I am still gaping in shock when I turn my head to meet Kunle’s gaze. Mobola keeps saying something and I’m not sure I can hear because my mind is miles away. I throw the phone on the bed and start pacing the room. I’m nervous, shocked and totally dumbfounded. Any medical term for that?
After I seem to have paced the room four times without listening to Kunle’s constant calls, he finally drags me to a halt.
“Say something Morenike” he says firmly.
“My grandmother. She passed this morning” I say to him. Looking into his eyes, knowing that I need support. Both physical and emotional support. Why do I always seem to have some huge event going on in my life?
Kunle pulls me into a warm embrace and then he gently pats my back, saying nothing. I rest there, not saying anything as well. This is fine for now. Staying in his arms and saying absolutely nothing is fine for now.
Then he speaks, “You want to go to Ibadan when?”
“Tomorrow morning.” I respond. Surprised that I can still find words.
“I will drive you” he tells me as he places a kiss on my forehead.
I don’t argue. I need him this time and God forbid I drive him away with my heady attitude.
He drives me to Ibadan the next morning, with Celebrate in the backseat with my son. I still haven’t gotten over the shock and I can’t help but wonder what went wrong. I keep going through the holiday period over and over again. She’s gone? Just like that? I look out of the window as he speedily heads towards my family house and I remember my grandma. She was my everything, my mentor, the woman I looked up to, more than my mother. Tears begin to well up in my eyes and I do nothing about it. It falls freely, I don’t clean my face, I don’t do anything. I just keep looking at trees on the side of the road.
When we arrive at my family house, I clean my face and brace myself for the fake attitude and extra family members, more than the ones that came over during Christmas. I take my time to walk from the car door to Kunle’s side, he notices my discomfort.
“We could stay in a hotel if this isn’t fine for you” he states.
“Oh. I’m fine.” I simply say as I march into the house.
As expected there are familiar faces I haven’t seen in years and unfamiliar faces. Some I haven’t seen since grandpa passed. Isn’t it ironic they only come over for funerals? Damn extended family members and their hypocrisy.
I realise I haven’t even phoned my mom to tell her about her mother’s death. Truth is I haven’t wrapped the whole information around my head yet and…
“Morenikeji…ku ojo meta”
I smile dryly at my great aunt and I don’t say anything as she pulls me closer in a warm embrace.
“E ku oro eyan” she continues to say in yoruba and I nod as I try to fight the tears. She notices that I’m struggling with the tears and she pulls me along with her into the closest room. “Honey, we were all shocked but you need to pull yourself together alright? Pele oko mi” she adds and hold me close again.
“Is your mother aware?” She asks me and I shake my head. “Mobola and your other cousins are upstairs with Bode.”
Bode is my grandma’s youngest brother and my immediate great aunt’s younger brother.
“I will go and greet him and call mommy” I say to her and make to leave, then she pulls me back.
“Are you okay?” She asks me? And then carefully looks at me.
“Yes ma. I am” I respond, wondering why she is staring at me like that way.
“You are not pregnant are you?”
Ah! Am I that transparent? What is it with me sef?
I laugh. A little too much and quickly say “where do I want to see it?” Then without waiting for a response I hurry out of the kitchen. I dial my mom’s number as I race up the stairs, it is unreachable. I knock on my grandma’s door and let myself in. My great Uncle and my cousins are there with him, listening in rapt attention as he tells them some long story. He sees me and smiles, I kneel and he drags me close.
“How are you darling?”
After I endure my Uncle’s long speech, I finally leave the room and find Kunle. He is talking to someone and he is carrying Oreoluwa in his arms.
“And here is my wife” he says as I approach them.
I’m shocked. What’s going on here? After a few minutes, Kunle pulls me along with him.
“The woman kept asking me why I wasn’t married, I had to tell her Ore was mine and of course when you approached I told her you were my wife. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you.” He explains and I nod. Kunle doesn’t exactly want to marry me does he?
“E ku oro eyan” I hear someone say and thinking I’m the one being talked to, I turn but I find standing by the door, my mother.
And like a little child, I run to her and hold her in an embrace.
“When did you know? Why didn’t you tell me you were travelling down? Did you just arrive?” I ask her so many questions at once.
“I got in about an hour ago. I found some hotel to stay first before coming here. Labake called to inform me yesterday. I left as soon as she told me. I can’t believe my mother is gone” she says and I find my heart sinking again. I honestly would need a lot of time to wrap my head around this tragic event. “How are you? I know how fond of each other you both were” she asks as she looks at me carefully and for some reason, I’m uncomfortable, just like my great aunt, I have a feeling my mom can deduce the fact that I’m pregnant with some magic…
“Let us go and talk outside” I say quickly and drag her out of the house. “I’d be outside with my mom” I say to Kunle as my mother and I head towards the exit.
“Ah, mommy” Kunle says and greets my mom.
“Bawo ni Kunle. How are your parents?” My mother responds and after both of them talk for what seems like forever, my mom leaves with me.
“Here Morenike” Kunle says and hands me his car keys. “You and your mom can stay in the car while you talk” he winks at me and I flash a smile.
“What’s going on between you and Kunle?” My mom asks me as soon as we get out of the house.
“We are just friends o” I respond.
“Tell that to some young person who has no eyes. I won’t beat you if you told me the truth Morenike, you are almost thirty. You should not be scared to tell me about a man in your life.” She tells me as she gets into the backseat after I unlock the doors. I stand in front of her, arms folded
“It is not like that jare. It just seems a bit undefined” I respond
And her eyes roam my body “Are you pregnant?”
Ah! Kilode gan. The pregnancy is just about a month old, how come these old women can see it?
“You are pregnant. For Kunle I assume?”
“And the relationship is still undefined?” She can’t understand why a full-grown woman would put herself in that situation, I can see it on her face.
“Didn’t you learn anything from that boy you had Ore for?” She inquires, clearly not believing what I’m doing to myself.
Then again she asks “What have you both agreed to do o?”
She doesn’t let me finish. “Nothing? When are you going to do something? After two kids for him?” She stands and starts towards the house and I know she is going to confront Kunle. My heart starts racing and I don’t know what to do. I remember Uche telling me to tell Kunle and I wish I had. I at least won’t be so confused right now. Celebrate walks out of the house and she faces him, “Call me Kunle”.
I have to do something fast, I won’t let my mother break the news of my pregnancy to Kunle.
“Mommy” I call her. I’m not even sure what to say but I need to stop her. Erm…erm…I search my head frantically…erm…
“He is not responsible for the pregnancy” I blurt out.