After so many years of marriage, Charles and his wife Mmesoma were yet to have children of their own despite their wealth. They had gone from one herbalist to another, from one pastor and even Imam to another in search of the fruit of the womb but all proved abortive. They didn’t know where the problems came from since the doctors had reassured them on several occasions that nothing was wrong with either of them. They had gone from one fertility clinic to another with each giving them a new hope which was soon to be shattered at the end of each treatment. For him, he had no issues with their inability to have children but she never seized to make it a big deal for him with her incessant nagging and crying as if he was God who could give and take.
This issue made her easily irritable and lazy. She would prefer to stay indoors and muse over her inability to have children to going out and making something of her life. Her husband shouldered all the responsibilities of the home and even doing house chores was a herculean task for her. Most of the house maids they had gotten for her ended up running away from the house because of how harshly she treated them. She was never patient with any of them and had even used hot iron in punishing one of the girls once which had almost landed her in jail if not for her husband’s affluence in the state.
He came back from the meeting of the business men, Lagos chapter and met her on the same spot she always sat in the living room. This time, she laid sprawled on the chair with her eyes closed. He could tell from a glance that she wasn’t sleeping but was in a deep thought. He walked silently to her and perched on the little space available on the chair beside her.
Charles: “Are you okay dear?” he asked placing a arm gently on her shoulders but she ignored him. He was already used to her tantrums and was expecting another one but her calm stance was new to him therefore he felt quite uncomfortable. He tried again and again but she ignored him still.
“Are you sure you are okay? If you are then I will be going inside now. I am quite tired and hungry too” he said and made to stand up but she stopped him.’
Mmesoma: “There is something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. I have given it enough thought and I have reached the conclusion that it is the best thing to do” she sat up to give him enough space.’
Charles: “Okay?” he hitched his ears closer to her to indicate keen interest.
Mmesoma: “I want to try another man” she announced.
Charles: “What do you mean by you want to try another man? For what?”
Mmesoma: “Don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about. I want to make another man sleep with me just to try our luck in having a child from there. it is called surrogacy just that this one will be a man. We will pay him to do it till I get pregnant and after that he will be free to disappear”
Charles: “Are you indicating that our inability to have children is my fault? And how dare you suggest a thing like that as a wife to someone? Are you crazy? It will never be done. I will never allow it. I’d rather go for another wife than have you sleep with another man in the name of having children” he said and then stormed out of her presence dragging his briefcase with him.
Mmesoma: “We shall see who wins on this one”
Bolatito: “But mum, I cannot abort this pregnancy. I love the father of my baby. I can only go through the same things you did if you also throw me out the same way your parents did or if Ifeoluwa decides not to take responsibility for the pregnancy like Gozie. Mum you need to understand. I’d rather be a single mother who is happy than a married woman who is living a pathetic life. I do not want to force myself on him” she replied pleadingly.
Adunni: “Then I don’t think you can stay in this house to give birth to a bastard being a bastard yourself. I cannot become the talk of the people in this neighbourhood, I cannot raise a child whose father does not want my daughter. You will have to find a place for yourself so I can live in peace. Thank God you are a graduate now, you can take care of yourself”
Bolatito: “Please don’t do this to me mum. Where do I have to go to? You know I have been on the hunt for a job for some time now and I haven’t been successful. Besides who will employ a pregnant lady in this recession?” she went on her knees and held on to her mum’s wrapper.
Adunni: “Doesn’t he have a house? Go and live with him or any other place you dim fit but not here”
Bolatito: “I cannot live with him. He will never allow it”
Adunni: “Good for you then. I will give you three days to decide. It is either you abort that pregnancy or you move out of my house. I cannot stand watching you with a pregnancy under my roof with no husband. Please give it a good thought. Abortion does not kill I am sure you have many friends who have done it in the past but are still so alive. I will not tell you this again, in three days’ time, I expect you to either come to me on your own to tell me you are ready for the abortion or just disappear without even saying a word to me” she said and turned her back to her daughter on the medium sized mouka foam they both shared.
She combed through the bush trying to relocate where the herbalist’s shrine was again after so many years of not patronising him. She prayed and wished in her heart that he was still there judging from how bushy that place had become. Even after going round and round that neighbourhood and wounding up at the same busy path, she kept trying until she found someone who finally knew the man and took her there.
The house remained the same; a little mud house with a thatched roof which had red and black pieces of cloths hanging around it on a rope making it look sinister. No one dared go there at noon for fear of being called an evll doer by the people around. before she could knock on the door, it flew open on its own and a raspy voice ordered her in but without her shoes. She removed her shoes and walked in boldly without a second thought.
Mmesoma: “Good evening baba”
Herbalist: “I already smelt you since the time you arrived this neighbourhood. I asked that man that just left to bring you here. so what brings you back to this old shrine after so many years?” he asked without looking up from where he sat on a small stool in front of his bloody shrine.
Mmesoma: “You still remember me then?”
Herbalist: “Who will forget your scent so easily? It reeks of evil for though you have a beautiful countenance and good to look upon, your heart is filled with evil and very repulsive to look into. Someone with a real nose will perceive you from many miles away”
Mmesoma: “Hmmmmmm…am I that bad?”
Herbalist: “So what has brought you back? What else do you want?” he asked in a shaky voice.
Mmesoma: “It is my husband again. His eyes has cleared and now he is refusing to do my bidding. I want that charm you gave me again so that I can have control over him yet again. This is very crucial as there is something I must do”
Herbalist: “Hmmmmmm… the same old story. You know the price involved or have you forgotten already? Are you willing to pay that price again or even worst?”
Mmesoma: “Yes baba. As long as it is not with any other man. I am willing to pay the price and even more. I just need him under my control” she said resolutely.
Question: What is the price she paid in order to get the charm the first time? Is Adunni doing the right thing by pressuring her daughter that way?
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