The first installment of this series ends here. The series will continue on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. In the meantime, I will entertain you with a mini-series I’ve titled: Run! and I hope that you’ll be here for that.
The mini-series starts tomorrow.
Enjoy today’s post and please leave a comment!😉
“What do you mean?” Mrs Williams asked, siting away from her. “What do you mean Lanre is the father?”
“I don’t know how it happened Funke! I just know Jumoke is pregnant and Lanre is the father! Oh God, where did I go wrong?”
“Lanre would not do that. I don’t believe it.”
Mrs Oludare stopped crying and looked at her friend. “You think I’m lying?”
“Ah, I didn’t say you’re lying but I just don’t believe that Lanre would impregnate Jumoke. My son is not that type of boy, I taught him better than that.”
“Funke,” Mrs Oludare said. “What are you implying?”
“I’m not implying anything Tayo. Stop blowing things out of proportion! This is a shock to me, I just don’t see how this could have happened…”
“That’s beside the point! What are we going to do about what has already happened?”
Mrs Williams pursed her lips and thought of the question. “My son is not ready for marriage…”
“And neither is my daughter…”
“Good, at least we agree on that.” she muttered. “So then let’s consider the next option.”
“And what is that?”
“Don’t pretend as if you don’t know what it is.”
“What do you mean, what are you talking about?”
“I know a good doctor…”
“She will be properly taken care of. No one will know it happened. She’ll be fine…”
“What are you saying? You want to put my daughter at risk? Would you suggest this if she was your daughter?”
“Well, my daughter would know better than to get pregnant at sixteen!” Mrs Williams snapped and looked away from her friend.
“Is that so?”
Mrs William pursed her lips again. “My son is not ready to be a father.”
Mrs Williams looked at her friend in shock and then slowly stood up and walked out.
“Why did you go and talk to her without my permission?” Mr Oludare barked at his wife. “You’ve messed everything up!”
“What was I to do? You got angry and just left! I didn’t know where you were and I had to do something about the situation.”
“You know this is all your fault. You just have to do things your own way! I told you not to compare Jumoke to the William girl but you said there’s no shame in gaining knowledge! Well, I hope you’re glad that she is now knowledgeable!”
“Sola, are you blaming for this?” She asked tearfully.
“Yes, I blame you! I blame you entirely, you led Jumoke right into this!”
“And now you have gone to tell the wrong person about it. Don’t you know how self-absorbed your friend is? You’re surprised that she exonerated her son? This is what happens when you insist on fixing everything!”
“You have destroyed your daughter’s life. I blame nobody else but you for this and I will never forgive you.” He said as his voice broke with emotion. “Let’s hope that Funke doesn’t do something funny with this foolish decision you’ve made!”
Mrs Oludare fell to her knees and cried agonizingly after her husband left the room, he had echoed the voices she had been trying hard to silence.
It’s my fault, it’s all my fault! I’ve destroyed my daughter’s life.
“Did you do it? Is it true?” Mrs Williams asked her son when he got back home later that day.
“It was just once mum.”
“That means someone else could be responsible…”
“She was a virgin mum…”
“You’re very stupid! You slept with a girl once, she claims she’s pregnant and you believe it! I hope you’re not this dumb in America?”
“Mum, I’m just trying to take responsibility…”
“Which is admirable, if you knew what you were actually doing but you don’t! I mean how are you so sure that she’s not just trying to put this on you?”
“Mum I know…”
“Lanre! You don’t know anything!”
“I wouldn’t quite agree.” Her husband muttered, staring blankly at the black screen of the television. His wife waved her hand dismissively and resumed her attention on their son.
“We have to find a way out of this. I won’t let you ruin your life even if you think you know what you’re doing.”
“Jumoke’s pregnant! I knew there was something off about that girl! She just wants to be a part of this family so bad. Gutter girl, trying to rise up to be like us! I’m glad mum is seeing through her lie.” Gbemi said.
The twins had been eavesdropping on their brother’s conversation with their parents, and as soon as he was done with them, Gbemi summoned him into their own room to confirm the story.
”She’s not lying.” Lanre said, seated on Gbemi’s bed and holding his head in his hands. He was still in shock.
“So this is what you guys didn’t want to talk about.” Remi said morosely. “Lanre, you’ve messed up my friend’s life.”
“Ehn?!” Gbemi yelled. “Don’t let me hear you say that again. She didn’t sleep with herself and he didn’t rape her. She opened her legs and did what she did. I’m sure she’s the one who even seduced him.”
“So while I thought you guys were talking, you were having sex?” Remi couldn’t get over the fact that her friend and her brother had covered up what had really happened between them.
“Please Remi, stop drawing us back with this nonsense you’re saying. Are you his girlfriend? What’s your own now? Instead of you to think of how you will confront that friend of yours you’re here talking off point!”
“Gbemisola!” their mother called from a distance.
“Yes!” she replied, equally yelling and got up to answer her mother, leaving Lanre and Remi in an awkward silence.
“Will you talk to her for me?”
“And tell her what?” Remi asked, anger flashing in her eyes.
“You’ve destroyed my friend’s life and I’m not innocent. She didn’t want to have anything to do with you. But I begged her, even fought with her for you. And then you do this?”
“What were you thinking?!” She sat up querying him. “Do you realize that she’ll have to quit school? Do you realize the shame she’ll go through because of you? Do you reali….”
“That I didn’t rape her?” he retorted. “I didn’t not force her, she gave in to me! How dare you sit there and pretend as if you didn’t know what would happen when you left us at the hotel? What did you think would happen between us? A friend you knew I had a crush on! Before you label me a bad person, stop for a second and realize that you brought her to me! You planned how we would meet! It was you who suggested everything! I don’t have time for this nonsense!” He muttered and walked out of the room.
“I will never forgive you Lanre.” She said to him.
“Whatever!” he shot back.
The following evening, Mr Oludare went to the William’s house, he intended to talk to his friend Deji. They would iron things out man to man, and work out a solution that would suit everyone. Deji was cool-headed and would easily listen to his proposed plan.
“Oga no dey sah.” The gateman said to him after he had knocked on the gate several times.
“Ehn ehn? When him go come back? My friend no dey tey like this now?”
“No o, him no go work, all of dem no dey. Dem don travel comot, say make I no open door for anybody.”
“Travel, where?” Mr Oludare felt an odd tingling sensation down his spine.
“Oga you dey ask me? I no know o! Dem just carry all their bag this early morning. Say dem dey go “facashun” ”
“Na everybody o! Nobody dey, even the girl wey dey work here, Janet, dem don sack am.”
Mr Oludare took several steps backwards and tried not to believe what was going on. The Williams had absconded.
“Oga, anything for me…?” he heard the gateman ask as he walked back to his car in a daze.
“There’s nobody in the house. It’s been empty for almost a week now.” Mr Oludare shook his head unbelievingly. “They actually ran away and left us to deal with this.”
“What do we do?” his wife asked calmly.
“There’s nothing else to do, having an abortion is not an option. She will have that baby and move on with her life.”
“Have the baby? And what happens when it’s born? Who will take care of it? I can’t quit my job to take care of a baby.”
“Maybe if you hadn’t put so much importance on your job earlier, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Sola I won’t take this blame anymore! You’re responsible for her just as much as I am.”
“That’s your business. She’s having that baby and that’s all there is to it.”
Mrs Oludare shook her head angrily, thinking that her husband was being selfish. Even though she hadn’t initially wanted Jumoke to have an abortion, it now seemed to be the best course of action. The Williams had run away from their responsibility and it would require a great deal of sacrifice to raise an unwanted child. Why couldn’t Sola see past his anger and do the right thing? It seemed that he simply wanted to punish her with this pregnancy and she wouldn’t allow it.
Jumoke sat on the floor, wrapping her arms around her raised knees. Lanre had left, along with Remi. They had abandoned her to face her pregnancy. It had been three weeks since she found out about it and she still wanted to die. She’d lost her appetite for anything and consequently become frail. Her parents had stopped taking her to church because it was becoming obvious that she was pregnant. She had turned almost white and her skin glowed even more, the elderly women in church would take one look at her and know. Already Mrs Fasheun knew and that hadn’t gone well.
She had been spreading clothes on the line three days ago when the woman snuck up to her.
“You’re pregnant!” She said without preamble, shaking her head disapprovingly. “Why did you disgrace your parents like this? Why? As intelligent as you are, why couldn’t you close your legs? Or were you raped?”
Jumoke had simply kept her head bowed and said nothing. The woman had left her after a while but not before saying.
“And your mother is the one that is always advising other women. She couldn’t advice you! O ga o!”
She had cried for several hours after that and wished that she could go elsewhere to avoid the shame that awaited her everywhere.
Why didn’t I listen? Why? She asked herself over and over again as she thought of the several times her mother and brother had warned her.
The door opened and her father waked in.
“Good evening sir.” She said in a hoarse voice and scrambled to her feet. The previous night when she hadn’t gotten up on time, her mother had smacked her across the cheek several times.
Mr Oludare looked at his daughter sadly. She was a shadow of herself, her eyes were heavy and her collarbones stuck out. Her hair was a mess. His beautiful vibrant daughter had sunk to the depths of depression. He had come to give her a new set of rules but as he stared at her, compassion grew in his heart. She had suffered so much for her mistake, and still had several hurdles to cross in the future.
“Sit down.” He said to her and sat by her.
Father and daughter sat for a while without saying anything. Mr Oludare had never imagined that there would ever be such a scenario where it would be painful for him to talk to his daughter.
“I had high hopes and big dreams for you Jumoke.” He began sullenly. “I bragged about you to all my friends who made jest of me when you were born and turned out to be a girl.” He chuckled dispassionately. “I told them that my daughter would employ their sons!” he sighed. “What happened? Why did you allow this to happen to you?”
“I’m sorry Daddy.” She replied weakly.
Mr Oludare was quiet for a while. He was deep in thought, shaking and nodding his head intermittently. Eventually, he reached for her hand and squeezed it.
“You will rise above this. You have to.”
Jumoke shook her head in disagreement, not seeing how this would be possible.
“You will rise above this. If you’re the only girl who becomes great after a teenage pregnancy, then so be it. But I will not discard my dreams for you because you made one mistake. Jumoke!” he held her shoulders and forced her to look into his eyes.
“You must rise above this. This is life, be like the egg that hardens in hot water. Don’t allow this to break your spirit…”
“Daddy… I can’t…” she said despairingly, crying.
“You must! You will!” he boomed, cupping her chin in his hand and staring into her eyes. “You will be better than this…”
“What about marriage Daddy… who will marry me?”
“Don’t bother yourself about that. A good man will identify the greatness in you and love you for it. You don’t deserve anyone who cannot look beyond a mistake you made when you were a teenager.”
“What about people?”
“Well my dear daughter, you will have to learn to look them in the eye and stand tall. I guarantee you that they will not be able to stand up to that! Who hasn’t made a mistake? Is there anybody who is so right that they’ve never been wrong?”
He wiped the tears from his daughter’s cheeks.
“I am with you and you will be fine. Do you hear me?”
“What about Mummy, she’s still angry.”
“Give her time, she’ll come around.”
She nodded her head and hoped that he was right.
“Now I want you to clean up and please comb this hair!”
“Thank you Daddy.” She said, holding him and crying into his massive chest.
“Anything for my little girl.” He replied and stroked her hair.
“I’m not your little girl anymore…”
“You will never stop being my little girl.” He replied and got up.
As Jumoke rose to do his bidding, he turned back to face her.
“One more thing, I’ve decided that you’re going to school abroad.”
“Yes, you’re going to go to the school of your choice and break all the records there, even if I have to empty my retirement savings. This is between me and you, you hear me?” Jumoke nodded in stunned silence. “But first you must have your baby, nurse it, and get well.” He said and left the room.
Jumoke was lost for words, how could this situation have produced something she had only dreamed about? In the dark tunnel she’d been in, she could finally see a bright light ahead of her. As she stripped off her clothes and stepped into the bathroom, she saw herself reaching toward the light.