Folasade’s father Durotolu was dipping a piece of roasted yam into a calabash of palm oil when he saw his wife and daughter coming from afar with somber looks. Wondering what it was that could have caused them to come all the way from the village to see him in the middle of the day, he finished up his food and wiped his hands as they got to his farm hut.
“Hope there’s no problem? What brings you here?” he asked cautiously.
“Good day father.” Folasade greeted.
“Hmm.” He answered perfunctorily. “Iya Folasade what happened?”
Abeni sat on the bench and pointed her daughter to the bench as well. “Folasade tell your father everything.”
When she did, Durotolu almost threw up his lunch. He stared at his daughter for a while and then began to laugh coldly.
“Tell me again what Adeyimika said.” He finally said.
“He implied that we should continue our affair and kill Adegbola and his father so that we can own all the family property.”
“Very good. That is exactly what you will do. Did you see how Adegoke treated Agbeniyi, his own in-law? I’m sure he will do worse to me if we go and accuse him of anything. Who would even believe us? This is a better revenge, we will destroy their family the way they destroyed you. And if Adeyimika doesn’t kill them on time, you will.”
Abeni and Folasade nodded their heads in consent, it seemed like a good idea.
“Besides, you’re already pregnant, it doesn’t do us any good for you to give birth to a bastard. How do we feed it? We will revenge and be wealthy in the process and we will do it without anyone becoming suspicious of us.”
Adebisi was becoming worried. It had been a couple of months since Folasade had been married to her son, yet there was no sign or news of pregnancy and she had no intention of being as patient as he had been with Mowunmi. So, she ordered two of her slaves to gather some yams, smoked fish and palm oil into a basket and follow her to her son’s house.
When she got there, she found Folasade sleeping on a mat.
“Folasade! What kind of sleep is this? In the middle of the day?”
“Ah mother! I didn’t hear you come in!” She replied, rising from the mat.
“Why are you sleeping at this time of the day? Are you that idle?”
“I’ve been working, I just dozed off a short while ago…”
Adebisi looked at her daughter-in-law closely. “Folasade… you are pregnant…?”
Folasade bowed her head and smiled shyly.
“You are pregnant?!” Adebisi said again, this time with joy. “Oh my head, thank you! When did you find out? Why didn’t you tell me? Have you told your husband?”
“No mother, I just found out but I wanted to be sure…”
“You have done well! Ehn Ehn! This is a good daughter-in-law. Not one who can’t conceive and yet commits adultery. This is good news. From now on, you are to do nothing! Do you hear me? Whatever you want to eat from morning to night I will provide. You are just to eat, sleep, and wake up. Do you hear me?”
“Yes mother.” Folasade replied shyly.
“Now what do you want to eat?”
“I’m not very hungry, I just keep throwing up…”
“That’s one of the symptoms of pregnancy, but you must eat. You can’t not eat. I want a big healthy male child! You!” she turned to one of her slaves who had been grinning behind her.
“Why are you smiling?” she asked good-naturedly. “You slaves are nothing but eavesdroppers! Go and get me some bitter kola from the house. And you,” she turned to another slave. “Go into the kitchen hut and start preparing the ingredients for yam porridge.” She turned back to Folasade.
“I am going to make you my famous yam porridge!”
Folasade realized that she needed to pacify Adegbola and avoid any confrontations with him if she was to carry out her plan successfully. She had to earn his trust completely. So when he came home, she knelt in front of him, clasping her hands together.
“I am sorry my husband for being tactless. I did not know that you would be offended when I collected the meat. I was only thinking of the delicious stew I would make for you. That’s why I collected it without hesitation. Please forgive me.”
Adegbola looked away from her, still unhappy.
“Please… I have made lafun with a delicious chicken stew and ewedu garnished with smoked fish and locust beans.”
Adegbola’s frown eased out.
“Should I bring it…? You’ve not eaten my food since the night we fought.”
“Have you poured away that bush meat stew?”
“Yes! Eveyrhting! The next morning.”
She had actually eaten all the meat before pouring away the stew.
“Alright, bring the food.”
The next morning as he prepared to go to the farm, she told him of her pregnancy. He smiled hesitantly then nodded.
“That is good” he said.
He meant it, because he could tell his brother to stay away from his house for the next nine months.
“Folasade is pregnant.”
He said to his brother later that day. Adeyimika had been sharpening a cutlass in front of the family house when he came into the compound. When Adeyimika heard the announcement, he looked up and kept a straight face, he could not let his brother see his excitement or surprise that Folasade had not told him herself.
“I want you to stay away from my house until I call you. If I see you near my wife, I will kill you! Do you hear me?”
Adeyimika nodded and resumed his work.
Although he had been warned, Adeyimika had to see Folasade. Knowing that his brother would be at the farm, he went to his house two days later and found Folasade eating a piece of boiled yam disinterestedly.
“What are you doing here?” Folasade asked surprised.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you’re pregnant?”
“Your mother’s slaves just left this place, if they had seen you it would have aroused suspicion! You can’t just come in here, what do you want?”
“Why didn’t you tell me that you’re pregnant?” he asked again.
“I was going to tell you, I was just waiting for the right opportunity.”
“I am very happy.” He replied with a smile and sat down.
“Don’t sit down!” she snapped “Look, I don’t want trouble, what would I say if your brother walked in and found us sitting together?”
“I won’t stay here for long. Have you agreed to our plan?”
She nodded slightly.
“Alright then, I will let you know what we will do but let us avoid suspicion for now.” He looked at her lovingly and she looked away bashfully. “Carry my baby gently.”
She smiled slightly and he rubbed her stomach. “What we are doing is for our child…”
Folasade nodded and watched him rise up and walk away.
Agbeniyi was happy to be home again. Ibironke and the children swarmed round him tending to all his needs as if it could erase the horrors of being imprisoned.
“Should I bring you your tobacco?” Olumuyiwa asked.
“Baami did they give you food to eat?” another child asked.
“Baami do you want to sleep?”
Ibironke saw that the children were wearing him out with their questions.
“That’s alright! All of you go in! Your father needs to rest.”
“Thank you…” Agbeniyi said wearily. “I didn’t have the heart to tell them to go in.”
Ibironke smiled. “I know.” She sighed. “How are you?”
Agbeniyi sighed. “Ibironke, poverty is not good. I would have died if the king didn’t have mercy on me. That’s why I must do all within my power to make sure that our children have a good inheritance.”
“Where do we get the money to pay back the king? If you owe the king who will save you?”
Ibironke gave him a melancholy smile.
Ajadi was weeding the garden beside his house when Mowunmi and Mopelola came into his compound.
“Good day.” Mowunmi said to him.
“Good day.” he responded, rising up.
“I came to return your basket. I’m sorry I’m returning it late. I didn’t get the chance to return it.”
“Don’t bother. Just leave it here.” he replied pointing to the ground.
“I should just put it on the ground…?”
“Yes.” He replied and continued his work.
Mowunmi and Mopelola looked at one another awkwardly. They had expected a warmer welcome but they did as he said. Ajadi knew that he was being unwelcoming but he didn’t want his kindness to be repaid with scorn.
“There’s nobody who doesn’t want to be loved. She just needs to be persuaded to let love in.”
“Would you like some water to drink? I’m sure you must be thirsty in this sun.”
“Yes!” Mopelola answered on their behalf, having being instructed by her mother to see to it that their visit to Ajadi’s place was fruitful.
“You’re not sitting down?” he said when he came back out of his house with a calabash full of cool water.
“We didn’t want to disturb your work…” Mopelola answered again.
“You’re not disturbing me. Sit down.”
They sat down and drank the water in silence and Mopelola recognized that she needed to give the two of them some space.
“This water has made my bladder full, I want to ease myself.” She got up and went into the bush.
“Thank you for your help the other day. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come along.” Mowunmi said.
“There’s no need to thank me…” He hesitated and decided to try talking to her about his feelings once again. “It’s good to be kind to people… especially those who one loves…”
Mowunmi bowed her head and smiled shyly. Mopelola returned then.
“We have to leave now…” Mowunmi said sadly, rising up and wishing that Mopelola had spent more time in the bush.
“I’ll come and see my friend soon…” Ajadi said.
“Alright, we will be expecting you.” Mowunmi replied.