A Friend in Need (9)
For Tayo, next in shock-magnitude to the news of Tolani’s conception, was the news that she was expectant with child. I can’t say categorically what we thought we would hear, but it seemed like that was the last thing either of us expected. For a moment, I was unexplainably happy—perhaps, because my friend was going to be a father, and I was going to be an uncle—but the exclamatory look on Tayo’s face quickly drained the happiness. Truth was: he was not ready!
When, I confronted Tayo about his mixed feelings, he admitted that he thought she had terminated the pregnancy, since he hadn’t heard from her since the breakup. On one hand, he was sad that he’s plunging into fatherhood unprepared; on the other hand, there’s a tingling sensation he felt each time he thought of himself as a father. Thinking straight was difficult.
Since the unknown woman promised that she’d call us back, all we could do was wait. She sounded like a nice person, so I believed she would fulfil her promise. The days we had to wait for were like months to us. My phone was always with me, and the enthusiasm with which I checked the phone each time it rang was unparalleled. When she finally called, I rushed to Tayo’s room before answering the call. I arrived there panting like a chased dog.
“Hel… hello… Hello ma.” I tried to hide my heavy breaths from the microphone of the phone, which was hard because it was on loudspeaker.
“Hello, Tayo’s friend. I don’t remember you mentioning your name during our last conversation.” Her voice was calming. I’d love to meet this lovely woman someday, I thought within.
“I’m Femi. Good evening ma.” I said, acting normal.
“Good evening, Femi. Are you free this weekend? I mean, you and Tayo.”
“We are free ma. In fact, we can come tomorrow if that is okay by you.” I looked at Tayo to know his thoughts about it. He gave a satisfactory look.
“Tomorrow would have been fine, but I’ll be on duty. Let’s make it Friday. I’ll text you the address.” She replied as I wondered what type of duty she was referring to.
“Friday is perfect. We’ll be expecting.” I was rounding off our discussion when Tayo asked to speak with her. I passed him the phone quickly.
“Hello ma, this is Tayo.” He introduced himself immediately.
“Hi, Tayo. It’s good to hear from you.” Tayo’s face was straight. He wanted something more than just talking with her.
“Please ma, I guess Tolani is mad at me—and she has every right to be—but, can I just speak with her? I’ve not heard from her in many months. Please, let me just say ‘hello’ to her.” Tayo pleaded.
“Listen, my dear,” the woman replied, “Tolani is not mad at you; at least, not anymore. If it makes you feel any better, I was the one who discouraged her from contacting you after the incidence and exchanged her line with a new one to monitor her communications. More than once, she has tried contacting you, but I kept stopping her. I’ve been doing that because I believe it’s necessary for her healing. And, I’m sorry, you can’t speak with her now because she’s not here at the moment. When you see her on Friday, you’ll hear the full story.”
“Okay ma. Thank you all the same.” He said with disappointment in his voice.
“You are welcome. I’ll send the address shortly.” The call ended.
We sat there in silence waiting for the address, meanwhile my mind was busy thinking. ‘What did she mean when she talked about Tolani’s healing? Was she sick? Since when? What could be the nature of the sickness? Hope it isn’t life-threatening? Hope it won’t affect the life of the baby?’
My thoughts were interrupted when the phone beeped; the text just came in. The content further heightened my curiosity and worry. It was a hospital address—a psychiatric hospital. It was practically impossible for either of us to hide our concern. We tried to figure out the possible situation of things till we reached our wits end.
There was one more thing we could do: pray. So, we prayed together that day and every day after that till the D-day arrived. We even met to pray together before setting out on our journey on the appointed day. And I’m glad we did, because if we hadn’t, only God knows what would have happened that day.
To be continued…