I was in a perpetual state of happiness these days and was practically sailing through the air from day to day as love seemed to locate my heart again. I spent weekends in Doc Femi’s house and he did spent nights in my house too, especially when he had been on a 24hours working shift. It was great, pampering my big baby with my special delicacies in the kitchen and our special delicacies in the bedroom afterwards.
It was my lunchbreak and I was busy, eating while chatting on WhatsApp with a couple of friends when a message popped up from an unknown number. ”Hi. Is this Jumoke? “The person chatted, I looked closely at the display picture and could see it was a woman. I ignored it until another message came in from the same number. “This is Femi’s younger sister, Sharon. I got your number from my brother’s phone. I am so sorry to disturb you” That caught my attention and I smiled to myself. I knew Femi had 2 sisters, the older one was already married with kids and the younger one was the last in the family, single and already serving the country. I have never met any of the two but I have heard a lot about both of them. “Hello Sharon. How are you doing?” I chatted back with a smile. “I am good. Nice display picture by the way, you look beautiful in the picture. No wonder, my brother is in love.” She chatted with a smile icon and I laughed to myself, pleased. “Thank you. When are you coming around? I won’t mind meeting you.” I chatted back. “I should be at my brother’s place this Saturday evening. Please do me a favor and don’t tell my brother. I want it to be a surprise visit.” She chatted back. “Okay. Your secret is save with me. See you on Saturday then and take good care of yourself.” I chatted back. “Thank you, my iyawo. I need to run now and make sure to prepare special delicacy for me.Bye.” She chatted and went offline almost immediately.
Fortunately, Femi was free on Saturday but he was surprised to see me at his house with loads of cooking ingredients and I went straight to the kitchen to cook a meal that would woo my sister-in-law to my side. “Jummy, you are scaring me with this special cooking this evening. Are we celebrating something?” He said with a smile as he hugged me from behind. “Go away and let me concentrate. Is there a crime in cooking us a special meal?” I elbowed him away and tied an apron. “Is there anything I can do to help?” He said with a smile. “Don’t worry. I will call you to sample .Just go away, I have everything I need. “I pushed him out of the kitchen and got to work.
We just finished taking dinner when the doorbell rang and Femi turned a questioning look to me. “Are you expecting someone?” He asked casually and I shrugged, hiding a smile. “Let me check who is at the door. “I excused myself and went to peep through the door hole. A young woman was standing there in jeans and t-shirt with an over-night back-pack over her right arm and pressing her phone. A message tone rang sharply on my phone and I opened the door without hesitation. “Hello. Are you Sharon?” I asked with a smile and she gave me a bright smile. “Hello. You must be Jummy. You even look prettier in person.” She grinned at me without answering my question and I pulled her in. “You are welcome. Femi is around and I am sure he will be surprised and amazed to see you.” I said conversationally as I led the way into the sitting room but Femi was not there. I guessed he had gone to the restroom. “Sit down. I know this is your brother’s house but permit me to entertain you with drinks before you take your lunch. What would you like to take?” I asked with a smile. “Please give me a glass of cold water. That will do for now. Thank you.” She returned with a smile as she sat down on a single sofa and dropped her back-pack at her feet. I went to the kitchen and came back with a tray of cold bottled water and glass cup and drew a stool up to the sofa where she was sitting.
“Thank you, Jummy. You are a nice woman.” She said with a smile as she poured out the water and drank deeply. “How was your journey? Will you take your dinner first before taking your bath?” I asked as I sat down opposite her. “Don’t worry about me. I will take care of myself when I am ready. We have the whole night to get to know each other. By the way, where is Femi? ”She looked around the room and her gaze lingered on the dining room where she could still see the plates we used for dinner. “I guess he went to the loo. We just finished taking dinner when you rang the doorbell.” I said as I sat back and tucked my feet under me. “That is a nice one. What do you think of having a child outside wedlock?” She gave me a direct look and I was surprised at the sudden change in subject. “Well, I am not sure people set out to have children out of wedlock deliberately but circumstances is sometimes beyond one’s control. Do you have one already?” I asked quietly and remembered the little girl on Femi’s tab but there was no resemblance between this woman sitting in front of me and Femi. “Yes, I do. I got pregnant during my last year in the university. My boyfriend was a final year med student and he has no intention of fathering a child at that stage in his life. I was scared and worried but since I didn’t get myself into that position all alone, I informed him. He was very angry and threw me out of his house. I tried to abort the pregnancy but each time I was about to do so, my nerves failed me and at the end, I went home with it. All hell broke loose.” She said with a soft chuckle. “I can imagine! What happened to the baby? How did you cope?” I said in sympathy, trying to imagine the scared young lady telling her parent she was pregnant for an unwilling father. “My parent were strict Christians and could not bear their child giving birth outside wedlock. My father insisted I took him to the man that impregnated me and after begging him for several days in vain, I took him to my boyfriend’s house. To say my boyfriend was mad was an understatement but he kept his cool in my father’s presence and told my father he was not ready for marriage.” She stared off into space. “I can still remember my father’s sarcastic laugh and the cold look on his face. “You shouldn’t have climbed on top of my daughter and pour your seed in when you are not ready for marriage. Youngman, get your parent over to my house and do the right thing by my daughter or else, you will be surprised at what I will do.” my father told my boyfriend and we both left his house that faithful day. I thought he was bluffing and I am sure my boyfriend thought the same but my father actually located his parent’s house and told them to come and take me away if they are not ready for marriage. That was how I was bundled to my boyfriend’s family house. I become a modern day slave in my boyfriend’s family house with no one to turn to or no place to run to. ”She gave a harsh, bitter laugh. What is this, dear God? A family secret? I thought with sudden fear but tried not to let it show on my face.
“Did you eventually give birth to your baby? Where is your boyfriend now?” I asked in curiously. “I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who is my boyfriend’s exact replica and that gave me reprieve with his family. They all fell in love with her and her father has been taking good care of her.” She continued without actually answering my question once again as she scrolled through her phone. “Did you go back to your parent’s house?” I asked after a moment, wondering where the story was leading to. “My father has disowned me and didn’t want to see me as long as my boyfriend refused to do the right thing by me. I went for my National youth service with my baby and my finance was taken care of by my father-in-law. I came back to their home afterwards when I couldn’t secure a job and my father still refuse to take me back. Eventually, it was his father that still got me a job here in Lagos. My daughter’s six years old now and here are her pictures.” She leaned forward with her phone. “Did you just say she is 6 years old?” I echoed as lead settled in my tummy and glanced down at the pictures in the phone. My jaw dropped in shock as I scrolled through the pictures and flipped through my metal files to the first dinner date I had with Doc Femi. However, I said nothing as I held her phone out and waited for her to complete her story. “Femi’s my daughter’s father and I have suffered too long to watch another woman take over my place. He is the first and only man I have ever known in my life. I am begging you to leave us alone to live our life in peace and don’t deprive my daughter of her father’s love.” She turned to me with deep, quiet desperation that tore at my heart and soul.