What is she doing here? What on earth has she come for?
Has she come laugh at you?
Or to make peace? Well, that’s too late! She can’t come after the storm and expect things to go back to normal. No. Never!
You’d never have anything to do with such a fickle human!
A surge of animosity tears at your guts.
“Get out!” Your determined scream rends the air. You scream so hard that she’s startled. Your baby starts whimpering.
“Go away!” You push yourself against the wall as you scream yet harder.
Your husband and the nurse hurry in.
You are heaving, sweat breaking out of your skin.
“Take her away. I don’t want to see her. Goooo!”
“Madam please excuse us.” The nurse urges Mary.
Abashed, she shuffles away.
Your husband sits beside you, his arms wrapped around your waist.
You lean on his shoulders, pouring gusts of warm startled breath on it.
“Sweetheart.” Your husband calls gently as he strokes your hair. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. God has forgiven us, we should forgive too.”
You are crying uncontrollably.
One minute you were saying you’ve forgiven her and the next you’re yelling at her out of sheer unforgiveness.
You remain quiet. Josh squeezes your hands.
You know what’s right. You decide to do it.
“Let her come in.” You whisper amidst sobs.
He squeezes your shoulders before getting up. He returns with her.
“Queen I’m sorry.” She says hunkering beside you. “I have things to tell you if you wouldn’t mind listening.”
“It’s okay. I’ve forgiven you.” You force out, massaging your throbbing head.
She straightens then looks down at your baby. She lifts her head to you. “Queen, you made it. Congratulations.” She looks past you “I envy you.”
There’s something in that statement you don’t understand.
A cryptic underlying depth to that line You made it.
Why would she envy you?
Is it cause you are married or because you now have a child?
None of it makes sense to you.
Or is she just trying to console you?
You know that statement came from the deepest part of her.
She sounded subdued and her eyes had emotions strongly emblazoned in them. Emotions you are trying to deny, but are to strong to be overlooked and at the same too strange to be true.
Regret. Yearning. Pain.
She turns to leave. You are wallowing deeply in confusion.
She turns back to you, a rueful smile plastered on her face.
“Queen, we’d talk later. You’d find answers to all the questions on your mind.”
You nod. The door clicks behind her.
You and Mary agreed to see after the christening ceremony.
You two are sitting on the bed in the guest room.
“Queen, I’m sure you were wondering why I’d be envying you.”
You nod. She sighs.
“Do you remember Tunde?”
How could you forget Tunde?
Back in your university days, Mary and Tunde were so close anyone who knew them would think they were an item, even you thought so. But somewhere between the lines, their relationship faded out, for a reason you don’t know and till now never really thought of.
“I remember him.”
She nods. “Do you also remember the ‘pregnancy strike’?”
“Yeah.” You say with a terse chuckle.
There was a time your university was on strike for good nine months. Students called it the pregnancy strike. They’d quip that if any lady got pregnant during that time, she’d have put to bed before the strike was over, that it was a break for girls to go get pregnant without being discovered.
“Do you also know that I got pregnant during that time?”
You freeze. She affirms her statement with a nod.
“During the strike, Tunde often visited me and vice-versa. We met for nothing in particular, we’d just sit, gab time away and enjoy each others company. We just loved being together. The longer we stayed together, the longer we wanted to stay together, and the more intimate we wanted to get. We took a step-by-step approach to getting physical. From eye locks to hand locks to hugs to pecks to kisses to sexting and finally…” Her head drops.
“The first time it happened, we were really sober and remorseful, we prayed for forgiveness and all. But soon we were doing it again, and again and again until… We felt no remorse about it. Then, the pregnancy came with all it’s acquaintances – morning sickness, frequent urination, bla bla bla.”
She buries her face in her palms. Your body is violently shaking, how could she have bottled such up for so long?
But beyond the shock is curiosity.
“So what happened next?”
The look in her face makes you scared. You want to tell her not to tell you anymore but it’s too late.
“When I told Tunde about it, he insisted we aborted it. I was apprehensive but he insisted, telling me he didn’t want any useless child to interrupt his life. I didn’t want the baby too, I didn’t want the shame, the reproach, I didn’t want any of it. So, I concurred.”
Her cheeks are now wet with tears. You eyes fill up too.
“No!” You exclaim as you jerk forward.
She shook her head. “I did it. It went smoothly. I thought that was the end. I was foolish enough to think that I could silence a wrong with another. I wanted to bury my sin, I didn’t know I was sowing it. Sowing the wind to reap the whirl wind.” She burst into tears. Her wailing further tears you up.
“How haunted I was by that singular action, the throbbing pain in me sice then, I can’t explain. I sincerely wished I hadn’t killed that child. I denied myself the privilege of knowing what my first child would have looked like. Oh Queen, you don’t know how much anguish you escaped by not trying to silence a wrong with another. I envy you. If only I faced the result of my actions like you did, if only I faced the shame, if only I carried that baby till the time of delivery. If only I bore the pain once and for all, I wouldn’t..”
Tears cut off her words. You throw your hands around her shoulders and let her douse yours.
“The day you told me that you were pregnant,” she disengages from the hug. “I was internally torn into pieces. I felt guilty. Maybe if I had shared my experience with you, you wouldn’t have fallen into the same ditch. I wanted to tell you not to abort it but, I felt I had no justification to do so. Who was I to counsel you against it when I did it?” She sniffles.
“But then at the same time I knew in the recesses of my mind that, if you aborted it, the blood of the innocent child would come to double that which I already had shoulder daily.”
Now you understand clearly the reason for the alloy of emotions you saw on her face when you spilled the news. Now you understand why she avoided talking about it. It wasn’t self-righteousness like you assumed, it was that it poked at her fresh scar and made blood spurt from her wounded heart. Now you understand why she avoided you, she was trying to avoid her past. She needed help herself and that was why she couldn’t be of help to you. Now, it gets all clear.
“I could only pray for you, Queen. I could only pray that the Lord would stop you from doing the regrettable. I could only hope and pray.”
“God answered your prayers, Mary. Yes he did. I was at the verge of aborting my daugher. You didn’t stop being there for me, I just stopped seeing it.” You hug her tightly. “We’d always be best friends no matter what. I love you, Mary.”
Tears is all the response you get.
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Once again thank you.