by Daisy Yawson
“Have some of the chicken,” he urged her as they sat behind a glass marble table situated on the compound under a fancy canopy.
“Thanks,” she muttered. On the table laid food of all sort. Rice, tomato stew, sliced eggs, salad, tomato ketchup, and some spaghetti.
“Adisa told me you were hurting down there,” he swallowed hard. “Are you okay now?”
It took like forever to give a reply. She wasn’t expecting Adisa to reveal something like that to him.
Fidgeting with her neatly trimmed nails, she answered.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Her expression told him otherwise. He thought it was something mild. Adisa had told him she was fine after taking the medicine. He’d even scolded her for going to a local drugstore for the drugs and yet something seemed to be wrong.
He sat upright to look her in the eye.
“Be sincere with me about your health. if anything happens to you, how will you fulfil my wish.”
Fighting the urge to cry, she kept mute instead.
To him, she was just someone to carry his son for nine months. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The thought of him loving another disturbed her even when she wasn’t really intimate with him.
The blue kufi cap he wore enhanced his features. Making him look more handsome and manly than he already was.
Taking his time, he took a bite of the chicken. Humming to a tone and savouring the sweet taste. All this while, her face never left his. Everything he did was so perfect to her. She wondered how any woman would feel when walking side by side with him.
“You’ve not touched your food,” he said, interrupting her trail of thoughts, she realized she’s been staring at the man with godly features.
“Can I go ahead with my rules?” His eyebrows raised in question.
“Okay. First and foremost are the rooms. Every room is available to you if you want except for the fifth room downstairs…..I can only go to that room and no one else!” His voice was stern and sharp.
Picking at her food, she listened keenly.
“Don’t cook for me. Also, I won’t be sharing a bed with you but if it’s due, I will tell you before visiting your bed and you don’t have to wear anything…′ He cleared his throat.
“When is your period?”
Averting her beautiful brown eyes, she uttered.
“Next week Monday.”
“Then I will come to you soon.”
As they ate in silence, he continued.
“You already met Adisa. There are two people you might see cleaning here. The guy comes in on a Saturday to trim the grass… About the cooking, I do it myself. Except for some family members who let themselves in.
My mum and a few Aunts come to cook but that’s only occasionally so you don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone without notice.”
“What about your clothes?” her voice was soft but clear.
“Don’t touch them. Adisa will do the washing and….” Something seems to have stopped him in his tracks.
The truth was, Eyram did the washing most times but he felt the need to be quiet about it. She was only a girl and wouldn’t understand adult matters.
After clearing their plates, Ibrahim took the lead. Like he wanted to be somewhere else. Like something was calling him in. Taking long strides into the house, he left her alone at the table. She could only stare at his behind and feel lonely at the abrupt rejection.
Inside the house, she leaned in close to Ibrahim’s door. He seemed to have yelled at someone behind the closed door. Feeling anxious, she leaned towards his door to listen.
“My love, please listen. I have never stopped loving you even after you conceived Saeed.” His voice laced with desperation made Mimi jealous. She’s never heard a grown-up man speak so desperately to a woman before. She suddenly longed for it.
“How’s our son?”
“Yes…yes… morning flight?”
“Alright, my love. I love you.”
He heaved a heavy sigh. Mimi had already retracted her steps before he hung up. The conversation he had with Eyram had caused him a great deal. She’d told him that Saeed had missed him. Calling for his daddy most nights. He was only two and he’d missed his dad greatly.
Eyram could only voice out her concerns regarding the girl he’d married. She blamed him for not allowing her to go through that process. But whatever it was, she understood that it was for the benefit of his son and her.
A few minutes later, he received a call from his mum. The call did a number on him. Rushing into the hall, he called for Adisa.
“Adisa turn it on,” and gestured towards the large TV.
She did as instructed. With a few operations, he had his mum and Eyram appear on the big screen. The hall was empty when they started their conversation.
Mimi was nowhere in sight which was a good thing. Meanwhile, the girl had hidden behind a big curtain in the hall listening to their conversation. It was immature of her but she thought nothing of it.
“I told you not to accuse her mama,” Ibrahim begged.
“Musa, if only she had left your son with you, he wouldn’t have gotten ill. Now you want to involve an innocent girl in this matter?”
Mimi had seen the pretty woman on the screen who looked almost like a doll. This alone could be the reason why Ibrahim was bent on pleasing her.
She was nowhere near the classy woman she saw on the screen. Her fair skin radiated even on the screen that she thought she was out of Ibrahim’s league. So this was the woman with his child. The boy he loved so much, she thought.
“Maa, you don’t know the full story. Your grandson was ill as a baby and it’s only understandable that he’s fallen ill again. I have nothing to do with it,” she sternly tells her.
“Of course, he was ill. I saw it…”
Chuckling, she continued.
“Maybe, my son should look into it if really he’s his blood.”
“Mum, stop it!”
His voice echoed in the hall. His mum could only chuckle again at his outburst.
Eyram, being a strong mature woman looked blankly at them. Fighting the urge to say nothing foul and insulting.
“Maa. I agreed to this call so we could make this work but it seems you’re not ready to do that.”.He spelt it out to her in a firm voice.
Eyram had had Saeed two years ago. The boy looked so much like her that you could mistake him for his mother.
Musa’s mother was torn between accepting a sick grandson. The issue of illness has never been recorded in that family and for her to come back to the family house with a sick child was too much to bear.
“He’s not your son. Open your eyes to see. That boy, is a sick child…..eiii God where did I go wrong?”
She bawled her eyes out at her son.
It was quite clear the meeting hadn’t gone well as he’d planned. His mum was making a virtual scene while Eyram had a grim face on but she got this instead. The call ended a few seconds after Eyram asked to be excused to attend to their son.
Behind the curtain, the girl felt the urge to hug Ibrahim from behind.
She’d no idea what was going on or what was meant to happen. But at that moment, she wanted to cross boundaries and take care of him.
Without a thought, she slipped into her room, turned on the large screen tv, and watched anything at all just to get her mind off what she had heard. It was like forcing a donkey to drink water.
Nothing could ever make her focus. Tossing and turning, she felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen, just when she started to relax.
Holding onto the bedpost, she yelled for help. The pain shot through her inside making her tremble and feel sick. Adisa rushed in followed closely by Ibrahim who had a concerned look on.
Ibrahim picked her lightweight, slender body in his arms to the bed.
“What did you take in!”
He shook her gently to get a reply from Mimi who had already grabbed his shirt between her fingers. Her breathing laboured while she held on tightly, biting her lips to stop herself from crying.
“Call doctor Ofori now,” he barked.
“Yes, sir,” Adisa rushed out.
“I will give you a son. I promise.”
“Shhhh. Stop talking now,” he wondered if people in pain made promises out of nowhere.
Adisa came back.
“Get me a face towel.”
A face towel was brought to him which he used to dab on her sweaty forehead.
Absentmindedly, her hand searched for his on the bed and held unto it. Causing a startled Ibrahim to pull back but changed his mind as Adisa was watching them.
“Why is he not here yet?”
The door opened as soon as he uttered those words. He stood up to greet the supposed Dr Ofori and went out while the doctor attended to her.
A few hours later, Doctor Ofori came out with prescriptions written shabbily on a piece of paper and handed it to Ibrahim.
“Come. Let me speak with you alone.”
They walked leisurely on the compound as they talked.
“I found a drug in her system…I mean a drug she’s not supposed to take.”
Worry creased on Ibrahim’s forehead.
“Can you tell me which kind of drug?”
“Actually, it’s a drug used to treat malaria but can be dangerous to the womb or any developing fetuses.”
Pondering for a while, he asked.
“If I’m right…. you mean she took some medicine which was prone to destroy her womb?”
He was beyond shock when the doctor nodded. Dr Ofori could understand his frustration and urged on.
“But don’t worry….she will be fine…I checked her blood pressure and everything necessary. No harm has been done to her and it’s surprising….she could have lost a baby if she were pregnant but miraculously, she’s responding to treatment. So I will advise, she stays away from those drugs in the future.”
That was the last before he saw the doctor off.
Fuming in anger, he called Adisa out after getting into the hall.
“Adisa come out!” he barked.
The girl rushed to the hall with her head bent.
“What drug did you give to my wife earlier during the day?”
Falling down to her knees, she sobbed.
“Master, please…I already told you… I got the drug at the drugstore. ”
Her sobs only got on his nerves.
“What drug was that?”
He paced up and down the hall, rubbing his face with his bare palm. There was something Adisa was quiet about and he deserved to know for Mimi’s sake and his. The girl lying in bed looked quite pale and it disturbed him.
Leaning with his back to the wall, he thought of how to go about the situation.
How he could convince Adisa to open up about the issue. And how to approach Mimi. Walking away from her, he got into the room and towards the bed where Mimi lay. The girl had woken up from a short nap and seeing Ibrahim enter, she tried sitting up.
“No..relax,” and went back to the same position she was in.
He sat beside her, contemplating what he could do to make her feel calm and comfortable.
Mimi had seen that look before.
The look of worry, anxiety, and confusion he wore on his face. She wondered if it was really about her health or about his future plans for a son. All the same, she lay there watching him intensely.
The tank top she wore was pulled up with his hand and he began to stroke her tummy. That intimate gesture made her relax. He avoided her gaze but focused on what he was doing.
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