“Bode, please can you drop me at Tinuke’s place? I want to see her for some things.”
“Okay. I’d just wait for you so I can drive you back home.”
“That won’t be necessary. Pregnancy does not kill.”
“Babe, I am not taking any chances. This is,,,”
“Yes, this is our first baby. But no, I’d come back myself.”
“You’ve always been stubborn.”
“Sister mi, I am so happy for you. You are a testimony.”
“And a disaster too. Tinuke, I had been faithful to Bode for years. Then, one night, just, one night…”
“Don’t start again now. We have prayed together over this. God has forgiven you. You should forgive yourself too.”
“Tinuke, I am scared. I don’t want to give birth to a bastard.”
“Do you really think Bode would suspect anything? He has wanted to be a father for years. And sister Nike, I know of women who deliberately got pregnant by other men just to please their husbands and in-laws and nothing was suspected and everyone is happy.”
“I know… I know… Tiwa wants me to have a paternity test.”
“Hmm, don’t you also want to know?”
“Honey, food is ready…”
“Bode, you cooked?”
I was already laughing at this totally unexpected event. The last time Bode cooked for the both of us was during our first year anniversary. The smell of burnt rice, burnt stews, burnt chicken, burnt everything, had lingered in the house for days.”
“I’m not cooking for you. I’m cooking for our unborn child.”
Bode was beside me in seconds, worry lines across his forehead, “Are you okay? Can you breathe? Where in your chest is paining you?”
“Olabode Kuforiji, I was just joking.” I was laughing hard at his concerned face.
“I think I shall be placing a ban on those kinds of jokes for nine months.”
“No sir, it is seven months left.”
“Oya, sha come and eat. We need to get you big and healthy enough for two.”
We sat down to eat and I was impressed. The ofada rice was well cooked, I hadn’t encountered any stone and the beef was soft and juicy.
“Morenikeji, you did not insist on me NOT doing the test again.”
“It’s what you want dear. I already told you I don’t see any reason for it though.”
“Have you ever seen any of my results from Dr. Tijani’s hospital? Have I ever been tested elsewhere?”
I stopped chewing midway, wondering what he was getting at.
“So, Bode, what are you saying?”
“I think I want a paternity test for that pregnancy.”
I heard a crunchy sound as I bit into a stone in the next round of chewing I attempted to initiate. Spitting out into a nearby serviette, I started shaking my head.
“No Bode. I am not having a paternity test. What is all this? I trusted you and your results and Dr. Tijani for years. And now that I am pregnant, I should start doubting everything?”
“You were not with Tinuke that night.”
“That’s very funny. Where else would I have been? Bode, please, I’m hungry. Allow a pregnant woman eat her meal in peace.”
“You know smart phones are not smart for decoration.”
“And you’d trust a machine over your wife of ten years?!? Are you being serious right now?”
“Yes, I’m being serious. I want a paternity test!”
“Bode, just keep quiet. You know what I want? I want all your test results for the past years. I also want to meet Dr. Tijani for the actual results, the undoctored ones. And lastly, I want to sue you both to the highest heavens.”
“Oh, so you also think I’ve been receiving doctored reports. You see? You also have doubts.”
“What’s this nonsense? I’ve had doubts since forever, since I started pleading that you have the tests at The Heritage Hospital. Dr. Kunmbi also had reasons to doubt you. So, I don’t see whatever it is you’re seeking.”
He threw down his spoon and stormed upstairs. I quickly picked my phone and sent a message to Tiwa;
“I think Bode is suspicious of this pregnancy. He is asking for a paternity test.”
Tiwa had immediately replied that he was on his way. I was about texting back that that would be a bad move when Bode returned with a brown envelope which he threw in front of me.
“Open it! These are the results. And as for seeing Dr. Tijani, he is on his way here.”
“You called him? Olabode, what’s going on?”
I stood up to look into his eyes, trying to get him to explain things to me.
“Help me understand. Why should I doubt that this pregnancy is yours?”
“Morenikeji, just check those results.”
I wasn’t sure I understood the figures in the test results but there was a doctor’s conclusion at the end of each one. The first one read, “sperm count low, viability and motility on the average. Fertility probability is guarded.”
The conclusions on the others were quite similar. The most recent read, “sperm count still low, motility improving but viability percentage even lower. Patient is advised to consider artificial methods.”
“Dr. Tijani advised IVF?”
“Yes. He said the very good sperms could be selected and used to fertilize your eggs and be implanted into your uterus or something like that.”
“And what was your response?” I knew what his answer was going to be.
“Of course I said no. That’s not the natural way.”
“So you wanted a natural way which we now have but you’d still ask for a paternity test. Okay. Why not just have the test done at Dr. Kunmbi’s hospital?”
Someone was knocking at the door. I hurriedly got up to answer it. Tiwa was at the door.
“Tiwa, please just go back. I’m fine, I’m safe, he is not beating me.”
“I’m not leaving. What if he gets violent?”
“He has never beaten me in all our years as a couple. He won’t be starting today.”
As Tiwa turned to leave, I saw him collide into Dr. Tijani.
They looked at each other for a while and the next thing, they were hugging and slapping each other’s backs.
“Tijanti Tijan!!! TJ for the ladies! My man!!!”
“OmoTiwa, OmoTiwa, Fine-Boy-Tiwa, how far now?!?!”
Their noisy greeting had definitely gotten to Bode as he had come outside and was now standing beside me, watching the two doctors.
“My guy, it’s been so long! How have you been? Wetin you dey find for this area now?”
“Na one of my patients I say make I come check o. Be like say na the same person you sef come see.”
Both of them turned towards me and Bode, staring at them. Bode whispered beside me, “you called Dr. Kunmbi too?”
I gave him a slight nod as I invited both doctors into the house.
“Where do you guys know each other from?” I asked neither of them in particular as I set cups of juice.
“We went to the same secondary school. Then we served at NYSC together.” Tiwa was looking so dashing in his black T-shirt and jeans. I noticed he had a gold chain around his neck. I had never thought of how well he was doing financially. The Heritage Hospital was a private hospital and from what I knew, the pay was not so good. Maybe he had some other side hustles.
“Tiwa then travelled out for a while and we lost contact. I didn’t even know when he came back to Nigeria. Today is a great day.”
In all the catching up, I saw that Bode just sat down quietly, sipping from his glass cup.
“So, Mr. Kuforiji, you called for me. Today is a free day for me, thankfully. What can I do you for?”
Bode smiled before answering, “My wife is pregnant.”
“Well, that’s the great news, right?”
“It would be except that I understand english and I’ve been reading your conclusions on my result.”
“I don’t think I’m following. I thought you said you’d give the IVF treatment a try and I guess I assumed you did and it worked.”
“I did not try it. I lied. But, that’s beside the point. How is my wife pregnant?”
“I believe I never wrote that you were infertile in any of your results. You impregnating a woman looked slim but not totally impossible. I mean Tiwa…”
He faced Dr. Kunmbi and both of them went into a discussion of Bode’s results. Tiwa kept nodding and agreeing with Dr. Tijani about how it was still very possible that Bode was responsible for my pregnancy.
“Mr. Kuforiji, you can repeat the Seminal Fluid Analysis at our hospital and if the result is still questionable or you still feel inclined, you can go ahead with the paternity test… I believe that’s with your wife’s agreement.”
“Thank you Dr. Kunmbi. I am glad you came around too although I don’t understand why my wife invited you over.”
There was an awkward silence as Dr. Tijani and Dr. Kunmbi exchanged a look.
“She did not invite me. I invited myself…”
“It’s alright doctor. She already told me she did. Thank you both, I think I’m satisfied.”
After seeing both of them off, I retired to the visitor’s room and locked the door from inside. I slept and dreamt that I gave birth to a boy. Then an unknown man stole him from the hospital while I was still weak and tired. Bode’s knocks on the door brought me out of the strange dream. Opening the door, I saw that he had also just woken up. I went back to lie down on the bed while he sat beside me.
“Sweetie, I’m sorry about today. I am really sorry. I just over thought and over analysed everything. I shouldn’t have put you through any of that.”
“Bode, I am hurt. Very hurt. First, you lied to me for years about those results. You made me look like a fool, like I was the one with a problem. Then you made me look even more stupid for getting pregnant. In fact, you made it seem like I cheated on you. It would take a while to get over all that. I can’t promise otherwise.” I cleared my throat at the half truth I had just spun while waiting for his response.
“And I understand. I do. I should have handled it better. I am so sorry.”
“Carry your puppy eyes away joor. I have no issues with you having the Seminal Fluid Analysis again. But that paternity test, no way.”
“It’s fine with me, I agree. Let’s just thank God for His blessings.”
****4 MONTHS LATER.
I was in Tiwa’s house, on his bed.
“I’m not even sure again Nike. Were you this aggressive in bed before or it’s the pregnancy doing this to you? I could hardly keep up with you. Aren’t pregnant women supposed to be tired? Especially 34year old pregnant women?”
We both laughed at Tiwa’s dramatic, exaggerated heaving.
“Stop trying to be humble. You know how unstoppable you were. Even the twins know.”
“Hmm, you remind me again. How did the initial scan miss the second baby sef?”
“I have no clue but it doesn’t matter. I think I was already eating for four people during that time. If they had found triplets in that second scan, I would not have been surprised.”
“Mr. Kuforiji must have been ecstatic. Thank God he did not throw another tantrum.”
“Abi oh. Convincing him that he could make one baby seemed impossible. I would have probably had to tell him the second baby was ‘jara’ from God.. Immaculate conception.”
Tiwa laughed, rubbing his hand over my bare pregnant belly.
“Does he also get all this action in bed?”
“You know if he doesn’t, he would have started suspecting something especially since YOU told him sex was still safe.”
“You’re right. And thank God he did not insist on having the paternity test after his result came out. That result was bad!”
“But Tiwa, if Bode’s paternity is out, that leaves either you… Or him…”
“Don’t worry about that. You just keep looking radiant. Have your babies. When you’re ready to have the paternity test, just let me know.”
“And if you’re the father…?”
“Nike, I won’t let any child of mine be raised by another man. Not while I’m still alive.”
I moved away from him, turning to face him, “Even if that would destroy my marriage?”
“Do you think you still have a marriage? You’re here, with me, instead of him. You’ve been spending more nights with me than him these past three months. You even almost shouted out my name when you were with him one night. Are you still married at all… To him?”
I raised up my left hand with my wedding band.
“That is just a circular faded gold metal. You’re more with me than that ring is with your finger. I doubt he cares or even notices that you’re rarely around. Well, unless he is also getting it from someone else.”
“Enough Tiwa. I knew this was a mistake. I am still married to Bode. And even though whatever it is going on between us is enjoyable, we are only postponing the day of trouble. You know I won’t leave him for you.”
“And I know you love me.”
Tiwa was going to be trouble. I was going to get the paternity test done without letting him know either. It was going to be my secret, whatever the result turned out to be.