‘I want to try and get pregnant.’
Nike was in Feranmi’s office, cross-legged, ready for any objection from the doctor.
Feranmi smiled, revealing beautiful dimples on both cheeks as she stared at the paper in her hand.
When Nike first got to the hospital two days after she arrived at Lagos, she had told her friend she wanted to do a general check up but now that the results were out, she knew it was time to spill out what her real intention was.
Feranmi raised her head. ‘Your result is good. I’m not surprised anyway. I can imagine the fresh fruits and vegetables your church members bring to your house everyday. If you go on like this, you’ll live up to a hundred and five.’ She raised her hand to heaven. ‘Thank God my friend has been delivered from junks and ice-cream.’
Nike was not in the mood for any joke. She was anxious to get to the end of her mission. She pointed at her arm where the contraceptive have been inserted. ‘So you are going to remove this?’
Feranmi frowned, wondering what Nike was talking about. She remembered. ‘Oh my God! you still have that there.’
‘It’s three years already. I want it out. I’m willing to give this a try.’
Feranmi sighed. ‘ if that’s what you want, we’ll remove it.’
Nike rested her hand on her chin, perplexed. ‘I wasn’t expecting this kind of response. Why are you not discouraging me from doing this since you know my life would be at stake. Did something in my test result change? You said I must never get pregnant.’
‘I never said you could not get pregnant Nike. Don’t twist my words.’
Nike blinked, allowing her hand to fall to the table. She reached for a pen and tapped it on the table as she talked. ‘What exactly were your words? Why was this inserted into my arm in the first place.’
Feranmi raised her hand. ‘Relax. Your husband suggested it. You agreed too.
Nike was clearly irritated. ‘Feranmi, how? For goodness sake, you are the doctor. It was your place to give us correct medical advice. Are you telling me you stopped me from getting pregnant all these years for no reason?’
When Feranmi did not answer, she continued. ‘Jesus! What kind of Doctor are you? How can you be telling me my husband suggested this and I-‘
Feranmi was hurt by Nike’s words and she made no attempt to hide it. ‘You had an ectopic pregnancy Nike. We almost lost you. If you had been here regularly for your check-ups, we would have handled the situation quickly but you were busy chasing career until you started bleeding. You died Nike. You practically stopped breathing and your husband slumped to the floor when we got ready to wheel you to the mortuary.
‘But we noticed your hand moved and everybody rushed to ensure the tiny hope we had left wasn’t lost. It was a miracle you lived. Your first delivery too, you were bleeding after your stillbirth.’
Nike sighed. ‘I’m sorry I came out at you like that.’
‘It’s okay.’ Feranmi reached for Nike’s hand from across the table.
‘So you are saying I can still have a child?’
‘Nike, you are 37. it might be difficult considering you are close to the end of the childbearing age but-‘
‘There is hope right? it’s not impossible?’
‘With God, nothing is impossible.’ Feranmi smiled.
‘When can I remove it?
Nike’s phone rang. It was her husband. ‘I have to go now. I’ll be back here tomorrow morning for the removal. Would you please keep this information away from my husband?’
She gave Feranmi a quick hug and left the hospital. As the taxi slowly crawled through the traffic in Oshodi, she smiled, remembering how she had driven on that road every day to work.
She stared out the window. Nothing much had changed since she left except for the construction of the new bus stops and the repairs on the other side of the road. The hawkers still sold their wares, bus conductors still looked dirty and haggard, lagosians were still on the move pushing past others to get into the danfo buses and as usual, nobody was smiling and everyone was in a hurry.
She sighed irritably when the taxi came to a standstill. What kind of crazy traffic was this?
She thought to stop over at her former office before heading for the Guest house where the Pastors were lodged. The Conference had ended but David had been placed in a Committee that required him to stay back after the conference.
‘Nike is here o!’ The receptionist shouted as soon as Nike entered the law firm. Heads shot out from glass doors. She was soon surrounded by her former colleagues who were all talking at the same time and hugging her.
She tried to shush them knowing how Linus hated this happening during office hours and the last thing she wanted was for her former boss to yell at her for interrupting office work.
As she walked past the office of the head of litigation, she wondered who had taken the role offered to her on the day she had resigned. The office was empty but still she was curious to know. She made a mental note to ask Dami.
To her left, through the glass walls, she could see Francis attending to a client. When he saw her, he smiled. He stood up and came out to meet her.
‘Please tell me you are back.’ he grinned.
Nike laughed. ‘No, I’m not.’
He hugged her and told her how much she had been missed. Nike remembered how Linus had announced Francis promotion and had encouraged her to stay because one day she could be a partner in the firm too.
Beautiful memories returned and for a second, Nike was back in her black suit and heels sitting in an office that spelt ‘exquisite’, poring over law reports and working on court processes.
She kicked the thought aside and continued towards Linus’ office.
Where was Dami? She wondered. She was about to peep into Dami’s office when Linus came out with a client Nike had worked with on many occassions. The man shouted in excitement immediately he saw Nike.
He turned to Nike’s former boss. ‘I want her to handle this case.’
Nike smiled. Linus laughed out loud. Only a big deal could make her ex boss be so happy like this.
‘So how is Ipetumodu?’ Before she could respond, he continued. ‘I have something small for you.’
He brought out a cheque book from his briefcase, scribbled down some figures and tore out the page before handing it to Nike. She didn’t bother to look at the amount under the scrutinizing eyes of Linus. He told her to wait for him in his office and followed the client down the elevator.
‘Nike!’ Dami came running down the corridor. They almost tumbled to the floor as she embraced Nike excitedly.
‘I’m sorry I missed your call. We were having our fellowship at the lunch room.’
Two young men standing with Dami were introduced to Nike. The first was running his chambers attachment and the other had resumed work at the firm few months after Nike left.
After the introduction, one of them maintained gaze with Nike and said,
‘Since I got here, everyone’s been talking about you.’ He stretched out his hand. ‘I’m so glad to finally meet you.’
Nike shook his hand and smiled.
They all disappeared to their offices when Linus returned, motioning for Nike to follow him to his office. He tore a slip from his cheque book and scribbled down some figures. Nike was speechless. It was while in the taxi on her way back to the lodge that Nike finally looked ta the two slips.
How long had she held that kind of money.
Different needs began to fight for attention. The furniture needed to be changed. The car had been parked at the mechanic’s shop for weeks. She had not bought new clothes since she left Lagos. Her husband needed new pairs of trousers. She’d been dreaming of buying a freezer now that light was pretty stable. Her vocation center needs a permanent location. The main church building still had to be completed.
‘Where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you.’ David said, as soon as his wife stepped into the house. ‘ The Senior Pastor wanted to see us this afternoon.’
Nike ran into his arms, laughing. ‘I’m so sorry.’ she showed him the slips she had received. ‘Look at the provision God sent to us.’
David’s eyes widened. ‘Where did you get this from?’
She narrated the events that had occurred during the day, leaving out the discussion with Feranmi. If she became pregnant, he would be very angry with her for keeping the information from him. But until then, it would remain a secret.
The next day, after her visit to the hospital, Feranmi walked out the door with Nike and asked her to get into her car.
‘Where are we going to?’
Feranmi smiled. ‘It’s a surprise.’
When they entered the car, Nike called her mum to inform her she would be coming a little late. She faced her friend as they approach the third mainland bridge.
‘Where are you taking me to?’
Feranmi threw her head backwards, laughing.
‘Get ready to call your husband because we are going to be demanding a sum of 10 million naira as ransom. All your church members should get ready to sell their farms.’ Feranmi turned up the volume of Sinach’s ‘I know who I am’ and danced from side to side, winking at her friend who was smiling now.
They turned into the road that led to Bakare’s Place, a new eatery opened few metres away from Taniya’s Org, one of the most expensive and well sought out beauty shops on the Island. Feranmi pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine. She opened the door and climbed down. Nike remained seated.
‘Get down jare.’
Nike stepped out of the car and followed her friend into the eatery. The place was slightly crowded as they approached the counter. Nike turned when she heard her name. Two women were running towards her.
Her eyes widened. Gloria. Yemisi.
They hugged and shouted in excitement like high school teenagers.
‘Feranmi you planned this abi?’
Feranmi blew a kiss at her friend who was now being pulled towards a seat at the back. There were cups of Ice-cream on the table. Nike grabbed one of the cups and scoop a spoonful to her mouth. She closed her eyes, running the liquid content over her tongue as it dissolved and chilled her throat. She was happy to see her friends, friends who have been part of her life long before she got married.
‘You look so good.’ Gloria touched Nike’s cheeks.
‘See her fresh skin,’ Yemisi pointed out.
Nike chuckled. When was it that the two ladies had come to her house trying to convince her to follow her husband to Ipetumodu. How time flies. They had called her a couple of times back at Ipetumodu but there was nothing like sitting face to face with them. Gloria stood up to help Feranmi with the trays of chicken and chips
For two hours, they talked. Yemisi, a missionary’s wife narrated the difficulties they faced on the mission field and how they were able to overcome them, Gloria talked about her new job as the SEO analyst of an online start up, Nike shared her Ipetumodu experiences and Feranmi showed them pictures of the land she had bought to build her hospital.
Discussion moved to their kids with Nike asking them to pray along with her as she believed God for a child. They discussed finance, their husbands, the things they were believing God for. They moved to scriptures and shared their visions and some of the things God was speaking to them about. They promised to stay in touch more after that day. Nike’s heart welled up with joy. When they had eaten and relaxed some more. The four ladies held hands together and bowed their heads in prayers.
The meeting was still fresh in her heart as she returned to Ipetumodu some days later. While she missed them, her thoughts drifted to her friends at Ipetumodu who had stood by her in her worst moments.
Several months had passed when one evening, as Nike shared scriptures with the women at the vocation Centre, she felt dizzy. She tried to shake it off by standing up while she talked, but the building began to whirl around. She grabbed the edge of a table and one of the ladies rushed to get a chair for her.
She had been feeling sick and had run a series of tests the previous day. She couldn’t wait for the test results as she had to leave for ile-ife to honour an invitation by a women’s group.
‘You know what? Finish up with your work. ‘I need to take some rest.’
The ladies were all gathered around her saying, ‘epele‘ ‘e ma farale‘ ‘the Lord is your strength.’
As she stood up to go, one of the ladies whispered to another lady.
‘Abi, is iyawo Pastor pregnant?’
Nike froze. Pregnant? Was that possible? She couldn’t get the thought out of her mind as she walked to the Pastor’s lodge. Iya Abeke met her halfway and followed Nike into the house, a bell in her right hand and a bible under her arm. Nike was amazed at the quick growth of Iya Abeke since she had come to know the Lord. Iya Abeke dropped her evangelical tools on the table and entered the kitchen to make tea for Nike.
‘You should go to Doctor Afolabi. Last week you threw up and the other day, you couldn’t get out of bed. This is getting serious.’ Iya Abeke said, placing the cup of tea on the center table. Nike sat up and reached for the cup. She took a few sips before slowly putting the cup back on the table.
‘I prepared rice this morning.’
Nike shook her head. ‘I’m not hungry.’ She reached for the cup again as the dizziness passed. ‘I’m better now.’
‘Any gist for me?’
Iya Abeke smiled. shifting into a more comfortable position. ‘Abeke has begun to warm up to me. I visited her at school on Saturday and for the first time in a long time she smiled.’ Tears welled up in her eyes. ‘I’m so happy. I’ve hurt her too much.’
Nike squeezed her hand. ‘I’m so happy to hear this.’
‘I preached to two women last week. I told them to leave Christ Redemption Assembly and come to our church. ‘
‘Remember, we don’t preach church, we preach Jesus.
‘But they don’t preach the truth there. All they know how to do is to collect offering and dance.’
‘Still you have to leave the decision up to them. You can invite them to our church, but don’t compel them.
Iya Abeke nodded. ‘Sis Nike, I was reading a scripture yesterday and I don’t understand it at all. Can you explain it to me?’ She was already reaching for her bible when the door opened and Mary walked in. Mary stopped when she saw Iya Abeke. She stood there frowning. Iya Abeke raised her head and when she saw Mary, she quickly put the bible aside and stood up.
‘Mary, I’ve been trying to get through to you.’ she went on her knees. ‘I’m so sorry for everything. Please forgive me.’
Mary folded her hand. ‘Can I speak with Nike alone?’
Iya Abeke took a glance at the Pastor’s Wife and left the house. Nike stood up to hug her friend.
‘You should forgive her.’
‘How are you doing?’
Mary smiled. ‘I’m fine. Thank you for everything. I just came to inform you that I’ll be moving to Osogbo with my kids.’
Nike sighed. ‘You can stay here Mary. This is home for you.
‘Nike, that house is cursed. My grandmother died mysteriously in that house and when my mother moved in with my father, they didn’t last a year together. She moved away from the house and said I could have the house if I wanted it. When Joshua stole his company’s money and the truth came out, we had to run here to hide our face. See what has happened. True, Joshua has been misbehaving before we left Kaduna, but when we got here, it became worse. I have no intention of passing that house to any of my children. In fact, they will never come here again.’
At the door, Nike held her friend’s hands. ‘Remember who you are in Christ, Mary. You have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his dear son. You are seated in the heavenly places with Christ. There is nothing to fear anymore.’
Mary nodded her head. ‘I’ll remember all that. Thank you so much Nike.’
They walked outside. ‘If we decide to use that house for our vocation Centre, would you be wiling to release it to us.’
Mary smiled. ‘You can have it all for free. I’ll leave the necessary documents with you before I leave and sign whatever legal document you want me to sign. The land is large enough to build another structure but I’ll advise you build a fence around that house to demarcate it.’
Nike smiled. ‘We have nothing to fear. He that is with us is greater than he that is in the world.’
When Nike returned to the house, she called Dr Afolabi. She was more than eager to know the result of the test.
‘Hello ma, I’ve been trying to reach you since morning.’ Dr Afolabi said. Nike’s heart pounded.
‘Good evening doctor.’Nike said, coolly.
‘I have your test results. When you are free, you can come to the clinic.’
Nike rushed out of the house.
‘Did you run down here?’ Dr Afolabi was smiling as Nike entered the office. When a doctor smiles, it means the news is good. Could it be what she thought?
‘You are pregnant.’ the doctor announced.
Nike’s hand flew to her mouth. She stared at Doctor Afolabi, speechless.
Episode 12 comes next…