“They want to take my child….’’ she started and burst into tears. I froze as she said that and began putting the pieces of the puzzle together. They…..her son….
‘‘I don’t get it’’ I said.
‘‘Mayowa and his mother.’’ She answered sobbing, ‘‘they went to my mother last weekend and said they will be going back in a week’s time for the child.’’
Believe me sincerely, I could faint with shock and anger altogether but I calmed.‘‘Was that the agreement from the onset?’’ I asked Shola.
‘‘No, noooooo…..’’ she wept.
‘’They told me when I gave birth that since it was a girl I could have her but that I will take up the responsibility when she’s five.’’ She paused and sobbed deeply.
I let her cry, then she continued when she could, ‘’that was why I begged to let her allow me work here when they were traveling out then. She was going to terminate my service with them initially. She agreed but made me swear that I won’t mention the child to you or mummy and daddy. And I’ve been saving every kobo I earn here for her school fees. I know the rest is minimal.’’
I sighed. I got up and got her some tissue from my bathroom to wipe her running nose, then I gave her time to calm. When I saw that she was, I asked her, ‘‘What reason did they give your mum for the change in agreement?’’
‘‘They said I had breeched the agreement by telling mummy and daddy and so they want the child….’’ My phone rang and interrupted her, then we both heard my mum calling her from the stairway. I reached for my phone, it was Damian calling.
‘‘Answer her and don’t mention we’ve been talking. OK?’’ I told her. She nodded and got up hurriedly to answer my mum, drying her eyes as she left d room.
We couldn’t get to finish the story that night but the next day I left work early enough before my mum would be back from a mid week service in church.
“I’m traveling tomorrow, Anty Lola.’’ Shola told me after I had settled in. Before I could ask why, she went on ‘’About what I told you last night, I want to be there myself when they visit.’’
I looked at her, she wasn’t teary or sad now. She was kind of confident and firm.
“Have you told mummy?’’ I asked and she shook her head.
“I’ll tell her when she comes back tonight. She left the house without saying goodbye this morning so I didn’t get to talk to her.’’ She replied.
‘’You seem so confident about this.’’ I confessed. ‘’But I don’t know how you’re going to stop the Coles from taking the child.’’
She looked at me and smiled ruefully, ‘’nkan to ba gba ni ma fun.” Meaning she was going to give it whatever it takes.
“OK.’’ I said. ‘’But what do you intend to tell mummy is the reason for your impromptu trip?’’
Boldly she replied, ‘I’ll just tell her the truth. I wouldn’t hide anything and if she says no..’’ she paused and looked away. In her silence I could hear her say she would leave the house notwithstanding what my mum said. I nodded and told her she should do whatever she deemed right.
She bowed and left.
When my mum came back from church and had settled for the night much later, I went to talk to her. About Shola and the Coles of course. It was then I found out my mum had actually talked to Mrs. Cole about hiding their son’s true identity from us as well as Shola and the child she has for Mayowa. ‘‘Mum, do you know that’s why she’s going home tomorrow? They are going to take that child from her.’’ I asked her, almost furious.
‘’Well, that is their problem. For all I care they are all betrayers.’’ I heard my mother reply nonchalantly. Angry at her manners, I left her room. Shola left the house very early the next morning, I gave her some money and told her to call to let me know how the whole event will turn out. My dad wished her well too. I didn’t hear from her for days.