Written by nitefury
Episode 5
It’s been almost two months since Mma’s funeral. The

realities of being a single mother without any
(financial) backing from her baby’s dad or her parents
had finally taken their toll on Ima. The moment she
pulled a knife on her dad, she knew that was the end of
their relationship, and she had vowed to herself and her
late grandmother she was going to make it without
receiving a penny from her parents.
In not wanting to be a burden for too long on her host,
she had returned to occupy her grandmother’s
apartment a week after she was buried. Her
grandmother was lowered next to her grandfather in
his own building. Life had gradually returned to normal
in the neighborhood, except Mma’s absence could still
be felt in her compound. She was running out of cash
as she had spent more than half the money she had
saved up all the while and what ever little money she
got during the funeral.
Her dad had shown up severally in the compound but
both had avoided each other like plague. Her mom
never returned after the burial and John had spent the
first two weekends after the funeral with her. She
needed to act fast because help wasn’t near in sight
The mosquitoes wouldn’t let her sleep as she lay
awake thinking on this Wednesday night. Thank
goodness for the fact that John had brought her own
cradle for her on his first visit, so Idara was safe from
the mosquito bites. She concluded she needed to leave
the village and Calabar completely if she’s to make
headway in life. But where would she go to? What
about her baby?
Remembering Jama’s letters, she stood up from the
bed putting on her torch light as she began to search
for them. Once she found them, she quickly checked
his address to make sure there all corresponded. Ojo
army barracks, Lagos.
She made up her mind she was going there to meet
him. But what about Idara? The furthest she had
travelled was for the FEDCOL games held two years
ago in FGC Port Harcourt. Lagos, according to her
friends who go there on holidays or live there is a
complete days journey and she knew she dared not
take the chance of going with Idara on such an
unknown journey. She had sent him a letter on her
brother’s last visit but John had since gone back to
school for her to know if he sent a reply. Because she
was definitely sure her parents would seize the letter if
they saw it in the mail box before John. Also how can
she just show up in his house with a baby she never
mentioned? What if he had another girl already and in
fact didn’t reply her letter?
As she thought about this, she then remembered an
incident that happened while she was still in school. A
girl had dumped her baby by the roadside and the baby
was picked up and handed over to a childless couple
who were willing to take the child in after settling with
the police. But no, she can’t do that. She can’t dump
her love by the roadside.
But she also knew what ever she had left wouldn’t go
more than two weeks, after which she wouldn’t be able
to fend for herself and the baby again. Giving the child
up was definitely the best thing to do for both she and
the child she concluded. It wasn’t long before she slept
Thursday morning, after bathing the baby and doing
her house chores, she strapped the baby behind her
back and left for calabar. Her mission was to survey
the best area where it was best to keep the baby.
Satellite town came to mind. There are definitely rich
people there and the chances of Idara being picked up
by a rich family would be higher in such an area. She
had been there severally to visit her school friends.
Her plan was to look for the best place where she
would place the baby and no one would be see her, but
yet would be easy to locate. After about two hours
walking around, she finally found a spot. A certain
junction that is always lonely, but gets busy from the
time schools begin to close for the day. She would
drop the baby around some minutes to 1pm and hang
around looking out for who would pick her up.
Going back home she was satisfied with her plans. The
plan was, as soon as the baby had been found, she
would wait around with the crowd that’s likely to gather
to see the person that would volunteer to keep the
child. After which she’ll return to Odukpani much later
in the evening when it was getting dark so the few
people in the compound wouldn’t suspect her coming
without Idara. Then first thing Saturday morning, she
would leave for Lagos. Wow. Very easy she concluded
in her naive mind as she parked her bag.
But again how would she identify her child later in the
future when she returns to claim her? She decided to
give the baby a mark. With tears in her eyes as her
baby cried in pains, she used a hot nail to write the
initials “IMJ” at the right top corner of the baby’s back
by making tiny incisions. Before then, she had already
mixed the local leaves used by their villagers for such
purposes. This was done in the night just after she
bathed the child so as not to raise attention. It was
from this mixture she then added inside the incisions
which would later turn out to leave a permanent and
visible mark on the child’s back. Fortunately, Idara also
took after her light skin colour.
She decided not to do it Friday morning but wait till
Monday when the wound would have begun to heal.
But this is another Thursday night. For the fourth time
that week, she had gotten to the road but turned back
home crying as she couldn’t do it. She sat in the room
crying as she watched the baby sleeping. “How can
she think it was that easy to just go and drop her baby
like that. A three months old baby? After carrying her
for nine months? A baby whose birth caused the death
of Mma. Mma would definitely turn in her grave, she
thought as she cried.
Later that night she had a dream in which she saw her
child down with fever and she running around looking
for help. When she finally gave the baby to her
granduncle’s wife, the lady pronounced the baby dead.
She broke down in crying and shouting only to wake up
to the voice of her baby crying. She quickly jumped
from the bed and ran over to pick the child from her
cradle. Running her hand around, she made sure the
baby was ok, she’ll definitely do it today she concluded
as she brëast fed the baby. Checking the clock on the
wall, the time was 4:30 hours.
It’s 18:00 hours, the sky was getting darker and Ima
had been pacing around satellite town. She still
couldn’t drop the baby as she had planned. She had
sworn to herself she wasn’t returning home with the
baby and she wasn’t going back on that. She had spent
most part of afternoon inside a catholic church as
though she came for a devotion.
Just then she saw a lady who had been in the church
with her all afternoon walking by. She remembered the
lady was crying before the statue of the Blessed
Mother as she prayed. Then it hit her, this woman is
definitely childless that’s why she had been praying
and crying. From her vantage position, she watched
the woman negotiate a bend and quickly followed the
Giving the woman a good distance, she followed
behind as they lady walked down the quiet street. Then
she saw her turn to a building. As she passed, she saw
a man opening the door for the lady, kissed her and let
her in. That must be her husband she concluded. She
walked on towards the end of the street having decided
to drop the child at their apartment.
By the time returned after going round the adjoining
street, the whole place was dark. Walking quietly
towards the building, she could hear her heart
pounding. As though things were working in her favour,
their security light was still off and Idara was sleeping
fortunately. Getting to door, through the window she
noticed the man and the lady on the dinning table
eating quietly.
She whispered a little prayer, then promised the
sleeping child she’ll come looking for her, then asked
her grandmother for forgiveness before placing the
child on the floor wrapped. Knocking on the door, she
heard the man answer “yes, hold on a second”. She
took to her heels. Running to the dark road, she stood
and watch the lights come on and the door thrown
She watched the man looking around after seeing the
sleeping child before calling out to his wife. Then she
noticed someone walking down the street with a torch
light and decided it was time leave.


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