BY ABIOSE A. ADAMS
“Unapologetically Shewa” is a story of Shewa and Sheri. Both of them are single mothers who live in a society which judges them. While Sheri keeps seeking where and what to hide behind, Shewa decides to stop hiding or withering under the condescending glare of society. She was ready to shed no more tears, but shed off the scales of self-judgement and begin a journey of self-actualization. Coming against societal norms, will she change the norms or the norms will change her?
It was 2pm when I pressed the bell on the black metallic gate of his house, on Awolowo road, Ikoyi.
A girl in a bum shorts and white t-shirt, knotted to the side, appeared. She was short and plump. I could see Tunbi’s dimples on her left cheek and his squinty eyes. But one thing was missing on her face— laughter lines.
“Yes. How may I help you?” Her head was tilted to the left, and her eyes without expression.
“You came to see my braather,” she said with a sense of possession. I wanted to say, no, I came to see your father, but I decided against it.
“Hmmmh,” I nodded.
“”Tunbi stepped out.”
For a while, we both stood, confronting each other with stares. I wanted to ask if she wouldn’t let me in at least from the heat of the sun, and just then, she undid the padlocks and, threw her hands towards the bungalow sitting in the midst of flowers. It was a posh apartment, dotted with assorted flowers and a porch that housed a threadmill and other fitness equipment.
The sitting room was tastefully furnished, the white leather sofas were arranged in a U-shape. The girl sat, legged crossed on the sofa, picked up the remote and changed the channel from a fashion channel to national geographic, where a lion was devouring some deers. Was she doing this deliberately to put me in a bad mood? Or to show me how Tunbi was going to be animalistic towards me especially when I break the news to him?
I looked at the wall and saw for the first time, his family in pictures. Tunbi was sitting amid three girls. He was the third and this girl should be the fourth.
“When will he be back?” I asked after having waited for one hour.
After another thirty restless minutes. Tunbi drove in the same SUV as he did the last time we met. He was wearing in a white T-shirt on jeans.
“Hi,” he breezed in, rushed to the kitchen, which opened into the dining area of the sitting room, grabbed a bottle of canned coke.
“Kunbi…you didn’t offer my guest anything….” He threw a glance at the girl.
“Oh so sorry,” she said with a niceness that comes across as flaky and fake, more like eye service to his braather.
Tunbi marched towards me and pulled me up by the arm; towards a passage that opened to his room.
We sat on either side of the bed in his room. It was a very thick mattress on the floor close to the wall with a ceiling fan blowing over us.
” Babe,….you didn’t tell me you were coming,” he gulped his remaining coke.
“Yea…I’ve been very worried….I have been calling, but you’ve not been picking. I needed to see you urgently.”
He turned the locks behind the door, slid to the floor and rested his right elbow on the bed, drawing closer to me. And then he held my hands and attempted a kiss, but I pushed him away.
“That’s not why I came.”
“Oh you came to tell me, your admission had sailed through….this one that you are looking so anxious….abi….hmmh… ”
“So why are you worried.”
“I think I am sick.”
“I am as sick as you are….sick of this country!”
“No. Not that kind of sickness.”
“I have been sleeping a lot these days, feverish and spitting a lot.”
“You need to see a doctor then.., not me. I’m an engineer,” he said laughingly.
“This isn’t funny o.”
“What if I am pregnant?”
“Pregnant? His face was instantly awash with shock, that he stuttered. Is that…is that.. the.. the plan. Is that our plan?”
“Things happen. Life happens.”
“No,” he shook his head and sat upright, pulled his legs closer, as though he was trying to dissipate the tension that suddenly flooded him. “Things don’t happen like that. I plan things. I am a planner.”
“Well, all the signs I am seeing hints at it. I checked google.”
“Did you do a test?”
“No I checked google.”
“Is google your test….is google your doctor?”
“No. But I am almost 100 percent sure….counting from the last day….” He was silent and breathed deeply. The Tunbi that used to laugh a lot turned serious.
“Shewa, you don’t do things that way. You’ve got to verify everything. You can’t be claiming you are pregnant when you are not. You can’t base your life on a whim, or assumption.”
“Why are you so averse to this?”
“It’s not about being averse. Its about being sure …”
“Okay what if I am actually pregnant….let’s suppose, I am… What do we do do?”
‘We?” He smirked.
“Oh. So its no longer we?”
He paused again and then laughed. But I knew it wasn’t a benign laughter.
“But Shewa, this isn’t the plan. Lets stick to the plan…I thought we had an understanding. We are thinking of furthering our education abroad. I am thinking of my scholarship application. You want to do a masters. Now tell me, how are you going to manage a baby with that?”
“A baby is always a blessing and we can always manage. As we are schooling, family will always pitch in their support.”
“You are fooling yourself. A baby will not let you progress. It will set you back,” his words felt like venom.
“Speak for yourself.”
“Oh…I see. Since I am not a party to this, I speak for myself.” He got up from the floor and began to pace the floor, counting his finger, as though counting his losses.
“Here I am; I just finished NYSC. I don’t even have a job yet. I’m leaning on my parents and sister who send me money from the UK. I am planning for a masters scholarship. Now tell me how am I supposed to be a responsible father to an unborn child? Secondly I don’t want to raise my kids in Nigeria. This is just totally against my principles. Sorry. I can’t do this. This is a threat to my career, my principles of having a child out of wedlock… when I am not yet prepared for marriage.”
“Tunbi, you are having an irrational fear.”
“No….no…no Shewa. Not now please.”
I stood up and leaned on the wall. “Principles my foot….but you can have sex when you are not prepared for marriage..and have it outside wedlock. That is neither a threat to your career or principle?! Hypocrite!”
“You are being sarcastic and that will get us no where…..you could have at least observed your safe and unsafe period or or taken emergency contraception!” he said, all the laughter lines disappearing and I knew at once that this was no longer the Tunbi that laughed a lot. Something just changed. The thought of a baby has changed everything. And I must do everything to persuade him to accept.
“But Tunbi, I asked you that day to use protection. You refused. This is the result and now you are blaming me for this? This is just unfair. Its unfair.”
“Well, I am not denying the fact that we made love. I liked you, I was strongly attracted to you. I couldn’t resist you…so…but what I’m saying is that a baby is not in my radar now. It just looks as though you are trying to trap me and I will not fall for that.”
“I’m not trying to trap you it’s just a common mistake.”
“This is not a common mistake. It is a costly mistake.”
He came closer to me and held me by the shoulder. I at once thought he had simmered. And then he said. “We will work it out. We take care of it.”
“Get rid of it.”
“Tunbi you can’t be serious. Are you saying I should go and do an abortion?!”
“Well, that’s the only way out, because I am not ready for this now.”
“An abortion…do you know what you are saying? Kill our baby?”
“Not killing anyone. You only missed your period, its just a dot of blood. Its a blood clot, in the fallopian tube, not even in the womb yet. It’s not human yet.”
I opened my mouth shocked.
“Tunbi, you have a sister. Is this the advice you will give your sister? Is this what you will do to the guy who tells this to your sister?”
“Don’t bring my family into this. By the way, my sister would be way smarter and wouldn’t put herself in this akward predicament.”
“Me,” I hit my chest hard. My head boiling. “I put myself in this predicament? Unbelievable Tunbi!”
“You are making a mountain out of a mole hill, just wash it off. Its just a dot of blood, please,” he snapped impatiently and hinged towards the door. I pulled him back by his t-shirt.
“But this is how you came about, when your father and mother met…this same dot of blood clot.”
“No pontificating. No blaming, just get rid of it period! I can support you with money to do that. I have doctor friend, who would do it for you seamlessly.”
“Oh my God, Tunbi you must be crazy! You must be out of your mind!”
To be continued next week
You can read last edition HERE
Abiose A. Adams, a journalist, creative writer, and senior programme officer at Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, can be reached on [email protected]
Author’s Disclaimer: This story is purely a work of fiction. Any coincidence of the characters with real persons is highly regretted.
Photo credit: Pexel.com
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