“There you were, two months old, fussing and stretching in pain on the couch. Your skin was turning red and all I could do was cry.”
“I ran to our neighbors for help but they turned me away. I don’t blame them, at that time everyone was managing and we still are.”
“So how did the baby get into Patricia’s mom’s hands?” Tolu asked.
“I knew Sade from when I was in high school before I met my husband. She had just come back from abroad with her husband, Philip, and their house was the big one close to my apartment. I ran to her with you and she helped me take you to the hospital and I went home to gather some more things for you but by the time I got back, you were gone. The nurse said Sade had taken the child.” Mrs. Bummie’s voice began to break. “I shouldn’t have left you, Jumoke,” she cried. “I trusted Sade. I really did, but… but I didn’t know I couldn’t trust her with you… omo mi.” And all this while while she spoke, Patricia listened in awe.
“Wow,” Patricia actually laughed, a short and nervous laugh escaped from her but it was a sad one all the same. The idea was just too ridiculous for her to grasp. She shook her head. “No, I am Patricia Philips, Sade’s daughter, not your daughter,” she assured herself.
“You remember I said I had a daughter before?” she said to Tolu who was not sure if she should nod her head because that could cause further misunderstanding.
“Mrs. Bummie and I spoke while I was at her place and she did confined in me about a daughter she lost,”
“But I don’t know if Patricia is that child,” she quickly added when she saw the slight glance of hope in Mrs. Bummie’s eyes.
“Hmmm,” Daniel sighed. He was just as confused and awestruck as Patricia was.
“Tolu, can I… can I talk to you outside?” Patrick stuttered.
“Didn’t you hear what I said before? She’s not going anywhere with you.” Daniel answered angrily.
“Daniel, please,” Tolu held his hand. “It’s just for us to talk, I have… I also have somethings to say to him. Please let me go with him,” she asked her brother to reason with her. “That will give you time to sort things out with Patricia about Mama Wale,” she added. After a moment of hesitation, her brother nodded in agreement.
Once outside, Tolu stood with her back against the wall and her head down. She was still afraid of him, Patrick thought. Tolu had come to tell him that she was done with him. She was going to manage her kids by herself from now on but Patrick had other plans in mind.
“Tolu,” he called her name and for once, he hated himself.
“Patrick,” she answered. Her eyes getting watery.
“I’m sorry, Tolu, I really am.” Patrick rushed to her side. “I know I’ve been the worst but—”
“But what!” she hadn’t meant to shout and as soon as those very words left her mouth, she quickly covered her mouth with her hands. She hadn’t even known she had that much anger in her. She’d been keeping quiet for so long… for nine good years and now, she was tired of the silence. It was suffocating her.
“Please shout at me. Please do it.” Patrick partially blamed Tolu for his nuisance. He wished she’d been able to keep him grounded when he’d first started with his callous ways. He needed her to talk him back to his senses now.
“I agree. We were young and I was scared. I was nineteen and you got pregnant. My parents kicked me out and I didn’t get the chance to finish with school. I know that’s not a good enough excuse but… I was… I was just frustrated with life and I’m sorry I laid all those anger on you.”
Tolu looked away, hiding the tears that had begun to gush out from her eyes. She’d first met Patrick when she was in JSS3 and by the time she graduated from high school, she was pregnant. She’d blamed herself for ruining Patrick’s life after his parents kicked him out. She’d stayed with him, taking all his mistreating and misbehaving all these years because she felt it was her fault he’d lost his way in life. Staring at Patrick now, she remembered the man he once was. But she no longer believed she could take that man in.
“Patrick,” she whispered because her crying her clogged up her throat. “You use to hit me… even when I was pregnant.” She swallowed. “You would get so angry at times over the littlest things and hit me. I’m sorry I ruined your life but I can’t do this anymore. I’m taking my kids and I’m going to leave you.”
“Please don’t do this to me, Tolu, I’m sorry. We can be a family again.” Patrick said, his voice breaking as he approached Yemi.
Tolu cried as Patrick began to pat her back gently, persuading her that he was now a changed man.
“You make me want to change, babe. You and the kids, I want to be there from now on. I want to fix this. I want Ola to look at me without fear in her eyes and I want you… I want you to love me again. To kiss me without me having to force you.” As soon as Yemi remembered those many nights when Patrick had come to her drunk, demanding to lay with her, she began to hate him all over again.
“Say something, Tolu… say something,” he whispered in her ear. He missed the girl he’d fallen in love with. “I’m sorry for ever putting my hands on you. I’m sorry for everything.”
Tolu broke down in his arms as he held her tightly. “I’m going to be here now, for you, for Ola and for the little one.” she felt relief to be in Patrick’s arms again, but it wasn’t the same. She pulled away from his arms.
“I’m serious Patrick, I don’t think I can do this,”
“Why not? Just give me the chance to fix this. We can talk, we can fix this babe. I love you Tolu. I never stopped. What will I do without you? What have I been able to do without you?”
“But how am I supposed to forget the things you did to me? It’s not going to just go away.”
“I need you be here for me,” Tolu shook her head unconvinced, and Patrick pulled her close to him. She couldn’t resist him. The faint scent of cigarette smoke and alcohol filled the little space between them. Everything about Patrick had been made for her until he had to mess things up. Patrick began to kiss her gently. She kissed him back.
“I never stopped loving you,” Patrick said in between their kiss. Tolu thanked God for bringing Patrick and love back in her life. He would no longer find any reason to run, she was going to make sure of that. Patrick will never leave her— never.
Sorry guys for the long delay. I have also decided to continue the story from a 3rd POV… and although I can not go back and make changes to the previous episodes that were written in 1st POV, I hope this has not caused any inconveniences…