Madam Ronke gazed at Pamela as she vented her misery. None of the girls in the hostel had ever had the boldness to dare her.
‘Pamela, but you know you’re not matured enough to take care of that poor, helpless creature.’
‘But I can breastfeed my baby!’ Pamela cried, wiping off the excess liquid oozing from her chest.
‘You’re right,’ the older lady clapped, ‘but what about good healthcare, clothing, education? Would you achieve all that also with your breast milk?’
Madam Ronke sniggered at the look of confusion on the young girl.
‘You’re lucky to meet me in one of my good moods, Pamela. The only thing I can deduct from all that you’ve said is that you’re a caring mother. Every caring mother should want her baby by her side. Now, can you have your seat and let’s talk, woman to woman?’
The young girl hesitated initially but the broad smile she saw on the lady’s face urged her on.
‘I want to tell you a story…’ Madam Ronke began, ‘it was one of my granny’s favorites. Although I never really liked that story, my other siblings did and most times, they love hearing it often.’
‘Do you want to hear it?’
‘An industrious lady once invested her hard-earned money in pigs. knowing how fertile pigs are, she allowed some male pigs into the sty because her aim was to raise piglets for commercial use.’
Madam Ronke paused, but observing how unperturbed Pamela appeared, she continued.
‘Just as she planned, the pigs began to produce plenty piglets; while the lady, in turn, began to make money from selling off the piglets…’
‘And then what happened?’ Pamela’s curiosity soared, ‘did the lady make enough profits?’
‘As I told you earlier, I never really liked the story,’ Madam Ronke stressed, ‘but if you insist, I would answer your question. The lady never really made enough profits because most of the pigs ran away with the piglets.’
‘Ah! That’s unfair!’ Pamela uttered.
‘Now, it is my turn to ask my question. Pamela, if you’re that industrious lady would you be happy considering how much you have invested in the pigs?’
‘No! In fact, I would send people to run after them and lock them up with heavy chains,’ Pamela gave her verdict.
‘Brilliant answer!’Madam Ronke smiled, dialing a number.
‘Ma, at your service!’ a hefty man emerged a few minutes later.
‘Loko, take her away!’
Madam Ronke watched in relish as Loko hoisted Pamela like a piece of merchandise. Stubborn circumstances demand drastic measures! She mused.
‘Please separate her from the other girls!’ she added.
‘Let me down…!’ Pamela kicked and clawed at the thug, but all to no avail.
‘Good riddance to bad rubbish!’ Madam Ronke muttered as she slumped onto the sofa. She felt the pounding on her head and then realized she had skipped her medication for two days! Reaching for her pills, her gaze drifted towards the remains of the bottle of wine on the table.
Something would surely kill a man someday! She grabbed the bottle of wine and was on the verge of helping herself when she heard a knock at the door.
‘Who is it again?’
‘Kelechi!’ a female voice answered.
‘Kelechi, you should have called rather than barging into my privacy?’
‘I’m sorry ma. Don’t have airtime ma.’
‘What is the matter?’
‘Nurse Abeke sent me,’ she began scratching her head, ‘we have only two tins of baby foods left…’
‘You need more money, uh?’
‘I would personally carry out a thorough audit on the baby foods I buy in this home, otherwise, I would end up enriching some fools that call themselves my workers,’ Madam Ronke ranted as she reached for a penknife on the drawer.’
‘Now, take this knife and swear by Ogun that you’ve not been stealing from me!’
‘Ah! Ma, I’m innocent o,’ Kelechi protested.
‘Then swear, Kelechi! Swear…’
‘Ma, we need more baby foods because Ejiro, has put to bed!’ Kelechi finally admitted.
‘And so, what? I’ve made provision for the newborn already…’
‘Ma, she gave birth to a set of triplets!’
‘As in one… two…three?’ Madam Ronke pointed three fingers in the air.
‘Yes, ma. Three!’
‘Why didn’t you tell me this good news first?’ Madam Ronke slapped her at the back, ‘oya, let me see what I’m paying for.’
Madam Ronke shoved kelechi and the other workers aside as she made her way into the home. The cries of babies filled the air, but her primary concern was to see her triple dividends.
Nurse Abeke came out of the inner room and as she sighted her boss, she began fiddling with a string on her uniform.
Poor Abeke! Madam Ronke thought as she observed a worried look on nurse’s face. She should be overwhelmed with so many babies on her hands!
‘Iya!’ Abeke walked up to Madam Ronke.
‘Pele, Abeke!’ She patted the nurse at the back, ‘I know the job is stressful.’
‘I…Iya…’ Abeke swallowed hard as she spoke.
‘Yes, Abeke, I know you’re stressed out. Attending to three babies at a go isn’t a joke.’
‘Iya, we…we…we’ve lost the mother!’ Abeke blurted out.
TO BE CONTINUED…