The next day, Victor swung by Oyinkan’s on his way to campus, dropping two sachets for her.
“Keep it for me. I would like to see the results myself too” he instructed.
When he got back late in the evening, he asked her for the result.
“Positive” she said.
“Where is it?” he asked.
“I threw it away”
“Why?” Didn’t he ask her to keep it? He fumed inwardly.
“Sonia was helping me clean the house, I could dispose it or she could find it. I chose my privacy, Victor” she said.
“Ok, have you eaten?” he asked, perplexed.
“Guy! she dey lie!” Lekan said over the phone.
It was in the middle of the night in Singapore, evening in Nigeria. Both friends had been on the phone for half an hour.
“Make she do blood test” Lekan added.
“She no gree, Said she knows her body and she cant be stressing and broadcasting the fact that she is pregnant” Victor explained.
“Na rubbish be that!” Lekan spat.
“Man! I taya”
“But you used rubber?”
“Each time! That’s the crazy part. Yeah, I know its not 100% sure, but guy, what are the freaking odds?”
“Make she no go rope you with another man belle o. All these girls, na money them dey find”
“That’s another thing. Baba, the girl is loaded. Wetin I wan offer am when she no fit get herself?”
“Still…. She must definitely see potential” Lekan insisted.
That was the thing about Victor’s close friends -they saw in him much more than he dared to believe. In a conversation months ago, this same guy had predicted he would top his class. That was already coming to pass, much to Victor’s pleasure.
“Baba, I am at my wit’s end”
“Guy, relax. But, really does she want to keep it?”
“She doesn’t know yet. I told her I’ll go with whatever decision she takes”
“And if she decides to keep it?”
“Then I owe my mum a phone call” Victor said resignedly making Lekan chuckle.
“V, insist on the test. No let one small girl open office for your head”
“What of genotype?” Ogechi asked
“We are both AA” Victor answered.
He knew Ogechi had broken up last year with Segun over the genotype issue. She was AC, he was AS. No deal. It was from her that Victor had learned there was such a thing as AC and SC genotypes.
“But this period information, though. The fact that she saw her period after the last time you guys had sex…” she left off.
“Coupled with the fact that we used condoms” he put in
“Condoms fail, cycles change, some still bleed while pregnant, yes. But all of this coming together all at once? Shey I have always told you this your Onyinkan is a liar?” she asked, spite pouring over the line.
“Babe, let me not keep you up late. I will be seeing her in a bit. I have some questions for her” Victor said.
They said goodbyes and hung up.
Sleep had eluded him for a few days now. Tonight was going to be no different. It was already 3am.
“See, if you are saying its not your’s, it‘s fine. You may leave. I will take care of myself” Oyinkan said. She was angry.
Victor had asked as gently and nicely as he could if she had per-chance slept with some other dude. He had stressed that they had used condoms and she had had her period after their last time. It had not worked. She had almost gone ballistic and he had spent the last hour trying to reason with her and calm her down.
“Don’t talk like that” Victor said, knowing his friends would slap him if they were present. But he just couldn’t bring himself to think she was telling anything but the truth.
“How do you want me to talk, Victor?” she shot at him.
“Relax. So, what are we going to do?”
“Shebi you just said its not your’s? Leave me to handle myself” she said wiping a tear.
“Come on, Oyinkan….”
“Please, Victor! Don’t let me walk out on you”
As he got in a cab for home, he felt spent and weighed down. She had calmed down eventually. Finally saying she would think about it and let him know her decision. He had pledged, again, his unalloyed support for whatever course of action she decided upon.
He wished he could tell Darasimi.
Over the phone, she had told him she was opting for a D&C. She had found a place and wanted him to come with her. He had agreed.
He had asked for the price and she had simply said “I don’t know yet. Just hold what you have”.
‘She lied’ he thought after he had hung up, “She knows how much but doesn’t want to tax me” he murmured as he stepped back into the faculty library.
As it turned out, the bill was more than what he had on him. She had put up the rest.
“I’m kinda broke now, if not, I wouldn’t bother you with this at all” she said when the attendant stepped out of the room. Onyinkan had to go through mandatory scan and counselling then come back in 48 hours for the procedure. He had elected to sit through it with her.
“Its okay. I should have done the whole bill myself, but I’m low as well” he said.
He starred at the screen on the scan machine. The experience was unlike nothing he had ever felt. Even though he could not make it out, he felt a sort of bond to what the technician was pointing out to his patient. There was something there.
As they rode back in silence, with the scan result in his jacket, he knew the next 48 hours would be tough ones for them both. But one thing he made up his mind about was not to voice his opinion and sway her on the final decision. The video they had been shown in counselling was somewhat unsettling. He was not sure an abortion was the right course of action. But then, he would hold his tongue.
“I have a presentation tomorrow. But will be here day after tomorrow so we can go to the clinic together” Victor said at her apartment.
“Okay” was all she said.
“I’ll be on my way. I have the result” he said patting his jacket pocket.
She walked him in silence to the road and they hugged goodnight. He kissed her forehead
“I’m here for you” he said.
“Thank you” she replied.
She was in pain and he knew it.
This was really happening. He had consented and paid for a D&C. The only unanswered question was if the pregnancy had really been his’.
He pushed his doubts out of his mind and focused on the situation on hand. He had gone through with it, what exactly was there to gain by debating its origin? He could as well look on the bright side and be a good BF. The girl was a catch in many ways. Didn’t every relationship have its own challenges?
“Sorry” he said as they took the flight of stairs up to her apartment.
“I think we should make arrangement with one of the cab companies or better still a driver to come get you for the next few days” he said as they got into her place.
She had been asked to come back daily for a couple more days, after which her treatment would be reviewed.
Through one of his flatmates, a few months earlier, Victor had heard about a band that needed a part-time drummer when they had to play live at clubs. Being a drummer in church back home, he’d taken the opportunity. It was the closest thing to a job offer he had gotten that would fit into his schedule without giving it much thought and effort. And the pay was not bad per gig. He had quickly realised he needed to make some extra change on the side. His stash was quickly vanishing.
Tonight, he felt irresponsible as he hopped off the cab at Oyinkan’s place. He had gone to a practice session after leaving campus and it had taken much longer than he had anticipated. So she had been to the clinic alone and had been home for hours. He knew he should have been with her. But a man had to do what a man had to do, yeah?
She had told him, on the ride over that she was in pain.
He rapped on the door, a little out of breath from running up the stairs. Sonia opened for him, granting him some air of relief in the fact that she had not been alone.
“Hello” he greeted as he walked in and shut the door behind him.
“Hi. How are you?” Sonia asked.
“I’m fine. How is she?”
“She is in the room”
“Thanks” he replied and went to the room.
Oyinkan’s hair was a mess, she was in the process of changing clothes, but was wriggling through it on the bed.
“You could have asked her to help you” Victor said slowly tugging at the legs of her jeans. “Sorry, I’m late” he added.
She made no reply.
“What is wrong?”
She touched her abdomen.
“Sorry, dear” he said, helped her slip into her nightwear, then sat beside her on the bed.
“My drugs” she said after about 10 mins.
“Where are they?” he asked getting to his feet.
“Can you take them? Have you eaten anything?”
“Had some Pizza” she said.
“Is it still left? let me bring you some” he said.
Victor walked to the living area and realised Sonia had left quietly. He locked the door, then went into the kitchen.
He found the half-eaten pizza in the fridge and decided to re-heat it. While he waited he found the paper bag that carried her pills and beside it her other phone.
There was no thought to it, he simply picked it up and scrolled through the messages while he waited on the pizza.
He didn’t know exactly what he thought he’d find, but he kept scrolling anyway.
Maybe he wanted to see if he’d find communication with her ex that could clear up this mystery. He still had a thought that somehow, that dude was involved in all of this. Each time he had called her in his presence, she had always told him some lie or the other about her location or situation. It didn’t sit right with Victor but each time he asked why she had to lie to him, she had simply said she was under no compulsion to tell him her doings.
Inbox first. Nothing out of the ordinary. He was not a snoop. He didn’t check people’s phones, but he didn’t know why he could not stop. Next he checked the sent items.
“Hello, Sir. I will be coming with the guy tomorrow. Please, help me prepare a pregnancy result.”
The microwave chimed. He read the message one more time, calmly got the pizza out, picked up the meds and headed for the room with the phone.
He was mad and relieved at the same time. But totally in cool control.
“Here” he said, placing the pizza and sachet of medications.
“Thank you” she managed.
“This is the last time, you’ll see me, Oyinkan” he said, tossed the phone on her pillow, spun around and left the room.
She caught him as he was about to exit her flat.
In saner times, it would have been hilarious to see how quickly she had shaken off the pains (that were partly his fault) and sprinted so quickly to the door. He simply looked at her and shook his head.
There were no words. Just two pair of eyes locked in an explosive gaze. He’s full of questions, her’s shame, fear and a plea for mercy.
She held unto his shirt sleeve.
“Let me go” he said. If he weren’t making so much effort to stay calm, he would have hit her.
He was burned. All the sleepless nights, the money he’d spent – money that was in short supply, the worries and loss of peace. He had even gone through the torture of rehearsing a phone call to his mum about the ‘pregnancy’ when he had thought she might keep it. He had thought of his friends, those from church especially. And Pastor Sumbo, the lady in charge of the choir he used to play drums in.
There was a vile taste in his mouth as he firmly yanked her hand off and pounded down the stairs.
They ended up at his house.
She was on her knees in his room, he sat on the bed, head in hands.
She had rushed after him at her place, ending up in the taxi with him.
“Kini mo ever se fun e, Oyinkan?” he had asked her in the cab
They had stuck to the yoruba language. Even in his anger, he had decided to save her dignity by not having the conversation in English which the cabbie understood.
“O ni reason ti mo fi se be. Jo ma binu” she had pled.
Now, he looked at her on her knees, no she was not crying, but she looked terrible in a rumpled T-shirt, shorts and bath slippers. No wonder his housemate they’d met in the living room had looked at her curiously.
“Are you pregnant?” he asked in a controlled voice. Best he started from there. Nothing about the whole thing made sense anymore.
She shook her head
“So, why did you lie? What have we been doing at the clinic?” he asked
“It’s my health” she replied
“What about it?”
“I didn’t want to tell you”
“Tell me what?” he was genuinely worried.
“Found out I have a fibroid a few months ago”
“So why didn’t you want to tell me?”
“I didn’t want to lose you” she said after a long pause
“Lose me? Like I would leave you cause you have a medical condition? Who does that?”
“I don’t know, Victor. I didn’t know what to do”
“So you decided to lie and deceive me all these weeks?”
“Is there anything about me you don’t know?”
She made no reply.
“I tell you everything! Why would you not only keep this away from me but make my life hell in the process?” he said bitterly
She looked up at him.
“What sort of jerk do you think I am?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, Victor. I really am” she said.
In the morning, he walked her to the road.
But before they left the house, she had asked if things were back to normal between them again.
She had begged and he had said he’d forgiven her, but it was just a little too much for him to get past. The way he had been manipulated and had his trust betrayed was beyond what he could simply come to terms with.
“Give me some time, please” he had said.
Now he wondered how many other lies he had been fed.
The sad look on her face touched him, but he just had to heal first.
Things never quite returned to normal.
They had a few stiff dates and heartless arguments.
Victor finished top of his class and returned to Nigeria. She couldn’t be at the airport to see him off. She was busy in school. Darasimi had come though. She’d asked after his ‘babe’ but Victor had been too embarrassed to talk about it.
Communication between them was sparse already and only got worse on his arrival.
One day at his new job, she’d chat him up
“You don’t call or chat. Nothing” she sent
“Been busy. But you don’t check on me either” he replied.
“Hmmmm” she sent
“What are we doing, Victor?”
“How do you mean?”
“I’m sorry but I am having a hard time getting past what happened”
“I knew you’d say that. That’s all you keep saying”
“It hurt, Oyinkan. All the stress and costs and stuff”
“If its about the money, I will refund you”
Victor almost lost his cool. He unplugged his phone from his laptop and leaned back in his seat. It was not worth his peace. Not anymore.
“It’s not the money. You needed it for your health, you didn’t have, I’m glad I could help.“
“I hear” she replied
“How is your health now?”
“If I didn’t chat you up, you would not ask”
He had no reply for that. He was guilty. But who could blame him? Every time he talked to or thought of her, he felt pained and saddened. So he avoided it.
“I want us to end the relationship, Victor” she typed.
He blinked. He was not sure if it was what he had been hoping for, but he knew it was not a bad proposition given their current situation. And he knew if he ever got past the hurt, he could win her back. All he needed was one vacation in Singapore, they could work things out. He could well afford such luxuries now.
He pulled open his lower drawer and took out the test and scan result from an envelope. His eyes fell on the red ink that read “faintly positive” in front of “UPT”. Of course, it had been falsified. He looked at the scan printout again. It made no sense to him still, but there was a time he had thought he was looking at a life he was responsible for.
He needed a diplomatic exit. One that didn’t leave any bitterness.
“Why?” he sent.
She never replied.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: END :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
A true story reproduced with express permission.
Names and places have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved.
Thank you for reading.
Written by Greg Emuze, writer and blogger. He can be reached on twitter @deTONEnate and blogs at www.isleofcupid.wordpress.com.