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.

Meena’s Diary#10

I loved the thrill I got from the shock in JK’s voice. The one-minute silence before the barrage of questions. When did I plan the trip? What was I going to Paris to do? Who was with the kids? Why did I not discuss this with him? What is happening here? When are you coming back? To we need to talk when you come back. As the questions flew like gunshots, I was fuming and daring him in my head to forbid me from making the trip. I had thrown caution to the wind and wanted to hurt him in every possible way, so he felt the same pain I felt at finding out, I was no longer at the top of his priority list. I had been displaced by someone else.

 

wordle-girlstoys

Was I curious? Yes. I wondered who she was. What she looked like and what attracted him to her. Am I going paranoid? My daily browsing through his phone convinced me he was about to or into an affair. Although, I still had not confronted him with on what I knew. Somehow I wanted it to be a lie, hoping that by not talking or acknowledging, it would all go away. I was hurting and lashing out. There was no rational or logical approach to my recent actions.

I ended the call entirely satisfied. It was just the beginning. I was going to make JK pay and go through the same hell I was living in now.

I settled into my seat with the hope that I might be able to sleep during the flight but alas I had this woman beside me who was too chatty for my liking.

I tried answering all her questions with monosyllables and nods with smiles that said I want to be alone but either she chose to deliberately ignore or was just psychologically stupid not to pick up my innuendos. The former I later found out was the case. I gave up on sleep and chatted with the dimwit woman, or so I thought and found I had met a soul mate even though I was reluctant at first.

She brought out a book “Love Dare” which piqued my curiosity. “What book is that?”

“It’s a 40 days devotion on saving your marriage. They also have the film and the novel – Fireproof.  You might be able to watch the movie on the flight.”

“No, give me a book on how to wreck a marriage. I am done with saving. It’s just too tiresome and yields no result.”

“Why don’t you watch the film? It’s a long flight, and you can tell me your thoughts on it.”

I reluctantly watched the film and had a thing or two to say. It looked like where my marriage was, but it was not in us women to wander. The unfaithful partner here was unbelievable the woman.

“It’s not for us to be unfaithful,” I commented to my new friend.

“But that is not to say we are saints. Can I let you into a secret? I have almost been there before sanity snatched me from the highway of destruction I was willingly walking.

It felt so right that it started as an innocent, genuine friendship. The man was having issues with his wife at home, and my husband was battling to save his business. Our lives were too busy and at varying tangents. I could do with a friend who genuinely cared.

We crossed boundaries with every red light shining, but I always rationalised it. Until the day we found ourselves in a hotel kissing and groping at each other. Like a flash of lighting, I was fortunate to come back to my senses. I knew it was wrong.  I could not do it. I picked my clothes and ran out of the room.

My ears tingled as I looked at the woman before me. Infidelity is never written on faces and if it were, certainly not this lady sitting beside me. She looked noble, respected and contented. I wondered why she was telling me. She did not have a clue of what I was going through but was hitting deeply at the issues of my heart.

Why did you run? What came to your mind? I asked curiously wondering all the while if I had it me to be unfaithful. However doing it to hurt JK seemed a good excuse.

“Marriage is a covenant. Some say it’s a contract you do your part I do mine. When a marriage goes through stuff, it might be one person tirelessly doing the right thing without expecting a reward till the partner comes around. Therein, is the test of all marriages.

“I buy the contract school of thought. I am not stupid. We both come half way to the table. No one is superior to the other. You can’t go about misbehaving and expect the second party to keep doing it all to keep the home. I am at a place in my life where I am wondering if I should walk out or stay put,”

“I won’t be able to tell you which. I have not walked your road, but deep in your heart, you know what to do. You might want to try this before throwing the towel and walking away.

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?

Meena’s Dairy#5

Wake up

 

wordle-girlstoys I ran into the reception of Gurara hospital looking around for Hauwau, and there she was sitting calmly like she was not the one who had raised the alarm sending me scurrying off to the hospital like a frightened rat.

“Hey! What’s the problem, spill it out,” I commanded irritably.

“You need not be in a hurry.  Only brace yourself for what you are about to see.”

“What kind of suspense is this?” My heart was beating at 70, above the normal healthy heart rate per minute and my friend was all cool and dilly-dallying on the main issue

“Follow me,” she said gravely.
I was filled with trepidation as I walked behind her trying not to second guess what I was to behold.
Once we entered the room, I almost blacked out with shock as I saw Sa’a my dear friend lying lifeless on the bed.

My knees buckled as my mind screamed. She could not be dead. No, it was not possible.
I spoke to her over the weekend, and we had planned to go to the Garki city mall to watch a movie on Friday Night.
I gripped Hauwau and asked “What is this? Is she sleeping?” I wanted to believe Sa’a was sleeping.

“She was brought in here unconscious; her house help called me after raising the alarm and a kind neighbour brought her here last night.

Last night, and I was lying on my bed being cuddled by JK while my best friend was being snatched by the cold hands of death.
“What about Atiku?” I asked. “He should be here.”

Hauwau hissed and rolled her eyes. “Atiku is away in Dubai. He left yesterday night.”
She handed me a letter, and I took it from her. Something was terribly wrong, and I could feel it.

Atiku and Hauwa were two inseparable lovebirds. We were both in the same class in secondary and went on to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Their love had span teenage-hood to adulthood. Atiku was just a year older than Hauwau, but they had weathered the storm through thick and thin that threatened their love.

Their love story would make you never feel enamoured by Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet.
In her second year at the University, Sa’as father had gotten her a respectable husband. He was a dear friend of her father, a business mogul and she was to be his fourth wife. Sa’a fought tooth and nail with her father and faced almost being disowned but for the intervention of the Emir of the town who she ran to for help.

The intervention brought a twist to her destiny of being a fourth wife to marrying her teenage sweetheart in pomp and pageantry as the two families were Arewa socialites.
What I read in the note brought tears to my eyes.

Sa’a had contemplated suicide on discovering Atiku was having an affair with a girl ten years their junior and was planning to marry her. She was a daughter of a governor. I recognised the name when I saw it. We had one of the girls in our class in secondary school. I also remember she was a sworn enemy of Sa’a over Atiku. What one sister could not get the other has gotten it. Was it Sa’as destiny to be traumatised by this family?

I sat in the nearest available chair dejectedly.
“Is she going to make it?” I asked with an apprehension that had come to seat within my breast since I walked into the room.
The Doctors are doing all they can, but they can’t give us any assurance.

“Oh, Atiku! What have you done?” I whispered to myself.

“Is Atiku aware?”

“No, he is not. Like I told you he was off to Dubai. That I know because the house help said that much to me.”
I pulled my phone out to call him; he would most likely be roaming his number.
“What are you doing?” Hauwa asked making an effort to snatch my phone from my hand.

“Calling Atiku,” I answered what else did it look like I was doing. I fumed below my breath.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she threatened.

“Why?” I asked more baffled by the way Hauwau was handling the situation. Why so much anger and poison oozing out of her.

“You think he cares? The man is on the verge of taking another wife, and you are calling him?” she hissed.

“Taking another wife or not he would want to know about his wife near suicide attempt,” I argued stubbornly.
Hauwau laughed at my foolishness.

“You still think life is like all the – Mills and Boons you read in school. How many did you read? 100, 200 300, because I believe you have been brainwashed. What part of – there is no happily ever after in marriage are you finding it hard to believe?”
“My story,” I retorted upset with her and how callous she was being.
Tsk! Tsk!! Tsk!!! she smirked. “My dear Meena, wake up from dreamland before you find out that the carpet has been pulled from under your feet.
A groan from the bed where Sa’a lay got me rushing off to her side while Hauwau picked the phone to call the Nurses.

Meena’s Diary#4

wordle-girlstoys” Fire on the Mountain!” came Hauwau’s voice over my mobile phone.
“Meet me at Gurara Hospital,” she said with an urgency that was uncommon to her.

Hauwau has been my childhood friend, and she was one of the most laid back people I had ever come across.  Anything did not move her, and she moved nothing. She had it all together in her life and yes! I confess I was jealous. I was never tired of telling her. It was like she had the universe eating from her hand. Whatever she desired she got it cheaply and without stress.

“Is everything alright?” I asked already panicking.

” I can’t talk over the phone. Please show up quickly and leave all that your made up to perfection face at home too,” she hissed. She knew I would never leave the house without looking my best.
Whatever the problem was, it must be big. I was certain of that.

In addition to her life being on a platter of gold, Hauwau was also the worst of people to get a message across in crisis. She was either giving you her thoughts or the consequences of the issue but never the real problem at hand until you got to her.

So this is how I started my fifteen days vacation. It was not a holiday to go on any trip, but to get my home and heart in order. My life had become a roller coaster on speed off  600km per hour similar to Japan’s Maglev train without applying any break. Turning sharp bends and corners that I felt I had lost control. I did not know what day it was anymore. I was consistently missing out all the children’s school functions. Following up on their work has been so tedious that I am only able to check their home works and leave the rest to the lesson teacher.

I dropped the kids at school this morning while I attacked cleaning the house like it was the battlefield of Normandy.
It was in this state that Hauwau called me.  I slipped into a skinny black jeans, sky blue sequined kaftan and a navy blue veil around my shoulders, picked my Ferragamo bag and wore my sequinned slippers that matched the kaftan top.

A quick touch of lip gloss on my mouth, pursing my lips before the mirror as I applied it. Spraying a good deal of my Jimmy Choo illicit flower perfume while using my hands to comb out my human hair. I was contemplating working on my foundation when my phone rang again. It was Hauwau.

I dashed out of the house calling on Hannah, the house help to finish up the cleaning.

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.