The pregnant virgin 2
The doctor walks back in with a smaller speculum. You swivel your head to look at him and immediately tense up. The thought of going through that process again makes you squirm.
“Angela, you need to position yourself again. It will be less painful if you relax.”
No it won’t, you think. He is assuming your pain is tangible, something that can be seen or measured. But what you really feel is damaged. There is a searing burn in your soul that’s so deep to reach. As he prepares his tools again, you pull up your legs and try to breathe. When he inserts the speculum this time, you feel something pass out of you.
“Angela, you seem to have had a miscarriage.” He walks around to your side and shows you his palm. On it, is what looks like a large blob of liver with a human shape. Your aunt gasps and looks away.
“This was your fetus.” He says as he discards it in a red bin labelled ‘extremely hazardous material.’ You know he is just doing his job but in that moment, hate is the emotion that rises to the surface. You suddenly don’t want to be in this room anymore. You start to shift on the bed and he says, “I am not done. I have to do a vaginal exam to check the state of your cervix.”
“No!” you say a bit too loudly.
“Angela I need to know whether your cervix is open or closed and you will probably need to go to the operating theatre for a D and C.”
“No.” You repeat firmly. “No, no, no, no, no. You can take me to theatre in the morning but for now let me be. I can’t reach the father. I am sure he will want to be here.”
“Where is he?” He looks exasperated and drags his eyes to your aunt for a solution.
“Is she still bleeding? If she is stable, let her be.” Aunty says calmly.
He turns back to you to address you, but you turn away from him in defiance and become functionally deaf.
“Hi Kim, can you come by the house today. We need to talk.”
“Is everything ok?”
“Yeah. Just pass by after you leave work.”
You go through all versions of how to break the news to him. You try them on but none fits. You don’t understand it yourself. You pass by the nearby chemist and buy a pregnancy test. A script is building up in your mind as you go along. By the time he gets to the house, you have all the lines figured out. You lead him upstairs to the TV room where you know you will not be interrupted.
“Kim. You know I have been unwell for some time and I even threw up this morning. Aunty asked me whether I could be pregnant.” He chuckled.
“That’s preposterous.” He liked to use big words when he was anxious.
“I know. But I thought I might as well buy a kit and test. I wanted you here with me for this.”
“Ok.” And he leaned back on the couch. He didn’t seem fazed at all.
You go into the bathroom and pee on the stick. Despite everything, you maintain a sliver of hope that it will turn negative. Two lines appear on the test before you even finish that thought. You carry the stick as if you are holding an explosive, walk back to him and hand it to him.
“It’s positive.” You whisper and for the first time since you heard the news you collapse into sobs.
He stares at that stick as if it’s an equation he is trying to solve.
“It’s ok Angela. Don’t cry. We will figure this out.”
His words feel like balm on your bleeding, confused heart. You know you are probably too young to get married at 19, but at least it will cover your shame. Thank God he is willing to stand by you.
“So what do we do next?” Your sobs are now just sniffles.
“Let me take a few days to figure it out then I will let you know.”
He hugs you and then leaves.
He is back four days later and this time you meet by the poolside; still at Aunty’s house. You sit on one of the swings and sway back and forth, in anticipation.
He seems disturbed though. His forehead is creased and he paces slowly as if he is about to give a speech.
“I have had some time to think and I…I am not ready to be a father.”
You stop swinging. That statement falls on your head like a cinder block. You picture your life until this moment. How you have effortlessly achieved all milestones and everything has always lined up for you. You think about how you are gifted academically, how you have given your life to Christ and how friends and relatives look up to you. Then this. You crack.
“What do you mean you are not ready? Who is ready? I am in first year in college. At least you have an income and a place of your own.”
“Still. I am not ready. And neither are you. However, I am willing to pay to take care of this.” It takes a while for you to understand what he is suggesting.
“Wait. You want me to have an abortion?”
He looks away probably because of the look you give him. Suddenly you can’t see the halo on his head anymore.
“What about our christian values? I can’t have an abortion.” The sobs begin. They come out in torrents, rolling into each other and you feel like they will never end.
He stops pacing and just looks at you or beyond you; you can’t tell. His eyes seem empty when he says, “Were you not counting your days?”
“Your fertile days.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are a medical student. I am sure you have learnt about this.”
“I am in the first quarter of my first year. We are currently dissecting the buttock as per the syllabus in human anatomy. I don’t even know what fertile days are.”
He hoffs and starts to pace again. “Angela I have made up my mind.”
You push back, “I won’t do it. Two wrongs do not make a right!” You scream back.
His empty eyes regard you and his lips curve upward, “Then you are on your own.” And he walks off. He looks like he can’t get away fast enough because he runs up the stairs in twos and the last thing you hear is the rev of his engine as he drives away. You know now, you are in shit.
You are cleaned up and transferred to the ward. Your aunty helps to settle you in and leaves, promising to be back at dawn. You stay awake, dazed by the past events and the sound of babies crying. You don’t know what to make of this situation. A thick cloud of shame hangs over you and as the nurses come by to check on you and take your blood pressure, you feel as if they are judging you. That maybe you tried to procure an abortion, like what the doctor insinuated.
You turn to look at your phone. No messages or missed calls.
From the time the pain started at 7pm that evening, you have been trying to reach Kim. He hasn’t answered any of your calls or responded to any of your messages. The last time you spoke was much earlier in the day when he had wished you a happy birthday and mentioned he would be visiting a friend. You have not heard from him since.
You dial his number again. Still no response. Where could he be? You feel that an event as significant as going to the operating room should not happen in his absence. You press your head back onto your stiff pillow and close your eyes. Then you see the human shaped blob and your eyes flick open and you choke on air. Why did the doctor have to show that to you? Now the image is burned in your brain. Your body feels limp and exhausted yet you are terrified of your subconscious. So you stay awake and before long, dawn is here.
Aunty comes back as promised. “Did you tell mom what happened? Is she coming?” You ask her.
“Yes she is. Angela, you need to go to theatre for them to clean you up. It is for your own good.”
“Can’t be reached. I have also tried to call him. No response. Don’t be afraid. I am here and I will be here after the procedure.”
You are amazed at how your tear glands are so quick to respond without summon. Even if the worst has already happened you just want him there. You ask them for an extra hour and call him every minute of that hour until his phone goes straight to voicemail. Then, you relent and they wheel you to the OR.
After Kim leaves you by the poolside you figure you only have yourself to lean on. Now that you know what his stand is, it’s time to tell your Aunt. After the salvation speech you gave her that morning, it’s the last thing you want to tell her. You go back into the house, pick a plate, serve yourself humble pie and knock on her bedroom door.
“Aunty, I need to talk to you.”
She looks up from the paperwork strewn on her bed. Your aunt — your mother’s younger sister — has many faces. She can be your big sister when you need one, your friend, your mother, your pillar. You need all those faces right now and because you threw away the pregnancy test, you don’t have a preamble for her.
“Come. Sit Angela.”
You plonk on to her bed and support yourself on her headboard. You stare at your feet and wonder whether your child’s feet will look like yours and then, “Aunty you were right. I am pregnant.”
She gasps, “Your mother will kill me.”
You know she is right. Your mother will indeed kill her. Not only that, she will possibly blame her. Having lived with her for the most part of the year, she will think Aunty was too permissive with you, and that’s why you got pregnant. The pregnancy itself is the least of her worries at that point. She is so scared of your mothers reaction that, that becomes the focus of your discussion.
“Is Kim responsible?”
“Yes.” You are back to staring at your feet. You hope it’s a girl. She deserves beautiful feet like yours.
“What is he saying?”
“That I should have an abortion.” There is a lot of sadness seeping from your words.
“Eh! Your mother will strangle me. She is my sister but this one…I don’t know.”
You watch her fidget and rub the back of her neck. You hoped she would have answers. Aren’t adults supposed to know everything? You only notice you are crying when you look at her bedcover and see the tear drops.
“Don’t cry Angela. Give me Kim’s number. Let me meet him and hear him out so that I know what to tell your mom.”
You are surprised when a few days later Kim appears at the house with a friend. Aunty ushers him upstairs to the TV room and you remain downstairs with the friend having inconsequential conversation.
A little after half an hour you hear strained voices coming from upstairs. They are not shouting but they are not whispering either. You can sense they are in an argument.
“Kim. If you leave now, that will be it. You will not be allowed back. We will raise the child.”
You strain your ear to hear his response but you don’t need to because in a split second he is bounding down the stairs past you. He turns to his friend and says, “Let’s go.” You are sure you can hear the sound of your heart breaking as he slams the door.
To be continued… ( I promise next week’s episode will be the last)