Joseph kissed me softly on my lips, i opened my mouth a bit welcoming his hot tongue. His hands fondled my b.reasts in a light caress. I pulled back, we were necking in the sitting room like two Hot teenagers. I don’t know what it is about him that makes me lose my senses.
” What is wrong?”
” Joe we are getting careless! Vicky or Linda could walk in on us!”
” When will you stop acting this way Maggie? we are two consenting adults for christ sake! and they would understand! Yes i loved their mother but i am a man with needs!”
” Is that the only reason you are with me?”
” No my dear. You know that i love you and i want to marry you.”
Why doesn’t he understand? Jennifer was like a sister to me, she had rescued me from a life of misery. How could i betray her trust? How will the girls even look at me?
” I can’t marry you. the girls……….”
” The girls! The girls! It is and has always been about the girls! how about me Maggie? ” he snapped angrily.
” Please give me some time.”
” That is all i hear from you” he walked out of the room.
I loved him. He was the first man i ever loved and he was the first man to treat me right. He was so sensitive to my emotions and needs. He was a good man.
” Auntie i need your help with something ” Victoria said, she stood on the stairs.
I wondered if she had seen us. Thank God I came back to my senses when i did if not she would have surely caught us red handed. i groaned inwardly.
” I am here for you”
” What is the name of the hospital i was born? ”
” Why do you ask? isn’t it on your birth cert?”
” Dad can’t find the certificate. ”
” What do you need it for?”
She shrugged. ” I am only curious to know”
” Mercy hospital. It is located in Mende,Maryland”
” Why wasn’t i born at the hospital Linda was born? Afterall it is our family hospital. ”
” My dear your late mother will be in a better position to answer that question. ”
” Thank you Auntie ” she turned, and walked back the stairs.
Obviously she had too much time on her hand. If not why was she bothered about something so trivial? When i was her age i was hawking on the streets of Lagos. Thoughts of my past make me moody for days. The most unpleasant part of my past were my last days in the orphanage. Mother had suddenly turned against me when i refused to participate in weird fun. I went for days without meals and i was made to do everyone’ s lundry and all the back breaking work. She also started coming into my room every night, i tried for so long to fend off her repulsive touch but in the end i gave in. I would lay so still and pale like a piece of paper while she had her way with me. She would revert back to her old loving self afterwards but the nights i refused her touch brings me punishment and hunger. Her soiled hands on my body made me harbor a deep hatred for my fellow women. I thought they were all like mother superior. Until i met Jennifer.
The year i turned fifteen, i broke into Mother’ s study, i borrowed some money out of the money reserved for our upkeep. I took enough money to last me, when the opportunity presented itself, I left the orphanage without a backward glance.
I was able to secure a room in a seedy motel but the money soon ran out, i was turned out and once again i found myself destitute.
I will have something from my past, today. I could barely contain my happinesss but i managed to keep a tight lid on it.This was what i needed, for so long, i questioned the circumstances surrounding my birth. It almost drove me crazy and it kept me awake many nights.Every visitor to our residence, when going through our family album, the one question on their lips was” Where is Victoria’ s photographs as a baby?”
There was no single photo of me as a baby. In that huge family album, there were photographs of my parent’ s wedding, photos of Mom’ s baby showers, photos of Mom carrying Linda when she was born. Virtually every aspects of their lives had been documented.
Each of the photographs had captured their happiness, their smiles and glowing love for each other. The photos of mom and linda when she was a little girl always caught my heart. My mother looked so pretty in each of those photos, her eyes were always full of smiles. I wish i had met that angel, i always wished that i was the happy little girl who clinged to her in each of those Photographs. I yearned for a piece of my mother, anything, which i could boast of linking her with me.
Sometimes i ask my Auntie why my mom didn’t have a baby shower when she was pregnant with me. Her response was that it was a difficult pregnancy. Another time, i had asked her why i wasn’t born in the same hospital as my sister but she said she wasn’t in a position to answer it. these questions may seem petty to some others but it mattered a lot to me. I was told my mother died shortly after my birth, i grew up in the loving arms of my Auntie. I couldn’t ask for a better surrogate mom but alas i found myself yearning for something which could identify me as the late Jennifer Nwosu’ s daughter. My mother’ s belongings were locked in a room and only my sister had access to that room. I wanted to have a glimpse into the life of the woman who had brought me into the world. I want to be able to talk about her too, i also want to have a right to her memory. My sister acts like only she had a right to our mother’s memory.
This was the first step in my attempt to know who my mother was myself. I needed to do this. When there was a discussion about my late mother i want to have something to say about her too. Something which i hadn’t heard or learned from my family. Something which i had discovered by myself. Coming to Mercy hospital was because i wanted something from my past.
I parked my car in front of the almost dilapidated hospital building. The two storey building was located in Mende, Maryland. The old matron i met the week before had promised to have the files ready in a week time and that was after i had greased her palm with enough ” Something”
” I am here to see Mrs. Adekemi. Is she in?” I asked the receptionist.
” She is in, do you know where her office is?”
I nodded and she asked me to go to her office. The tiny stuffy office smelled of old books and sweat. I knocked lightly on the door and she beckoned me in.
” Young lady you have given me serious work! it wasn’t easy but i was able to find the files.” She smiled at me, indirectly telling me she wanted more cash.
I beamed at the good news. ” Thank you ma”
” Luckily i remembered being on duty on that fateful day and i even helped to deliver both of the little girls born on that night.”
” How many baby girls were born on the 5th of September 1996?” i wanted to know.
“Only two baby girls were delivered here that night. What is that your name again?”
” Victoria Ngozi Nwosu”
She flipped through the dusty old files, squinting her eyes. She looked up in bewilderment.
” Are you sure those are your names?”
How could i not know my own names? i wanted to give her a rude reply but i didn’t want to provoke her anger so i answered yes. She placed both of the open files in front of me. Sweat broke out on my forehead as i tried to read the faint biro ink on the papers.
‘ Joy Ugochi Nmadi.’
My eyes darted to the second file.
‘ Omolola Temilehin Tiamiyu.’
” Are you sure these are the right files?” i asked. I was certain there must have been a mistake. where is the file that document my own birth?”
” I should be asking you if you are sure you were born here at Mercy Hospital twenty years ago. I have been here for almost thirty years. My late husband and own this place. Besides, you can read the date and month on the files.
The month and dates on both files read September, 5th, 1996. Both babies girls were born within an hour of each other.
I was born in September.
How is this possible? My dad and Auntie Maggie had informed me this was the hospital i was born! i thought i would make a copy of the file and keep it without letting them know.
” Victoria Nwosu you say?” She asked again.
” I am sorry. No baby girl with those names was born here on the 5th of September 199…”
To be continued