Happy Wednesday! Always a pleasure to spend time with you every week. Aside the fact that nobody acknowledged my heartfelt apology, I am doing just fine. January has been exciting so far and I just can’t wait to see what the year will bring. I have a few surprises for you over the next few weeks- keep your eyes on all social media platforms- Facebook and Instagram, especially. #2017ready!
‘Ye though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me..
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou anointeth my head with oil, my cup runneth over…
The nurse interrupted Maku’s ‘prayer’ with nonchalance.
‘I need to sort out something in the next room. I will be right back.’
Maku swallowed hard and nodded.
She wanted to hold the nurse’s hand and beg her not to leave her alone with her thoughts but she knew that this was not the time to be soft.
Now it was just her and the cold slab she was lying on. The air smelt of bleach and something else she could not quite put her finger on. Leaving her alone with her thoughts wasn’t a good idea.
Why are you doing this, Maku? This is murder. Having a baby is nothing to be ashamed of. Robert will come around. He will see reason.
The room felt heavy like it contained the souls of dead babies who had been left here by their mothers.
Isn’t this heartless? Killing a poor baby?
It is only a foetus.
Bloodcurdling screams penetrated through her thoughts. She wanted to jump off the ice cold metal slab she was lying off and go and see what was making the person shout.
‘It is painful. Make it stop please.’
‘My dear, we need to finish the procedure.’
‘It is too painful.’
‘I told you that but you said you could take it.’
‘He raped me. I can’t have his baby. I will never be able to live with myself. I want to forget. I want to-‘
Another bloodcurdling scream escaped from the poor girl’s lips.
‘Take in a deep breath. Try not to focus on the pain. Think of something that makes you happy.’
The nurse’s voice sounded cold, void of emotion.
Perhaps she had seen this many times. Rape victims coming in to abort pregnancies that had resulted from the rape.
Maku felt sick.
I need to throw up.
Just before she could get up from the slab, the nurse who was going to attend to her came in.
‘Sorry for the delay. We can begin now.’
‘Wait. I need a moment please.’
‘Having second thoughts?’
‘No. I mean, I don’t know.’
The nurse glanced at Maku’s wedding ring.
‘You are married?’
The yes was more of a whisper.
‘What happened? Rape? Infidelity?’
Maku laughed. It was a hollow kind of laugh.
‘Nothing. My husband and I had sex and we made a baby. He doesn’t want a child yet so he wants me to get rid of it.’
‘I see. Where is your husband now?’
‘I don’t know. He has not been home in a long while. I can’t have a broken home. I can’t.’
Maku shook her head vehemently as though she was trying to convince herself that an abortion was the only solution. The tears were now flowing uncontrollably.
‘I grew up in a broken home. My children cannot go through the same thing. I just want things to go back to normal. I can’t fail.’
By now, her body was shaking with every sob that escaped from her lips. She suddenly became aware that the other women in the other rooms could also hear her like she had heard the girl who wanted to get rid of her rape baby.
‘I must do this.’
The nurse kept quiet, waiting for her to calm down. When she stopped crying, the nurse reached for what looked like a knife with a hook at the end.
‘Wait, what is that for?’
‘There are various abortion methods depending on how far along you are and the size of the unborn child. Your baby is just about 8 and half weeks old so we will use a suction tube and this knife to remove it-the knife to cut it up and the tube to suck it out.’
‘You will cut it up?’
‘I need a washroom please.’
‘Down the hallway to the right.’
As soon as the washtoom door shut behind her, she began to process what the nurse had said.
I can’t do this. I can’t have a child cut up inside me. Robert has to understand. He has to.
On her way back to the room, she met a lady who was obviously done with her procedure. Their eyes met. Maku could see relief, uncertainty and numbness in her eyes. She looked like something inside her had died.
What do you expect? Of course something has died inside her.
The nurse was still waiting for her.
‘Are you ready?’
‘Madam, I think- wait, what’s your name?’
‘Agnes, I think I am ready to go home.’
‘I will see you out.’
The weight lifted off her shoulders with every step she took out of the clinic. She didn’t know how she was going to deal with everything but she was holding on to hope.
She could deal with Robert tomorrow, but today she was going to have a good meal and watch a movie.
When is January ending? Everyone spent their money on Christmas chilling and now business is slow.
Akwasi had done a number of post-Christmas price reductions to set the ball rolling but all he got was enquiries not purchases.
Chale a whooping two more weeks! At least there will be Val’s Day purchases.
That was why he had stocked up on perfumes, boxer shorts, handkerchiefs and all the things girls got for their boyfriends for Valentine’s Day. He didn’t have the nerve to order lingerie. He was too afraid of incurring the wrath of Maame Esi. They had been fighting a lot lately.
Look at you, afraid to upset a woman. The girls in your past should see you now.
Back then, he could have sworn that he would never be bothered about any girl. He was Chocolate Thunder 2.0, God’s gift to women- and yet here he was, losing daylight over a girl.
But Maame Esi isn’t just any girl.
Like he was explaining to the other boys last week, Maame Esi was one of those girls you wanted to treat right.
‘Even if we don’t end up getting married, I must give her the best relationship ever and make her next boyfriend forever insecure about me. That’s how it is done.’
He reached for his phone to call her.
The line kept dropping so he called their landline.
Her mother picked up.
‘Sorry to call so late. It’s Akwasi. I was trying to reach Maame but the line keeps dropping.’
‘She is at the hospital.’
‘But she is not on duty today?’
‘No, she isn’t. She goes to keep Edem company on days when she is not on duty. His grandmother has been admitted and he is there alone so she goes to help out-‘
‘Can I please call back? I have an emergency to attend to.’
The feeling that washed over him was one that he could not describe- one he had never felt before. He grabbed his keys and got out of his room. He was going to the hospital to get to the bottom of the matter.
The sight that met him at the gate was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Joseph and his sister Korantemaa were kissing like there was no tomorrow, as if Jesus was coming the next day and they would be separated forever. Joseph had her pinned against the pillar beside the front gate and his hand was under her skirt. Her red nails were clawing into the back his head and they only had eyes for each other.
The force with which he pushed Joseph to the ground surprised even him. He hit him as many times as he could. Korantemaa instantly started pleading.
‘Cheap low life! You have the audacity to kiss my sister in front of my house. How dare you? I warned you to stay away from my sister. I freaking warned you! How dare you make my sister your rebound after Mahama broke up with you? My father has been scouting for a job for you because I keep pestering him to get you one and you repay me by smooching my sister?’
He lifted his head to look at Korantemaa.
‘And as for you, I will leave you for Daddy to deal with. You are only 18 for God’s sake. Only heaven knows what else you have done. Did you sleep with him?’
‘Answer the damn question.’
‘You are raising your voice. I am scared.’
‘You are not scared of moaning when a boy is smooching you in front of your father’s house. You are not afraid of going to hell. You are afraid of my shouting. Answer my question. Did you sleep with him?’
‘Y-yes. He didn’t force me.’
‘You are very lucky I don’t hit girls. I would have slapped the living daylights out of you. Go inside and pray to God that Daddy doesn’t send you to the convent or some village that knows no Snapchat.’
She scurried past him, clearly afraid.
‘And as for you, this is the last I am seeing of you anywhere near my house and my sister. For your own sake, stay away. Otherwise Mahama’s loss will no longer be your saddest memory. I will give you a whole new list of things to be sad about. I trusted you. You were my friend, my brother. I opened my home to you and you came to smooch my sister. I repeat, I never want to see you again. Never, not in a thousand years.’
Akwasi decided against going to the hospital.
I can’t take another betrayal tonight. I can’t. I will call her tomorrow and we will talk about this when I am calm, when the adrenalin has stopped pumping. I can’t lose everything in one night. Tomorrow…
Mawuli fingered the forms, lost in thought.
It was Edem’s idea to apply to join the army. He wasn’t interested but like Edem said, ‘there is no harm in trying.’
It was going to be rigorous if the stories he had heard were anything to go by. But he was happy to have something to look forward to. He was tired of being the one who had nothing going on in his life, tired of working for Akwasi, tired of taking hand me downs from Edem. It was time to take things into his own hands.
Tomorrow… I will deal with this tomorrow.
Before he drifted to sleep, he saw that Akwasi had removed Joseph from the ‘Your Mama’s dream lover’ group chat. He almost texted him to ask why but he was too sleepy to have a coherent conversation.
See you next week!
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