“But I am a bit confused here, have you seen Henry?” Chinwe asked, talking for the first time as they all sat to have the conversation.
“I have seen him and the mark on his head is the same as the one on my head, I looked at it when I carried him from the airport, but believe me, I am not his father.”
“Are you a twin?” Clara asked, sitting upright in her position now.
“Not that I know of, but I will ask for my parents to meet us tomorrow so we can talk about this extensively and see the possibility of someone else in the family having that mark.”
“it is not just about the mark, the resemblance is glaring too”
“I know, but I am not your guy. August 28 or whatever date you said. I can’t say for sure where I was or what I was doing, but I definitely was nowhere near a club not to talk of raping a woman in that club. I used to work with my dad, and if I sit to think about it more, I’m sure I will be able to tell you exactly where I was on that date. However,
trust me, it would not be at any club.
The last club I entered was in 1998 and it was not even in Lagos.”
“What have I done, what do we do?” Clara said, almost in tears already. When she turned to her friend, she could see her fear mirrored in her eyes too as Tokunbo stared calmly at the 2 women. All the while he was talking, he never mocked, insulted, ridiculed nor raised his voice.
They were like that for some minutes before Tokunbo stood up and went to get his phone, he placed a call to his mother immediately.
“Hello mum, sorry were you sleeping
“No dear, what is going on there”
“Nothing serious, I just want to ask you and Dad to please wait for us tomorrow morning, we will be coming there first thing in the morning”
“Is everything alright, is Chinwe still acting the same way?”
“No mum, not Chinwe, we just need you to help put some light on a particular issue”
“I am worried, I just hope you can give me a clue of what is going on, would you like me to pass the phone to your father?”
“No, no need for that, just be available
tomorrow morning please” he ended the call and placed a call to his doctor immediately.
“Hello Doc, do you run DNA test in your hospital?”
“Hello Tokunbo, no we don’t, we only sell the DNA kit and help take samples and send to another lab outside Nigeria”
“Okay, how soon can the results be out?”
“It depends on the type and how soon it gets there, but 5 days max, you will get the result mailed to you”
“Can you take samples tomorrow? What are the things I need to get?”
“Nothing much just the person whose
paternity has to be determined, the mother and father”
“Can we do that tomorrow?”
“Why not, we open by 8. I will be here to attend to you myself”
”Thank you” Tokunbo ended the call and turned to the women staring at him.
“We all need to get some rest, we will
“But my flight is for tomorrow, what will
“We can postpone it till Monday; I understand you work and would not want to jeopardize that”
“Okay, we will continue tomorrow then”
Tokunbo walked outside the house and felt the fresh breeze on his face, he could not believe he is being wrongly accused and he had been suffering for another man’s sin;
someone who probably is his lookalike.
Chinwe and Clara went to the room Clara
would be staying and she sat down beside her friend who could not hold back her tears.
“Clara, stop this for Christ’s sake”
“Do you know what I have done,I made you believe the wrong information and accused the wrong person, because if he did not do it, why would he go to the extent of wanting to go for DNA?”
“You did not make me believe anything, I made my decisions and I will have to live
“shhh, we are yet to find out the truth”
“But he is so certain he did not do it”
“And as odd as it might sound, I believe him”
“So do I” Chinwe closed her eyes and let the tears fall freely at her stupidity.
When Chinwe left Clara alone on the phone with Joseph, she walked to the room and stopped in her tracks to find Tokunbo already preparing for the night on her bed.
“Don’t tell me you are surprised to see me here, I already told you and your friend I did not rape her. I am sure you won’t expect me to sleep in the guest room after knowing I have been wrongly accused ”
“But we are yet to know that”
“I do, I know I did not rape her and she can take the test anywhere of her choosing after tomorrow, the result would still be the same.
So don’t expect me to play the fool and suffer in silence for the sin I did not commit” he settled in under the duvet and left Chinwe staring at him with a defeated look.
As she opened the door to leave the room, Tokunbo stopped her
“If you go to the guest room to sleep, I will come there to join you also. We are married and I tend to take my vows seriously, you hear me, so do whatever it is you do before bed and get in here, tomorrow, we continue
with who did this.”
Some minutes later, Chinwe joined her
husband in bed and even though they were not touching in anyway, she could feel his presence beside her and for the first time since she can remember, she could not fall asleep.
She abandoned the thought of getting any sleep, after a while she stood up and went to the sitting room where she sat and wept her heart out. Could she be more stupid? Using one man’s error to her to judge all others?
In the room also, Joseph was trying to calm Clara down ; she had not stopped blaming herself for everything that had transpired between Chinwe and her husband.
“See, if you keep doing this, I will have to take the first flight to Lagos tomorrow, you hear me?”
“You don’t have to”
“Then you need to be strong. For me, for
Chinwe, for Henry and for yourself, you did the right thing and you have to remain strong to get to the bottom of this”
“Okay, I just don’t know what would come out of this”
“But whatever does, you are not to blame, okay?”
“And know this I love you and will be waiting for you on Monday morning, ok?”
Ok” not replying the I love you part for fear of him saying it only to calm he down
Tokunbo woke up and was surprised to see Chinwe all dressed up; he looked at the time and expected to see he has over slept but was surprised to see it was not even 6:30 am yet.
“Where are you going?”
“Nowhere, I thought we all are going out early”
“Early, but the hospital opens 8 and we go to my parents’ place from there, is that what you are dressed for?”
“Yeah, I assumed we would be leaving early, we have to so we can get there early”
“Yeah, I assumed we would be leaving early, we have to so we can get there early”
Tokunbo collapsed back on the bed and wiped his face before replying her calmly.
“Chinwe, we will get there on time and even after we do, the result still will not be ready until about 5 days”
“I know, I am just…”
“Anxious?, so am I, but we are not leaving before 7, your friend still needs the sleep; that is if she slept at all and besides, that small boy needs to sleep too, so please, calm yourself down and relax.”Instead of going
back to sleep, Tokunbo went outside the room to get a bottle of water but was not surprised to see Clara boiling water, probably for her son.
When she saw him, she was startled but
recovered quickly “sorry, I want to be ready so we won’t have to delay in going”
“No problem and Chinwe is ready too. I will go and get ready soon but the hospital does not open till 8 am. I hope we don’t have to get there to wait, so we might all still have a little time to have breakfast”
“I don’t think that is necessary, I will just make some golden morn for Henry before we go. I don’t think I will be able to eat”
That is alright, but take your time” Tokunbo left the kitchen and went back into the room,
this time Chinwe is slumped over a pile of
pillows and she looked like she has been
Tokunbo felt like comforting her and
reassuring her but did not know how to start,
so he went into the bathroom instead to have his bath.
When they got to the hospital, the doctor true to his words was waiting for them. After the payments were made, Tokunbo was asked to open his mouth and the nurse in attendance poked an object that looked like a longer version of a q-tip into his mouth and scrapped the side of his cheek followed by Henry and then Clara; hers was to make the result very
Forms were filled and he put his email
address, Chinwe and Clara’s email addresses as the reply routes, the doctor spoke with them on the possibilities of getting the results later than Friday but assured them he would try his best to make everything be on time.
Before they left the hospital, his mother had called about 4 times and when he did not pick, she sent him 2 messages; warning him not to be the reason she would have a heart attack
When they got to his parents’ house he met his mother at the door as he was about to lead his companions into the gigantic mansion that he grew up in.
“Why have you not been picking your calls nor replying my messages, do you want to kill me?”
“Good morning ma” Tokunbo replied instead and the people with him greeted before his mother would allow them into the house
“You called since last night and instead of you to get here as soon as you can this morning, you ….”
“Woman, they are here now, at least you can see they are with guests, so why don’t you let them feel welcome” Chief Ajayi answered
from the corner of the room and they all
greeted him before they were seated at the veranda at the back of the house.
“Mum, Dad, that is Clara and her son Henry, she is a friend of Chinwe, they were friends from way back” not knowing how long precisely
“Welcome my dear, how are you”
“Fine sir, thank you ma” Clara replied calmly
“I don’t know the softest way to say this, but Clara here believes I am the father of her child; Henry”
“What, do you know her or what is the
meaning of that claim” his mother cut into his sentence
“I have never met her, but she was raped 4 years ago by someone and she got pregnant and she believed I was the culprit, which Chinwe later heard about and I asked to meet her so we could clear things out”
“Is that why you ran away Chinwe?”
“One of the reasons, yes”
“Clara, how certain are you of these
allegations because my son says he did not rape you”
“As certain as I was, but now I am no longer sure”
“But what were you hoping to gain from such ludicrous allegation, saying something like that about a man you have never met, what do you want, money?”
“ma, with all due respect, if I wanted money I would not be here, I just wanted to protect my friend from the man I thought him to be and if you look clearly at Henry, you will see the reason for my claim, forgetting the face of the
man who rapes one is not the easiest thing to achieve ma.
So if you can help us with family
members that bear the same resemblance with Tokunbo, maybe we all can finally move on with our lives”
“We don’t have lunatics in our family young lady and..”
“Come here boy” Tokunbo’s father beckoned on Henry and with the look on his face, it was clear he sees the resemblance too. Chief Ajayi
touched the base of his birthmark and looked at Tokunbo.
“Go to the shelf in my study and get the
albums, all the old albums you can get from there”
“What is the need for all that; I still don’t believe her for one moment”
“Why not let’s settle this like sensible people, if she wanted money as she said, it would be over the news now, don’t you think?”
When Tokunbo returned with the albums,
about 6 in all, Chief Ajayi started flipping
through them and were looking at Henry
when he got to a particular page of the
second album he picked. With a sigh, he
passed the album to Clara and Chinwe, in the album were pictures of Tokunbo, looking exactly like Henry, the resemblance cannot be dismissed at all. Clara also pulled some from
her bags and handed them to Chief Ajayi, who looked through them patiently before passing them to his wife, who flipped through them hurriedly before dropping them carelessly on
the coffee table beside her husband
“Tokunbo, I will ask you again as your father, even though you already said it, did you have an affair with this woman or any woman that could have resulted to this boy here”
“No sir, I swear it and I am ready to do
anything to prove it wrong, I did not know her before I met her yesterday”
“That settles it then, Clara or what is your name, my son is not responsible. I am sure there are ways we can help you, out of the goodness of our hearts, consider it charity”
his mother interrupted again
“Ma, keep your money, I have been able to care for him single handedly till now and I will continue to with the help of God, and if you think this is still about money, then ma,
you don’t have any compassion”
“Will you insult me in my own home?”
“Listen, this is not the time to trade words, we are here to find solutions, so please, let’s all calm down so we can find solution. Daddy please, is there anyone in the family, who you
think has that kind of resemblance with
Tokunbo, or someone with the birthmark, we can start from there”
“as a matter of fact, I can’t think of any, when she had Tokunbo, he was the first of his kind in my family to have that kind of mark, even my mother who was alive then thought it was a birth injury and we did all we could, even outside Nigeria to get it off or
find its cause, but nothing worked. A doctor friend of mine asked us to rule it to genetic marker that could have been recessive in our lineage both for years.”
“It is the same with Henry, I saw that mark clearly on the head of the man who raped me and when I saw it on Henry, I and Chinwe tried to find a way to get rid of it but nothing worked too”
“That is that, there is a sure way to find out the truth and that is through DNA testing”
“We already stopped at the hospital and
Doctor Kunbi should be sending it off now to the US for analysis, he promised to press some buttons so we can get the results within a week”
“Very good, so in the mean time Clara, let’s all continue with our lives, we will get to the bottom of this, but I can assure you, if there is any other information that would be helpful
to this matter, I will get in touch with your friend”
“Thank you so much sir”
“You are welcome, where do you live, so the driver can drop you off”
“She came in from Uyo yesterday and luckily she would be able to make her flight back”
“Ok, then the driver can take you to the
airport. Little Henry, take care of your
mother, hmm?” He rubbed his head and pulled some wads of clean naira notes and gave to him
“I am sorry we won’t take that sir”
“It is for the boy”
“sorry but I will not allow it, please, when next we meet, under a better circumstance, maybe when Chinwe delivers a bouncing baby
boy, anything you give to Henry then might be appropriate”
She took the money from Henry who was not too cooperative and she straightened the bills and placed them on the coffee table before picking up her photos.
Chief Ajayi watched the young woman with admiration and he could conclude in his heart that she was not doing all this for money.
He looked at his wife who suddenly had gone silent and went with them to the car park to give instructions to the driver.
Clara and Chinwe hugged tightly and she
picked Henry up to give him a kiss on the
cheek, which he did not stop wiping till they drove out of sight.
“Now that she is gone, can I see the 2 of you in private?”. Chief Ajayi led the 2 of them to a door that led to a large study and he asked them to sit
“First, I want to thank God for this
opportunity because since Chinwe returned, I have been hoping to get a chance to talk to both of you. I will be fast about it, and when I
am through, if you have anything to say,
anything at all, please feel free to do so, are we on the same page?”
“Fine, Chinwe I want to assume you ran away from the reception because of this rape allegation, am I correct?”
“Partly sir, I have another reason but”
“Then on a side of the coin, would you have left the reception if the rape case was not brought to your notice?”
“Then you ran away because of it, I might be wrong but leave me to my conclusion. What I just want to say is this, I know you feel we
pushed this whole marriage thing down your throat, but just to make it clear, I told my son specifically to see you and decide if he would love to marry you, if not then we would not allow it. I am a proud man yes, but I would love to tell you here and now that I will not
subscribe to anything that would make either of you unhappy. In relationships, there are always hurdles, we jump over them with the strength we get come love from our partner and the information we get from the communication. I am sure if you told Tokunbo about what you learned, he would have told
me and we would have sorted it without you having to run away, but all that is in the past now I am confident there is something about the 2 of you that is beautiful, so I would like you both to go home and try to build a home and
shut out all the noise and the distractions, if
things are not working as you expect, lock the doors and settle it before you allow anyone else in or before either of you go out. So is there something either of you would like to say?”
“Just that I am sorry for whatever my action might have cost you, I am truly sorry. But what do we do about the DNA test, what if it is positive or negative or…?”
“In the mean time, we wait, when it comes, we will have another meeting like this, but I want to bet you that it would not be positive, I know the boy I raised to become a man, he would not look me in the eye and tell me otherwise if he actually did it, especially something of this magnitude”