The Choice (chapter 8)

Femi was seated in a chair, facing his mother. He had been conversing with her for a while.

"Maami, I'm not happy with what you're saying. I've told you that this lady can't do anything like that. I can't do it either. You should be the one pleading with Daddy on our behalf, but instead, you're the one insisting," Femi said with a frown. "I'm doing this because I love you. I can't open my eyes and watch you end in a ditch," Mama Faronbi said. "Maami, this is no ditch." It is, my dear. Look at your sister. Are you pleased with her life?" Mama Faronbi said. "But this isn't about Sister Bisi; it is about Sarah and me," Femi said. "Listen to me, Son. Your sister wouldn't have ended up like that if she had listened to us. She has lived in three men's houses with nothing to show for it but an abandoned child.

Do you want to tread her path as well?" "I don't understand you. What has that got to do with Sarah getting pregnant before the wedding?" Mama Faronbi moved to the edge of the chair. "Today, I will tell you what you don't know. When your sister was impregnated, Baba Fagbami told us she shouldn't go to her husband's house until she delivered the child and the necessary rites were done. But she wouldn't listen. She was in love. Or wasn't that what she said? She moved to the man's house and was sent back barely a year after she had the child. Two men after that, yet, nothing worked. I can't let that happen to you. Since the same Baba Fagbami has said that the male children in the family should impregnate their women before marrying them, so be it. I don't have another son apart from you; I can't allow your life to go bad," Femi's mother said.

Femi spread his palm in the air. "Maami! That story is not true. Sister Bisi was in secondary school when she had Toke. You were supposed to bring her back to the Lord. Not to the gods with small g. Sometimes I wonder why you still believe in whatever that fetish tells you after you've given your life to Christ." "Will you shut your dirty mouth? Don't you know God with the capital G speaks through gods with the small g?" Mama Faronbi said. "That's a lie from the pit of hell, Maami. God has no relationship with idols. He is God alone and able to do His works without the help of any god," Femi said. "Shut up. That's the problem I have with all the new churches nowadays. They just fill your head with lies and make you forget culture and traditions. Anyway, that's not the bone of contention for today.

My point is that you should get that girl pregnant or find another woman." Femi shook his head. "I can't find another woman. I'm meant to be with Sarah." "Wait, what is it with that girl? What do you like about her? She's not beautiful—" "Maami, she is. The Bible says in Proverbs 31:30, 'Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.' Sarah is a wonderful lady. I can bet you'll like her when you get to know who she really is," Femi interrupted." "Mama Faronbi hissed. "Listen to me, my friend. That lady is far from what I have in mind for you. She's not even in any way close. Apart from the physical beauty she lacks, she has an evil spirit. Only people with evil spirits are attacked by dogs, especially by Sulu. She is trying to lure you into marrying her."

"I disagree with you, Maami. Sarah is a daughter of God. She's not trying to lure me into anything. I love her, and she loves me," Femi defended. Mama Faronbi shook her head in pity, her lips flattened. "This thing you children of nowadays call love is stupidity. In fact, that stupidity is of the highest order. How could you not see that Sarah is an empty tank? We know what ladies do. They mess up their lives. After countless escapades and abortions, they tie scarves and call themselves born-again Christians, waiting for innocent brothers to marry them. I won't open my eyes and allow that to happen to my only son." "But Sarah has never had an abortion." "See you. Will she tell you? As I was staring at her the day you brought her here, I could sense it. That lady has no womb. That was why she was quick to beg us not to insist that she gets pregnant before the wedding. She's an empty tank, my dear. You can't marry her," Mama Faronbi said.

Femi sighed. How else could he convince his mother that Sarah was a virtuous woman? Not that she had never sinned. But that had been wiped away at the cross. If there was anyone he saw himself marrying, it was Sarah. "First of all, beauty, they say, lies in the eye of the beholder. To you, Sarah could be ugly. But to me, she's beautiful. And she's not an empty tank. As a matter of fact, she's an overfilled one. She's the one I want. Baba Fagbami's words are canceled when God gives His own "words. I just hope you'll see this from my perspective and understand me," Femi said with finality in his tone. "You want to marry Sarah? Come to think of it; everything is against this girl. Even her name. Remember Sarah in the Bible was barren—" "Maami, that Sarah of the Bible became the mother of nations," Femi countered. "At what age? What nations? You mean that one child that she had at old age?" "Maami, the nation, Israel, came through her.

Our Lord Jesus came through her. And her name is remembered till date." "Say whatever you want. I won't say you should not marry Sarah. As long as you can prove to me that she's capable of having a child, I will consent and wipe out my animosity against her. You have to do that at least." "And how am I supposed to do that if you don't allow me to get married to her first?" "You don't need a wedding to get her pregnant. Get her pregnant first, and then you'll have a wedding. Are we clear here?" Mama Faronbi said. Femi hushed and bowed his head, staring at the floor. "Femi, I'm expecting an answer," Mama Faronbi said. Femi lifted his head. "There's no other answer than that I have given. If you don't want me to get married, well, it's fine. I will remain a bachelor if that pleases you and Baba Fagbami, or what did you say his name is?" Mama Faronbi kept quiet. She noticed the frustration in his son's eyes. What would she gain if her only son remained a bachelor?"

"God forbid. You will get married and have beautiful children. The Bible said children would surround your table." Femi shook his head. One moment, his mother was quoting Baba Fagbami, a priest of idols. Another moment, she was quoting the Bible. God save her soul! Mama Faronbi stood to her feet and walked to Femi's side. She sat beside him. "Ifafemi, my son. Fakoro pakoro, the child of the night thunder. When the thunder strikes, you rejoice, for the sound of thunder is music to your swift feet. It wouldn't rain, for if it rained, the clothes of Faku, your ancestor, would be drenched. Who dared search the eyes of Faku whenever he was drenched in the rain? Fire in his eyes, kola nut on his tongue, banana leaves in his hands, that was how your ancestors won battles. The bird that tweeted in Faku's path was crushed, the snake that crossed his path was roasted, and the pregnant woman that abused Faku never delivered. Ifafemi, you're the son of seven pepper, seven stones, seven pots, and seven wonders," Mama Faronbi said, eulogizing her son. Femi sighed.

If there was anything he disliked associating with, it was the idolatrous chant her mother called a eulogy. He was tired of telling his mother not to call him Ifafemi. He was Oluwafemi, nothing short of that. "I consent that you marry Sarah if she's the one your heart longs for. If she's the one who makes marriage something sensible to you, go ahead. I won't stand in the way of your joy, my son," Mama Faronbi said. Light returned to Femi's eyes. He smiled and embraced his mum. Finally, his mum understood him. "Thank you, Maami." "You're welcome. But there's one more thing I have to say," Mama Faronbi said. Femi stared at his mother. "Okay." "Draw Sarah close. It's not as if you two won't be married eventually. Rub your body against hers. Make her be with a child. It might require just a single trial. No one has to know. I promise to hasten the wedding process the moment she becomes pregnant. She would become your wife. And you could continue your life your own way. Honor us with this. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

The gods' mouthpiece has spoken. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. It won't cost you anything to do that," Mama Faronbi said. Femi listened as his mother spoke in a voice sweeter and calmer than usual of her. He sighed. "I can't make any promise yet. I'll think about it and get back to you," Femi said. "Thank you, my son. Your children will honor you. I'm so proud of you, my son." Femi smiled at his mother's sudden joy. "Stand up and come eat. I made pounded yam and melon soup for you," Mama Faronbi said. Femi rose to his feet and went to the dining. He had his meal, gave his mother some money, and left the house. Femi sat in his car and journeyed home, ruminating on what his mother had said. Various thoughts clogged his mind. He had to find common ground for Sarah and his parents, he thought."

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