The day was slow. The time went by at a snail pace. Tomi peeped out of the window intermittently to check if her husband and his niece were coming. She had put several calls through to her hubby but he wasn’t answering. Her mind was troubled. She silently prayed the issue of Fatia’s birth control implant doesn’t cause a big brouhaha.
Uncle and niece had been gone for over five hours and not yet back. He wasn’t answering his call either which made her more worried. Fatia’s phone on the other hand wasn’t reachable. And she wouldn’t like to disturb her co-wife as she might not know anything concerning the issue.
Magrib time crept in yet they were not at sight. Tomi prayed the magrib prayer and sat on the mat. Ishai also came knocking and they were still not forthcoming. She prayed ishai as well and after the ishai prayer, she tried her hubby’s number and this time it was switched off. She heaved worriedly and got up from the mat. She walked to the living room and decided to switch off her worriedness by putting on the TV. She decided to take some chill pill and pray for their safe return instead.
She held the remote in her hands and changed the channels uninterestingly. After a while, the remote fell from her hands as she was already dozing. She became oblivion of her environment until a knock on the door woke her up. She quickly got up and a glance at the wall clock says some minutes past 10:00pm. She rushed to get the door anxiously after confirming who was at the door. She opened the door and three people were staring at her, her husband, Fatia, and Fatia’s mother. She greeted them while they all walked in with a tired face.
Tomi rushed to Fatia’s mother and asked what she would like to eat. The woman replied tiredly that she was tired and wouldn’t want to take anything again that night. She told her that her eyes were yearning for some sleeps and thereafter walked into the guest room. Fatia too walked into her room while Tomi cast a hard look at her husband and also made to leave but her husband pulled her back.
“Leave me please! How could you make me worry since afternoon in this condition? You left home in anger since 3:00pm and you’re coming at past 10pm. No call, nothing, you got me so worried, do you want to kill me?” She complained while he scooped her into his embrace.
“I am so sorry. Not calling you wasn’t intentional. We were at the police station since afternoon……….”
“Police station? Why?” Tomi screamed.
“Come have a seat.” He said while ushering her gently to a seat. He sat beside her and continued.
“When I left here in the afternoon, I decided to go tell Fatia’s mom about the development so I went to her house first. When I told her about it she was very angry and we both decided to visit the woman in question. At first we wanted to settle everything amicably but we had to get her arrested when she wasn’t remorseful at all. She claimed an eighteen year old is an adult and old enough to decide whatever she wanted. What an effrontery! And right there in our presence she called her lawyer. What a weird woman! She wanted trouble and we’ll give her just that.”
“In fact, she has some guts, whaat! She is at fault and she was still behaving insolently. She’s weird indeed.” Tomi marveled.
“She’s a hardened criminal. Definitely this isn’t her first time. My sister decided to get even with her. She called her lawyer too and now she’s behind bars with no option of bail. We’ll see in court on Monday. She’ll learn a lesson she wouldn’t forget in a jiffy when she rots away in jail.”
“Yes she deserves it. She should rot in jail for trying to destroy a young girl’s life…………..anyways let’s leave her matter for now, what have you eaten since afternoon?”
“Nothing, in fact, I am not angry. May God save us from court case whether guilty or innocent. It’s not a good thing. I’ve not been myself since.”
“Eeyah! Sorry honey. Go have a cold shower and then have a beautiful rest.”
“Thank you darling, I’m so sorry for making you worry. You’re such a sunshine!”
“That brightens up your world right?” Tomi affirmed and they both chuckled.
The following morning, Fatia’s mother thanked Tomi profusely for the massive role she played in letting the cat out of the bag. She couldn’t hide her pleasure as she thanked her over and over again for rescuing her daughter from doom. She expressed her willingness to entrust her daughter with Tomi henceforth as she had proven to be a teacher, mother, guardian, friend, sister and councilor all rolled in one to her. She expressed that she could now go to sleep and trust her to watch her back. She left with joy after admonishing her daughter to grab the pen and not the penis. She left in an extremely good mood after telling her daughter to take Tomi as her mother and be good to her at all times.
The incidence brought Tomi and Fatia closer together. They became best of friends. Tomi taught her many things. She became her teacher and Fatia also showered her with lots of respect and equally bowed to learn from her. Tomi took her through a journey of reformation and she was indeed redeemed. Her study became her priority and boys became a plague she ran away from. A fasting person does not bring food close to the nose. The aroma of the food might be satanic and she might be tempted to break the fast, Tomi admonished her
The similitude of a girl who shunned immorality is that of a fasting person, during the period of fasting, she’ll come across lots of food but she hangs on and waited patiently till that seven o’clock break time where she’ll have a full reward for the pangs of hunger she’d endured since day break. That’s exactly how it is with a girl who has made up her mind to keep herself intact. There would be distraction but she wouldn’t lose focus as she patiently await that day where the rightful person will have access to her and her reward and pride shall be marvelous. This and more were what Tomi told Fatia and she was grateful for her admonitions which gave her life new meaning.
When Tomi was seven months gone, the family moved to Amir’s house. He built two apartments in the same compound and each was bestowed to each wife. It was a big relief for him as he always joked that he was tired of shuttling between Ikeja and Magodo. Now he had two of them in the same house but different apartment. Now he has more time to spend with his family together. On weekends, his time with his family is sacrosanct. He made sure he made up for his busy schedule through the week.
Both wives got closer with the new habitation of co-existence but there were still boundaries as they do not share the same space. The kids got more familiar with Tomi and the third son, Anas took her apartment as his permanent abode. He liked her and Tomi also grew a soft spot for him and they became inseparable.
His mother had no choice but to leave him with Tomi. She trusted her and since she wasn’t far away but next door, there was no cause for alarm. He goes to school from Tomi’s place and also returned from school to Tomi’s house. Amir loved the relationship as it foster love, trust and harmony between his wives.
Fatia too moved in with Tomi as her admission was still in view. The bond between her and Tomi grew without affecting the bond she shared with the first wife. She learnt to live with both wives without giving anyone of them preference over another.
One day, Anas and his siblings returned from school and Tomi wasn’t in the house. Anas had to go stay in his momma’s place till Tomi got back. Aminah had a guest and the guest was a little surprised when Anas was bitter that Tomi wasn’t in.
“Aminah this is not good for you at all. This woman took your husband and she’ll take your son as well if care is not taken.” Aminah’s friend projected her fear while Aminah shook her head.
“Point of correction, she didn’t take my husband. My husband is still very much mine. And no, she didn’t take my son as well. The boy grew fond of her and wouldn’t want to leave her no matter what. Please don’t be negative, I don’t welcome negativity.” Aminah discarded.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m not comfortable with your son staying with her. But if you say it’s fine, then no problem.” The friend replied with disappointment.”
“Please I’m not complaining, it’s very fine by me…………..” Aminah was saying when Tomi walked in with greetings of peace.
Anas’s eyes became lit immediately he sighted Tomi and quickly ran to her embrace.
“I’m so sorry by boy. I had to take a quick visit to the market.” Tomi said to Anas while hugging him.
“I have missed you.” Little Anas whispered to her ears.
“Really? Awwwwwn! And I have missed you more…………………” Tomi was saying when Aminah coughed to interrupt them.
“Weldone mother and son, you didn’t even notice our presence.” Aminah joked.
“Oh I’m so sorry. I’m so engrossed with my boy that I forgot big mummy needs attention too. How was your day, hope it was splendid?” She asked while moving over to give her co-wife a hug while the intruder watched on in dismay. She might have thought a peaceful polygamy is only a mirage.
“My day was fine and how was your day as well?” Aminah replied with smiles.
“It was fine thank you……………I got some sausages for you and the kids.” Tomi said and handed a pack to Amiinah who collected it and thanked her.
“Oya my baby let’s go home.” Tomi said while holding on to Anas and they both walked out while Aminah’s friend watched their backs with mouth agape till they were out of sight.
“Close your mouth because of flies.” Aminah teased her friend.
“I’m sorry I’m just surprised. All the polygamous stories I know are stories of woes. I don’t believe a polygamous home like yours ever existed.” Aminah’s friend marveled.
“Yes it does exist. We are living fine and we manage our crises well.”
“Crises? You do have crises too?”
“Yes we do. Ain’t we human? We do have crises but there’s love and understanding which helps in managing the crises.”
“Wow! I’m impressed. May Allah strengthen the bond between you.”
“Aamin. That’s what I want, Prayers and positivity.”
“Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.” The friend heaved a deep breath.
Later in the evening, Amir returned with groceries. Aminah rushed over to him to collect the stuffs he was carrying. He declined and walked into the kitchen. She followed him and asked why he wasn’t willing to let go of the stuffs.
“Don’t worry. Go and relax. Dinner is on me tonight.” He replied with smiles.
“Really?” She marveled.
“Yes, so what would you like to eat?”
“Ermmmmm……….Ermmmm, you can pound some yam.” She requested and burst out laughing.
“Why are you laughing? Do you think I can’t pound?”
“I know very well that you can pound. I also know you’ve been showing your skills in the other house. And if that’s why you feel indebted, never mind, I can handle everything.” Aminah said while Amir left the stuffs he was unpacking and moved over to her.
He drew her nearer and caught hold of both her hands. He deliberately fixed his eyes on hers and when their eyes locked, he spoke calmly.
“I know you’re a superwoman. I know you’re a wonder woman. I also know you’re the most responsible wife in the whole world. I know you can handle everything without loopholes because you’re smart and diligent like that but this night, let me be at your service. Even the most powerful person in the universe deserves breaks once in a while. So go to the living room and relax with a glass of juice while I fix dinner.” He said while ushering her to the living room.
“Are you sure you won’t be needing my help?” Aminah asked
“No, I’ll be fine thanks.” He replied and she had no choice but to leave him.
She paused at the door and couldn’t stop staring at him. What an incredulous moment.
“Dear time! Will you stop ticking for now? I want to savour this beautiful moment forever and ever.” She thought aloud with a grin and indescribable happiness as she crossed her legs and sipped down some juice like a queen.
Days rolled into weeks and weeks leaped over to months. And the nine months course was gradually coming to an end.
It was 6:00 in the evening. Tomi and Fatia were relaxing in the living room when Tomi let out a sharp moan. She’d been squeezing her face as she felt a continuous pain in her lower abdomen which relieved her after some seconds. She didn’t take the pain seriously because she’d been experiencing similar cramps since two weeks before. She visited the hospital but the doctor said her body was just getting ready. So today when she felt similar pain, she didn’t think too much of it. But when the cramp persisted, she unconsciously let out a sharp moan which alerted Fatia.
“Aunty what is it?” Fatia asked with a concerned expression.
“It’s nothing serious. Please can you make Amala for me? I am hungry.” Tomi requested politely while Fatia nodded her head and rushed into the kitchen.
Minutes later, the food was done and Fatia served. Tomi ate the Amala in discomfort as the cramps was now stronger and intensed. Fatia watched as she squeezed her face intermittently while eating the food and she couldn’t keep calm.
“Aunty are you sure you’re okay? Is it labour? Should I call my uncle?” Fatia asked with concern.
“No I don’t think it’s labour. Your uncle is coming to sleep here this evening so no need to call him.” Tomi replied and thanked Fatia for her concern.
After the meal, the two ladies went to their separate rooms to observe Sallah. While praying again, Tomi found it difficult to bend and prostrate as the cramp tightens and the pains increases. She managed to get done with the sallah and then got up and started pacing up and down the room. She watched the wall clock as it tickled loudly.
She suddenly felt some relief as the pain was now gradually fading out and she hissed. It was false labor again, she thought loudly. She got on the mat for Ishai and while saying her last teslim, her husband walked in. She quickly got up from the mat and ran to his embrace. A way of telling him ‘I’ve been in pains since’. Amir noticed her discomfort while holding onto her.
“Are you okay?” He asked while staring into her eyeball.
“The same cramp that has been happening since two weeks.” Tomi replied.
“Sorry dear. So when are we going to know when it is real labor?”
“The doctor said when the contractions are frequent.”
“And now is it not frequent?”
“I don’t even know jare. It’s coming and going…………………………and now I’m not even feeling anything again.”
“Are you sure you ain’t feeling anything again?”
“I am not wallahi. I want to sleep please. The baby should just come already I’m tired.” She said tiredly and climbed onto the bed. He covered her with a duvet and said good night with a kiss to her forehead.
She lied on the bed but she couldn’t sleep well. She closed her eyes but her mind was disturbed. After some minutes, Amir joined her on the bed and he thought she was fast asleep but she was aware of her surroundings. Her psychological well being was disturbed hence her inability to sleep. She sat up the bed after she couldn’t sleep and by this time her husband was fast asleep beside her.
She decided to stroll around the house and immediately she got up, she felt a gush from her vaginal. She looked down to see what it was and she discovered her body was all covered in water with a splash of the water on the floor. She remembered what she was told in anti-natal class, when amniotic sac breaks and the amniotic fluid drains through the vagina then the baby is near.
She quickly rushed to the other side of the bed and tapped her husband to get up.
“Get up Amir, my water has broken.” She said apprehensively.
He quickly jumped out of bed as the sleep faded from his eyes immediately he heard ‘my water has broken’. He looked at the wall clock which says 12:15am. He grabbed his car keys not minding the time.
“Your cloth is wet.” He said after taking a look at her.
“Yes, I told you my water broke.”
“Okay…………you have to change…………….any contraction yet?”
“Okay, we have to be at the hospital regardless.” He said as he moved over to the wardrobe to get her clean clothes to change with.
He assisted her remove the soaked clothes and also assisted her get in the new one. He walked her to the car while carrying the baby things.
They got to the compound and the outside was dark and silent. Amir assisted her get to the back of the car where she lied after which he rushed to the gateman post to tell him of the situation. The gateman got up at once and flew the gate open for him to get out. He started the engine and zoomed off. He hadn’t driven for a minute when he started hearing moans from her.
“What is it?”
“The contraction has started. And this time it’s more painful.” She said while breathing heavily.
“Sorry, hang on. We’ll soon get to the hospital.” He consoled and continued driving like a lunatic. He drove recklessly while caring less, the only thing on his mind was to get to the hospital in time in order to save mother and child.
He drove passed the dark and silent streets and some minutes before getting to the highway to connect the hospital route, some vigilante men flashed him down with a touch-light in their hands. He slowed down while they asked him to wine down.
“Mr man, didn’t you check your time? Where are you going at this time of the night? One of the men queried.
“My wife is in labour. I am taking her to the hospital.” He said and immediately he said that, Tomi gave a loud moan.
“Can you hear that? Please allow me go!” Amir pleaded and all the three vigilante men peeped into the back seat to see the woman in labour.
“Madam sorry o. You may go. We wish you a safe delivery.” One of the vigilante men waved them on with prayers while Amir thanked him and zoomed off.
They got to the hospital in no time and by this time, the contraction had become frequent. They were attended to immediately and Tomi was checked by the doctor on duty. The doctor shook her head and told them it’s labour but she isn’t fully dilated. She was still 3cm and the cervix needs to open 10cm for a baby to pass through. On hearing this, Tomi shouted.
“I’m in serious pain. Why do you have to wait till 10cm.” She shouted in tears and the doctor smiled.
“You’re truly a first time mom. You can’t birth a child with 3cm opening. I understand you’re in pain but you ain’t fully dilated. You can pace up and down the corridor or better still, climb the stairs to and fro. I’ll check you later.” The doctor suggested and the couple went out.
Tomi started pacing up and down the corridor and after some time, she sat on the bench but her husband told her to get up and try more. She snapped at him instead and started doing the breathing exercise but the contraction was getting stronger and more painful. She started shouting and saying all sorts of prayers and rubbish that comes to her mind. After sometime, she turned to her husband and snapped at him again.
“You don’t just sit down there! Come and rub my back.” She shouted while Amir got up and started rubbing her back while his mouth was saying a countless sorry.
“Gently now, do you want to break my back?” She shouted again and he did it mildly yet she shouted that he was doing it as if he has no hands.
He returned to how he was rubbing it before but she shouted at him over and over again. The truth is, in the state she was at the time, he can never do it rightly. After sometime of rubbing her back and receiving plenty of snaps, she told him to leave the back and rub her tummy. He rubbed the tummy and yet again received lots of snaps. He was still rubbing the tummy when she shouted ‘Nurse I want to throw up’.
The nurse quickly came with a bowl and all the Amala she ate in the evening went into the bowl. She vomited everything and what follows after the Amala was no more, was pile of bile. After she vomited, she started another song ‘I’m feeling heat, I want to shower’
The nurse assisted her to the bathroom and she opened the shower unto her head. She came out and not up to a minute, she said she was feeling heat and wanted to shower again. This time, her husband told the nurse not to worry and took her to the bathroom himself. She stayed till forever in the bathroom and when he didn’t see her come out, he opened the door and saw her laying on the floor while moaning in pains. He tried to pull her up but she refused.
“Leave me oooo. I am very comfortable like this.” She shouted.
“But you can’t sleep on the bathroom floor it’s not safe.”
“I said you should leave me now.” She shouted again.
When she wouldn’t get up, her husband went to call on the nurses and they came to carry her. She was put on the bed and checked again. The doctor shook her head after checking her.
“With all your noise, you’ve only reached 5cm. Try and cooperate and you’ll progress. Shouting won’t help you.” The doctor said and she shouted again.
“5cm la taaaro. Oh Allah, I’m in pain oooooo.”
“Listen to the doctor and stop shouting please.” Amir tried to console.
“Leave me alone o. Is it your mouth I’m using to shout? You don’t know the amount of pain I’m going through. If you know you won’t tell me to keep quiet.” She shouted again.
“Trust me I know.”
“No, you don’t.” She shouted again.
“Okay sorry, the baby will soon come and you’ll be relieved.”
“You’re talking too much ooo. You’re disturbing my ears.” She shouted again.
“Okay I’ll be quiet.” He replied and started chanting adhkar silently.
After some minutes, two nurses came to the ward and told Amir the doctor instructed them to bring her to the labour room. It’s almost day break and she hasn’t been fully dilated, the doctor would like to do some things to assist her. Amir asked if he could come with them but they said no. Another woman in labor was also in the labor room.
The nurses wheeled her away while Amir intensified his prayers. She got to the labour room and the other woman had just given birth. She shouted again.
“Ha this woman met me here oo. Oh God when will I birth this baby, this pain is unbearable.”
“Don’t worry, your baby will soon arrive. She’s not a first time mom and hours of labour reduces with body experience. Now relax, I want to check you again.” The doctor said and she shouted again.
“How many times will you check me? It’s painful oooo.” She shouted.
“Relax or I’ll shook your mouth with a needle.” The doctor threatened lightly just to make her cooperate.
She kept quiet and the doctor checked her. The doctor smiled and nodded her head.
“Why are you smiling? Please remove this baby and let me rest o.” Tomi requested sharply.
“I’m smiling because you’re getting there.” The doctor replied.
“I want to poo.” Tomi shouted.
“It’s not poo, it’s your baby. Don’t push until I asked you to push.” The doctor warned.
“I feel like pushing o. I want to push o.” She shouted again.
“Don’t push.” The doctor shouted and quickly put some things in order with the help of the medical team.
“Now, push!!!!” The doctor instructed.
She did as instructed and the baby’s head was showing but couldn’t get out. The team exchanged glances. The doctor instructed her to push again yet the baby’s head was not out.
“We have to cut her.” The doctor said to her team as she grabbed a scissors.
The doctor sent the scissors on errand as Tomi felt a sharp pain. It was the pain from the cut. She was asked to push again and this once, the baby’s head was born followed immediately by the body. She felt an indescribable relieve even without the birth of the placenta. She was asked to cough and the placenta was out. The team congratulated her on the birth of a healthy bouncing baby boy. She thanked them as the tears of joy dripped down her face and streamed to her neck.
The baby was put on the scale and the doctor let out a huge expression of amazement.
“Wow! Wow!!…………4.6kg wow!!!!………….little wonder, the baby is a giant and momma is a coward.” The doctor teased but Tomi defended herself.
“I am not a coward joor. I put up a good fight.” Tomi argued with smiles.
“I see……….you put up a good fight with all those dramas. Anyways it’s one of the dramas that accompanied childbirth. Congratulations once again.” The doctor extended her felicitation.
“Thank you ma’am. Please inform my husband immediately.” Tomi requested.
“Yes the nurse has gone to do that.”
Amir was the newest father in town as much as Tomi was the newest mother. After the baby was cleaned, he was brought to him. He carried him with a huge excitement as he stared at his split image. He did the Tahnik and adhan to his ears and also cuddled him fondly before returning him to the nurse.
After Tomi was cleaned too, she was taking to the ward and minutes later Amir walked in. He hugged her and whispered some sweet things into her ears.
“A massive congratulations and thank you for fighting strongly.”
“Was I strong?”
“Yes you were.”
“And the doctor said I was a coward.”
“Don’t mind her. You weren’t a coward, it’s just that you were a synonym of a coward.” He teased.
“Whaaat!” She exclaimed and slapped his hand.
“That was a slip of tongue.”
“It better be.”
“Jokes apart, you wowed me.”
“I know you mean the opposite of wow again. Anyways I am very hungry.”
“Don’t worry, I called home already. A million of them will soon bombard you with food.” Amir said with humour.
“Yes I need it.” Tomi replied hungrily.
“Yes you do, at least the ones you ate during pregnancy really tell on the body. See him looking like a two month old baby.” Amir said with a wide grin while Tomi chuckled.
And the precious addition to the family was named Haarith. Families, friends and well wishers felicitated with them on the seventh day where two hefty rams were killed to commemorate the birth of the boy.
And she came, gave love, received love, inhale peace, extend peace, emit harmony and exhale sweetness. She conquered the war and peace reigned forever. Sometimes, destiny set our feet on the path our hearts do not wish to go. But that journey might be the most beautiful journey we ever went…………..from DECEPTION to RECEPTION and to HAPPINESS.
I drop the pen here. Thanks for reading. What did you learn?
LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH