I watched as the doctor drank out of the water in the glass cup, she had offered me some but I had declined. I was thirsty and had been for a while but all my interest was to know if she was going to help me with the abortion. She was yet to say anything after I replied her question with a yes.
She gulped all the water in the glass and smiled at me.
“Sorry, today has been a long day. So you said you want the abortion.” She stated, I was not sure if that was a question or a confirmation.
I simply nodded.
“Can I ask you why?”
Was this doctor being serious? The answer was pretty simple, I was too young to be a mother. I was not ready, my parents were disappointed in me. I relatively was still entitled to having a long way to go even though my life was messed up already.
“Because I’m just sixteen.” I replied.
It felt weird admitting to be sixteen for a change but that was the sad reality.
“Well,” the doctor started and reclined in her chair, “I had a child at the age of fourteen, so I don’t think one’s age is exactly all there is to it.”
Did she just say she had a child at fourteen?
And that was when my eye caught it -the picture frame on her wall. I had not paid special note to it initially when I had taken a visual tour of the office. She and a younger lady grinning broadly in the wooden frame, I would have thought it was her younger sister.
She must have noticed what captured my attention because she answered the unasked question in my head.
“That’s my daughter. She’ll be twenty in a few months time.”
The word could not leave my lips but I really wanted to scream it.
“Remember when I said your life was not over? I meant that.”
She leaned forward and looked at me. “Take a moment and reflect, then tell me why you want to have an abortion?”
I did not like this, why was the doctor querying me so much? If father had asked her to do it, she might as well as just get on with it.
“You don’t want to reply?” she said more of a question.
“Do I have to?” I asked.
“Actually you don’t. But can I ask you another question?” She asked.
I shrugged. If asking questions was her mission, then I was determined to filter through her questions and answer as I please.
“How did you find out you were going to have a baby?”
I narrowed my eyes at her, was I having a baby now? Was it not supposed to be an abortion?
I let out a sigh. I knew I had to answer her if I wanted to get out of this mess as soon as possible.
“Well, after I agreed to be Azeez’s girlfriend, I noticed recently that I have added weight, I feel weird a lot of times. I’m just tired and terrible. I tend to get hungry and angry too. And I’m not sure I saw my period last month.”
“When were you supposed to see your period?”
“Erm… It usually comes towards the end of the month. And we are in the second week of a new month already.” I replied.
“But you said you were not sure if you saw it last month. How can you not be sure?” She asked.
“I don’t know.” I replied, I really did not know.
She sighed, sat upright and used her hands to slightly massage her neck. I could tell she was tired, doctors were busy people that I had been told.
“Okay, another question. What was the first thought that came to your head when you thought you were pregnant?”
I liked it when she used the word pregnant instead, the idea of having a baby scared me.
“I wanted to die.”
“Hmmm,” she said. “Would death have been the solution?”
“I guess so. I would not have to be a burden on anyone.” I replied.
This doctor was getting me to talk, I did not like it but somehow it felt okay.
“Did you consider what the news of your death would have done to your family?” she asked.
I kept mute, my death would not have done anything. Would it? A lot of young people died and life went on. I thought of my mother, I remembered how she had hugged me when I had played semiconscious.
My death would certainly have left her devastated. Tunji would be lonely, even though we fought a lot I was sure he cherished me. My other brothers would be sad to know their little sister had died. As for father I knew he cared for me despite the fact that he had shouted at me all day. I saw it in his eyes whenever he tickled me or called me ‘Oju Oju’. There was also Fisayo.
“Hi,” the doctor waved a piece of paper in front of me to call my attention.
“I didn’t think about it that way. I thought they would be better off without me.”
I bowed my head and intertwined my fingers while allowing them to play and struggle with each other.
“You think being pregnant is a big mess you’ve gotten yourself into. But the truth is, there’s something worse.”
I raised my head and stared at her, now I was lost. What other mess was I in?
My brain cells froze as it struck me.
Could it be a sexually transmitted disease?
To be continued.
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