Chapter 9 – NO GOING BACK NOW
I think I fell asleep by my computer. After writing the last chapter I just broke down because of the memories of everything that happened. I was awakened by a soft pat on my shoulder.
“Huh? Yes? Who?” I started mumbling in confusion, and then when my vision was focused a little better I could vaguely make out the form of Kene my business partner. We had become friends back in business school while we were doing our Masters’ Degree and we decided to go into business together when we graduated.
Kenechukwu is a handsome man in every sense of the word, and honestly there was a bit of physical attraction between us at first, but I know I can never be with another man in my life. Kene tried, but he gave up long ago after he realized there was no future for us, in terms of a personal relationship that is. We settled to become just business partners, and he has proved to be a very trustworthy friend indeed.
“My goodness, Sylvia! What is the meaning of this? You look like a train just ran over you. Are you alright?” He said without giving me a chance to get a word in.
“You look great too dear. I wasn’t expecting you.”
“Well you would have if your phone was on, or if you listened to any of my messages. Koko tells me you’ve been holed up in here for a week now, what’s going on?”
“I pay Koko to cook and clean not to gossip about me.”
My mind wandered off for a while when Koko’s name came up. Koko is my 15 years old house girl. I met her in filthy clothes, selling oranges on the road with bare feet when I went to visit a friend’s village sometime in 2009. At the time she was only 12 and I could not bear to see such a beautiful child waste away in poverty so I picked her up and the rest they say is history. She has been such a wonderful big sister to my Lizzy and she is fiercely loyal to me.
I broke out of my reverie just in time to hear Kene addressing me again.
“I wanted to remind you that your mom’s gala is in a week and you are yet to give Stella the final directions on the hall arrangement. It’s unlike you.”
“You worry too much Kene, I will do that before the end of today alright?”
“I would call and find out, that means you need to charge your phone, and maybe take a bath too.” He said holding his nose in a dramatic fashion.
“Whatever you say sir.”
Kene and I founded Moments in Time, an events planning agency that caters to a high paying clientele. We started small in Lagos and then slowly expanded, first to Abuja, then Port-Harcourt, Enugu, and Owerri. After two years in business we had branches in 10 Nigerian states, one in South Africa, Ghana, and Tanzania, and now we are looking to expand to Europe and even the United States of America. I never imagined that the business would get so enormous. Now I’m officially a millionaire at the young age of 28.
My eye for detail and beauty in addition to Kene’s business acumen and charisma made us an unstoppable team. Our first event was the wedding of the daughter of a big politician. The event was on the front page of every newspaper and magazine. It was a huge success, and a beautiful one too, and so from that point we couldn’t go anywhere else but up.
Before he left, Kene reminded to call my mother. Olanma Elizabeth Okorocha. Yes, I named my daughter after her. I can remember the day I had to tell her that her last child was pregnant with grandchild number 3. My eldest brother Benson had 2 kids already with his wife. I knew I couldn’t keep something so serious a secret from my family for long, so I decided to just do it and get it over with.
I left school without permission and boarded on a bus back to Owerri which was our home base. I arrived home at around 7pm but I did not enter right away. I thought for a while what I would say to my mother, about how disappointed she was going to be. What would my dad say? I was so distraught; I just sat on a bench in front of the gate crying when my mom’s car drove up.
“Jesus Christ! Nkemjika what is wrong? How did you get here? Are you alright?” My mother had jumped out of her car before the driver had a chance to finish applying the brakes. She was touching my forehead to check for a temperature, worry written all over her face. She rattled out the questions without waiting for answers and honestly I had none to give her.
“Oh my baby, tell your mother what’s going on. How did you get here? Did something bad happen?”
I stared at her with tears running down my cheeks but no words could come out of my mouth. She led me into the house holding me close in her arms. I felt safe. I felt loved.
My other sisters, twins named Urenna and Olanma were away in university in the U.S. so it was just mom, the staff, and I in the house. I had spent hours crying in my mother’s arms before I slept. The next morning we sat at the table for breakfast but it was no use pretending to eat because I had no appetite so I decided to tell my mother the news.
“Mom I cannot return to Lariba.” I waited for a response. When none came I continued.
“I need you to forgive me, and I need your support now more than I ever have before.”
My mother knew I was not one to be very emotional and my vulnerability at that point in time scared her.
“You know I would always be here for you baby. Tell me what happened.”
At that point I fell on my knees and cried on my mother’s laps.
“I’m pregnant mommy. I’m pregnant.”
“What?” she screamed in horror and pushed me to look into my eyes. “When? How? Who? Why?” Oh my God!”
I could not answer any of her million questions; I just sat on the floor and cried my heart out.
“Oh my baby girl, what have you gotten yourself into.” She said as she pulled me close into her embrace.
“We must call your father immediately. Does anyone else know about it?”
“No mom. I didn’t know who to tell.”
“What about the father? Didn’t you tell him?”
“No mommy, I couldn’t tell him either.”
My mother looked at me dead in the eye, the no-nonsense look, and then she asked “Who is he?”
I paused for a second, gulped down the fear lodged in my throat then stuttered in reply, “It’s…it’s…it’s Obi ma.”
I watched my mom drop her head into her palms and for the first time in my life I saw her cry like a baby.
“I wanted the best for you baby, and now you have to take up the mantle of motherhood at your age?” We cried together, and then she made the phone call.
My father is not a man of too many words. He did not say much but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. What parent wouldn’t be. His first son was a successful computer engineer, his twin daughters were in the U.S. studying petroleum engineering and getting honors in their school, and now his last child, the apple of his eyes had gotten herself pregnant out of wedlock, without even a secondary school certificate.
Nonetheless he was not going to give me any excuse to mess up the rest of my life. He made arrangements for me to leave the country immediately. I was going to the U.S. to stay with my sisters in Maryland. Within the week I was on an airplane bound for a new start in my life.
I never returned to Lariba. I never said goodbye to any of my friends. I did not go through the grueling times of studying for WAEC or NECO. I did not walk with my graduating set or receive the awards I could have earned from the principal.
As I looked out of the air plane window I thought about all these things and decided it was time to put it all behind me. I had to accept the new life I was about to start, and this time I had to make my parents proud of me again. There was no going back.
(To be continued)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Property of Pretty of Pot Of Africa.