Fadeke woke up tired. This was becoming a norm and she wasn’t sure she could continue this way. Waking up early and driving to work which had previously been a necessity had now become a luxury. Her father had presented a car to her a week after her graduation party and she drove it herself. She did not need a driver to take her around; she had told her father. Right now, she was beginning to wonder if that request couldn’t be reopened. She knew she couldn’t talk to her father as he had refused to acknowledge her presence in the house since the Sunday morning he had instructed her to go for an abortion. She also tried to stay out of his way; waking up early to go to work and going straight to her room immediately she was back from work. Her mum had employed a cook and her meals were brought to her in her room.
As she stood up from the bed, she thought about putting in her resignation at work. Even though, the dizzy spells had reduced, she had been advised that she needed to take rests. She was working herself too hard; the in-house doctor had told her. She put her hand on her tummy. She was almost twelve weeks gone and she was beginning to show a bump. She had started wearing loose shirts to work and she did not want her colleagues to find out before she tendered her resignation. The sooner she did it, the better. She had to talk to her mother. Over the past few weeks, they had become closer. She knew her mum was disappointed and she did not fail to chip it in once in a while but she had accepted the present situation and was trying to make the best of it. She would ask her mum for a chat when she returned from work.
“I want to resign, mum”. Fadeke said later that evening. She was dressed in a loose blouse over a pinafore and her legs were stretched on a stool.
“I don’t think I can continue this way. My bump is beginning to garner a few stares from my colleagues”.
“Is that the reason why you want to resign?”
“Coupled with the fact that I get tired easily as well”.
“That is a norm once you are pregnant”.
She sighed. “This ain’t easy, mum”.
“You should have thought about that when……”
“I don’t need this right now”.
Mrs. Peters was quiet.
“What do you think about my resignation?”
“If you can’t handle it anymore, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. But you have to let your father know”.
“He hasn’t spoken to me in weeks”.
“You still have to let him know”.
Fadeke fidgeted with her fingers. “Mum, can I ask you a favour?”
“I want to go stay abroad till I have my baby”.
Her mother looked at her astonished. “Why?”
“I…I don’t want Chinedu finding me in this condition”. She stammered.
“He is in Abuja. How is he going to see you?”
“He’s coming home in about a week or so”.
Her eyebrows rose. “How do you know that?”
“We had discussed about it before. He is taking his vacation and he wanted to come and see dad”.
“He better not”.
“I sincerely don’t know what he would do but I don’t want to be around when he comes”. She paused. “Can I go stay with Aunt Morayo in the states?”
“Till you have your baby?”
“Yes mum, please”. She pleaded.
She put her right hand on her head and looked at her daughter. She wished things did not have to be this way. Aunt Morayo was her cousin and would gladly take in her daughter. With four sons and no daughter; she treated Fadeke like the daughter she would have loved to have. Fadeke always stayed with her during her visits to the states so living with her now would not pose a problem. The problem however, was convincing her husband. It was bad enough that father and daughter now lived like strangers. Sending her out of the country was going to totally breakdown the relationship between them. Whatever the case may be, she wanted her daughter’s happiness.
“I’d talk to your dad”. She concluded.
“But you would have to do the talking as regards your resignation”.
She sighed. “Okay. I would try”.
“Your father loves you and wants the best for you. You do know that, don’t you?”
She dropped her head. “I know mum. I know he is disappointed in me and I accept that I made a mistake by falling in love with Chinedu. I hope he forgives me”.
“He would. He is just hurt”.
“I am sorry I can’t have an abortion like he suggested”. She looked at her mum as tears filled her eyes. “Deep down in my heart, I still love Chinedu even though he has hurt me so much”.
Her mother moved closer to hug her. “I know darling”. She put her hand on her daughter’s tummy. “This baby would always remind you of the love you had for him”.
As they both sat there crying in each other’s embrace; each had reasons for tears.
Fadeke; for her heart which was hurting. Her mother; for the relationship her daughter was losing with her father and the hurt they were both going through.
Adeola gave his sister a hug. She was scheduled to leave on the 11p.m flight on Delta Airlines. At nineteen, he understood what the whole family was going through. He was studying Architecture in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomosho, Oyo state. Being a five year course, he had one more year to go before graduation. Fadeke had called him two days ago to inform him about her trip to the states. He had been surprised as he wasn’t aware of the present situation of things. He however came home as he wanted to see his big sister and know what the sudden move to the states was about. They had both talked for hours last night.
Mrs. Peters looked at her daughter with tear-stained cheeks. After much persuasion, her husband had eventually agreed to let her go to the states to stay with Aunt Morayo till the birth of her baby. He wasn’t exactly in support of her having the baby but he had listened to the voice of reason from his wife. What if complications arose during the termination? She had asked him. His daughter would never forgive him. She pulled her daughter close and held her tightly. “Promise me, you would take good care of yourself”.
“I promise”. She sobbed.
“I love you so much darling. Don’t ever forget that”.
“I love you too, mum”.
“I’d visit you in the next two months”.
“Enough of the pity party. You should get going”. Mr. Peters said irritated.
He was hurting and was finding it hard to express his feelings. This was not what he had planned for his daughter. He had been a proud father until some weeks ago. He watched his daughter grow up into a beautiful girl and had even been the envy of some of his friends. A few of them had joked about visiting him soon with their sons to seek for his daughter’s hand in marriage. That dream had however been dashed by the Igbo boy she had gotten pregnant for. He never imagined his daughter becoming an unwed mother. If he had known, he would have flown her out of the country to continue her education. He never imagined that Dupe would not handle the situation as appropriate. He wasn’t just upset with Fadeke. He was also upset with her. Her carelessness had resulted in Fadeke getting pregnant.
When she sought his opinion about having the baby in the states, he had been angrier than ever. She was meant to help her get an abortion, but she was doing otherwise. “Do you think I am glad that my daughter is pregnant?” She had asked him. He had walked out on her without a response. He had come back home much later that night expecting everyone to be in bed. But she had waited up for him. She had knelt down before him in tears pleading with him. It wasn’t her desire that things were going this way, but they had to look beyond the present situation and think of their daughter’s future.
Fadeke looked at her dad. “I’m ready to leave now”.
“The driver would take you to the airport”.
She stammered. “I…you…I mean….you ain’t going with us?”
“What do you need me there for?”
Fadeke looked downcast. “Nothing”. She paused. “I just wanted to give you a hug”. She said without raising her head.
Mrs. Peters looked at her husband with pleading eyes.
Mr. Peters moved closer to his daughter, lifted up her chin and hugged her.
Fadeke burst into fresh tears. “I’m sorry, dad. Please forgive me”.
Chinedu flew into Lagos at 9.00am. He took a taxi straight to his house and headed out almost immediately. Today was the first day of his vacation and he couldn’t wait any longer. As he walked into the premises of the bank, he looked round to see who could attend to him.
“Good morning”. He said to the lady behind the customer service desk.
She smiled at him. “Good morning. Please sit down”.
He sat down.
“How may I help you?”
“I would like to see Miss Peters. Could you help, please?”
“Yes, Fadeke Peters”.
“Is it official or personal?”
“I’m sorry. She doesn’t work with us anymore. She resigned two days ago…..”
“She resigned?” He interrupted.
“Yes, she did. If it is official or something I can help you with, I can refer you to…..”
“Don’t bother. Thanks”. He said as he stood up.
He walked out of the bank lost. What is happening? This had been his last hope of getting across to her. After the incident during his last visit to her house, he had decided that the best place to meet with her without any intrusion was her office. With the new development, he was left with no option than to go back to her house. He flagged down a taxi and gave him the address of the Peter’s residence. As he got to her house, he saw a Lexus Jeep driving out of the house with Mrs. Peters sitting in the backseat. He eased out of the taxi in a hurry and ran towards the car. Mrs. Peters saw him and asked the driver to stop as she wound down the window.
“Good afternoon ma”.
“Yes, how may I help you?”
Unsure of what her next reaction would be, he stammered. “I….I wanted to see Fadeke. Is she home, ma?”
Mrs. Peters eyed him. “What do you want from her again? Haven’t you done enough already?”
“I’m sorry ma. I still don’t understand what is going on. Please, I need your help”.
She laughed derisively. “My help? Did you just ask for my help? Look here Chinedu, Fadeke is far away from where you can harm her. Do you understand me?”
Chinedu stood transfixed.
Mrs. Peters wound the window back up and the car sped away.
What have I done to deserve this kind of treatment? What did she mean by far away from where I can harm her? I have exhausted all the options I have of getting across to her. Have I hurt her so much that she wouldn’t even give him an opportunity to defend myself?
He was still standing there when the door man tapped him on the shoulder.
“Mr. Chinedu, Aunty Fadeke has travelled”.
“Yes, she travelled yesterday night”.
“Do you know where she travelled to?”
“Haba, Oga Chinedu, dem no dey tell me dat kain thing nah. How I go know?”
“Okay. Thank you”.
He walked back to the taxi; as the man was still waiting to get paid. He eased into the taxi and gave him his address. This was too much to bear. Fadeke had travelled without a word. He had no one else to talk to.
Everyone he spoke to seemed not to know anything and those who knew had decided to keep mum.
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