He came back home a little after midnight. Obiajulu was terrified because it was the first time he was staying out that late, and it wasn’t a church program of family event keeping him out.
“I called you, but you did not pick.” She was also annoyed, and it was the annoyance which showed.
“I needed to think, and wanted to do so without interference from anybody.” He undressed and only in his boxers, came over to the bed.
Since he sat and not lie down, Obiajulu pushed herself to a sitting position. “I was calling only to make sure you were fine, not to trouble you. Anyway, what have you decided? Or, are you still thinking about it?”
He looked at her. “What you did was wrong, Obi. You cheated on me. You broke our marriage vows.”
“Your mother asked me to do so. She said it wouldn’t be cheating, but me doing my duty of giving you a child.” It was the defense she would forever hold on to. “Besides, I told you, and you said she was acting according to the tradition of your people. I believed that to mean you were in support, especially as you didn’t state otherwise.”
“I didn’t think I needed to state otherwise. I didn’t know my wife would ever be unfaithful to me.”
“I didn’t want to do this, Eze. I didn’t enjoy doing it.” It was the truth. While it happened, she had felt shame, not pleasure. “But your mother said it was my duty, and it felt like I was a failure in not fulfilling that duty. I wouldn’t have felt that kind of pressure if you had agreed to either my suggestion of IVF or adoption.”
“So, it is my fault. My refusal for us to adopt or use another man’s sperm for IVF pushed you into adultery.”
“I am not blaming you, Eze. But I refuse to be blamed too. You were so unhappy. You wanted a child. I wanted one too.” She didn’t have to pretend the tears. They came naturally. “I did it for us. I did it, so we can have a child. It’s our child, Eze. No one else’s, but ours.”
“The man who…”
“He does not know. He would never know.”
“Tell me who he is. I want to know. I need to know.”
“No, you don’t need to know. It’s best if no one but me knows. Mama Ije agreed with me in this.”
“You have told my mother?”
Obiajulu nodded. “She is overjoyed. She said you will be too.”
“She said so?”
And as she’d known it would, something crept into his eyes at the mention of his mother. Acceptance, Obiajulu saw it and was grateful for it.
“Yes, she did. She wants you to be happy, Eze. She wants you to be a father. We both do. You will make a good father.”
“How do you know that?”
She reached for his hand. He did not flinch away. “A woman knows these things, and I have always known you will make a good father. It’s one of the top reasons I married you.”
“But this is not…”
She didn’t let him finish. “This is your child. Only yours, and mine.” She placed his hand on her stomach. “Our child.”
He was silent for a moment, then he asked. “What sex do you think it is?”
“I don’t know. Does it matter?”
He shook his head. “No. But I will like a girl. A daughter. Daughters love their fathers more.”
Obiajulu smiled. “Ah, you want our child to love you more. I don’t mind. I don’t mind, as long as we have a child.”
Eze nodded. Then he leaned close and hugged her. “I want the child. That was my decision, after I thought about it, that I want the child. But you won’t do this again. Never again. Whatever this child ends up being, boy or girl, we will be content with it. You will never again go out. I forbid it.”
“Then I won’t do it ever again. I promise.”
He nodded and climbed into bed, held her as they slept.
It seemed to Obiajulu that God wanted to bless them because a couple of months later, when they visited the doctor, the scan showed they were having twins.
Mama Ije praised her for choosing well. Eze was delirious with joy, and she was grateful. Grateful and content. And that joy and gratitude tripled when she birthed their son and daughter.
Everyone said they looked like her. Some teased that the next child, or children, would take after Eze.
There would be no next child, Obiajulu knew that. What she did not know though was what the future held. Eze could wake up one morning and change his mind about taking the twins as his own. Mama Ije might one day turn against her. She did not know what might be. But one thing was certain, and this sustained her joy, that whatever happened, she was a mother.
She was a mother, and had made her husband a father, according to his mother’s wish.