February 28th, 2013
It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I thought I had released the whole Akunna wahala, by no longer caring about whatever her Aunt, my ED, decided to do to me. But I didn’t know how much the hatred and resentment I was feeling towards her was weighing me down.
But by helping her, I had forgiven her, and I had been released.
Patrick was very proud, when I told him what had happened. He also thought I’d done the right, and of course humane, thing.
Getting to work, I realized I was already missing Ebika. I longed to give her the latest gist, but her phone is already switched off. Could she have traveled already?? Or does she just want her privacy? Whatever the case, I decided to give her some space…but it sure would have been great to be able to gist with her though.
At some point this morning, my ED walked past my cubicle. She was in the company of some other members of senior management, and they were headed in the direction of one of our conference rooms. Looking at her, I was filled with so much disgust. There she was, in her expensive suit, designer shoes, and human hair, but yet the only assistance she could offer her own niece was corporate terrorism. As an older more mature woman, even if her niece had come seeking her assistance to help enact whatever form of warped revenge she had in mind for me, she should have been able to deduce that what the girl needed more was cash! Did she think bullying me would help pay for her niece’s hospital appointments, or put food in her mouth??! I was so disgusted about these misplaced priorities.
“Don’t mind them!” Ejiro scoffed, with almost as much irritation I was feeling, when I shared this with her at lunch. “People like that can be so stingy, that even getting 1 kobo from them is a tug of war!”
“And even that Akunna sef! Couldn’t she use her own church mind?!” I remarked, equally bewildered.
Ejiro looked pensive for a while, before looking me square in the eye. “But Faith, truly, you need to talk to your brother. She is his responsibility, whatever the case.”
I nodded soberly. I thought the very same thing. We could abuse my ED all we liked, but the truth is she is under no obligation. She wasn’t the one who impregnated her. And whatever we want to say about Akunna opening her eyes to get pregnant, she didn’t do it on her own. Phillip had neither been raped nor coerced. He had knowingly had sex with her, and the buck ultimately stops with him.
So, I called him, and we agreed to meet at a café near my office, after work. It wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have over the phone.
When we met up that evening, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, I immediately got straight to the point, telling him about my encounter with Akunna yesterday, and how she had looked unkempt and harassed. He listened to me, his face expressionless, until I got to the part where I gave her money, at which point he exploded.
“You did what??!” he barked “You had absolutely no right to do that!”
“Phillip, the girl is pregnant!” I snapped back “If I wasn’t pregnant myself, maybe I wouldn’t understand. Maybe I wouldn’t know how horrible it would be to feel the way I do, but to be too broke to be able to take care of myself!”
He opened his mouth to say something, but instead sat back in his chair, rubbing his temple vigorously. Even a blind man could see he was stressed.
“Phillip, I know you are not a wicked person. And I know you’re aware of her financial situation. Why is it such an issue to just take care of her?!” I asked, bewildered. I couldn’t understand it. She was on his payroll for so long, what would difference would it make now?
“I was waiting for when our families meet…” he answered “I know that girl too well. If I give her the opportunity of a blank cheque, she will fleece me to the bone. I was waiting for when both our families would meet, and then we would agree on what a reasonable maintenance amount should be.”
I knew he had a point. As broken as Akunna had seemed yesterday, I know too well that the woman I have known for over 10 years would not hesitate to take advantage of anybody’s generosity, most of all that of a man she feels has scorned her.
“Then what has been delaying this meeting, Phillip?” I asked, knowing fully well the answer. Even though he will never admit it, I know my brother has been procrastinating because of fear. With all his bravado, I know that the thought of facing Akunna’s family, after what has happened, scares him senseless.
I reached out to hold his hand. “You have nothing to fear, you know that, don’t you? Whatever happens, you know that we are firmly behind you.”
He managed a smile. “Even with this your big belle?”
“No shaking! I dey kampe!” I laughed, giving him a playful punch.
But with all the joking, we knew we had to find a way to move things forward. As the trip to Abuja, for the introduction with Diana’s family, has been fixed for the 9th of March, we agreed to see if it would be possible to meet with Akunna’s family this weekend.
Better to get it over with.