A Dangerous Expedition of the Heart

 

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When I came into Ibadan, I began to attend a parish of the Celestial Church of Christ. The parish’s Shepherd had a daughter, Kike. Kike and I became friends, we were inseparable: we were in the choir together, moved around together – we did everything together. In the choir, Kike and I had four other girls whom we were all close. Along the line, the Shepherd and his family insisted that I moved in with them and I agreed.
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The Celestial Church always had what was called the “Oyo Youth Central” – it was the monthly meeting of youths in the church and this meeting was always moved from one parish to another. Whenever we went for these meetings, we would write our names and phone numbers in the attendance register. Usually, Kike and I go for this meeting together. There was, however, an edition of the meeting that fell in the period of her examination so I went for the meeting without her and I was designated to give a report of what we had been up to in our parish.
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As I gave the report for my parish, one of the State Youth Executives of the State noted my name and when the meeting was over, he went to the attendance record, found my name and nicked the number next to it. The thing was, even though I had written my name, I had written the number of the Shepherd-In-Charge of our parish as my number because I assumed that they might want to make further enquiries about our parish’s report and it would be best if those enquiries were directed straight to the head.
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The young man called the number and realized that the number belonged to the Shepherd of our parish. Since the meeting was monthly, he waited for the next meeting but by the next meeting, I didn’t show up. Gradually, a desire to see me again had begun to grow in him rapidly.
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In my parish, we were going to have a Praise Night and so we had invited people from every parish. This guy figured out that the event would be an opportunity to try his luck. It was at the event that he approached me, told me his name – Bolu; he asked if I recognized him but I couldn’t recall his face. He requested to have my number and I declined.
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After the Praise Night event, I began to see this Bolu guy at our parish. Whenever we had vigils he’d come very early and hang around just so to see me but I never really made myself available. What I didn’t know at the time was that the young man was related to the Shepherd in whose house I lived – he was a nephew to my Shepherd’s wife and cousin to my friend. Whenever he was in our parish, he had seen how close I was with his cousins. When he knew I lived with them, he knew he had found a point of entry.
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During one of those nights which we’d have a vigil, one of the daughters of the Shepherd called me that we should buy akara for the night and because I really loved buying akara from the woman on the church street, I agreed. We’d got to the akara spot before the girl told me she wanted me to meet someone and that I should make her a promise to give a listening hear to whatever the person would say. Out of the affection I had for the girl, I agreed. She told me to wait while she went ahead to fetch the person.
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She returned with the person and it turned out to be the Bolu guy. It was then that I realized that she had used akara to lure me out to meet the guy. I had promised that I’d give my attention to whomever she came with and I didn’t want to reneged on my promise. Once again, Bolu, reiterated that he wanted to know me better. I wasn’t down for all his perambulations – ‘what exactly do you want from me?’ I kept hammering.
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He then came out straight that he liked me and wanted me to be his girlfriend. I told him to ditch the idea of relationship as I was already seeing someone. He requested we remain platonic friends and I agreed.
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Bolu began attending our parish more regularly and whenever he was around, we’d chat and that was it. As soon as he became a regular face, one of my friends in the choir took an interest in him and she lavished him with attention and care. The guy was a prophet and whenever he went into trance, this friend in the choir would get different things ready for him whenever he came out of the trance. Even though she made it obvious to everyone that she liked him, the guy did not reciprocate.
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I went to Lagos to visit my family and so I decided to see my boyfriend too. I got to his house and, from the window, I heard his voice and another lady’s. I recognized the voice of the lady too, it was my very good friend in Lagos. He was telling my friend that she didn’t have to worry about whatever relationship he had with me. He called me a ‘maga’ and that once I had served my purpose, he’d get rid of me.
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This boyfriend of mine wanted to be a singer but his father did not support his dreams. Whenever he had shows, I’d go with him. Whenever he needed to get into the studio to record and he did not have any money, I’d gather all my savings and give him to book studio session and have a single or two done.
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In my mind, I supported him because I believed in his talent and I was sure that someday, he would have a hit song and his father would see him differently and support him. To hear him call me a maga really hurt me; the consolation for me was that we hadn’t slept together before I miraculously caught wind of his intentions. It was on that note that the relationship ended.
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I returned to Ibadan but never told Bolu what had become of my relationship – we would greet each other, talk and that was it. It was three months after my relationship crashed that he broached the topic of relationship again. It was then, too, that I told him what had happened and I let him know that if he really wanted a relationship with me, there’d be no se.x between us.
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He agreed.
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When we started out, our relationship was a secret. Gradually, over time, people began to figure out that we were an item. At the time, I was in Adeleke University in Ede. My mom was responsible for my school fees, the whole school fees was N350, 000 per semester which was a lot , but we were allowed to pay in instalment. Whenever I was on holiday, rather than go to Lagos, I’d spend the holiday at the Shepherd’s house in Ibadan just so that we could have time to see each other in Ibadan.
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One day, during one of the holidays in Ibadan, I became really ill. The nurse who checked me out suspected that it was appendicitis and advised that I went home immediately so that I could be with my parents and get proper attention. Bolu took me to Lagos and that was how my family members got to know him.
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The very night we got to Lagos, I was operated upon and he stayed with me all through. At the time, I was yet to complete payment of my outstanding Year 2 fees. The money my mother had scrapped together to pay off my 200-level debt was what she used to pay for the surgery.
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After my surgery, there was a disruption with my menstrual flow – I didn’t see my period anymore. When I complained at the hospital, the doctors assured me that it was not a cause for alarm given the kind of surgery I had undergone. They assured me that so long as I didn’t have sex, I didn’t have anything to worry about, regarding my menstruation and that in due time, things would return to normalcy.
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When I returned to school after my surgery, second semester exams were done and dusted. For me to be able to resume 300 level, the school management insisted that I had to complete the payment of 200level school fees and also pay a part of the 300 level school fees all at once. That became a serious problem and so in the end, the only option on the table was for me to abandon the program.
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People admonished me to start again, write JAMB and all that but I had no interest whatsoever. I was tired of trying again and so I decided never to go back to school again and I was resolute about it. Bolu wanted me to go back to school and he because he supported me, I was willing to go through that process. He would see me off to my JAMB classes and stay till I was done.
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On the day I was to write my UTME, he followed me to my center. I passed the exam and I got admitted into the Polytechnic of Ibadan, Eruwa campus. When I went for my registration, he went with me – we literally went everywhere together. He was running his ND program at Crown Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti at the time and still, he made his presence available to see me through my enrolment and registration at Eruwa.
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Anytime I was coming to Ibadan for a holiday or the weekend, he would leave Ado Ekiti to join me in Eruwa then we’d both journey down to Ibadan together. If I told him I wanted to go to Lagos, he would accompany me to Lagos. That was how deeply into each other we were. By this time, no-one could say he would be unfaithful to me given all that he had done for me.
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I’d once teased him with sex, just to see how deep his convictions were about not having sex. That day, he got up and said “eni to ma koba lo n wa” and he walked away. That further made me feel relaxed in the relationship – a lovely, caring man who respected my body and my choices. He had a room to himself and if the need arose for me to stay over at theirs while visiting, I always slept in his room.
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At that time, we had been dating for 3 years. In those 3 years, his siblings already knew me, and so did his parents. I was no longer treated like a stranger in his house – they always welcomed me with open arms. Even though we had begun the relationship lowkey, it had become apparent to everyone who knew us that we were an item.
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Though Bolu and his siblings were Christians, his father was Muslim. Anytime there was an Islamic festivity, all the children would come home and give support to their dad. I had a Muslim background too and so, in that sense we were both similar. The Ileya celebration of 2014 was on the 15th of October and my boyfriend invited me to come spend the festive season at his parents’. I agreed.
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In the midnight of the Ileya festival. We were in his room sleeping when I a hand tapped me. I turned around and it was Bolu. I cleared my eyes and asked him why he had woken me up. ‘I want us to have sex,’ he said. I burst into laughter because that was the last thing I had expected to hear him say.
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From the start of the relationship, I had clearly informed him that I was a virgin and that I was not ready to give up my virginity till we got married. In a bid to be understanding, I told him that if, at any time in the relationship, he was hard on and was craving sex, he could go have sex with some other woman.
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Giving him that option wasn’t an easy decision for me but I had felt it would be unfair to put the burden of my own personal choice on him. I was aware that he had taken up my option and had been helping himself whenever he couldn’t hold it together; that was why when he said he wanted us to have sex, I wondered why.
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I told him I wasn’t ready to have sex and that he should ditch the idea already. He asked me whom I was keeping my virginity for if not for him. True, I had been keeping my virginity, believing that he was the one I would marry. We were not yet married but now he had come to demand what I’d been keeping.
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Thoughts began to run through my mind: I was in his house, if I screamed, wouldn’t it be out of place? It wasn’t my first time spending the night at his house and I never caused drama, is it in the midnight of ileya that I would now cause a scene?
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I switched from defiance and began to beg him; I reminded him of how he had been patient for three years and that all the time that was left to finish my program and for us to marry was nothing compared to have long we’d waited. The way he ogled my barely-covered body, I knew he was serious about this and I also knew I was in a bad situation.
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Nothing I said would assuage him – it was like, I was talking to a different version of the guy had known all these years. It was at this point I began to cry. When he began to handle me roughly, I told him to go easy on me and I’d let him satisfy his desire. He spread me open and very painfully deflowered me and had sex with me.
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Immediately he was done, He became very sober. Whatever had taken him over had left him and he was back to himself. When he began to beg me, I clearly told him to stop. I asked him: “Now that he’d done his wish, are you happy? Or will your apology undo what has been done?” He didn’t answer the questions, he just kept on begging me.
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It was in the middle of pouring his apologies that he mentioned that his friends taunted him; that if he did not deflower me and have sex with her, I’d eventually leave and move on with another man and he would just have been wasting his time taking care of another man’s girl.”
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That confession just hurt me more because the implication of what he said was that he did not trust me. That night, my heart was shattered. When we first began to date, a cousin of his had called me aside, asking me to think twice about my relationship with him because of the women all around him. For me, I was already so in love with him and nothing anyone said could stop me from going on with him.
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Through the years, I had never doubted him even when people said things about him or when the optics of circumstances posted him as unfaithful. He belonged to a dance drama group and he could sing so well. He was the choir leader of his parish. These giftings of his drew women to him. Apart from these, he was a prophet. For all of these reasons, many ladies admired him. Whenever he came out of a trance after many days, different ladies would have cooked different meals for him; some would even buy provisions for him.
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In the morning – the Ileya day – everyone was cheerful except me. It didn’t take very long before his family members began to suspect that something was wrong. He called me aside and begged me again. He asked me to cheer up and not give people reasons to pursue their suspicions further. I told him how I was going through so much pain in my lower abdomen and that he should let me be. For the next few days, I was in severe pains. If I wanted to urinate, I would be in intense pain.
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A month after we had sex, I finally saw my period but the flow was not much to reckon with. I reported at the hospital and the doctors assured me that everything was still alright, that I couldn’t expect a full flow of blood after a drought of about eight months. The next month, I menstruated but the flow was also little.
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One time, he told me he received a message in a trance regarding me that if I should get pregnant, I should not dare to abort it. We hadn’t had sex since the only time we did; and now my menstrual cycle was back, I figured the message was a warning to not engage in sex again in order to avert any pregnancy.
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The third month after Ileya, I was visiting him at their home when I took ill. It was so severe; I couldn’t get out of bed myself. His parents suggested it was best for me to stay at their place rather than go back to school to be on my own. Because I couldn’t walk or even get out of bed, he would carry me into the bathroom, bathe me and carry back into bed; and wherever he put me was where I’d be all day. That was how bad it was.
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They got a nurse to come over and take a look at me and treat me. After a couple of treatment with no improvement, the nurse got sceptical and began to suggest that maybe I should take a pregnancy test. It didn’t add up because I had seen my menstruation for three months back-to-back – the chances of being pregnant was zero. The nurse maintained that we did a pregnancy test so we agreed. I did the test with urine on a strip and it returned a double strip.
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With a tone of triumph, the nurse announced – “I said it, she is pregnant!” My guy looked at her as if to say ‘you must be out of your mind’. She asked us to do a blood test and it returned as positive. Instantly, he snatched the result and ripped it into pieces, then turned to me and asked: ‘How come you’re pregnant? Who did you sleep with that impregnated you?’ He accused me that I had capitalized on the opportunity that he deflowered me to sleep around with other guys.
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I burst into tears and began to explain to him that it wasn’t so. I told him he was the only person I had slept with but he wouldn’t accept my explanation. The nurse tried to explain to him that it was possible for a first encounter to result in pregnancy but he was headstrong and wouldn’t listen. The nurse advised that we could lay the matter to rest by doing a scan since he was insisting that he could not be responsible for the pregnancy. A scan would determine the term of the pregnancy so far.
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We went to the ultrasound station together; did the scan and it revealed that the pregnancy had been on for three months and two weeks. Bolu did not like it at all. He blamed me for being the sole cause of the turn of events. Later, he calmed down and asked me what we should do next. I told him I didn’t know and I put the question back to him.
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He suggested we craftily find a way to remove the pregnancy without putting me at risk. I reminded him of the message from his trance which he delivered to me by himself and so I put my feet down that I couldn’t go against the message. I also reminded him of how I had begged him that night when he forced his way with me and how I had always avoided having sex with him from the start of our relationship.
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Then, his reply changed. He said: ‘keeping the child is not the problem – telling my mom about this is the problem.’ I replied him, ‘Are you too young to impregnate someone or did your mom not see us every time I came to your house and spent many nights in your room?’ He said nothing, he was just fidgety. It was then that, for the first time in three years, I realized he was a Mummy’s boy. Apparently, there had been signs that he was a Mummy’s boy but I never paid attention.
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Here’s why:
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Before the whole pregnancy thing ever happened, he used to have a printing business but things had nosedived and he wasn’t doing well at all. I later got a job as a sales representative in a tomato puree company. However, I figured that it would be better if the job went to him because as a man, it would be good for his morale if he had a job that would always put some cash in his pocket.
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I asked if I could bring in someone else to take over the position I had been offered and the company agreed. That was how he got the job. His salary was supposed to be N25,000, he was also to be getting food allowance and transport allowance. With commissions from sales, he should earn up to N40,000.
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His work was pretty easy, he would only go out to effect supplies on a need-to-go basis as requested by the customers in the zone apportioned to him and then every Thursday he was supposed to go to the main office and turn in his report and remit the money from sales in the previous seven days. That was all. Since it was I who linked him with the opportunity I didn’t want to poke my nose into his earnings.
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I had rented an apartment for myself in Ibadan and my landlady was a very kind woman who really liked me; and once she knew he was my intended, she took a liking to him too. It did not take very long that Bolu moved in with me. However, when he started working and he wasn’t contributing anything to the running of the house. I paid rent, I bought the food, I paid electricity, I did everything, he contributed nothing! Then he brought another friend to come live in with us. Even though I wasn’t comfortable with it, I didn’t throw him out. Whenever we were out of foodstuff or I needed money, I’d pressure my mom to send money. He was pretty much living off me. He was working while keeping the house running on the pocket money my mom sent to me.
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After his third month on the job, I couldn’t take it anymore and so I asked him what happened to his salaries; it was then he told me that he had been giving all his income to his mom. He told long touching stories about how his mother had not been treated well by his dad and how he needed to support her. In the end, I let it go. .
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This was the earliest sign that he was Mommy’s boy but because I was so deeply in love, my emotions blinded me and I never paid attention.
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Again, before the pregnancy happened, I suggested to Bolu to enrol for his HND in the Polytechnic of Ibadan, after all, he had obtained his ND already. In his words, he was on board with the plan, but his actions were at variance with his words. I pestered him and, in the end, he gave an interesting confession. He said he didn’t collect his certificate from Crown Polytechnic because he did not complete the payment of his school fees.
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According to him, every kobo that his father sent to him for school fees, he always handed them over to his mom. I spoke with someone who assured us that they could get his result out from Crown Polytechnic if we paid N250,000. The question was, where would we get such a huge sum of money from?! This was in the third year of our relationship and at this point, I felt like we had come too far; getting out of the relationship was not an option – all I thought I could do was (to) persevere, after all no one in this life is perfect, every man is flawed in one way or the other.
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About this same period, he came home one day and curled up. When I asked him what had happened to him, he told me of a potential business deal had opened up for him. A bike man who always took him around had informed him that he wanted to sell his bike at a giveaway price of N60,000 and he wanted to make the offer to Bolu first. The bikeman even offered that he could link him up with someone who would ride the bike around in the day and remit the money in the night. By his calculation, in a month, the rider would deliver N30,000/month. He was downcast because he didn’t have the money to buy the bike. He said he really wished he could get the bike so that he could be making money and thereby easing the financial burden on me.
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I had no dime to my name but I assured him that we’d find a way to get the N60,000. For me, I saw this as an opportunity to raise the N250,000 needed to get his ND certificate from his school and also to have another stream of income. On the third day after that conversation, I went to Lagos to my mom and demanded the sum of money. She asked what I needed the money for, she protested against my fire brigade approach. She told me she had no such money except if she approached her microfinance bank and even the bank couldn’t give her more than N30,000. I prevailed on her to do so. For the love a mother has for her child, she did and in four days, the money was approved.
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When the N30,000 was released by the bank, I was still in Lagos but I sent it to him instantly so he could give it to the guy who wanted to sell the bike as deposit and to show our readiness to do the transaction. I let him know how I had got the money and we agreed that the remittance in the first month of operating the bike would be used to pay off the loan. I began to disturb people I knew in Lagos and through their generous donations, I raised the remaining N30,000.
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I didn’t return to Ibadan because the daughter of the Iya Ijo of our church was planning to get married on the weekend of the week I went to Lagos. The woman had been a good mother figure to us and so Bolu and I had committed to attending the wedding in Lagos and since I was already in Lagos to hustle for N60,000, my mother opined that it didn’t make sense for me to come back to Ibadan and then return to Lagos at the weekend again. She insisted that I stayed back and leave for Ibadan after the wedding.
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Bolu agreed with my mother when I called to tell him what my mother had suggested. He then announced that he might not come to Lagos for the wedding. He submitted that the cost of both of us taking aso-ebi and all that could be saved and that, besides, what really mattered was that one of us showed up and since I was already in Lagos, I could represent the two of us. I agreed. I got the other #30,000 and sent it to him.
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The wedding was a ‘strictly by invitation’ event and I did not have an invitation card with me. Our church people told come to the venue and someone would come identify me at the gate and hand me my card. On the Saturday of the wedding, I got to the venue and, as planned, someone came from inside the hall to hand me my IV. That someone was Bolu. He was all dressed up in the aso-ebi, looking so bright and cheerful. I was shocked but I didn’t say a word about it.
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The wedding ceremony ended, we returned to Ibadan; that was when I began to ask questions about how he bought the aso-ebi and why he never told me he was coming to Lagos for the wedding. He swore that someone had gifted him the aso-ebi. I said nothing. I noticed also that there was no bike in the compound but I chose to trust him that he must have acted as we’d agreed. I decided to wait till the end of the month when the first remittance would come in before raising any issue regarding it.
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When the first month ended, I asked him for the remittance from the bike so we could pay the microfinance bank before the loan was due. Bolu began to lament that the bike had given the rider so much trouble and that they had to constantly make repairs on the bike. In order to see how critical it was to not fumble, I reminded him of how much trouble I had undergone to raise the money. He agreed with me, apologized and promised that there will be no defaulting the next month. The next month ended and the story remained the same.
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While all these was going on, I observed that he was slacking on the Sales Rep job. He was always indoors throughout and he had stopped going for their Thursday meetings. I would ask him why he wasn’t going for their meetings and he’d come up with different excuses. One day, he said that the Thursday meetings had been stopped. Next, I began to press him harder about the bike and it was then he confessed that he used the N30,000 from the microfinance bank to buy the aso-ebi he wore for the wedding in Lagos. He did not just buy for himself, he bought for his family members too. He bought for everyone else except me.
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When he said that, every nerve in my brain seemed to be out of their rightful places. Then finally I burst into tears. The only thing I on my mind was how to pay back the N30,000 to the microfinance bank. If I knew that he hadn’t bought the bike with the first instalment, I wouldn’t have given him the second instalment when I did. In the light of his confession, I let him know that we had to raise the N30,000 from his job as a Sales Rep. He agreed.
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One day he came home and began to complain that he was uncomfortable with me having guys as friends and on my contact list and around me. He demanded for my SIM card and – for the sake of peace – I handed it to him. He gave me a different SIM card and warned me not to give it out to guys. I lost a lot of contacts due to that phone swap including that of the HR officer of the company where he worked.
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I came to Challenge area one day and I ran into the woman who was the HR officer. She began to accuse me that Bolu and I had behaved very badly; that we had treated the company that tried to help us unfairly. I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about and then I pleaded with her to explain to me what had happened. I told her what I he’d told me about the Thursday meetings not holding anymore. She pulled me aside and gave me a lowdown of all that had happened.
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She said it was a lie that they stopped having the weekly meetings. She told me that since Bolu resumed on the job, he never remitted the money he made from weekly sales. When the company noticed his failure to deliver, the company withheld his salary with the promise to pay him only if he turned in the money from his sales. The HR woman informed me that for the last 3 months the company hadn’t paid him salary and he had refused to remit the sum of money too.
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I was shocked hearing all that the woman had said. All I could do was apologize and I promise to step into the matter. Later in the day, when I accosted him with the information I had freshly obtained, he began to tell stories of how his mother would call him and lament not having money and so he would go give her the money. In the end, I called the HR woman, explained to her and begged her to help us draw out a payment plan by which we could pay back the sum he owed.
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The woman suggested that I write a letter asking that the money owed be deducted from his salary and whatever was left be handed over to him. I did. This was the state of things between us right before the Ileya celebration of 2014. Ileya went with all its drama and we returned to the palaver we’d left behind. The company calculated the worth of goods he didn’t remit and deducted it from what his salary should have been. The remaining balance of N20,000 was handed to him. Instead of bringing the money home so as to form part of the N30,000 we were supposed to raise to repay the microfinance bank, he went into the nearest market, bought foodstuff and sent them home to his mother.
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Seeing his disposition to cash and how he had messed up different opportunities, I decide to not run helter-skelter for him anymore. I took care of myself and my needs alone. I would cook my own meals. Whenever he complained of hunger, I’d advise him to go home to his mom and eat. By the time the N30,000 was due for repayment, I didn’t have anything; because it was taken in my mother’s name, the debt hung around her neck. It became a big problem that left my mother running up and down, turning to people for help. That was how she was finally able to pay the money.
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At this point, the ra.pe had happened but I’d not discovered that I was pregnant yet. When it was confirmed that I was pregnant and the scan showed that conception happened right exactly at the time we’d slept together, he changed his story. He was no longer feisty and dramatic. This time, he was mellow and he began to lament that he did not know how to break the news to his mom. I was so incensed. Once it was confirmed that I was with child, I returned to my own apartment, he did too.
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For another two weeks, we dragged the matter of whether to tell his mother or not. In the end, he agreed to tell his mom and, by then, the pregnancy was already four months old. At that point, he agreed to tell his mother. He went to their house, returned and told me his mother asked me to come see her. When I got there, she began to lambast me. Just like her son, she asked me how I got pregnant, why I didn’t take contraceptives after we had sex etc. I returned to my place and told him everything that had happened. He apologized to me for how his mother treated me.
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In the fifth month of my pregnancy, his mother called him and requested that he came to see her at home. He went and didn’t return that day, then the next, and then the next. He never came back to my place after that day. I discussed with my landlady about what had happened. She told me that his disappearance from my place was his family’s way of making him avoid taking responsibility for the pregnancy. She advised that I packed a few things and go to their house, unannounced and that I should leave with the plan of not leaving there too. I did. All this time, I hadn’t told my own people that I was pregnant yet.
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I got to Bolu’s parents’ and he was shocked to see me. He asked me why I didn’t give him a heads up, I said nothing. I just carried my bag into his room and I refused to leave. I began to live there and no one said anything. However, his mother always made sure that whenever Bolu’s father was at home, she always made sure I wasn’t within sight of his father. This suggested to me that the man hadn’t been informed of the developments. Time passed and the pregnancy was 6 months old.
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I informed my landlady what I’d observed. Just like I was, she too was surprised that his father hadn’t been told of the development. She advised that since Easter was approaching, Bolu and I should travel to Lagos for the Easter holiday and then while in Lagos, I should use his phone to text his dad, detailing the current state of things and letting the man know that he wouldn’t return home if he (the dad) didn’t forgive him. The idea was that, that way, it would appear as though he was the one informing his dad.
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I suggested to Bolu that we travel to my mother’s place for the Easter celebration and he agreed. While there I did exactly as my landlady advised me. Bolu was miffed when he found out what I had done. I reminded him that the matter at hand had gone beyond what he could sort out by himself and also, what’s the point of hiding one’s nakedness from the person that would give one a bath? When I gave my landlady the feedback, she told me to be patient and that if I didn’t get any positive sign from his dad, I shouldn’t return with him to Ibadan after Easter. Throughout the time my mom had no idea that I was pregnant at all.
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The Easter holiday ended and I got no word from his dad and so I stayed back in Lagos while he returned to Ibadan. I called him and asked how his father reacted upon his return. He said his father didn’t act as though he got any message – he remained his jovial self. Again, I called my landlady and she told me to return to Ibadan and head back to his house unannounced. I did. Bolu was, again, vexed that I came back unannounced. I said nothing. The father arrived from his place of work in the night and met me in his house.
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He told me to pack my things and leave his house that minute. Very respectfully, I pleaded with the man that I was pregnant and that I had no place to go. He insisted that I leave and the matter escalated so quickly that night, and neighbours got involved. It was then that he spoke up. He said he knew that his wife and son had been hiding me from him since I first moved into their house. He said he was simply playing a waiting game till when someone would officially tell him why I had turned his house to my place of abode.
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Everyone pleaded on our behalf and, in the end, he forgave us. He entered into his room, came out and handed me N15,000 to go register for ante natal at their family hospital. That night, I really understood that the man wasn’t the wicked, insensitive man that his wife had always made him out to be. The man always checked on me – he would return from work and buy things like fruits for me. Whenever I was going for ante natal meetings, he would give me some money to hold; sometimes he would buy airtime for me.
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While I gained an ally in Bolu’s dad, from then onward Bolu’s mother automatically became my sworn enemy.
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Bolu suddenly stopped coming to his father’s house regularly once his father had welcomed me into their house. He’d give all sorts of excuses for not being around. Sometimes I’d make enquiries into those excuses and realize that they were all lies. I would later find out that his mom knew his whereabouts and never disclosed, yet the rest of us in the house would be worried sick, wondering where he could have been. Whenever he came around, his mother would concoct all sorts of unbelievable story against me and, interestingly he’d believe her and turn round to blame me. Sometimes, I’d just burst into tears.
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For the time I spent in the house during my pregnancy, Bolu’s mother showed me the corridors of hell. Even when I was heavy, she would make me grind pepper with the grindstone, same for beans. There was a day she sent me to fetch water with a bucket and then I fell. When she saw me, all she asked me was about her bucket – ‘hope my bucket didn’t break o, cos if it breaks you will go to the market and buy another one for me.’ I shuddered; it was scary that her bucket mattered more to her than the baby I carried inside of me.
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Throughout that period, I was repeatedly doing scans and every scan showed different results. Sometimes the scan would say there is no baby inside my womb, another scan would show that there is a baby but the baby is dead, another scan would show that the baby is alive but had something tied around its neck. In fact, there was a scan that revealed that there were two babies in my womb, one was male but the doctors said they couldn’t ascertain the gender of the other baby.
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The last scan showed a single child, normal and healthy. My man and I were advised to take the scan to the altar in their church and keep it there. We did. Then, one day, the scan was no longer there. No one could tell who took it or what had happened to it. All they found at the altar was an empty envelope – no scan result in it. It was just wild!
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One day, a ten-year-old boy who stayed with us in the house looked at me one day and asked me who I had offended and wanted me to die at childbirth. It was a strange utterance from a ten-year-old! The boy told Bolu to prepare a special anointing oil and keep it at the altar of the church till when it was time for me to have the baby. He did.
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There was a CAC church not far from the house, Bolu’s mother took me there before for prayers. The pastor prayed for me and told me that even though I had chosen the right man, there was a principality in his house that I’d always have to battle; he never mentioned who the principality was. However, I noticed from that day on, that there seemed to be some strife between the CAC Pastor and Bolu’s mother. I noticed that this Pastor began to avoid her.
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Whenever she wasn’t around, however, he would call me and pray for me; sometimes he would give me prayer water to drink. He always told me that when it was time to put to bed, I should call him. At the Celestial Church of Christ parish which Bolu and I were attending, we were given a cross to tie around my belly. I was instructed to keep the chain around my belly throughout the pregnancy.
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One Thursday night in June, I began to have some discomfort in my tummy. It wasn’t a prolonged thing – it was off and on. It went on all through the midnight. The next morning, I woke up early, did all the chores in the house. When I was serving him his breakfast, Bolu’s father noticed that I was squeezing my face. He prevailed on me to tell him what was going on so I opened up to him about the discomfort I had been experiencing. He asked me if that day was the EDD, I let him know the due date wasn’t until July.
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My man’s father offered to drive me to the hospital but I told him not to bother and that I’d find my way to the hospital by myself. I didn’t want to stress the man – he’d worked the night shift at his place of work and had only just returned home that Friday morning. Bolu’s mother was in the sitting room, dressing up for a party as we had this conversation. She accused her husband of pampering me and told him to leave me to do whatever I wanted to do.
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I went into the room and packed a few things for the hospital trip. Bolu’s father gave me N2000 to hold, just in case I might need cash for anything. When I explained how I was feeling to the doctor at the hospital, he examined me and told the nurses to keep me on admission. One of the nurses told me to call them at home to bring baby things. I dismissed the advice and insisted that I was leaving. The nurses refused. They maintained that the baby was coming already and that I should call someone. I thought deeply about it, there was no one in the house I could call.
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While trying to figure out who to call, one of the patients in the hospital had a convulsion and so every staff rushed over to attend to the patient. I seized that opportunity and sneaked out of the hospital. I got home and told the bike man who brought me from the hospital to wait outside for me. Bolu’s father was asleep, his mom had gone for the party she’d dressed up for. There were some kids in the house, I went past them into my room and picked up my bag of baby things. As I left, I told the kids to not mention to anyone that I came around. I got on the bike and returned to the hospital.
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Interestingly, no one noticed I had left as they were still busy trying to save the life of the patient. When the matron had my time and found out that I went to get the baby things myself, she was shocked. She then said it would be better for me to have someone around to do the running around for me during my stay in the hospital. This was around 11am. I kept arguing with the Matron that I was not due to have the child and she maintained that the time to have the child had come.
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Hours after, I suddenly began to feel this discomfort and I began to call on the matron and the nurse to make it go away. I was literally screaming for them to save me. They examined me and told me to pace around and stay active, I did. Still, no immediate sign that the baby was coming.
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Meanwhile, my man’s father had woken up at home and was wondering why a simple check up at the hospital had kept me from home for so long. He called me and asked me why I wasn’t back, I told him the doctors just wanted to observe me for a while – I didn’t mention that the baby was being expected to be birthed that day. However, I told him to help me call the CAC pastor near the house and please inform him that the time to have the baby had come.
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In a weird turn of events, Bolu who had ghosted me since I moved into his father’s house called me. The call was out of the blues and I was really suspicious. He asked me where I was, I lied to him that I was home. He asked me to give the phone to his mother and I told him his mother had gone out. I told him I was at home all by myself. By evening, I called his father to give him an update on what was going on. He told me that he called his wife to come over to the hospital to be with me but she said she could not leave her friend’s party.
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The pain I was feeling went on and on, no relief. Some hours passed and I become weak. The nurses were giving me glucose but the glucose wasn’t dissolving in my mouth. One of the doctors told the attending doctor to do a CS for me since it was obvious I didn’t have the energy to push anymore. Things, at that point, had taken a scary turn. It then struck me to beg one of the nurses to buy me airtime.
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With the little strength in me, I called the CAC pastor myself. When he heard I had been in labour for hours, he got really furious that I was just getting the information to him. He told me he would go on the mountain and I’d deliver the baby with ease. It was around 4pm by then. I was kept waiting in bed but there was no change. The string with the cross pendant tied around my stomach was still there.
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The matron at the hospital was an evangelist too and she began to suspect that there was something off about the delivery. She got water, prayed into it, and asked me to drink. Nothing changed. Around 8pm, she stood by my side and kept looking at my stomach, then she asked me why there was a string tied around my stomach; I explained to her. She looked at it intensely and finally reached for it, loosened it and removed it from around my tummy.
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Suddenly, it began to rain. The downpour was so heavy. At that point, I had truly become worried that I might die while trying to deliver the baby. The matron kept beating my thighs just so that the contractions could happen and I could birth the baby. I was being beaten and I didn’t feel anything. Then, I began to struggle to breathe. The matron kept saying she could see the head of the baby but no one could figure out why the baby wasn’t coming out. It was in the middle of all these that Bolu’s mother arrived from her party.
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At exactly 9pm, the baby popped out. At first, the baby did not cry. With two lashes on her buttocks, the baby still did not cry. Then a third lash landed on her buttocks and she burst into a loud cry. Still, the battle was not over – the placenta had not come out. My man’s mother picked the phone and began to call people to tell them I had given birth. I told the nurses to tell her to stop calling people unless I’d curse her. It took another 15mins before the placenta and came out.
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Once the placenta came out, I began to bleed. Apparently, I had had a tear while the baby was coming out. Eventually the bleeding was contained. The doctor informed me that I would still have to make some discharge for the birthing process to be successfully completed. She advised that I took something liquid that would make me urinate. Bolu’s mother took the Bournvita and milk (things I bought with my own money), put a small scoop in a cup, flooded it with cold water and gave it to me to drink.
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Upon Daddy’s (Bolu’s father) request, I was put in the private ward. The ward had two beds, I was in one, Bolu’s mother was in the other. My baby was crying in the middle of the night, I had drip tags fixed to my hand, I couldn’t get up and get the baby. I looked towards my man’s mother and there she was, fast asleep – she didn’t even hear her grand-daughter cry. The girl was crying and I was helpless. I started calling the nurses till someone came around. All through, my man’s mom never woke up.
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The doctor came around when she heard all that noise; she was angry at my man’s mother. “Mama, why are you sleeping?” she asked, “you’re here to help this girl take care of her baby not to sleep!” She faced me and asked if I had urinated, I told her no. She told the nurses to boil water and bring it over. She scooped heaps of cocoa drink and milk into the cup and prepared me a drink herself. Roughly 10 mins after I took the drink, I peed. As I peed, I was peeing blood. It was so painful. In the end, it stopped and I was taken back to bed.
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The next morning, around 5am, the nurses told Bolu’s mother to quickly get breakfast for me because I hadn’t eaten in almost 24hours and I was already weak from the stress of labour. She left. 8am, she wasn’t back; 10am she wasn’t back. 12noon, no sign of my man’s mother. By then I was starving. I began to beg the nurses to help me find anything I could eat. Given the location of the hospital, it was impossible to find food to buy that Saturday. In the end, one of the nurses went to her house and made pap for me.
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Around 1pm, I called Bolu and lamented to him. He begged me and asked me where I was. Few minutes after, he appeared in person at the hospital with a take-away pack of food and in company of a friend. I was shocked that he came by himself but first, I devoured the food and then I asked him how he got to me so fast. I didn’t know his whereabouts anymore but I’d always assumed that he must have been out of town when he called.
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He said he got into town the previous day, he was called that I was in labour (he didn’t mention who had called him). He said he was however told to not bother to come to the hospital until the next day, Saturday; since he was travelling in the evening. He told me not to tell anyone that he had come to the hospital. He said his coming was a secret and that he wasn’t even going to stay in his family’s house. He said he was staying with the friend whom they had come together. He carried the baby, gazed at her for a while and then took his leave.
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Bolu’s mother never came back with the food, but around 4pm, she sent someone in the neighbourhood to bring food to me. The food was leftover Semo; it was what remained from the Semo I had prepared for the family on Thursday. The problem with the food she sent was not only that it was stale, there was no soup to eat it with – only stew and the stew had meat or fish in it. In the end, couldn’t eat the food.
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It was later, too, that I got to know that when the string around my tummy was given to us, Bolu’s mother had been informed by the prophet that when it was time for the baby to come, the chain should be removed before there can be a successful delivery. She never breathed a word of that to me.”
When I started dating Bolu, my eldest brother never supported the relationship and I didn’t know why. He was never specific about why I shouldn’t date him. He went on to poison my siblings and my parents’ mind about him. That was why, initially, they never supported the relationship. Yet, I wondered why my brother would tell me not to date Bolu and what may have been fuelling his stance.
In the seventh month of my pregnancy, once Bolu’s father had accepted me, I informed my parents about what had happened. My family knew Bolu and so I didn’t have to go through the hassle of who the father was and all that. After I had informed my folks, Bolu’s father had asked if it was possible for my family and theirs to have an Introduction ceremony and a small wedding after. My father insisted that nothing of such would happen. He said until after I had seen through the pregnancy, there would be no wedding or interactions between the family.
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For my folks – particularly for my siblings – I was to blame for everything. They kept ringing it in my ears that my brother had been warning me about Bolu and I wouldn’t listen. My mother was not as loud as my siblings were but she leaned towards their point of view. The blame-heaping was so much that in the end, I decided to rough things through and endure whatever my lot might be.
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This was why I took the succour I got from Bolu’s father and when it was time to have my baby, I did not try to reach out to my family. In truth, if I had told my mother, she would have jumped on the road to be with me but with all the resentment I had face, birthing the baby was a journey.
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It was later that I find out that my brother of mine had connected with Kike on Facebook and they had begun to date. Neither of them told me anything. While I took Kike as my confidante, making her my safe space, she kept secrets from me. She was a receptacle of information and I was supplying her all the information regarding Bolu and me. I would sit down with Kike and lament to her about my ordeal; she would just tell me to pray and trust God but behind my back, she would tell my brother everything I shared with her.
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That evening, I begged the doctors to discharge me and my baby as quickly as possible because, obviously, there was no one to care for me in the hospital. When Bolu’s mother came to the hospital again, she paid the hospital bill. The money was not complete but she said that was all the money her husband had given her. Given that the family had always used the hospital, I was discharged despite the fact that the bill was yet to be fully paid.
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When she left in the morning, she had taken my stained clothes along with her. We got home around 7pm and I discovered that she had wrapped up the soiled clothes and put them in the room I was staying for me to come back to and wash. I ended up washing everything myself. It was much later that we discovered that when Bolu’s mom said the money she paid at the hospital was all her husband gave her, she lied. She had removed from the money.
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Days after, I began to worry that I hadn’t heard from the CAC pastor since I gave birth and I returned home. I’d ask my man’s mother about him and she was always just dismissive. With my vaginal tear, I was doing all the chores in the house. I was the one doing all the house chores – my Man’s mother did not even lift a finger to take care of me or the baby. Everything was on me. The respite I had was Bolu’s dad. As long as he was at home, he shielded me from his wife’s tyranny.
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Bolu’s father always wanted a female child but he never had one. All his children were boys. He even tried to have a child out of wedlock with the hope that it would be a girl but that child also turned out to be a boy. For him, having a female grandchild was a huge deal. In the presence of everyone, he declared that he would no longer treat me like an in-law but like his own wife because I had given the family a girl child. This declaration pissed my man’s mother off. He was willing to go all the way to give his grand-daughter, anything she wanted.
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Bolu’s father was a Muslim and had – for no reason – stepped into a church before. When the issue of the naming ceremony came up; he wanted the girl to be named in the Islamic way but Bolu refused. Because of the love the old man had for me, he followed us to church where we named the girl Christiana and, in the evening, his Alfas came home and we had an Islamic christening, we named the girl Halimah.
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It was befitting naming ceremony, all thanks to Bolu’s father. He made sure everyone who came got fed and it was honourable. My mother came with some of our folks from Lagos but my father refused to come see me or the baby. He said it was improper to be meeting Bolu’s parents for the first time at the point of the naming of the child.
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It was on the day of the naming that I saw the CAC pastor, he came for the naming with his leg cast in POP. He told me that right after I called him at the hospital, he was heading out to the mountain to pray for me but he never made it to the mountain. He had an accident and broke his leg. When Bolu’s mom and I had gone for prayers, he had blessed a bottle of Goya oil and handed it to me to use; it was also at the christening that I found out that Bolu’s mother had switched the Goya oil which the Pastor had blessed with another Goya oil.
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Forty-One days after I gave birth, Bolu’s father made an offer to initiate the nuptial process; again, my father disagreed. At that point, it had become really embarrassing for me. My man’s mother would sometimes look at me and scornfully remark that she wasn’t surprised that my folks have refused to agree to a wedding. She would tell me no-one was begging to have me in her house, after all it was only a Ghana-Must-Go bag I brought into her house.
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I left and went back to my dad’s house to beg him so that my man’s family could do the needful, after all, the child had been born. My father refused. He insisted that he would be the one to choose, at his convenience, when my man’s family would come do the marital rites. And then he sent me out of his house. I returned to Ibadan and waited for my dad to pick a date for us to get the formalities done. I waited for 3 months and my dad said nothing.
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Meanwhile, Bolu’s mother’s cruelty did not stop. She would open up the windows or she could carry the child and put her outside, exposing her to harsh weather conditions. I would sometimes complain but that was all I could do. One day she carried the baby from my room; minutes after, she returned and flung the baby at me as though the baby was a ball. Instinctively, I reached out and grabbed her before she landed.
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Fifteen days after her birth, Christiana developed a cough that refused to go away. I would breast feed her and soon after she’d cough and vomit everything she’d had. Soon, her tummy became frigid. This cough was strange – as she coughed, water was pouring from her eyes. I was terrified. This child was only just fifteen days old!”
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Instantly, I dashed out of the room and went to the hospital. I got to the hospital and I presented her to the nurses on duty. Twice, the matron slapped me in anger, asking why I had let things deteriorate to that level before bringing her in. I didn’t even feel the slap, my heart was with my child; I just wanted her to be saved. The doctor who attended to us, told me to take the baby with me and go look for a drug. The doctor told me specifically that I had three hours to find the drug and administer it to my baby or else the story would be tragic
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I went to every big pharmacy in this Ibadan and none had the drug. The only place I found the drug, it cost N6000! I didn’t have N6000 with me. When I dashed out of the house for the hospital, I didn’t take my phone. At the pharmacy where I found the drug, I begged one of the cashiers to allow me use her phone to call Bolu’s father. When I narrated everything to him, he told me to wait for him and he came to meet us there. When he arrived and they went to the store to check the drug, they found out that they no longer had it.
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One of the attendants then described a pharmacy to me at Boluwaji. It was there, at Boluwaji, that we found the drug. The person in charge asked us who wanted to use it, I told her. She did not believe a newly born baby could use the drug. Then, suddenly, my girl coughed again. Once she heard the cough, she gave us the drugs immediately, we paid and went on our way. By then, we were past the three-hour deadline. Bolu’s dad drove at an unbelievable speed till we got back to the hospital. The doctor administered the drug and told us to wait for another four hours while they observed her.
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It was while we were waiting that Bolu’s mother called her husband to report me that I left the house with the baby and no one knew where I was. She did not know that we were together at the hospital. The man ended the call out of irritation. Then, she called back to say she suspected – by the way I left the house – that I was going to the hospital and that I told her not to follow me. Bolu’s father scolded her brutally and ended the call again.
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After waiting for four hours, we were discharged and I was instructed to keep administering the drug every six hours, starting from the time it was first administered. Two hours after we left the hospital, we administered the follow-up dose. The next dose after that was supposed to be around 11pm.
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When it was time to use the next dose, I went into the room and found an empty container with no content. Where did all the drug inside go? I went mad instantly. As I screamed, Bolu’s father came over and found the horror too. Bolu’s mother didn’t flinch as this was going on; she didn’t get up to help us figure out what had happened. We then found out that somehow had emptied the N6000 drug into the toilet.
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Bolu’s dad grabbed his car key and, once again, we were on the road panicking. We raced down to the Boluwaji store but they had closed; by then it was already 11:30pm. Someone then described a hospital along Eleyele called Bobakeye; the hospital had a pharmacy that opened 24-7. He said that that might be our best shot at getting the drug.
From Aiyegun-Olomi we drove to Eleyele. By then, I was crying profusely; the baby had begun to cough and it was so scary. We got there and they saw the little girl cough – they brought out the drug and informed us the price was not N6000; it was N8000. We said we’d take it and so it administered instantly; Christiana was relieved afterwards. It was at that pharmacy we were advised to buy Erythromycin and keep it, in case we couldn’t find the N8000 drug next time.
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It was time to pay and we did not have money on us. We had both rushed out of the house without our phones or purses. The nurses at the hospital saw how we were dressed and took pity on us; I guess they figured that we had rushed out in panic and had not taken cash with us. We stayed in the hospital till morning – it was there in the hospital that I gave my girl her next dose. One of the guys who worked in the hospital was designated to follow us home to collect the money, with a promise by my father to compensate the guy for the stress. That was what we did.
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That was how my girl survived.
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When my girl was a month old, Bolu’s mom attempted to feed my baby pap. In her defense, she said the girl was old enough to take pap and baby foods. I was angry – why will you say a month-old baby should be taking pap? It became a serious fight and it took the intervention of Bolu’s father to resolve the matter. He turned to me and asked me when I wanted to stop breastfeeding my child. Once I told him I’d breastfeed her for one whole year, he faced his wife and warned her to bury the subject of pap and baby formulas.
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One night, I was asleep and my baby was right next to me. Suddenly, from my sleep, I felt a smack wake me up. I opened my eyes and found Bolu’s mom tip-toeing out of my room with Christiana in her arms! She realized that she had been caught and she froze. I got up, walked to her and collected my baby from her. From that night on, I became very afraid for myself and my baby.
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My mom was clairvoyant – while all these dramatic incidents were happening, she’d call me to say she had a feeling that things were not right. I’d tell her not to worry, that everything was fine. I always felt that every ‘home’ had their own struggles and I had to just learn perseverance.
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One morning, around 11am, I was stepping out of the house when I got a call from the CAC pastor; I carried my baby. There seemed to be some panic in his voice. He asked me if I could come see him at home. Anytime he wanted to see me, we always met at the church, but this time he wanted us to meet at his place. Why?
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I got to his place and I knew that something was off. The man went straight to the point – he told me that if I loved myself and my child, then I mustn’t sleep in that house that night. He said that a spiritual bounty had been placed on both my head and my daughter’s. He told me to vanish instantly without raising suspicion. He also told me I could leave everything behind but I should not leave my bathing sponge.
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I left the Pastor’s house, a bit confused at what I had just heard. I had barely walked away from the house when I received a call from a woman – she was the mother of the friend who had accompanied Bolu to the hospital when I had the baby. The woman was friends with Bolu’s mother and the two families were family friends. It was quite unusual for her to call me. I picked that call and she asked me if I could come over to see her at her place.
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I got to her place and informed me that she had invited me to warn me that I mustn’t sleep in Bolu’s parents’ house that night. Exactly what the pastor said. She told me about a conspiracy by Bolu and his mother to get me out of the picture and keep the child. She said she was letting me know all that because I had been a good daughter to her and her conscience kept pricking her that she couldn’t sit idly by without warning me of such a plot against me. I didn’t believe her and she knew, that was when she then played an audio recording for me, it was Bolu’s voice discussing how he and his mom had planned to take the child away from me once the child clocked 3 months.
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She asked me if I noticed anything before leaving the house that morning, I was lost. I didn’t understand. She asked me if I was able to access the room where I had kept the baby things that day. I said no. She then asked if it was a usual thing for the room to be locked. It was right there and then that things began to flash back in my memory. True, the room where I kept the baby things was locked (which was unusual). It then made sense the issue about pap – they were trying to wean her off me. I thanked the woman and left her house.
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I had no money on me to leave the house, I had nowhere in Ibadan I could go. My best bet was to go to Lagos. I went back to the CAC pastor’s house to seek his counsel, perhaps I could stay till the next day before leaving. The man told me I had to leave that day. He gave me N1000 and prayed for me. I returned home and found out that Bolu’s father had slept in my room. I lingered for a while till he turned his face to the wall then I sneaked in, picked my sponge and some clothes and left the house.
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I took the clothes to a neighbour’s place and told the woman I’d be back in a bit. I took a narrow path to avoid being seen till I got out of the area into the main road and then, straight, to the car park. We took the last seat on the bus heading to Lagos.
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We got to my mom’s place at about 8pm – she was shocked to see us. She gave me water to drink and I changed my baby’s diapers. I narrated my ordeal to my mom; she was speechless. I called my dad and told him all that had happened. My father ordered me to go back to Ibadan, I was bewildered. In response, I defied him and he didn’t like that. He threatened to disown me and, this time, I didn’t bulge. I told my dad I wasn’t going back to Ibadan unless he did the needful regarding the marital rites.
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Two weeks after we escaped, my man and his family members came to Lagos to discuss how to go about doing the wedding and to pick a date. While they were at our house, I caught Bolu’s mother sneaking out of the house through the backdoor with my baby strapped to her back. It became a scene and, in the end, they left our house. With that I completely just lost my faith in her and the whole family.
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I had to return to school to complete my studies and my family was worried that if I returned to Ibadan with my daughter, Bolu’s mother could try to take her from me. My mother insisted that I should leave my daughter with her in Lagos and that was what we did. We put pap in a feeding bottle and behold, she took it. We began to experiment with baby formula and other food combinations as prescribed to us at the hospital. That was how I was able to come back to Ibadan to finish my studies.
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All through those months, Bolu’s father would call me and plead with me. Almost a year after I had the child, I considered all the man had done for me and Christiana and I also considered his pleas; I also considered that I wanted my daughter to grow up in a proper home where there is a dad and a mom and there was love. I believed that I owed her that. I considered all these and decided to leave room for a shot at a coming back together – but this time, I was on the alert. Very quickly, I realized that he didn’t seem to have any interest anymore and it felt like it he was being forced to make things work out between us.
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One time, he came with his mother to demand for the child. Seeing that the child was not anywhere near, the mother cursed and said something would befall my girl and I would carry her back to their house with my own hands. Instantly, I cancelled the curse to her hearing. I scooped sand from the ground and swore with it that nothing of such would ever happen. From then on, I decided to just be on my own and take care of my daughter. For so long I had been afraid to be a single mother but from then on, I jettisoned the fear and embraced my fate.
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In 2020, I took her to spend the Ileya holiday with her grandparents – I did this for the sake of her grandfather. I left her there to spend two days but I didn’t sleep in the house with her. As fate would have it, on the Ileya day, Bolu came around with his fiancée. I was there with them to celebrate the Sallah day itself too. In the night, my man said I wouldn’t be taking the child with me back to Lagos because he was ready to take custody of the child.
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We had a heated argument and, in the end, he said we would have to ask the child whom she wanted to stay with. I never knew that they had been poisoning my daughter’s mind against me since I dropped her off. Maybe because there were kids in the house and she had people as young as her to roll with, that same night, as her father and me argued over whether she’d leave or not, Christiana came to meet me and said, ‘Mummy, I’m not going to Lagos again’.
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I felt a blow to my heart – I felt defeated. The next morning, they already dressed her up, fed her and were talking to her. In my heart, I kept praying that God’s will be done. When I was set to leave, I rose up, said goodbye and began to advance towards the door; my girl jumped up too, carried her bag and said she was going with me. They were shocked at the twist. Even me, I was shocked. She kept tugging my arms and was saying ‘Mummy let’s go to Lagos, we will be late o.’ That was how we made it out of there.
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Ever since that narrow escape, I made up my mind that she’d never see them again. Till now, Bolu does not contribute a dime to our child’s upkeep. He has no interest in how his child feeds or what school she attends. It is his father who tries to chip in something.
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It’s been six years since I left Bolu’s parents’ house and nothing has befallen my daughter. My daughter doesn’t like to hear about her dad at all. Without anyone telling her all these events, she doesn’t like to speak to her dad or his mom. The only person whom she talks to over the phone is her grandfather. Once they want to hand the phone to grandma, she drops the phone. Sometimes, I wonder how this has come to be.
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God has helped me to raise her so far. I have had to make huge sacrifices just to make sure she has the best life. The child has been nothing but a blessing everywhere she goes. Bolu’s family are the ones who are desperately looking for her now. For me – as long as I have Christiana – I have everything.
[The End]
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