I wake up this morning to meet my breakfast of boiled Irish potatoes and tomato sauce on my dressing table but when I tried opening my door, it was still locked. I went into the bathroom brushed my teeth, did my facials and had my morning bath. Somehow, I was beginning to feel heavy. Maybe it’s the knowledge of being pregnant, I don’t know. But I found myself being extra careful with the way I walk, the way I washed my stomach area during my bath, the way I sat on the chair at my dressing table to apply my moisturizers and the way I adjusted myself on the little couch in my room. Was I beginning to be over protective of this fragile thing inside of me? Was I beginning to accept it?
I had woken up in the middle of the night, stood in front of my mirror and kept staring at my stomach. So many thoughts ran through my head at that point, a lot of bad thoughts actually. I even thought of drinking my Gucci perfume but then, I realized that I could die in the process. I also thought of deliberately falling in the bathroom, face down so that I could hit my stomach on the floor but I also realized that I would definitely suffer a head concussion and some terrible bruises. But I thought, “No, It wasn’t worth it”. In trying to kill a thing I did not want, I would end up hurting myself terribly and I couldn’t bear such pain. I had knelt in front of the mirror and asked it questions like; why did you come to me? why did you choose now to afflict me with this manner of dilema? But I got no answers. Instead, I felt warmth flowing from my inside.
I know Mom’s intention. She’s trying to make me bond with it the same way she would lock Tinu and I outside the house whenever we quarreled so that we would resolve our dispute and bond anew. I could swear her plan was working cos I was feeling this warmth I had never felt before and it was like a strong connection, almost electrifying. I was still in shock about the whole thing and I was done beating myself for the mistake. It’s happened and there’s no turning back. If I even dared remain adamant about getting rid of it, Mom would keep me locked up here for as long as it would take to make me change my mind. Am I ready to keep it? Am I ready to be a Mom? Am I ready to give up myself for some tiny fraction of myself that would depend on me for the most part of it’s life? Am I ready to share my time? Am I ready to be called ‘Mom’? I don’t know.
I felt mentally drained as I ate my breakfast.
I was having a nap when Mom walked into the room. She shook me awake and when I open my eyes, she had brought me Lunch of Yam porridge cooked with vegetables. She laid it on the bed and poured me some water to drink first before eating. I did as she had said cos I woke up famished. I had thrown up earlier after breakfast and was feeling light from hunger. Mom sat on the couch in my room, watching me eat.
“Lola, are you angry with me?” she asked
I paused on the food to look at her before answering “No Mami”
“You know I want the best for you right?”
I nodded still eating but she continued
“If you had noticed, I didn’t ask you about the father because I don’t want you to worry about that first. I had to lock you in here because, I wanted you to think about your decision. I did it out of the love of a mother. Do you understand?” she said
“I understand Mami. It’s just that, I’m sacred. I don’t know how to do this. I only know how to take care of myself; I don’t know how to take care of someone else.” I answered with watery eyes.
Mom left her seat and came to join me on the bed.
“Lola, What makes you think you can’t take care of it? Look at me, you’ve been looking after me since your father died. To me, you are my mother. And why am I still alive if I can’t help you take care of the baby when it’s born? Ife mi, you’re not alone in this!” she said vehemently
I shook my head and said, “Oh Mom! I don’t want to be a single Mom. It won’t be fair on it to grow up without a father.”
Mom took my hand in hers while thinking about what she wanted to say before talking,
“Tell me then, who’s the father?”
I hesitated first but I replied after a bit, “Jeff. His name is Jeff Oku. He’s a lawyer”
Mom’s face lit up with the brightest smile ever as she spoke excitedly, “Oluwa e seun o! Does he know yet?”
I shook my head
“Please tell him today. He must know!”
“Mom! I can’t. I’ve been a very terrible person to him. Always have been. If I tell him, he would think I’m trying to tie him down with responsibilities. It would kill my ego if he begins to think so about me” I whined
“Look at you, you sound just like a man Lola. Listen, call him and tell him. He has a right to know that he has a child somewhere. Do it today!” she urged me
“Okay Mami. I’ll tell him in person when I go back home. Please…” I pleaded
She shrugged but agreed then she got up and packed up the dirty plates to the kitchen. I was left alone again pondering on how I was going to tell Jeff.
My life is a movie. The things that have happened are things I wouldn’t have believed would happen. My stay in Lebanon had turned me into a pawn in the hands of men. On one occasion, I had taken in and immediately removed it. It had been easier for me to move on cos I had a target but I hated my lifestyle and I wasn’t ready to keep relics of that life. My new life now is something I have carved out for myself. I play my own tunes and I dance to them the way I want without putting my back down for favors. I’m not bothered if Jeff accepts or refuses responsibility for the baby, I’ve made up my mind. I know now what must be done.
I get up from my bed to go out but the door is still locked.