“I could have HIV?” I asked, afraid of the response the doctor would give me.
She reclined again.
“Well, that’s another possibility. But I wasn’t even heading towards that end.” she smiled.
I could not tell if it was the smile that calmed my nerves or if it was her response. A part of me was however terrified as the possibility of having contracted a disease danced in my face.
“Let me explain something to you. You see in life, there’d always be moments we make decisions. You made the decision to have sexual relations with the opposite sex, didn’t you?” She asked.
I nodded in shame.
“Or were you raped?” She asked.
“No,” I shook my head as though being a rape victim was a disease. I had seen movies and talks on television about rape and they had all been sad.
“Okay, so you were not raped. That means you chose to do what you did. Now, when we make decisions and follow through with actions, we are faced with the results of our actions.”
She paused and stood up, I watched as she opened a cabinet and pulled out a small knife.
“Look at this, if I stab myself in the chest with this knife, what would happen to me?”
Of course she would bleed, nobody would be dumb enough to do that to themself.
“What would happen?” she asked again, with her brows raised.
“Exactly. Now if I know that I’d bleed and I still go on to stab myself, what does that make me?” she asked.
I knew the answer, it would mean she was stupid and thoughtless too. I still had no idea how what she was saying had anything to do with my predicament.
She returned the knife before settling on her seat.
“A lot of us in life make choices even though we know the consequences, did you know that a girl could get pregnant if she slept with the opposite sex?”
I nodded in shame.
“But you still did it. You made that choice and then the consequence is here but you’re running from it.”
I could feel the tears welling up, did it mean that I had been stupid and thoughtless? I mentally shook my head in disapproval. No one understood, not even this doctor.
“You can’t understand.” I finally spoke, she had no right to judge me.
“What makes you think so?” she asked with that smile of hers again.
This time I wanted to be angry at her smile and the dentition it revealed, who was she to judge me? She knew nothing about me, she had no right. Yet I found my mouth moving before I could stop it.
“I was sad, nobody was there for me. Azeez was the only one who understood, I liked how he made me feel happy. My parents didn’t even care that I was unhappy, not even my brother who stayed home mostly with me noticed my sadness. Fisayo claims to be my friend but she didn’t notice too. No one!”
I did not realise I was already crying neither could I remember when I had made the decision to have my eyes closed.
“You see, this is the bigger problem than being pregnant. You’ve been depressed Abike. You allowed depression swallow you up and you even had suicidal thoughts at sixteen. That’s a big deal.”
I was quiet, I had no response, no defense.
All I wanted to do was cry.
“Being pregnant at a tender age might be tough but it’s more worrisome that you wanted to take your life. Can you tell me what made you so sad?”
“I failed my exams last year,” I opened my eyes and looked her in the face.
“I really prepared for that exam, I wanted to clear my papers in one sitting. I was one of the brilliant students in my school and it was embarrassing that I only passed Economics and English language. I failed every other subject.”
I sniffed and continued, “I read very well, I have never studied that hard in my entire life. I even taught some of my friends before the exams, they all passed but I failed.”
I cleaned my eyes with my hands before continuing “I failed ma. My mom just told me not to worry and asked me to wait for the coming year, like it was that easy. My dad didn’t even sympathise with me. My brother told me I could have prepared better and asked me to work harder next time. Fisayo cleared all her papers.” I sighed.
“Some of my classmates who always made fun of me used my failure as an opportunity to taunt me the more. They had always called me a bookworm, they made fun of my looks, my clothes, my face, my eyes. But after I failed, it got worse.” I coughed slightly.
“Azeez was the only one who understood the pain I was going through. He had helped me with my studies and even though he passed his papers, he could understand me. He did understand me.”
I stopped my tears in their tracks, why was I blurting everything out to her? I cleaned my eyes and pursed my lips.
“Don’t stop talking. I know you might be scared of opening up, but you need to, you need to heal. Did you try talking to your parents about how you felt? Asides from Azeez, who else did you talk to?” She asked.
I scoffed, that had been the most annoying memory for me as I recalled it.
“God,” I opened my mouth to say and I was not sure if the doctor smiled or closed her eyes.
I however continued, “some weeks after I saw my results, the reverend preached in our church and said God was able to do the impossible. He talked about Ezekiel and some stuff about dry bones. He asked us to believe that God could revive dry bones in our lives.”
I laughed, it hurt as I remembered how I had pushed myself. I had believed in God but I had only ended up being disappointed.
“For the first time in my life ma, I fasted on my own unsupervised. I fasted for a week and prayed that God would touch the examination board. I prayed for a miracle that my results would be reviewed but nothing happened. Nothing at all.” I sighed and used my left hand to clean my eyes.
My throat was feeling lumpy but I still wanted to say more, “I’m sorry, I don’t know if you go to church but you see in church, the reverend said faith moved mountains. I had faith, but it was all a lie.”
“Well I’m not just a churchgoer, I’m saved.” The doctor spoke.
I looked at her lost, what did she mean this time?
She must have read my confusion because she said, “you said you don’t know if I go to church, and I’m saying I don’t just go to church but I’m saved.”
I mentally rolled my eyes, I had no idea what difference there was to both statements and I was really not interested.
“Anyways, since you go to church, let me tell you why I was not scared of killing myself. In Sunday school, we were once told that committing suicide was a sin and would take one to hell.”
I scoffed as I tried to remember how the Sunday school teacher had emphasised every word.
“I don’t believe that anymore and so I didn’t care. After all they said nothing is impossible with God, but with my exam results it was not the case so every other thing has to be false.”
I swallowed the saliva that was gathering in my mouth, “I don’t think you’ll understand anyways. Let me ask you one question.”
I felt better and more comfortable talking to her.
“Tell me ma, has God ever been true to you?”
To be continued.
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