V received a text from Priscilla that morning asking her if she’d received her text. She was aware that there had to have been a previous text and that she hadn’t received it.
No. What was it about?
Ara is very sick. She’s been admitted to a hospital. She was taken in the middle of the night.
Suddenly she felt a sharp sting somewhere in her heart. She knew she was going to cry. She never cried publicly so she had to get away. There was many people in the room, there was Psi in the room. She left for the ladies. She wanted to blame someone, but she felt responsible too. Ara was now five and a half months old and she was already separated from her mother. V had stayed with her for eleven days and had gone back to school to sit for her exams. She felt like the worst mother ever.
On the toilet seat, she cried for about seven minutes then got up. She had to make a call, someone had to tell her something.
“Mum, why didn’t you tell me that my daughter is sick?”
“What good would that have done?”
“That wasn’t for you to decide!”
“She isn’t that sick. And who told you anyway?”
“Yea right! Not so sick that she is now hospitalized!”
“Who told you that?”
“It doesn’t matter, now, does it?”
She knew she was being rude, but she had to lash it out at someone. Besides, Priscilla had asked not to rat her out. V was going to keep her word. She knew better. Priscilla had also told her that her parents had decided to keep it from her, and that was what angered her the most. She hated it when people made decisions for her. She hated when people thought they knew what she could handle and what she couldn’t. They had no idea. They hadn’t always been there, no one ever had.
V got up and blew her nose. She washed her face and straightened it out in the mirror. She wasn’t going to let anyone know that she’d been crying. Unfortunately, her eyes were sad and red. She knew anyone could tell. So, when she rejoined the rest, she picked her bag and jacket and left. She had to excuse herself though, so she made it as vague as she could.
She called her sister, Lydia, but Lydia’s phone was off. She then called her aunt, Margaret and informed her that she was going home. Aunt Margaret insisted that she sees her first and so she did.
Moments later, she was seated in a bus. Home was eight hours away and she knew it was going to take a while. She tried to focus her mind on other things but all she could think about was Ara. How was she? Would she live? If she didn’t, was V going to attend the burial? Where would it be held, at her parents’ home or with Ara’s paternal family? Would people blame her for her daughter’s death? Of course they would! They would make it unbearable for her. They would tell her that her daughter would still be alive if she had been breastfed sufficiently. They would make up stories about her death… V shook her head, like to forcefully wake up from her reverie. She wondered why she had such dark thoughts. No one had said that Ara was dying! But what did it mean, critically ill? Why had she been referred to a bigger hospital when she went to the district hospital? Why had she been rushed in the middle of the night? Why just past midnight? Had it been sudden? Just like that her dark thoughts were back. If Ara did die, would it mean she had gone through the entire nine months for nothing? All she lost during that time, would it have been for nothing? Her pregnancy had been torture. She’d forgiven everything after meeting Ara.
Ask. She’d never gotten over him though it was long overdue. He had moved on. He had found happiness elsewhere. He was probably getting more than she had to offer, or less, who cared? Sometimes she felt happy for him, sometimes she got angry at him. She threw tantrums, she nagged, she regretted, she smiled, she cried, she stressed, she wondered, she inquired, she did everything every girl in her place would do and then some more.
Two hours later, the bus was still trembling on its spot, no significant movement. V was getting impatient and uncomfortable. Especially since the bus was getting stuffier by the minute. The tout had promised early departure and she’d been stupid enough to believe him, I mean, the guy was a tout. Some guy walked past her. He exuded a strong stench. V coughed. the guy turned to look a her then said something, obviously not to her. As he did, he spat on her face in showers as Angie would call them. Angie was V’s closest friend. Her best friend, the kind you call ‘afidus achetes’. With flushes of disgust, she alighted to catch a breath. She wiped her face then made a mental note to never use this kind of buses again.
An hour later, they were set for the road. She was excited to meet her girl. She was also terrified. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep. she did, eventually and hoped to die before her daughter did. After all, it was only logical!