A Friend in Need (11)
For some seconds, I stared at Tolani. She was a beauty to behold. She had this innocent face of a teenager but she seemed matured at heart. To be honest, I felt a little restrained considering the highly esteemed manner with which Tayo referred to her in his writings. I was expecting him to start a conversation, he was expecting me to do the same, while Tolani sat there watching both of us.
‘Tayo, will you say something?’ I said telepathically.
‘I thought you came here to assist.’ He appeared to be implying.
‘Of course, I came to assist, not to take over your responsibility.’
‘Can’t you just do this for me? I don’t know what to say.’
‘For the love of God, just say something!’
Our telepathic conversation continued for about half a minute. When I saw that Tayo was not going to say anything, I had to do something. I got up, and poured Tolani a glass of water from one of the bottles Mrs Okafor had earlier brought.
“Water,” I said, stretching the tumbler to her. “I’m Femi, and it’s a pleasure to you.”
“Tolani,” she said, collecting the water. “Thank you.”
“Tayo, has some things he’d like to say, but I can leave the room if it will make you two more comfortable.”
“No!” They said together.
“You don’t have to leave. I’m assuming there is nothing you don’t already know about the whole thing.” Tolani added.
“I’ll just sit and listen then.” I took a sit on another chair while they sat facing each other.
“Tolani,” Tayo finally gained the confidence to start, “I came to apologize for everything that happened. It’s all my fault; I shouldn’t have gone that far, I should have done something about it when I observed that things were getting intense between us, I shouldn’t have …”
“Tayo,” She interrupted, “You don’t have to blame yourself. We were both careless and unwatchful. Initially, I blamed you for everything. I hated myself for becoming friends with you, for moving with you, and for sleeping with you. But, I’ve been made to realize that I needed to stop passing the buck to someone else if I was ever going to heal. I don’t entirely blame myself either. WE made the mistake.”
“I still feel the need to apologize,” Tayo cut in.
The sincerity with which she said that was impressive that I had to ask, “So, you are good? I mean, you don’t have anything against him?”
“Not anymore. Forgiving him has helped me forgive myself too. And, yes we’re good. I’ve healed, and I’m still healing. So, again, we are good.”
“That’s kind of you, Tolani.” As I was now a part of the conversation I asked further, “How did you meet Mrs Okafor? Tell us about her.”
“Mrs Okafor is an angel.” She paused. “I guess she was sent to earth for me. I went to her when I had nowhere else to go. I was scared to go through with the abortion alone, and when Tayo didn’t support the cause, I had to find an alternative. It wasn’t that I did not have money to do it myself, I just wanted him to be involved. Today, I’m happy he didn’t send the money.” I caught Tayo smiling at himself in a satisfactory manner.
“Then,” Tolani continued, “A lot of other things began to rush through my mind. The shame I was going to face was the most tormenting. I was afraid of what my parents would do too. I couldn’t deal with the whole situation alone; had I done that, maybe you’d have heard the story of a lady who jumped off a bridge months ago. The Bible is always right; it was right when it said, ‘Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).” She paused to drink some water before continuing.
“Mrs Okafor is the wife of the youth pastor in our church. Since I got to her, she has corrected me, made me realize my mistakes and prayed with me. But she has never judged me. Not even once. She was of great help in breaking the news to my parents. If she hadn’t been there that day, I can’t imagine what would have happened. Though my parents were disappointed in me, but with great wisdom, she was able to calm them down. Mrs Okafor promised them that she would see to my welfare and ensure that it didn’t interfere with my academics.
“Within a week, they forgave me and have been supportive too. There was a problem though: I couldn’t forgive myself. Each time I talked about you, I felt the hurt all over again. Your incessant calls were not helping either. I cried for days, lost appetite, and couldn’t sleep. I began to emaciate. When Mrs Okafor observed these, she collected my phone and changed my line, booked me for weekly counselling sessions in this hospital and registered me for antenatal care with her own money. I kept insisting that I didn’t wish to keep the baby because I didn’t want to bring a child into the world to suffer. Mrs Okafor suggested that I could take the baby to an adoption agency. She also said that if I didn’t mind, she could adopt the child since she’d been in a childless marriage for 5 years. She said she believed God would still answer her prayers, but if that would make me feel better, she’d discuss with her husband to consider adopting the baby.”
“So, you are going to give her the baby?” I asked in surprise. Maybe this was the time to ask both of them the question I had for Tayo, “Will she return the baby to you when you and Tayo finally get married?”
“What?!” They screamed together as if I was cursing them.
To be continued.