“Julia, I’m in trouble”
Julia was used to her cousin being overly dramatic, Teni was due to return to the United Kingdom in a week, she had come to Nigeria barely a year after her last visit as she had promised Ade that she would not stay away so long after her last visit to Nigeria and she had kept her promise. She had been around for about two months and was spending the weekend at Julia’s although she spent the nights at Ade’s.
Julia was finally able to hide whatever jealousy she felt in Teniola’s presence; and would usually take it out on Femi whenever Teniola was away.
“What is it this time?” she gave Teniola a mocking exasperated look.
“I’m pregnant” Teni’s voice was barely a whisper.
Julia dropped the plate of cereal she was eating and the crash as the plate broke into several pieces startled Teniola.
“For Ade of course, who else?” she was shocked that Julia would even ask.
Julia quickly gather herself “I meant to ask if you have told him already” Teniola shook her head and her face crumbled as she broke down in tears. It took every ounce of her will power, but Julia walked over to where her cousin stood, carefully side-stepping the shards of broken plate lying ignored on the room floor, and held Teniola in her arms while the latter sobbed into her shoulder. When Teniola was eventually done sobbing- Julia had simply stood there patting Teniola’s back unable to find any words to comfort her cousin, she pushed her back gently and sat her down in the nearest chair. Internally, she was seething with rage but somehow she found enough strength to hide her true feelings, she would deal with Femi later.
“So what’s the plan? When do you intend to tell him? Are going to tell him?”
“But I have to, I can’t have a baby without his knowledge can I? seeing as he is the father.”
“So I guess you have decided to keep it” Julia was giddy with rage and this was said through gritted teeth but Teniola had too much going on emotionally to notice her cousin’s emotional state and Julia was able to comport herself before Teniola noticed her anger.
“Julia, I can’t have an abortion, I don’t want to die, I don’t want anything to happen to my womb”
This time, it was too much for Julia to bear and she simply dissolved into tears, this set Teniola off once again and she stood up from where she sat to take her cousin in her arms. They sat there for a long time each internally nursing her wounds.
Ade could not believe his ears, he had a feeling of dejavu, it was as though he were re-living a bad dream, only this was not a dream, he had blinked severally but the image of Teniola who stood, shedding quiet tears before him refused to go away, this was real, it was no dream. First Julia and now Teniola, he wished the floor he stood on would open up and engulf him but the ground remained firm.
“What do you want to do about it?”
“What do I want to do about it?” Teniola asked, her quiet tears immediately gave way to loud sobs, the tears seemed to well up too easily in the past few days.
“I… I…I’m sorry babe” Ade was stuttering, he was lost for words and tried frantically to put his thoughts together “I meant what do we do about it?”“I’m keeping it” she said resolutely.
Ade swallowed hard before saying “I know baby, we will keep it” he was terribly scared but he felt some measure of relief in knowing that he would not go through the ordeal of another abortion yet the fear of the unknown was his biggest fear. He had lost his dad years ago and hardly ever saw his mum who was remarried. It was his cousin, a doctor who had so far been taking care of his financial needs. His cousin felt indebted to Ade’s dad who had paid his way all through to medical school and who had made sure he lacked nothing.
His cousin had repaid the good deed so far, ensuring that Ade had lacked nothing while in school, he not only paid Ade’s school fees, he paid for his off campus accommodation, made sure he had the latest clothes to wear (at least reasonably so) and also that he had adequate pocket money at all times. It was this same cousin that he had run to when they had found out that Julia’s pregnancy was ectopic and he knew this time that there was absolutely no way he would go back to cousin Jide and tell him he had gotten another girl pregnant.
Jide hadn’t said much by way of scolding him during the whole ordeal of Julia’s ectopic pregnancy and afterwards on the day Julia was finally discharged, he had simply said; “Well I’m sure you have seen how a few moments of careless pleasure can cause irreparable damage” He knew he would get more than an earful if he went back this time, he also felt he would seriously be letting cousin Jide down if he found out about this latest ordeal.
“We’ll keep it” he agreed “but how?”
“How?” Teniola asked
“Well you are returning to the UK really soon, I am here in Nigeria, I don’t think I can give you the support you need from here”
“I don’t know what to do but I’m keeping it, I have been discussing with Julia and we are thinking of ways to go about it”
“Julia” Ade’s head jerked up, “She know’s?” He just realized that he would still have to face Julia regarding this and he was did not find the thought very palatable.
“Yes she does, she is also very confused but we are trying to put our heads together and see how best to go about this.” Then she added as an afterthought “And if you come up with any ideas please let me know, I’ll be going home to my parents today, but I’ll be back the day after next, if you come up with anything before then, could you please drop by at Julia’s place and run them by her?”
She stood up to leave and he also got up to walk her, before they stepped out of the door way, her turned her around to face him and said “It will be fine baby, I promise you it will."
Much later that evening, he heard persistent loud knocks on his apartment door and winced, he already knew who it was; he had spent the better part of the day since Teni left preparing for this moment, knowing as the seconds trickled by that he would never really be prepared.
He took a deep breath before sliding back the dead bolt to let Julia in and immediately she stepped across the threshold, she let a hot slap fly at his face. The sting was instantaneous, he felt it almost before it landed on his cheek, but it was nothing compared to the onslaught that was to come.
“You bastard!” she hissed “You had to go and get her pregnant, you fool!” Ade simply stood there rubbing his cheek while keeping his head hung.
“You had to go and get her pregnant” she repeated seething with rage “So what are your plans for her and what are you going to do about me?” she stared at him with so much hate but he refused to meet her gaze.
“I let you get away with too many things and I let you have it too easy but not this time!” she was seething with rage “Now you want to have kids? After everything that that we’ve been through, after what has happened to me? Are you kidding?” she was pacing the room and stopped at his reading table to pick up a framed picture of Teniola sitting on the table, she stared at the picture for a few seconds and then suddenly flung it at Ade’s head, he almost didn’t see it coming but ducked just in time and the picture smashed into the wall, a few inches from his face.
“Why is she crying?” Kenny was pointing at Claire who was sitting on the basketball court bench, he was a bit alarmed and Tai was equally alarmed when he followed the direction of Kenny’s pointing hand and saw Claire hunched over on the seat, her shoulders shaking as she sobbed. They quietly made their over to the bench and sat on either side of her. They had become firm friends with her and would regularly meet on the basketball court where they would talk about music, the occasional movie, the impending resumption of the twins at the university; Claire’s dad had yet to make up his mind he would let her attend the university that year or not even though she had admission letters from both universities she applied to. Bob still refused to say anything other than “Hi” to Claire and that was only when she came up to them while he was already with the twins, he never walked up to the twins if Claire was already in their company and Kenny had eventually had to admit a bit ruefully that all the tales Bob used to regale them with were nothing but cooked up stories.
After sitting quietly for a few seconds while Claire wiped her face of her tears, Tai gently asked “Claire, why are you crying?” Neither boy was sure of how to handle a crying girl so they waited patiently while she wiped her tears and sniffed. When she was eventually calm enough to be coherent, Tai asked again, this time echoed by Kenny; “Why are you crying?”
“My dad has finally agreed to let me go to Uni”
“You don’t want to go?” Kenny asked
“I do, but I want to go and see mum, and tell her the news, dad won’t take me”
The twins had met Susan the one time they were at Claire’s place and when they Tai had said
“Claire, your mum is really nice.”
She had responded “She is not my mum” with such finality that Tai had thought it was a good idea not to pursue the conversation further. Now he asked gently;
“Where is your mum?”
“She’s in a hospital just outside town, I’ve never been there alone and I’m scared to go alone, it’s on the outskirts of town” she still had tears streaming down the sides of her face and was sniffing rapidly in between words.
Tai threw his head back in surprise when he heard Kenny say “We’ll go with you”
Stay tuned for Episode 18 next week Friday.