The Choice (chapter 29)

Sarah, with her baby, arrived in Ekiti State and headed to her in-law’s house. Sulu, the family’s dog, sat at the door quietly, staring at Sarah as she approached. Sarah trod cautiously, unsure of the dog’s intention.

A big bag hung from Sarah’s right hand and a smaller one from her left, and she had Joseph strapped on her back. There was no way she could run if Sulu decided to attack her. Sulu sprang up and wagged its tail, his tongue outside its mouth. Sarah walked closer. Sulu approached her, gentle in its approach, still wagging its tail. Sarah knew instantly that the dog meant no harm. The ferocity in the dog’s eyes the first time Sarah met it was missing now. She disregarded the dog’s greeting and knocked on the main door. Femi’s elder sister opened the door. She smiled and embraced Sarah. “Look who’s here! My wife and only sister. And our very own son,” Bisi said, smiling. She quickly collected Sarah’s bags and walked into the house. Sarah couldn’t be less stunned. She knew how Bisi had treated her in the past. It wasn’t overreaction that Bisi’s sudden kindness took Sarah by surprise. Bisi dropped the bags on the table and turned to Sarah. “Please let me carry my son,” she said.

Sarah loosened the wrapper that fastened Joseph to her back and handed the boy to her sister-in-law. Joseph was sleeping. Bisi threw the baby up and caught him. Joseph opened his eyes and gave a weak cry. “Baba Fatele! Your great-granddaughter hails you. Wake up and bless your daughter,” Bisi said and tickled the boy. Sarah took her seat. It was high time she rested her aching limbs. It hadn’t been easy traveling with a child and her bags on a public bus. Her legs had been wedged in the right third-row corner of the bus she boarded. “This boy is a replica of my father. I wish my dad was around to behold his grandfather,” Bisi said, smiling at Joseph as she examined him. Sarah leaned against the backrest. “Is Daddy not around?” she said. She would love to see her father-in-law.

To Sarah, Papa Faronbi was the best person in Femi’s family. “No, he’s not. He traveled with Uncle Esan yesterday,” Bisi said. Sarah bobbed her head. “Oh! Okay. I hope he’ll return soon.” “Return soon? I don’t think so. They went to the family’s farm. They intend to get people to clear the land and plant before they return home. It will take many days, if not weeks.” Sarah widened her eyes.“Why will it take weeks? Will they be sleeping on the farm? How will they fare?” she said. Bisi laughed. “We have a farmhouse.

They will stay there. It’s not their first time staying on the farm. They even spend more time during the period of harvest. They’ll be fine.” “Hmm. Okay. You know better,” Sarah said. “Someday, you’ll visit the farm as well,” Bisi said. Sarah laughed and shrugged. She needed not to argue. She knew she had nothing to do with the farm. Bisi smiled and returned her attention to the child in her arms. “Baba agba. Welcome home,” she said. Mama Faronbi came out of the room and greeted Sarah warmly. She took Joseph from Bisi and eulogized him as usual. Sarah watched Mama Faronbi and Bisi welcome her son. It was a funny drama for her. Mama Faronbi served Sarah a delicious meal and conversed with her for a while.

Sarah felt loved. She took Joseph and breastfed him. Joseph vomited after feeding, which made Sarah narrate her ordeal in the hospital to her mother-in-law. As soon as Joseph was cleaned up, Femi’s mother took him and strapped him on her back. “Sarah, we must go somewhere,” she said. “Where is that?” Sarah said. Mama Faronbi walked to the door. “There’s no time to waste. Follow me,” she said and walked out of the house. Sarah squeezed her lips. Her mother-in-law had commanded. She had to obey. She rose to her feet, carried her smaller bag, and followed Mama Faronbi.

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