THE EXCHANGE : 11 – 20


Episode 16

“Laide, do you think this is funny?” I asked in annoyance “If you are planning to plant a Cocoa tree and it sprouts at the same spot, would you be angry?” was her response. I was still trying to make sense of what she said when she continued “we all know Baba T is responsible” “Of course… I’ve never been with any other man in my life & this was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time” I retorted. Laide tried to make light of my plight and encouraged me to see the good in this. She teased me for a while about how ‘going to see someone’s mum could turn into pregnancy but I was not amused. “I hope you have told your mum; you know she desperately wants a grandchild, likewise Baba T’s parents; they will be so delighted because he’s all they’ve got. Even Baba T will be happy, because now you are going nowhere” Laide continued.
I told her I was scared because I had not seen nor heard from Baba T after our unfortunate one-night stand. I was scared because I couldn’t bear to tell Tunji… I didn’t even know how to tell him. I was scared because I wouldn’t want to ruin his mind about trust in relationships. I was scared because I wasn’t even sure I wanted to marry Baba T. I was scared because something in me was telling me it wouldn’t end well….I went on & on & on until I started crying again.
Laide tried to allay every fear that I pointed out. She said Baba T had to travel out of the country for medical reasons & it was an emergency; she already told me why he didn’t see me before he left or would you have preferred to have his family at your door informing your family that Baba T had d!svirgined you so he has to marry you? That kept me quiet for a while before I tried to inquire about the health issue but Laide said he was okay now and would be back in a couple of days. She went inside & brought an envelope…it
contained a letter & some money. Laide said Baba T had sent her to me, before he traveled but she couldn’t come to Abeokuta again to deliver the message, since she was almost due. She asked how I was doing because the first few weeks were not very pleasant…she was even admitted at the hospital for some days & her husband almost flew her out of the country when she was at the early stage.
The money in the envelope was a gift from Baba T’s dad as promised the day I visited their house.

The letter was brief: Baba T wrote that he was sorry he couldn’t come to see me at home because something came up & he had to quickly travel, but he would see me as soon as he got
back so that we would resolve our issues.

“Ok o, kíni màáse s’?r? Tunji? (What would I do about Tunji)?” I asked & Laide replied “?l?run l’óm? ?k? ìyàwó ojú ?nà (regardless of the length & depth of a relationship, only God determines who the groom would ultimately be)” She tried to convince me that some things are beyond our powers as humans & God works in mysterious ways. “God will give him his own wife…ìná òw?, kò sí ìjà ní b? (when a bargain falls through, it doesn’t have to become a fight).” After hours of going back & forth, weighing different scenarios, we decided to let Baba T return before taking any actions. The plan was to keep this between the two of us, not to go to Baba T’s mum or even tell my mum yet. Laide promised to come with Baba T as soon as he gets back. I left for Abeokuta but still had some heaviness in my heart. I went straight to my Salon & nobody realized I had traveled to Lagos because I returned well before I was due to close.
Tunji came later that evening & was looking very sad, I asked what the problem was & he handed me a letter. It was from the Oil Company he was trying to get into, the letter said they appreciated his interest in their company & although he was one of the best candidates during the interview process, they would not be moving forward with his
application & they wished him luck in his future endeavors. As I read the letter, I could see Tunji was almost in tears. It was as if the letter broke him.
“I was so sure of this…even the hiring manager said I was the strongest candidate for the position. I scored 94% in their aptitude test, which was the highest & they promised to contact me with the next step in the process & now, I got this. When will I ever catch a break? Why is life so cruel to me?” He said in a voice filled with pain.
“I thought this was it, I thought this was the big break…I already planned my life & future around this. This was going to turn everything around & lay the right foundation for tomorrow” he continued “I have failed…I have failed you” at that point, he covered his face with his hands, trying not let the tears flow. That was the first time I saw Tunji break down. He was always optimistic & had this positive approach to life. “Don’t give up on God…I know He has something better for you” was all I could say as I tried to comfort him…I felt really bad.
“What better thing? You are the only thing I have now” he responded & the thought of what I had done hit me like a wave in the sea. How was I going to tell him that I am pregnant for someone else? Life has already pushed him to the brink of giving up on everything. I tried my best to encourage him, I made him follow me to our house so we could talk about it. I didn’t want to go home with him & in this state, anything could happen. I didn’t want that on my conscience.

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