“What do you mean you’re pregnant?”
I hated when my mother spoke in that low voice. She had never liked the neighbors hearing what they shouldn’t and every time we had an argument and the flies would gather, she would speak so low it sounded like thunder was rumbling out of her mouth.
Once her voice went low, I knew I had seconds to fix the situation otherwise; the escalation would not be in my favor.
“Mum, don’t worry about it.” I said to her in what I hoped was a reassuring voice, “Sefu loves me and I love him mum.…..I know you think we are too young for such responsibility….. a-and you never wanted me to end up like you but….”
“Oh you think you have the answer to everything now that you’ve had a boy between your legs eee?”
“What curse is this lord? Haven’t I been faithful? Haven’t I?” She said looking to me for an answer.
“I told you……..NO I WARNED YOU….. I said Nadia, concentrate on your studies and leave this Seju nonsense behind. He will destroy you. I said that didn’t I? Now look at you.”
Her large frame started to vibrate and I knew she was reaching her peak point.
“YOU THINK EEE… you think you are all grown up at 16 that you can interrupt your mother when she speaks to you…. BIG WOMAN NOW EEE..”
I hated when she spoke in that low tone but it truly wasn’t her fault. Life, one could say, had dealt her a hand she wasn’t ready to play.
My mother, the proud African lady who now lived on Arkena Street, was a woman few men approached and even fewer got the privilege to love. She was bruised from a past she rarely spoke of and while she was a hard woman, she still had this innocence of a teenager curious about the world and aching for the freedom, I felt, I stole from her.
So it came as no surprise that she wasn’t throwing a party now that I, the daughter of the proud African woman who now lived on Arkena Street, was pregnant at 16 with a boy’s child she did not approve of.
“I gave you everything you asked for Nadia, EVERYTHING and all I asked for in return was that you concentrate on your studies. Goddamit Nadia!”
Her slaps now turned to blows and as my body became a punching bag, I tried to protect myself and the life that lay inside of me, failing miserably. Against my mother’s towering physique I took what I believe to be my father’s small stature.
I never thought that I would end up pregnant at 16, but which kid does. My focus had always been school. Those big expensive books you read, my mum would say, will be our ticket out of struggle. I was always focused I remember, until Seju came into view and everything changed for what I believed to be the better.
When we found out we were pregnant a year after being together, Seju made sure that I not only knew that he was not going anywhere, but he assured me he would shower our baby with all the love he could master and I believed him.
You could call it teenage innocence, but having grown up around the same circumstances, all he wanted was to make sure that the new life that joined this world and I, would know we were loved.
“No! Mum, STOP IT!”
When I came to, I was in Seju’s car and he was telling me to calm down and that we were almost at the hospital. His broad shoulders, brown eyes and dark skin always gave me butterflies, but today, my tummy hurt so bad it almost felt like it was swallowing itself.
The car screeched to a halt in front the hospital and Seju got out, ran to my side and lifted me in his arms.
I remember seeing blood on my blue sky stretch jeans and wondering to myself, why was there so much blood.
A nurse rushed to our aid as we burst through the doors and I was wheeled off through white doors with green aliens singing before I lost consciousness again.
The sterile smell of the room brought me to when to the left of me, I heard someone tell Seju, “I’m sorry Seju, her injuries were too severe and with her condition…… she ……Nadia lost the baby and unfortunately will not be able to have any more children.”