Amaka could not be held back, she took to the street leading outside the hospital area, and she had almost stepped outside the main entrance of the close when the security guards at the main gate held her after they saw the number of people running behind her to catch up with her. She was held down by her husband and two other male nurses, led back to the hospital as the pastor walked behind them praying for God’s intervention.
Tope could not imagine what had come over her, his face showed confusion and fear but the pastor’s words to him gave him hope as the Doctors attended to her.
After several attempts by the doctors to help her regain herself proved abortive, she was referred to a psychiatrist who recommended she be moved to a psychiatric hospital where she would be properly monitored. Tope had informed her family already about her status and so when they started trooping in and requesting that they take her to their hometown, he was not in any way surprised. At first, he objected with a plea to take care of his wife but when her condition didn’t seem to improve, Tope left Eniola with a family friend in Lagos and he went with the village elders to Amaka’s hometown.
The elders had gathered and reached a final conclusion, they suggested Tope left Amaka with them while he returned home. They were very nice to Tope and even he didn’t know why. They had once objected to his marriage to their daughter but their attitude towards him now has left him even more confused.
“Making jest of me abi?” Clara asked her friend jokingly as they finally buried themselves in each other. Joy could feel the breath of a good life merely touching Clara’s skin. Clara held on tight to Joy showing how much she had missed her while the two men simply shook hands and walked further ahead and the women walked behind them talking and laughing at the top of their voices as they headed for the car park.
Tope traveled back with Eniola, the news of her sister’s death and her mother’s illness had left her dumbfounded. Tope had tried everything he could to help her understand the circumstances but in his resolve, relocating back to the Republic of Benin was the best available option for Eni. He picked the few things he needed and returned home where they belonged.
Tope placed another call to his wife’s hometown like they had suggested to him, the first time felt like they weren’t available to pick up but subsequent occurrences were troubling and suggestive of something else.
He, however, decided to travel to Nigeria to check on his wife. He could have informed them of his visit but they still wouldn’t pick up so he simply just got on the road and headed straight for Amaka’s hometown.
Tope’s visit to the village coincided with an ongoing family meeting. The clan had sat in a circular meeting position when Tope practically gate crashed their gathering. They had already concluded the meeting when he got there and without much ado about anything, the family head simply just welcomed him into their gathering. “Indeed, the spirit of God is one!” said an elder, “We were just discussing your wife’s condition and we have taken a fair decision already”, said another elder. Tope settled into one of the benches made available to him. “What decision is that sirs?” Tope asked. One of the elders stood up, strolled into the family house and brought out a briefcase. The head of the family clan got up and collected the briefcase from him and handed over to Tope. Tope withdrew both his hands behind his back and asked “What is in there?” “We have reached a consensus, we should not have given Amaka to you in the first instance, we were going to give you a call ourselves but your coming could only have been orchestrated by God himself”, he continued. “We hereby return your dowry back to you as our tradition permits, in other words, we have taken our daughter back from you.” He said conclusively.
Shocked was the least of emotions Tope could be described by. “Are you allowed to do that?” He snorted back at them angrily as he got on his feet. “Ta! Sit down there!” Two elders shouted at him, “The decision has been made Mr. Tope, there is no going back on it, the elders have decided.” The head responded quietly as he handed him the briefcase.
Tope stood still for a while, kicked a couple of benches and without taking the briefcase from them, he simply just walked away in shock and utmost disbelief.
Tope remained grateful for one thing though, despite his experience with Amaka’s family, he realized Amaka’s family knew nothing about Eniola. Even though he couldn’t have his wife anymore, God had blessed him with someone far better. Eniola had always been a blessing to him, he had carried her in his hands the day she was born and she was the most beautiful thing he ever saw even though he never mentioned it to his wife. He had since kept everything about her birth a secret as he silently prayed he would never run into anyone especially Joy who knew something about her. He vowed to stay unmarried for he feared another woman would treat his daughter worse than Amaka did. He had since kept his vow.
Joy and Donald were declared man and wife after they said their vows in the presence of over a thousand guests.
Joy was quiet for a while as she sat in the car with Donald and they waited to be ushered into the reception hall. So many thoughts filtered through her mind, too many questions remained unanswered, the future looked bright and yet scary, Donald was a good man but over the years she had realized nothing should be expected even when everything is being given. Amidst the fears and uncertainties, she was sure of one thing that as long as God remained her father, he already had her back and she was good to go. She heaved a sigh of relief as she looked at her husband who coincidentally was also looking at her.
Donald knew she wanted to say something to him but he hushed her and said, “It will be a smooth ride, my love, thanks for trusting me enough to come on board with you.” Joy laughed aloud as she moved closer to him and replied, “I know it will Don, I knew that a long time ago”, she concluded as they both got down from the Jeep and headed for the hall amidst all their friends and families who were already waiting to usher them in hand with their spirits lost in each other.
– Bunmi Olaoke