I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death and frightened all the way. Who wouldn’t be when someone was ruthless enough to want to harm my unborn baby? I stopped running when I felt that I was far away from the car and watched him speeding off. i thought that maybe he was one of those people who slept with women for rituals.
My hand clutched my tummy in agony. The baby was kicking furiously. “It’s okay princess mummy just run a bit too hard you will be okay my love”. Sometimes when I talked to my baby it was like I was looking into her smiling face. The love I had for her already was overwhelming and I was determined to take care of her in my capacity and be strong for her sake. Mothers bond with their babies even before they see the face of the world and the process further continues when breastfeeding. You should see the glow on both the baby and the mother’s face that moment they look eye to eye and she put her breast into the tiny mouth.
In my fear when running behind the wall of Falls Baptist Church, I forgot that there was a cemetery. My body froze in fear as I walked back to the main road. It was horrifyingly quite with only the hooting of the owls being heard. I took out my phone and beeped Norah, after a few minutes she called back and tearfully I narrated my story. She told me that I should find somewhere to sit down probably at the verandah of a shop and wait for her to make a few phone calls. I shouldn’t move or talk to anyone until I heard from her again. I was not in the mood to trust any man with my life. This area was common with car garages. I could see watchmen lighting fire to keep warm for the night but I sat at a distance lost in my own world. After what felt like eternity, Norah called again and I gave her direction to where I was sitting. In twenty minutes I saw a car coming at a distance to where I was and she came out and hugged me. I cried in her arms and she comforted me. I didn’t know how I would have done without her. I was in an emotional mess. I knew the man she was with; it was her neighbor who had the hots for her. I greeted him and she handed me a take way box. I couldn’t have been more grateful because I was starving. I ate in silence as I watched them chitchatting over nothing in particular until we reached home. When we arrived in area 36, I went to have a cold bath and straight away went to bed leaving the family chatting until midnight. Norah told her parents of my predicament and they were so sympathetic. Her father said I could stay there as long as I liked.
The following months I was busy helping Norah at her salon. Every head I plaited she would let me keep the money then every Sunday after church she would escort me to the market to buy kaunjika (second hand clothes) for the baby. I was nearing my end and I could say I had finished buying almost all the baby preparation materials. It wasn’t easy to stand on my feet for too long or sit down but I learnt to bear it and would talk to my baby not to misbehave. Ben was still missing in action. Sometimes when I missed him too much I would send him messages just to say hie and after some time I would receive a delivery failure report. It was crucifying to think that he stopped bothering about me. Did I ever cross his mind? Did he miss me like I did? Did he still feel love for me? For all that he did to me and never bothered to do for me, my heart was still deeply and madly in love with him. Even if he came and asked me back, he needed not to have begged and I would take him back forgetting all that happened in a brink of an eye. My love for him was deeper than the depth below and higher than all the heights I had known above. Call me stupid but that man had put a deep cut in my heart that sprang with love even when it still hurts. Matters of the heart are something else.
Norah would scold me to forget about the moron and live my own life but it wasn’t easy and I wasn’t ready to raise this baby alone. He needed to be there for that first magical kick, for that first cry, for that first word and for that first step. Every day I prayed to God to bring me back my man so that we would be a complete family. One day when I was at the salon, I received a call from Norah’s mother to go home because there were visitors looking for me. When I asked who came she said she couldn’t say but I had to go and see for myself. I told Norah and we went together. My heart was torn between two guesses. I thought it was Ben or maybe my father but there was no way my father could have located me without communicating first. That left Ben as my biggest surprise. When we arrived, I saw Ben’s car parked outside. My heart rushed and I almost felt faint. I couldn’t believe he was here at last. I had mixed reactions, was I to hug him or just a simple handshake would do? I stood at the door to catch my breath; the excitement was just too much. Norah sq££zed my hand in assurance she knew I needed it. I went inside and my eyes fall on Ben’s brother Lloyd. I failed to hide my disappointment. Of all people, what did he have to do with me? I greeted him and we excused ourselves and went outside because what was about to be said was for our ears only. Lloyd and I never got along. Mostly he said Ben was pampering and giving me too much attention more than I deserved while I never approved of his changing girls like nappies and his arrogance. Now see what costed me, am sure it was under his brother’s influence that he dumped me perhaps he was the one who found him the girl. There was an awkward silence between us.
“I came to see you. Am sorry about you guys but Ben was never done with Cindy as far as I was concerned” I didn’t think I heard well what he just said. But how many Cindys did I know in this world? It was only one and we never got along.
“Which Cindy is this?” I couldn’t hide my anticipation to know more.
“Kkkk do you know her? The same girl who once you meet gets to your core like cancer and it’s up to you to be annoyed or tolerate her, I never liked her from the start. She wasn’t my type that’s why she cornered my brother when we were in secondary school after seeing that I didn’t give her the attention she clamored ” my worst fears were tilted in the right direction and it wasn’t a laughing matter. Of all people, why did he choose to end up with her? If it was somebody descent it could have been better but Cindy, no way.
“I know her” I was on the verge of tears; my man could have replaced me with someone better. I didn’t know much about Cindy but her character was one she failed to hide like pregnancy. Good character is like perfume that spread to everyone you passes by. If it is bad perfume people, will look at you as if you are an alien but if it’s good everybody will ask what it is so that they buy their own. If it was beauty he had fallen for, I don’t know if over makeup is in the category maybe because I am a bit primitive, I prefer being natural. I knew I had a plain face and never a fashion follower but what I put on was simple but suited me better. Nevertheless it was none of my business.
I explained to Lloyd about Ben’s disappearance and lack of sympathy to help me. He said he changed his phone number and was kind enough to give me the new one. He gave me some money and promised to talk to Ben to be man enough and take care of the mess he caused in my life. For once we were on the same page. I was so angry and bitter with Ben for his lack of compassion. I went to buy airtime and called him immediately. It rung for a couple of times and I thought of stopping the whole thing when he finally picked up. All the fury I had bottled inside me and about to erupt like a volcano vanished the moment I heard his voice. This guy still made me feel butterflies do a flutter dance in my tummy. I almost told him how much I missed him and how I was miserable without him instead he was angry upon realizing that it was me and cursed whoever gave me his new number. I choose to be calm and polite. I asked what he thought of baby preparation things because this was the last month. That sent electricity blaze flying all over and he said why I was being rude by reminding him what he already knew. I stood there in silence, hearing him shouting at me for being stupid and primitive, a village champion who would drag him back to Stone Age so that he should have a dull future and probably I would send my village parents to bewitch him. All this was uncalled for but he kept on ranting about how his parents suffered to send him to school and get a degree, all that wasn’t for me to feast, enjoy and milk him dry but for him to bask in the glory of his hard work and his parents to enjoy their sweat. I run out of airtime and the line went dead…