She walked dragging her swollen feet across the large compound, supporting her protruding belly.
Her belly made her unable to bend down to pick up the clothes to dry them.
8 months ago, Melvin had her move into the apartment and although she liked it, it was extremely difficult living in such a lavish and big apartment alone. Getting into the apartment, he called her almost every day, making sure she was comfortable much to the displeasure of his family.
At least she knew he wasn’t going to abandon her now in her state. In the state where she was carrying his child.
A month ago, he revealed his intention to get married to his best friend from college. The news had bothered her. That night, she cried herself to sleep scolding herself for being too naive and falling in love with someone who was far beyond her reach.
Trying to undo whatever she felt for him seemed impossible and every time he called, she would force a smile knowing how much she was hurting inside.
When the baby comes out, she had planned to finish the course she currently pursuing online at the University of Ghana with her little savings.
A year from now and she will be out of their lives.
With or without their unborn child.
It was a difficult decision she’d had to make for herself considering how badly she was being treated by his family.
After several attempts to dry the clothes, she managed to put them on the drying line. Not the way she wanted but it was the little she could do.
Upon getting inside, her phone rang. She picked it up and sat on an armchair close to one of her couches.
“I called several times you weren’t picking up.”
“Sorry, I was out drying clothes.”
“I just checked and it seems you’re due next month. I will be home by then for your delivery. Maybe a little bit longer till my son doesn’t rely on milk. I know this is sudden but I don’t want negligence on your side as you’re going to school now and would have less time to take care of a child…”
“Excuse me? You want to take my son away from me?”
“Listen, please. I will never do that. We will co-parent but what I’m saying now is to help both of us, especially you. I will be working then and will have enough time to spend with him.”
She had no idea what to think or how to respond but she could say one thing.
“What about your marriage? Won’t he be caught up in all of this?”
The silence on the other side confirmed her suspicions.
“Let him live with me please.”
Her voice was shaky.
“I may not be the perfect mother you’ll want but this is still my child. I don’t want full custody. Just let me be a mother to him.”
He sighed briefly/
“I can’t be in Ghana every time. If I start working in the US, I’m going to be a resident and my life will be out here. Are you saying that you won’t ever get married? Or that you won’t have other kids? Be honest with me.”
She was taken aback by the question. It hadn’t crossed her mind yet. At least not now.
“I will, it’s just…”
“Ange. I’m not a hypocrite. My fiancée and I have decided not to have kids now at least not after 4 or 5 years. I’m not lying to you. I’m not even supposed to be telling you personal things about her but I want you to understand. Renin is pursuing a career that will prevent her from having kids for a few years…”
“I’m sorry this is just too much. Regardless of all this, you will still have kids on your own. What will happen to him when she gets jealous of you giving him attention?”
“Cmon. You’re watching too many movies.”
“I don’t care anymore. You expect a 2-year-old to live without his mother?”
“My nephew lived without his mother for almost 2 years and he’s perfectly fine.”
“It’s different. Your brother is married to the mother of his child. We’re different! “
They argued for quite a while not yielding to each other’s request.
She finally agreed when he said he wasn’t going to marry his fiancée until after 2 years. And he wanted his son to grow up knowing him.
“Who is going to feed him?”
“I will be in Ghana taking charge of my father’s businesses during those few years.”
“Wow. You’re such a complicated man.”
“You knew nothing about men till I laid with you.”
Ouch. She hung up on him for indirectly calling her a naive slut.
The first time she’d ever dared to do that and she felt good about it. Her unborn child brought out different parts of her she never knew existed.
She was being forced to grow up. To think like an adult, to take responsible decisions.
Unable to reach her, he apologized through voice mail.
“I’m sorry I said that to you. Your flaws were shown to me and I judged you without understanding the situation. Please pick up my calls.”
They settled their differences in a calm manner.
“Have you got a name for him yet?”she asked since she felt she was in no position to name their child.
“I was going to ask you that.”
She was confused for a moment.
Why would he want her to do that when he could easily name him?
“I couldn’t think of anything better. Have you?”
“Well..yes. I don’t want him to have a Muslim name.”
“And why would he have one?”
“Are you not a Muslim?”
He laughed out loud at her sentiment.
“I can’t believe you’re this clueless. You served my aunty for 4 years and still have no idea
“Actually, I was a day student in SHS. I came back from school and minded my own business. Cleaning and doing other stuff.”
“Young lady. It’s still not an excuse.”
“We’re northerners. Northerners may have similarities with Muslims but that’s just it. We can choose to be a Muslim or a Christian.”
“So you’re Christians?”
“100 percent. We give Christian names to babies and at least one local name.”
She wasn’t told and never asked.
“Great. I have a name for him.”
“Okay? Let me hear it.”
“Dennis. I think it’s a simple but great name.”
“What do you think of it?”
“It’s not bad.”
“So we can use it. I will think of a local name later.”
She could not sit still and she dragged her feet along the floor. A pile of bags were packed on the only elongated chair in the room. Her eyes were focused outside. The first contraction had rushed her to the closest hospital. Everything was packed ahead of time to avoid regrets. Her belly was now the size of a balloon. Big that she could not see her feet unless she sat down.
She’d been sipping some juice from a cup to calm her nerves and the only person with her at the moment was her brother Phil.
Ibrahim had forgotten some things at home and drove back to get them. She wasn’t going to deliver any time soon as it wasn’t time yet but maybe she was wrong this time.
Phil had been using his phone and keeping his eye on her sister ever since he came.
“I’m so hungry, Phil” Mimi complained, pouting her lips.
“Let me get you something to eat outside. Mum will bring what she’s preparing after your delivery.”
He left and she sat on the bed. After taking the epidural, the pain had subsided so she could move with ease. When the last two contractions hit, that would be her cue to push and Ibrahim wasn’t there.
“Hey,” he comes through the door, obviously looking tired and worn out. He’d suspended work for a while to help with the birth of his child.
“Are you still in pain?”
“No. The epidural I was given is really helping. I think I should lie down.”
He helped her lay, holding her hands in his.
“You will be fine, baby”. And kisses her on her already sweaty forehead.
“I have asked my brother to get me something to eat. Could you go and see if he’s in? I’m getting really hungry.”
“You know you can only take liquid food right?”
She nodded and placed her hand on her belly.
Before he could go get her food, Phil came in with their mum and a plastic rubber in hand.
“My child!” The two hug each other.
“Your cousin Lily will bring your food soon. For now, take this,” she handed her the bowl of oatmeal Phil had bought her.
“Thanks,” before she could sit upright on her bed, Ibrahim had already taken it upon himself to feed her.
“I’m pregnant, not sick.”
“Still. Open up.” He fed her like a baby much to her mum’s astonishment. She never thought a man as powerful as Ibrahim would be loving and kind to her daughter. Not in a million years.
They had a pleasant conversation afterwards, both Ibrahim and Mimi’s mom.
Ibrahim’s family swarmed into the hospital to see her.
“I can’t meet everyone. Not now at least. Can you do something about it?” She had pleaded and Ibrahim obliged. He didn’t want that either but Kadi and their son came into their ward anyways.
“Oh my baby” wanting to hold him, she forgot her pregnancy for a second. The boy sat on his dad’s lap playing with his large hands and a toy in his other hand.
They talked about her pregnancy and due birth throughout her short stay till the nurses and doctor walked in.
Enoch let out a loud wail for being carried outside and even dropped his toy.
“Mum, please get him something to eat.”
“Will do. Be strong Mimi and Ibrahim don’t leave her side,” she warned.
Everyone in the room had to leave except for Ibrahim. They didn’t know the gender of the baby as he preferred he found out after birth to prevent persistent expectation.
“She’s 10cm dilated. We can start the birthing process.”
“Ahh! Is she alright?”
“There’s nothing to worry about. The baby needs to come out.”
He was nervous and sweat broke out on his forehead.
The doctor urged her to push as any doctor would. Ibrahim held her hands and consistently wiped the sweat from her forehead as she pushed with much force.
This went on for about 5 hours till the doctor announced the birth of the baby, congratulating them. The nurses wrapped the baby in a white sheet of clothing.
“Congratulations,” the nurse handed over the crying baby to his mother.
The moment her eyes met with the baby’s, she instantly fell in love.
Ibrahim on the other hand felt overwhelming emotions he couldn’t quite comprehend. It’s the second time or perhaps the third time if his brother’s child was included, however, the feeling was a bit different because he felt a sudden urge to project him as he did with Enoch. He knew what it was. He was a last born. Having Enoch was special. For the whole six months after he was born, he’d always been with him. Regardless of age, he knew he would treat them equally, maybe favouring Enoch a little more since he’s taken care of him the most.
“Oh Jesus, thank you. Thank you so much,” she sobbed quietly.
Wrapping his arms around her to comfort his wife.
“He doesn’t look like either of us.”
“Are you disappointed?” he asked her.
“Of course not.” she looked tired and worn out but managed to speak to him.
“Feed him and take a nap. After, you can eat also.”
“Thank you for being here,” she could not stop herself from uttering those words. He had been nothing but supportive as a husband should which elevated the respect and love she had for him.
“Thank you too. For being a good wife to me.”
Before that, one of the nurses took the baby out for a bath and returned him shortly after.
Mimi fed him and slept while Ibrahim fell asleep too with the baby on his chest. He gave strict instructions not to allow anyone into the ward. At least not until Mimi got her sleep.
In about 5 hours, the doctor informed them that they could leave after they finish running tests on Mimi and the baby.
Kadi and the rest of the family visited the ward with well wishes and gifts. Ibrahim’s colleagues and friends dropped gifts after gifts inside of his mansion. The mood that morning was all of laughter, joy and immense gratification.
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