Two months later, i was already pregnant with my Aunty's baby and she prevented me from telling anyone. According to her, not everyone understands what surrogacy is and may be passing criticising words at the idea, i obeyed her and kept it all to myself.
My friend Tinu didn't hear anything from me for weeks and so she came visiting. I was so happy to see her. I welcomed her into the house and entertained her.
"How did you locate this place?". I asked immediately i put down the tray containing some snacks and a pack of fruit juice.
"I checked your school diary and saw your house address and since my Uncle lives in Abuja too. I told my Mum i'd be spending part of the school break with him, just so i'd be able to check on you" She responded, smiling. I was so glad she came visiting. My Aunty had isolated me from the world and i was beginning to feel socially drained.
I looked at Tinu and smiled, then she continued.
"I tried calling you several times after the last time we spoke but it wasn't reachable. At a point, i was even scared something might have happened to you"
"I'm so sorry about that. My Aunty and i went shopping few weeks back and as we were coming out of the mall, some thieves snatched my bag and took off on a bike. My phone and other important things were in it. We couldn't run after them so that was how i lost my phone and all my contacts"
"Oooh. So sorry about that. And have you gotten another one now"
"My aunty promised doing that but she's yet to fulfil it"
Tinu took her cup of juice and munched some snacks, then she dropped it and looked at me.
"Are you okay Gina. You looked rather pale" She touched my neck to feel my temperature. I smiled back and nodded in the affirmative.
"By the way, you still haven't told me why you suddenly left school and never came back. What's happening Gina"
I looked into Gina's eyes. I felt she deserves to know the truth. Even though my aunty has always been so caring and supportive, i felt i deserve to carry my friend along. I was sure Tinu will understand. I was about replying her and explaining the situation of things when my Aunty came in. She had been out since that morning and i wasn't expecting her back so soon. I got up and went to collect her bag.
She smiled at me. Tinu got up to greet her and i saw her smile diminish immediately she set her eyes on Tinu.
"Who is this?" she questioned frantically.
"Oooh, Aunty" i stepped in. "This is Tinu, my friend from school"
"Yes? So what is she doing in my house?"
Tinu and i exchanged glances. I've never seen my aunty so cold towards a visitor before.
"She came to visit me Aunty. Since she hasn't seen me in school for a while" i tried to explain
"So? Is she your mother? Why must she come and look for you?" Aunty ranted. She moved close to Tinu, i stood behind her with her bag in my hands.
"Listen to me Tinu or whatever it is they call you. I don't want to see you in this house ever again. Understood?"
"Ye.......ye.....yes ma" She took her bag and hurried out of the house.
I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe my aunty just sent out the one friend who actually cared about me.
"Gina! What exactly is the meaning of this? Since when do you bring a total stranger into my house" Her eyes sparked.
"Aunty, I'm sorry. She didn't hear from me for a long time especially after i lost my phone"
"Will you keep quiet? Is this the way you intend bringing all sort of riffraff into my home? Ehn" she ranted.
I was still in shock. She hissed disgustingly and snatched her bag from me.
"I don't ever want to see you with that girl again. She's bad news!"
"But Aunty, you don't even know this girl....."
"Shut up! I don't need to know anything about her, okay? You don't have to keep such people in your life anymore. Just keep off from her". She left me standing and went upstairs.
Why would my Aunty act so callous. Does she want me to cut off from everyone in my life? But why?
I went into my room upstairs and jumped on the bed. Then it suddenly dawned on me that i didn't get Tinu's number. How will i apologise to her now. I cried myself to sleep that night.
My aunty's gentle tap woke me up the next morning. I opened my eyes one after the other and later sat up.
"My baby, how are you this morning?" she massaged my hands gently.
"I'm fine Aunty"
"And how's my other baby doing" she rubbed my tummy. I smiled
"He's okay too aunty"
"And how did you know it's a she" she frowned jokingly.
"Well, Uncle said he wants a baby boy so I'm hoping it'd be a boy"
"Nonsense! I want a girl" We both laughed for few seconds.
"Uhmmmm Gina. I just want to apologise for yesterday. You see, you are very precious to me and i won't want to see you getting involved with low life people such as Tinu or what did you call her name"
"There is no but, Gina. Just accept the fact that you can't see her again, okay?"
I nodded in the affirmative and she got up to go out of the room.
"Uhm aunty! You promised to get me a new phone after those robbers took my phone"
"Oooh, that!...." She stopped and looked back. "Well, i really do not see the need for that anymore. You can always use my phone or your Uncle's for anything important, okay?"
I nodded, then she came back to where i sat on the bed and put her hands on my shoulders.
"We only want the best for you my baby. We can't wait for you to give us our child, then you'd see the stuff we are made of" She smiled again and stroke my hair before getting up.
"I'd see you when I'm back from work"
She smiled again and went out of my room.
I laid back on my bed and started to think of my life. I couldn't wait to give birth so i can go start a new life in the UK. Uncle had promised to sponsor me anywhere i wanted to go in the world. I had always wanted to go to the UK, England to be precise. I imagined myself living in a comfortable house, having my car and going shopping every weekend. I smiled and went back to sleep.
Things went well for the next 5months. Funsho became my only friend and confidant. Most times, it's just us alone in the house when my Aunty and her husband goes to work.
I was already heavy at this point and i started expecting my Uncle to start processing my travel to the UK.
"Funsho, do you think Uncle was serious when he said he'd sponsor me abroad?" i asked one afternoon. Funsho had just gotten back from school and we were watching the TV together in the sitting room.
"Well, he's capable of doing anything. He's got the money remember"
I sighed and kept quiet.
"Why did you ask?"
"Well, I've been expecting him to say something about it for a while now but it seems like he's forgotten already"
"Maybe you should talk to Aunty about it"
"I think i will. I deserve it after all"
Funsho nodded in agreement.
I planned talking to Aunty Jemima about my travelling abroad when she comes back that evening. She went straight to bed that evening and i wasn't able to talk to her.
"Come in" i heard her from inside the room after knocking twice that Saturday morning. I opened the door and went in.
"Good morning Aunty" i greeted and sat on her bed.
"Morning Gina. How's the baby?"
"Fine aunty". For some weeks now, my aunty never cared if i was fine or not. She's always after how the baby is faring. I noticed this but decided to keep quiet. I felt she's trying to bound with the child even before it's born.
"Uhm Aunty, i actually came to discuss something important with you"
Aunty had just finished taking her bath and was applying her body lotion when i got into the room. She was sitting in front of the dressing table and checking me from the mirror from time to time.
"Okay? What's it?"
I opened my mouth but no words came out. My aunty looked back at me.
"I thought you said you wanted to discuss something with me"
I cleared my throat. Somehow, i just realised I'm scared of talking to my Aunty unlike before when I'm so free to talk and ask her for anything.
"uhmmmm. Aunty! You and Uncle promised to sponsor me abroad after i give birth but........"
"....you haven't given birth" Aunty cut in abruptly. She paused, then continued
"Is that all?"
"Ye....yes Aunty" i stood up and walked out of her room.
Two months later, i got into labour. It was on a Sunday afternoon so everyone was home except Funsho who was in school. He was in his final year and preparing for his last exams. My Aunty prevented me from going anywhere including church when my pregnancy reached the second trimester. Funsho told me she replies anyone who asks after me by saying i was in school.
Aunty Jemima and her husband assisted me into the car and Uncle drove.
At about 8pm, i was delivered of a bouncing baby boy. I could remember the nurses congratulating me before i passed out. I must have been so weak and tired.
I really did not understand how my aunty hoped to convince people my baby was her child but i guessed she and her husband hoped to tell them they adopted him.
I was discharged few days later and my Aunty became the sole custodian of my child.
For 3 weeks, i waited for my Aunty or her husband to tell me about their plans to send me abroad but none of them showed i still exist. I told Funsho about it one weekend when he came visiting and he advised i give them some time as they are still thrilled about the presence of a child in the house. I agreed and waited for another 3 weeks. At this point, i knew i'd have been de-registered from my former school and i had no plans going back. After all, soon i'd be in the UK living the life i had always dreamed of.