The Runaway Bride 23

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May 1982
Sola Adebisi got down from the back of her
father’s volkwagen car and walked to the
main house to greet her mother. The last time
they saw was when she went to school 3
months ago. The letters have not been enough
Her mother ran halfway to meet her darling
daughter who was making them proud in
school. After her diploma, she had insisted on
going to the university to study Literature and
she had been there for about 2 years now. She
brought home good results. Her mother could
not be more proud of her, especially because
she is a lady and the only son she has was not
showing any interest in education.
Ever since she started a relationship with Tola
Ajayi, her live had changed and everyone can
see it. She suddenly wanted to go to the
university, getting better grades each
semester and even advising her brother to go
and further his education; though he did not
listen to anyone on that.
They always asked after Tola and hoped he
would return to Nigeria when he’s through
with his masters and would formally ask for
her hand in marriage. Happy that their
daughter would be marrying someone who
has gone to the white man’s land to further
his education. He is a cool headed man also,
the perfect in law and would surely succeed.
That particular break, her brother had come
home with his friend who he claimed his
parents lived in the village but would love to
spend the break with them so he could get a
job. Unknown to them, he was just a
wanderer, who had no will to school nor learn
a trade. He would wake up to help them fetch
water from the deep well at the back of the
house, feed the goats and sweep the
compounds. After all that, he would simply go
back to sleep till he is called for breakfast. He
was just doing all that to gain their favours
and for them to allow him stay.
He ended up staying for the entire month Sola
was at home and things happened between
them
Sola had been rushed to the hospital some
weeks after resuming her 300L in the
University of Ibadan. What they thought might
be ordinary malaria turned out to be 5 weeks
pregnancy and they could not advise her to
abort it. So they were lucky that Tola returned
that same month and formally asked her to be
his wife.
The whole process was sped up so he would
not notice a thing and when she delivered a
healthy baby earlier than the normal 9
months, they ruled it to nature and asked
them to thank God that she has a healthy
child, in spite of the fact that he came early.
The secret has been their secret for years;
Sola and her mother, although her father
cannot say he doesn’t know about it. When
Ade started asking after her even after she
moved back to school, her brother had been
suspicious and when Sola’s mother threatened
to have him locked up for stealing, he stopped
coming
Sola’s elder brother left for Lagos to learn
fashion designing and became quite
successful, but whenever he sees his nephew,
no one needs to tell him that he was right
when he accused his friend of sleeping with
his sister. He had denied it and so had she.
The unserious boy eventually impregnated
another girl in the same community as Sola’s
parents and he was forced to take
responsibility.
The other family got him a security job with a
company and he was sacked within months
for drunkenness and theft.
When sola visited her parents with her kids
for a Christmas break when Tokunbo was
about 18 years old, she had come across Ade
and his son from the other woman. She could
have snatched him away from Ade if she was
not sure Tokunbo was sleeping in the house
with his sister.
The resemblance was too much and anyone
would have taken them to be twins, the
holiday break was cut short for that singular
reason and she has never taken her children
back to the village to see their grandparents
for fear of someone linking Tokunbo to Ade.
Even till their death.
The birthmark on his head appears on the
head of all his children from the other
woman; male and female. Although her
mother said it would eventually not be
noticeable on Tokunbo’s head with time, but
they have been wrong in that prediction.
The only thing they have been right about is
that Ade would ruin her life if she married
him, they were right when they advised her
to marry Tola Ajayi and not tell him about the
pregnancy that he would not suspect a thing.
They said he would make her life better, and
they have been right.
********************************************************
Chinwe has tried everything in her book to
avoid Tokunbo. Call it out of guilt, love, fear
or whatever you may. Every method she tried
was met with his smiling face and helpful
hands. He had waited for her to use the toilet
that morning, despite the fact that there were
3 other toilets in the house he could use.
When Clara called her from Uyo the night
before to tell her she arrived early, he had
spoken with her and asked how her journey
went, even saying hello to Henry. His actions
said it all, Tokunbo did not rape Clara, and he
couldn’t have and still be comfortable with
the hospital lab results they all are waiting to
get.
When the nights come, he simply would lay
on his side of the bed and would calmly wait
for her to get in beside him before turning off
the lights. He made sure they ate together,
and would sometimes help her to wash
afterwards.
When she got a call from her father’s lawyer,
who told her she would start work on Monday,
she had turned to him after the call to ask
what she should expect from starting a role
without an interview. He had simply told her
to take it as a merit, no one would hire her
without one, she looked worried and ended
up asking if they thought she would not have
passed the interview and just employed her so
they would not stress themselves, to which
Tokunbo laughed and told her to quit being
silly.
He told her to think it that they believe so
much in her ability that they knew she would
catch up with the workplace irrespective of
her being interviewed for the position or not.
The reply seemed to relax her as she went
into the bedroom to start sorting her clothes.
When he came into their room that Thursday
night, he was surprised to see her reading
some documents she must have printed out
from his printer. She was so engrossed in it
that he almost wanted to ask what she was
reading until she turned to him and ask.
“Do you think I can do this, I mean I have
never worked in my life.”
“We all have to learn work someday, I know
you will fit in and be wonderful at any job
you are given to do”
Tokunbo said sincerely and when he caught
her staring at him from the corners of his
eyes, he looked back at her and patted her
knee before facing the other side of the room.
“Thanks for that,”
“You are welcome”
When Friday came, they were together in the
sitting room; he typing away on the laptop
and she reading the printouts from the night
before when they both got an alert on their
phones.
After going through the results of the DNA on
his phone, Tokunbo could not fathom the
meaning; all he could see and understand is
75%.
“What do you think this means?”She asked
him nervously.
“That is what I was about to ask you. You
know what, I will print it out and we can
head to the doctor’s together.”
As they got into the vehicle, Clara called
Chinwe’s line who told her to stay put with
her phone as they were on their way the
hospital. Clara also called Joseph, who
abandoned all he was doing as he hopped into
his car and drove to meet Clara.
The tension in the air was thick and both
were saying different prayers.
When they sat at Dr. Kunbi’s office, he went
out to attend to a patient and asked them to
spare him some minutes. When he did not
arrive immediately, Chinwe could no longer
find comfort in sitting down, so she stood up
and paced the space of the office. Clara’s call
came in again, but she silenced it.
When Dr. Kunbi returned some 40 minutes
later, he apologized for keeping them and
took the paper from Tokunbo, before he
started talking, they asked if they could call
Clara and make her listen to the
interpretation of the result.
“Hello Clara, can you hear me?. This is Dr.
Kunbi, your friends are here.”
“Go ahead Dr. I can hear you”
“well, from the result with me, it shows
Henry has about 75 % genetic makeup as
Tokunbo, which could simply be interpreted
that Tokunbo is not the father, but he is
surely related to the father of your son. If we
have anything above 95%, then Tokunbo
would be his father. However, with 75%, he is
only related to the person who fathered your
son most likely his brother. This is my
interpretation and I would advise you to get a
second opinion if you have doubts, but I can
assure you, the interpretation would be the
same.”
The silence at the other end of the line
matched that of the office as Dr. Kunbi stared
at the 2 people sitting in front of him.
“Hello, do you have anything to say, or would
you like to ask any question?”
“No sir, I …”
“Hello Dr. this is Joseph, her friend”
Hi Chinwe. We will continue our discussion
later but for now, no question. Thank you so
much”
“Hi Joseph, is she alright?”
“She will be fine. She is just in shock”
Ok, thanks”
They both thanked the doctor and left his
office with more questions on their mind, but
more on the mind of Tokunbo than on
Chinwe’s. As they drove away from the
hospital, it was nearing evening, Chinwe
watched her husband as he drove down the
busy road, but suddenly changed the direction
to the road that leads to his parents’ house.