A few months later, we received the acknowledgement of our application from the immigration office. Towanda started visiting me frequently and making demands. She wanted a new phone, her car broke down and needed fixing, or she simply needed cash. She expected me to sort out her financial problems.
I couldn’t believe her. I loved her. I would never leave or hurt her. I assured her that if I managed to travel with the Chief that I would immediately send for her once I became settled. She was my soul mate. We were meant to be together and will be together. She was soon reassured and cheered up again.
We continued to watch her as she hitched up her skirt and waded into the river, moving nearer to the marshes to scoop fresh water into her bucket. She started dragging the bucket filled with water back to the banks and I quickly rushed to help her raise and balance the bucket on her head.
I was absolutely convinced that the shock of this squalid and sordid environ would have proved to be too rough on my gentle Maryam. I wouldn’t have endured exposing her to the constant sight of drunken men clutching alcoholic beverages half-disguised in brown paper bags while staggering precariously on the streets.
I had used to dream of Maryam sitting in the car beside me on our way home from the airport, picturing the wonderment and joy in her voice. How thrilled she could have been and bursting into her peculiar hearty laughter at any and everything. She’d have detailed her flight to me in that unaffected manner of hers. It would have been her first time on air, travelling on a plane. She had a fear for heights and regularly marveled at the mystery and ability of planes flying up in the sky. It scared her somewhat, the idea of flying.