The day Nifemi’s parents came for her, it was indeed one frightful day. Her mother, who had told her to be a good mother at the baby’s naming ceremony, now expects her to leave her three months old baby to her father and his aged mother. It wasn’t like any other day would have been good for Nifemi to leave her baby but for the illness and depression she had been facing the past few days, it didn’t make it any easier to leave the Gbadebo household on that day. Yet all efforts made to introduce processed baby formula to baby Fareedah proved futile. Naturally, given the circumstance, abandoning her totally dependent baby in such ill-health would be inhuman. Besides, the circumstance they met Nifemi didn’t quite meet her parents’ conditions of her return home in a healthy piece.
“I can see you have taken delight in wasting your life. I send you here to get rid of the baby and you present yourself sick to me. What good is that to anyone?” her father raged.
His wife sat next to him quietly. Mama and Olusegun were there as Nifemi’s father spoke to her in fury. Fareedah too had fallen ill which made it more difficult to adapt to a feeding bottle. Her father felt defeated; he doubted if he made the right decision to send Nifemi to the one who had betrayed him in the first place. If after all that has been said, Nifemi is adamant to stay and be contented in this life that she so desperately wants to lead, there is only so much force he can exert especially now that a sick baby is involved.
“If you . . . are passionate about returning to continue your education, you decide when is right for you to return home. Stand up for yourself and make a difference if you want to be respected otherwise you may stay behind here and concentrate on recovering from a self-imposed illness and whatever else awaits your future here”, her father muttered.
Nifemi felt guilty and restless. She was torn between her new baby and the expectations of her parents.
“I believe my work here is done. I will take my leave now”, Mr. Adeniji said brashly. “Woman, meet me in the car”. Nifemi’s mother watched her husband walk out the door, defeated. She wished he had commanded Nifemi to follow them home, despite the flimsy excuses she gave about her duties towards her sick baby. But even she could not be that oblivious to the reality at hand. It would have been better if they had asked her to abort the pregnancy at its early stage, she thought. Above all, she felt heart-broken to see her daughter, whom she had invested so much trust and hope, lead a life so ordinary. She would have thought she wanted more, something different from what her parents had aiming higher to be better for herself and her family. But she realized that after staying with a man for a year to have his baby and live among his people, what really was left? Even she herself has come to be addressed as Mrs. Adeniji without any formal nuptial rites. She was saddened that Nifemi had chosen the same course which, whether for or against her parents’ wishes, was not going to change.
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