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..
“How?” Ade repeated…
“How what?” She raised her tear filled eyes to stare into his.
“How do we do this? What do we tell Teni? Even if she can’t make me leave you, if we could bring ourselves to tell her about us, there is no way it is remotely possible to get her to give up her kids, that would be over her dead body” He paused and drew back staring more intensely into her eyes ; “You are not possibly saying we should kill her are you?” It came out as a whisper but he repeated himself in a louder voice when she took her time in replying.
She shook her head slightly at first and then more vigorously before she spoke.
“NYSC” she said
“What?” he looked at her as though he thought she had lost her mind.
“Nigeria Youth Service Corp”
“I know what NYSC means Julia” he responded impatiently “what has that got to do…”
“Hear me out” she said calmly “and no we are not killing anyone”
The look on Ade’s face said he did not believe she was incapable of killing a human being. “Our call up is in two months’ time right?” she did not wait for an answer before continuing “Teniola is due back shortly before then, we just have to find a way to delay her return” she paused and Ade mentally urged her on, when that did not work, he spoke up.
“You still haven’t said anything”
“I haven’t?” she sighed, enjoying the moment and then continued “You really don’t see it do you?”
“We’ll use NYSC to get lost”
“Get lost within Nigeria? Seriously, that’s your plan?”
“Yes and it will work”
“I’m thinking somewhere really far off”
“I don’t think there’s anywhere far enough that Teniola wont search to find me and the kids”
“You flatter yourself Femi, to find the kids yes but to find you? Don’t be too sure”
“I can’t even believe I’m considering this whole idea, it’s a crazy one at best”
She pretended not to hear him “Gombe” she said “I’m thinking that’s our best option”
“What is that?”
“It’s not a what, it’s a place, do you read or listen to the news at all?” she gave him a mock exasperated look, apart from the dried tear streaks on her face, one could hardly tell she had been crying. Hardly could she contain her excitement at the prospect of having Ade and the twins all to herself without Teniola being a part of the picture.
“It’s a new state, created this year October 1st, really far away, after Jos, after Bauchi even, there’s no way anyone will think of searching for us there”
“How long have been planning this?” Ade’s suspicion was ill-concealed, it even had an edge of contempt to it.
“I haven’t been thinking about it at all, Femi, the thought just occurred to me now”
“Yet you have the perfect place to hide at your finger tip, a newly created state no-less, and a million miles away too?”
“What are you insinuating Ade? When you lose the ability to have children due to an ectopic pregnancy you carried
for the only man you’ve ever loved, when you have been willing to sacrifice everything for him, and you would have been willing to raise his child alone, just so you can have a part of him with you, and then you raised his children by another woman, when all these have happened to you, you come up with ideas that can keep you and him together at…” her voice broke and she stood up and ran into the adjoining room.
Ade slumped in his seat, he felt really bad about everything but he also felt it was unfair for him to take the entire blame for the situation. He weighed his choices once again and even though his better judgement told him that he was being incredibly unfair to Teniola, he argued against that better judgement that Teniola could still have kids and have a fresh start while Julia could not. He also had this worrisome feeling that if Julia did not have her way, she could harm him, Teniola or even worse the kids. He was mentally tired but he had too much of a conscience to sit out their latest face off; if you could call it that. After several minutes, he pushed himself to his feet and walked tiredly into the room. Julia was curled up on the floor, sobbing quietly while she had her arm thrown on the bed when the twins lay sleeping peacefully. It seemed as though all their arguments started out as fierce arguments and ended in her crying, Ade thought, it also occurred to him that she was blackmailing him emotionally but he was too tired to fight back or pursue the train of thought. He walked over to where she was on the floor, lowered himself to the floor and spread his legs so that her entire form was between them, he then pulled her to him, she tried to shrug him off but he was firm and she yielded to him.
“How do we get to be posted to Gombe?” He pronounced the “e” as an “i” and she corrected him before shaking her head stubbornly and saying “Ade, you don’t have to, I don’t want to make you do anything you do not really want to, I am scared that one day you will hate me for this and that is something I do not think I would ever be able to bear.”
“I won’t hate you” Ade said in a quiet voice.
“I have a feeling you will Ade, and because of that, I am freeing you of all blame in everything that has happened and I am also insisting that when Teniola comes back, you take your children and go with her. I will completely vanish from your lives, I promise you this”
Ade could not believe his ears when he said “You and I are in this together, these boys are our children and I will do anything to protect and keep you and them together” He didn’t know why he said those words or why he meant them but he did and he pulled her fiercely to himself, she looked up at him trying to read the look on his face, trying to be sure he meant his words. He kissed her drying tears away and then kissed her on the lips before proceeding to make slow and sensual love to her right there on the floor while the twins slept away. They pulled apart when one of the twins turned in his sleep and they quickly adjusted their clothes before relocating to the sitting room where he sat with his back to a chair and then she sat leaning back into him. The moment of passion was lost but it was replaced with a moment of more intense emotion. Ade tried to downplay it by asking “How do we both get posted to Gombe?” This time he pronounced it right and she smiled before responding.
“It’s not difficult to get into remote places, the really difficult places to get into are places like “Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, I sure we can swing it, we’ll just have to make enquiries”
Gombe was the most peaceful and most serene place either of them had ever been to. Apart from the dust, lack of humidity and the ever present army of flies, they felt at home almost immediately they got there. First they had find a way through a backdoor arrangement of course for Julia to stay outside the camp with the twins and then everything else seemed to fall in place. After camp, they took the extra precaution of getting posted away from the capital, just in case of the very unlikely event that they ran into someone they knew. They got posted to Kaltungo, a very small, very sleepy town with a range of very high mountains where Ade took up a teaching Job. It was his first Job and he really loved it. Julia was posted to the local government office where she just had to show up once a week and still get paid a full but merger salary at the end of the month.They really fared well as a family and at the end of the service year, they moved to the capital city, where Ade set up a small architectural practice and Julia got a nursing job. It was their 2nd relocation in a series of relocations that saw them move around the country and although the plan was to eventually relocate out of the country, they never actually got to it.
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