March 22nd, 2013
“So you’re really serious about this?!” Patrick asked, obviously shocked when he saw me carry a small travel bag, as we left the house for work.
“You thought I was joking?!”
“I thought you were saying it out of anger. You can’t possibly be serious about spending an entire weekend with someone you barely know!” he continued lamenting.
I looked him square in the eye. “In a matter of weeks, she will be married to my brother. I’d say that qualifies as being family, doesn’t it?!”
“When are you back? Tomorrow?”
“Sunday evening?!!” Patrick exclaimed. “Two nights?!”
I hissed, and brushed past him. As I walked to the car, I had to resist the urge to smile. I was really tickled that he was so upset I would be gone. I had been scared he would have even been relieved to be free of me for a whole weekend. It felt good to feel so wanted!
“Going somewhere?!” Doris, my colleague I share an office with, asked when she saw my travel bag.
“A much needed getaway!” I answered happily. I didn’t think I would be, but I was quite excited about the thought of spending such an extended time with Diana. I knew it would help us really bond and get to know each other.
At 5pm on the dot, my phone rang. It was Diana, calling to let me she was waiting outside. I eagerly logged off, carried my bags, and hurried downstairs to meet her.
“If I didn’t know better, I would have said you were on your way for ‘runs’ ” commented one of my leery male colleagues, as we rode the elevator together.
“With this stomach?!” I retorted, giving him the dirty eye.
“Ah. Some men like that kind of thing.” he responded, very amused at his own joke.
Pissed as I was, I too would have given anyone logging a travel bag all over the office a very suspicious look. And on a Friday evening, for that matter!
Luckily, Diana was standing in front of her car, so anyone who was looking could see it was a woman I was hooking up with. Because if I had been seen entering her sleek BMW, carrying a travel bag, married or not, pregnant or not, my gist would have overthrown Ebika’s own.
“Wow! You look amazing!” she exclaimed. “Look how the baby has grown since the last time we saw!”
My dear politically correct Diana, she was way too polite to say it was me who had grown bigger since the last time we saw.
We drove straight to Yellow Chilli, and had ordered wraps of pounded yam, alongside their popular Fisherman’s okro soup, to take away. When we got back to her apartment, we sat in front of the TV, eating our grub, and watching When Harry met Sally. Never had a meal of pounded yam and soup tasted so good.
“I’m so happy you accepted my invitation!” Diana said, once the dishes were cleared, and we were sitting on her balcony.
“Me too!” I replied, and I really meant it. Sitting there, taking in the beautiful view, life was perfect. “I just can’t enough of this view!”
“I know, right!” she answered, before sighing wistfully. “I’m really going to miss this place.”
I nodded in understanding. Even if there was a chance of Phillip agreeing to let her keep the place before, the drama that had unfolded during their introduction had put paid to that. There is no way he will allow her hold on to anything she got from her late husband.
“What are you going to do with the place?” I asked.
“I have to sell it. I had hoped to still own it, and maybe let it out for the time being, but…”
“He didn’t agree, abi?” I said.
She smiled sadly. “You know your brother.”
I smiled as well, and gave her an assuring squeeze of the hand. It is probably for the best, giving them the opportunity to start on a fresh slate. I just hope she will be able to adjust to moving from here to Phillip’s tiny flat. His entire flat can comfortably fit into her bedroom.
“Faith…” she said, after a while. “I want to tell you something…”
Something in her tone made me sit up. “What is it??”
“I’m pregnant.” she answered.
I let out an excited squeal, but she quickly raised her hand. “Please, don’t get excited. I haven’t told anyone yet. Not Phillip. Not my sisters. You’re the only one I’ve told…”
“Oh my God! This is great news!!!” I squealed, doing the happy dance! And there my Mom and I were, worrying! “How far gone are you?”
“Ten weeks,” she answered quietly.
I immediately stopped dancing. Ten weeks? Ten long weeks?
“And you haven’t told Phillip?” I said, my voice reflecting my shock and surprise.
“Faith, remember I told you I never had a problem conceiving…but I lost all my pregnancies…all 12 of them!” she said quietly. “I know how devastating they were for Audu. He always tried to remain strong for me, but I knew how heartbreaking each one of them was.”
“So what do you want to do? Not tell anyone?” I asked.
“For as long as I can. If anything happens, let me be the one to manage it alone.”
“But, Diana…If you are already 10 weeks, you don’t have much longer before you can’t hide it any longer. 4, 5 weeks at best! Don’t forget your wedding is in less than 2 months. It will be clear to all by then.” I said, puzzled over her plan.
“I’ll keep it quiet for as long as I can. Having lost a baby at 33 weeks, I don’t believe there’s any safe threshold. One can still have a miscarriage at any time!”
Gee, thanks Diana!
“So, why tell me? How do you know I won’t tell my brother?” I asked.
She smiled at me. “I know you won’t. My heart tells me I can trust you. I know I can count on you!” then leaning over to hug me, “Thanks so much for being there for me, Faith!”
As I hugged her back, I didn’t know if I should be honoured that she had chosen me to share her news, or to be upset that she had put the monkey on my back.
Because, whether I like it or not, if anything happens to the baby, I very likely will not take it well.