Omowashe Omorishe#33

Peju alias Mummy twins

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second-chance

Once I settled Phil, I got back to Lana. Knowing we had hours to catch up.
Was it not nine months we last saw, but the stories were like that of a lifetime. Finding out Bode was her cousin blew my mind. What if they had gotten married? The issue of congenital disabilities might arise, and they would have no clue the cause of the problem.

While I was still feeling sad over the loss of a love so pure and genuine, she told me of diabetes and the drugs she was constantly on.
“It doesn’t show on you.”
“I look better now, and you should have seen me when I came out of the hospital. Gaunt looking, eyes sunken and bones were sticking out at every corner.
“I am glad I was not there to behold the sight.”
“Have you met your birth mum?”
“Oh my God”, she slapped her forehead.
“I was to see her today and gosh here I am.”
“You mean you have not met her all these nine months?”
“No, she answered looking at me with amazement.
“Was I supposed to?”
“Lana who won’t be curious to see and have that talk with their birth mum. Find out why she gave you up and try to see for yourself what she looks like?”
“I don’t need another mother. I have one, and it’s so confusing. Do I stop calling the woman I have known as a mother all my life and start calling my birth mum – mother because she gave birth to me? Even when she did not love me enough to keep me but gave me up so easily and never looked back.”
“What she did was wrong but don’t validate her wrong by ignoring her. Give her the chance to explain herself. You might sympathise with her and not judge her when you hear it all.”
“I just need time to get myself together to see her. I did promise Uncle Segun I would check on her today, but that would be tomorrow.
“Sorry girlfriend. It would be today, and I am shooing you out of my house to her place. Had the kids not being sleeping for a while and would wake up anytime soon, I would have gone with you to make sure you get it done. Once and for all and move on.”
“Did I tell you I did not miss you while you were away?  I was so glad I had no one to boss around.”
“Good thing I am back because you do need the bossing especially when it comes to matters of the heart.”
She threw her tongue out at me.
“He who wears the shoes feels the pain the most. I hear everyone with an opinion on the matter, but they were not the abandoned child. Neither were they the ones lied to all their lives nor the people whose favourite uncle became their Dad overnight, and you were meant to trust as you have always done,” said Lana with tears flowing like a river down her cheeks.

I held her, and we cried together. Cried for the unfairness of the world. Cried why her life and sanity were being threatened and cried because we were both hearts broken.
“You will try and see her,” I pushed Lana away to gaze at her. Pleading with her to push behind her hurt and do the right thing.
“I will try, she tried to laugh amidst the tears that came out like a croak and then bubbled into a wellspring of laughter.

“Did we just do the pity party thing just now?” She asked wiping the tears away from her eyes in a bid not to smear her mascara, although a futile effort.
“Life throws you lemons, but you have to make lemonade out of it. See I know all that motivational talk, but in here, she said pointing to her heart. It hurts so deep that I have lost the peaceful, beautiful life I had were all my worry was how to make senior manager before I was thirty. Now that pales compared to my goal of living a healthy and full life.”
“You would Lana. I have no doubt about that. God will show you mercy. Your strength and determination will see you through.
You will laugh again, love again and wondered if this pain you feel in here, I said touching her chest was ever real or just a nightmare at night.”

“What if I am too tired fighting?”

“You’ll get up and give it your best shot.”

“ On a much lighter note. How is Drew?” I asked. “Do you still see him around?”

“Yeah, I did today, he came by to check on me. It ‘s incredible how he could turn and be a father hen. Always texting and calling to make sure I am okay and have taken my drugs when I first left the hospital.”
“Father hen,” I repeated thoughtfully.

I have always felt there was something between them both although my friend was yet to see beyond what she wanted to see.
Going back to Bode, clouded it all but with the present situation, the coast was clear for Drew, but maybe the timing was not right.
Lana needed to get herself together and sort all the issues that threatened her sanity.
Drew coming in at this time was sure to mess her up and when Lana is messed up, you could not getting anything worthwhile from her.
I smiled like a wise old woman. I knew like I knew my name that this two would one day become an Item, but I was not going to throw it at Lana’s face. I would watch knowingly and do some little pushing, arranging and innocent moves to get them together.
Lana will thank me later.

Omowashe Omorishe#32

Some friendships are like fresh air

 

second-chanceI  walked  briskly,  then ran up the stairs and pressed the bell.I could barely contain my excitement.An unknown robust black middle-aged woman opened the door with an infectious smile. She looked too groomed to be the house help but did not look like my friend’s mum.

“Good afternoon madam, Mummy twins will join you,” she announced leading me to the living room on the west wing of the house.

I settled into the familiar living room and could notice the little changes here and there.Was it so long ago we had worked with the interior decorator designing the house while running around for the wedding? How true the saying “time flies.”

“Mummy twins would soon be with you”, said the woman I now presume must be the house help and served me a cup of orange juice with chopped pieces of dried spicy beef.

I eyed the meat hungrily. Threw cautioned to the wind and settled to devour it. I was still savouring the delicacy with much ecstasy when I heard the voice.

“I hope you enjoyed my peace offering.”

“It’s truly a peace offering,” I concurred rising into a warm hug.

“Mummy twins” I teased.

“You have barely been here five minutes, and Madam Rose has indoctrinated you.”

“I was first taken aback when I heard, but I love the sound of it. Please where are the young men I came to see?”

“They are being dressed and drilled to be of good behaviour. They are meeting their godmother for the first time.”

I felt both honoured and elated to receive such role, and I took it seriously vowing to be the best godmother who ever lived. Madam Rose came with the boys, and I lost my heart to them at first sight. They would be the cutest pair of babies I have seen.

“Jason and Jaden meet your god – mummy,” cued Peju on what I presume was baby talk. I held Jaden first and then Jason.

“I am so glad to meet you and feel very honoured to be your god- mummy,”I cooed in the new baby language I seemed to have acquired by instinct.

What a shame, she can’t risk getting pregnant. She will never carry a child” I heard the voice of one of my family members, and it kept echoing. “She will never carry her baby.” I also heard my mum’s voice refuting the declaration but I still heard it in my head days without end, and today, it was ringing loudly.

A tear dropped.  “They’re both lovely and so identical, you can hardly tell them apart,” my voice cracking and betraying my emotional state.

“Yes Lana, I bawled like a baby when I first laid eyes on them. How could these precious tiny cute beings have come out of me? You can hardly tell them apart, but I know although Phil always confuses them.

I played with the twins till Madam Rose came to take them away from me for their nap.

“Motherhood looks good on you. See how more beautiful and radiant you have become.”

“Is that to say I have been the ugly duckling?”

“You have always been pretty, but you look breathtaking now.”

“Please tell her,” Phil came in, giving his wife a full kiss on the mouth and turning his attention to me.

“I must seek your forgiveness for whisking your friend away. She had a difficult pregnancy, and we had to move her out to a calmer place without the drama of family and friends. I have been apologising to almost the whole world since we came back. No one told me I married the town’s sweetheart.” He had a twinkle in his eyes, drawing Peju closer to him.

“You are forgiven. I cannot be upset with those two cutie pies I just held in my arms.”

“The easiest and fastest forgiveness ever. I now know why you are Peju’s closest friend.”

He chatted with us and took his leave.

“Please give me some time to attend to him. I will be back. And please don’t go away. Please,” begged Peju hilariously batting her eye lids.

“I will advise, you keep that for Phil. It has no effect on me but if you send more of the dried meat my way. That should suffice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe#31

Love comes softly

second-chance

I pulled my shoe off and placed my feet on the grass as I closed my eyes to enjoy the feeling of relief that washed over me. How such a simple gesture we take for granted could be so soothing often left me in awe of the mastermind behind earth’s creation. It could not have been the work of mortal man or an accident as some great scholars presume.It must be that God truly exists.

I poured out the bottle of coke into my glass cup filled with ice cubes on this sunny afternoon enjoying the sheer luxury of sugar and ignoring all the medical doomsday prophesy on its ills especially in my case.

Uncle Segun will not be delighted to see me here. I had left the office with the intention of going to see my birth mum and make things alright between the two of us but mid-way, I changed my mind. I would see her another day. Relaxing into my chair, I closed my eyes and allowed the feeling of contentment to wash over me.

My eyes fluttered open at the sound of the presence of someone, and I lazily smile at the sight of Andrew.

“Hey stranger,” I greet with no effort to change my position.

“Hey stranger,” Andrew replied letting himself on the other chair across from mine.

“How did you know I’ll be here?”

“I took a wild guess after being told by your security at the law firm that you have left for the day. How are you doing he asked eyeing the leftover bottle of coke with disapproval but did not pass a comment.”

“I am doing as great as I can be. I could not be any better. I can’t complain. Got a job where I do nothing and get paid good money which must be every girl’s dream.”

“Except yours?” he chirped.

I laughed. “Well, I did create a job scope for myself. Organising all the files.  I intend to move all the paper files to electronic files. Most of the work in the coming weeks will be scanning and creating a filing system for easy retrieval, next encrypt the sensitive data. I would need the help of an IT person. I should be able to complete that task within three weeks and train the rest of the staff on how to use the new filing system.”

“You sure know how to look for and find work!”
“That’s me any day, any time. Never shy away from work. It does not kill.”
“Some do you know,” Andrew commented. We laughed over it.
“I am sorry. I have not offered you a drink. What would you like to have?”
“Not that your drink,” he eyed my glass of coke like a mortal enemy. ”Water would do.”

I was not excited to have to stand up from my cocooned position in the chair, and as if reading my thoughts he offered to help himself as I gave direction. The kitchen is the first door on the left once you walk into to the living room. The refrigerator is on your left. Andrew came back with three 50cl cascades bottled water.

“The driver would love one. You don’t get these cold ones to buy along the streets. Let me go give this to him.”
“Very thoughtful, kind and thinks of others, not just himself,” came the thought.“Where did that come from?” I asked myself.

He returned to his seat. “Are looking forward to resuming?”
“What do you think?”

“I think you have become so used to this easy life of 8 am to 2 pm that coming back to our 7 am to 7 pm work would no longer be interesting.”
“I do not agree with you, but I have learnt never to say never anymore. I do not have the power to predict or change what will happen next in my life. I only know what I think I want.”
“And you?” I ventured to ask. “A lot has been going on lately, been extremely busy working on some projects and my father’s company. The main reason for my silence but I should have made more time to keep it touch.”
“It’s okay. You have made an effort by stopping by, and I appreciate that. It’s not every day a girl gets her boss to stop by to babysit.”
“Is that what you think I am doing right now? He asked with the crinkles of laughter around his eyes.

“Yep,” I answered playfully.
“Then it is past your bedtime Missi.”
“Bedtime! At 3 p.m.!!” I exclaimed in mock horror.
“Oh sorry Missi, I meant it is your nap time.”

I laughed till tears dropped from my eyes as he mimicked the voice of Kizzy in the film “Roots”.

“Please stop!” I pleaded, afraid I would soon be on the floor rolling with laughter. It felt so good to laugh this way. Whoever said laughter is good medicine for the soul sure knew what he was saying.

“Who would have known you could be this funny? You so much hid behind the suit you wear.”

He stayed with me for a quarter of an hour and took his leave.
“See you around soon.” He patted my hands across the table looking into my eyes. “You’ll be fine just don’t worry and believe the best.” Something happened to me in the seconds he held my hands and our eyes connected. And I could feel he sensed it too as he quickly took his hands away but whatever that was, I don’t think I was ready to confront it. Some things are better left the way they are, don’t rock the boat.

I waved him off still not wanting to give up the comfort of the seat, but he was quick to tell me not to bother and let himself out. I closed my eyes wondering if my treacherous heart was not plotting some sinister scenes against me.

“No way,” I argued. “Don’t you think there could be a possibility?” another part of me argued.“Who would want you with your disease ravaged body?” The other voice taunted. “He is different if he comes give him a chance. A chance for what? Romance, marriage or a relationship that has no future. A relationship that is dead before it started.”

“Lana!” I called out my name willing the battle in my head to stop.
The poor guy made a mistake of being a friend, and here I am planning marriage.I shook my head and walked inside.  Why bring a perfidious twist to an act of kindness? Destroying my serenity and the innocence of a friendly gesture leaving me more troubled.

Continue reading “Omowashe Omorishe#31”

Omowashe Omorishe#30

Uncle Segun

second-chance

Watching the two most important women in my life walk in through the door was the best picture to behold.
One young and beautiful with the whole world ahead of her to take on while the other who has been by my side through thick and thin. I was on the thin verge of losing them both, but I was not going to give up. I was going to fight to get their affection back. To once again see the look of adoration in their eyes that spoke volumes of how important I was to them.

I mustered enough courage and faked a vibrancy I did not feel “Here come my girls!!!!”
I could sense Bimba seeking an escape as she fumbled in her bag until I heard her phone ring and she signalled to take the call which was a good excuse. However, without the call, she would have looked for another reason to get out of my presence.
Ever since she found out Lana was my biological daughter, she had moved out of our home but came to the office every day.
She had been civil and only discussed official matters.  I wanted to give her the time and space she needed but now I needed to woo her back, or I might lose her forever.

Turning to Lana. “You should be home by now. It’s past your 6 hours of work.”
“Oh please Uncle Segun,” she said rolling her eyes. “I am as healthy as a horse. I do not need all the convalescence moves you have been pulling for the past couple of weeks.”
“Where were you coming from?”
“From the ………
She started to say but stopped midway.
My curiosity was piqued as I raised my eyebrows “when did you start keeping secrets from me?”
She shrugged and threw a barb at me “it starts one day, doesn’t it? You did keep who you were from me all my life.”

“If I could turn the hands of the clock backwards. I will Lana. I will say sorry a thousand times if it makes you feel better, or make the pain go away. I tried so many times to tell you, but there just was never the ideal time.

The period you moved to boarding school. I feared you would not take the news well, then you finished and passed with all distinctions. I wanted to shout it out to you, but it sounded selfish when all the hard work had been put in by others not me. You got admission to the university, and it did not look ideal to tell you at that time when you were testing the waters of freedom away from home. What if you reacted wrongly and flipped to the other side in rebellion. So I held on and kept postponing the day I would tell you.

Lana, I am sorry.” I had not realised the tears were trickling down my face as I pleaded with my daughter to forgive me.
I held out my arms hoping against hope that she would come for a hug just like the old times.
I could have leapt for joy as she ran into my arms crying a nerve racking sobs all over my crisp white shirt but what did it matter. She had found a place to forgive me, and that was what mattered the most.

*******

“Are you ready to see your birth mum?” I ventured to ask Lana.
I had taken it very slow with Lana not wanting to push her.  She had not shown any interest in meeting up with her birth mum, and I had given up hoping that she would have other opportunities.

“I guess yes,” she smiled amidst the tears that laced her eyes. “I am tired of fighting. What harm would there be to hear what she has to say and make peace with her? We can’t take back the years we have lost, but we can build on the ones before us.”

I was happy at the wisdom of her words and could not be more proud she was my daughter and the opportunity I had to invest in her upbringing. I had Agnes to thank. If she had not given up Lana from birth, I would never have been this blessed to be a part of the great woman she has become. It was this gratitude I had that propelled me to help to bridge the relationship between mother and daughter. “Lana you are one smart and intelligent woman who I am happy to have known.”
“You are always filled with praise. I should have known long ago there was something beyond the uncle – niece relationship,” she smiled her eyes twinkling. Wiping her eyes and smoothening her dress, she stood up. I got to go.
“Would you try and call her today?” I can give you her number.” I got out my phone and sent the contact to her.
“I will call her now. There is no need to wait. I have waited too long to mend this relationship.”
“Come here,” I commanded and engulfed her in a fierce hug as tears threatened to drop. “My sunshine,” I murmured.
“Hmm, Uncle Segun, whatever happened to Auntie Bimba?”
“That is my number one sunshine, and you are the second.”
“Not the first huh?” Lana feigned hurt.
“No not the first. You will get married and be someone else first let my wife be my first,” I teased.
It was no hidden secret that I would choose Lana any day above Bimba after all that’s what I had always done in the past, but it never bothered her. Knowing Lana was my daughter might change all that, but I hope she could see that she was the most important person to me next to my child.
“Then you had better go there and let her know,” she challenged me.
“Since you have taken a bold step to see your birth Mum. I should take a cue from you and go declare my undying love for your aunt contrary to the rumours peddled by family members.”
“You heard?”
“I heard every word of it, and it was preposterous. Agnes is your mother and what we had has become history. She remains a friend but nothing more. I cannot love another person than your aunt. I breathe and live for her even if she is mad at me now.I intend to fight for what we have and get her back.
“I got to run, thank you, uncle. You got unfinished business here,” Lana said looking behind me.
I turned and was more surprised to see Bimba in my office.

Bimba
I strolled into Segun’s office to pick a document on a case we were working on when I heard his open declaration of affection for me. I know Segun has always loved me. There were no doubts about that fact but what I could not get around my head was his betrayal. How could he have kept such information from me all these years was my concern and how many more secrets has he kept from me?

Lana had a look I told you so with a twist of cheekiness to it as she hurriedly gave me a hug whispering, “Auntie let it go and let him love”, and glided out of the office.

Her words stunned me. The girl has grown wise over the years. Segun was not the only one who doted on her. I did not unashamedly. We both poured out our love for a child into Lana. I argued it was because she was the only niece who spent time at our place with many sleepovers and outings. Her parents were never afraid to send her over to our place unlike the rest of the family who was over protective of their children. Not that I blame them. Knowing the truth behind Lana’s parentage gave credence to the reason her parents were free to release her. After all, she was going to her father’s house.

Lana and I shared a bond fostered by her visits and time spent together talking and shopping.  None of my other nieces and nephews could have bolstered the courage to book a doctor’s appointment without my prior consent and drive me there. The thought put a smile on my face which I was not aware was plastered on my face until I heard Segun clear his throat the way he did when he was nervous.

I focused my eyes on him, and I got lost with love I saw in those eyes. I felt the butterflies in my stomach and laughed inwardly at my foolishness. Why this feeling of giddiness like a love-struck teenager? My hormones must be having a joke at my expense.

Shifting my gaze way towards the file on Segun’s table, I walked past him to retrieve the document.”I came for this,” I picked the file and made my way to squeeze through the closed up space to escape as he moved towards me.
“What do I need to do to make you forgive me?” he asked brokenly touching a cord in my heart. I was not going to do this. I was not ready for a reconciliation till I had figured out what I wanted for my baby.
“You’ll go back,” a voice said to my head. As I argued with the voices in my head. I don’t know about that. I’m not sure if I wanted to go back. I could remain civil with the father of my child but to work on broken trust was a hard bit for me.
“I would work at gaining back your trust,”  he said as if he could read my thoughts, his eyes darkening with a resolution I know he would fulfil
“I want to believe we can have what we had before. But I can’t work past the hurt lodged in my heart. There are days I honestly could pick a gun if given one and shoot you without remorse. There are other days I try to understand that you had a good reason but what I can’t comprehend is how you lied to me for twenty years with the reason for your lies within our reach. Every day you looked at her, and every time you made a big deal of the milestones in her life was an opportunity to tell me, but you did not and that I find it hard to forgive. You know why? Because you willfully and knowingly lied to me for all the years of our marriage.  Our home was fabricated on lies.What we had is over Segun.”

My heart broke, but I knew it was the best for us. May be somewhere in the future we might find a place to work our way back to what we once shared. I was too hurt to see a way out right now and being truthful to myself was what I owed myself, and the child I carried.

I saw the pain flash through his eyes so fleeting and quickly replaced with an expressionless face.
“Do you want a divorce?”
My no was so quick and vehement, and I did not realise it until I saw the smug look on his face as he closed the gap and kissed my lips ever so lightly that I was not sure if the kiss did happen except for the feelings it evoked. I could never consider a divorce I just needed the space from him till I was able to work out my hurt. But in my quick answer and his smug look, it was easy to see his conclusion that there was still hope.

Omowashe Omorishe#29

Auntie Bimba

second-chance

Me! Abimbade Folashade  Adelakun is pregnant!! The joke of the century.

Ever since the Doctor broke the news, I have been like one in a trance.A dream I had long given up on after twenty years of marriage. Days of crying, depression, shame, guilt, questions and tears of why me?I shook my head sadly.I am pregnant at a time when I had given up all hope of ever carrying my child.

The nights, Segun would comfort and reassure me with words of encouragement and how I was worth more than ten children to him, but it was enough to make the longing go away.  And now I was in a place where I despised him. I felt betrayed when I found out he had a child who was part of our lives and he never told me. I was still stewing in this hurt and pain, and now this one news we had both been looking forward to since we got married could not be shared.

My hands subconsciously went over my belly, as I tried to feel the new life I carried although there was nothing to show I was pregnant but the Doctors confirmation.

For a brief second it crossed my mind, what if the doctor was wrong? A dozen of gynaecologists had told me in my quest that they could not find any reason why I could not conceive.   There was no gynaecologist within the radius of the country that did not have my file with some others in the United States and the United Kingdom. Always with the same result. “There is nothing wrong with you.”

In those early days, it was if the words sentenced me further down into a dungeon of doom. It could have been better if I had an ailment like a blocked fallopian tube or some diagnosis that we could find a solution, but with none, I had to wait for something close to a miracle I never knew what it was that could happen.

I tried the IVF severally to the point I was advised by the gynaecologist to stop concluding that my body kept rejecting it.

“Allow your body rest, and in its own time, you will conceive.” I scoffed at the Doctor, I needed a child and would do a many IVF’s as possible.IVF had to stop after several failed implants that did not yield my dream and millions of naira gone down the drain.

Oh, places my feet trod in the search for a child. I once visited a spiritualist recommended by a friend but took to my heels when he requested I had to have sex with him seven times as my anecdote to wash away the evil spell that had been cast on me, preventing me from conceiving a child.

I looked at the old greyed man with a brown set of broken teeth coloured by constant eating of kola nuts. My first impression of the man wrapped in a white cloth around his loins and red beads hanging on his neck and left wrist was a disaster waiting to happen. A blind man leading another blind man.

He sat there in his filthy hut, located in a deserted bush in one of the villages on the road to Abeokuta from Lagos. How my friend, a fellow learned colleague heard about this man is still a mystery.  My friend told me I would not first or the last as people from all works of life with all kinds of problems streaming to him for a solution. He was so powerful that they all got their request granted.

I was desperate for a child but not so desperate to have sex with this creature.   How could I possibly live with the thought?  Seven days of such a horrible encounter was as good as a lifetime of torture and misery.I imagined that every time I had to have sex with Segun, It would be relieving the madness I had with him.

Sitting in the shamble of a makeshift shelter made of leaves and supported by wood dug into the ground, so filthy I had to hold my breath throughout my stay if that was possible but I think I did.I politely informed him, I needed to go home and prepare and would be back. Of course, I never went back.This experience ended my search ten years ago. I neither visited a gynaecologist nor the miracle baby providers. I long gave up.

There were times I thought of adoption, but I wanted kids out of my womb. I could not get the issue of adoption around my head. I settled as an avid giver to motherless babies homes and was responsible for the education of five children.They were all in different stages of secondary school now, and I started from their primary school.It was rewarding to hear of their excellent performance in school and know I was contributing to society by giving them an education that would make them better citizens.

I tried to think what it would be like having Lana in our lives but there was no point crying over spilt milk. Segun’s betrayal stung like the bite of a bee and stayed like a fish bone in your throat. The pain won’t go away, and the bone won’t go away, and you are as miserable as can be until you seek help.Like a snap, I had a light bulb moment! I needed help to get past the betrayal and not keep musing expecting it to go away naturally.

“Where have my favourite girls been?” was what I heard to bring me out of my reverie. The hiss died in my mouth. I had kept a professional attitude between Segun and me at work, and no one could have suspected that we were living apart except the news from the grapevine which you can’t do without in the office gossips.

I fumbled for my phone in my bag pretending to be so busy searching for the phone. Luckily a call came through, and I did not have to fake one.I signalled, I have to take this call and took a brisk walk to my office, closing my door and turning the lock. A good thing we did not operate the open glass office. There would have been no place to escape.

I have been avoiding any discussion with Segun that was not related to work. He knew it but was not giving up either. Sometimes I did feel like putting a knife through his heart so he could feel the pain he caused me. But on second thought that would be first-degree murder and after that, my surgeon in jail or the gallows. It was not worth it. No man was worth killing no matter the crime he committed.

How could I be angry with him and still be drawn to him? I wanted to harm him and wanted his arms around me. I wanted to be far away from him but still behold his face and bask in his presence. Hate won over love, and I was yet to figure out what to do.

He had a right to hear about our baby, but I could not give him the luxury of a happy feeling. No, I shook my head vehemently. Until I figured out what to do, I would not mention the child.I dropped on the sofa at work, tired of my mental battles and took a deep breath in and exhaled, hoping to let go the negative feelings and thoughts.

What next?

Omowashe Omorishe#28

Sworn to secrecy

second-chance

I settled into my comfortable work life with the additional responsibility of checking on Auntie Bimba more regularly than I should and taking on the role of a PA, from fielding her calls and directing the ones I felt were important to her to arranging her meals

I had seen her throw up three times in one week. I asked her if she had seen her Doctor which she just brushed aside that she was not ready to use drugs hoping the bug will go away.

Auntie Bimba had started locking herself in her office, but I was not put off. Whenever I heard the noise of the flush of a toilet, I guessed she had thrown up again. I started to get worried building theories in my head that perhaps she was suffering from anorexia or bulimia – the eating disorder where you throw up immediately after eating.

I discreetly found out her family doctor and booked an appointment for her on Monday without her knowledge. I would give a fuss if I were the one but no one could change my mind when I am convinced to take action.
Monday morning saw me informing Auntie Bimba doggedly that we were going to Dr Johnson’s office for an appointment I had booked for her.

“Auntie Bimba, it’s either we go now, or I march off to Uncle Segun’s office to inform him,” I threatened.
My threat worked, and we were off to the hospital together.

Mayflower Hospital was a walking distance from the firm, but I offered to drive her there.  I went into the Doctor’s office with her. I still did not trust my Auntie to tell the Doctor what had been happening to her.

“I have never been sick in my life as far as I can remember,” blurted Auntie Bimba nervously.

“Calm down Mrs Adelakun. I can see you are doing well. You have no need to worry,”

“Mild headaches and pains that went without me having to use drugs. The feel of nausea will go, once what caused it in my system is flushed out generally,” Auntie Bimba continued as though she had not heard a word the Doctor said.
Doctor Johnson was a short man with piercing eyes behind glasses that rested above his nose. His angular shaped face had a welcoming look unlike the sharp lines around his mouth that eased up when he smiled.

The man did not have the typically calm, cool and collected look of a regular doctor or the kind that left you swooning with romantic thoughts of “the boy met the girl and lived happily ever after.”

Doctor Johnson had a charisma about him that exuded trust and trust was what we desperately needed now. Someone to genuinely tell us we had nothing to fear but a bug that will pass away and all the medical jargon with pills that will make you better.

The doctor asked questions bordering on if she had recently changed her diet, what new foods she had started taking, when last did she see her menstrual cycle? And dozens of other similar questions.

“I am hitting menopause Doctor; I really can’t remember but I suppose that should be menopause.”

“And who is this charming young lady we have here? Is she your daughter?” he asked referring to me.

“She is not my daughter she is my niece. Dr Johnson, have you forgotten Lana?” she asked.
Wasn’t he supposed to know me? He has been their family doctor for years. He should be aware of their family history. I thought to myself.

But with my birth mum surfacing from nowhere and me becoming Uncle Segun’s daughter, he was not far from the truth.

“You mean the little girl you brought in with a deep gash under her feet needing stitching twenty years ago and her screams were loud enough to pull down the walls of the hospital. How we struggled so hard to give her an injection with a dozen nurses trying their best to calm her down,” he reminisced letting out a chuckle.
“Some energy she had then for a girl of only six years,”

“One and only,” Auntie Bimba smiled at the memory.
I had no memory of what they were talking about, but I could relate with the gash under my left foot representing an ugly scar about half an inch long. I had stepped over a broken glass while on a visit to Uncle Segun’s place.

When I was younger, whenever Uncle Segun came to our house, I would cry to follow him back home, and most days, I had my way. The sleepovers diminished as I grew older, but the bond grew stronger

I was filled with nostalgia and wished I could be that innocent girl climbing into Uncle Segun’s lap at every opportunity. We talked about everything then from dreams to boys, fashion to marriage, and career to parenting.

Maybe Uncle Segun had been trying to tell me in different ways, who he was to me but I never got the message. He showed up for all Fathers’ day events at my school under the guise that my own Dad was busy and asked him to represent him. All my friends in University knew Uncle Segun because he was the one who came to visit me at school most of the time. It was either he was just in the area or my parents asked him to check on me to he wanted to be sure his best girl was doing okay.

It slowly dawned on me Uncle Segun had communicated in every way that I was the most important person to him, and not because I was his favourite niece as I was led to believe. It was because I was his child.
So lost was I in my thoughts that I did not hear the rest of the discussion between Doctor Johnson and my Aunt until she tapped me to get my attention.
“Doctor Johnson was commenting that you have grown into a promising young woman and how your parents must be proud of you,”

“Thank you, Doctor,” I smiled with nothing more to say.

“Now let’s look at you Mrs Adelakun,” boomed Dr Johnson.

“Bring it on Doctor. It is not some terminal disease, is it? ” asked Auntie Bimba visibly relaxed without the trepidation I sensed when we first came in.
Who would have thought a full grown woman to be afraid of the hospital, drugs and injection?

My Aunt’s blood and urine were taken for tests at the lab while we waited in the reception watching a Nollywood movie. The type where the mother – in-law had come to make her daughter-in-laws life miserable.
“Pray, you have a lovely mother-in-law like mine. I find these stories strange because I have not experienced any of that. While your grandma was alive, she was my best friend. I could not have wished for a better mother-in-law, but there are crazy ones out there”, she said with her lips pursed in dismay.
“I would stay out of her way if I were the lady,” I said pointing to the actress on the TV. She should avoid the woman like the plague and stop fighting her husband over his mother. Does she not know she is wedging a wall in her relationship with her husband?”
We should never wish…
Her words were cut short with the lab attendant calling her name for the result
I glanced at my watch. We had spent over three-quarter of an hour waiting.
“You are perfectly fine. Your blood count is superb, and there is no malaria.”
Auntie Bimba beamed at me with an “I told you I am okay look.”
“However, you would need to rest more and not exert yourself. Congratulations you are eight weeks pregnant!”
I could not contain my joy as I leapt from my seat and did a jig of joy.
After all these years my Aunt was finally pregnant with her first child.
She sat stunned and speechless.
Dr Johnson was laughing.
“You are pregnant!” he repeated.

I did not have the words to describe the joy I felt at the realisation of the miracle in our lives.

We left the hospital after picking up the necessary vitamins from the pharmacy. Auntie Bimba was still in a daze and more quiet.

Uncle Segun will be over the moon with this news; I commented as brought out my phone to call him.
“Don’t call him, Lana,  I need to tell him myself, but more importantly I need to figure out what I want to do. Things have changed for us, and I can’t spring a pregnancy on him. Please promise me you would be quiet about this. It is a secret till I am ready to tell or it sells me out.
“You can’t hide a pregnancy can you?”  She chuckled. The closest to a laugh since we found out she was pregnant.

I could not get it around my head how I was going to keep this piece of news to myself.
“Lana, please do not tell anyone about this,” she pleaded.
I hate what she wanted me to do, but I had to give in. It was not my place to break such news. It was for her to tell who she wanted and if she wanted to keep the news to herself, she had a limited time to hide, at most four more months and the secret is out for the whole world.

But what is it with secrets and my family?

Omowashe Omorishe#27

To be or not to be

Leave of absence!  What would I be doing? The last couple of weeks I had almost died from boredom. What  would happen now? I might become boredom personified. My parents have put their feet down that I must take the much-needed rest to recover before going back to work. Their argument being that the stress from work could induce a relapse.

second-chanceUncle Segun offered to pay my salary for that period if that was why I wanted to go back to work, or I could resume a role in his law firm working two hours a day.
My reasons fell on deaf ears, and I ended up abiding by my family’s wishes. What does it take for a family to stop meddling in ones’ affairs? Why is it so difficult for them to realise I am no longer a child but an adult capable of taking care of myself?

I agreed to work at Uncle’s Segun’s Law firm but insisted on four hours a day which I was obliged.

Adelakun & Adelakun Partners was an ideal law firm with about ten staff – six Lawyers, an administrative officer and office assistant. My coming on board was of no relevance to the company or so I thought. However, getting into the organisation, I could see a lot needed to be done to reorganise the office. And the myriad of paper and documents stashed in one corner of the entrance required emergency attention.

I was ecstatic to see Auntie Bimba in the office on resumption. The last I heard, she still had not returned home. Seeing her in the firm she co-owned with Uncle Segun was a good sign to me.

“Hello Auntie,” I greeted courtesying in the traditional way.

“Hi Lana, it is great to see you looking so well. One can hardly believe you were the one I came visiting looking so emaciated some few weeks back. Your eyes sparkle,” commented Auntie Bimba.
I glowed at her words. I knew I looked better than the first week I came out of the hospital but not as good as the picture Auntie Bimba painted.

“Thank you, auntie. And how are you doing?” I asked with more concern than I could hide.

“I am hanging in there, my dear,” she sighed.

“It is a lot to take in. But I see you have adjusted well,” said Auntie Bimba. It was more of a comment than the sarcastic feel of the words.

“Oops!, that sounded mean. I did not mean it that way,” apologised Auntie Bimba.

“I know auntie. You have a heart of gold. I am proud of the way you are handling it, and I know things will sort itself out,” I offered my unsolicited words of encouragement boldly.
Auntie Bimba smiled, and my heart broke at how sad she looked.
“I hope so,” she answered.

“It was disheartening to see she had lost the spunk she had for life.
Why was she walking away and not putting up a fight for her home?

“I hope you don’t find this place boring. I hear you are off work till you get much better.But the Lana I know it must have taken a whole lot to get you to give into this idea.”

“Your husband has his ways,” I said laughing as I stepped out of her office.

Questions were being asked by family members if Uncle Segun would be getting back with my birth mum.
I hoped not. How could Uncle Segun throw the years of history with Auntie Bimba to follow someone who left him in the cold with a child and now wants the whole family package back?
I know he has been meeting with my birth mum and the rumours going around by family members was that if Auntie Bimba insists on staying out. Uncle Segun was justified to bring her back after all the family was complete with, mother-child and father even if the cords that bound us together was brittle.
I was barely out when I heard the scrape of her chair on the ground, and suddenly I could hear the noise from feet rushing.
I turned back into her office and saw her kneeling on the floor of the opened toilet throwing up.

“Auntie, do you need help?” I asked worriedly.

“I’ll be okay. I must have taken something that upset my stomach.”

She washed her face and cleaned up and sat on the guest sofa.

“I will be fine, don’t worry about me. See the look of on your face,” teased Auntie Bimba.

“How did you cope in the hospital if you can’t bear to see anyone in pain?” she asked.
I smiled and quietly left the room after making sure, she was okay and had dozed off on the seat.

Was Auntie Bimba, taking the issue between her and Uncle Segun more than she was letting on. I needed to keep an eye on her and let Uncle Segun know if there was anything.

*******

“You would need to have a meeting with her. Hear her out and talk things over with her. I do not think she is asking to come into our lives. She is just asking to make peace with her child,” said Uncle Segun trying to convince me.

“You think so?” I asked.

I did not want to have that meeting. I do not know if it was out of fear of finding out that I never meant anything to my birth mum. Perhaps she was here because her conscience won’t let her live with it. It was not that she loved me.

For two whole weeks, Uncle Segun kept barging me with the question of if I was ready. I could not understand the urgency of his persuasion, but I stubbornly refused to give in. He could barge me into taking six weeks leave of absence from work without pay, start work in his law firm, but he could not get me to have a meeting with my birth mother when I was not ready.

“When do you think, you’ll be ready?” Andrew asked as we talked over the phone which had become our daily routine. We talked every day over the phone and met up during weekends when none of us was busy.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I would ever be ready. I just want to have my life the way it has always been. I don’t want the confusion of my birth mum and my adopted mum or whatever. She gave me away years ago, and I want it to remain that way. She does not owe me any explanation. Period,” I argued and upset we were having this conversation.

“Do you feel anything for her?” Andrew prodded.

“No,” I answered.

“Then why are you upset with her?”

“I am not!” I raised my voice over reacting.

“You would need to make the decision on your own. One that you would not regret some years down the line. If I were to give you a candid advice, I’d suggest you hear what your birth mum has to say and make peace.

“Make what peace?” I lashed out.

“Make peace to someone who until some few weeks back I did not know existed? Make peace with a stranger who is called my mother because she gave birth to me? Make peace to a woman who was not woman enough to sacrifice for her child?
She is but a stranger to me. I owe her nothing. I had made my peace even before she came along. She should make her peace with her maker, not me. She owes me nothing.
The silence as a result of my outburst was deafening.
I was heaving and breathing over the phone, as I held onto it tightly.
I could hear Andrew’s breath on the other side of the phone but he said nothing.
We must have held on for more than fifteen minutes, and I broke the silence.

“Okay, I’ll try and hear her out,” I said grudgingly.

“It will all work out,” he said confidently over the phone.

“You don’t owe her anything, but you owe yourself to hear her out and make your decision.”

I knew Andrew was telling the truth, so I half-promised to hear her out in my own time but not right now.