A year later
The look in John’s eyes was scary. Osato quickly dialed Tayo’s line again. “God please do not let my child die,” she muttered as she ran back to the couch where she laid him. She had called Tayo three times all unanswered. “Where the hell is he?” she wondered. She wasn’t ready for this. Osasu wasn’t in, she had gone to be with their Mum, who was in labour. She had dropped her twins – Mark and Brian at the crèche on her way out. John had fallen ill five days earlier and had been treated and declared healthy by the doctor, whatever was happening to him today was a mystery to Osato. The poor boy was having a fever, his eyeballs had rolled up to the whites, and pain was forcing tears out of his eyes. His twin meanwhile remained in the cot where they had been laid together few minutes ago before he cried out in pain.
She rushed outside and shouted at the gateman, “Musa! Open that gate!” She then rushed inside to pick John. Things got worse; both boys were now howling. “Oh God! I didn’t bargain for this! Arrghh!” She swore out loudly this time. Few months ago she was desperate to become a mother. The Instagram pages of celebrities who had kids were her favourite destinations while on the internet. She would sigh and whisper to herself, “Oh my God, I want beautiful kids like these, they are so adorable.”
What changed? Weren’t the kids adorable? She picked up her Blackberry and sent Tayo an instant message;
PING!!! Meet me @ d fam hospital wen u get dis, John is sick.
She stuck the phone into her back pocket of her jeans, grabbed her car keys and headed for the hospital.
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The past one year had been the most challenging season of his life; impregnating the girls, the birth of the boys and the life after that. It was a miracle that he has not lost his life in the home battle. It looked like his whole world was falling apart. However, he kept his promise to God; he started going to church. He even joined the protocol department, but it was difficult to discern who his commitment in church was for; God or himself? Since he moved into a new apartment with the girls, no day had gone by without him settling a quarrel. The ladies always argued about how either of them had stolen him from the other. The handsome Tayo had suddenly started aging; handling his wives and the kids, plus the pressure from work was eating him alive. What was meant to be a double portion of blessing had proved otherwise. He got promoted to the position of the marketing manager, but whatever dividend came with it wasn’t enough to hold his home together. Things even got worse when the girls put to bed; their squabbles intensified with the two of them trying to assert their territorial authority.
Brother Tayo, as he was fondly called by his church members, now preferred to work late into the night. When he wasn’t working, he would be in the church. He was always the first person to arrive at the church, and the last person to leave; a trait the pastor noticed, and decided to hand over the church keys to him.
He had dropped his phone on his desk while leaving for his lunch break. The jovial and very accommodating Tayo had abruptly become withdrawn. He went to a bar at the mall where he ordered two shots of tequila for the stress; he had resumed drinking.
God, am I still being punished for my sins? Aren’t you a gracious God? Look at me; what is my life turning into? Ever since you saved me from the claws of death, all I have ever done was serve you. Is this what I deserve? Torture, pain, psychological unrest, and a life of confusion; how do I deserve all these? Yes, I got promoted, but your word says that the blessing of the Lord makes one rich and adds no sorrow to it, why am I an exception? David impregnated Bathsheba, he even killed Uriah her husband, yet he remained a man after your own heart. I only impregnated two girls, by mistake. I didn’t know I was having sex with the both of them until later. I even went ahead to please you by taking both of them as wives; at least maami convinced me that it is better to be husband to my children’s mother than to have a broken home. Was marrying them against your will?
“Why have you decided to make me a man after your wrath?”– He yelled out his last thought and noticed everyone staring at him. He downed what was left of his drink, paid the bartender, dashed out of the bar and made way for his office; lunchtime was over.
St. Anselm’s Hospital Emeka Idemili was still pacing down the female ward when he caught sight of Osato running down the children’s ward with John on her shoulder.
Osahon had been in labour for hours and she was yet to put to bed, Osasu sat down on the waiting chair that was in the passage as she prayed silently for Osahon’s safe delivery. “Osasu,” Emeka called. Osasu stood up in response to his call, “Yes dad?”
“I think I just saw your sister running towards the children’s ward with one of the twins. Can you please make sure everything is okay while I wait for the doctor?” “Okay dad,” she replied and left in search of her sister. Few minutes later, Tayo arrived at the hospital in search of Osato. He was busy trying to locate the children’s ward when he stumbled on Emeka who had a smile on his face. Osahon had finally popped out a baby boy.
“Oh! Thank God. Good afternoon sir, have you seen Osato? I just got a message from her saying John is ill again, so I rushed down immediately.” “Oh my God! I saw her rush past with one of the boys”, he said with concern clouding his features, before catching sight of the twins.
“There they are,” he pointed towards the girls who stood afar off. Both men approached the girls, with Tayo outpacing Emeka. “How is he? How is my son?” Tayo asked as he approached them. “Oh! He is your son now, shey? Where were you when I was calling your phone? Where were you?” Osato screeched.
“Calm down everybody,” Emeka interrupted. “How is the boy?”
“He is being attended to, and the doctor said he will be fine,” answered Osasu.
“How is mum?” Osasu asked Emeka.
“I have good news; your mother just gave me… I mean she just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. I was on my way to tell you when I saw Tayo.”
Everyone sighed with huge relief; the girls gave their papa a big hug while Tayo stretched forth his hand as he echoed “Congratulations sir.”
“Thank you,” Emeka responded and shook Tayo’s hand vigorously.
They all waited for the doctor taking care of John. After waiting for few minutes the doctor came out and requested to talk to the child’s father.
“I am his Father, “Tayo answered, stepping forward, while everyone paid keen attention to what the doctor had to say.
“Your son suffered from pneumonia, probably as a result of being exposed to a cold environment. I did my best for him. But I am sorry, we lost him.”
Tayo fell on his knees, “God why? Why me!” he broke into tears.
Mr. Idemili pulled him up in an attempt to comfort him; Osasu held Osato tight with murmurs of, “I am so sorry dear. I’m sorry.” They were both weeping, and then Osato stiffened. “Jesus Christ! Johnson, Johnson!” “What is wrong with him? Where is my son?” Tayo retorted,
“I…I forgot him on the couch.”