Read the earlier parts here
I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life.
Another day, another test of my sanity. I want to just walk away from everything and never look back. I want to erase my life and start afresh. I am back from work, a bit late, and I have to practically beg Leke to eat something – anything. We are running out of everything, fast. And as much as the idea of suing Bosun for damages appeals to me now, I just want to keep Baby out of the blogs and news. I can’t guarantee that things will not spiral out of control. I can just imagine the headlines – ‘BETRAYAL: FATHER’S BEST FRIEND RAPES TEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND GOES AHEAD TO BEAT HIM UP’ ‘FIFTY SHADES OF BETRAYAL: TEN YEAR OLD MOLESTED BY FATHER’S BEST FRIEND IS PREGNANT AND INFECTED WITH HERPES!!!’ We can draw on our savings but for how long? I am just trying so hard to make a meaning of what is left of our lives. The trial begins fully next week. Baby would be about two months pregnant, Leke and I need to guide her into choosing, quickly.
And I think the best time for the conversation is now. I had a meeting with Baby’s teacher when I dropped her at school. More bad news. Baby zones out in class. Physically, she is present, but her mind is miles away. She won’t write in class, and she won’t obey instructions. I had to cook up some story. How will baby have a normal life if I leave her at home? I sniff. I hate my life right now. I have a big presentation tomorrow, so I have to leave early. Work is the only thing that is still looking good, and our only source of income too. I can’t afford to throw that away. Leke is in bed staring into space.
‘If this is about praying with that pastor, I don’t want to hear it!’
I am dazed, but hopeful. This is the only reaction I have gotten in days. Normally he would just mumble some monosyllabic answers and turn his back at me. It is definitely time to have that conversation.
‘Leke, please, just listen. This is about Baby.’
He sits up. ‘Has she decided?’
‘Why should she? We are her parents, the adults. We can’t ask a ten-year old to make a rational decision on whether she wants to keep a baby or not. We have to guide her towards making a decision.’
‘Okay. My wife has a degree in psychology now. One shrink, I can handle. Throw in Baby’s therapist, I can still manage that. But sharing a bed with one? That’s just too much.’ He moves towards the door. ‘I will just help myself to the couch in the sitting room’.
I try to block him. ‘Leke, please. Leke. We need to resolve this matter. We are running out of time. Please.’
He moves back towards the bed and sinks into it, burying his head in his palms. ‘Pearle, I don’t know what to do. I have never felt so helpless before. How do I fix this?’
I sit beside him and hold his hands. ‘You need to go back to work, or find something else to do. We are running out of money. And we have to pay for things.’
He sighs. ‘Our does our savings look?’
‘Just there. We would only last a couple of months. If you get something doing or go back to work, maybe four.
‘Okay. Work tomorrow.’ He had told me he was told to take all the time he needed, two months is a long time.
I heave a sigh of relief. That one is settled. Now, the major issue.
‘Okay. You have some dry cleaned suits; you want me to pick one out?’
He shakes his head and I bury my face in his chest. Maybe we will be fine. He pats my back and I snuggle deeper. ‘So, about the baby?’
‘Yeah’. My heart skips a bit.
I feel him swallow. ‘What are our options?’
‘We keep the baby or not.’ I couldn’t bring myself to say the word.
‘IK said that other one is illegal’. IK is the lawyer. What is wrong with us? My phone rings. It is the pastor. I ignore it. We have to finish this.
‘Yeah. In Nigeria. We could put our resources together and travel. There are risks, Leke, and there is the whole psychological side of it.’
He rubs his nose. ‘Or?’
‘We pull her out of school and move away from here so she can have the baby. Then, send her to a boarding house and raise the child. Or put the child up for adoption and try to push Baby towards a normal life.’
‘She can’t be normal again, Pearle. You can’t put normal and our family in the same sentence.’ He stays quiet for some minutes. I am afraid he has fallen asleep. We need to hurry, Baby will come in any time soon.
‘I like the travelling idea. How do we tell Baby?’
My stomach lurches. This can’t be happening.
‘Leke, you can’t be suggesting Baby has an abortion.’
‘I just did.’
‘I won’t support that!’
‘I have made my decision Pearle. We need to put this incident behind us as quickly as possible.’
‘I can’t Leke.’ I begin to cry. The words of Psalm 139 start swimming in my head. ‘Leke, there is a life in Baby, a life that God gave, who are we to take it?’
‘And who is God to put such a responsibility on a ten-year old?! Who is He? That Pastor is brainwashing you. Tell him that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Let us trade places for a day and I can assure you that he will not even doubt the non-existence of God.’
‘Leke, you are shouting. P..’
‘Oh, you have seen nothing yet. God is of no use to me. I don’t care what He thinks or says. And you should not too.’
‘I read it myself Leke, in the Bible.’ I take my phone and show him the verse. ‘Leke, this is God speaking to us.’
Leke laughs so hard, tears begin to fall from his eyes. ‘My wife is also a prophetess.’ He claps his hands, and then he flings my phone across the room. ‘Pearle, open your eyes. Where was God when everything started? Look around you, Pearle. We have nothing. It is just us and Baby now. We have to take things into our hands..’
I interrupt him, shouting at the top of my voice. ‘Yeah, right! And how did that work out with Bosun?’ The silence is piercing. I put out my hand to touch him. ‘Leke, I didn’t mean that. I am sorry.’
He says nothing. He is just staring at me. In disbelief. ‘Leke, please. I didn’t think before I said that.’
I cling to him. ‘Leke…’ He brushes me aside. ‘Don’t come near me, Pearle.’
I cling again even tighter. ‘Pearle, I am warning you…’
I lose my control. ‘Do whatever you like with me. I will fight you with all I have. Everything! You hear me! You knew that you wanted to put everything behind you, you refused to do anything but mope. Now, you feel you can just wake up from your self induced slumber and tell me what to do? Never! Leke. Never!’
Leke points his finger at me menacingly. ‘You will lose. I can assure you that the next time you will see Baby, she would be without the baggage that your God wants to foist on her at all cost.’
I shove him in the chest. ‘Baby is my daughter too. And I will protect her and her ‘baggage’ from you. You hear?’ When he comes close, I run into him and hug him tightly. I begin to wail. ‘Leke, please. I am begging you. Look around us. Everything is falling apart. We can just turn to God, maybe He will help us. See, He took everything away from us in the twinkle of an eye. What do we have to lose? Leke, the way I see it if God kills Baby tomorrow, we can’t do anything about it.’
He pushes me away roughly. And I hear a small, ‘ouch’ as I slam my heel into something soft. I try to look around to see what it is, but not before Leke says, ‘I don’t care anymore, Pearle. We are having an abortion. And we need to prepare Baby for it’
That’s when a small voice pierces silence following Leke’s bombshell
Ah. Baby. I look at Leke. What are we going to do now?