It was a month already since Ranti had been confined to bed by the terminal illness. Her mother and other sibling had run from pillar to post to look for succour so she could commence her procedure. However, her husband was nowhere to be found. The hospital bill was increasing day by day, and they could not afford to pay their debt, so they were advised to take her home. She was discharged and given clinical appointment for routine check-up as an out-patient. She was agile to some extent, so she was discharged on condition from the clinic.
Ranti’s mother: “hmmmm” she heaved, looking blankly into space, resting her chin on her palm. “Yah Allah, please have mercy on me”. She prayed silently as she watched her daughter prepare to leave the hospital on discharge.
Ranti’s Sister: “Maami, don’t kill yourself before death comes o. I don’t understand all this that you are doing o. You have been breathing heavily since how many hours now. You have to continue praying for her and the rest of us, that nothing will happen to anyone of us in sha Allah”. She persuaded her worried mother.
Ranti’s Mother: “hmmm, mo ti gbo. I have heard you, I will not think again”.
Ranti: “Mama, if you are doing this, what do you want me that I am in pain to do?” she said, with her voice heavy as tear trickled down her left cheek. “If there is life, there is hope. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. Allah may heal me, without even taking any medicine”.
Ranti’s mother: “You see, that is it. Ranti herself has said it all. So, you don’t worry mother.
Ranti’s mother: “toh, I will continue my dua”. She replied full of hope.
Khadijah, stared at the small dim bulb in the table lamp beside her bed, as she battled insomnia. She turned to look at her husband, who was deeply asleep. She shook her vigorously and bit her index finger indicating regrets of the past. She cast her mind back to years back, when she was still in the college.
“hmmmm, Abeni, I am done for. It seems I am pregnant o. I have not seen my period this month, and it is over a week for the due time now”. Khadijah, said to her friend and roommate in the Polytechnic.
Abeni: “agh, are you serious? Don’t yet conclude, it may cease because of so many reasons. Hormonal changes, and some other biological factors you know”. She replied tilting her head backward and looking up to ease her nervous friend.
Kahdijah: “hmmm, are you sure? Hmm, okay, that is true sha. It ceased few months ago, until I saw it, after some time again”.
Abeni: hmmm, you too dey panic. Calm yourself down” she chuckled.
Few months after Khadijah slumped on her way to the lecture theatre. She was rushed down to the clinic where, she was told she was three months pregnant after a test had been conducted on her.
Khadijah: hmmm Abeni, you see, I told you it seemed I was pregnant and you said, my period ceased or may be hormonal changes. Can you see the result of my carelessness now?” she wept as she complained to her friend in the room after she had been discharged from the clinic.
Abeni:”is it now my fault? Is this the first time your period will cease? I only spoke according to what I understood. And you are shifting the blame on me”. She complained.
These words echoed in her head like they were screamed to her ears. She burst into tears, muffling her voice to avoid waking her sleeping husband from sleep. She threw her head against the wall, weeping bitterly, shaking her head vigorously. She thought of so many things to do, her head went blank for few seconds. Swiftly, she thought of meeting Ponmile. She stealthily picked her husband’s phone and copied Ponmile’s phone number.
Khadijah and Ponmile arranged to meet at a restaurant in Bashorun area of Ibadan, after she had texted him the previous night.
She was seated few minutes before the scheduled time of their meeting. Shortly afterwards, Ponmile arrived.
Ponmile: “Good afternoon! How are you?” He greeted as he drew out the plastic chair tucked under table to sit on across Khadijah.
Khadijah: Good afternoon, I am fine. Thanks”. She replied, bowing her shyly.
Ponmile: “I can see you are fine. Always looking ageless!” He replied, looking at Khadijah flirtatiously.
Khadijah: “without wasting the time of both of us, let me go straight to the point. The reason I arranged for this meeting is to iron the issues of the past out with you. The baby I had for your brother died on the day..”
Ponmile: “hey hey, hold on, why are you telling me this?” He asked, looking puzzled.
Khadijah: “you know why I am telling you Ponle, please I beg of you. I beg you with all the things cherish in this whole wide world. I use Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) to beg you, don’t tell my husband anything about my past. I am now a new being”. She begged, going on her knees.
Ponmile: “haba, ko to yen (it is not up to that) Don’t worry, no cause for alarm. You don’t need all this. That was then now. That was in the days of the dark ages. Everybody has their past that still haunts them till date. So, no worries, you are covered and safe with me” He replied, giving her his words. “See, I am your own, you can always count on me anytime any day” he said, assuring her once more.
Khaijah: “okay, thank you so much. I am really grateful”. She said, feeling so elated and relieved.
Ponmile: “is that why you are now panicking? Oh no, you don’t need that. Just keep calm. Abbas will hear nothing from me” He said and few minutes later they departed.
Khadijah: “okay, thank you so much. May God bless you”. She appreciated him.
Ponmle: “okay, is that all?”
Khadijah: “yes, except if you have anything to add”.
Ponmile: “what else do I have to add? Nothing. See, we will talk later, I have an important appointment to attend to. We will see later. My regards to your husband.” He left her and drove out of the premise.
Khadijah: “see him, stupid thing. hmmm but wait, life is so ironical, never look down on anybody. But, I did not do well at all, during those years. It is so amazing how this guy can just forget the past so easily like that. He must definitely have a good and forgiving heart”. She soliloquised as Ponmile left the premise.
Ponmile: “hmmm, so Khadi could het on her knees before me to save her marriage with Abbas, despite all she did to me while in school?” he soliloquised while driving. “Hmmm, o ma ga o. never look down on anybody”. He said as he pulled as drove into a fuel station.
Question: On whose side will Ponmile be now, Khadijah or Abbas, also will it be fair to keep friend in the dark?
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