Teniola had the twins at the tail end of October, it was a rainy night, all had gone well, with no complications and with both boys were very healthy, they had been discharged 48 hours later. Ade stayed in the hospital all through, spending his nights on a bench on the corridor close to the hospital ward, catching what little sleep he could but spending most of his time peeping through the window at the twins and their mum. To say they were shocked when they were told a second baby was coming was an understatement. Teni who was in labour almost went berserk; Julia simply took off from the labour room while Ade collapsed on the nearest seat. They were yet to come to terms with the fact they had had twins but had gone home to Julia’s place upon discharge, managing as best they could, struggling with whatever provisions they had made for just one child to cover both boys. It was tough initially but they had managed to see it through and once Teniola got back to school and got a part time job, she sent as much of her wages as she could to Julia.She eagerly looked forward to her return to Nigeria and to the twins, the pleasure only occasionally damped by the thought of explaining to her parents that she had birthed a set of twins without their knowledge.
In Nigeria, the bond between Julia and Adefemi who were the active parents of the twins was becoming stronger; Ade tried to caution himself, telling himself as often as possible that Teniola would soon return and that they would be a proper family. All went well initially with Julia occasionally asking if he had written Teniola and when last she wrote to him. She acted like they were a proper family and it had bothered him but he would keep telling himself that all would fall into place when Teniola returned.
One evening about two months before Teni was due back in Nigeria, Julia and Ade had a huge quarrel.
“Femi” Julia had started “You really want to spend the rest of your life with a woman who would abandon your children who are barely two months old to go abroad and study?”
“You know she only did so because she had no choice” Femi could sense trouble brewing and strangely he felt really prepared for it.
“That is no excuse, if you are a responsible woman, you should be willing to sacrifice anything and everything for children you brought into this world”
“Yes and think how big a sacrifice it is to have to hand them over to people you trust and be without them for months on end”
“You are blinded aren’t you, blinded by how weak you think she is, how much she loves you, how much you love her, fool that you are, everyone else abandons women with their babies, not you, she abandoned them with you, she…”
“Shut up” Ade had yelled surprising himself “You made her do it, you made her so comfortable with the idea, she had no idea what you got up to behind her back! You betrayed her”
Julia’s eyes blazed with pent up anger, pain and hate “I betrayed her?” her laugh was hysterical “We betrayed her more like, or did I rape you, oh I must have, poor weakling that you are, you had no idea what we were doing”
“No you didn’t, you seduced me”
“Daughter of Jezebel that I am”
“Yes that is what you are!”
Julia sat and held her palms to her stomach, clutching hard and doubling over “You bastard she moaned, because of you I’m never going to have children of my own” Ade looked at her for a few moments feeling his resolve to hold his own against her slowly drain away. He squeezed beside her into the chair she sat in, pulling her to him, she resisted briefly, hitting his face arms and chest feebly and then turned to face him as her sobs gave way to all out wailing. He held here wrists and she struggled for a few moments before eventually giving up and burying her face in his chest. When she was calm, he buried his face in her hair and asked “Julia, what do you really want?”
“You” she mumbled against his chest and then raised her tear stricken face to look at him pointing at the door beyond which the twins slept peacefully “Them” she added.
“How?” Ade could not believe he was asking this, considering it even.
Teniola turned on instinct, she was standing in the arrival lounge of the Lagos airport waiting for her dad’s driver. It was December and there was a mad rush at the airport. Her dad had made her go for a job interview in Abuja, he was unable to understand why she showed no interest in getting a job since she arrived the Country. Teniola wanted to spend every minute she could, searching for her kids, for Julia, for Ade. She had turned round and saw them through the Plexiglas partitioning in the airport, they were on a short queue in the departure lounge on the other side of the airport, she could see them but they couldn’t hear even if she screamed, she would have to go down a flight of stairs all the way out of the arrival gates, go in at the departure gates and go up a flight of stairs to catch up with them. The queue they were on was really short and although she was certain she could recognize them even though their backs were turned to her, she strained to get a better look through the Plexiglas screen. She had a niggling feeling that her mind was playing tricks on her but it seemed too much of a coincidence that both the man and woman were carrying babies and that both adults resembled Ade and Julia from the back . Still she would go all the way to where they were to make sure it was not them. She took one last glance before leaving her spot and then the woman had looked back, their eyes locked and her heart lurched painfully. It was Julia.
Teniola’s heart lurched as their eyes met, her hand flew to her throat as it constricted, she held eye contact with Julia through the Plexiglas barrier, she mouthed her name “Julia” but no sound came forth. Julia on the other side of the barrier, swung into action, hustling Ade towards the airline counter. Ade never looked backed, he wasn’t aware of her presence. Teniola swung into action, slipping off her shoes before making the run for it. She looked over her shoulder one more time to ascertain the particular airline counter, she knew her chances of catching up with them was slim to none, still she made a run for it, she had no choice but to.
Heads turned to look at her as she ran; a mass of flailing arms, hair, shoes and her bag but she paid no heed. She got to the counter in record time but too late to catch up with them, she made a wild attempt to explain her need to meet up with Julia , Ade and her kids to an attendant who struggled to keep a smile pasted on her face as she listened to this incoherent young woman opposite her. “Please calm down ma’am” she had said “I calm barely understand you”
Teniola found it impossible to be calm and rushed her words in between shallow breaths. “They are getting away, I need to get in, I saw them from up there” she flailed the arm carrying her handbag in the general direction of the arrival lounge. “I need to get in there before the plane takes off” she pointed behind the attendant.
“Ma’am please be calm, can I see your ticket? What flight are you trying to get on? I will also be requiring…”
“I am not trying to get on a flight” she screamed at the attendant, wiping the smile of her face “I need to catch them, they are making away with my children, let me see your register so I know what flight they are getting on!” by now more than a few heads turned in her direction and a couple of airport security operatives, one of them a woman moved closer to her.
“I’m sorry you cannot go through our records, you may however wish…”
This time Teniola reach across the desk in an attempt to grab whatever documents she could lay her hands on behind the barrier, knocking the attendant’s keyboard of her desk. The female security operative who sensed the move in advance moved swiftly and grabbed Teniola by the arm, Teni in turn swung around and took a swipe at the woman’s face. She knew she was acting irrationally but she was beyond caring. She started screaming and flailing her arms and feet and it took the combined efforts of both security operatives to hustle her away into one of the rooms reserved for interrogating travellers suspected of shady dealings.
Chapter 23 will be available to read next week Friday.
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Categories: storytelling, written series
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