When I was twelve years old, my favorite aunt, Jumoke (I called her Aunty Jumie) came to live with us. She wasn’t really my aunt but my mother’s cousin. However in the typical simple ways of children, I called every older female relative ‘Aunty’.
Aunty Jumoke was beautiful and smart. She was studying International relations at part time while she worked as a receptionist at a dental practice. I had been so proud of her.
She had countless male admirers. Cars would drop her off at Iya Quadri’s stall and she would walk the short distance to our house to escape my mother’s questioning stare.
I should have been worried but Aunty Jumie was smart. Not just book smart, street smart. After all she had grown up on the streets of Ibadan.
When she got pregnant, my mother gave her the “I told you so” look while I wondered what happened to her smartness. I watched her give up her dreams of school to take care of Ademilola. Growing up, food had barely been enough for us let alone an extra mouth to feed. So I wasn’t surprised when Aunty Jumie had packed up one day and told my parents that she had overstayed her welcome. She was returning to Ibadan. I’d been sad for weeks. Aunty Jumie had snuck me TomToms even though my mother thought it was a sweet for smokers only. She had also taken me to the Apapa amusement park that one time.
After Aunty Jumie I had been terrified of sex. My mother’s admonition that once a man touched me I’d get pregnant had only served to heighten the fear. It was the reason why I’d waited so long to have sex.
Staring at the pregnancy kit in my hands, I knew I should have remained a virgin.
Have you ever held one in your hands? It was worse than a dreaded school exam report. Even buying one had been taboo to me.
Pregnancy kits had always been like condoms to me. Those things you see at the pharmacy but never really look at because you don’t want that married woman in front of you giving you looks that said “Oma se o. You’re even fornicating?”.
The fact that I was holding one now in my shaky hands was otherworldly. I felt nauseated but I couldn’t tell if it was the pregnancy hormones or just my heightened anxiety.
I had taken a leave of absence at work and my line manager had been oddly understanding.I couldn’t imagine getting such understanding from my old place of work.
My phone vibrated again and nearly fell from the sink where I’d placed it to the tiled bathroom floor. The illuminated screen displayed Kitan’s name. I looked away tempted to switch off the device. Nneoma’s call came in next. I had to still myself to ignore hers.
I’d told her when I first missed my period. She was the one who had suggested I tell Dimeji. Look how that turned out. He thought I was trying to get money off him.
How could you have been so stupid Iyabo? I yelled at myself mentally.
Warm tears leaked from my eyes again. I hated myself. I hated how gullible I’d been. How had I thought sex would make a man like Dimeji stay with me? How had I even thought for a minute I could snare a rich husband? I should have just done runs like Nini. After all the thing I was giving away for free, she was giving away for a profit.
I tried to recall something from the night we had sex. Something to make it all worth something. All I could remember was the searing pain. The lone tear that had leaked as Dimeji rammed into me repeatedly even after I asked -no pleaded – with him to slow down. I remembered his jerky movements as he climaxed. The weakness in my legs afterwards as I stumbled to the bathroom to clean up.
I should have stayed a virgin, I thought to myself again. Sadly virginity was not like that work ID card you lose in a Keke Napep which is later returned to your office by a Good Samaritan. It did not have a “if found return to…” Inscribed at the back of it.
It was a helium balloon let loose in the air and floating away to Neverland.
“Iyabo!!” I heard my mother yell. “Which kain diarrhea has kept you in the toilet for hours? Me I have left for the bank o”
“Okay mummy” I called back in response. My voice sounded hoarse even to my ears, like I was out of practice.
I stared at the thin white stick in my hands with the duplicate red lines taunting me. My palms grew sweaty again and tears threatened to spill over.
Nneoma had a plan. She always did. She knew someone who could take care of it for a paltry sum. The guy worked out of a small clinic in Bariga and had helped one of the models on Nneoma’s shoot.
I tried to reassure myself with thoughts of Nini’s plan. I wouldn’t be the first young woman to find herself in this unfortunate circumstance. The fact that my conscience plagued me was a minor inconvenience that Nini assured me would disappear after the second time. A moot point, because I did not plan on going through an abortion more than once.
The house was oddly quiet after my mother’s departure but for me it felt even weirder to be home during working hours.
I eventually left the toilet and crawled into bed with my face burrowed in the pillows. I would sporadically pinch at my stomach wondering about the life just under the skin.
What if I slept and never woke up, I wondered. Who would miss me?
I must have drifted off to sleep because I jerked awake at the sound of loud knocking on the door.
My first thoughts were of the landlord but I quickly remembered that we had just paid the last of our debts. Thanks to my new and improved salary.
It better not be Iya Sunday out to pick a fight with my mom again. I thought to myself. I had ensured that while spreading our clothes out to dry in the yard I did not use her line. One time she had tossed all our freshly washed clothes from the line to the ground. Hell had broken loose in the compound.
I strolled towards the door. Ours was a small two bedroom apartment so it was hardly a journey. I gasped in surprise on opening the door.
“W-what? H-how did you know where I live?” I stuttered.
“I went to your work place and cajoled someone” he replied simply.
“And this someone just told you where I live? What if you were a kidnapper?” I mumbled partly to myself.
“Well I’d be a good looking one at least” he said with a sly wink.
“You came all the way to Ojo!. You know you’re almost at the border right ?” I continued, my voice rife with skepticism.
“Don’t exaggerate. I’ve been to the border before. It’s much farther.” he said rolling his eyes at me. Then he pushed the door slightly so he could enter the house.
“Nice umm neighborhood” he mumbled.
“Ahah! I have not missed your sarcasm one bit” I said bitterly as I turned away from him.
He held my arm as he shut the door behind him.
“How are you? The baby…” He began.
I looked at him in shock.
“Dimeji told me.” He said. “The arsehole” he muttered under his breath.
I bit my lip to keep from crying but my resistance was futile. The tears seeped from the corners of my eyes turning everything blurry.
“I feel like I have the worst luck in the world” I cried.
I soon found myself ensconced in Kitan’s arms. My head barely reached his chest. Why was he here? My overactive brain couldn’t help but wonder.
“Do you know what you wanna do? ” he asked.
I looked up at him and then away, embarrassed by the decision I’d made only moments before. For some reason I was afraid to see the judgment in his eyes when I told him.
“I don’t want the baby” I said shortly, sniffling.
He sighed heavily. I risked a glance at him. He looked extremely sad.
“Well it’s your decision.” He said in a small voice. “Have you made plans?”
I blinked at him, not for the first time wondering why he was still here.
“Y-y-yeah. Nini knows this doctor who does these things in Bariga. He collec…”
“Bari-what?” He sputtered. “Iyabo, do you really have no regard for your life?” He yelled.
More tears escaped from my eyes.
“Stop yelling at me” I cried. I hated how weepy I was lately.
“I’m sorry. ” he mumbled running his hands down my arms and kissing my forehead lightly. “I’m just so mad. Why did this have to happen? Like what the flying fuck!!!”
He looked like he could kick something. But then in typical Kitan fashion, all the emotions were soon locked away, hidden behind a façade of indifference.
“Okay okay. Let’s think this through” he said after a brief pause. “One of my many stepsisters is a doctor. There’s this drug you can take.. ”
“Wait! How do you know about this?” I asked.
He stared at me oddly before he continued. ” I don’t really talk to my siblings but I’m sure I can get her to write a prescription or something. The drug is kind of banned in certain countries, Nigeria included I’m sure.”
While I wondered how he knew so much, I also wondered why he was willing to help.
“Why are you doing this? Helping me ” I asked.
He stared at me for the longest moment before he spoke. “I don’t even know. Maybe you remind me of me. Maybe I’m just that nice”
Kitan was not nice. It was something I’d always known.
Author’s note: I have been a very bad girl. This has been sitting in my drafts since March 2016. Sigh. Forgive me. I look forward to feedback. Xoxo