I felt the tiny bump tighten as I lay on my back with my eyes closed and my left fingers nursing my lower abdomen.
I thought it’s beginning to register its presence. I nursed it again and raised my head to have a look it. As I looked on I heard a nock on the door.
No one had ever nocked before entering my room since I arrived in the secret home. Everyone opened the door as if it’s a general room. No apologies.
I got up. Tiptoed to the door and listened.
“Chetachi, open the door, it’s Rebecca!” I felt great joy deep inside of me and with excitement I opened the door.
“Aunty Rebecca! Thank God! I’ve been dying to see you.”
“Sorry to barge in this late but I needed to show you this very nice couple.”
“It’s okay. You’re always free to barge in anytime you want.”
I looked at the couple, the same couple with her at the First Evening Gathering.
Good evenning chetachi. The couple replied.
They know my name already!
“Nice to meet you.” The lady who should be in her late forties said looking at my lower abdomen. Her face looking disturbed. The man looked tense.
I offered them seats while Rebecca and I perched on my bed.
“You may be thinking why they’re here,” Rebecca began. These are the nice people who have volunteered to take care of you and your baby from now up to a month after delivery.”
I got up, showed profound gratitude and said many words of blessing, even though the intervention was unnecessary. My account is full of money and spilling over. I shouldn’t be needing help from anyone. I could take care of myself. I’m not poor frankly. My family may not be the richest family but we’re not poor.
The door opened and auntie entered.
“Your time is up. Please you can take your leave now,” She said looking at the lady.
The couple took their leave but Rebecca delayed.
“Please I need a minute to talk to my friend. Just a minute.” I implored.
“Be snappy about it lest you put me in trouble.”
She left and waited at the door which was open.
“Please I want you to take me out of here. Take me to your house. I’m in prison here. No phone calls, no friends, no shopping, nothing. Please take me with you. Please. I’ll pay you. I have money….”
“Chetachi, it’s not about money. It’s impossible for you to leave now.”
“Because, you have been given The Rule. With The Rule in your hands, you’re not allowed to leave till after delivery. I’m sorry.”
I was disappointed.
“All you need to do is be patient and wait for just eight months. One month after delivery, you will be free to go.”
“Okay please I need you to call my parents to let them know I’m alive and safe. I don’t know if you can help me.”
“How do I do that? If I use my number, I will be tracked down and interrogated. Remember you’re missing.”
“Write an anonymous letter to them. Please don’t reveal my state to them.”
“I told you to respect The Rule and everything would be right. I don’t want you to have problems with these people.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to do it for me. They won’t find out.”
I scribbled my father’s business address on tissue paper and handed it to her, she looked at it and got up to take her leave.
“And, please I’ll not be needing help from these couple. Personally I don’t like being a burden to anyone when I know I’m many times richer than what they will be offering.”
“Here you’re not allowed to take care of yourself no matter how rich you are.”
“This is charity home Chatachi. Always have that in mind. Besides you are not allowed to go out to bank to make withdrawals. Relax, everything has been taken care of.”
“Thanks for coming.” I hugged her tightly as if to never let go.
“I’ll find a way to see you next month. She withdrew from my hug and hurried away.
I went limp. A month was too long. I wished she could come around often.
I lay on the bed and closed my eyes and thought about my parents as my first day at The Secret Home came to an end.