When Tehilah opened her eyes, they felt heavy. She had spent the night crying her eyes out. Even the presence of her friend Bimpe, could not console her of the grief she felt in her heart. She sighed loudly and got out of bed, at the same time she perceived the aroma of plantain porridge. It smelled like there was enough crayfish and dried fish in it, just as she loved it.
“When did Bimpe learn to cook oh?” Tehilah said with a faint smile. Her friend Bimpe could not cook to save her life. The only food she was good at cooking, was peppered noodles. With eagerness, she tied a robe on her negligee and left the bedroom, even as her stomach rumbled with hunger.
As she approached the kitchen, she heard voices and quickened her pace. When she entered the kitchen, she was shocked to find her mother, stirring a pot on the fire.
“Mother, you are here?” she turned to look at Bimpe accusingly. “You told her didn’t you?”
“Don’t blame her, you need me here” her mother’s smile was sad.
“How can you be so calm about this?” Tehilah was surprised at her mother’s coolness about the pregnancy. Her mother had always been against pre-marital pregnancy, but here she was acting all cool about it. There were no limits to a mother’s love.
“I know that sometimes we make plans, but life has its own plans. So don’t worry about anything, I am here to help you through this” she pulled her daughter into her arms and embraced her.
“Any hug for me?” Bimpe teased as she joined in the embrace.
Tehilah’s mother pushed the girls away softly, as her brows furrowed in deep thoughts. “Tehilah my darling, don’t you think you should talk to Wale about this?”
“Mother, no one…I mean absolutely no one is going to tell Wale about this” Tehilah clenched her fists. “If any one does, I will run away and you mother, will never see me again”
“I get your point” her mother replied with a frown. “You don’t have to threaten your own mother”
Tehilah glared at Bimpe and her mother, before leaving the kitchen with brisk steps. Bimpe turned to look at her friend’s mother and shrugged her shoulders in resignation.
“The other time I broke down because I didn’t have a career that depended on my wellness” Tehilah paced her bedroom, as she flicked off tears from her eyes with the tip of her fingers. “Now, I have a career. Haliru has faith in me and I am not going to let him down because of a man who was not worth me in the first place”. “I am going to bury my pain inside my book, and I am going to write like I have never written before”
In the following weeks, she immersed herself in writing her new book, even when Haliru complained of the speed and having no breaks for herself, she ploughed ahead. For days she locked herself in her bedroom, writing and only speaking to her mother through the door or the telephone. She lived on cornflakes, which were stocked in her bedside refrigerator.
One day, for the umpteenth time, her mother went to her door to call out to her, “Tehilah, how long are you going to keep at this. You are pregnant, remember?” her mother couldn’t keep the sadness away from her voice.
She had come to help her daughter through this trying time and stop her from going under like she did the last time her heart was broken, but it was obvious she was losing. This time, her daughter was losing the battle, but in a new way. She was so deep in thoughts she did not notice when the door to her daughter’s bedroom opened and Tehilah stepped out, dressed up in a loose wide leg pant jumpsuit.
“Mother, can we go baby shopping?” Tehilah asked. It seemed that her baby was what pulled her back.
When they stepped out of the car at the Pep Mall, Tehilah slipped on a pair of dark sunshades, hoping that no one would recognize her. She still didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she knew she didn’t want the public to know about her pregnancy yet. If they did, Wale would find out also. Inside the mall however, she was shocked by paparazzi who accosted her with cameras flashing. There was no denying the fact that she had come to shop for a baby as the mall was only for babies and kiddies.
“What do I do, mother?” she asked in a panicked voice.
“Keep calm, sweetheart” her mother tried to shield her from the onslaught of the flashing cameras.
They could not continue with their shopping and had to leave the mall in a hurry. “I hope this does not get into the news or any blog” Tehilah wriggled her fingers in anxiety. She was not ready to share the news of her pregnancy with the world.
Her mother held her hand and rubbed it softly, in order to reassure Tehilah.
Haliru had just finished the meeting with the board of directors. As they filed out of his office, he walked to his coffee maker and poured himself a cup of coffee. He was truly stressed and it did not help that rumors were flying about that, Tehilah had ended her contract with the company, and it also did not help that, Tehilah had been avoiding both his calls and the office. He rubbed his shaven head tiredly as his eyes strayed to the television where he saw Tehilah running out of a mall, covering her face with her handbag. Her mother was also by her side and she was wearing a worried frown.
“What’s going on?” he took the remote controller from the table and increased the volume of the television.
“The question is, is she pregnant and if she is pregnant, who is the father of the baby? We have had no comments from her, but one thing we are sure of, this baby is going to be loved” the entertainment news anchor said, as a picture of Tehilah bent over a rack of baby clothes flashed on the screen.
“Pregnant?” Haliru sat down heavily on his desk and listened attentively to the news anchor talk about how Tehilah fled the mall.
“No, it can’t be” he whispered. “But why not… she is a beautiful woman and very smart too” Haliru stood up from the desk and walked to the coffee maker to refill his cup. “See me losing my cool over a woman that doesn’t know I feel this way about her” his eyes were filled with sadness as he stared into space. “What did I expect, she was in a relationship and I never tried to show her my feelings. She would never leave him, now that a child is involved. Haliru you lost her”
In Abuja, Onome, Wale’s wife, was watching the same entertainment news. She bolted out of her seat when the news anchor talked about Tehilah’s rumoured pregnancy. She had found out everything about Tehilah since the day the latter came to the house and knew that she was having an affair with Wale. She also knew that they had broken up, after Tehilah found out about her.
She smiled wickedly.
“Even though we are getting divorced, he had no right to have a affair and impregnate a woman” she clenched her fist.
She had watched Wale sulk all through the past weeks, and knew that this was not just a fling. Nevertheless, she was not going to let go of the marriage, as she was determined to make it work.
“If he leaves me, Tehilah’s pregnancy is my proof of infidelity and I will make sure I scrap him of everything he has” she sneered through clenched teeth. “As for you Tehilah, you are going to keep that child a secret from my husband, or else you are going to lose that child”