Adanma ended up not going to Okechi’s. Charles took over her evening with her blessings. He took her with him to hang out with his cousins and friends. He introduced her to all as his ‘woman’.
Much later that night he dropped her off at home.
That Christmas season was really Adanma’s season. She barely had alone time. She was either with Ifeanyi, or with Charles. Ifeanyi was more reserved and not a night crawler, so she saw him more during the day. He came to her house, met her parents and also took her to his mother. Her family liked and welcomed him.
However as with all young girls, she was attracted more by the sparkle of Charles and his crew. They were louder and more flamboyant. Told exotic tales, and made out their lives to be exciting.
Adanma found herself tilting more towards Charles than Ifeanyi. Charles was an ‘international businessman’ while Ifeanyi was a ‘salary earner’, and everyone knows bankers do not earn much these days. Charles had cool swag and promised to take her to all those exotic places and she was instantly swayed in his direction. Ifeanyi was still taking it a step at a time, while Charles was cruising at full speed.
On the second of January, Ifeanyi returned to Lagos to resume work. Adanma had also planned to return on the same day but she didn’t. Charles asked her not to, that she should stay back and attend his cousin Tochukwu’s wedding with him as his intended. This was like an answer to her prayers and she instantly stayed back. Her mother cautioned that she return to the city and to work, that if Charles wants to marry her he should go through the proper channels. Her mothers caution fell on deaf ears, she had seen her husband and was going to obey him.
Her mother advised her to call her boss at work, even if it meant lieing to him about the cause of her delayed return, but she shouldn’t just ignore and stop work like that. Adanma refused. Charles said he would setup her own supermarket for her, what did she need a job for again?
On Tochukwu’s wedding day, Adanma worked and worked. She was the errand girl, the go to person for any need. She did all these in a bid to impress her in-laws, and in the hope that soon it would be her turn and another will do the same for her.
Finally they returned to Lagos on the fifteenth of January. She travelled with them. When they drove into the compound, she smiled and nodded silently at the magnificent building, the cars all parked and they began off-loading their luggages. Tochukwu and his wife walked into the house and left them to offload.
Adanma was shocked when Charles carried his bag and asked her to follow him. He walked around the house to the boys quarters. Her countenance fell with each step they took towards the back of the house. He slotted in a key and unlocked the door. She hesitated at the door as he went in.
“Welcome to my house.” He said turning to her. “Come in.” He bade her with a welcoming smile and outstretched arms.
She went in, full of questions but plastering a fake smile on her face she walked into his arms.
The day after they all returned to the city was a monday, Adanma was up early as she was used to. She went to the kitchen to join in the preparation of breakfast as their apartment didn’t have a kitchen. Tochukwu and Chika left for ‘work’, while Charles remained in bed and only awoke at about noon, only to laze around until his cousins returned in the evening then he joined them as they went out on a drinking spree.
This pattern continued for the rest of the week, and Adanma became worried.
She got to know the house Charles had told her about belonged to Tochukwu his cousin. The car he cruised around the village with also belonged to Tochukwu. Even most of the clothes he wore were his cousins’.
One day, she broached the subject of going back to America with him.
“Babe relax, I’m on vacation.” He said dismissively.
A month went, no sign of the vacation ending soon. Her family was beginning to suffer because she wasn’t sending home the stipend she used to. She brought up the topic of the promised supermarket with Charles.
“Babe, I’m cash strapped right now. Later.” Was his response.
Months went by, his drinking habit escalated. He started the day with alcohol and was constantly sipping. he was getting short tempered and threatened to hit her when she spoke up against it.
They were living on Ada’s savings and Tochukwu’s largesse.
By the third month, she suspected she was pregnant and bought a home test kit. The test confirmed her suspicion and she joyfully told Charles the good news.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Was his shocked response.
“No babe, the test confirmed it.” She said.
He laughed shortly. “You are even more stupid than I thought. How could you let yourself get pregnant?”
“We….” She pointed to him and herself, confused at his reaction.
“We what? Can’t you see this nigga is trying to begin his life afresh, you think I have room for a baby in my life now? You think I have room for you?” He shouted.
“But, I thought,…. You said.”
“Get out of my sight.” He scoffed and returned to his drink.
Distraught and in tears, she ran to Ngozi, Tochukwu’s wife.
After explaining her dilemma, Ngozi consoled her, and told her Charles’ story as she heard it from her husband.
Charles had been arrested at the airport on entry into the United states of America. Tried and jailed for drug related offences. Seven years later, he was released and deported without a penny. Charles had nothing to offer, nothing to his name. The next plan should have been for him to join Tochukwu’s business but he was busy drinking his life away.
Adanma wept. She had been totally stupid. She had fallen for tall tales and a promise of being an Americana. She was pregnant for a man who wasn’t married to her, she had no job and no savings. She had let out her old apartment. Discouraged any contact from Ifeanyi. Where was she to begin from?
Happy New Year once again to everyone, may 2014 be all that you want it to be.
Adanma’s story ends here, sadly. We’ll do some quick recaps of some old stories before another begins.
Keep visiting Chinma Eke’s blog, have a blast in this year.