Sunday, February 12, 2012


While it would easily pass for an obsolete cliché, the popular line: ‘the only constant thing in life is change’ remains eternally true. Change is one of life’s constants and with every instance of change, every one affected often has to make adjustments to fit into the change. A typical example would be the need to put away your thick winter clothes during summer in exchange for lighter clothes. By the next winter however, the same thick clothes that were abandoned become most needed. Many other examples abound and cut across virtually every sphere of life. In science, change is referred to as metamorphosis where organisms find themselves evolving from one form to another all in a bid to adapt to their new situation. As humans, we make similar adjustments every single day.

It is also important to note that the level of adaptation people have to make in time of change varies and strongly depends on the situation one needs to adapt to or the personality of the one who needs to make such a modification. For instance, it would be foolhardy to compare the adjustment one has to make to a situation of a broken relationship or courtship to that of a divorce after 10 years of marriage or the loss of a much loved teenage son or daughter. The levels of adjustment definitely vary and emotionally stronger people tend to make such adaptations more easily than their weaker counterparts.

By March 2007, I had resigned to fate and realized I was going to be a father sooner than I could have ever expected. BG was already almost five months pregnant and for the first time, her slight baby bump was visible. Thankfully, my mum had stepped in and saved me from almost being forced to get married to her as her sister had proposed. The agreement seemed sensible enough but to me, it was still rather scary to imagine what was happening. In spite of the fact that my mum and BG’s family had reached a compromise on how the situation would be managed – BG was to spend the remainder of the duration of her pregnancy with her sister and relocate to my mum’s with the baby once it was born – it still felt like a dream to me. One way or the other, I had become tied to BG and I knew the implications. It was unlikely I was ever going to marry any other woman as things were. I knew my mother and her staunch principles and coupled with the fact that BG’s sister had earlier broached the subject, it was obvious I had made my choice as far as they were concerned.

I looked back over my life and realized I could be falling victim to my greatest fears. My parents had separated when I was barely nine years old and along with my two brothers, I had grown up with a skewed mindset especially regarding relationships and I always wished I would make the right choice in marriage once and for all. I constantly told myself that I would never see my children go through the same situation my brothers and I passed through – a broken home. I told myself further that I would get married to the perfect woman and have the perfect marriage and I knew the possibility of such was dependent on careful planning and decision making process. BG’s pregnancy had thrown spanners into the plans as far as I was concerned. I had always liked her very much and probably been emotionally attached to her as well but never for once had I considered the possibility of getting married to her. I had my specifications for my perfect woman and detailed criteria such a woman had to meet. I was hoping to meet a woman who would be at least 5’ 7 in height (I was about 6’ 1 and BG was barely 5’ 2). I wanted a woman who was a writer as well, who loved books and who had a passion to make a strong mark in life. Basically, I wanted a woman who would complement and challenge me on all levels. BG was none of these and it hurt so much to think that such a woman who hardly measured up to any of my standards was the one who was carrying my baby. She was hardly my type.

I began to brace up for how I would survive the next four months as I prepared to become a father. The guilt of my actions and the uncomfortable situation I had placed my parents in weighed heavily on my heart and I decided I needed to handle my responsibility in every way I could without adding an extra burden to them. This decision was further influenced when Mrs. Oki began to pester my life with phone calls to send money to get my ‘wife’ registered for ante-natal care. I managed to secure the funds without involving my mum. Soon, she began to frequently request that I send more money for BG’s upkeep.
“Hello Geebee,” she would say. “BG needs to eat fresh vegetables and you know I am just an ordinary teacher.”
“Geebee, the money you sent the last time is exhausted and your wife does not have transport fare to go for her ante-natal this week so do something.”
“Geebee, I understand you only sent two thousand naira. It’s not enough o! Maybe I should call your mother if she can help.”

The calls were endless and irritating and I began to wish I had denied the pregnancy and saved myself all the stress I was being made to go through. It was obvious this woman was not even willing to consider that I had done the honorable thing and accepted responsibility for the pregnancy; something most guys my age would never have done. Besides, I wondered if she was oblivious of the arrangement that had been made regarding the situation. She was only expected to take care of her sister for the remaining four months of the pregnancy. Was she even considering the fact that after the baby was born, my mother would begin to bear the responsibility? Her demands began to take its toll on me and the situation made me despise BG and her family to no end.
“BG, why is your sister frustrating me?” I asked angrily one day.
“How do you mean?” BG asked in the most annoying tone I could imagine.
“What’s the point of all these unnecessary demands?” I lashed out. “Have you people forgotten my mother is still going to bear the greater responsibility after this baby is born?”
She was silent for a while. “There is nothing I can do, Geebee,” she said eventually. “Remember she’s housing me. Let’s give her some credit at least.”

I was infuriated. BG was asking me to give her sister some credit because she was going to house her ‘pregnant sister’ for a paltry four months? What nonsense! Was blood not supposed to be thicker than water? So what was the big deal in what she was doing that she would hound me with stupid demands? I had to roll with the situation however because I could not risk Mrs. Oki having to call my mum to make such ridiculous demands. My mum would be incensed if she were to dare raise such an issue. In fact, I was sure my mum would be livid if she found out that Mrs. Oki was asking me for money for her pregnant sister’s upkeep. I wondered if this woman realized I was just twenty-one and a ‘boy’ who could hardly take care of himself. At the time, I had a little job as an Office Assistant at an Art Gallery and I also wrote stories for a romance magazine. All the money I earned was barely enough to sustain me and the added responsibility was bound to kill me sooner than I could imagine. I realized I had to find some other way to make extra income. I was still in my search for an alternative source of income when Sam, my old friend introduced me into a line of business that he assured me was the easiest way to make money in those days. Sam, by the way was indirectly responsible for my predicament. It was through him that I met BG in the first place. I could not even imagine telling him that BG was pregnant. All that mattered to me then was that he was about to introduce me to some money-making scheme. As regards my telling him that I had gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant, I decided we would cross that bridge once we got to it.