We left Ogoja by 8:30am, talked about our different holidays with me omitting anything that would suggest I had been fucking like a rabbit in Obudu. On her part, she didn’t have to tell me of her sessions with Cindy as she assumed I know already, or at least not with Jude with us. We stopped over at Ikom to refill the fuel tank and buy Bananas and groundnuts before proceeding.
“So, where are we staying Laura?” I asked, wondering if she had a place in mind or wanted us to get there first.
“How am I responsible for your accommodation Nite Fury?” she asked, calling my full name. Then she added, “For your info, I’m going to my sister’s house so you better start keeping your hotel money.”
“Na you carry me dey go Calabar. Now you don leave me for road,” I said, laughing.
“Na you sabi,” she said in a her Ibibio accent, making all of us laugh.
We got to Calabar by 12:30pm, thanks to how fast Jude was because he was returning to Obudu same day. She alighted by Mobil, telling me to call her when I sort my accommodation out so she can come pick me up for lunch and dinner.
I told Jude the hotel to take me to and paid him when we got there. He gave me 5k from our initial agreement saying I should use that for my room bills and that he’ll pick passengers on his way back and would fuel the car with their money.
Inside the room, I laid on the bed tired. Remembering the envelope Frank’s Dad gave me, I brought it out of my bag and checked inside to see 20k. Thank goodness. I called him, thanking him, saying we arrived Calabar safely. I also called Mom, Frank, Fay, Rose and Ella, all in that order, telling them I got to Cali safely.
It was around 2pm while I had slept off that Laura called asking for my room number. I told her and a few minutes later she was inside saying, “Get dressed, let’s go get something to eat.”
She handed my flight ticket to me as I got dressed. I thanked her and kept it inside my bag before we left. But in all, I noticed her tone was different. Now, I didn’t remember calling her to tell her the name of the hotel, but she knew that’s where I’ll be lodged.
We took a cab to one of the Mr Fans in the city and ordered a plate of rice and chicken both. As we ate she asked what I was discussing with Cindy earlier. I told her and she laughed.
Though she was laughing, I could read the signs that something wasn’t quite alright. Like she had something bothering her. As we sat eating, a young girl came in with a baby boy, got some items and left. All of a sudden she turned and asked me “What’s your thoughts on baby mamas?”
“My thoughts? How? And who says she’s just a baby mama and not married?” I asked her, knowing the girl that just left the restaurant made her ask the question.
“Like, can you marry a single mom? She had no ring on her fingers,” she replied me.
“I don’t know, I’m indifferent towards them. But while I don’t mind marrying a single mom, the situation that led to her having the child would matter to me.” I answered her as I continued eating.
“Situation like?” she asked, not showing any intent of dropping the topic.
“Like, did the guy deny the pregnancy? was she violated? Is she divorced? You know? All those kinda questions would be asked. But thing is, that she didn’t abort the pregnancy doesn’t make her bad, so I really don’t judge them.” I said, hoping that would answer her.
When I finished saying that, she kept quiet and was looking tensed. Picking her phone from the table, she flipped through and passed the phone to me saying, “Here, flip through.”
I collected the phone and in it I saw a girl of about 2 years smiling. As I began to flip through I saw several pictures of her and the little girl in France (Eiffel tower was in the background of a few).
“My daughter, Vera” she said as I flipped through.
It made sense now. She wanted to know what I’ll think of her as a single mom. But besides the baby being light skinned like her, there was nothing to suggest she was a product of an interracial relationship. Which meant her baby daddy must be a Nigerian or a Black man at least.
“So cute,” I said as my face lit up with smiles.
“So where’s she?” I asked curiously.
“Here in Calabar, with my elder sister. She had visited me in Lagos with her last daughter who’s about the same age as Vera. Vera cried saying she wanted to follow them to Calabar when they wanted to leave, while Faith, my niece said she wasn’t leaving Lagos without Vera. So, since I was gonna come for the wedding in Ogoja, I allowed her to go with them. My passing through Calabar is just to pick her.
“So where’s her dad?” I asked looking up to her, believing that was the next question I ought to ask.
Looking down to her plate of food as she played with her spoon, she answered me saying, “He never knew of her existence until now.”
She then looked back at me saying, “I named her after your mom.”
To be continued…