Read Chapter XXVI here.
Bisi took a glance at the Samsung phone on the floor.
“Sorry about the phone.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Constance said, anxiety at its highest pitch in her voice. She bent to pick it up and sat opposite her.
“I’m sorry for springing up on you like this. But I needed to clear something up.”
“Okay…” She dragged the word with caution.
“I got to listen to the infamous tape that leaked recently and um…it got me thinking. I noticed my husband was a bit upset when it was mentioned in the news and the lady’s words was kind of on point with my situation. When I heard the name Connie babe, the first name that popped in my head was yours. And seeing you at his office and a few other dots that I connected, I suspected you to be the one on the tape. So that is why I’m here. Please clear my doubts.”
Constance exhaled deeply. She felt like she was in a confession box. She played with her fingers nervously.
“Constance…you don’t have to feel bad about it. I’m not angry…I just want to know.”
“Yes, I’m your boy’s mother.” Bisi sighed.
“Great. So why didn’t you introduce yourself as such? I took your baby in and nurtured him. Why would you hide from me?”
“Fiifi didn’t want that. And since the whole deal was between us two, I had to respect his decision not to meet you.”
“I see.” There was a moment of silence. Bisi was filled with mixed emotions; whether to feel relieved or angry about the news. Constance watched her closely, hoping to read Bisi’s mind but Bisi’s face was expressionless. When Bisi looked up at her, her eyes were filled with tears.
“I…I want to say thank you, Constance. First for being honest with me and also giving birth to the boy. As you rightly said on the tape, you gave my husband the one thing I couldn’t.”
“Please don’t take that to heart. I was tipsy,” Constance quickly chipped in, filled with guilt.
“That’s okay. The only thing that hurts with the memory of Nhyira coming into my life was that I was expecting when Fiifi brought him home. The shock of it all caused me to lose it.”
Constance swallowed. The guilt was threatening to suffocate her.
“I’m very sorry about that.” Bisi gave it a dismissive wave.
“It’s past and gone. But sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if it was going to be a boy or not. But I choose to believe God knows best.” She paused and stared at Constance who was obviously uncomfortable.
“But I’m really sincere when I say thank you for the baby. It brought a certain spark into our lives especially my husband’s which I really appreciate. He felt complete and although it hurt at first knowing that I couldn’t be the one to give him that joy, I was glad that he brought him home and not raise him secretly. And on the behalf of my family, I want to say a big thank you for your gift. I know Fiifi doesn’t think it’s necessary for me to show appreciation because he sees as a mere transaction and he paid you well for it. But you and I know how much it takes to carry a baby in the womb for nine months. Regardless of how much he paid you, it was a huge sacrifice on your part. You could have gotten married or done something significant with your life but you couldn’t because you were carrying a baby for a man who wasn’t your husband. I want to apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you and for any mistreatment my husband must have meted out to you after the baby was born.”
Tears fell on Constance’s face. She hadn’t expected Bisi to talk to her like this. She thought it would be a loud harsh confrontation but she had just spoken to her like a woman who understood her. She felt even worse for even entertaining the thoughts of coming after her husband.
“Thank you for not holding grudges, Bisi. Whenever we met, I was filled with so much guilt and I always dreaded how it would all go down if you found out the truth.”
“It’s not an easy position for me to take, trust me. But so much time has passed and I don’t want to relieve the anguish I felt when this whole baby drama started. I just want to put this behind me and move on. We may never be friends but at least, I hope we’d be civil to each other when we happen to meet somewhere.”
“Sure,” Constance said with a nod. She was trying so hard not to break down into sobs. Bisi gave her a reassuring smile through her own teary eyes.
“I’m glad to hear it. I’ll be on my way. I’m sorry for the method I used to get here. I didn’t want you to give my husband a heads up. I figured it would be better if we trashed this out woman to woman.”
“I’m glad you came. I feel like a burden has been taken off me.” Bisi stood.
“I’m sure it all started as a means to make money and hence the artificial insemination but I believe you felt something when you gave birth to him. You brought a life into this world and thanks to you, he makes my husband happy.”
Constance scowled. Bisi noticed the change in her facial expression.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“You said…artificial insem…”
“Insemination; the procedure you went through…that’s what it’s called.”
“I know what an insemination is.” Constance closed her eyes for a moment and sighed.
“That’s what he told you,” she muttered.
“I’m sorry, Bisi; maybe it’s not my place to tell you but after how you’ve handled this dire situation, I can’t let this thread of lies go on. I also feared that one of these days, you’d might hire some thugs to come assault me or kill me at worst. But you didn’t and in return, I need to totally come clean so we can bury the matter. I can’t imagine the pain you went through losing your baby and having to raise a baby from outside. I know this would hurt and might reopen old wounds but I think it’s better you hurt now and get healed once and for all than to nurse the wounds only to have them reopened again because of another omitted detail,” Constance said.
“I don’t understand.” Constance hesitated.
“I’m sorry, Bisi…but I didn’t conceive the baby through insemination.” Bisi gaped.
“What? Are you telling me it’s not my husband’s child?”
“No…it is your husband’s child. What I’m trying to say is that…we…conceived the baby…the natural way.” Bisi blinked. It took a moment for her words to sink in.
“I’m really sorry, Bisi,” Constance apologized, tears running down her face.
“I’m really disappointed in you, Constance. I came here and spoke to you in good faith and you decide to leave me with such thoughts that could ruin my marriage?” Bisi asked, in a raised voice. Constance could sense she was getting angry.
“I’m not lying, Bisi. We did try the insemination…but it failed. Fiifi became distraught and you know how he gets when he doesn’t get his way…” Bisi fisted her hands. Was she serious?
“So he was pretty emotional and I tried to comfort him and…” she swallowed.
“And?” Bisi steeled herself for her reply. Please don’t say what I think you’re about to say.
“You know what, Bisi.”
“No, I don’t. All I know is that my husband had an arrangement with you to have his baby via insemination and you’re trying to contradict his story?”
“I’m sure he said that to spare you the pain and maybe he was right to do so at the time but I believe you deserve to know the whole truth so you can truly heal from this trauma.”
“Thanks for your concern but I still haven’t heard anything concrete, Constance.”
“It wasn’t planned and I’m sure when you ask him, he’d say I seduced him and maybe I did…the details are hazy but…we…slept together.”
Bisi’s heart missed a beat. Constance took a step back. Was this the time when she’d explode and beat the hell out of her? She was about to find out.
“I don’t believe you,” Bisi said, tears blurring her vision.
“I wish this were not true but I’m afraid it is. You need to know the truth, Bisi. I can’t let you walk out of here believing another lie.” Bisi sat down and tried to control her breathing.
Constance didn’t know what to do; whether to talk more to make her feel better or just keep quiet for her to process the new information. It seemed the more she spoke, the worse she made the situation. Fiifi would kill her for this but she couldn’t think about that now. She had to come clean so they could put it all behind them. She felt bad for causing her such pain but it was better now than later.
Bisi suddenly felt sick. Her head hurt, her limbs weak, her energy drained. She wanted to cry but she wasn’t going to in front of her. That would be a sign of weakness and she couldn’t afford to show her that. She stood. She felt her feet wobbling.
“Thanks for your time. I’ll be on my way.” She started towards the door.
“Bisi, I don’t think you should be driving.” That made Bisi stop.
“You’re clearly upset and you’re in no condition to be on the freeway.”
“Thanks for your concern but I’ll manage.”
“I don’t think so. I don’t want my son to lose his mother.” Bisi turned to face her.
“Oh yeah, wouldn’t that be an answer to your prayers? So you’d come and take my place?”
“Oh no, Bisi. I could never take your place.”
“Because you’ve never tried, right?”
“Because I don’t belong there. I can’t fit in your shoes, Bisi. Why don’t you let me get you a taxi…?”
“Thanks but I’m good. And when you do get in touch with my husband, please don’t forget to tell him I didn’t harass you.” She turned to leave. Constance stopped her by holding her arm. Bisi glared at her hand on her body and Constance quickly withdrew her hand.
“The same way you came to thank me on behalf your husband for the baby, let me also apologize on his behalf for the cover story he fed you. I’m sure he did so with good intentions…”
“Then you shouldn’t have told me!” Bisi could feel her insides trembling.
“Maybe I shouldn’t but I thought I owed it to you since we were trashing this out woman to woman.”
“No, no, not at all. Except what happened years ago, we’ve never gone that far again.”
“And when I met you at his office and you mentioned you were there for a project review, what was that about? I can now deduce that the project was about the boy so what review was going on?”
“Fiifi wanted us to meet so I could debunk the suspicions you had of us. That’s all.”
Bisi nodded. She sighed and without another word, she got out of her place. When she was outside, she exhaled deeply. It was like she was suffocating inside her residence. If she had stayed a minute later, she would have surely passed out. She unlocked the car door and sat inside.
With every breath she inhaled, tears fell on her face and with every breath she exhaled, she felt a string pull at her chest and it was painful. When she couldn’t hold it in any longer, she broke into tears. Maybe it was a mistake coming here.
She turned to find Constance staring at her from a distance. When she started towards her, Bisi started the engine.
“Bisi, wait!” Bisi sped away.
Constance covered her nose and mouth with her hands. What had she done? She could never forgive herself if something terrible was to happen to Bisi. She went back inside her room in tears.
The pain in her chest coupled with the splitting headache she had forced Bisi to stop her car. Her hands were shaking. Images of Fiifi and Constance on a bed began to flash through her mind. If Constance was telling the truth, it meant Fiifi had been lying to her for the past six years. How could he? Why did she have to hear it from her?!
Constance searched for her phone among the pile of clothes on her bed. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand to clear up her blurred vision. She found it and called Fiifi’s number.
Sorry, you don’t have enough credit to…
Constance cancelled it, furious with herself. Not today of all days. She took a GHS 5 note and rushed out to get a credit scratch card to buy. Fiifi must check up on her before something bad happened.
Fiifi decided to leave the office earlier than usual. He knew Bisi would be home earlier than usual and he wanted to spend time with her before the kids returned from school. He had already instructed the driver to go for them when school closed. Maybe he should buy her flowers. Bisi loved flowers.
Constance walked to the credit sale point only to be told the vendor had just excused himself. He had locked the container and taken the key with him. Constance became restless. She looked around and there was no sign of the vendor showing up any time soon. She considered trying out the next sale point but that was some distance away. She had to cover it for Bisi’s sake.
When Bisi finally arrived home, she rushed to the bathroom and threw up into the toilet bowl. After emptying her sick feeling into the bowl, she flushed it and she started to cry. Then she began to wail.
Where did she go wrong?
Constance recharged her account and called Fiifi’s number. He didn’t answer.
“Answer the phone, damn it!” She tried again and again but he didn’t pick up. Maybe he was in a meeting. A text message would convey the message clearly. She began to type.
Fiifi parked his car. He smiled to himself when he saw Bisi’s car. He got out of the car with his briefcase and a bouquet of flowers. He entered the house.
“Honey, I’m home!” He started up the stairs.
His phone vibrated in his pocket. He took it out. A message from Constance. He decided to ignore it but his finger accidentally tapped on it and it opened.
Fiifi’s eyes widened as he pondered over the words. Bisi knew what?
“Honey?” He doubled his steps and rushed to open the bedroom door.
Bisi was sitting on the bed, her eyes were sore red and she was holding tissue in her hand. She took terrible.
Bisi took in his look and saw the phone in his hand. She gave him a weak smile.
“May I guess whom you just spoke to?”
“You lied to me.”
Fiifi dropped his briefcase and the bouquet. His doomsday had arrived.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXVIII here.