“I had been thirteen at the time. This was about eighteen to nineteen years ago. It’s been such a long time.” He said, looking at Toyin who was now breathing heavily out of fear and surprise.
“Mr. Gbola Thomas was a very wicked man. He was so mean to my mom and us. He cheated like no man’s business, and my mom couldn’t do anything about it. Instead he beat her up all the time. He always threatened to send my mother packing.”
“Jide, I went through the same thing! My dad was a big cheat, and he didn’t just threaten to send us out. He did! You didn’t see me killing my dad! How on earth can you take another person’s life! Oh my God!”
“Please let me finish, Toyin. Please.” He said. She hissed and shook her head, all the while staying close to the door.
“It happened when he raped Fola, my sister. He had been really drunk that night and my mom had gone to church for a vigil. I heard Fola screaming and crying. He had locked the door and there was nothing I could do. I screamed and hit the door but the sound from the generator, and everyone else’s was enough to drown my voice. By the time he was done with the rubbish, he found me and threatened to kill me if I told anyone.”
Toyin was stone cold. She had left the door, and now sat beside him on the bed.
“Oh my God!”
“My mom came back and I had to tell her. Fola was too weak and ashamed to talk. We were able to get her to the hospital. When we got home, my dad hit my mom for not making him breakfast. I was mad, especially when she apologized and went in to the kitchen to make him food. She dished it. It was yam porridge. His best meal. I was so mad! Why would she still cook for this beast?!”
His eyes had begun to get red, and he was speaking so furiously. Toyin had never seen Jide this agitated or passionate. She didn’t know what to do or say. She thought her past was horrid, until she heard what Fola had gone through and how bad Jide’s had been. She came closer, and placed her hand on his back.
“She told me to serve the food in his special plate, and said she was going upstairs to take a bath so she could go see Fola at the hospital.. I think she blamed herself. She said if she had been home, he would not have raped Fola, and he would have come to her instead if he needed to do it that bad. She kept saying she couldn’t abandon him and that we should pray for him to change. To this day, I don’t know what could ever make my mom angry.
When she went upstairs, I got some rat poison from the shelf where she kept rat traps, and I poured some into his food. If she couldn’t hurt a fly, I could kill a man. That was the height of it. I had to put an end to everything.
By the time he had started reacting, he shouted for help, but I stood still in the living room, watching him. I relished the moment. He screamed for help and I wished Fola was there to see this. He screamed and insulted me, and then he started begging me to call my mother or the neighbours to help him to the hospital. I stood there and watched…”
“Jide! That’s callous!” Toyin shifted.
“I know." He said.
"I later rushed out for help. I didn’t want to lose my dad. By the time I came back with the neighbour, he had passed. When my mom got back with Fola, she found his body, and I told her everything that happened. He was a muslim. His family said he had to be buried soonest. My mom was glad that no autopsy would be done. His people were illiterates anyways. They knew how bad a man my father had been, especially since he never gave any of them money. So they didn’t cause too much trouble for my mom.
As soon as the burial was over, my mom started to process our travel documents. She is a British citizen, so it wasn’t that much of a problem. She didn’t say a word about what I had done. I got all the support from Fola.
We got to the UK and she made sure I registered in bible school at church. I was reluctant but I gradually gave in, and my life began to change for the better as I grew older. It took a long time for me to forgive myself. I haven’t told anyone this story. I couldn’t even share the testimony, but I know statute of limitation has passed, and I was a child, but, I can’t tell anyone. I told my ex-girlfriend though. It was too huge a sin for her, and she suddenly decided her calling in life was different from mine.”
He looked at Toyin who was still as surprised as ever.
“So what is your verdict, Toyin? Is your calling different too?”
She heaved a sigh and looked away. She had thought Jide was easy, and she had thought this would be a clean slate, but she just couldn’t get the imagination of how he had killed his dad from her mind. Who does that? How can a child relish the scene of watching his father die?
“I…I really need time to think about this…” She stuttered.
“I totally understand. If I were you, I may even run away. I know you need time to process this and think about what you really need to do. Plus, I have been thinking. I don’t want to take in another man’s wife. I have searched my conscience and I know divorce is permissible on the grounds of adultery which in this case, is obvious. But let God guide your decision. I am always here if you ever want to come back.”
She had started crying.
“Why did you tell me this, Jide. You shouldn’t have.” She cried, and hugged him close.
Her phone rang. It was Niran.
“Toyin, I am at the hospital. Chichi just went into labor. Please come around and tell Jide too.”
They left the hotel together, and as they climbed down the staircase, Toyin bumped into Pastor Ilori and Sister Ibukun. They were holding hands. Ibukun had been the first to see her, and then she hurriedly dropped her hand.
“Toyin…long time…” She stammered. Pastor Ilori was speechless. He just stared.
“Yeah, long time.” Toyin smiled coldly.
“Pastor Ilori, my dear Pastor, good evening.” She said, looking at the timid man of God.
“How are you. Is this your…brother?” He looked at Jide.
“And is this your new daughter-in-the –Lord?” She hissed sarcastically and walked away with a confused Jide trailing behind her.
Chichi had given birth to a beautiful daughter. She had Niran’s eyes and ears. Toyin tried to fight back her tears as she remembered the day Chichi had taken her for an abortion with the quack. She remembered she had told her that she had done several abortions, yet she had given birth to this spotless and absolutely cute baby. Chichi knew what her she was thinking, and asked that they be alone together in the ward. Niran and Jide left, and she asked Toyin to take a seat, as she cradled her baby in her arms.
“I wish Francisca was alive. She would have been so happy to see this day.” Toyin started.
“Toyin, I wish she was too, but if not anything, her death has taught me that God’s ways are totally not man’s ways.” She said.
Toyin nodded her head and looked away.
“So why do you want to see me?”
Chichi held Toyin’s shoulder, then gently gave her the baby to hold. As Toyin held the child, she burst into tears.
“I don’t deserve to be childless!” She cried.
“You don’t!” Chichi had started crying too. “I wish I could hand this child over to you but…I’m just so sorry for everything. I should be the one in your situation. I don’t know why God has decided to make things go this way.”
“You ruined me Chichi. What did I ever do to you? If I had kept that pregnancy, I would still have more children today.”
“I’m so sorry. Please for the sake of this new child, I ask of you just one thing. Please I need you to forgive me.”
Toyin closed her eyes and the tears flowed freely down her face. The baby chuckled, and she handed her over to her mother, smiling.
“I forgive myself,” Toyin said. “I asked you to take me to a place where I could abort the pregnancy. You didn’t force me to do it. So, I forgive myself. It was my stupid decision.”
Chichi had started saying some things but Toyin shook her head.
“I need you to forgive yourself too. You need all the love in your heart to love this new child.”
They hugged each other, crying together.
Dotun opened his eyes, and looked around. Everything seemed blank at first, and then the sharp pain came rushing in his head. He let out a loud cry. Iya Dotun jolted from her nap and rushed to his side.
“Doctor. Doctor, nurse o!” She screamed.
A nurse came in, and then she checked his basics, before going to call the doctor. By the time the doctor came, he had begun to feel a little better. He looked at the bandages on his arms and right leg, then it suddenly hit him.
“Where is Francisca and my son?” He asked.
Iya Dotun burst in tears, weeping profusely and calling on her enemies to forgive her.
The doctor cleared his throat.