THE EXCHANGE (Episode 14)
Laide was about to drive out of her house when I got there “ O ti ko ba mi o” (you’ve gotten me in trouble) I screamed as I started to cry. She quickly drove back in and asked the gateman to close the gates. She took me inside with a very confused look on her face. She asked what the problem was and I told her I was pregnant. Before she could start asking ridiculous questions, I told her the Doctor already confirmed it. She was quiet for a while, and then she smiled
“ What is funny? ” I asked in annoyance
“ If you are planning to plant a Cocoa tree and it sprouts at the same spot, would you be angry? ” she responded.
I was still trying to make sense of what she said when she asked “ I hope it’s Baba T’s o” “ Of course…I’ve never been with any other man in my life and this was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time” I retorted. Laide tried to make light of my plight and encouraged me to see the good in this. She teased
me for a while about how ‘going to see someone’s mum’ could turn to pregnancy but I was not amused.
“ Your mum desperately wants a grandchild abi? Likewise Baba T’s parents; they will be so
delighted because he’s all they’ve got. Even Baba T will see this as winning, because now you’re going nowhere ” Laide continued. I told her I was scared because I had not seen nor heard from Baba T after our unfortunate one-night stand. I was scared because I couldn’t bear to tell Tunji…I didn’t even know how to tell him. I was scared because I would ruin relationships and burn bridges. I was scared because I wasn’t even sure I wanted to marry Baba T. I was scared because something in me was telling me it wouldn’t end well….I went on and on and on until I started crying again.
Laide tried to allay every fear that I pointed out. She said Baba T had to travel out of the country for medical reasons and it was an emergency. Before I could probe any further, she said he was okay now and would be back in a couple of days. She went inside and brought an envelope…it contained a letter and some money. Laide said Baba T had sent her to me, before he traveled but she was indisposed and couldn’t come to Abeokuta to deliver the message. She told me she discovered she was also pregnant right around that time and the first few weeks were not very pleasant…she was even admitted at the hospital for some days and her husband almost flew her out of the country. The money in the envelope was a gift from Baba T’s dad as promised the day I visited their house. The letter was not too long but it said something like he (Baba T) was sorry he couldn’t come see me at home because something came up and he had to quickly travel, he would see me as soon as he got back and we would try to resolve our issues.
“ Okay o, but kíni màáse s’ọrọ Tunji? (What would I do about Tunji)?” I asked rhetorically “ Ǫlọrun l’ómọ ọkọ ìyàwó ojú ọnà (regardless of the length and depth of a relationship, only God determines who the groom would ultimately be)” Laide answered.
She tried to convince me that some things are beyond our powers as humans and that God works in mysterious ways. “ God will give him his own wife…ìná òwọ, kò sí ìjà ní bę (when a bargain falls through, it doesn’t have to become a fight)”
After hours of going back and forth and weighing different scenarios, we decided to let Baba T return before taking any actions…the plan was to keep
this between the two of us and not to even tell my mum yet. Laide promised to come with Baba T as soon as he gets back. I left for Abeokuta but still had some heaviness in my heart. I went straight to my Salon and somehow, nobody realized I had traveled to Lagos. Tunji came later that evening and was looking very sad, I asked what the problem was and he handed me a letter. It was from the Oil Company he was trying to get into, the letter said something like they appreciated his interest in their company and although he was one of the strongest candidates during the interview process, they would not be moving forward with his application and that they wished him luck in his future endeavors. As I read the letter, I could see Tunji wiping streams of tears from his eyes. It was as if the letter broke him. “ I was so sure of this…even the hiring manager said I was the strongest candidate for the position. I scored 96% in their aptitude test and they promised to contact me with the next step in the process and I got this. When will I ever catch a break? Why is life so cruel to me? ” He said, tears still streaming on his face “ I thought this was it, I thought this was the big break…I already planned my life and future around this. This was going to turn everything around and lay the right foundation for tomorrow ” he continued “ I have failed…I have failed you” at that point, he was not even wiping the tears anymore. That was the first time I saw Tunji break down. He was always optimistic and had this positive approach to life. “ Don’t give up on God…I know He has something better for you” was all I could mumble…I felt really bad. ” What better thing? You are the only thing I have now ” he responded. The thought of what I was also about to do to him, someone that’s already at the brink of giving up on everything, froze my heart. I tried my best to encourage him, I made him follow me to our house so we could talk about it. My mum also tried to encourage him “ Wọn ká ęní wọn ni, Ǫlọrun á tę Rug (they merely removed a mat, God can replace it with a luxury carpet)” my mum told him. She also added that Tunji did not need to get a job at an Oil company to start living his life. She told him stories of people that did not start moving forward in life until they got married. It was as if their marriages opened doors that were hitherto shut.
Tunji somehow managed to man up and later went home but tears really flowed. He traveled some days later and said he would be back in about a week. He needed to go see a friend about another job. My mum was getting really suspicious because of my morning sickness but luckily for me, Laide and Baba T came over that weekend. I was in the room when my mum called my name and said I had a visitor. Baba T looked like someone that was just recuperating…I greeted him but he went for a hug and said he had missed me. He talked a little about his medical emergency and why he had to travel but did not give details. He said he had been dying to see me and that Laide told him there’s an important issue that we needed to talk about. I told him we couldn’t discuss it there and he advised we could go somewhere to talk…I didn’t want to leave the house so we chose to go talk in the car. Laide went inside to meet my mum while we stepped outside to talk. I didn’t mince words at all, I just told him I was pregnant and started crying. He quickly held my hand and smiled, he said there was no reason to cry. He told me he decided on his medical trip that he would ask me to marry him the moment he got back…and was hoping I would say yes. He started to promise all sorts and that he would take good care of me and I would not regret carrying his child.
I told him it didn’t feel right and I was not sure of what to say or do because of Tunji. “ Give me some time to figure this out; I can’t just leave Tunji like that. Not this way…nobody does that” Baba T agreed but said “ the prep had begun ” and that I would hear from him soon. He also said he would have to tell his mum. We went back inside and after a while, he left with Laide.
After they left, my mum came to the sitting room and asked if I was pregnant…I was shocked and didn’t have any answer. “ I’m a mother, I’m your mother…I have watched you for some days and I concluded when your
visitors came. You are pregnant for the Lagos boy abi? And you are in a dilemma…tell me I’m lying ” my mum said…I was just looking at her and couldn’t say a word. “ Kò dáa o (it’s not fair) …what are you going to do about Tunji? ” “ I warned you when this started…olójú kòkòrò ni ę (You are a greedy person)” my mum just went all out to show her dissatisfaction at the turn of events. I started to cry and her motherly love wouldn’t let her scold me any further. She held me and cried with me. She assured me that we would find a way to resolve this. I tried to explain how it all happened and she told me not to worry. She said abortion was not an option; we would just have to find a way to break it to Tunji and not break him in the process. “ Rírò ni t’ènìyàn…a ję pé b’Ǫlọrun se fę nì yęn (Man proposes, God disposes…this must be how God wants it)” my mum said and she started to ask me about the pregnancy and how I was doing. She also asked what Baba T was planning to do…I told her he was asking me to marry him. “ T’ęlę n’kọ? (Does he have a choice?) If he’s man enough to cause the trouble he must be man enough to handle it ” We were still working on what to tell Tunji when Baba T showed up two days after.
Looking for Episode 1? CLICK HERE
Looking for Episode 15? CLICK HERE