“Sand? How can there be sand on the bed? The compound is cemented and the floors are tiled…”
“Are you calling me a liar?”
“No, I’m just wond…”
“I don’t know what I’m saying?” Dapo asked angrily.
Ronke sighed, “I didn’t say that. I was just wondering how there could be sand on the bed”
“It’s the same way I’m wondering how you could be pregnant, but like the bed is full of sand you’re pregnant…”
Ronke shook her head. “How can there be sand on the bed?” she said walking towards the bed and feeling it.
“You’re still questioning me?”
“But there’s no sand on this bed” Ronke said frowning in confusion.
Dapo slapped her arm. “You dare to call me a liar? I said there is sand on the bed!” he shouted.
Tears of confusion and pain ran down on Ronke’s face. “Dapo what is it? What is the problem? What I have done wrong?”
“You don’t know what you have done wrong?” he asked. “This is what you have done wrong” he said pointing at her stomach.
“This is your child, our child!” Ronke said crying. “I didn’t plan for this baby too, I don’t know how it happened. Do you think I planned to be pregnant when I’m almost a year close to forty?” Ronke said crying. “Why are you treating me this way? Do you want me to abort this baby?”
“Yes” Dapo said coldly. “Abort this baby.”
Ronke went silent. Her question was rhetorical, she had asked it out of frustration. It was a shock to hear Dapo tell her to abort their baby.
“We are Christians…” she said in a whisper shaking her head as if to get the very thought of it out of her head.
Dapo didn’t respond, he lay on the bed and turned on his side away from Ronke.
“Don’t touch me” Effiong said coldly moving away from Olayinka.
“I love you…” She said timidly. “Let’s go back to the way we were please. I’m sorry I didn’t unlock my phone, but there was nothing on it. I was just being stubborn, I got carried away by pride. Effiong?”
“When you tell me the truth then I’ll know that you’re ready to make this marriage work. I need to sleep.”
Olayinka lay back gently letting out her breath slowly. If anyone had told her that she would cheat on Effiong she would have probably got into a fight with such a person. Effiong was her high school sweetheart, their parents had not even put up any sort of resistance because they had known the two of them to be close for years. They had loved each other intensely and were very committed to their relationship but the trouble had started when Effiong cheated on Olayinka three years ago when she was nursing the twins. She had forgiven him but hadn’t forgotten the feeling of betrayal which gradually eroded the love she had for him. When her boss started to flirt with her, she gave in easily as her resentment for Effiong grew. Now she realized that she had never truly forgiven Effiong, she had let her bitterness grow into a lethal weapon that now threatened the existence of her marriage. Solape had been furious with her when she told her of the pregnancy. “How could you have let this happen? How could you have been so careless?” she had said angrily but promised to take her to a clinic where she could abort the baby.
“Obi what is it?” Helen asked sitting beside her husband after putting the children to bed.
“I called the surveyor today, his number was switched off” Obiora said sullenly.
“What surveyor? The one for the land? Did you try his other line?” Helen asked desperately.
“Helen I tried all the numbers he gave us, they were all switched off.”
“Maybe he travelled… something may have happened. Let’s not dwell on what you’re thinking.” Helen said encouragingly.
“I hope so, I really do because too much is at stake.”
“I know.” Helen said sighing. “Why don’t you go to his office tomorrow?”
“I intend to” Obiora said leaning back on the sofa, worry written all over his face. All their savings had gone into the purchase of the land that they had intended to build their house on.
“What are you doing?” Joy said pulling away from Ayodele.
“I thought it was what you wanted.” Ayodele replied embarrassed.
“I’m not that kind of girl” Joy said disgustedly.
“But I thought you liked me?”
“Yes, but as a friend”
“So you’ve never kissed a boy before?”
“No.” Joy said bashfully.
“So when will you start kissing?” Ayodele asked.
“When I get married.”
Ayodele laughed. “Why are you talking like a small girl, everyone is doing it! Most girls I know have kissed a boy.”
“Peace is not doing it”
Ayodele scoffed.”And who told you that?”
“She did…” Joy answered wondering why Ayodele was scoffing.
“She’s lying, she has kissed me.”
“Ask her!” Ayodele said laughing.
“Are you her boyfriend?”
“No I’m not o! I like fine girls and she’s not fine. You are very fine.” He said.
Peace heard and saw the whole exchange from behind the wall, she was going to return Joy’s notebook when she heard their voices at the backyard. She was hurt to hear Ayodele say that he was not her boyfriend but not as hurt as when he had said she wasn’t fine. Ayodele kissed Joy on the cheek and she began to cry, then she walked away.
Olayinka sat down at the reception waiting for the operating room to be prepared. Solape had brought her to this hospital and left her to attend to other businesses, she was still angry with her. The doctor had told her that it was going to be a risky operation because the pregnancy was already in its second trimester.
“Why didn’t you come earlier madam?” the doctor had asked.
“I didn’t know, I was still menstruating. I thought I was a few days late for my period so I decided to do a pregnancy test and it was then I knew.”
The doctor had shook his head and then gone on to tell of her of the risks. She sat down now worried, she wasn’t ready to die or go through a terrible ordeal in order to keep this pregnancy a secret but how could she have this baby? She shifted in her seat imagining what Effiong’s reaction would be. He would be furious and would probably divorce her but wasn’t it a better option than dying and leaving her children and everything behind because she was trying to keep a secret? She had told her boss about the pregnancy and he had summarily called it quits with her, he suddenly realized she was married.
“You’re a married woman, how can you be pregnant with another man’s child?” he had said.
Images of her corpse, funeral and her children weeping inconsolably haunted her. She wasn’t ready to die, the worst that could happen was that Effiong would leave her but she would at least be alive and be a mother to her children. She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye full of regret and sorrow. Slowly she got up and walked away from the hospital, she would rather let Effiong go.
“Madam! madam!” the nurse called after her.