The bus finally mentioned someplace and I signaled to the conductor that I was stopping there. He gave me my change and I was soon, dropped off at my destination. I looked around, not knowing what to do next or where to go next. It was getting darker and a few shops were already closed. I looked around to see if I would find somewhere to get shelter. I wanted to stay in an area that wasn’t crowded by people so when I looked around, I found a spot just across the road. I looked around and made sure the road was clear before crossing the road. When I got to the other side of the road, I went over to the closed shop that I had spotted. It had a small shelter I guess were made for customers so I went over to a corner and laid there. Throughout the night, I couldn’t sleep. I thought about a lot of things. I thought about what I had done and what I planned on doing. It dawned on me that I ran away from my family and in a place I couldn’t even tell if it was still Lagos. It dawned on me that I was about to do something that years back wouldn’t have crossed my mind. I would never have predicted the present. I cried in silence because I felt like I was alone. I was very scared. I kept shedding tears before falling asleep.
The next morning, the sound of a cock woke me up. I had a headache that made it impossible to think straight. It looked like it was about 6:00am. Some shops were already preparing and getting ready to open. I had to leave where I had slept because I didn’t know when the owner would arrive. Like I had thought about the previous night, I was going to look for a hospital that could help me carry out my plan. I was naive enough not to have known or remembered that I could not just walk into a hospital and meet a doctor to help me with an abortion. I didn’t remember that it wasn’t that easy. All I knew was that a doctor would help me execute my plan. I had once seen it in a movie where young school girls went to the hospital themselves to abort the baby so I thought it would be that easy. I stood up from where I had laid and set out to the street. Still not knowing how to get to the nearest hospital, I decided to go to the bus stop anyway. Maybe I would find people who would direct me, maybe I would find help, I thought. I was feeling very weak, not sure why but I resisted the feeling and tried to be strong.
When I got to the bus stop, I looked around to see if I would find anyone to ask for direction but everyone seemed so busy. It was either they were rushing to catch a bus, attending to customers or walking really fast. I managed to see a man who didn’t look as busy as the rest. He was just standing beside a shop so I walked up to him and asked for direction. He told me the buses to enter and asked for some money in return. I had no other choice but to give him some money so after speaking to him, I set out to catch the bus.
As I stood by the side of the road, a car stopped by me. Remember Femi, the man who came to look for uncle Sam some time ago, he was the one in the car. He called out to me smiling warmly;
“Hey fine girl Mesomma, how are you? Long time.”
I went closer to the car, pretending like nothing was going on in my life. “I’m fine sir”
“Sir? Naa I told you my name is Femi. You can just call me Femi. What are you doing here far away from home? I was actually going to see your uncle this evening even though I haven’t called him yet.”
When he said this, I knew he hadn’t found out about the news of uncle Sam so I pretended still.
“Oh I’m going to get something somewhere.” I said, completely ignoring the part about uncle Sam.
“Oh! I see. Do you mind if I drop you? A girl like you shouldn’t be on the streets alone, you know.”
“I’m okay sir, I’m actually at my destination, thank you.”
“It’s okay if you say so. Maybe we could hang around some other time. I’ll see you later this evening.”
As he said this, I only faked a smile. He didn’t even hide his perverseness. I could see that he had other intentions. From the look in his eyes to the way he spoke. Maybe he didn’t know my age, maybe he didn’t know I was still a young confused teenager. At fourteen, a lot of people already told me how grown and mature I looked. Maybe that was what got to my head to do and allow the stupid things I regret. He smiled before driving off. I sighed in relief because I didn’t want him to know the truth. I didn’t want him to know what had happened neither did I want him to know my intentions. I went over to the bus stop and was walking to enter my bus when I heard my name.
I looked back and to my surprise found Mummy Nonso, a woman that sold bread and akara on my street. She was very fond of I and uncle Sam but when I saw her, I felt a strange feeling. I felt a type of energy that I had never felt before. It made me very stiff and before I knew it, my name was the only thing I could hear.
I woke up and found myself on a hospital bed with my relatives around and Esther who sat beside me looking very worried. She looked like she had been crying and I couldn’t help but feel very guilty. I tried remembering what had happened and how I came about a hospital bed before recalling that I met mummy Nonso on my way to the hospital. I bet she was the one who called my family but how? I don’t know. She wasn’t even around.
When they saw that I was awake, they came closer and my aunt asked about my well being. I managed to say that I was fine even though she still didn’t look bright. I held Esther who didn’t seem to want to leave my side. I could only guess that my aunt knew I was pregnant. When the doctor came to check up on me, my aunt told Esther and my cousins (they were two, one around the same age as Esther and the other younger) to go get something to eat so we could be left alone. After the doctor examined me, he spoke about my condition. He said that it was not uncommon to go through what I was going through because the cardiovascular system undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy but because I was still very young, it was much worse for me. He said that the fluctuation in my blood pressure was part of the cause of the fainting and because of my diet. After he explained all these to my aunt and I, he exited the room. My aunt finally spoke up after a two minutes’ pause with a very pained look.
“Meso, where did you go? Why did you leave the house and gave us a scare? Ehn….even when you know your uncle just died.”
Nothing but tears came to my eyes before speaking;
“I was scared. I knew that everybody would be disappointed when they found out. I didn’t want to bring shame to our family aunty. I’m sorry”
“Meso, it doesn’t matter what has already happened. Sam’s wife already told us about your pregnancy. She is even on her way here. True, it is disappointing but we don’t even know any other thing apart from the fact that you’re pregnant. It is possible that you could have been raped. You are still a small girl Meso and even though I didn’t want to believe my ears when I heard it too, I know you that you know better Meso. What happened?”
When she said this, I didn’t know if to say the truth or just lie to her like I planned to in the beginning. I was so embarrassed and disappointed at myself.
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