Memories of those days that we want to bed hungry without food flashed through my head. I remembered how hard it was for us to survive. Scenes of that fateful day when the news of Papa’s death reached mother flooded my thoughts.
“You people are not serious!” Mother had thrown at the men who’d come to break the shocking news.
“How could you come here and be playing such stupid pranks! My husband is alright, there is nothing wrong with him. He left home not long ago to look for a job and he promised he’d be back soon.”
There was an eerie silence. The men were looking at each other, unsure of what to tell her, scared they were on the brink of sending the poor woman into a severe state of shock.
“Please, tell me, are you telling me the truth? Is there something wrong with my husband?” she asked them when she realized they were not ready to say a word more.
“Mama Anita, please, take it easy, you have to take heart, please….” One of them said to her.
As young as I was at the time, my heart was pounding hard against my chest. The fear of the calamity that was about to befall our family overwhelmed me. The darkest days of our lives were about to begin…
My mother let out a loud scream and threw herself on the floor, rolling from one end of the room to the other. She was simply inconsolable…
As I laid there on the doctor’s bed, waiting for him to begin the D&C, the flood gates of my eyes flung open and, more seriously this time, the tears started to run down my face. And I got up from the bed,
“I can’t do it, doctor,” I turned to the man,
“I don’t want the D&C again!”
The doctor was baffled. He had no idea what was happening to me. I leapt down from the bed and covered my body fully with my cloth. I can’t explain the sudden fear that gripped me, it was as though I was staring at the ghost of my father and the image of my poor mother, crying and scolding me for letting them down.
“Anita, I don’t understand, what’s the problem? What’s going on?” the apparently shocked doctor asked me. But there was nothing to explain to him, he would not understand.
“I’m sorry, doctor, I am no longer interested in the D and C again.” I’d thrown at him, trying to get myself together before leaving the room.
“But you still haven’t told me what the problem is, did I say or do something that offended you or something?” he asked me.
“This has nothing to do with you, doctor, I just changed my mind, that’s all,” I told him as I headed out of the room to the reception where my big Aunty who brought me was waiting for me.
“Ah, so fast? Are you guys done already?” Aunty threw at me the moment she sighted me.
“She just got down from bed and said she was no longer interested in the D and C,” the doctor, who had been following me from behind, said to Aunty.
“No longer interested?” Big Aunty had fired back. She couldn’t believe what she’d heard. “Is that true, Anita, did you say you are no longer interested in the D and C?” she turned to me.
“I’m sorry, Aunty, I cannot go ahead with it,” I calmly answered, looking away from her eyes.
“But, why dear, how much you wanted to do this? So why do you want to back out now?”
“I just think it’s the best thing for me to do right now, Aunty,” I replied.
Big Aunty studied me for a while and asked, “Or is it that you’re scared something might go wrong?”
I did not say anything. She just hit the nail right on the head.
“Is that the reason, Anita?” she’d asked again. And again, I remained mute.
“It’s like that’s the problem, she’s scared.” The doctor said.
“Aunty, can we please leave, I will explain things to you in the car, “I finally said to her.
I was already on my way out. Aunty turned to the doctor, “I’m so sorry for the inconvenience, doctor, please don’t be annoyed,” my Big Aunty apologised. But I really couldn’t be bothered about apologising to the doctor or to anybody for that matter. All I wanted at that point was just to get home and clear my head.
I had already got into the car and was waiting for her to join me. When she finally did moments after, the first thing she asked me as the car engine came to life was, “Anita, what is going on?”
…to be continued