the reason she seemed to have lost a lot of her hostility and was very friendly towards me. I think they had treated her very well in the hospital, and she had responded positively.
When she was released, the social services tracked down a community of Nigerians who lived in another part of London and she went to live with them. Her new found countrymen helped to get on her on her feet and to settle into a new life in England. She had no desire to return to Nigeria.
I eventually returned to Nigeria, where I had to face the wrath of Azzy’s parents who demanded to know what had happened to her. I tried to explain but I doubt they ever really understood, and for years probably harbored suspicions that I had somehow ‘done away’ with her.
Several months later I went to visit Azzy in her new London environment, and she had settled in remarkably well. I was introduced to the people she lived with, and many more Nigerian friends besides, and she took me to the West End where she frequented Nigerian-run, late night clip joints. I wasn’t sure if she was actually back on the game, but she certainly existed in that ‘twilight zone’ where the community she lived with indulged in activities which at best could be described as barely legal.
An uncontested divorce followed after a couple of years.
Many years later, I forget how many, I ran into her completely by accident in Shepherds Bush underground station, in West London.
It was during one of my very brief periods back home, and I had rented a flat in the area. It transpired that Azzy was also living locally and was actually within walking distance of my flat.
It was Azzy who recognized me when I was queuing up for a train ticket, for I would never in a million years have recognized her.
To say she had put on weight was an understatement. She used to have a very slender, curvy figure, with beautifully slim, perfectly proportioned, sexy legs, but the woman who was standing next to me was extremely large. She still had that classic African face with exquisitely chiseled features, but her body was thing of the past. Her stomach had become swollenout of all proportion, her backside stuck out a mile and her extremely fleshy legs literally wobbled as she walked.
It wasn’t until she identified herself that I realised that she was Azzy, my ex- wife.
It must have been genetically ordained, for I suddenly realised she was the spitting image of her mother.
I saw her several times during the few weeks that followed, before I went back overseas again. In spite of her unflattering body size, she was now a fully fledged prostitute, and had built up a thriving trade at her flat. She entertained me in between visits by her regular punters who all seemed to delight in her large, fleshy appearance.
We got on surprisingly well. There were no recriminations for the past and we had some happy, fun-filled evenings together.
I saw her the night before I was due to fly back to Bangkok. We promised to keep in touch, although deep down we knew that it would never happen.
We kissed – not as lovers – more like old friends from a long time ago.
I never saw Azzy – my first real love – again.