WRITTEN BY: LIZZY OYEBOLA YAKUBU
(CLICK HERE FOR EPISODE 7)
I pushed my twin baby pram out of the elevator and started to walk down the hallway to Grace’s room when her voice stopped me.
“Hello Mummy Zee” She greeted, a glitter in her voice. I turned to look at her direction and saw that she was at the entrance of the large sitting room, in her wheelchair. Her parents were standing beside her, each wearing a smile.
“Good morning, dearest Dr. Zee” Dr. Olagunsoye greeted.
“Good morning, Dr. Zee. I am particularly so delighted to see you this morning” Mrs. Olagunsoye greetedwith a smile.
“Good morning grandpa and grandma” I said with a smile.
“Oh stop, Dr. Zee. You want to make my pops and moms look old already?” Grace said, pouting. The parents laughed.
“But aren’t they our granny? They are grandparents to Lily and Ella here.” I said.
“Awwwwwnnn…so sweet, how cute!” Grace exclaimed. Mrs. Olagunsoye walked close to me, bent beside the pram and pecked my babies.
The twins laughed loudly. Everyone joined them.
“They love me already. My cuties love me already” Mrs. Olagunsoye said, pecking each on the forehead, a wide grin on her face.
“They do, momma. You can have them today while Gracey and I have our session” I said and it felt like I had said the impossible because almost immediately, she drew me close and gave me a close embrace and a peck on my cheek. I blushed.
“I love you! Thank you. Thank you” She said as she started pulling the pram away with her.
“I have extracted some breastmilk for them. The bottles are all in the pram bag” I said and she nodded thankfully.
As I looked up to see the two elderly parents doting on Lily and Ella, with Gracey admiring them with a warm smile, the scene looked too beautiful.
“ I bet I need to take a photo of this moment. This scenery is so warm and beautiful!” I said and started to fumble with my handbag to bring out my camera. I took her shot.
“No mummy Zee. I am in a wheelchair. I don’t want a picture” Grace said and I chuckled.
I took another shot from a different angle.
“You are not serious. Your wheelchair now is a testimony in the future. You don’t even know anything yet. I am bringing Nigeria’s best photographer here for a Baby shower photoshoot soon o.” I said and Grace burst out laughing.
“Mummy Zee, stop joking” She said and I smirked.
“Sit down there and think it’s a joke. We are giving grandpa and grandma their bouncing grandbaby soon” I said and she sighed, shrugging.
I knew she might want to go all emotional again, so I walked close.
“Mum and dad. Can we please begin our session, please?” I asked and they looked at me with all seriousness.
“Yes yes yes, please go ahead. Who are we to interfere in the great things that the Lord has started in our family” Dr. Olagunsoye said and I smiled.
I was so grateful to God that the change in Grace was already so visible to them.
“Can we use the sitting room?” Gracey asked and Mrs. Olagunsoye looked alarm.
“Yes, why not? You can even use the library, the field, the kitchen, the stairs, the other sitting rooms, even our own bedroom, you can use anywhere in this house. Even if you need to go to any country of the world just to have your session with Dr. Zee, you think we won’t happily arrange that? My dear, stop joking!” Mrs. Olagunsoye said and everyone burst out laughing.
“Mum, you can be so extra, man!” Gracey said and Mrs. Olagunsoye laughed.
“I have to be extra because you are my only. I can go any extra for you” She said, her husband nodding.
“Oya, I appreciate, o, mama. The sitting room is very perfect for our session today. You guys need to go now. You can’t imagine the grace embedded in our sessions. I can’t wait to continue listening to Dr. Zee today” Grace said.
Dr. Olagunsoye planted a peck on her cheek and turned to start pushing the pram away.
“Catch you later” Mrs. Olagunsoye said, hugged me again and started running after her husband.
I sighed, a smile across my face.
“Grace, you are blessed to have them. They deeply love you.” I said and she smiled.
“Sometimes, I feel that the love is too much, joor” She said and I smiled.
“C’mon! If it is too much, swim in it, my friend!” I said and she laughed. I turned her wheelchair around and started pushing her inside the gigantic and exotic sitting room.
“So, how is Blossom today?” She asked after I had helped her to sit in one of the sofas.
“She should be fine. I have not spoken to her since yesterday. You want to meet her?” I asked and she nodded, unbelievably.
“I would love to. I want to meet her. Oh my!” She exclaimed and I patted her back.
“She would love to meet you too. I know she would, even though I am yet to ask her. When we are almost done listening to her story, I think, I might ask her for that chance. If she agrees, oh my, I would be the happiest for you” I said and she hugged me tightly.
“Thank you Mummy Zee. You are the best big sis that I never had” She said and I pecked.
“You are already being deeply integrated into my life, dear Gracey. I can’t seem to let you go” I said and I could see tears in her eyes.
“Why do you even love me?” She asked and I started laughing.
“You are so lovable, don’t you know?” I asked and she shook her head, a smile across her face.
“You are so different, Mummy Zee. You are so full of light. I feel like staying with you all my life” She said and I burst out laughing again.
“C’mon, not you are making me blush” I said and she chuckled as she wiped her tears.
I rubbed my hand over her huge tummy and she looked at me with shock written all over her face.
“You are the first person to do this. This is weird. Oh my, I am so shy” She said, covering her face with a throw pillow.
“You are the cutest pregnant woman I have ever seen. Just look at how radiant you look in pregnancy. I didn’t look half of this during my own pregnant” I said and she burst out laughing.
“Dr. Zee, you won’t kill me. You and I? There is no basis of comparison! You are so beautiful!”
“Yes, I am. I know. But you are more beautiful!” I said and she covered her face, once again.
I pecked her tummy and she cringed.
“You are being so weird” She said and I shook my head.
“This is what my husband does for me every single day in pregnancy. Allow me to be your husband during this period, Gracey” I said and she burst out laughing, tears strolling down her face.
“You are so weird! Oh my! You are so weird” She kept saying as tears rolled down her face.
“Donatella, good morning dearest. Your godmother says, good morning” I said and Grace stopped laughing.
“You have named her already?” She asked and I smiled.
“She is a pleasantly beautiful gift to our lives. She is Donatella” I said and she covered her mouth as more tears flowed.
“You are so sweet! You see so much good in me! Why?” She wept on. I embraced her and pecked her teary face afterwards.
“You are sweet. You give me so much joy! I met you a few days ago but it seemed like I had known you for ten years” I said.
“Me too!” She said and hugged me tightly. “I am so sorry for shouting at you yesterday. Immediately you left, I sent for folic acid immediately. I have started taking it. I took one yesterday. I have taken one today” She said and my heart skipped for joy.
The devil wanted me to get discouraged at her behaviour the day before but mercy said ‘no!’
“There is something so special about you that we will get to know soon. I can feel it so deeply in my spirit” I said and she smiled.
“Really!” She said and sighed. “Amen o. Amen!” She said.
I reached into my bag and brought out a small bag. I handed it over to her.
“I got you this gift” I said and she was dazed.
“A gift for me? Seriously!” She said and started fumbling with the bag.
“A Bible! Oh my goodness! This is the most gorgeous Bible I have ever seen” She exclaimed.
I knew how rich Grace was, so I knew if I would be getting her anything, it had to be substantial. That was why I had to comb the whole city of Abuja to find a very portable, white leather-bound Bible that would have her name ‘GRACE’ imprinted on the front page.
“Dr. Zee, I love you! I am hanging around here on earth because of you. Mine is a life you have saved for the Lord here on earth. You are responsible for me. I won’t give up” She said so deeply and I smiled.
“God will help me. I won’t fail God”
She brought out a journal and a pen from the bag too and shook her head.
“So, you were thinking about me. You left this place yesterday but you were simply thinking about me. Thank you! Thank you!” She said.
Then, she brought out a devotional from the bag.
“Wow, Daily Blossoming! This is a powerful one!” She exclaimed.
“Yes. This is a devotional written yearly by Blossom. This is what I use as well” I said and she nodded.
“Wow, I didn’t know she is a writer. Wow! Let us continue from where we stopped yesterday, then. Shall we? Let me know more about Blossom” She said and I patted her.
“We will listen to her voice very soon but before then. I have given you a Bible, a journal, a pen and a daily devotional that blesses me so greatly. It is such that sets anyone who picks it up on fire. Please study the devotional every day. Write down your worries, your prayer requests, your testimonies and so on in the journal and study your Bible. Thereby, your spirit will grow and be strong. Very strong!” I said and she nodded.
“I promise. I promise that I will do that. I will” She said and I pecked her.
“Are you comfortable enough or should I support your back with more pillows?” I asked and she smiled.
“I think I am fine but I don’t know if I can get a stool to place my left leg. Sometimes, it gets so uncomfortable having a long leg and a short one” She said and I smiled.
“Be thankful.” I said, drew out a well cushioned stool and placed her left leg on it. I checked the stump of her amputated leg and touched it. It was inflamed.
“Don’t touch it. Don’t” She said, her face turning red suddenly.
“It’s swollen and looks very painful. Do you take your medications? When do you want to start physio…” I was saying when she hit the sofa.
“Stop, Dr. Zee, stop! Please, stop!” She exclaimed, tears rushing down her face. “Are you pitying me?” She asked.
“No. I am just…”
“No, please stop ma. Please. I suddenly don’t feel like listening to Blossom’s story again. I feel so miserable. Why did my leg have to go? Why did my…” She asked, her voice trailing off in tears.
I started to feel bad.
‘We were good just a few seconds ago. Why is this suddenly coming up?’
I sat beside her and hugged her despite her resistance.
“I am so sorry. Forgive me. I am so sorry” I said, feeling terrible bad.
“I don’t know why people keep talking about physio. It is not going to solve any problem! It is not going to grow my leg. I don’t actually want to hear about it again from anyone” She said and I nodded.
I knew she was swimming in self-pity and I knew I had to swim in it with her.
“I won’t bring it up again. I won’t, I promise” I said and she nodded too. I disengaged from the hug and looked into her eyes. She smiled, looking away shyly.
“I am so sorry for my outburst, Mummy Zee. I am so weird.” She said and I shook my head.
“No, it’s very fine. It’s okay. I can only imagine how you feel” I said and she hugged me again. “Should we still listen to Blossom’s story?” I asked.
“Yes, yes, yes! I must have been drunk to say I didn’t want the story again. I must have been so drunk” She said and I smiled.
I brought out my tablet and placed it on the table.
“Can you please connect it to the sound system? I want it to spread over the room. I want to be engrossed in the story” She said. I stood up and made to do as she had asked.
Soon, Blossom’s sad voice filled the whole sitting room.
I sat on the floor resting my back against a sofa as I listened too.
After sitting on the toilet seat for over thirty minutes, crying and mopping my face, I washed myself, sanitized my hand and moved to the mirror.
My eyes were bloodshot!
“Hey girl! This is not the way to welcome your mum back home, alright? Cheer up, babe. Cheer up” I said to myself and started to splash some water from the running tap at my face.
E be like say our peace for this house don end o
Moses’ words rung in my ears again. I covered my ears.
E be like say our peace for this house don end o
E be like say our peace for this house don end o
As the words rang deeply in my ears again, making me lose my spirit, I fell on the toilet seat again and wept.
Why did daddy decide to marry this woman?
How bad is this woman to the extent that our gateman of ten years is saying our peace has ended?
Why am I feeling so weird and uncomfortable?
If I had never needed You in my life, I need You now.
I trust You, Lord Jesus!
After a few more minutes, when I knew that my head was clearer and my eyes had become tired of weeping, I picked my school bag up from the wardrobe where it was and walked out of the toilet.
I started walking towards the noisy, main building, my legs shaking so vehemently.
I opened the door and there they were. Dad and his new wife were seated so closely beside each other on a sofa. And two tall, huge guys were playing a game so noisily on the TV. Two other boys, equally tall and huge were at the dining section, eating and gisting so noisily.
I swallowed as I looked all around the sitting room. It was littered with so many boxes and bags. I sighed as I realized that no one had noticed my presence in the house.
“Good evening everyone” I announced and all eyes turned to look at me.
“Oh my princess, daddy is so sorry” Dad said as he walked close to me. “I am so sorry for not picking you up but I know you understand, right?” He asked and I nodded, silently.
“So, this is the Blossom?” Dad’s wife asked with a smile even though on a closer look, I saw disdain. My heart skipped two beats.
“Yes, dear. Princess, meet your new mum. Mum, meet your daughter” Dad said. I went close to her and knelt down in greeting.
“Well done, dear” She said, picking her teeth noisily with a toothpick. “My husband has told me so much about you. Blossom this, Blossom that. So you are the Blossom?” She asked and I nodded with a dry smile.
“Yes ma. Welcome ma”
“You are the one I should say ‘welcome’ to o. Didn’t my husband tell you that we will be coming in today?” She said and I nodded. “Why are you nodding like an agama, speak up, my friend!” She said and I looked up at her, shocked.
I thought she was supposed to pretend even if she didn’t like me. I thought she would respect that my father was standing and wouldn’t talk rashly to me. I knew then that I was in for it! If she could act that rashly with me, I knew just then, how hot the house was going to become, despite my father’s presence.
“Answer me! Are you already lost in thoughts?” She asked.
“I knew you were coming ma” I stuttered.
“So, why didn’t you stay at home to welcome us, or better still, come back early to….”
“Dear, it’s okay. Blossom is a small girl. I don’t want all these things from you at all. Embrace her as your daughter and let her…” My dad was saying when she cut in.
“Dear, please, I am talking. Please, excuse me. If scolding your so called daughter for doing wrong is making you feel somehow, please, you can go inside” She said and my mouth opened widely.
“Don’t talk to my dad like that. I can’t stand it” I said, standing up from my kneeling position.
“What do you mean?” She stood up, facing me squarely. “Who are you to face me like that? Who are you to tell me what to say to my husband and how?” She roared. My dad stood up.
“My dear, I am sure that she doesn’t mean it that way. She was simply….” He was saying when she pushed him. He fell into the settee. I was bewildered.
“Who are you?” I asked, my lips trembling. She burst out laughing.
“You don’t know me yet, do you? You don’t know who I am yet, right? I will show you, very soon. I will.” She was saying when I went on my knees.
“You can treat me bad anyway you wish, ma but don’t do that to my dad. Don’t treat my dad in such ill-manner” I said and just then, in a twinkling of an eye, a slap was deposited on my face heavily. I fell back to the ground.
“Jesus!” My dad exclaimed. “Romoke, what is wrong with you? This is the first time you are meeting my daughter and is this how to….”
“Will you stop that! What is this ‘my daughter’ ‘my father’ you people are even calling each other?” She asked, looking so irritated. “Haven’t you told her about her origin? Haven’t you told her abou…” She was saying again when my dad covered her mouth and pulled her down. She shrugged his hand off and burst out laughing.
“So, you haven’t told her? No wonder! No wonder this thing can kneel there and claim ‘my father’. In my own presence?” She burst out laughing again.
I stood up just there, looking so anxious. I didn’t know if I should keep quiet or ask any further.
“Dad, what is this woman saying? I don’t understand but can you tell me wha….” I was asking when she stood up, pulled me by the collar of my uniform and dragged me to the wall.
“You are an evil omen!” She started. No matter how my dad tried to intervene, she prevailed, being very bigger than him.
“Evil omen?” I asked, I was so curious. “My dad calls me a blessing and you call me an evil?” I asked and she slapped my mouth, pinching my cheeks. I winced in pain.
“So, this is how it feels to hold a bastard! This is how it feels to pinch a bastard?” She asked and my heart beat increased doubly.
“Romoke! Romoke! What is the matter with you? This is your first day here and you are already showing your true colours? Is this who you truly are? Leave my daughter alone!” Dad shouted, trying to push her away.
She tightened her grip on my neck in anger.
“Dear, please just go and sit down. If I carry you up with this big bombom of mine ehn, you will land in the land of death ni, straight!” She said and her children roared in laughter.
I looked into my dad’s face and I saw red anger. He looked so frustrated and shocked.
“I am so shocked. Mum said you are a decent girl. Mum said you were a…” Dad started shouting
“Momma’s pikin, shift to the left, abeg” She said, laughing.
“To the left, to the left” The children chorused together, imitating a popular song of an American singer. My dad looked at them in disbelief. He looked at me apologetically just then, his eyes, turning really red.
“One prostitute got pregnant for God-knows-who. She tried as much as possible to abort her pregnancy but it was futile. In her third trimester, she got diagnosed with cancer and….” Dad’s wife started.
“Stop that. Romoke, what is wrong with you?” Dad said, more desperately this time around. He pulled her desperately and they started wrestling together. I was weak. I didn’t know what was happening but it was obvious that my dad was trying to stop her from telling me something important.
“Dad, leave her alone. Let me hear what she is saying.” I said and my dad pulled her hands off her hands. She adjusted her blouse and gave an evil laugh.
“God bless you o, Blow.” She said and laughed again. “I don’t know why the man is trying to hide the story of your life from you” She said, laughing loudly.
The story of my life?
What is that?
“As I was saying, one morning, the doctors went to the prostitute’s ward and saw blood all over the place but they couldn’t find her. They traced the bloody footprints to where they ended. Behold, my sister in the Lord, the prostitute had jumped down the roof of the hospital” She said and I covered my mouth, very shocked.
“You feel for her, right? That is it o. She committed suicide. They brought here back into the hospital but they checked her womb. There was no more child in there. The baby in her was gone! The search began in the hospital. ‘Where is the baby?’” She continued, speaking with so much excitement.
“Romoke, stop this! You will regret this, please stop this!” He pleaded but his wife was so interested in the whole story that she eyed him and faced me.
Tears had filled my eyes.
Am I the baby of the prostitute with cancer who committed suicide?
“One man, whose dad was critically sick with cancer, was in the hospital at that time too. He had just gotten the news of his father’s death and was walking around the hospital in agony. He bought a sachet of water and finished it at once. On opening the dustbin to dump the sachet of water, he saw a small baby in it’s amniotic sac. He screamed and fainted” She said.
I fell to the floor, my heart stopping for a short while.
“To cut the long story short, he adopted you and you became his daughter. You are the dustbin bastard and he is the man who picked you up” She said and my heart stopped.
My head became empty.
My tongue went sour.
My tummy rumbled unnecessarily.
I am a bastard?
My dad isn’t my dad?
My dad isn’t even known?
I was found in the trash can?
My mum was a prostitute?
Wow! Impossible to believe!
I looked up at dad and tears laced his face.
I felt a sharp pain!
My dad could have a month courtship with a stranger and tell her all my life story?
The life story he hadn’t even shared with me?
I felt betrayed! I felt so betrayed to hear my own story from a stranger!
I lifted myself up, finally and started staggering to my room.
Many people were saying many things but I couldn’t hear at all. My ears had lost their functioning.
“Wo, Blow, there is no need to get all emotional o. That is your life story. That is who you are.” I finally could hear her voice.
The voice of the one my father, no, her husband had brought into our home to taunt and ridicule us!
“Pack all your possessions from that room. It now belongs to my eldest son” I heard her say again. “Just change your into a simple cloth and begin to pack everything.” She said and I turned back to look at her.
I saw a woman who lacked emotions!
A woman who was so wicked and inhumane.
I turned to face the front when I caught the eyes of the one who looked older staring at my breasts lustfully. I frowned as tears strolled down my face. He winked at me and licked his lower lip.
My heart dropped at that. I felt like cursing him but I knew God wouldn’t like that. I felt like throwing something at him but I couldn’t even dare. His mum would swallow me alive.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me into my room, locked the door with a key and fell to the ground.
“Father, please wake me up from this slumber. Please” I cried so profusely.
Since the day my prostitute mother gave birth to me, I had never felt so much heartache in my life.
The future looked so bleak!
When I realized how much Grace was weeping, I stopped the recording. I held her so closely to my chest and wept with her. Even though I had listened to Blossom’s story many times, I never got tired of weeping too. I would weep and weep and fall into the hands of my husband and sleep off there.
Sure, the heart of man is desperately wicked!
WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 9
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