A Friend in Need (14)
The atmosphere was tense. A prospective mother was about making a decision to either keep the first fruit of her womb or present him for adoption by an unknown family. If she did the former, she couldn’t guarantee that she would be able to provide for the all the child’s needs; if she chose to do the later, she could be risking a lifetime of unanswered questions about what his whereabouts and wellbeing would be. She had more worries: ‘If the child found out in future that she gave him away to another family, would he hate her for it? What if he grew up to become a very successful person? What if…’
She ruminated over these for minutes. After placing all her cards on the table, she reached a conclusion eventually.
“I’ll nurse him myself.” She hesitated a little, then continued, “I know it sounds half-baked but that’s my decision. I am already bearing the shame of having an unwanted pregnancy, the labour pains await me too. I can’t go through all that for nothing.”
“That is a good decision, my dear.” Mrs Okafor said. “Can I make a proposition?”
“Of course ma.” We all turned to her. She was the woman of the moment. In the last few hours, she had proffered solutions to the toughest of our various problems. We knew whatever proposition she wanted to make would be laudable.
“If you both feel convenient with it, Tolani can nurse the baby while my family will contribute to the financial upkeep of the child. She can even live in our guest room for as long as she wants because she’s more like family now.”
“That sounds perfect.” Tolani remarked. She threw a glance at Tayo expecting a reply. He too seemed pleased with the idea.
“Good.” Mrs Okafor commented. “Let’s consider the final question. I’ll need to ask you this individually. So, Femi and Tayo, please excuse us for a minute.”
Technically, Mrs Okafor asked them the same question I earlier did, only that she asked with more wisdom and maturity, and certainly not in the exact words I used.
Tolani, I later learned, had already told Mrs Okafor in their previous sessions that she had no intention of getting married to Tayo. She opened up that initially she thought they would end up together because of his eloquence, virtuoso, and godliness. However, just before their sexual affair, she knew that there was no way there. The only restraint then was that she didn’t know how to end things with him because of her admiration for him. After she became pregnant, the infatuation died down completely.
Tayo told Mrs Okafor that his relationship with Tolani was merely a friends’ affair which they didn’t intend to become romantic in any way. He liked her, but long before he got her in trouble, he was convinced beyond any doubt that she was not ‘the one’. Deciding to marry her because she’s pregnant for him would be tantamount to marrying out of pity, which—among other things—is a very wrong reason to get married.
After confirming from both parties that neither of them had any matrimonial intention towards each other, she brought them together and finalized matters. She challenged them not to allow their fault to repeat itself between them or with anyone else. She also counselled them not to allow the past they’ve had to destroy their future. They were to strive to ensure that their future spouses were not made to pay for the mistakes they made in the past.
She wished them well and returned Tolani’s phone to her. Tayo will have to contact her more often as the expected date of delivery was just about a month away. We all thanked Mrs Okafor and took our leave.
As Tayo and I walked back to the park, he tapped me gently on the shoulder and said, “Femi, I want to ask you a question and I need you to be completely honest with me as a good friend. Can you promise me you’ll do that?”
“Ask me anything, Tayo. I promise to be as sincere as possible. After all, what are friends for?” I said with all confidence.
Tayo stopped, looked straight into my eyes, and asked, “Do you think I should tell my parents?”
To be continued…