The Choice ( Chapter 21)

After a long wait, Sarah was wheeled to the recovery room. The baby was out, and the surgery was over. Femi was allowed to see his wife. He planted a kiss on her forehead. She had been delivered of a male child.

Femi couldn’t be more excited. Sarah opened her eyes and smiled weakly; she was still not completely free from the effect of the anesthesia she had received for the surgery. Femi’s mother rejoiced. Her first male grandchild was here. Baba Fagbami was right. He had said Sarah would deliver a male child, and so it was indeed. Her husband’s ancestor had chosen her son to visit. Femi requested to see his baby, and he was led to the ward where the neonate was. The baby was sleeping in a cot.

Femi stared at the little creature for a long time. And his mum took her turn to examine the baby. “Femi, your great-great-grandfather is here. This child has the very face of your father,” Mama Faronbi said animatedly to her son. Femi smiled. He was used to his mother’s love for tradition.

There was no way he could prove to her that it was a misconception to think a dead person could return to the world as a baby. He would rather allow his mother to stick to her belief. On the fourth day, Sarah and her baby were discharged home. Femi’s mother had brought different kinds of native soaps and materials to use in the care of the newborn. Mama Faronbi intimated Sarah about the welcome ritual’ Baba Fagbami had told her to do if she didn’t want the ancestor who returned as a baby to leave in anger.

Mama Faronbi handed a black soap wrapped in banana leaf to Sarah. “Baba said you should bathe the baby in a bowl with this soap, after which you would go to a marketplace at night to discard the used water. The following day, you will cook beans without oil and wrap them in leaves. You’ll then take the wraps to the market square when the sun is hottest and give them to beggars and whomsoever you wish. Then you can return home and continue nursing your baby. I have delivered Baba Fagbami’s message,” Mama Faronbi said. Sarah flattened her lips. She couldn’t imagine herself doing all her mother-in-law had said. What if something happened to her at the market at night?

What if somebody misunderstood her while she was discarding the bathwater? What if this and that? What if it filled Sarah’s head? She wouldn’t do such a thing. Sarah collected the soap from Mama Faronbi and dropped it on the table. “Mama, don’t be idolatrous. You are a Christian. You shouldn’t be going to herbalists. Please don’t bring unwholesome traditions to my home or to my child,” Sarah said. Mama Faronbi clapped her hands with an undertone. “What! Are you talking to me? How dare you?” “Mama, I’m sorry, but I’m fed up. Despite the chant you asked me to do, I still ended up being cut open in the operating room. I wish I didn’t obey you at all.” “Who knew if you didn’t do it at all or enough? If you had, you would have delivered safely without surgery.” “I did it. Anyway, that’s not the bone of contention. I’m sincerely fed up with the things you do. I see you bathe my baby with different kinds of unmentionable items. Yes, I’ve been condoning it, but I won’t have any of such again. Not now or ever again,” Sarah said.

Mama Faronbi hissed. “I’m trying to help you, and this is what I get in return. How dare you talk to me like that? You’re very stupid.” “Mama, I know what I’m saying. I no longer want anything to do with your beliefs and tradition. My God is enough for me.” Mama Faronbi rose to her feet. “No problem. You’ll have the consequences to face. But let me tell you this, if anything happens to

my grandson, you’ll have no option but to pack your things and leave my son’s house.” “Nothing will happen to my child. I have a God that is greater than all your gods put together.” “Alright, we shall see,” Mama Faronbi said and stormed out of the living room. She knew what she had to do. She would report to Baba Fagbami that Sarah had insulted him, his directives, and his gods. The battle line was drawn.

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