So silence can be quite loud. I had my opportunity to exit the room before the bomb was dropped but i did not take it. Now i was waiting for either Edi or Tafo to break the silence. Tafo’s wailing had ceased the moment she mentioned what killed Ovie.
HIV. Okay. Kokoma just breathe. Breathe.
“You know your status, right?” The anger in those words was palpable. Edi was standing, muscles tensed, jaw clenched.
“Yes… I am positive too.” Tafo’s feeble voice was heart breaking. These two were really not meant for each other.
While the silence returned, i realized that Tafo had kept many things from me. Not surprising though. I would not have listened. I had distanced myself from her and she had respected that space.
“When did you know?”
Before Tafo answers, i already know. HIV screening was routine at most antenatal centres. That puts it at about 3months ago. Was she on antiretrovirals? Has she been feeding well? What of the baby?
“Edi, you need to get tested too. As soon as possible.” I say this as i pick up my bag and head out of the room. Tafo looks up and our eyes meet briefly.
Anger courses through me. Maybe close to hatred. Edi had better be negative.
“Where are you going?”
“I need to make some calls.”
I find a spot outside the compound relatively quiet. First call is to Jide. I did not even tell him i was travelling.
“So you’re saying you’d be in Lagos for a month… Or more?”
“That’s not great news for me you know. I miss those lips of yours already. But family is more important. Maybe i’d come visiting some day.”
Calling my boss could go either way but there was no changing my mind. Either i got my leave or he sends over my sac letter.
His number is not going through so I leave him a very respectful message. By the time i’m done, Edi and Tafo are in the car, ready to go home. I inform them of my decision to stay.
“Thank you Kokoma.”
I can count the number of times i had heard that from my sister. This time though, it meant nothing to me.
Later that night, i make yam porridge with vegetables. It seems i am the only one with energy and focus. Edi had locked himself up in his study. Tafo was oscillating between fits of sleep and crying. Mama Edichie had no clue and the plan was to keep it that way.
I had to serve each person individually, hoping they would eventually eat. I stay with mama Edichie.
“So tell me about this Yoruba man.”
“Mama!” I laugh. I had mentioned Jide to her as my closest friend at work and nothing more. Yet, she was bent on her own conclusions.
“He is tall, dark and handsome. Isn’t that what you want to hear?”
After she finishes her meal, she starts dozing almost immediately. I stay beside her, watching her chest rise and fall.
What would happen to all of us now? Mama looked bad health wise. Tafo is positive. Edi may just be too. And myself? I needed someone to talk with.
But i should be angry at him too. What kind of best friend keeps such secrets? And i am not sure Edi wants him involved in this new drama yet. And our parents? Sigh.
I decide to still call Kelvin.
“Hello babe. How far? Where have you been?”
“Now you ask. How come you did not call me either? Is it because of that Liberian chick you met?”
“Nah, I am a bachelor for life. Sorry i did not call. I have been busy with Edi’s catfish stuff. The guy has practically abandoned it.”
“That’s… Rather sad. Kelvin, what do you know about Tafo and Edi’s marriage?”
“Nothing you don’t know. They loved. They got married. And they are now pregnant. Why do you ask?”
Guy is still lying. I tell him not to mind my silly question. We end the call with him promising to visit me soon.
A message comes in from Jide informing me that he would be in Lagos in two weeks. Am i ready to let him into our family? Into all these? And now that i know Edi has always loved me… I curl up beside mama Edichie, placing my head gently beside her and sleep off.
I’m woken up around 2am by some mild tapping on my shoulder. I rub my sleepy eyes and raise my eyebrows at Edi.
“I think we need to get to the hospital. Tafo is bleeding.”
2 thoughts on “I Wish It Was Him… VIII”
Na wa o… Tafo sef get HIV. Not far-fetched anyways. Edi can only hope he is negative….And the innocent baby…uh oh…
I can only imagine the random thoughts pacing through Koko’s mind as she tries to piece these many news flashes. lol.
Anyways, wetin do Tafo sef? Is it a miscarriage?
Yeah… Koko is really going through a lot. Let’s hope they all pull through. Thanks for reading and commenting