When the pregnancy was eight months, a woman came to the house. She said she was Chiamaka’s mother and she wanted to see her. Uncle Chike called uncle Emma to receive the woman. I saw the woman and I was surprised. She was nothing like the Chiamaka I knew in school. She was slender, of average height, dark in complexion, had naturally long hair which was tied in a scarf, she was beautiful. Chiamaka was also beautiful, very beautiful but she was very light in complexion, taller than this woman, she had hips and boobs compared to her mother and a complete extrovert. Her mother was shy and very soft-spoken. She couldn’t look uncle Emma in the face. Auntie Nneoma had to join them in the sitting room.
“I have been away on course for two years in Geneva. I just got back only to hear that my daughter, Chiamaka, is pregnant by your son and her father threw her out of the house. I was made to understand you have been harbouring her since then. I am here to see her and also to appreciate you for all you have done for her”
Auntie Nneoma answered, “I thought you came here to take her?”
“I am working on sorting everything out with her father. Under his care, we have a child going promiscuous to the extent of having unsafe s£x. He didn’t follow up with my teachings about safe s£x with the children even when I directed him to. He said it was not his responsibility. Now see what has happened. She stopped hearing from us and compromised. She has her fault and we have ours. He is adamant he doesn’t want her back but I will want to see my daughter”
Uncle Emma answered her, “She is with my brother-in-law. She is heavily pregnant now and we don’t want any scandals for both families. She is fine. If you would like to speak to her, you can”
Chiamaka’’s mother didn’t know when she started crying. “I didn’t want to go for this course but he encouraged me to go so I will get promoted. See how my home is in shambles. Chiamaka has been rejected everywhere. I will like to speak with her”
Uncle Emma called father; mother and daughter had the opportunity to talk. I watched auntie Nneoma and I could see the remorse on her face. Some times we need to be empathic; we need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Seeing
the Chiamaka wasn’t what she thought her to be or what Amanze made her believe she was must have filled her with regret. This girl wasn’t innocent but she gave herself to Amanze out of love. She never knew Amanze was just using her. She was stupid agreed but still redeemable.
Chiamaka told her mother she was comfortable staying with my parents as she is well taken care of. Her mother discussed a visit with uncle and auntie. Auntie Nneoma told her she had planned on going to visit the following weekend so she could go along with us. I looked at uncle Emma and he looked back at me with a smile. When Chiamaka’s mother left, uncle Emma gave his wife a hug in the kitchen. She hugged him back while fighting back tears. I left them alone.
We went to visit. Chiamaka’s mother insisted on going with her own vehicle. She came with a brand new Peugeot 406. It was tinted and she had a driver with her. It was obvious she was a senior person in one of the government parastatals. She didn’t come down from the car before we left. Auntie Nneoma and I used the Land cruiser SUV because of the baby things we were carrying and additional foodstuff which wasn’t necessary.
Obinna and Ikenna were around as ASUU had gone on strike again. They had been home for almost two months. They kept Chiamaka company. They were seated in the compound eating pawpaw and gisting when we drove in. It was surprising seeing two cars at the same time. When we came down, Chiamaka saw auntie Nneoma. She froze where she was standing. Then she saw a woman come down from the Peugeot. She screamed mummy and ran to her. Her mother opened her arms to receive her in in tears. That day, Chiamaka’s mother looked different. She had on an Ankara knee-length skirt and a beautiful off-shoulder blouse. Her natural hair was parted in the middle it dropped to her side. She wore high heel slippers and carried a designer bag. She looked opposite of how she looked when she came to the house; she looked classy and sophisticated. Her look intimidated auntie Nneoma. She kept looking at her in shock at her transformation.
Father and mother welcomed us. Auntie Nneoma had informed them we were coming but told them not to mention it to Chiamaka. Mother and daughter clung to each other. Refreshments were served to the visitors. We offloaded the things we brought including the baby things. Chiamaka couldn’t stop crying. When we opened them, I realized auntie Nneoma only bought quality items for the baby.
Chaimaka’s mother also brought some provisions and foodstuff. There was so much food for the house.
Chiamaka took her mother to see her room. I had to go in there severally to bring in some of the things we brought. I saw a small cupboard that housed Chiamaka provisions. She sat to talk with her mother. It wasn’t in my place to eavesdrop on them but I had told Chiamaka that auntie Nneoma was beginning to accept her. I didn’t expect her to say negative things about her to her mother.
Chiamaka and her mother came out to join us in the sitting. Mother had made delicious Ogbono soup with goat meat, dry fish and stockfish. It was served with pounded yam. The aroma couldn’t be resisted. My mother is a very good cook. The adults sat on the dining table to eat and talk while we took our food outside to eat. Mother dished out food for the two drivers to eat.
We spent over six hours at my home. When we were about leaving Chiamaka’s mother said, “Chiamaka has told me how well she has been taken care of and I appreciate it. I wanted her to join me in Abuja to have the baby but she declined. She said she wants to have the baby here and stay another three months for her new mother to care for her and also have the DNA done before she leaves and resumes school. She is grateful for the strike. Seeing the way she is living, I have to support her to stay. I will not have the time neither do I have the leave to take care of her and the baby. I will like to help as much as I can” she put her hand into her bag and brought out a big brown envelope, “this is to help out. I want her to get the best medical care in this state, I don’t want anything to happen to my daughter”
Father pushed the money back to her gently and said, “I am not doing this for you but for my brother-in-law who called me and asked me for a favour. He has been providing for her since she came here and he hasn’t said he would stop. If you come with me to the kitchen, you will see we have more than enough. We charter a vehicle for her antenatal in town and also to the health centre. Until my in-law says he is no longer providing for Chiamaka, I cannot accept any help from you. I don’t know the story behind her pregnancy but we have prayed that God will step in and everything will be alright”
“Chiamaka, you said they were good people and truly they are. I have no hard feelings with you staying here with them. Please keep me informed on everything
happening. If you need my help please call me and I will answer you. This is my number” she gave my father her card. She was a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Finance.
“Can I ask a question?” father asked.
“Go ahead” she responded.
“What is her father’s position on the situation?”
“Well, we are separated now. I came home to a house in shambles; he couldn’t hold down the family meanwhile he forced me to go on this course. I was promoted but then my family is in disarray. This was not my plan. My husband is a pastor. His highhandedness without adequate monitoring gave room to this mess. He says Chiamaka cannot return to his house pregnant. We will discuss further after Chiamaka has had the baby.”
“I will advice you pray about everything. This girl’s life can’t stop because she had a baby. That is the mistake most parents make. And please, do not marry her off to the boy responsible. It will be the worst decision you will ever make concerning her. The deed has been done. Let her enjoy having her child and not be shamed by it. Allow her to be a good mother and still achieve all her dreams. Can you do that for her?”
Chiamaka began to cry and so did her mother. Everywhere was sober. Father’s words had hit a nerve and I knew he was looking out for Chiamaka because, after some time, his hands will be tied. I appreciated him for speaking out. I appreciated him for showing a good example to auntie Nneoma. He wasn’t aware of all the details but he had a suspicion. He said, “Nneoma can be hot-headed a times especially when it has to do with her family”. I understood what uncle Emma said, auntie Nneoma and father were two opposites.
On the way back to Enugu, auntie Nneoma was quiet. I believe she saw parenting from another angle. She was quiet even during the visit. She saw the bond between mother and daughter. The girl was not abandoned after all; her mother was an influential person. She wasn’t a nobody as auntie Nneoma had thought. I knew she had food for thought.