By Mercy Solomon
MEG: I am in the doctor’s office, looking pale and visibly shaken. I’m having second thoughts about this. Why am I here?
It was a Thursday afternoon when I found out I was pregnant. I had finally mustered up boldness to visit a pharmacy after weeks of counting my menstrual cycle over and over again. I had not seen my period in a month and seven days, I had browsed on the early signs of pregnancy and they clearly matched what I was going through; tender and swollen breasts, dizziness. The pharmacist tells me to pee on the pregnancy stick; this is supposed to detect the level of HCG – a hormone that is high during pregnancy in the body. The test shows positive. This wasn’t the best of news. Hell, this was terrible news even.
I am a second year Law student at the University of Uyo and 22 years old. I am a beneficiary of the Shell Petroleum Development Company scholarship, as my community, Bonny, is one of the oil rich communities in Rivers state. I am dating a 400 level student in the Department of Civil Engineering, his name is Toby. My love for him is something else. He is always there for me, as I have no real female friends. He listens to my woes on troubled days and knows just what to say to ease the pain. Sex was not part of the plan when I started dating Toby, we agreed on this; but as time went on, the level of our proximity drew increasingly close and lust set in.
Toby introduced me to some birth control pills and told me how efficient they were, but I’m lost as to how I took in when I’m pretty sure I was on pills. God, Examinations start in few weeks, and I can’t afford to lose focus; not now. I packed my books into my handbag and headed for the hostel.
It wasn’t until today that my mom found out about my existence. I know she is excited. I am too, mommy. Some people would probably say I am not a real person yet, but I am, just as a crumb of bread is yet still bread. Does she know I am a girl?; Probably not. I can’t wait to see you mommy.
I feel sick. I didn’t sleep well last night. I tossed and turned on my bed till morning. Anytime I fell asleep, the nightmares wouldn’t let me be. I saw myself begging at the traffic, dirty and wretched with two little girls by my feet. I woke up bathed in sweat. Toby called last night and I told him I needed to see him urgently. He said he’d meet me by 7pm. He asked if all was well and I told him I just missed him, that was all.
“Meg, you no wan go school abi? You don big.” That’s my roommate Udy. She’s nice, always trying to reach out to me. Well, I give her an A for effort.
“Sidy, no school today o. I no well,” I replied.
“Eyaa, get well soonest. No sick abeg,” she replied.
I was left alone in the room, and for the first time in a long while, I broke down and wept.
I met Toby at 7:49pm; he immediately noticed something was wrong from my appearance.
“Babe, what is the matter? You look unwell,” he said.
“I’m fine. It’s nothing, really.”
“We both know you are hiding something, common, tell me.”
At that point, I became confused because I was at war with myself. Nonetheless, I knew the load was too heavy for me. I had to let loose; after all, what could go wrong? I had my favourite person in the world by my side.
“Bae, I’m pregnant,” I managed to utter amidst sobs. He pulled me closer and hugged me tight.
“How sure are you?” he asked?
“I went for a test yesterday and it was confirmed.” I answered.
We sat for a while in silence.
“So, when….when are you going to do something about it?” he stammered, while stroking my hair with his left hand. I slowly raised my head from his shoulders.
“What do you mean?”
“Babe,” he said with a sigh, “we’re both at a crucial point in our lives. We can’t afford to let this thing set us back. Think about us, our education.”
“Thing, Toby? Thing? This is a living person…”
“…who is not fully developed,” he cut in angrily. “Stop being sentimental here. If you’re not planning on doing anything about it, then I’m sorry babe, count me out.”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
“Oh well, seeing you was obviously a waste of time. How did I ever think I could rely on you?” I walked away to the hostel in tears to the amazement of passers-by.
I am growing a bit every day. I can’t wait for my arms and legs to begin taking shape. I know I will have to wait a long time before those little legs will lead me to my father’s embrace or those little arms will help out my mommy in the kitchen. I don’t mind waiting.
Excerpt from #1 Youth Shades, September 2016