I was exasperated but I had to control myself. “Mother, but we are not getting to any bridge, we are already at the bridge. Father will not allow me inside the house with this pregnancy,” I said to her.
At this point, the doctor interjected. “Madam, this is a family affair so I cannot take a position unless I’m asked to do. Like I told you before, my professional advice is that she takes a D&C now that the pregnancy is still very young and puts her at no risk at all. Moreso, the pregnancy came about from an unfortunate incident. How is she going to deal with the stigma that will come with it? But, as I said, this is just my own personal and professional advice, you are at liberty to take it or leave it. And if you eventually decide to go for the D&C, I will always be here to handle it all for you.”
It was a waste of time. The man may just as well have been talking to himself for all the responses he got from my mother. She was barely paying attention to him. Her mind was made up, it would probably take Jesus Christ to come from heaven and convince her to have a change of heart.
“Are you done, doctor?” she turned to him, with a hostile look on her face. The man did not respond to her question. “I have heard all you said, but my daughter will not have an abortion. God forbid!”
The doctor simply smiled at her, gave a slight bow and left the room. She turned to me. “How are you feeling now? Are you strong enough to leave here today? I think it’s better we leave here as soon as possible and go home to face your father. The sooner we do that the better.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I had no other choice but to do her bidding. “I am feeling….feeling much better. But we will need to ask the doctor first if it’s okay for me to go home today.”
Promptly, mother left the room and returned with the doctor. He examined me, checked my BP, my heartbeat and took down some notes. “We will have to examine her till late this evening, that means she will have to remain here till tomorrow before she can go home.”
That didn’t go down well with mother. “No, doctor, please, let her be discharged today. Spending a day more means more money, right? Her father will be very angry if the bill goes beyond what he can handle. There are enough problems on the ground already, please let’s not add to it….”
“But madam, it’s not me just deciding when I want her discharged, it’s her medical state. And my medical advice is that she stays the night so we can monitor her for a few more hours,” the doctor explained.
“Thank you, doctor, but she said she is strong enough to go home today so please, make arrangements for her and prepare the bill, let me go home and get money from her father,” my mother said to him. “So, please, l don’t want my husband’s problem, let her go home today!”
I was discharged that same day. Father paid the bills and mother took me home. I was praying it would be dark by the time we get home. I knew many would’ve heard about my predicament in the neighbourhood. Ours is a small town where everyone knows everybody. I would not be able to stand the shame of having everyone stare at me as I enter the house. But there was nothing I could do about that. There were still a few people outside when we got home. And from the sympathetic look on their faces, I could tell they probably had an idea what had happened to me.
“Mummy Rosemary, welcome o,” a couple of them greeted us as we made our way into the house. Some greeted me too. But I couldn’t say a word. I just hid my face in shame and walked briskly into the compound.
Father was waiting. He was seated in his favourite chair in the room. He was barely looking in our direction when we stepped inside the living room. He was staring into space, and whenever my dad was upset and was about to explode, he would first gaze into space before descending on you.
“We are back, daddy Rosemary,” my mother said to him. Even she was fidgeting slightly, unsure of what father’s reaction would be.
“I have eyes, I can see,” father retorted. “I can see that you’re back, so I should be jumping up and down that my wife and her daughter who have brought me shame are Back?” he fired straight at mother.
The fireworks was going to start sooner than I expected. This is exactly what I was trying to tell mother we should avoid. Father would never take the situation lightly.
The tension in the room was palpable, you could cut through it with a knife. “Daddy Rosemary, why don’t we take it easy with this girl, no matter what may have happened, she is still our daughter,” mother tried to ease the tension. Promptly, I went on my knees.
“Of course I can’t deny she is my daughter, but she has proven to be an irresponsible daughter the day she left my house to go to another boy’s house and got raped. Or, the place she went to, is that where her father built his house?” father shot back at mum.
“But it was not her fault…”
“So, it was my own fault, right?” father interjected before she was done talking, his eyes starting to blaze with anger.
“Daddy Rosemary, please take it easy o, let us be very careful how we handle this matter….”
“Woman!” father snapped at her. “You and your daughter, listen to me and listen very well…Rosemary will not stay under my roof with that pregnancy in her womb, if you insist she must have that baby, then she must leave my house. She will not give birth to that child inside my house!”
I began to cry uncontrollably. I crawled towards my father, a man who loved me so much, and tried to hold his leg and beg for his forgiveness but he quickly moved away his leg.
“Don’t touch me!” he said to me. “I gave you education, I gave you everything a father could give, but all you could do to show gratitude is by coming home with a pregnancy and you expect me to be happy with you?”
“No, sir, please, forgive me….it was not intended to get pregnant, I was raped,” I cried.
“Where were you raped, here in your father’s house?” the old man fired back at me.
“Daddy Rosemary, please, let us….”
“There is nothing to talk about, woman, I have just one question for you,” my dad shot at her. “And I will ask you just one last time, is this girl going to abort this pregnancy or you still want her to keep it?”