The Choice (chapter 22)

Sarah sat up in bed, ruminating on all that was happening. After much thought, she woke Femi up from his sleep. "Dear, wake up," she said.

Femi struggled to stay awake. His day had been extremely busy. "Wake up. We have to talk," Sarah said, tapping Femi frantically. "Can't it wait till morning? I'm exhausted. I need to rest," Femi said with a frown. "How could you desire rest when I can't sleep? Sit up. We need to talk," Sarah said and tapped the bed. Femi turned his head to the opposite side and shut his eyes. Sarah tapped him again. "I'm not joking, Femi. Wake up; it's important." Reluctantly, Femi sat up, groggy. "What is the problem?" he said in a sleepy voice. "Dear, there's fire on the mountain. Fearful fire, in fact." "Which mountain? What fire?" Sarah shook her head. "Darkness hovers around us, Femi. And we are sleeping away, apathetic." Femi sighed. He sensed what was coming.

A long discourse on religiosity. He wasn't interested. At least not tonight. "I rebuke darkness in Jesus' name. Now go to sleep. We'll continue from here tomorrow," Femi said and lay on the bed.

"Why can't you stay alert for once? I'm talking about something serious, and you're still trying to sleep. Who sleeps with fire in his bosom?" Femi propped himself with a pillow. "Okay, I'm listening to what you have to say. Please make it snappy." "We have given room to the devil to come into this home. We need revival and restoration," Sarah said. "No perambulation. Please go straight to the point," Femi said, his face drawn. "Can you imagine? Your mum has been calling my child Fatele. A name that belonged to someone she called your ancestor. And you are not saying anything about it.

It's not as if the baby doesn't have better names. That's just one of the problems." Sarah paused and stared at her husband. "Won't you say anything?" Femi swallowed. "You said that was one of the problems. I wanted you to list all the problems so we could find solutions to them at a go." "Alright. Another problem is the demonic and devilish items your mother brought into this house. I have told you many times to warn her to stop bathing my baby with those dirty cowries and black soap, but she wouldn't stop. As if that was not enough, she called me and told me there was a ritual I needed to do or else Joseph would die. Imagine that. How could she expect me to go to the market at night to go discard water? What if something happened to me? What am I even saying? I'm a Christian; I can't do that," Sarah said. Femi nodded. "Continue. I'm listening. Or is that all you have to say?" "No. I also want to know when she will be returning home. She's done enough here. I appreciate her, but she has to leave."

"Basically, you're telling me to chase my mother out of my own house. Isn't that what you're insinuating?" "I have listed three or four things. But it's only the part of your mum leaving that you could reply to. That's exactly what I'm saying. I don't even understand you again." "Sarah, don't overstep your bounds. That I didn't react negatively towards you didn't mean I'm oblivious of what transpired between you and Maami. It didn't mean that I wasn't displeased with you. I just wanted peace. In actual fact, you have to apologize to Maami. Tomorrow, unfailingly." Sarah's jaw dropped. "Is that what you have to say to all of these?" "Go and apologize to her first. When she forgives you, we'll discuss the rest." "So your mum called you and told you I wronged her for telling her the truth." "She doesn't need your truth, Sarah. She's an adult; she knows what is good," Femi said. "What is good for who? She can't decide what is good for my son.

She can't. Not with all those charms she carries about and those ancient beliefs of hers." Irritation crawled on Femi's throat. "Can you talk about your mother like this?" "Femi, don't bring my mother into this. My mother is not idolatrous. She's a prayer warrior." Femi sniggered. "Indeed." Sarah tilted to a side, pointing at her husband. "Be warned. Don't see my mother in that light. I won't take it from you." "Your mother isn't more precious than mine. As a matter of fact, whatever Maami tells you to do henceforth, you must do it if you love yourself," Femi said, wanting to get back at his wife.

Sarah gesticulated. "Excuse me. That won't be possible. I'm to submit to my husband, not to my mother-in-law. The difference is clear. She can't be ordering me around in my own home. If she were a righteous woman, would it not have been easier? You'd better drive her to the village because I will take no such thing from her. Her time is up in this house." "In the house you rented, I guess?"

"This is our house, Femi. It doesn't matter if you rented it. It's ours. Your money and belongings are mines as well." Femi glanced at the wall clock opposite the bed. Quarter to two. "I beg you, woman, let me rest, please. I have to be in the office no later than seven in the morning. I told you we have a program." "You can't sleep until these issues get sorted out. I can't do what your mum requested of me. I can't. And it has to stop," Sarah snapped. "Don't raise your voice at me. And don't disturb my mum's sleep with your noise." "Give me the answer I want to hear then," she said. Femi sighed. He held his head in silence for a while. "Sarah, think about it this way. My parents insisted that you get pregnant before our wedding, and you did. Are you not enjoying your home now? Yes, you are. So if Maami asks you to do something, just do it and let it go. By the time she leaves, you can buy your own favorite soap and wash the previous soaps off your baby's skin. It's not difficult.

You've accepted the first instruction; you can't disobey and bring yourself into trouble." "I can disobey if the order is injurious to my child or me. And I will. I'm not going to do any of those things, she said. And please, tell her to stop calling my son Fatele from now onward." "Joseph is your son and her own grandson. So each of you should call the child what pleases you," Femi said. "Hear yourself. Anyway, no problem. I just wanted you to know that I won't do what your mother said." Sarah left the bed and walked out of the room. Femi shook his head and lay in bed. He shut his eyes and soon slept off."

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