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three generations episode 53

TITLE: THREE GENERATIONS

WRITTEN BY: OGECHI ALABI

CHAPTER 53

Jude was shocked. His father looked at him and said, “I told you to be patient. Ijeoma is a good girl who still has her heart towards you. I saw it in her eyes. See how beautiful she looks. You should have confessed to her when this girl got pregnant. I know her, she would have accepted. Instead you gave her money and starved her of your attention. Now you are talking about cleansing. Who puts this stupid ideas in your head? It is your mother. See how Ijeoma’s family stood up for her. That’s how a family should be”

Back at home, everyone attacked mama Chike except Nwanneka who went inside to change and then proceeded to the kitchen to cook. She didn’t have any business there.

“Ijeoma should go back to her husband. I am saying it now o. They will make fun of us. Two daughters have returned from their husband’s house.”

Nkeiru replied her, “My husband was introduced to me by you mama. Did you investigate the man before asking me to marry him? A wife beater and chronic womanizer is who you wanted me to spend the rest of my life with. I have escaped, never to go back. Who introduced Jude to Ijeoma? The same you. I agree it looked like they fell in love. But he has proved to be unreliable and a deceiver. Why would Ijeoma want to be with someone like that? Let the villager gossip about it, after all you gossiped about other people; now is your turn”

Ijeoma was drained by the whole conversation. She went inside to change. She laid on her bed and for a moment cried silently. She cried because she was just discovering her selfish her husband was. It became obvious to her she was just a puppet for him to play around with. She remembered the last time she was ovulating, her doctor had given her a drug to use and meet her husband within two days. She begged him to make love to her. She begged him for two days but he refused claiming he was tired and it wouldn’t result in anything. The third day, he travelled. He didn’t want to even try because another woman was pregnant for him. This was the height of betrayal.

The next morning, Jude was in the house. He asked to see Ijeoma. Mama quickly rushed to call her. She was still asleep when he came. Nwanneka snuck into her room and told her to wear shorts and a top to see him. “Let him see what he has lost. Don’t agree to the begging he has come to do. Tell him it is over”

Ijeoma came out to see her Jude. They went outside to talk. Papa, mama, Chike, Nkeiru, Okey and Nwanneka waited in anticipation. They spoke for about thrity minutes and then Ijeoma came in when he left.

“What did he want?” Nkeiru asked.

“He came to explain to me what happened and wanted us to get back together. He wanted me to convince papa to collect the dowry back”

‘What did you tell him?” Chike asked.

‘I said I will think about it and get back to him”

“What is there to thing about? Your husband has come for you…..” mama began saying.

“Will you shut up woman! You have said enough. The decision is hers. No interference from anybody. Take your time and make your decision, Ijeoma”

Everyone felt Ijeoma was weak but she was stronger than they thought. She had told Jude to refund money for her rent and buy her a car and a house before she would come back to him. He looked at her in disbelief. He then laughed and asked her if she was serious. She said she was; it will compensate for her pain. He told her to leave her job and her apartment first before he does his part. Her response, “You are not ready”.

Nkeiru cornered Nwanneka at the backyard while mama and papa were out. She asked her how far.

“I didn’t want to respond to you yet until I concluded with everything. I personally, won’t be able to take care of Uju because of my work schedule and Ada goes to school and comes back at 5pm. It’s tight. My daughter is with my mother and I feel Uju would be better off staying with my mother in Port-Harcourt. We are celebrating the New year in my village, I will discuss with her and finalise.”

Nkeiru stood still. She couldn’t believe her ears. Nwanneka wanted to s£nd her son to stay with Madam Nwakaego, a millionaire? She couldn’t believe Nwanneka would even consider doing this for her. Tears dropped from her eyes in shame when she remembered some of the things she had said about Nwanneka. She was truly someone with a lot of love.

By the beginning of the following year, Nkeiru took her son to Nwakaego in Port-Harcourt who was pleased to have him around. She left Port-Harcourt for Lagos to begin her hustle. No-one in her family knew Uju was with Nwakaego, it was a well kept secret between Nkeiru and Nwanneka.

Ijeoma went back to work. She resumed without wearing her wedding rings. There was no more sadness in her eyes, she was ready to face the world. She was finally free and she wanted to enjoy every moment of it.

Chike and Nwanneka were excited. Two weeks into January, they found out they were pregnant. They decided not to share the good news until the pregnancy was obvious with the exception of Nwakaego and auntie Uloma.

Okey stayed in Asaba doing nothing. With the two girls gone, his mother picked on him all the time. It was hell living with his parents. He begged Chike to reconsider the apprenticeship offer as he was tired of staying at home. Chike told him that offer was long gone and he couldn’t help him with another except he goes for a PGD and then Masters. Okey didn’t want to continue his education. He wanted to control money. His friends were making it big but he knew it was illegitimate. He was tempted but he remembered what he suggered in cell and was weary.

Mama Chike wouldn’t let him drink water and drop the cup. “You are a man, you must contribute to the household. It is not business as usual o, your sisters are no more here and allowance has reduced. No matter how small, play your part”

“From where mama, I don’t have a job and no business. What am I to do?’’

“Go and work. Join others to load and offload and bring back money to us”

“What did you say? I should be a labourer? What is the difference between what you are saying and what Nwanneka offered me? I made more money in Lagos than I will make here. I am above this type of work; that’s what you told me. Why are you forcing me to do it now? I will leave your house if that’s what will make you happy”

“It will make me very happy. Nkeiru that I felt had no s£nse at all has left to look for greener pastures. You that I held in high esteem want to live here and feed off me. You will take soup and eat three pieces of meat, just you. A pot of soup doesn’t last because you are here. We cant live like this anymore. Chike did boyboy before he started his own business, why won’t you do same?”

Okey went to his friends who were obtaining money by tricks popularly called OBT. He went to understudy them. One of them camped him in his house and he learnt the job there. The problem was that the guy had many apprentices and Okey was one. He didn’t give him any preferential treatment. He was his friend’s boy and that was it. He couldn’t complain, it was better than living with his mother who had become overbearing.

Nwanneka woke on the last day of August. She had been having very restless sleep all through that week. She found herself falling asleep in the office. Her colleagues and those she managed understood her condition. She was very heavy and would have proceeded for maternity leave but the person that was to take over from her hadn’t resumed yet and her job function had become ess£ntial and s£n-sitive so she had to stay on pending when she could hand over.

She had a meeting that morning with other unit heads to introduce the new person who was to resume that morning. She had s£nt out her handover notes to each department and s£nt a copy to her Group Head.

She went into the bathroom to ease herself when she felt something drop in her stomach. She was curious but decided to take a bath and get ready for work. She noticed Chike was still asleep in bed which prompted her to check the time. It was just 3:30am in the morning. Why did she wake up so early? She also felt hungry.

She went to the kitchen to make breakfast for herself. She made egg sandwich which she had with beverage. After eating, she came back to the room. She felt very hot and so she increased the coolness of the airconditioning. She was still bored, so she turned on the television and vcd player in the room to watch a movie. The noise woke Chike up.

“Nneka, is everything ok? It is not yet 5am.”

“I woke up and I am wide awake and bored.”

“Go and watch the film in the parlour so I can catch an extra thirty minutes of sleep. The noise is disturbing me”

Nwanneka stood up from the bed. She went to ease herself. As she wiped she saw mucus mixed with blood. She wiped again and she saw it again. She stepped into the room to show her husband what she saw and then, as they spoke, her water broke. Contractions began.

Chike was confused on what to do. He ran into the bathroom and took a quick bath and washed his mouth. He dressed up as he asked Nwanneka if she was fine but she wasn’t responding to him anymore. The contractions were coming every five minutes at this time. Chike rushed her to the hospital. She was quiet not making any noise but was in pain.

Nwanneka couldn’t believe what was happening. She froze in fear. She remembered what she went through when she had Nwadiuto and she was worried. She wanted her mother with her now more than ever but she was far away in Port-Harcourt. She cried silent tears as she muttered silent prayers.

At the hospital, she was examined. “Madam, how long have you been in labour?”

“My water broke at almost 5am.”

“Well, you are 9 cm dilated and ready for delivery in a few minutes. Oga, you will have to wait out here. Go and get the hospital bag, she will deliver soon”.

Before Chike left, Nwanneka pulled him close and said, “I need my mother”. Chike nodded and left to get the things they needed.

When he got home, he called Nwakaego and informed her Nwanneka was in labour and would soon deliver. He also called uncle Onyedika and told him same.

Uncle Onyedika informed auntie Uloma who was in Akure before he went to the hospital. By the time Chike got back with the bag, Nwanneka had given birth to a bouncing baby boy. Chike couldn’t contain his happiness. As uncle Onyedika came to meet him, he hugged him in excitement and announced, “it’s a boy!”

Nwakaego was at the hospital before 9am. She held her daughter tightly with tears in her eyes. Mother and daughter cried together when Nwakaego told her “You have made me the happiest mother on earth today by blessing us with a son. You have broken the jinx and had more children. I am so proud of you”

The entire family gathered together at the hospital dotting over Nwanneka while her husband went to her office to inform her boss she had put to bed.

Chike didn’t inform every members of his family. He planned to give them a huge surprise during the Christmas holiday.

Nwakaego prepared for ‘omugwo’. She stayed in her daughter’s house for the first time and tended to both her daughter and grandson. She saw how they lived and witnessed how [email protected] Chike was. Also she saw the genuine love he had for her daughter. She stayed with them for two months and she was happy her daughter was well taken care of.

Before Nwakaego left, she took Chike to three people in Lagos. Those three men were big time importers. She introduced Chike to them as her son-in-law and asked them to patronize him. They exchanged numbers and two of them gave him clearing jobs instantly.

She took him to Port-Harcourt too. She introduced him to five other importers. They all agreed to work with him. It was a done deal.

“Chike, my work is done. It is your integrity that will make you or mar you. Speak the truth to your clients always and watch them become loyal to you. They will give you jobs and you will make it. I am doing all this because of I can see you want to stand as a man and care for your family. You have never asked me for a penny. I am rewarding your [email protected] workp and your dedication to my daughter. Instead of giving you fish, I will show you where to fish”

Chike couldn’t believe how blessed he was. Just saying thank you was not enough. He laid on the floor to appreciate her, “As long as I live mama, your daughter will only know happiness. I promise you this. Also ma, I will make you proud with these connections you have given me”

Chike started work immediately. He went out very early and came back very late at night. He told Nwanneka, “To be wealthy takes sacrifice”

Chike suc¢vmbed to Nwanneka’s pressure and invited his parents and siblings for their son’s dedication. His mother couldn’t believe Nwanneka was pregnant and Chike didn’t tell them. Chike claimed it escaped his mind. His mother insisted it was Nwanneka that didn’t want them to know. She refused to speak with Nwanneka or her family members. She felt slighted.

Nwakaego went to her daughter’s mother-in-law to find out why she was angry with her and wouldn’t speak with her. Chike’s mother complained bitterly to Nwakaego about Nwanneka. She told her how Nwanneka chased Okey out of his brother’s house to a slum. How she refused to help any member of their family. She claimed Nwanneka disrespects her and wouldn’t allow Chike have alone time with her to discuss family issues. She claims she didn’t want Adanma to stay with Nwanneka but she defied her and took the girl. To crown it all, she hid her pregnancy from them. Is she calling them witches? She lamented.

Nwakaego asked her, “What is your relationship with your daughter-in-law? How often do you talk to her on phone? I know you have a phone in your house because she got the line for you through me. Do you call her or talk to her?”

“She doesn’t call me”

“Do you talk to your son?”

“I do.”

“And you don’t ask to speak with his wife?”

“She doesn’t call me” she repeated.

“If a child is doing wrong, isn’t it the elder that should correct the child? Did you tell her you were not happy she doesn’t call you?”

“You want my son to fight me? She has turned my son against me. He doesn’t listen to anything I say. He will say she mustn’t have a relationship with me”

“Good. So why does she have to be blamed when your son didn’t inform you his wife was pregnant and had given birth? He didn’t tell me, my daughter told me. Why didn’t your son tell you too? Why would your son hide something as important as pregnancy we have been praying for? Unless he had a reason for hiding it from you”

“What are you saying? Are you saying my son doesn’t trust me?”

“Lets ask your son. I want to know why he didn’t tell you and why my daughter is receiving this kind of treatment for his failure to do what was right. Chike! Chike!”

Chike and his father came into the room. They were discussing when they heard Chike being called. His mother’s face changed when she saw them both.

Nwakaego said, “It is a good thing you are here also. Biko, sit down. I observed your mother has been ignoring Nwanneka and I since she came. I asked her why and she gave me a bunch of reasons including Nwanneka refusing to talk to her on the phone or calling her.”

“Mama Nwanneka, don’t worry yourself over my wife. When the phone was installed, Nwanneka was calling regularly but my wife would refuse to speak with her because of Okey’s issue. What will the poor girl do? She calls and speaks with me whenever she can”

“Is that so? Ok, her other problem, she claims Nwanneka stopped Chike from telling her about the pregnancy. I want to know why you didn’t tell your parents about the pregnancy, lets clear the air”

Chike was visibly upset. He turned to his mother and said, “I didn’t tell you because I wanted to surprise you. Nwanneka begged me to tell you but I felt a surprise would be better. The only person that knew and also agreed to keep quiet is my father here. He was aware but joined us in the surprise. All the days I call and you ask how far and I tell you it was in progress, that was what I meant. Blaming her for my actions and decisions makes no s£nse. She hasn’t offended you in anyway. She has only shown love to you and every member of our family. Accusing my wife or reporting her to her mother has made me realise she is not safe around you. I have taken a decision today, my wife and son are my number one priority. As a son, I will perform my duties but apart from that, I owe you nothing”

“Don’t speak like that, Chike. If God blesses, you extend the hand to everyone around you. That is how a family is built. Help as much as you can until everyone is self sufficient and wouldn’t depend on you.”Nwakaego said to Chike.

‘Tell him. He wants to be the only successful one. His brother Okey is doing nothing. Your daughter insulted me when I challenged her on why Okey had to move out of their house. I asked my son to allow his brother work with him but he refused.”

“His brother can’t work with him. The kind of work he does, there is no room for mistakes. A younger brother working with his elder brother will carry shoulders high and not gather the experience needed. Nwanneka got him a very good job. He should have continued there and become a full staff. He was too proud to start from the bottom. I started from the bottom. Many successful people started from the bottom. If Okey is ready to start from the bottom, I will help get him an apprenticeship where he will be well compensated when he graduates. That’s what he needs and he will value the work”

“Mama Nwanneka, thank you. I have tried to explain all these to my wife but she wouldn’t listen. Nwanneka is a good daughter to me. She stood up to fight for Ijeoma when her husband tried to cage her while having a new family. She was insulted and called barren but today, God has shut their mouths; Chike has a son. A son that is his carbon copy. He can’t even deny him if he tried”

“Mama Chike, I will help Okey as long as you treat my daughter as your own. She has increased your husband lineage, you should appreciate her for it. I was also wondering the kind of business you can do that will help support the family”

“Mama Nwanneka, biko, she’s not doing any business. Let her focus on her on taking care of my father”

“Shut up your mouth there. See, I won’t mind a stall where I will sell foodstuff especially rice, beans and garri. It will keep me busy”

“My daughter should he able to help you with that. She has a stall in the market there; I will ask her to allow you use it for business. Chike, you are making money now. Plan with your wife and give your mother N150,000 to start. Also, you ate due for a new car. Sell the one you are using now and buy two cars; one for you and one for father.”

“What of me?” Chike’s mother asked.

“Do you want the stall or the car?”

“Thank you mama Nwanneka, it is clear where Nwanneka gets her generosity from. God bless you for leading my son aright. He also has to do for you as his mother-in-law”

“He does. Taking care of my daughter without requesting for a kobo from me or any member of my family is more than he can ever do for me. I love them both.”

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