Ifeanyi saw the small woman two days later. This time, they met in a smaller restaurant, a good distance from the restaurant where he worked.
“What do you want ma’am?” he said as soon as he was seated.
“I’m glad you found out the truth.” The woman replied, smiling smugly. “I’m happy to see you again.”
“So where is my father?”
“He’s not relevant…”
“He is to me. Where is he?”
The woman fingered the pearl at her neck, she looked uncomfortable.
“It’s a long story.”
“I want to know everything. No more lies.”
“I can’t tell you now.”
“Then I’m leaving.”
“Please be reasonable…!” She said sternly.
Ifeanyi got up and made to leave.
“All right, sit down! You’re stubborn, just like him.”
Ifeanyi folded his arms and waited for her explanation.
“We were teenagers and we thought we were in love. When I got pregnant, he denied it and my parents almost disowned me.” The woman sighed and stared blankly for a while. “Anyway, my mother said if I wanted to stay in the house I had to give up the baby. “I won’t raise a fatherless child, a child of shame”, that’s what she said. Your father left our village and went to the city and I’ve not seen him since.”
“So you people just got together and made a child without thinking and when it wasn’t comfortable for either of you, you dumped me at an orphanage?”
The small woman stared at him expressionlessly, he wondered what she was thinking.
“I know this is hard for you to swallow, I would be furious if I were in your shoes too.” She said.
“You have no idea how difficult my life has been, living with poor parents who struggle to put food on the table. I’m now in school but I have to pay my own fees, so while my mates are resting in their hostels, I’m serving rich people like you.”
Agnes observed the young man sitting opposite her. His insolence was repelling, she made a mental to note to discard the young man as soon as she could.
“Don’t worry about your fees any more, I’ll do my duty as a mother from now on.”
“Better late than never.” He said leaning back in his chair. “I’ve had a long night, my stomach is empty.”
She smiled to suppress the unkind words she had been about to say. It had been years since she gave him up, she could at least buy him some dinner, even if it was a pricey one that his poverty-stricken self didn’t deserve.
The young man ate greedily as she watched. He looked healthy enough. He serve her purpose.
When Ifeanyi returned home, his parents were waiting for him in the living room.
“Where are you coming from?” the father asked.
“You’re lying, you don’t usually come home late.”
Ifeanyi belched. “There was traffic.”
“Ifeanyi, at this time of the night?” His mother said, letting him know that she knew he was lying.
“I was with my mother.” Ifeanyi said arrogantly.
“So because you know that we’re not your biological parents, you’re doing what you like right?” His father said. “All the years that we have sacrificed for you doesn’t matter.”
“You’re the one who chose to sacrifice, no one begged you to take an abandoned baby.” He belched again.
“Ifeanyi be careful with this woman. Isn’t she even supposed to come here to thank us for taking care of a child she abandoned at a tender age?” His mother said.
“Ada, the boy is drunk, let’s go and sleep. At least you can see that he’s here. We’ll talk later when his eyes have cleared.”
Ifeanyi slumped onto a nearby chair and soon began to snore.
Agnes sat opposite her lawyer and looked at the document one more time.
“If he’s the kind of person you say he is, he won’t even read the whole thing. He’ll sign it immediately.”
“Good.” She said.
The lawyer shifted uncomfortably in his seat, thinking about what he wanted to ask her. “Can I ask you a question?”
Agnes smiled and shrugged.
“Why do you hate this young man?”
“I don’t hate him.”
“But this,” he said pointing at the document in her hand. “Is not the action of someone who loves…”
“Love? I do not love this young man.”
“I thought you said you don’t hate him.”
“I don’t, he just repels me.”
“Let it go Ugo.”
“I can’t, this… I need to know what I’m getting into.”
“This stays between us.”
Agnes smiles. “My mother was right, he is a child of shame. You know he asked me about his father, bastard children, always siding with their fathers.”
She patted her short hair and set the document on the table, Ugo let his eyes travel down her small hands to her elbows and her chest. He stared at the cream color of the skin that her V-neck gown showed and licked his lips.
“How could I tell him that the man who fathered him fathered me?”
Ugo’s eyes travelled back up to her face quickly.
“He would come to my room every night but my mother refused to believe me. When I got pregnant she was furious… my mother! She had such a temper! She almost beat me to a coma, it’s a miracle that I didn’t miscarry. She then poisoned her husband, he was dead the next morning. She didn’t cry when people came to pay their condolences, she just sat and stared at his picture. People thought she was too grief-stricken to cry!” she laughed mirthlessly.
Ugo’s mouth was agape.
“She made me carry the pregnancy as punishment for my evilness. When I gave birth to the child it looked so much like its father. I hated it so much I couldn’t even feed it. It was almost as if the man came back to torment us. One night, I just dropped it in front of the orphanage. It was either that or I killed it myself and I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I left the village early the next morning, and I’ve never set foot there. That child and his father ruined my life, the least he can do is give me one of his kidneys.”
“But you don’t know if he can give you one of his kidneys.”
“I know he can.”
“Don’t try to talk me out of it.”
“What if this doesn’t work?”
Agnes looked at the document again, the boy would take the five million naira she planned to give as a sort of payment for his organ. He was too self-absorbed not to.