Lola Opatayo

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My legs tremble as I open the door to the . I stare at the view and the ridge that awaits me temporarily immobilized by trepidation. His face and the surgical knives flash before me and I can move again, fueling my confidence on the images of him smiling, frowning, laughing, angry, furious, sleeping, sad, uncaring.
“It’s over… it’s over…” The echo rings in my head like a church bell.

“…Can’t have children…took out your womb… sorry…”
This makes me angry. Sorry? Tears spill down my face as I move on slowly towards the ridge. Sorry has never made anything better. I’ve heard it said for the last seven years with him. In fact when I think about it, it’s what he first said to me after deliberately bumping into me to get my attention.
He’s been sorry ever since. For stealing my money, for the first abortion, then the next five, for cheating on me, for always being late, for bashing my car, for misplacing my iPad, for ending our relationship because the doctor had to take out my womb after the last abortion.
Of what use am I? Who will want me? Where do I start from? He’s the only man I’ve ever known, the only man I want to know. I feel so empty, because he’s taken everything away from me. I put one foot on the ridge and look down at the vehicles below and the pedestrians going about their daily businesses. A woman hurries along with her son’s hands in hers. From the coffee shop a woman emerges, a bag in one hand, the other on her swelling abdomen.
I’ll end it now, there’s nothing to live for. My phone rings, without even looking at the caller I throw it down. I’m not going to be distracted by anyone. I put my other foot on the ridge and then I become afraid. I’m really going to die! My body will smash against the tarmac, my brain matter will spill out. It will be quick I hope but I won’t hurt anymore. I won’t be around to hear him get married or have children for that matter.
I take a deep breath, my heart is beating very fast and I know this is the end. My life flashes before me, if there’s such a thing as reincarnation I’ll come back as a man-eating monster, devouring any man I see. I close my eyes and jump.
The wind blows in my face threatening to rip it apart, is this what it feels like to die? This morbid fear? Is there a heaven or hell? I see no angels waiting to take me home. Finally I scream with fear.
“Ah……….” That’s all I can manage at a time like this.
I’m still screaming staring straight at the waiting asphalt when I see a truck from the corner of my eye carrying cattle. It has pulled up beneath me. I’m heading straight for the horns! Now I’m really afraid. I suddenly remember to pray.
“God please… God please…”
I want to die but I don’t want to be gored to death! Hitting the tarmac is neater. Is it?
“God let this truck move! Let it move!”
People are screaming beneath me calling out to someone, maybe the truck driver. I’m still screaming but I’m crying now this is going to be painful! I close my eyes as I smash into a horn, I can feel the warmness of my blood on my skin and it is as painful as I imagined. I’m dying…
I wake up startled, heart pounding and clothes wet with sweat. It’s a dream! Why is my room so disorganized? My clothes are strewn all over the floor, my shoes too. Is that powder coating my dressing table? Why are there cobwebs casting dark shadows in the corners of my room? My phone is scattered on the floor where I must have thrown it in my sleep. The air in my room is musty, I haven’t opened the windows in weeks. When did I become like this?
I rise from my bed, my feet crunching a chocolate wrapper and I stare at them. They’re skinny. Rushing to the mirror I take a good look at myself, my bones are sticking out. I look like death itself! He had always said I needed to lose some more weight.
Beneath a sheaf of papers, my design book sticks out. Picking it up and turning the pages I feel hope seeping into me. I might not be able to have children but I can clean up my room and I can design houses. I’ll start from there, focus on the things I can do.

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