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I Do

11 Oct

Tolu was running late again. I should be used to this by now after being his girlfriend for over four years but it still gets to me, there was no way I would let him off the hook easy this time. We were supposed to see the premiere of this blockbuster movie together and I had made him promise to be on time this once but he was already fifteen minutes late. Thank God for the foresight that made me tell him the movie would start by 4p.m instead of the stipulated 5:30p.m, I wasn’t ready to allow his lateness ruin the movie for me.

After endless ‘Where are you (s)?’ to his phones and getting only the perfunctory ‘I’m on my way’; I gave up and decided to start the movie without him.

I chose my usual spot right in the middle row, and saved him a seat though I was extremely pissed at him. I checked my time again, it was 5:25pm and he wasn’t here. The lights in the cinema went dim as some movie trailers began, I brought out my phone and sent him a message ‘If you eventually decide to come, I’m in Cinema room two, our usual spot.’ To which I got an almost immediate reply ‘Okay baby.’ He even had the nerve to still call me ‘Baby’, ‘Baby my foot’, this was no way to treat the woman you claim to love more than life itself. I took a long draw from the cold bottle of soft drink I bought before entering the cinema and brought out my glasses as I settled back to hopefully enjoy the movie.

A slight commotion at the edge of our row announced his entrance, thirty minutes into the movie, the movie had taken my mind off him for a while but I quickly assumed the ‘annoyed posture’, arms folded, chin slightly raised with a straight face.
My breath got caught in my throat as I caught a whiff of his cologne, I had no explanation for that feeling but anytime I was away from him for a while, as soon as I perceived that odor, my knees always betray me. He wasn’t getting off easy this time, I reminded myself as he planted a kiss on my cheek, sending shivers down my spine.

‘Hauwa baby, I’m so sorry, something extremely important came up that I had to attend to’ He whispered into my ear as he playfully tugged at my earring with his teeth. My steel countenance melted as I burst into a giggling fit. I smacked his cheek and silenced him with a kiss, ‘Let’s try to enjoy the movie okay, and this doesn’t mean I’m still not pissed at you.’ I warned and he took a playful snap at my stretched finger with his teeth which I quickly withdrew. I settled into the warm confines of his chest as he wrapped his arms around me.

Few minutes to the end of the movie, it was paused and all the lights in the cinema came on,
‘We’re sorry for the interruption; the movie will continue shortly please bear with us.’ A voice announced over the speakers. We were all too surprised to say anything; we just kept our eyes glued to the screen.
The movie on the screen was removed and we were all staring at a blank screen, soft music started filtering through the speakers, it took me a few seconds to recognize the instrumentals of my favorite Nigerian Artiste, 2face’s Rainbow. I looked at Tolu beside me and he smiled, I was still pissed at him but I smiled back at him, rested my head on his shoulders and closed my eyes to be serenaded by the music. I was hearing murmurs from the crowd which was quite unusual, on opening my eyes, I saw a picture of myself on the screen, and then a smaller picture of Tolu faded into the screen. I sat upright and looked at Tolu but his face gave nothing away, he was as surprised as I was.

The volume of 2face’s Rainbow was increased and suddenly his voice came through the speakers loud and clear, singing over the instrumental being played. I looked at Tolu again, this time he couldn’t hide the smile that was on his face, he pointed at the screen and stood up just as 2face walked into the cinema with a microphone in his hand still singing.
Everyone in the cinema was too surprised to say a word; I looked at the screen and saw the words:
‘Hauwa my heartbeat, will you do me the honor of being the mother of my yet unborn children?’ Tolu was on one knee, hands outstretched holding a beautiful ring.

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The Other Woman “Genesis”

9 Oct

…..
‘You whore’ one of the women screamed as she lunged at me in rage. I tried to get out of my chair but I was paralyzed. I took the impact of her body full in the face as we both tumbled backwards. She climbed me, knees blocking my lungs, eyes filled with anger and hatred. I was disoriented, gasping for air. I couldn’t feel the pain as she brought put a razor blade and slit my throat, but I felt her own pain. She was Andrew’s wife.

…..

‘Beep Beep’
Kumbi woke up, her hands instinctively going to her throat. She let out her breath and swallowed. That dream was so graphic and real, she shuddered at the thought of it coming to pass. She switched off her alarm and reached for her phone, there were no new messages. ‘Why did Akin not reply her messages or return her calls?’ He had made her promise not to call him when he would be at home with his family but she had broken that promise the previous night, she really needed to hear his voice. Akin was the only stable thing in her life right now and she wasn’t ready to lose him for any reason. They had been together for over a year now and things were getting serious.
Lately he had been complaining about his wife’s inability to satisfy his needs and how she cared more about her work and making her boss happy than making him, her husband happy. If not for the two kids they had together, he would have asked her for a divorce. He always extolled Kumbi’s ability to make him feel relaxed whenever they were together and he had made up his mind to take a break from his family to be with her the coming weekend. Kumbi hoped that she would be able to convince him to leave his wife for her. She knew she would make him happy, the same way He could make her feel whole again after what that idiot Sadiq had made her go through. Akin was her rock, her backbone.
She was surprised that he hadn’t called her, they had planned to meet the previous night and he failed to show up or pick up his phone or reply any of her messages. Although she was angry with him, she hoped he was alright. She made a mental note to call him again before she left for work.

***

‘Wake up sleeping beauty’ Akin crooned into the ears of his wife and planted a kiss on her lips. ‘Last night was amazing darling’ he added as he set down the tray filled with freshly made toast, warm milk, eggs and sausages with a jug of coffee and some honey.
‘Break-fast in bed? Good morning to you too handsome’ she replied and kissed him back as she sat up.
He carefully balanced the tray on her lap and held her hand.
‘You should go and shower hun, you smell like sex’ she teased and nudged him playfully with her foot. ‘I laid it on you pretty good right?’
‘Yeah, I admit it was something.’ ‘We should send the kids to their God-parents more often’ He added, ‘it’s been too long…’
‘I know baby, and talking of the kids, Kemi should be dropping them off any moment from now.’
‘Let me just take a quick…’
The sound of the car-horn signaling their arrival cut him short, he quickly donned his bathrobe and made his way downstairs. No sooner had he opened the door than screams of Dad and Mum filled the house.
Dami and Doja, his boys, tried to outrun each other in a bid to get to him first. He bent down to carry them both in his arms.
‘I missed you Dad’ Doja spoke first.
‘No Dad, I missed you more’ Dami added almost immediately.
‘Guess nobody missed me’ Hauwa spoke from behind them putting up a sulky look.
‘Mum!!!’ they screamed and wiggled till their Dad dropped them to run to their Mum, attaching themselves to her limbs until she carried them both in her arms.
‘I’m sorry Kemi’ Akin apologized to their God-mother as he took their overnight bags from her, ‘Thank you’
‘No problem, I have to go now though, I have a lot of running around to do and giving this Lagos traffic, the earlier I set out the better.’ She replied and blew the boys a kiss. ‘I’ll call you later Hauwa’ she added.
Akin walked her to her car, a sleek Toyota Camry 2012 model. ‘Tell Kunle to meet me at the club later this evening’ he said as he helped her with the door. ‘Drive safe.’

***

Kumbi looked at her phone for the umpteenth time, she couldn’t believe her ears, why would Akin do this to her? He had finally picked up her phone a few minutes back after two days and just when she was about to ask why he didn’t show up as they planned, he told her never to call him again that he couldn’t continue the friendship with her. A small tear rolled out of her eyes, then another and another smearing her make-up. She didn’t care, she just wanted to die. She had endured the whole day with the thought that hearing Akin’s voice later in the evening would soothe her pain but the pain increased exponentially after hearing those words from him. She went to her medicine cabinet and brought out a pack of Refnol, ‘it’s been a while old friend’ she said amidst tears. She opened a fresh bottle of Henny and poured herself a glass which she downed immediately. It was time to end it all, she was tired of getting used and dumped over and over again.

***

‘I’m at the airport darling’ Hauwa said as she threaded her way through the hundreds of people in the airport. ‘It’s strange that you chose a restaurant in the airport darling’ she added.
‘Just find your way over to the international airport sweets, I love you’ Akin replied and disconnected the call before she could say any other thing.
She soon spotted him at one of the waiting rooms and as she approached, he stood up and signaled to one of the bag-handlers to follow him. He hugged her and held her by the hand, directing her to one of the counters. ‘You’re right on time.’
‘Right on time for what?’ she replied, ‘Baby where are we going, the children, my office?
‘Ssshhh all taken care of baby, don’t you worry your head about anything. We are taking a well-deserved vacation.’ he interrupted her with a kiss.
‘But I didn’t pack any clothes…’ she continued
‘All taken care of dear, I had some help from Kemi and your Mum.’ He cut in, she’ll be picking up the boys and taking them to your Mum’s later too.
They were soon checked in and as they boarded the plane she asked ‘What about my office?’
‘I called your boss and asked for a leave on your behalf, told him I wanted to take you on a vacation to celebrate our tenth year anniversary.’ He answered, ‘You didn’t think I would forget did you?’
Hauwa was dumb-founded, Akin had worked really hard to keep the surprise from her and he had succeeded beyond her imaginations. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked up at his six foot plus frame, ‘I love you my darling.’ She whispered and kissed him deeply.

***

Tosin had been calling Kumbi’s number for the past two days but he got no response. The last update he saw on his sister’s phone’s IM got her very worried. Why does she always have to be the victim of a relationship gone sour? He tried her number yet again but got the ‘not reachable’ reply from the network service provider. He picked up his car keys and decided to go check on her.
He knew something was wrong the minute he drove into her compound and saw the door partially open, it was quite unlike her to leave the door open. She hated it when flies and insects get into the house. ‘Kumbi, it’s Tosin..’ he called out as he made his way to her room.
The sight that beheld his eye was one that would stick with him for the rest of his life…

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The Other Woman

2 Oct

At first, I was reluctant to attend the meetings but Tinu had insisted that I accompany her as a favor thus making it almost impossible for me to turn her down.

‘Hi I’m Kumbi.’
‘Hello Kumbi,’ the other women chorused in a cacophony of lovely voices.
I stole a glance at Tinu who gave me an encouraging nod to go ahead with my story, I had planned not to say a word at the meetings but I had no choice as it was expected of every newcomer to share their experience, an important piece of information that Tinu conveniently skipped while she was singing the praises of her ‘Little Girl Group’ as I liked to call it.

‘I’ve been sleeping with married men for close to five years now and I’m bored out of my mind. Maybe it’s because age is no longer on my side as I will be clocking Thirty-five in a few days or because of the last man I was with. His name was Andrew.
He was one of the new intakes at our company. He was the complete package, Tall, Dark and Handsome. He had good taste in clothes, shoes, in short he had his shit together. I took it all in immediately I spotted him, the clean shaved face, strong jawline, clothes well fitted, evidence of a man with a strict workout routine, and a wedding band. Not that a wedding band had ever stopped me in the past and it sure as hell won’t be stopping me now. I walked up to him, introduced myself and made small talk. He was a no-nonsense man, here to do his job and leave. I could see right through him. I would give him time to get settled before I made my move. A few days later I tried engaging him in small talk but he wouldn’t budge, ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’ were the high points of our conversations. I felt insulted at first, wondering why he was acting aloof, ‘Was I not attractive enough? Was I too forward?, ‘Why didn’t he flirt back?’ Then it began to excite me. I was determined to win this game. Maybe he and his wife were still newly weds and there was no way he would succumb to temptation this early on in the marriage. I would wait. Few months later, my wait was rewarded as ‘Mr Right’ came into the office looking less impeccable than normal and late. He had on the look of an husband whose wife was extremely pissed at him, trust me I’m an expert. I know when a man has woman issues. His head was on the desk, probably taking a quick nap after a long row with the wife. I tip-toed to his side and whispered into his ear ‘Andrew wake up, it’s time for work.’
He must have mistook me for his wife because he instantly blurted out ‘I’m sorry baby,’ with pain and sincerity in his eyes.
This man sure loves his wife, remember thinking and chuckled at his embarrassment on finding out it was only me, Kumbi a lady who works in the same company.

‘I don’t mean to bother you, but I thought you could use this’ I said handing him a cup of coffee.

‘Thanks’ he took the cup from my hand as I took a seat opposite him.

‘so tell me, what are you sorry for?’

‘It’s nothing’ he looked embarrassed.

‘I’m sure it’s something, nothing you want to tell me perhaps’ I smiled and tried to put him at ease.

He hesitated, then replied ‘ Hell I need a woman’s perspective anyways.’

‘I finally got through to the man’ I told the group of women hanging on my every word.

He started narrating his experience to me.

‘I ran into my ex-fiancée yesterday on my way home from work, it was raining and all she had for protection was a shower cap. I offered to drop her off at home but stopped first at my dry cleaners to pick up some clothes and drop a fresh batch. Apparently while I was in the dry cleaner’s place, my wife’s best friend drove by and saw my ex in the car and cussed her out, after which she immediately called my wife. By the time I got home, she didn’t give me a chance to explain, going on and on about what she was doing with me at the dry cleaners if I really wanted to drop her off at home since she lived on the other side of town…’

‘Why didn’t you go drop her off immediately?’ I interrupted

‘I wanted to catch the dry cleaners before they closed for the day’ he replied.

‘Oh that makes sense, but did you explain to her?’ I asked

‘Yeah but convincing her is the hard part, she just wouldn’t listen’ he whined back.

I decided to go in for the kill.

‘Why does your wife not trust you?’

Like a fool in love, he retorted almost instantly ‘she does trust me’

‘Not just you Andrew, a good woman should trust your judgments as well’

This hit home as he sat quietly and pondered over this for a few invites while sipping his now lukewarm coffee. He leaned back in his chair then plopped the question

‘How come you’re not married since you seem to know to much about being a good woman?’

‘Because I know a lot more about being a bad man’ I replied and grinned mischievously.’

We kicked it off from here and before long, Andrew and I started seeing each other after working hours in the parking lot every day. I was used to sleeping with married men and I felt no way about it but when Andrew told me we couldn’t see each other anymore because his wife miscarried after finding out about me – the other woman, I felt a measure of Guilt, ….’

‘You whore’ one of the women screamed as she lunged at me in rage. I tried to get out of my chair but I was paralyzed. I took the impact of her body full in the face as we both tumbled backwards. She climbed me, knees blocking my lungs, eyes filled with anger and hatred. I was disoriented, gasping for air. I couldn’t feel the pain as she brought put a razor blade and slit my throat, but I felt her own pain. She was Andrew’s wife.

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Pick ‘n’ Drop

24 Jul

His most striking feature are his eyes, they’re brown, a deep hazel, the kind that you can’t but give a second look. I believe that a person’s eyes say a lot about the kind of person he is, and looking inside his, feels like you’re being drawn into a miasma of pain, hurt, and possibly death, this was the first thing that attracted me to him. People have always chided me about my ability to empathise with other people irrespective of their persona and it is a part of me that has been exploited countless times by several people, both male and female.

We were at the bus stop together, and though there were other people there, what made me acknowledge his presence was how it seemed like he was staring at me but on moving closer, I observed he was lost in his thoughts. I had smiled when I first noticed his gaze on me and waved furtively but when he didn’t respond, I took a closer look and found out he was actually lost in thought about something or maybe someone.

‘A penny for your thoughts’ I tapped his shoulder with a huge smile on my face and quickly added ‘Not that I have a penny in this age though and by the way it is quite rude to stare’

‘E-e-r-r sorry do I know you?’ His voice was a rich baritone, he probably sang in a choir.

‘No I’m sorry, I saw you staring at me but when I came close, I met you lost in thought and I couldn’t help but talk to you. Did you lose your job?, were you jilted?, what happened?’

‘For someone you’ve never met, you seem to care an awful lot, are you this caring to everyone?’ He scooted to the side so I could sit beside him

‘Well, only if they look as handsome as you are’ I replied with a knowing wink

My effort at flirting was amply rewarded as he also gave me a huge smile that lit up his face, his stubbled cheek was now plumped up and I felt a little flutter in my heart. His dentition would have been perfect but for a broken incisor which gave him a mischievous yet sexy look, and his eyes looked much warmer and full of life as he told me his name.

***

Like I guessed, Daniel had just found out that his girlfriend of six years had been cheating on him, what made it even worse was that after he confronted her, she showed no sign of remorse. This was a girl that he practically, single-handedly sent to university because her Mum died when she was quite young and her dad was a ‘ne’er-do-well’. They had met during his youth service in her home town and he had taken it upon himself to make sure she had stellar education, sending her to one of the best private universities in the country, against the advice of his friends and even family members. Not only did she cheat on him, but she did it on a reality show, on national TV.

***
With the way he clenched and unclenched his fists unconsciously every time he mentioned her name, I was sure he had the deepest feelings for her. Why would anyone want to break such an amazing guy’s heart? Not only did he have the looks, he was the full package (Tall, Dark and Handsome). I caught myself fantasising about him and couldn’t help but smile.

‘Where are you actually headed cause I’m sure you know we’ve missed quite a number of buses’
His question jolted me out of my reverie
‘Oh, E-e-r-r that Yaba side’ I stuttered
‘I’m headed towards Oshodi, I need to get my car from the mechanic’s. I really enjoyed talking to you but I must go now.’
‘Oh’ was the only word that came out of my mouth. I was irrevocably attached to Daniel, I wished I could spend the rest of the day with him, the rest of my life?, maybe? He was just so loveable.
‘Please let their be traffic, no buses for now’ I quickly whispered to whoever was up there.
The ‘now’ had not left my mouth when I heard the horn of another bus on its way to the bus stop.
‘Alright man, I guess this is where I say ‘Adios’, till we meet again’ Daniel gestured to the ticket seller and bought tickets for both of us.
‘Here’ he handed mine over and I felt something else under the ticket, it was his complimentary card. He looked into my eyes as he said ‘I would love to hear from you very soon.’ and turned to board bus.
‘Me too’ I whispered behind him, and closed my eyes to savour the lingering scent of his perfume.

My name is Segun and I love ‘We-men.’

Behind the Shades

11 Jun

Beautiful! That was the only adjective that could accurately describe who I set my eyes on as I walked down the length of the walkway to my 7a.m class. Her face was absent of makeup which was pretty unusual for a Babcock University girl on a Monday morning, I guessed she was not one of the ‘typical Babcock girls.’ I looked around me to check if any of ‘my guys’ had noticed how fixated my eyes were on the lady that walked towards us, fortunately they were all too concerned about how late we were for the class to bother.
I made a quick decision to go after her and not come back until I had her digits. The only thing that struck me as odd was the large pair of dark sunshades she had on, because I could hardly see earlier this morning as a result of the heavy fog that descended on the University campus, as a matter of fact, the sun was far from shining at such early hour of the morning.
I feigned loss of the note for the class we were on our way for and I turned back from my friends as if to go back to the hall but the moment I rounded a corner where I wouldn’t be observed, I waited and observed as ‘she’ made her way with her friends towards me. Her clothes were perfectly combined, a well tailored ‘da-viva print’ patterned skirt complemented with a plain jacket and a white camisole, simple yet classy. My gaze traveled downwards and I beheld one of the cleanest, spotless pair of legs I’d ever set my eyes on. She carried herself with a grace that is seen in royalty. I stole a quick glance at one of the notice boards nearby to check that I was not dressed shabbily, and said a quick ‘thank you’ to God that it wasn’t one of those days when I would opt for palm slippers or flip-flops on my black native attire as against the nice pair of T.T Dalk open shoes I had on. I positioned myself such that there was no way she would walk past without brushing into me, but I realized my folly a little too late as no sooner had we brushed into each other that she tripped and fell flat on the concrete floor. My feeble attempts to save face by reaching out for her caused me to also trip on the steps close by and I struggled and flayed my arms helplessly around as I fell to the floor.
‘Lisa are you alright’ I heard one of her friends call out as they rallied round her and helped her to her feet, thankfully she was alright. Then they all turned as one towards me while I still lay unprotected on the floor. The jolt of electricity that had passed through my body as I fell was very much in place and I was still too stunned to will my feet to rise beneath me. They formed a protective arc in front of her while they gave me looks that left gaping holes in my being, and though I avoided looking them in the eye, I could still feel their looks pierce my skin.
‘Is he okay?’ I heard the most melodious voice I’ve ever heard call out as ‘she’ broke through their arc and walked towards me.
‘I hope he’s not’ one of her friends retorted and reached for her hand ‘Please let’s go’ she encouraged and gently tugged her hand but she refused.
‘I have to be sure he’s okay, are you okay?’ ‘she’ called out once more looking generally in my direction but not at me, her shades must have fallen off when she fell.
‘I’m fine’ I replied and miraculously, I could feel my feet finally and rose to my feet and stretched out my hand towards her ‘I’m Lekan and I’m really sorry about all that.’
‘Lisa’ she smiled and stretched forth her own hand too, though I couldn’t help but notice that though her outstretched hand hovered over mine, she wouldn’t accept my handshake until I raised my hand to meet hers.
‘It’s okay, but be more careful next time’. She continued as she turned to take her leave.
It’s now or never, I told myself and gently pulled her hand so she would stop, ‘You look really beautiful Lisa, can I walk with you?’ I quickly asked before I could stop myself.
‘So you can walk her into a ditch this time?’ the same friend snapped at me again.
‘Titi, please stop talking that way’ she replied in my defense and continued ‘I’m sure it was an honest mistake, you girls go on we’ll be right behind you.’
‘Lisa at least use your walker, just to be on the safe side’ She pleaded and rolled her eyes at me as she added ‘He doesn’t even look like he can take care of himself not to talk of you.’
‘Walker?’ I wanted to ask but stopped myself at the look on Titi’s face. I wondered why she was so protective.
At this point it took all the strength I could muster to stop myself from insulting her and I struggled with the fake smile plastered on my face while I held on to Lisa’s hand.
‘Titi, I’ll be fine’ I could sense the irritation in her voice, ‘just go on, it’s alright.’ She replied.
Titi gave the phrase ‘If looks could kill’ a whole new meaning with the way she looked at me then hissed and beckoned to the other friends ‘Please let us go jare.’
‘I’m sorry’ we both chorused coincidentally then burst into laughter, I stopped laughing and kept staring mouth agape at her white, well arranged dentition. She looked too good to be true.
‘What’s wrong, are you staring at me?’ she asked.
‘N-n-n-no’ I stuttered but my voice failed me because the minute she asked that question, all the pieces began to fall into place, the black shades, the over-protective friend, the hovering hand, the walker and lastly the strange, distant look…
Lisa was blind!.

8:35pm

19 May

A slight breeze blows over the huddled form at the entrance to the mall, Bade, the recluse squeezes the frayed blanket he wraps around himself even tighter and cringes slightly as a pungent odour hit him. The stench is from him, he knows it but he’s not only used to it, intact he revels in it, it keeps unnecessary attention away from him. He is different, he is not mad or physically handicapped in any way, until recently he was the C.E.O of one of the leading telecommunication firms in the country before the ugly incident that turned him into this.

***

Being the C.E.O at thirty years was Bade’s dream and it looked like he was headed directly for it, the sky was just a steppingstone. The outgoing C.E.O, who was already overdue for retirement had called him and his colleague Uche who was also vying for the post to his office the night before and their discussion lingered in his mind.
“To be C.E.O of this company, you must be ready to give it your all…” the old man started with his raspy smoker’s voice.
His voice never failed to rattle Bade, even though he’d been working close to the man, hearing his voice everyday for the past 5years. Bade and Uche were the most senior vice presidents in the company at the moment and though they didn’t usually see eye to eye, they accorded each other the professional courtesies necessary to get the work done. Infact there was a rumor that the old man intentionally selected two of them as VPs so that he can have fun watching them play “Good cop, Bad cop” at board meetings.
“… Finally and most importantly…” the old man droned on, ” there’s a club you have to be initiated into…”
Bade’s ears pricked as he heard this bit of information, there had also been rumours, but to have something so serious casually mentioned by the current C.E.O obviously meant it wasn’t as serious as the rumours said they were, or so he thought. He would live to regret this later.
A few weeks later, the old man officially named him the new C.E.O of the company and everything was perfect, his dream had come true but though his dream came true, his nightmare began when he learnt what was really required of him in the “club” the former C.E.O casually mentioned…

To be continued….

My Baby, Our Baby

8 Feb

This truly happened, though the characters have been altered for anonymity. Enjoy

‘Goodbye darling, have a nice day at work’ I said, reached for his neck and pulled him closer to brush my lips against his. It is amazing that even after four years of marriage, the slightest touch of his lips against mine sets my whole being on fire. He moaned softly and slightly tilted my head to deepen the kiss. It took all of my self-discipline to step back. I hated leaving him hanging but if we continued this way, we were going to end up in bed yet again and in my present condition, the doctor had given strict instructions.

I was in my last trimester and we were really excited because he (I was so sure it would be a He, though Ade wants a girl) was our first. This wasn’t my first pregnancy but this is the first time it got this far so we were extremely careful. I lost the previous two in their first trimester and like Ade always said ‘Omoyele you were so busy, you hardly took care of yourself not to talk of taking care of the unborn baby.’ He had made me promise to take a long overdue leave of absence from my fashion store immediately I conceive again which I eagerly did.
‘No heavy lifting darling, just rest okay?’ he said as he slid his well manicured hands into the jacket I held out for him. ‘You must take good care of my baby’ he added, placing his hand over my belly, caressing it.
‘Alright alright sir, can you please go now?’ I replied, gently pushing him towards the door.
‘Bye darling, I love you’ he called out
‘I love you more’ I replied and shut the door behind me.
It is our tradition to always tell each other those words whenever we were leaving the house, we endeavored to always say it, even if we were not talking which is very rare.
‘Ouch’ I called out, rubbing the spot where the baby just kicked. He’d been really energetic these past few days.
‘You know mummy loves you so much’ I said to him as I cleared the dishes off the dining table into the kitchen sink. ‘You need to stop hurting mummy that way ok? It hurts but in a good way though’ I added smiling.
I wondered if he could see me smiling.

I opened the windows in the living room for some fresh air, I disliked the after-smell of the air conditioner though Ade who had a stronger sense of smell had never complained. I never noticed it had an after-smell until I got pregnant though; my senses are very alert to any unusual smell, taste or touch these days. I settled into the long chair, carefully assuming a sitting position that would be most convenient for the baby and I.

‘Vivian, please get me a glass of water and a plate of cookies from the freezer’ I called out and reached for my half open “Measuring Time” by Helon Habila. I still haven’t developed a knack for reading African writers but I had promised Ade that I would finish this one. After my snack, I read a few more pages then started feeling drowsy. I carefully marked the page and placed it on the stool beside me then laid back.

I woke up to serious pain building from my back to the sole of my feet. I tried to move but it felt like a thousand daggers had been placed on the couch. I called out to Vivian but what came out was more of a whisper. I reached around for my phone and dialed Ade’s number
‘Hello Mrs Akinniyi, miss me already’ he answered cheerfully
‘I-I can’t move’ I stuttered
‘I’ll be right there just stay put okay?’ he replied, barely audible, I could hear the tension in his voice.
‘Alright darling but please be careful’ I answered amidst sobs.
The contractions were not so far apart now. I struggled to assume a sitting position and started breathing in and out on my own, trying to calm myself down. I was in this state when Seyi, Ade’s younger brother walked in.
‘Yele, what’s going on? Vivian, get the baby things quickly’ he called out, taking charge.
‘Can you walk?’ He asked as he helped me to my feet, then without waiting for a response lifted me off my feet and carried me to his car.

We made it to the hospital in record time, though it felt like forever, we must have struck a pitiful sight, myself and my husband’s brother struggling to calm me down while concentrating on the road. Thankfully the nurses were waiting at the entrance, a very anxious Ade pacing back and forth as we drove up to them. By this time, I could barely breathe, the contractions were so close to each other; it felt like the baby would drop anytime.

The nurses were on hand to get me out of the car onto the stretcher. I was wheeled straight to the emergency ward, holding on to Ade’s hand like my life depended on it.
‘It’s alright baby, you’ll be fine just hold on’ he kept on repeating.
‘You’re beginning to sound like a broken record’ I teased amidst the pains
I was transferred onto a bed and strapped in.
‘Will she be going in for induced labor or..?
‘No drugs please’ I interrupted

The sterile room, the smell of the medication, the continuous movement of the nurses and ward attendants, all got to me. I started feeling drowsy but was jerked awake by another bout of contractions.
‘Where on earth is the doctor?’ I heard my husband say to one of the nurses. From the tone of his voice, hell would soon be raised in this hospital.
‘He’ll b-b-b-be here soon’ she stammered and scurried off.
I was left in the room unattended for almost an hour while my husband paced frantically back and forth.
‘Baby, are you strong enough? We’re leaving this place’ he said, removing the straps.
Miraculously, the pain had subsided considerably, though I had a feeling that it was a bad sign I didn’t give any thought to it. I slipped on my flip flops and I was half carried to the car, Ade on one side Seyi on the other.
‘Where are you going, what are you doing?’ one of the elderly nurses shrieked ‘Have you forgotten she’s a pregnant woman?’
Ade ignored her.

I was gently placed in the car and we were off to our family hospital, Ade crooning into my ears while Seyi drove. The private hospital was quite a distance to our house which was why I wasn’t taken there originally. As we approached the entrance to the hospital, a cold realization hit me, neither have I not felt any pain for the past hour, the baby had also stopped kicking.
Ade had called ahead so the nurses were waiting for us too and the doctor was right beside them, looking very worried.
‘When was your last contraction?’ he asked as soon as I got out of the car
‘Over an hour ago’
‘Any pains since then? Nausea?’ he quizzed while I was wheeled into a private ward
‘None, I feel almost fine’ I replied.
He prodded and listened in several areas of my stomach then he told the nurse to pass an I.V into me. By this time, I was already feeling drowsy once again. I slept

***

I woke up.
My throat felt really parched, my face felt funny and I felt unusually empty, I tried to turn my head but felt a sharp pain both in my head and in my stomach.
My stomach… the baby…
‘Yele are you alright? How do you feel?’ Ade’s voice broke in.
He looked like hell, his eyes were puffed, flared nostrils.
I cleared my throat, ‘I’m fine, but can I get some water?’
He reached for the baby bag and brought out a plastic water bottle with a straw attached to its head and placed it in my mouth. The water felt so refreshing and I almost drained the bottle.
‘What happened? Where is the baby?’ I asked as I placed my hand on my stomach, looking around for any sign of a cot. On seeing none, I began to panic. ‘What happened to our baby Ade? Answer me?’
‘Take it easy Yele, everything will be alright’ he replied
‘What do you mean? Where’s my baby?’ I pressed
Before Ade could answer, the doctor came in.
‘Doctor what happened? How’s the baby?’ I shot at him
He looked at Ade, who gave him a nod then answered ‘I’m very sorry ma’am, the baby was already dead before you got here…’
‘What?’
‘You went into premature labor but as you were not properly managed at the previous hospital you went to, the baby must have suffocated which was why you weren’t having any contractions…’
His voice was drowned out by a loud single tone in my head, I just stared at his lips while he droned on and on. A single tear rolled out of my eye, I looked at Ade and his head was held in his hands. There was no explanation; the incompetence and carelessness of a Government hospital had cost us our baby, my baby.

…..This is not to say our Hospitals can’t get better, but I hope the right people read this and make a change….

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