“How are they?” Mama asked the midwives when she came into the room.
“Allah Akbar. They are both fine,” one of them answered, beaming with smiles.
Mama hurried to sit beside Nifemi, who burst into heavy sobs when she saw Mama. The old woman held Nifemi close to her, rubbing her back gently to pacify her heavy heart. Mama Savage would have known just what to say. Mama only looked at her, wiped away her tears and shook her head at the poor thing. Nifemi searched her eyes as if searching for some reassurance but she found nothing. She buried her head under Mama’s bosom, held her tight and wailed again. Nifemi wished Mama Savage was there, she would feel more at ease. But the baby was delivered a week early. When the native doctor calculated the due date, Nifemi informed Mama Savage and asked her to be present. Perhaps, Mama Savage would have in turn informed her mother and maybe her mother would have forgiven her and come to support her through the delivery.
Mama Savage had been coming secretly to see Nifemi in Ikorodu every other week. She encouraged Nifemi through her journey and kept assuring her that all will be well. When Nifemi asked her if her mother misses her, Mama Savage rather didn’t talk about that but she did assure her that everyone back home was hale and hearty.
“Your grandchild is a girl”, Nifemi presented the baby with a hearty smile after she was cleaned and ready to feed her baby for the first time. Mama received the baby with fulfillment and gratitude as she held Olusegun’s daughter in her arms. She held the baby close, marveling at her as though she had never seen a baby. Then she looked at Nifemi who only smiled at her through her swollen eyes.
“Thank you”, Mama said gratefully. “She is indeed a beauty to behold”, Mama added and then said a short prayer in Arabic. “Her name will be Fareedah because she is unique indeed”.
Nifemi looked at Mama and the baby in her arms. She wished if only for the peace and beauty of that moment to be a part of Mama’s family. Her kind, warm and loving spirit are indeed infectious. Nifemi only had to shut her eyes, when she opened them again, she knew it would be a fantasy. “Thank you”, she said, concentrating on being indifferent to Mama’s generosity. Mama handed the baby back to Nifemi then she left the room.
When Olusegun came into the room, a rush of fresh cool air blew in through the curtains as though it followed him and almost like a magical entrance, the cool breeze rested on the baby. Unfamiliar to such cool, the baby shivered but with a smile; her first smile. Nifemi looked upon her baby and appreciated her innocent smile. Olusegun walked to Nifemi and the baby slowly. He sat on the armrest of Nifemi’s chair. He looked upon Nifemi and the baby in awe, just like that; a new life is made. A new chapter has begun. A smile formed on his lips, and then as he looked closely at his daughter, he said, “She is beautiful”. At that moment, Nifemi looked at Olusegun with wide wet eyes, her lips quivering as they showed mixed emotions. Olusegun embraced her and she held her baby closer. He had found his family and no one would ever take them away from him. “I love you. Thank you”, he said still holding them in his tight embrace.
“I love you more”.