I was busy wrapping the gifts i had gotten Ify for her hen night, there were wrapped gifts on the floor, on my bed, on my dresser. I was about wrapping a set of hot red silk nightie when i heard the front door open. I became crazy, i pushed some of the gifts under my bed, i grabbed a duvet and covered the ones on the bed. I sighed in relief when i heard Ify’ s door click open and shut. I decided not to tempt fate,i came out of my room and shut the door. i couldn’t risk Ify seeing the gifts before the party. Invites were already sent out to few of my sensible friends since she had none apart from me, the ladies that works for us were also invited and Chiboy’ s sisters.
” Ify” i knocked on her door.
” Please give us a moment” Chiboy answered.
Wow! no wonder! ” okay! Just don’t break the walls with your screams o” i replied cheerfully.
Since Ify was preoccupied i went back into my room to wrap the remaining gifts. I rushed out of my room locking the door behind me when i heard Ify’ s door clicked open again.
” Hi. See you later Ebere”.
Chiboy walked out, he looked……i mentally searched for the right words. Ify was on her bed, the bed was still neatly made, she was staring at the ceiling. I sat next to her. Something was wrong.
” Your Genotypes were not compatible?”
She sighed loudly, she reached under the pillow and handed me a report. My heart froze.
” There must have been a mistake!” I cried out in anguish.
” Chiboy insisted they re_run it, same result.”
I laid beside her on the bed scooping her into my arms like a mother would her sick infant. Why Ify? Why not me? I was the wh0re! I was the one who had done abominable things! God why not me!
” How…….? was it him ( Chiboy)?”
” No. He is negative”
” How?” I was bawling now and my nose was running.
” I always insisted on protection, we always used a condom…..thank God!”
” This is all my fault! my fault! Please forgive me”
I cried remembering that one night long ago.
” You know it could have been Jeff……?” Her voice was so calm like we were discussing the weather. ” We can never be sure”
” The one that raped you? “.
She wiped away my tears, holding me tightly.
” You will be fine Ify, i will do my best…….we would fight this thing together”.
” Chiboy wants to go ahead with the wedding ”
The wedding! I had forgotten about it, how could this happen when everything was going perfectly. Ify hadn’t asked to be born, she didn’t deserve what was happening to her! i was the one who never went back to see my poor family in the village, i was the one who threw away a baby, i was the sinner!
” There’s no reason the wedding should be put on hold.”
She laughed. ” At this point in my life i need to be realistic, i can’t subject Chiboy to a life of uncertainty. I could die any time from now.”
” Shut up!” I said, ” You are not dying! and you are going ahead with the wedding! It is not the end of life!”
The next day Ify disappeared, i was so worried about her. She wasn’t with Chiboy and i was getting alarmed as the day slowly gave way to night, I ran into the living room when i heard the door bang close.
” Where have you been! I was so worried!”
” You know i wasn’t sure if it was Jeff”
” Yes……” I said anxiously.
” Well i went to be sure, if he didn’t have it then, he does now.” She glided out of the living room shutting her door after her.
I was perplexed. I lowered my self onto the couch and then it hit me what she had done.
My hands trembled as i pulled on my skin tight black number, it was an expensive little thing that doesn’t leave much to the imagination. My b00bies were almost out of the dress, then i wore my make up with care, nothing must go wrong.
Ebere’ s door was closed, i sighed in relief and slipped out of the house. I was almost at Ogba when i broke down in tears, i remembered my mother forcing my hand into a bowl of hot water, i remembered the numerous beatings i had gotten from her, i remembered Juliet, i was so happy when they took me in. They were like family to me but they had turned me out without a second thought.
” Madam ” A dirty looking police man knocked on the glass of my door. ” You are parked illegally ”
I dapped at the tears on my face, careful not ruin my make up and continued with my journey.
” Good Morning ma”. A short skinny guy threw open the gate.
” Morning, is Mr Jeff Wright at home?”
” Ah madam! he has gone to work o, but his office is at Opebi.”
I beamed at him and i could have sworn his eyes turned shy. ” Mind giving me the address?”
” No Problem ma. I used to be a gateman there before Oga transferred me here.”
He wrote out the address and gave it to me.
” Thank you. How about Juliet?”
” She took her children to school. You know her husband’ s family chased her away when he died.”
” Yes i know. Terrible family, maybe i should say hi to mommy, is she inside?”
” No She’ s out of the country “.
” Thank you”.
I drove back to Opebi Allen, i remembered the spot i had stood that night, long ago, he had walked to me and offered me a hundred thousand naira for a night. I had thought God sent him to me, as a solution to our problems. We needed the money badly, i couldn’t let Ebere starve.
” N100 thousand without Condom. I hate condom” he had said.
” I don’t want to get pregnant sir” i told him naively.
” Don’t worry i will pull out. ”
I didn’t understand what he meant by pulling out but i guessed it meant he won’t get me pregnant. He was so thin i remembered thinking ” how could he be so thin if he has a hundred thousand naira to give away.”
Jeff’ s office wasn’t hard to locate, his secretary was a little mousy girl, she ushered me in without informing her boss first.
” What is this?” He barked. ” How could you just bring someone into my office without my permission”
” Sorry sir” she hurried out.
” Hello Jeff”
He looked at me and almost dropped on the floor. His gaze was fixed on my bosoms. This fish was hooked.
” Hi………..hi miss…….please have a seat” he stuttered out. ” Have we met before?”
I sat down, deliberately widening my legs, his gaze dropped to my exposed thighs.
I gave a little laugh.
” Its me, your baby girl……..Ify”
He turned ashen and lost his color.
I smiled at him.” I have missed you, i couldn’t resist coming to see you…..baby are you married?”
I would have walked out immediately if he had answered with an affirmation. I couldn’t put an innocent girl through hell.
” No, no am not married. Baby girl am sorry for_____”
Oh really? I didn’t let the bas.tard finish” Baby all that was in the past. Am so hot for you, is there somewhere we could go?”
He stood up hastily, knocking off the files on his desk.
” Yes, yes baby. ”
We went to a seedy motel in Ikeja, the sheet got tangled in no time.
” That was hot!” Jeff said panting. ” Darling why are you dressing up?”
” I just remembered i had an appointment later today”.
” Awww baby. Please stay nau”
” Some other time.” I snapped at him.
” OK baby, ehen…I just remembered something “.
” Your dad……….he came the next day after ……….um….after you left ”
” My dad?!”
” Yes, he kept coming every week to check if you had returned. He stopped coming five years ago.”
My dad. I told myself i wasn’t going to cry.
” Your mother too came back two weeks after you left. Why didn’t you come back baby?”
I could have killed him right there and then if i wasn’t certain he was also going to die.
” Where is…….my mother now?”
” She is still at your house. She kept asking questions about you especially after the boy died.”
” Which boy?!” I shouted.” Toby, my brother?”
” Yes, That’s the name! He had an astmatic attack.”
My knees gave out. I remembered his chubby cheeks. He had stood up to mom on several occasions trying to defend me. My baby brother.
” Sorry baby” he said lifting me up.
” Where is my dad now?”
” I have his number”
I got my dad’ s contact from him, picking up my bag, I said, ” Jeff you might want to run some medical tests……..Yea i think you should”
I breezed past him towards the door. ” One can never know what disease they could contract by an unprotected s-x. Good luck!”
His eyes widened in shock, he turned pale.” What do you mean?!” He shouted. ” Ify! Ify!”
I drove down to Abiola gardens at Sectariat. Little things begins to matter when you know you are dying. A bird flying in the sky becomes a delight to watch, a little girl running around with the wind blowing through her hair makes you cherish life more. A beautiful couple walking by makes your heart squeeze with pain.
I sat down on the green grass, I offered to carry a young woman’ s baby so she could eat. Lord knows am never going to hold mine. I closed my eyes imagining the cherub belonged to me. I gave a little boy a push on the swing after handing the baby back to the grateful mother. The little boy had been on the low swing, shouting, ” mommy please come and push it” the mother had been more interested in the phone in her hand.
In the evening i drove home blasting sinach’ s ‘ I know who i am’
” I know who God says i am, what he says i am , where he says am at, I know who I am!” I sang aloud . ” I ……..am holy, i …….. am righteous ooo…I am……beau..ti……ful….oooo”
To be continued