TWO MONTHS LATER
I wasn’t sure if Bode was sex starved or it was the euphoria of being a father that had brought an extra zest to his libido.
It was a lazy Saturday, I was in the kitchen making our lunch when he came in. I was putting on my favorite house dress, a purple, silk, knee-length, flared gown. Bode hugged me from behind, asking what I was making. I was certain he wasn’t exactly interested in whatever answer I gave. This was confirmed when he gave no protest when I mentioned jollof rice. Bode was one of the rare human species that did not like jollof rice. This time though, he just nodded and continued hugging me.
“Olabode, take your erection out of my kitchen… Not like I can use it to stir this rice.”
“Hmm… But I know something I can use it to stir…”
“Oh my God! Bode, please can you not mention stir again? Don’t spoil my food.”
“Stir… Stir… Stir..” His hands were slowly circling beneath my gown, over my undies.
“Bode, this rice will burn o.”
“How else will I be sure it’s jollof rice if it doesn’t burn?”
As soon as I covered the pot, Bode lifted me up, depositing me on our sofa. It didn’t take time for him to have me screaming. It’s really a plus to not have neighbors. As we both climaxed, Onaopemipo’s loud crying hit us.
Panting slightly, I tapped Bode who had collapsed on me with his erection still ready for another round. “Your baby is calling you, stand up.”
“He probably wants to eat. You should go.”
“You’re on top of me now… Just stand up and go bring him.”
Bode sighed heavily before dragging himself upstairs to our room. I picked up two throw pillows and put them at my side.
“His pampers is stained”, Bode called from the room.
I really did not feel up to climbing the stairs and coming back downstairs, “please help me change it. I think the rice has burnt and the burnt rice has burnt again.”
While I attended to the rice and Bode helped with Onaopemipo’s pampers, I cast my mind back to our time on admission in LASUTH.
The week after I saw my son for the first time, I told Bode to come for the paternity test.
“Does this mean Tiwa also has to come?”
“Yes, Bode, he has to. The baby’s DNA will be matched with the DNA from both of you and the probability of paternity would then be determined. That’s how Dr. Ganiyu explained it to me.”
Bode had agreed without any fuss. Although, he had made it clear that he wasn’t giving up ‘his’ son without a fight. Tiwa though had gone all ballistic on me over the phone.
“You lied to me! Do you even realize how devastated I was? I went back to Akure immediately, I could barely function at work. Nike, that was totally unfair and unnecessary.”
“You and Bode were being immature. I needed to do something.”
“Next time, try the truth first.”
“There’d be no next time Tiwa.”
It was getting Ayotunde to come without alerting the others that was going to be a bit difficult. It also meant without letting Tinuke know. I called Tinuke and asked when next she and Ayotunde would be coming to visit.
“We should come next tomorrow. That should be Friday. Do you really want Ayotunde to come? You didn’t seem so pleased the last time.”
“I’d like him to also come. Last time.. I was just shocked. I should have responded better, I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright. How’s my nephew?”
“Growing. The Kangaroo Mother Care thing is interesting. I think that’s how I’d be carrying him at home.”
When they came, Bode and Tiwa had already submitted samples for the test. I needed to get Ayotunde alone to explain things to him but Tinuke was being so clingy!!! If Ayotunde moved an inch, she was quick to follow.
Ayotunde, sensing the need to talk, asked her to help get food for the three of us. Of course, she protested at first, urging him to go with her.
“Tinuke, please just go. I’d make it up next time.” Ayotunde kissed her briefly on the lips as he playfully pushed her out of the room.
Settling into the only chair in the room, Ayotunde faced me. Looking at him, I could clearly see my son in him, or see him in my son, whatever.
“You said something the last time when you were leaving…”
“I asked how my son was doing.” His eyes were sad, expectant and also hesistant.
“That’s a question I can’t answer but if you’re asking how MY son is, he is very fine, thank you. I need you to go to the laboratory and submit some samples for a paternity test.”
“So he could be my son. I knew it!”
“When will you tell Tinuke?”
“Actually, I was never planning to tell her. I love your sister. I really do. I want to marry her, start a family with her. If I tell her, if she finds out any other way, I’m afraid that would be the end.”
“So, you’d tell her half of the truth and keep the rest from her?”
“Did you tell your husband the whole truth?”
“Don’t play smart with me. That’s my business. But this; you, Tinuke, me… That’s a link too close for comfort. If you won’t tell her yourself, I will.”
“Please… She won’t forgive me. She showed a lot of strength and a large heart when I told her of my past. But, those were distant stories of people she would probably never meet in life. Yours is different. Please understand…”
“Ayotunde, I don’t wish to ruin your relationship but for this to work, Tinuke has to know.”
“Tinuke has to know what?” Tinuke came in carrying two polythene bags. Ayotunde stood up to help her bring in the bags and shut the door.
“Please sit down Tinuke. There’s something we want to tell you.” Ayotunde spoke first but sensing a faltering in his voice, he gestured to me to keep talking.
“That night at Tiwa’s house, something else happened…”
“Yeah, you told me armed robbers came to the house.”
“Yes. What I did not tell you was that the leader of the robbers also raped me.”
Tinuke was frowning, looking between me and her boyfriend. “Okay… Sister Nike… What has that got to do with me… Or Ayotunde? I mean, I’m sorry you had to experience that but this setting is creeping me up.”
Ayotunde moved closer to her and knelt down, “I was the leader of the robbers. I was the one who raped your sister. That was the last operation I told you about.”
Tinuke looked up at me, her eyes begging for me to say we were acting a drama or just plain lying to her. I was not sure whether nodding or shaking my head was the right response, so, I did neither. But my tears were enough an answer for her.
“And these past months… You conveniently left out that detail?” Tinuke was looking at Ayotunde with disbelief, shame and hurt. It seemed so far away the tender moments of her looking at him with love and admiration.
“Tinuke, please… “Ayotunde was holding both her legs, his head bowed. Tinuke pushed him off as she stood up from the chair.
“We are over.” She took her bag and left the room, slamming the door shut after her. Ayotunde was about hurrying after her when I reminded him again of the paternity test.
“… And what if I’m his father?”
“We’d cross that bridge when we get there.”
“What about Tinuke? Shouldn’t I go after her?”
“Now is probably not a good time. Anyone would need time and space to process the news we just dumped on her.”
“Does this mean you’ve forgiven me?”
“Definitely… Not. You’re still a bad spot in my life’s history. I know God would have me forgive you but that isn’t coming easy just yet. The laboratory scientist would be waiting for you, just mention my name.”
In summary, Tinuke now knows about Tiwa and Ayotunde, Tiwa knows I was raped but does not know it’s Ayotunde, Bode only knows I slept with Tiwa, Siju knows about Bode, Tiwa and Ayotunde. Toni knows nothing. My life is officially a jigsaw puzzle with many Jack in the box surprises. I should write a book… Instant best seller. I shivered at the shock waves such a book would cause.
The result of the paternity test was going to take two weeks to be delivered back to me. Tiwa came by to see me one more time before travelling back to Akure. Bode was a constant at the hospital. Ayotunde had collected my number the day Tinuke had walked out. He had sent two messages; one to aplogize again about what happened and assure me that he had truly changed and the second message was to ask me to please talk with Tinuke. My reply to both messages was an okay with a full stop.
On one of his visits, Bode had asked what names I had in mind for our son.
“Onaopemipo and… Durodola.”
“But those are not the names you mentioned when we were still courting.”
“Ten years changes people… and things.”
He agreed and suggested, ‘Jonathan’ and ‘Junior’ as english names. Bode had always wanted to call his son “JJ”. He finally had his wish.
Onaopemipo… my paths of gratitude are many… Pointing towards three men. Durodola… Not wait for wealth but wait for tomorrow. Maybe if I had waited another tomorrow as a faithful wife to Bode, maybe the story would be different now.
The day before I was to get the results, Dr. Ganiyu came to see me.
“Mrs. Kuforiji, can I call you Morenikeji?”
“Sure. Good afternoon Dr. Ganiyu.”
“You know you should have been discharged by now. You’re fine and we’re not doing anything for you again. You can easily come from town to be with your son for a while and go back home.”
“I know.. ”
“And you know you pay for bed space everyday…”
“My husband is not complaining.”
Dr. Ganiyu sighed before speaking again,”Why are you afraid of going home?”
“I never said I was afraid of anything.”
“You are. And the paternity tests? Please talk to me, I just may be able to help.”
I’d been holding back on talking with her for a long time anyway and I figured I’d be needing her help if things went awry. After all these, I’d be going back to Akure with my family and that should be the end of this LASUTH phase.
I told her everything, down to Tinuke walking out on Ayotunde. Dr. Ganiyu had an aura that drew people to her, well, maybe not her students though. She was a bundle of warmth and nonjudgmental acceptance. She listened, interrupted a few times to clarify somethings and had all the right responses.
“So, which one of them is best in bed?” She jokingly asked after my storytelling was over.
I’m sure she was just trying to lighten the mood. I was not even sure i had an answer to her question and as things were, I never wanted to know. I had thoroughly missed Bode and that was the most important.
“I’m almost certain Ayotunde is the father.”
“You just want to be sure, that’s why you asked for the test.”
I nodded. She totally understood.
But would she agree to swap test results if push comes to shove?
The next day, Bode was with me when Dr. Ganiyu brought the results. We had been laughing at the adjustments we would have to make with the baby coming home with us.
“Mr and Mrs, how are you today? I can see you’re having a nice time together, so, I’d make this quick. Mr. Kuforiji, your son is your son.”