The Choice (chapter 16)

"Congratulations. You're pregnant," a doctor told Sarah after carrying out an ultrasound scan on her. Femi, seated on a chair on the left side of the office, smiled. "This is good news!" he said.

Sarah frowned. She was no longer sure pregnancy outside marriage was good news. Pastor Helen's message the previous day still rang a bell in her head. Maybe if she weren't pregnant, she wouldn't have felt uneasy and would probably have rededicated her life to Jesus. She should have just quenched her fears and raised her hand the previous day. The overwhelming guilt in her heart would have been washed off. Femi continued, ignoring Sarah's indifference. "Thank you, doctor. I'm grateful." "You're welcome," the doctor said and rose to his feet.

He walked to the table, input some information on the computer, and printed the document displayed on the screen—Sarah's positive pregnancy test result. He handed the result to Femi, who collected it joyfully. Femi and Sarah eventually left the office and headed home. Sarah kept quiet about the pregnancy. She couldn't even express any excitement that their efforts had yielded fruit. "What's wrong with you, dear?" Femi said as soon as they were seated in the car.

Sarah looked away, unsure of what to say. "Sweetheart, talk to me. I don't understand this attitude of yours. Are you not happy we're getting married?" Femi said. Sarah sighed. "I just wished I didn't get myself involved in this." "Meaning?" Femi widened his eyes. "What does that mean? Are you sick of this relationship? Or is it that you no longer want to marry me? Tell me," he said. "This isn't about the marriage per se. I am not happy I succumbed to pressure. I have this feeling that I'm distant from God," Sarah said. "Sarah, please don't overwork yourself. It's a mere feeling. If God didn't answer our prayers, you wouldn't get pregnant.

God is not distant from us." Sarah shrugged. Femi shook his head. "I don't understand the reason for these sudden somber thoughts of yours." He took his phone from his pocket. "Let me share the good news with my mother," he said as he dialed a set of numbers. "Hello, Maami," Femi said, smiling. "Femi! How're you?" Femi's mother said from the other end of the line. "I'm fine, ma.

How're you and Daddy as well?" "We're fine. I've wanted to call you since about a week ago," Mama Faronbi said. Femi raised a brow. "Really?" "Yes. Your dad and I had a lengthy discussion about some things. We've observed your stubbornness in doing what we told you to do." Femi smiled, preparing his mind to surprise his mum. "Maami, I'm not stubborn. I dare not disobey you," he said.

"You dare not, my foot. After living here with that girl for many months. Anyway, your father said you should visit the girl's parents and ask for a possible date we can come to meet them. We'll allow you to marry on your own terms since you both have chosen to remain single," Femi's mum said. Femi's eagerness to break the news to his mum waned. He blinked. "Maami, are you sure Daddy agreed to what you're telling me?" "What choice does he have? Although Baba Fagbami did not agree, your father has told his people he would no longer force the tradition on you. So it's left to you to start the wedding arrangements," Mama Faronbi said. Femi swallowed. His mother's words felt like a bolus in his throat. "Uh. Hmm. Er–" "What is it, Femi? I expect this to be good news for you. After all, you'll eventually have your way. Or are you no longer interested in marrying the girl? Perhaps she has left you for someone else." "No, Maami. I was just going to tell you that she's pregnant," Femi said. "What! She's pregnant?" "Yes, Maami." Mama Faronbi's eyes dilated. "Pregnant with whose child?" she said, wanting to clarify her doubts. "Has she married someone else already?"

"Not at all. She's pregnant with my child," Femi said. "Don't tell me this is a joke. I already told you there's no need for it," Mama Faronbi said. Femi rolled his eyeballs. "I'm not joking, Maami." "Make me understand. You mean you already got Sarah pregnant?" "Yes. No more doubts about fertility or anything pertaining to it," Femi said and smiled. "I'm finding it hard to believe what you've just said.

Do you mean that lady eventually agreed to our terms? I thought she was insisting she was a born-something Christian." "Maami, what does that have to do with this now? Shouldn't you be happy that all went well?" "It's not as if I'm not happy. I'm just shocked. You can't understand, Femi. I was beginning to tell your father that Sarah would keep you single forever if we didn't allow you to go ahead and get married to her. It was part of the reasons why your father agreed to allow you to flout the rule.

Just yesterday, he sent two mother hens to his brother, who insisted on giving live animals to Baba Fagbami," Mama Faronbi said. Femi exhaled. "You know I won't associate myself with such a practice. Aside from that, this isn't what you should be saying." Sarah's heart lurched forward. She had been listening in silence to Femi as he spoke with his mum over the phone. She noticed the drape of sadness over Femi's face. Were Femi's parents against him marrying her? What could his mum have said? Probably Mama Faronbi just didn't want Sarah for her son. It had better not be. She was pregnant with her son's child now, Sarah thought. "Alright. Don't mind me. I'm just expressing my surprise," Mama Faronbi said. Femi bobbed his head. "Surprise registered. Now, back to the issue on the ground. How do we go about it? Remember that you gave your word about prompt action," he said." "Er, first of all, I have to inform your father.

We will have a talk and inform the other members of the family. Then we can start preparations." "That's good. I'll be waiting to hear from you." "Alright. Sarah should also talk to her parents and inform us of the possible time we could come to meet them." "She will definitely do that," Femi said and nodded. "Okay. No problem, my son." "Thank you so much, ma. I'm grateful." "You're welcome. How's work and everything?" "Fine, ma. Everything is fine. I have to go now. I will call you tomorrow to get feedback concerning our discussion." "Alright. I will speak to your father tonight." "Thank you. Have a nice day, ma," Femi said. "You too. Take care. Bye," Mama Faronbi said and hung up. Sarah stared at Femi with huge expectations.

She wanted to hear all his mother had said. Femi dropped his phone and glanced at Sarah. "Everything is fine. Maami wants you to ask your parents the possible time for an introduction so we can kick-start the wedding arrangement." Sarah searched his eyes. "What is it? Are you not happy to hear that?" Femi said. "You're yet to tell me the rest of the conversation. What did Mama say? I saw your face turning blue and yellow. I knew something didn't go down well with you. So what was it?" Sarah said. "Nothing. We didn't say much. She only mentioned that Daddy had already agreed that we get married without having to worry about conception first. And I told her we'd crossed the bridge already. I'm sure she was happy to hear that. So no worries. All we need now is to get ready," Femi said. Sarah blinked. "Wait. Do you mean your parents eventually succumbed? As in, they dropped the idea of pregnancy first?" "Yes.

So she said. But what does that have to do with this? That's all in the past now. Let's focus on the future." Sarah turned her head against the side window, staring absentmindedly at the glass. Tears formed in her eyes. Femi bent his back to catch a view of his fiancée's face. "What's this mood all about now? Sometimes, I don't just understand you. I know you're already making a mountain out of the molehill of what Maami said," Femi said and shook Sarah gently. Sarah turned her head and faced him. "If we had been patient as I insisted, wouldn't we have won eventually?" she said. "Patient for eight months or thereabout?" Femi said. "Are we already married since we succumbed to their will?" "Sarah! What are you saying? What's that supposed to mean?" "I'm saying if you had listened to me, we would have done it the Lord's way." "Must you spiritualize everything? What do you even mean? Did I force the opinion on you? Didn't you agree to it?" Femi said, irritation lining his eyes. "Excuse me. I didn't agree willingly. I did it for you?" "Whether willingly or otherwise, the bottom line is that you agreed.

And if you said you did it for me, it's vice versa. So just leave this issue as it is, and focus on the future." "No. You made me agree. You made me do it," Sarah said." Anger crept into Femi's eyes. "I've heard enough of this. Stop trying to make me feel I made you do it. Stop pointing accusing fingers." "I'm not pointing accusing fingers. I'm only telling the truth. You made me consent to your family tradition. If you had been sensitive to the Spirit enough, you would have withstood the devil and his schemes," Sarah said. "You're just looking for where to push blame. You, Mrs. Sensitive-to-the-Spirit, why didn't you withstand the devil and his schemes yourself?" Femi said and raised his cheeks in disgust. Sarah eyed him. She wouldn't take any bame. Not now, not ever. The guilt on her mind was sufficient to drown a rock. She couldn't stomach the fact that Femi wasn't ready to feel guilty as well. "You doused my fire. You did. If you had listened, things would have been different. Seriously, I doubt if you are a Christian at all," Sarah blurted. "Please keep quiet or get out of my car. Feel free to terminate the pregnancy and start a fresh spiritual life... I'll no longer condone your verbosity," Femi snapped. Sarah shook with fear.

"Terminate what? How could you say that? You want to add another problem to my plate?" "If you can't terminate it, keep quiet and let's think of the way forward," Femi said. Sarah drew a long breath and exhaled in a puff. Femi started the car. The two sat in silence all through the drive to Sarah's house. Femi parked the car opposite Sarah's house. Sarah opened the door and was about to step out when Femi held her hand. She turned her head. Their eyes met. "I'm sorry I shouted at you. I didn't just want us dwelling on the past. Let's leave the past where it belonged. I have told you that God has forgiven us," Femi said, sincerity obvious on his face. Sarah nodded. "It's all right. I'm sorry, too. I was angry." "Thanks, dear. You're forgiven. So let's talk about preparation. Please find out from your parents when they would like my parents to come for a befitting introduction," Femi said. Sarah pushed her worries aside. She was getting married. That was more than enough. "Alright. I'll talk to my mum. I'll let you know what she says," she said. "Thank you." "You're welcome." "I love you." "Alright," Sarah said and attempted to leave. Femi pulled her dress. "You forget something. You've not told me you love me too." "Femi, I'm not in the mood." Femi clasped his hands. "Please, please." "Okay. I love you, too," she said. "Thank you. Have a nice evening. Please make sure you rest well. No more stress." Sarah nodded and walked towards the gate. She stopped briefly and waved at Femi before slipping through the door. Femi reversed his car and drove home, his mind at rest."

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