Best laid plan (5)

Mide’s Abor with Olamide Longe

Email: Twitter: @araokian

…continued from last week

“Well, don’t get too drunk on the joy or on the glow and blab or you will be out of a job, lose your license and probably end up in prison.”

“You say it as if it’s what you wish for me.”

“Of course not. I am only angry. How do you think she’d react if she found out you were the anonymous donor?”

Felix only shook his head.

“You know life has a way of revealing secrets. It’s the craziest thing. It may take years, decades in fact, but somehow things just unravel.”

Felix nodded. “Since that day I saw her, I’ve seen myself telling her the truth about twice.”

“To what end?”

Felix shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Benson frowned at him.

“It’s my baby she is carrying.”

It was Benson’s turn to shake his head. “You are both crazy, she for coming up with the scheme and you for carrying it out. I fear for the child.”

“It is going to be super intelligent.” Felix said, grinning.

“You are hopeless.”

Felix sobered up within a minute. “You have to help me. I feel responsible; I am responsible. And even though her aim is to go it alone, and my intention was to do as she asked and move on, I can’t.”

“You have to.”

“Didn’t you hear me? I can’t. I find myself wanting to be part of her happiness.”

“Accept my sympathies. But, she paid you handsomely for your troubles. You messed it up by making yourself the donor.”

“Agreed, but I still need your help, please. I’ll be eternally grateful.”

Benson stood up and went to stand by the window, turning his back on Felix. After a bit he said, “I’ll hear it first and decide it is sane before I commit myself.”

Felix nodded, and then explained how he wanted Benson’s help.

When he was done, Benson whistled, bewildered and at the same time impressed. “No wonder you chose me. That head of yours is not big for nothing. Is it even big enough? The things you come up with.”

Felix shook his head slowly. He seemed let down by the answer. “I don’t have a big head. And, I asked you because you are my best friend. I’m only lucky that you do what you do.”

“What would you have done if I didn’t?”

“That’s irrelevant.”

Benson smiled, enjoying his friend’s discomfort. Let him suffer a little. He deserved more for trying to play God. “You do have a big head. Let’s just pray the baby takes after its mother.”

“Will you do it or not?”

“I shouldn’t, but I will.”

Felix jumped on his friend.

When Benson succeeded in extricating himself, he said, “I’m doing it for the baby. He will need someone stable around him.” He was also curious about the woman.

Benson therefore ended up in front of Tejumade’s office complex in a newly painted car posing as taxi-driver. He used to be one. He now ran a rent-a-cab company as one of his many outfits; but he’d driven a cab as a fresh graduate to earn some money, while he searched for a job.

He never did get that white-collar job.

Felix’s idea unfolded in a manner better than he had planned. She ended up hiring Benson after a week of morning pickups and afternoon drop-offs. He also had to pass her friend’s approval. An uppity executive. Benson bore her scrutiny, thinking, you would die if you knew who I really was.

Felix was on cloud nine.

Francesca was happy that the taxi driver checked out well. Moreover, Tejumade was right; he was no ordinary taxi driver. He also seemed trustworthy.

“You’re lucky,” she told Tejumade.

Tejumade wondered if she had heard a wistful note in her voice.

Three weeks later, she informed Francesca that she’d had a Caesarean section scheduled.

Francesca was alarmed, but Tejumade told her it was how she wanted it and the doctor saw nothing wrong with it.

“My god! How do you convince these people? You frighten me with the cold calculating way you’ve gone about this whole affair. Seems to me you are playing God and it’s not right.”

Tejumade scrunched her face. “Not doing things the traditional way doesn’t mean playing God.”

Francesca was silent. “I guess you’re right”, she said finally.

Unfortunately, the month Tejumade was due; Francesca had to travel on an official assignment. The way her timetable went, there was no way she would be in town when the baby arrived. They were both unhappy, but there was no shifting it. Francesca had long prayed for it.

“I think you should call your mother to come and stay with you. Or your sister.”

“No way, they are blissfully unaware and I intend to keep it that way.”

“You need support and I won’t be here.”

Tejumade gave a tired smile. “I’ve got the taxi driver. Mr. Ben, as he asked me to call him.”

“Tejumade be serious.”

Well, he’s been a constant presence these two months. He is reliable and kind.”

“Surely, he’s not going to help you bathe the baby and so on.”

Tejumade smiled. “He strikes me as the type that would gladly offer, but I’ll do that myself. Besides, I will get a maid. I’ll be all right, don’t you worry.”

“I’ll worry, there is no helping that. But I’ll be sending a lot of prayers up to heaven and call you every day.”

“You are an angel. Now, make sure it isn’t all work. Have a blast and send me pictures every day.”

Nine months after

Felix had the most extraordinary look on his face as he read the mail for perhaps the fifth time. It was difficult digesting what Benson had written. He had sold off his businesses and he and Tejumade had relocated somewhere else to start a whole new life together. Perhaps one day he would tell her the truth. For now, he was content with letting her believe serendipity did it, as she loved to say. And, that wasn’t far from the truth. After all, he’d only set out to help, but in helping Felix, he had discovered the woman with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life and the child had become a part of him.

He was sorry to leave town, but it was what Tejumade wanted. Besides, it would be awkward running into him with her and the baby beside him. Felix would have to move on now and remain the anonymous donor he was meant to be.

Felix let out a deep, unearthly groan. He tore the letter into bits, while still trying to decipher exactly how he was feeling.

Francesca finished reading Tejumade’s email and couldn’t help laughing. “My husband, I and our wonderful son are settling in nicely,” she reread aloud. “Husband. Poor Tejumade”. She never knew what hit her. She’d fallen hard. Benson too had been stricken.

She remembered returning two weeks after the baby’s birth and noticing how familiar he’d become with Tejumade.

Naturally, she’d cornered him and asked him what his intentions were. He’d said he was only helping a friend as Tejumade was no longer just a client. He’d been so sweet, not once did he ask needling questions about an absent husband. A proper gem. The more she learned about him, the more she liked.

Accompanying the letter was the smiling faces of the three of them in a group picture.

Beautiful faces, she mused. How she missed them all. It was sad that they had to leave, but in laying her elaborate plans for becoming a single mother after that wild notion that she wasn’t meant to be a wife, Tejumade had inadvertently made it impossible for them to continue staying there.

Naturally, she had to confess all to Benson. From the fake wedding to how she had conceived. He had taken it all in with equanimity and been rather amused by it all.

Tejumade had resigned from her job. Letting it be known that she was going to join her husband.

A quick, small, but proper wedding had been conducted in her hometown and Tejumade had been the radiant bride, basking in all the attention, she had been showered.