Your Brief Bio:
Edema Opeyemi is a social development worker and a Pharmacist who writes. I operate a blog which brings together volunteer-writers from different walks of life to write about real-life issues. Writing is a release for me and I particularly love stories - to read, to tell and to write. I believe in giving everyone a chance and yet another chance. I believe we can rise above obstacles, dust our feet, square our shoulders and face our fears. I believe everyone has a story to tell and only when it is written can it be told.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
Eni-itan is the story of a child whose birth comes with controversies of his paternity and his supposed-father’s paternity. Embedded in the story are lingering historical issues with virginity and tribal marks. Who is the child of whom? You can only discover when you read Eni-itan.
The sun rose early, it was 8.00 clock but the day was as bright as 11.00 am, the trees in the surrounding offered very little shade but abundant breeze. Adebimpe looked out of the window in the room, she knew the towns-people would soon hear and come in their numbers; some to sincerely congratulate her while some to stylishly taunt her. It would not be their fault anyway, how was she supposed to explain to them? They would never believe her. She looked at her baby calmly sleeping, “I will name him Eni-itan”. She said aloud, “Yes, no matter what the father calls him, I will call him Eni-itan, because there is a very long story attached to his birth and existence” the baby wriggled a little and she picked him up and cradled him. “Cry not, cry not, my child cry not. Mother is here, father is coming soon, cry not, cry not” she sang. As she said father, she remembered her husband - he had been her support and he withstood attacks for her but this time she could sense doubt in his eyes. “He must be having doubts” she thought.
“And I was a virgin, I never allowed any man to touch me, I only had friends among them, but these people never believe me. Olumide believed but my baby coming eight months after our wedding started making him to doubt. Yes, I can see it in his eyes” Bimpe kept talking till she started to cry, her baby saw her and started crying too as if on a cue.
“Knock, knock” Bimpe dried her tears and quickly went to the door to see who was there. Her mother-in-law. She froze!
“Mama, good morning ma” She said as she genuflected a bit.
The older woman did not answer her, she brushed her aside a little and marched into the living room, “Where is my grandchild, well that is if he is truly mine” Bimpe rushed inside to bring her child to the woman.
“Oh, he looks so much like Olumide, it is funny how these things work you know, a woman has a child from another person and yet the child looks like her husband”
“Ah, mama!” Bimpe exclaimed in shock.
“I did not have the child through another person, it is from Olumide ma” she retorted
“Common, keep quiet! As if we did not see your token, no blood at all! not even a drop!”
“Mama, I did not know how that came about but I swear, Olumide was the first man to touch me, Mama, I swear”
“Yes, why would you not swear, only God knows what you gave the boy, at least now his eyes will be opened”
She assisted her to bathe the child and clothed it. Adebimpe used the opportunity to bathe herself and get ready to welcome guests.
“Mama, I swear, I did not sleep with anyone” Adebimpe said again and started weeping, her baby started crying too.
Olori asake came in and met her daughter and grandchild crying, “What is happening here?”
She looked form her daughter to the older woman in awe, no one answered.
“Yetunde, what did you do to my daughter, someone just gave birth yesterday and rather than making her happy and comfortable, I meet her crying and you are here”
Yetunde looked uncomfortable “Well, it is your own grandchild but how sure am I that it is my own?”
“What? You mean what exactly this woman?
“Well, you can ask your daughter”
“You are my supposed friend, I am asking you” She charged at her
Yetunde stood up to leave “Well, I shall be going, but remember, it is the mother of the groom that takes care of the new mother and not the mother of the bride, you are taking laws into your hands”
“Oh, yes, indeed, it is the mother of the groom that takes care of the new mother indeed and I meet my daughter and grandchild crying. Yetunde, it would be better you start going because your presence here further may cost you something, will you leave now?” Olori gestured to the door.
Yetunde rushed out grumbling “I would see if you will remain with your daughter forever” she re-tied her wrapper and sashayed away “Like mother-like daughter” she hissed.
Olumide did the right thing by telling his parents who reside in the same town-Omira of his wife’s delivery. Surprisingly everyone received the news with joy except his mother. She shouted, “So soon, I said it. That girl you brought home has her hands unclean”
“Maami, how can you say that, you should be happy for me and her safe delivery”
“This is just the eight month and you are here saying nonsense, that girl must have jazzed you finally”
“Maami, stop being ridiculous” Olumide retorted with frustration
“Now woman, will you stop this nonsense, afterall she wasn’t the one who got pregnant for someone she could not tell and had to be accepted into marriage with a bastard child”
“Ouch, that hurts, Dad who was that?”
“Well, you can ask your mother?”
Olumide looked startled “Mum, can you explain that?”
“Tunde, you should not have said that in his presence” Yetunde spat out down casted
“Well, we were still going to tell him anyway” He shrugged
“But not this way” Yetunde replied with eyes opened wide
“You pushed me, and I had to talk because it is not as if your own hands were totally clean before I married you, you came with a four months old child and all my family accepted you without a fuss. The only offence the girl committed was not to have blood on her token and to give birth early; it still does not mean she was a loose girl”
“Okay, then, now that the cat is let out of the bag, I guess we are even now, let me go see the girl”
She stood up and left.
Olumide was speechless for ten minutes, he could not bear to look at his father.
Finally, he looked straight at his father “Now, tell me father, am I the bastard child you were talking about”
“I am very sorry, I did not mean to let you know like that, but your mother can really drive me nuts at times. Look at her blaming your innocent wife while she too did not get married as a virgin and everyone knew. I am deeply sorry, my son”
“Wow! I am shocked, so you are not even my father and yet you loved me so much?”
“Well, we cannot be too sure, your mother and I were having sexual affairs before we married but what I did not know was, she was also having affairs with other young men. When she discovered she was pregnant, the two other young men denied paternity and since she was not so sure who exactly the father was, she came to me. I almost denied too but I loved her too much and did not want her to be miserable so I told myself that since I was also sleeping with her, there is no harm in accepting the pregnancy; I also felt since I was mentally and financially ready to get married, nothing should stop me then”
“Father, you are strong! I am not sure I can do that”
“Never say never, love is strong, you just cannot tell what you can do. My acceptance of her melted her heart and she remained committed to me, we told our family the child was ours and did the wedding within months of her delivery”
“So, you mean, no one knows about this except both of you?”
“Yes, no one knows, except maybe the men who had affairs with her then but they had moved out of town for over twenty years”
“Hmmm, I have had more than enough today. I need to get to the palace at Iyeta town, to let my in-laws know they have their first grand-child now”
“Ok, son but I am deeply sorry for letting you know the truth like this, this was not our plan but we just never figured out the right time to tell you. I read that there is a test they now do to know who one’s father truly is, maybe we can do that later but I heard it is expensive”
“Really, Father, where did you read that?”
“In the newspaper sometimes ago but I was afraid to do it because I did not want to lose you. What if you are not my son, I have loved you too much to let you go and moreover I do not have any other son, it will break my heart”
“No, father do not worry, whatever happens I am still your son but we need to put an end to all these doubts and even the doubts my mother has about my son too. When everything is settled, we will all travel to lagos to do the test”
He got up from the chair, “I need to get going, Iyeta is a distance away”
“Yes my son, come and take these yams and kolanuts to give them, tell them I send my hearty congratulations”
“Okay father, see you in some days’ time during the naming ceremony”
He spoke to a few relatives and then travelled to the palace at the next town to inform his parents-in-law of the arrival of the new baby. Olumide stepped out and headed towards the garage to take a bus.
Adebimpe told her mother all that transpired between her mother-in-law and herself. Her mother was very furious.
“I do not know what is wrong with that woman, she thinks we haven’t been hearing rumors of her own past. When next she comes and says this nonsense to you, tell her, you know about her past too and see her reactions”
“Mother, what exactly are you hearing about her past?”
“Never mind, my child, some things are too heavy for your ears and moreover, I do not want you to use those information to disrespect her, she is still your mother-in-law but I am sure when you say that, her wings will be clipped”
Adebimpe squeezed her face a little, she kept wondering what it could be and then she shrugged her shoulder “Anyway, she should just let me be”
After breastfeeding the child and laying him to sleep, both women entered the kitchen to cook.
“You, just have your seat while I cook, I bought a lot of meat on my way, we will cook some food for some early guests and I will also prepare you pepper soup”
“Thank you mama, that is why you are the best”
“I have heard that over and over again, your words can make one’s head spin. By theway, have you had your bathe and is your baby bathed too?”
“Yes ma, Mama helped me bathe the baby while I bathed too” Bimpe said while slicing onions.
“Oh so with all that pretending to be a hard woman, she still helped you” Olori said as she washed the meat and placed the pieces in a big pot.
“Oh yes, she did, she was only looking at me suspiciously all through but I did not care because I knew my hands were clean” Adebimpe responded
“But, my child on a serious note, were your hands really clean?” her mother said glancing at her furtively.
“Oh mama, don’t tell me you too did not believe me, this is ridiculous” she spread her hands in frustration.
“Oh, no, my child it is not like I do not believe you but I saw the way you were moving around with young men then and including the palace guards and I warned you but you just seemed to have a flare for men. So I can never tell if anything fishy transpired with anyone of those your numerous friends” Olori made a move to hug her daughter
“This is unbelievable, mama” Adebimpe refused to accept the hug
“Do not blame me, eventually we got report that there was no blood on your token and to compliment the news, you gave birth eight months after marriage”
“So you think, I must have been having an affair few weeks to my wedding?”
“Erm, well….” She tailed off. She did not want to hurt her daughter.
“Oh, well, Mother, for your information, I did not have anything intimate to do with any of those numerous friends, I cannot explain why there wasn’t blood and why my child decided to come early but I swear, nothing fishy was done”
“Ok then, I believe you, I am sorry for having doubts but I needed to clarify”
“No problem ma, I need to go and rest, please kindly attend to any guests for me” she stood up and left the kitchen, just then her baby started crying, she took him inside to feed and change his diaper. Before long both of them slept off.
Olumide stopped by his store, his workers greeted him, he went into the inner office, put on the fan and shut the door. He was not willing to attend to any customers. The head staff knocked at his door and once he found it locked, he knew his boss needed some time alone and so he stepped away.
Olumide pondered on all that transpired, it was 1pm already, the fan was on but he was sweating profusely. “Calm down, boy, calm down” he told himself.
First he wondered if truly he was a bastard child and the man he called his father was not his father. The thought of it being true scared him to his marrow. “That will be outrageous” he said aloud. And then he thought of the possibility of also not being the father of his child “this is even worse” he said again.
He stood up and paced back and forth in his office “relax, boy, calm down” he thought
“But why am I getting to know all these today, of all days?”
“Well one day, you will eventually know” a voice in his head said.
“Yes, that is true. Let me go and see my wife and child, after the naming ceremony, we will all go to Lagos to do the tests and everything will be settled. I hope my wife will take this information well” he thought. He put off the fan and shut his office door.
The head of the staff walked up to him to give him the update of the last two days. He listened attentively, nodded his head and patted the man on the back “Job well done, Akanbi, Thank you.
“With all pleasure sir!”
“I hope the junior workers are learning fast?”
“Very well sir”
“Ok, good” Olumide said and gestured to him to take his leave.
The staff smiled and walked back to the main store.
Olumide entered the main store, cleared his throat and got the attention of all his workers.
“Well, I want to announce that my wife gave birth yesterday to a healthy handsome boy, mother and child are doing very great at home”
The workers squealed and shouted, some clapped and jumped. Their response was very hilarious to Olumide. After the excitement had died down, he continued talking.
“So I will not be fully around now like before but I want everyone to cooperate with Akanbi, if we have a significant increase in our profit for this month I promise everyone something”
They were all thrilled at that idea.
“But sir, we will all come for the naming ceremony” a staff pointed out
“Well, Let us see, I will communicate with Akanbi”
“Ah sir, please let everyone come” Another staff pleaded
“Ok then, but the store will still be opened from 8am - 1pm after which everyone can come. I will even need your help with a few things
They were all exicted.
“Akanbi kindly put a notice outside that we will be closed from 1pm on that day”
“Ok sir” Akanbi said
“Good, so you all should take care of yourselves. Any report of misbehavior, lateness or lack of cooperation will be duly punished” Olumide said
“Yes sir” they replied in unison.
He went home.
The house was a beehive of activities, some women were at the back of the building cooking, young men were helping in arranging the house. Children ran around, there were other people in clusters talking and laughing about nothing in particular. The new mother and her friends were in the living room receiving guests and gisting. Everyone was having fun in a way, guests kept trouping in, exchanging pleasantries and dropping gifts.
By 2.00pm, the ceremony started. Prayers were made and the child was christened.
“The names of the baby are Oluwadarasimi, Eri-ife, Micheal” the Pastor said. Everyone clapped.
“oh, Please and Eni-Itan too” Bimpe interrupted with a raise of hand. Everyone kept silent
“Pardon me, Madam?”
“Yes sir, please I want that included in his names”
The Pastor was confused but played along, “Okay the, the names of the baby are Oluwadarasimi, Eri-ife, Micheal and Eni-itan” Everyone reclapped and partying started.
The party went on till late at night, guests kept coming and leaving in batches; food and drinks were enough to go round. By 9pm, the last guest took his leave, those who were assisting took their leave and calm was restored to their household.
His wife was already asleep, Olumide took his bath and crawled into bed quietly so as not to wake the baby. His wife stirred.
“My dear, thank you for everything” Olumide said calmly
“oh, it is you I should be thanking. God bless you dear”
“you are welcome, come nearer let me cuddle you, it has been a very full day for us”
Adebimpe moved closer to her husband and tried not to wake the baby. “Oh, well, maybe he is not doubting me after all” She thought as she allowed herself enjoy some caressing.
The next day, after bathing her baby and herself and having breakfast prepared by her husband, Bimpe sat in the living room with the purpose of catching up on some news. Her husband came up to her on the sofa and picked up the remote of the television, she was still concentrating on the news when the decreasing volume caught her attention.
She looked up puzzled “Olu mi, what is the problem?”
“There is no problem my dear; we need to talk about some things?” Olumide said as he sat closer to her with a serious look on his face.
Adebimpe’s heart skipped a beat. “Finally!” She thought
“My dear, there is no cause for alarm.” He said calming her.
She did not realize she was holding her breathe all along. She let out a sigh and prepared for the worst.
Olumide successfully convinced his wife to let them go for a paternity test to clear all airs. He also explained about all that transpired with his parents. They picked a comfortable date to go for the test. The surprising part was how she did not raise any dust. It was then he realized she was double sure that he was the father of his son but he still resolved to do the test. However his mother did not find the idea welcoming at all. She threw tantrums and refused to agree to their proposition with the fear that if Olumide was not her son, her husband may start to behave in a strange way and may want to have an affair outside the matrimonial home in search of a male child.
It took some weeks to finally get her to agree to the plan after she was reassured that their family secrets remains within the family.
They finally went to a recommended hospital in Lagos to carry out the tests. They were told to come back for the results.
Olumide finally went back on his own to the hospital to collect the results which were explained to him by the doctor. He felt very relieved and happy to be the father of his child and also the son of his father. “What a complex world” He thought. “What if I was not the father of the child and the person I claimed to be my father was not also my father, how would I have coped?” He kept thinking all through the journey home. When he got back home, he decided to play a little prank on his wife and scare her but she looked unusually calm. He concluded that truly his wife had clean hands and he was sorry for having doubts about her.
“My dear, I felt you would be anxious to know the outcome of the tests we did?”
“Oh well, I am not so bothered, I know I was a virgin before marrying you and I never had any sexual affair with anyone outside the home so there is no cause for alarm”
“Oh really, now I believe you”
“So you were also having doubts”
“Not exactly, but everything seems to be pointing in the wrong directions and gave me a reason to doubt but I am sorry for doubting you. I have learned to totally trust you now” He said as he tried to draw her closer for an embrace
“Oh, please leave me, what about the other test about you and grand-pa, I am a little worried about that”
Olumide let out a sigh and bowed his head
“Please do not tell me he is not your father?”
“Well, he is”
Adebimpe screamed. She was super excited. “Let us go, tell them. I would like to see how mama would react”.
“Okay then but can we have our meal first, I am famished”
“That is not a problem, I prepared your best food”
They happily ate their meal and went to Olumide’s parents’ house with their child.
Both parents were at home, they were seated at the balcony of the house enjoying the cool evening breeze. His father spoke up first “Welcome my children, we have been totally anxious. Please what is the outcome of the test?”
They sat down on a bench, Olumide sighed while Bimpe kept a straight face. His mother looked at both of them and had her eyes filled with tears instantly.
“Father and Mother, I want you to know that no matter what, I love both of you for the choices you made and I love my wife as well, so please I would like you to accept the results of this test with a note of finality and we still remain one big family”
He kept silent for some seconds. Both parents did not utter a word. They were thinking of all the possible reasons for such form of introduction. Eventually, his father gestured him to go ahead.
“Well, I am happy to inform you that Eni-itan is my son and you are my father”
Both parents let out loud sighs simultaneously and squealed.
“This boy, you will not kill us, why did you decide to paint it badly like that. You got my blood pressure sky-rocketing” His father said with so much relief.
His mother however stood up and slapped him on the shoulder, “What is the meaning of that?”
Olumide grinned from ear to ear, while his wife watched all the drama.
His mother started dancing immediately and singing “Oluwaseun ooo, Oluwaseun ooo…”
“Mama, you owe me an apology” Adebimpe said smiling to the older woman
Everyone here owes you an apology, I think I am the only one who believes totally in you. But on behalf of everyone, we are very sorry for having doubts about you. No wonder you insisted the child be named Eni-itan, now I understand”
“There is no problem papa, Bimpe said as she made to embrace her father-in-law. Her mother-in-law too embraced her
“My dear, I am very sorry too. Do not worry, for the next one month, I will come to your house in the mornings to help bathe the baby and cook for you to apologize for all my wrong doings”
“That will be much appreciated” Bimpe said enthusiastically
Olumide nudged her “the opportunist”
“Yes dear, I cannot afford to reject some help”
“Alright then, Mama and Papa, we will be taking our leave now. We will see you some other time. Let each family continue the celebration of this wonderful revelation”
“Yes, this is a great relief and news and sincerely calls for celebrations indeed.” His father said nodding his head in agreement.
“Bye, my children” Mama said as she handed the baby over to Bimpe.
“Good bye Mama”
As they turned to leave, Mama gestured to them
“And erm…do not forget to come next Thursday”
Olumide looked back “For what ma?”
“It is the 60th day”
“What is happening then?” He responded confused
“That is when we will put the family tribal mark on his face” she replied
“Uhnn?” Both Olumide and Adebimpe looked at mama strangely
“What? Is there a problem with that?”
Both of them responded simultaneously again “Yes Ma!”
“Which is?” His father asked this time while his wife opened her mouth and looked at them with astonishment
“Ma and Sir, this is 2010” Olumide replied
“And so?” His mother asked
“Well, this is 2010 and people no longer do such again, moreover I am not going to let my child go through such pain in the name of tradition. You either accept that or prepare to never see my family here any longer” Olumide said with much anger. He left immediately with wife and child in haste.
“These children never cease to amaze me” his mother said as she watched them go
“I think it is better we let them be, Olumide is a man and should be left to run his family as he deems fit.