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Two weeks dragged by and the swell of my tummy became visible for all to see. Unfortunately, the only things that saw the swell apart from me were the four walls of my bedroom and the sparkling furniture that were hung in several places. Alex had brought the agreement, just like he talked about, two weeks ago and I had signed instantly, wanting to get the deal over with. Ever since I endorsed the document, I have not set my eyes on him. It was not surprising since I almost never stepped out of the room. I had everything I needed there; the soft warm bed, the enticing bathroom which I learnt had hot and cold water a fingertip away and a refreshing view of the soothing garden from my window. I initially paid Tola back in her own coin, making her do everything, ranging from washing my rag-like clothes, to washing the bed sheets every blessed day. It was not much work since I learnt that they used a machine to do all these, but the fact that I was ordering her around was enough to frustrate her. It was not long before I grew weary of this because it was not in my nature to have people do the chores for me, so I decided to apply maturity by allowing Tola have her space. She was surely regretting her earlier actions, it seemed unnecessary to add more fuel to the fire.
Tina was helpful as usual, never letting me rest. She tried to see me as the madam that I was but I was not comfortable with it. Living big was so strange, it was almost scary, and I needed a friend to stand by me. After carefully schooling her and letting her know that I would rather have her as a friend than my maid, she finally gave in, though, she still showed great levels of respect. Tina has been responsible for making sure that I eat, and she would talk me to death if I don’t eat anything. It was annoying sometimes but many times, it was refreshing because it felt good that at least someone cared for me. I wondered why my mum hadn’t visited. If my dad didn’t visit, it would be great in saving me mental and physical stress but I needed my mum more than I could express. Even though she behaved too soft many times, making other people ride her easily, I still loved her so much. And despite my dad’s awkward behaviors, I still loved him nonetheless, but would be happy to avoid him for some time. Our poverty state seemed to have changed his mentality.
I sighed and rolled off the bed to answer nature’s call. I had been urinating a lot and Tina attributed it to the pregnancy. After releasing the content in my bladder into the water closet and flushing, I walked back into the room. I heard a knock and instinctively knew it was Tina. I had grown so accustomed to her knocking pattern.
“Come in Tina” I said as I sat on the bed carefully. The dizziness had gone, thank God and my appetite was improving, thanks to Tina’s unrelenting efforts.
Tina entered with a big smile on her face which effectively made me smile also. I was just so blessed to have her at a time like this. “Good morning. How is my madam doing today?”
I smiled. “My name is Amara. How many times would I repeat that?” I asked softly. The tray in her hands caught my eyes and my mouth watered when the tantalizing aroma assaulted my nostrils. Whatever was in that tray would definitely be devoured by me because I heard my tummy groan in response to the aroma. My child seemed to jump up in excitement.
She grinned. “You may be my friend but you are still my boss. You can perceive the aroma, right?” she asked knowingly. She was the best cook I had ever seen. I vowed to learn how to make some of the complicated delicacies from her, as soon as I am able to get myself off this mess.
“This aroma is more than enough to awaken my taste buds.” I murmured, with my mouth salivating as she lowered the tray.
“Thank God, I won’t have to force it down your throat” she said with a smile. Immediately she opened up the glass plate, I confirmed my suspicion. There was a large piece of deep fried chicken, which was largely responsible for the aroma. A small quantity of jollof rice was beside it, and I noticed the fried plantain with great joy.
I smiled wholeheartedly. “I see you are bent on making me happy today” I said.
She nodded. “I can’t have you starve the little angel in your tummy, can I?”
I dismissed her words and started eating immediately. Tina sat by the bed, watching me eat, with a calm smile on her face. “If this is what it takes to make you eat, I might cook this everyday”
I nodded vigorously with my mouth full. I truly would not mind this delicacy, if it tastes like this all the time.
She looked at me softly. “I was actually planning to ask you something” she said and I nodded my head for her to continue. “Are you not going for antenatal care?” she asked.
I raised my brow. “What is antenatal care?” I asked ignorantly.
Her eyes widened as though she could not quite believe her ears, but she soon wiped out the facial expression. “Oh, antenatal care is used by hospitals to monitor and guide pregnant women through the stages of pregnancy” she said.
I almost stopped eating. “I have never heard of it. Hope it is not too late” fear gripped my heart at the thought that something might have happened to my child.
“Of course not. I can follow you to a hospital this evening if you like” she offered.
“Of course. Thanks Tina” I said gratefully and she smiled.