Fadeke arrived Lagos at 1p.m and took a cab straight home. She had cried enough. Tears weren’t going to change the situation. She needed to think of the next step. Her life was going to take a different course and she needed to think. The one she loved had rejected her and the only person she could turn to now at this time of need was her mother. She knew it wasn’t going to go down well with her, but she needed her.
As she sauntered into the house, she heard the hum of the blender and moved towards the kitchen. Her mum was making an apple smoothie and did not hear her walk in.
She looked up surprised and switched off the blender. “I thought you said you were coming back tomorrow evening.”
“There was a change of plan.”
She looked closely at her daughter expecting more. “Okay?”
Fadeke looked away and was quiet.
“Is there something I need to know?”
Her mother knew her too well. She burst into tears again; invading her mother’s space and hugging her tight. She wept like a baby while she was rocked from side to side. When her sobs subsided, she looked up to search her mother’s face.
“Mum, I am so sorry. I know you would be disappointed in me.”
Mrs. Peters cradled her daughters face in her hands. “Fadekemi, I love you no matter what you may have done wrong.”
“I…I…I…went to see Chinedu in Abuja.”
Mrs. Peters hands dropped. “You are what?”
“I’m pregnant, mum. I’m sorry.” She broke down again.
Mrs. Peters looked on like she was in a trance. My own daughter pregnant? “Fadeke, how could you?” She cried.
“It was just once.”
“And you did not deem it fit to use protection? How am I supposed to explain this to your father?” She screamed.
Fadeke fell on her knees and sobbed. If only her mother knew the rest of the story. She did not think she could bring herself to tell her. She felt like her heart had been ripped apart. Her mother turned her back on her as she sobbed.
“What did Chinedu say?”
“I couldn’t tell him.”
She turned round to look at her daughter astonished. “What do you mean? Isn’t he responsible?”
“He is but…but….I met my roommate in his house.”
“She said Chinedu had been playing games with me all along.”
Mrs. Peters raised an eyebrow. “And you believed her?”
Fadeke looked dazed. “Of course, mum.”
“So did Chinedu confirm what she said?”
“I did not wait to see him. I left with the next flight back to Lagos.”
She sighed. “You didn’t give him an opportunity to prove whether what she said was right or wrong. What if she had lied?”
“I know it is true. She said so many other things to prove that I had been deceived all along. I was devastated, mum. I couldn’t take it. I just had to leave.” Fadeke cried.
Mrs. Peters pulled her daughter close to her. Her sobs were breaking her heart as well. “Sssh….Go upstairs and take a rest, okay? You’d be much better when you wake up.”
She nodded as tears streamed down her cheeks.
The plane touched down at exactly 5.30pm. Chinedu looked out of the window at the runway but his mind was far away. He had tried to figure out what Fadeke could possibly want to talk about which brought her all the way to Abuja. What could have happened between when she arrived his house and when she decided to leave but no ideas had come up. He was lost and he needed to find his way out.
As he stepped out of the plane, he flagged a taxi to take him straight to Fadeke’s house. He knew he risked meeting her father at home but she hadn’t given him much of a choice. If she could only pick up his calls; maybe he could decide on an alternative. He tried calling again. Her phone rang out again and he decided to give up. There was no use calling. She wasn’t going to pick up and he also did not have a choice; he was going to meet her.
He looked at his wrist watch as he stood before the expansive gate of the Peters’ family. It was a quarter to 7pm. He hadn’t even called his mother to tell her he was in town. That could wait. The matter before him was more important right now. As he pushed down the door bell, the door man looked at him through the pigeon hole.
“Yes, how may I help you?”
“I want to see Fadeke.”
The man looked at him surprised. “Now?”
“Uncle, seven don almost nack oh and my oga dey house.” He said in Pidgin English.
Chinedu thought for a minute then answered. “What about madam? She dey house?”
“Yes, she dey.”
“Abeg, help me tell her say na me Chinedu.”
“I know you nah. I just dey wonder the time wey you dey come.”
“Please, it is urgent. Could you tell madam that?”
“Okay. I dey come.” He said as he closed the pigeon hole and ran towards the house.
“Come inside”. The door man said as he opened the gate. “She said you should sit down in the guest parlour.”
Chinedu nodded his thanks as he walked towards the house.
As he opened the door to the house, he met Mrs. Peters’ easing herself into a couch in the guest living room. He greeted her as he closed the door shut.
“How may I help you, Chinedu?” She wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries.
“I’m sorry I came to visit this late but I really need to see Fadeke.”
Chinedu moved closer to her while still standing. “Please, I need to know what is wrong. She has refused to pick up my calls. I am confused.”
Mrs. Peters’ looked at him and simply shook her head. “You know her father is home, right?”
“Yes ma. I was told.”
“So I’d advise you leave now. I only came to attend to you out of courtesy. If my daughter doesn’t want to pick up your calls, then you can be rest assured she doesn’t want to see you as well. Have a good evening.” She said as she stood up to leave.
Chinedu stood rooted to the spot. Was this really happening? He rubbed his eyes to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. Mrs. Peters’ who had shown him love in the past had walked him out of her house. This was a bad dream and he wanted to wake up from it.
Fadeke woke up with a splitting headache. She looked at the little clock on the bedside stool. It read 4 a.m. She had slept for twelve straight hours. The events and the journey of the previous day must have taken a toll on her. She staggered out of bed towards the bathroom. She opened the essentials cabinet and took out two tabs of Panadol. She walked back to the room, opened her bedroom fridge and took out a glass and a bottle of water. As she poured the water into the glass, it dawned on her that no one had awoken her for a chat. Did that mean that her mum was yet to tell her father that she was pregnant? She downed the water and the pain killers, dropped the glass cup on the fridge and lay back on the bed.
She put her hand on her tummy and thought. What is going to become of my baby? I am going to be an unwed mother. Everything about my life is going to change. What she wasn’t sure of was how her relationship with her father would fare. As she closed her eyes, she gradually drifted back to sleep.
Mrs. Peters peeped into her daughter’s room at 6a.m. She needed to talk to her. She had informed her husband about the situation last night and he had flared up. He wanted to go wake Fadeke up but she had pleaded with him. She had had a bad day; she told him. He was even more upset that Chinedu had enough guts to come looking for her at home.
“I told you he was no good but you wouldn’t listen. The result is now in her tummy.” He spat. “You better take her to the hospital and get that thing out of her.” He had concluded.
She had been too dumbfounded to say anything. How could he be asking his daughter to have an abortion? She hadn’t been able to sleep all night. She had wanted to talk to Fadeke right away but she knew it would have been a futile effort. She was tired and needed to rest.
Fadeke was already awake but just lay in bed. She saw her mum peep in and lifted up to sit.
“Good morning mum.”
Mrs. Peters walked into the room and sat on the bed. “Good morning darling. Did you rest well?”
She sighed. “Things have taken a turn for the worse, I must confess.”
“You told dad.”
“Yes, I did. He says you should have an abortion.”
“What? No way.”
Her mum just looked at her without a word.
“You are not in support of that, are you?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what I am in support of at the moment. I am confused.”
“I just wish you had been more careful, Fadeke. In this time and age, I’m surprised you could take such a risk. What happened to protection?”
Fadeke bowed her head.
She sighed again. “We need to think this through so that we don’t take a decision we would regret later. Do you understand me?”
“Chinedu was here last night.”
Fadeke raised her head. “He was here? What did he want?”
“He wanted to see you. I had to attend to him in the lounge. Your father was upstairs and you can imagine what would have happened if he had seen him.”
“Mum, do you think he looked remorseful?”
“Do you want the honest truth?”
“He looked confused. He really doesn’t know what is going on and I think you should talk to him.”
“But I don’t want to.”
“Okay, fine. I can’t force you to, you know? Anyway, you should be hungry.”
“So, let’s go make breakfast.”
They both stood up from the bed and walked out of the room.
Mr. Peters was already in the living room watching the early morning news. It was a Sunday morning and they should normally be getting ready for church; but the events of last night had upset him so much that he wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere. Fadeke was walking ahead of her mother and as she entered the living room, she stopped short. She hadn’t expected to meet her father sitting in there so early. This was unusual. Her heartbeat increased as her father looked up from the television set and met her eyes. She was about to turn back when he spoke.
“Come back here Fadeke.”
She looked at her mum who was standing behind her with pleading eyes. She understood immediately and held her hand; walking her towards the living room. As her mum sat on the couch opposite her dad, she huddled beside her.
“So you still continued with your relationship with that Igbo boy? You see what it has caused you?” He paused and looked at his wife. “Have you arranged how to get that thing out of her?”
“My dear, let us think about this before…..”
“Think about this? Hear yourself speak. What are you thinking about? She would not have that bastard in my house.” He scowled.
“You can’t ask your daughter to go for an abortion.”
“I am not asking her to. I am telling her she must have one if she is to remain in my house.”
Fadeke who had been quiet all along suddenly burst into tears. She knelt down and pleaded. “Daddy, please.”
He stood up infuriated. “Why are you begging me? You were so stupid to have given yourself to an Igbo boy. Pray that I don’t set my eyes on him ‘cause he would be as good as dead.” He stormed out of the living room leaving both mother and daughter dumbfounded.
This story was excerpted from “To Love And To Hold” by Olubukola Adekusibe. Please click here to get your copy now.