It does not take as much as most people think it does for love for a person to be transformed into disgust and hatred just as strong. There is truth in the saying that there is a fine line between love and hate and when Ochuko spoke the next set of words, I crossed that line with him. Here’s what he said.
“…sorted out if you do not leave me now. I reacted like I did because of the suddenness of the news and how you told me. I mean, bam, you hit me from nowhere.”
Please how else was I supposed to tell the man I was supposed to marry, who had been skin diving me all these months that I was pregnant. I should have done a PowerPoint presentation and called a stakeholders meeting abi? Anyway, let me continue with what he said.
“But now, I’ve given it some thought and I have a solution. You see, Rekiya, this pregnancy is an unexpected and unplanned complication.”
Okay, I have to pause and comment here again. So it was my pregnancy and not his being a married man who had been leading me on that was the complication abi. See this blockhead. He continued,
“This is what I’m suggesting, so that we can keep on being together, while I disentangle myself from the European situation I’ve found myself in. Please let’s take this baby out and keep this between ourselves. Then we can be together without the complication it would bring into the matter while I…”
He was suddenly sent reeling forward and he landed face first into the couch. Never had a girl felt so good about her daddy appearing like I did about mine at that time. I almost jumped up and said daddy oyoyo. Before that time, I cannot remember ever seeing daddy hit someone. Even as kids, he did not flog us, we had naughty corners waaaay before they became the in thing that they are today. But seeing the way he knocked my looney ex down, my heart swelled and soared.
“You must be out of your mind if you think I’m going to allow you turn my daughter into a baby aborting factory. I would kill you if I was not restrained by more sensible judgment. But don’t tempt me to stop listening to the more reasonable side of me mister.”
My joy at his appearance evaporated when he turned on me and with the same anger in his voice said “and when were you going to tell be that you had gotten yourself pregnant? You deliberately chose to deceive me by withholding that from me, even though I specifically asked that you tell me about the whole situation. If I did not have the presence of mind to come here myself, this clown would have succeeded in worming his way into your heart and everything would have been hidden from me. This is not how I trained you, Rekiya!”
I was angered, at both men. Angry with the former lover, who thought himself so sleek that I would agree to take out my baby just to be his Nigerian based sidechick, and even more with my father who was so certain that I did not have enough of a brain to take care of myself and make the right choice without his interference.
“Daddy, why would you say that? It is out of respect for you that I didn’t blurt out over the phone that I was pregnant for a man I had just discovered is married. Which respectful daughter does that?”
“Which respectable daughter goes and gets pregnant out of wedlock? Which respectful daughter will not listen to the wise words of her father when she brings some riffraff home and he tells her the man is not the man for her?”
“Daddy, did you come here all the way this night just to condemn me and tell me how much of a bad daughter I am? Is that all that your visit is about? Okay, so I’m pregnant for Ochuko, yes. I am no longer respectable? I see.”
“Will you shut your mouth, young woman! It’s not your fault. I should have listened to your mother when she told me not to allow you come and live on your own. I should have made sure you were in my house until marriage as is normal and customary. Then you would not have gone to get pregnant and still have the guts to talk to me like this.”
I did not need all this that daddy was saying. I was going through enough distress for the person who was meant to be my balm to now be adding to the stress.
“Daddy!” I shouted, tears streaming from my eyes. “I’m less of your daughter because I am pregnant, yes? And yet, you come barging into my house, beating up this man because he asked me to get rid of the baby? I hear what you are saying.” Angrily, I turned to Ochuko “you, you must think so much of your fly self to think I’m taking this decision to be with you. I’m rather taking it to be free of you, your baggage, your lies and your deceit.”
“What are you saying, Rekiya,” Ochuko found the voice to speak for the first time since my father came in.
“I am taking out this baby. And this is what you will do, Mr. Ochuko Briggs. You will leave my house this minute. You will not call, text, ping, DM or email me for whatever reason. You will not like any of my photos online. You will disappear from my life.”
“But Rekiya…” he began.
“Get the hell out of my house, this minute!” I shouted.
He looked from me to my dad, and quickly made up his mind. He did not need to be told the customary “you heard the young woman” before he shuffled out of the door noisily.
The tension in the air was so thick I could feel its weight on my shoulders.
Daddy began “I know this is difficult Rekiya, but you are making the right choice. I’ll be there to help you go through it. My friend, Dr. Bala runs a fine, discreet clinic…”
“I’m keeping the baby,” I cut in with deliberately measured tones.
“Rekiya, I thought you just said you weren’t? Are you saying this just to assert your independence? Don’t be stubborn, think about your life, and don’t use it to prove a point.”
“I’m keeping my baby, and it’s not to prove any point, daddy. I only told Ochuko I’m taking it out to get him to leave and not return. He does not deserve to be the father of my child and I intend to keep it from him that I’m having this child.”
“Rekiya, I am not going to be a part of whatever it is that is going on in your head to do. But I am your father, and for once, I am not going to let you have your way. I will begin arrangements with Dr. Bala. Today is Wednesday, so you will come over this weekend and we will get this done with. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?”
“Yes daddy,” I responded meekly. I really didn’t have the strength to keep arguing with him, and if I kept at it, I would end up being rude and saying something I would regret.
“Good. I’ll see you on Saturday then.” He turned and left the house. It was the first time in my memory my dad had left me without kissing me on the forehead. I wept silently as soon as I was alone. How could my beautiful life have become so shattered in such a short space of time? I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning, I woke up, groggy, with a splitting headache. But as we always do in Lagos, in another one hour, I was ready for work, hiding my grief under well applied layers of makeup. I got to work a little earlier than usual and quietly went into my office and began to sift through my emails.
The problem with getting to work earlier than everyone else on a day like this was that I didn’t have the usual distractions that work would put at your disposal present yet. Most of my work is centered around my oga, and until he comes, there’s not so much to do. Thinking about my oga now, I decided to ping him to ask when he was getting in today.
Moments after my bbm message changed from D to R, his response came in. but the response was confusing. I did not get it at all, even after I had read it over and over again. Here’s what it said
“Ochu my man! Na you be Lionel Messi, me I still be Neymar for your back. You talk say you go do am, and you do am. You don climb tree wey old men dey point from far ;) ”.
It took a couple of seconds and several readings before the realization hit me. I was the tree.