“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
Mosope glanced at the clock; she had 5 more minutes to leave the house. Her bed was in a mess; all the outfits she tried out this morning were scattered on her bed. She had tried on a green wrap dress, a flowery skirt and a red top before she finally settled for a grey dress and red heels. Every Sunday morning was like this but she always made it just in time for choir rehearsals. She slipped into a pair of slippers, grabbed her bag, red shoes and ran down the stairs.
She was already in the living room when she remembered she left the novel she borrowed from a friend in church on her bed. She ran back upstairs to get it and met her father descending the stairs.
“Why are you always in such a hurry on Sunday morning Sope? Wake up early so you can have enough time to dress up.”
“Yes daddy.” She replied rolling her eyes.
“Where is your mother?”
“She’s in the kitchen.”
Mosope knew her mother was excited her son and his wife were coming over to visit them. The last time Gbenga and Onyinye came to visit was when her mum turned 52, which was five months ago. She was excited too but dreaded all the cooking they were going to do since her mother had decided to treat them to a three course meal of goat meat pepper soup, coconut rice and chicken and fruit salad. Mummy enjoyed cooking but not her; left to her she would live on noodles and cereal.
She picked up the book and raced down the stairs. Her mum was knotting her dad’s tie when she got downstairs. “See you later.” She said and headed towards the front door. She usually left for church earlier than her parents because of choir rehearsals.
“Sope come back, you didn’t pin your flower properly.”
“Ohhhhhh mum I’m late already, I’ll do it properly when I get to church and it’s called a corsage.”
Her protest fell on deaf ears as her mum came towards her and unpinned the corsage. Her mum treated her like a teenager instead of the 24 year old woman she was.
“You are wearing my perfume aren’t you?” her mum accused as she caught a whiff of her Gucci Rush perfume.
“Mum I’ve told you to dash me that perfume already, I use it more than you do.”
“Dash ke? Perfume my husband gave me on Valentine’s Day; Oti o (No way)…now this looks better.” She said, satisfied with the adjustment she made.
“Thanks mum.” With that she dashed out of the house and into her car.
Deborah went back into the kitchen, she wanted to make sure they had all they needed for this afternoon. Sope forgot to buy spring onions, so she made a mental note to buy some on their way back from church. Trust her to forget an ingredient! Unfortunately, Mosope did not get her cooking gene.
She began to feel the throbbing headache she had been experiencing over the past few weeks and took two ibuprofen tablets from the kitchen cabinet.
Tunji caught the look on his wife’s face as she entered the room. “What’s wrong dear?”
“I have headache again.”
“Sorry dear.” He replied and went to her. “Make sure you go to the hospital first thing tomorrow morning. This headache is becoming too frequent” he said and pulled her into a side hug.
“Yes I will.”
“Maybe you should not tie the gele.” His eyes went to the gold gele on the bed.
“Ha! That’s not possible oh; my outfit will not be complete.”
“Okay oh if you say so.”
Onyinye roused from sleep and touched her husband’s side of the bed. Of course he wasn’t there. What was she thinking? She went into the bathroom to pee and contemplated opening the box she carefully hid in the bathroom closet. She bought it two days ago because she missed her period, which had never happened before. She studied her face in the mirror for a bit before finally opening the closet.
She carefully read the instructions, washed her hands and sat on the toilet seat.
She waited for the result.
The instructions said 3 minutes.
Two purple bands appeared.
She was pregnant.
She threw the test kit and the pack into the bin, washed her hands and went to the living room to meet her husband. Gbenga was working on his laptop even as early as 5:48am on a Sunday morning. She watched him from the door and he didn’t even notice she was standing there till she sat with him on the couch.
“You are up already? Morning” he mumbled ,his eyes on his laptop screen. The room was silent except from the sound he made as he typed.
“Are you still up for going to my parents’ house after church?”
“Of course I am. We haven’t seen your parents in a long while.”
He continued typing.
He took his eyes off his laptop and raised his eyebrows. She picked up his laptop from his legs and placed it on the floor.
“What did you do that for? I was about to finish that report. We are talking aren’t we?” He protested and reached for the laptop. “I hope this is not one of your guilt talks about me neglecting you cos I’m-”
“Gbenga I’m… pregnant.”
“You are WHAT?” he put the laptop back on the floor and glared at her.
“You are kidding right?” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Oh no Oyin, we agreed to wait for TWO years remember? That was the PLAN.” He got up from the couch and walked towards the window, stared outside for some minutes and turned back to her. “I was CAREFUL every time”
“Well… I’m pregnant and-”
“I’ve heard that word like a million times already this morning!” He snapped.
“You better get used to it!” she replied and stormed out of the living room.
Why was he acting as if it was her fault? Yes they agreed to wait for 2 years after they got married before having a baby. Well, if life had taught her anything, it was the fact that things don’t always go according to plan. If anyone had told her that she would be teaching in a secondary school she wouldn’t have believed it. She had dreams of being a career woman after graduating with a first class in Economics and distinction in her master degree; but after two years of being unemployed, she took up a job in a secondary school as a Math and Business Studies teacher. Although she only saw it as a means to an end at first, she had fallen in love with the teaching profession after realising how much impact she could have in molding a young mind.
She placed her hand on her abdomen, she sure didn’t feel pregnant. It was hard to believe that a life was growing inside of her.
Gbenga tried to get back to the report he was working on but he couldn’t concentrate. Why did Onyinye get pregnant so soon? They had only been married for a year and a month . He mentally calculated when the baby would come, which would be around January next year. He wasn’t due for his promotion till December next year if he continued to work at the pace he was working now. He smiled as he thought of the salary he would earn as a senior associate in the management consultancy firm he worked. The last thing he needed was a distraction from a baby.
Sometimes he regretted why he got married at 27 when he could have waited till he was 30; but he was in love with Onyinye, earned a decent salary and Onyinye’s parents were beginning to put pressure on her to get married since she was 26, so he gave in.
Onyinye heard the sound of her husband’s footsteps approaching the room and turned to her side on the bed so she wouldn’t be facing him when he walked in. He simply ignored her and went straight into the bathroom.
Mosope caught Bode’s eyes in the congregation as she sang in the choir. Today’s special number was one of her favorite songs:
“I vow to praise you through the good and the bad.
I’ll praise you whether happy or sad
I’ll praise you in all that I go through
Because praise is what I do-
Cos I owe it all to you.”
Mosope sang her heart out. She had been in the choir right from when she was in children’s church and loved singing out her heart to God. She had given her life to Jesus at the tender age of 9 and loved him with all her heart. Even as a young adult, she was committed in the choir despite her busy work schedule as a banker. Nothing could come between her and her love for the Lord. She was always in church every Saturday evening for choir rehearsals even on Saturdays when she had events, she made sure she left early to be back in time for choir practice.
Bode smiled proudly as he looked at Mosope singing. He never got tired of seeing her sing this way every Sunday. He always teased her about the sudden boldness that came over her each time she sang because she was a shy and reserved person off the pulpit. The sight of the engagement ring on her finger brought a smile to his face. He was going to get married to this beautiful woman in 10 months.
After service, he went towards the choir stand to talk to her. She was talking to two other choir ladies and she excused herself when she saw him.
“Bodeeee.” She said and gave him a hug. He loved the way she called his name, stressing the vowel at the end.
“Mo, you look gorgeous. I love your dress.” His gaze washed over her.
“Thanks Bode. She smiled and slipped her hand into his. “How are you?”
“I’m good dear. You?”
“I’m good too. Hope you are still coming over for lunch?” Mosope had extended the invitation to him.
“You know I wouldn’t miss your mum’s cooking for anything.”
“We have to leave immediately so I can go help my mum.” She scanned the church for her parents. “I think my parents are on their way home.
“Yeah they’ve gone. I saw them leaving the auditorium.”
Mosope said goodbye to her friends and they left the church hand in hand.
Onyinye carried the bag of fruits she bought for her in-laws into the house while Gbenga remained in the car to answer a phone call from work. She didn’t know why he just couldn’t ignore phone calls from work during weekends.
“Onyinye!” Mosope exclaimed and hugged her when she opened the door. “Good to see you.”
“Hi Sope! Good to see you too.”
She stepped back to let her in. “Where is Gbenga? Don’t tell me he didn’t come cos I know that my brother.”
“He’s in the car answering a phone call.”
“Oh okay.” Mosope collected the bag from her and took it into the kitchen. Onyinye greeted her father in law who hugged her and asked after Gbenga and she told them he was in the car.
“Good afternoon mummy.” She said as she walked into the kitchen.
“Onyinye dear.” Deborah said fondly and pulled her into a warm embrace. “How are you my dear? It’s been too long since the last time I saw you.”
“I’m fine ma…mummy I’ve been telling Gbenga we should come and visit.”
“You’ve been telling me what?” Gbenga’s voice came from the kitchen entrance.
“Good afternoon mum.” He greeted and hugged his mum. “Mummy you are just looking younger by the day oh.”
“Don’t try and bribe me with your sweet mouth jare.” Turning to Onyinye she continued, “Onyinye even if your husband doesn’t come, nothing stops you from coming to visit us by yourself. Abi don’t you feel welcome here?”
“I do mummy. I’ll come and visit more often and not wait for HIM.”
“Sope how are you?” Gbenga went towards his younger sister and hugged her.
“My invisible brother I only get to see once in a blue moon.”
“Even you too? We chat a lot now, doesn’t that count?”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Okay no vex, I’ll try and change…Bode is one lucky guy oh, to be getting married to my amazing sister.”
“I know I am.” Bode replied from the entrance of the kitchen and looked lovingly at his fiancee.
“Okay food is ready…guys please head back to the living room and let us bring the food.”
Bode and Gbenga left the women in the kitchen while Deborah dished out coconut rice into a big dish and handed it to Mosope to carry to the dining room; Onyinye carried the chicken and salad.
Everyone had generous helpings of Deborah’s coconut rice and the men had seconds.
“So have you two decided on a venue? Because last time we talked, you said you were trying to decide between Blue Oak Event Centre and Royal Gardens.” Gbenga asked.
“Yeah, we decided to choose Royal Gardens because it has more parking.” Bode replied.
“And it’s closer to church.” Mosope added.
“Yeah that’s true.” Gbenga replied.
“And it’s big enough for all our guests.” Femi said. Mosope looked at her dad and smiled. Their guest list would definitely reach 700 with the amount of people her parents and Bode’s parents knew. If she had her way, they would have a destination wedding.
“We have an announcement to make.” All eyes turned to Gbenga.
“Onyinye and I are going to have a baby” he announced.
Onyinye stared at him in shock because he didn’t say anything about announcing it to his family and not with the way he reacted to the news this morning.
There was a round of congratulations, Deborah got up to hug her daughter in law and Mosope did likewise. Femi slapped his son his back and said “Well done Gbenga.”
After the meal, the table was cleared and everyone went to the living room to watch TV. Mosope noticed the tension between Gbenga and his wife because they hardly spoke a word to each other and didn’t seat beside each other. Didn’t Gbenga just announce happily that they were expecting a baby, so what was the problem?
Tunji noticed the tired look on his wife’s face; she must have been worn out from all the cooking and excitement. Trust her to go all out with the cooking. She had excused herself some minutes to go use to the toilet and she still wasn’t back. She had been gone for a while and he decided to go and check up on her. Tomorrow he would drive her down to the hospital whether she liked it or not.
He didn’t see her in the room and assumed she was doing a number two. “Dear we are going to be grandparents soon, can you believe it? He said but didn’t get any response from her.
“Dear can you hear me?”
Still no response.
He went to towards the toilet and opened the door.
She was on the floor.