I merely walked around the small house like a zombie. Aunty Florence’s friend tried to be nice to me a few times. She called me and spoke to me. But I could still feel, from the words she spoke, she was judging me.
“How did you meet the guy?’’ she asked me. I told her. I was probably telling that story for the umpteenth time in her house because her friend, Aunty Florence, had asked me a few times before.
“But why did you to his house? And you went without the company of a friend?” she asked. And again, for the umpteenth time, I explained same way I had explained to her friend. She sighed. I was feeling frustrated and furious inside, but I kept a lid on it. I had to. She was not saying it out loud, but every word she uttered showed she was judging me, blaming me for what happened.
“Didn’t you get to meet any of his friends or members of the family?’ This time, I couldn’t contain the growing frustration inside of me. I let open the flood gates of my eyes and the tears came tumbling down my face. All of the pain I was bottling up inside came to the fore. I felt like a fool. I felt worthless, like a stray dog that had no one to care for it.
“But why are you crying? Did I say something that hurt you or something?” she asked me, a puzzled look on her face. She obviously had no idea how I felt and what she was doing to me probing and judging me the way she was doing.
“Its alright, ma, I am okay,” I told her, wiping the tears from my face with the back of my hand.
“Are you sure?”
I nodded. “Yes, ma, I am,” I answered, looking away from her gaze.
Just then, her friend, Aunty Florence, walked in. She had stepped out to get some snacks.
“What’s going on here? Why is she crying?” she asked her friend.
“I don’t know. I think she just got overwhelmed by emotions. I was actually talking to her about what happened to her when she burst into tears,” she explained to her friend.
I almost screamed at her, telling her she was frustrating me with her attitude and the kind of questions she was asking me. But I controlled my anger. This was not the time to lose my cool or get overworked by emotions. This was the time to think.
I turned to Aunty Florence. “Aunty, please, can you do something for me?”
“And what could that be?” she returned, a puzzled look on her face. She was curious to know what was going on inside my head.
I went straight on my knees. It was time to take my own destiny in my own hands. “Please, ma, I beg you in God’s name, get me a drug that can flush this shame in my womb out of my system!”
The older lady gazed at me for a long spell, before turning to face her friend. She was nonplussed. The look on her face told me clearly she had no idea this was coming from me.
“My dear, what makes you think I could possibly know someone who could do that for you?” she’d begun. “This is not Lagos, it’s a small town where everybody knows everybody. And even if I knew a doctor who could take it out for you, do you think I have the right to do that without the consent of your mother?”
“But, Aunty, you have to help me, please….” I pleaded with her. “You know this has nothing to do with what right you have or that you don’t have, this is about doing the right thing, Aunty.”
“And what is the right thing?” she shot at me.
“The right thing is helping to save my future. Helping to make sure this unfortunate incident does not ruin my future and leave me with a bastard child whose birth with will bring me nothing but shame and sorrow,” I said to her, the tears slowly coursing down my face.
“So, are you saying she should go and abort for you a pregnancy that your mother desperately wants you to keep?” her friend interjected. I ignored her completely. It was a miracle I was able to restrain myself from slapping her hard on her stupid looking face.
“Aunty, my mother is not reasoning the way a modern mother should,” I said to Aunty Florence, as though explaining to her why her friend’s unsolicited contribution didn’t make an iota of sense. “My mother is getting old. Right now, her sense of reasoning, her outlook to life, her decisions, critical actions she takes, everything about her is guided by her faith. But you and I know, ma, that in reality, everything in life is not about how religious you are, it is more about how smart and practical you are!”
Aunty Florence was dazed. She was apparently shocked I could speak with such wisdom beyond my years. Truth is, she barely knew me. She barely spoke to me. To her, I was just a foolish child who got herself pregnant while playing around with boys.
The woman sighed. She knew I made a lot of sense. She knew I was right. “You have spoken well, Rosemary. But, still, how do you expect me to go against your mother’s wish? She says it’s a sin for her to procure an abortion for you….”
“But she won’t be the one procuring the abortion, you will, so she has no case to answer with God,” I responded with urgency.
“This is a difficult thing you’re asking me to do, young lady….” Aunty Florence began to mutter.
“Aunty, please, help me…You will do this for me if I were your kid sister put under your care, won’t you? I’m sure you will not sit back and let this terrible situation ruin my future for me.”
Aunty Florence was silent. She was running through in her mind all that I said and weighing her options. I prayed she would end up with no other option than to do exactly what I have requested from her.
“Okay, even if I were to help you, I know no other doctor around here than I can approach to do this for you,” she said.
“Then, I believe that leaves us with only one option then,” I said to her,
“And what option will that be?”
I was slightly nervous. I wasn’t sure how she would take what I was about to ask of her. But, still, I had to say it anyway. “Take me with you to Lagos!”