“I would survive” it’s my mantra. I say it everytime mama yells about dad not being around. Some days are even worse. She would move from yelling to cursing my little baby. I don’t blame her. I would also have done the same to my daughter if she had gotten pregnant for a man who was rotting in jail for committing internet fraud.
All I did was love. Mama thinks it’s because she couldn’t provide me with all the fancy things I wanted. In a way, she was right, I was drawn to Tokunbo partly because he took care of me. Who wouldn’t? He made sure my school fees was paid. Something even mama could not do. He sent me pocket money every month and I also got a steady wardrobe allowance. He even bought me an iphone and mama couldn’t even afford to buy herself a small phone talk more of me. He really did pick me up from the hands of poverty. His pampering made me glow. I do miss those days.
It was soon after he had bought a car that the EFCC had come looking for him in our flat off campus. It was one of the worst days of my life. It was even worse than when papa had left after beating tola,my elder sister to death. Maybe not but it was a painful day. I had just given Tokunbo the results of the pregnancy test I did a day before.
“I can abort it if you don’t want us to keep it” I said staring at him as he scratched his dreaded hair.
“No I want us to keep it. I want a baby that looks just like you.” He said smiling as he wiped off the tears on my face.
” I want a baby with your beautiful eyes,your cute smile and your fair skin” he said as he wrapped me up in his hand.
I can’t forget that sad day. The knock on the door. The search warrant. The hand cuffs. The cameras.
“No don’t take him” I pleaded. It fell on deaf ears. Soon he was in their van. I called his family members but None of them picked up. I spent the whole day trying to reach out to his friends but they were all in hiding. Even his bosses weren’t available. EFCC was in town the guys were running for their lives.
His last words to me before he was carted away was “keep my baby. I will be back.”
“He is never coming back. He is not Naira marley” Kim my best friend said holding my hands.
“You have to abort this pregnancy” she added
But I was headstrong. Hell bent on walking into destruction. He really wasn’t coming back. He had bitten more than he could chew. He defrauded a woman of millions of naira and she had committed suicide. He was a dead man waiting.
It took me six months to realize the love of my life was gone for good. It was already too late to have a safe abortion.
I planned on abandoning the baby somewhere safe but delivering him changed my mind. He looked exactly like his father. I couldn’t let go of him for the world, no. My mum came and packed my things and we moved back to Ilesa together. She took care of me and the baby she nags every now and then, telling me that I would have to get a job so I could go back to school. She’s a good mother. She could have left me like Kim did but she stayed. I’m grateful to her.
Tokunbo’s case was still in court when I visited him with the baby in the prison where he was held. He was happy to see Hope and I.
“Thanks for keeping our baby” he said smiling as tears rowed down his cheek.
“What’s his name?” He asked
“Hope” I replied.
“Its so funny” he laughed out.
He looked so unkempt and skinny. His fair skin now had so many spots which I guessed we’re mosquito bites. He kept on staring at his baby without saying anything.
” Make sure he doesn’t end up like me” he cried. I couldn’t help but cry too.
“I regret everything I did. I didn’t know my client was going to kill herself. I wish I never started. It’s all my fault and I have ruined your life in the process” he wiped his eyes.
“I was only trying to make a living, to hustle… To survive. I didn’t want anyone to die” his eyes were red. I sobbed profusely and soon Hope started crying. I tried to comfort him but he wouldn’t stop. The warden was standing at the end of the table.
“Give the baby to it’s father.”he said with sympathy.
Tokunbo carried his baby and smiled as hope had stopped crying and was now holding on to his fingers.
“He really does give me hope. Thanks for coming to visit.” he said smiling.
“You have five minutes more” the warden shook his head.
I didnt say much. I couldn’t say anything without bursting in tears. We hugged and I left with hope.
Four months later it was time for the final judgement. I took hope with me to the court. I saw Tokunbo’s Mum and dad for the first time. They were very happy to see me. Since Tokunbo was their only son and they had now found Hope as a replacement for you.
“I hereby sentence you Eleyele olatokunbo to life imprisonment with hard labour” the judge announced.
I didn’t scream. I ran through the crowd and held his hand.
“Train my son well”
The police men dragged me away from him almost immediately. He is really a criminal because he stole my heart. I wish things were different. I wish things went according to plan. Well it’s life nothing ever happens the way we want it to. I will go back to school. I will give my son a good future so he wouldn’t end up like his father. I will take care of my mum, she deserves that much. I will survive.
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