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’How long are we going to do this Jite? You should have called off the wedding since my sins are too great to be forgiven.’
‘We will do this for as long as it takes for me to come to terms with what you did.’
‘Now, do you want us to make love or not?’ He asked holding the pink condom in front of him. I looked at the object in his hands, disgusted beyond measure. I wondered why he felt the need to buy a coloured one. I glanced at the condom case and smirked at the strawberry pictured on the case. Oh crap, perhaps it’s scented too, I thought.
‘Jite, don’t call this making love; it would be better put as sex.’
‘Okay, then do you want to have sex? If yes, let’s get it over with and if no, let me go back to sleep peacefully.’
‘Okay let’s do it,’ I whispered, shrugging.
Tears poured from my eyes, soaking the soft pillow beneath my head.
I shouldn’t be crying.
This is my wedding night.
I should be deliriously happy.
Those were the words I kept murmuring to myself as I curled up on the bed. I felt worse than a prostitute probably feels.
‘You are a horny fool,’ I told myself. ‘Why would you agree to being used like that?’
I watched Jite. Sprawled on the bed, he looked content, sated and seemed to be sleeping peacefully. I thought of hitting him with something, anything, but I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. ‘Mea maxima culpa. I brought this upon myself,’ I murmured. I made a good man turn into what I could no longer recognize.
I hate condoms. I see them as an unnecessary hindrance. Using them I feel like I am sharing the woman with a piece of polythene, and somehow the sharing always ended in one of us being bitter while the other gets discarded in fury.
I felt a sadness that ran deep. I just had the worst sex of my life with my wife on our wedding night. It’s not like the condom was necessary in any way but somehow I was not ready to take the risk of having unprotected sex with Omoboye. Most importantly, I wanted to humiliate her. Who knew if she still wasn’t ready for a baby?
The memory was still too raw to take the risk of it reoccurring.
‘I was at the clinic when you called,’ she had said as she opened the door of her room. I had visited her that evening after she missed a date we both agreed on.
‘Really? What’s wrong with you? Are you ill?’ I had asked in quick succession, touching her temple with my palm.
‘Not really. I was feeling funny so I went to the hospital immediately I left the salon. I am fine now anyway. I just need to rest.’
‘Okay so what exactly did they say was wrong with you?’
’They said I was pregnant. Imagine that. Imagine me two months pregnant six months to our wedding.’
‘What’s wrong with you being pregnant? Isn’t that good news?’
’Well, it could be good news, except I don’t think it is.’
‘If it’s about your stomach being big on the wedding day we could shift the event closer. Besides that’s not even a big deal. A lot of people do it these days.’
‘Jite, I know but I can’t do it. I can’t carry the pregnancy.’
‘Well, you can complain and argue all you want but you know you don’t have a choice right? At least you can’t say you want to abort.’
‘Why can’t I?’
‘I can’t believe you asked me that question. You would abort a pregnancy just a few months to our wedding?’
‘Yes, Jite, and it’s done.’
I had laughed, certain she was joking.
‘You are not serious Boye. You would abort a pregnancy and still look like this? And how would you have even done it so fast? Last I checked, abortion was still illegal in Nigeria.’
‘Jite you have obviously been seeing too much of Nollywood movies,’ she replied as she lay on her bed and covered herself with her Ankara wrapper.
‘How so?’ I asked my heart already palpitating.
‘See, abortion is not that complicated; forget what they try to tell us in those movies. There are a good number of qualified doctors that do it on the side and it’s pretty simple. They bring out the foetus and you bleed for some days. You also take some antibio…’
‘See, Boye spare me the lecture. What exactly are you saying?’
‘I’m saying it’s done already.’
‘Omoboye, you can’t be serious,’ I replied, searching her face for a hint that it was a bad joke.
I know it’s unheard of to abort a pregnancy when you are already engaged. I know that. I also know a lot of people would like to crucify me over it, but at that time it seemed like the reasonable thing to do. Even my mother had gone ballistic when Jite told her.
‘That unborn child will haunt you for the rest of your life.’
Mummy! I had gasped.
‘It’s not a curse my dear. You will always think of that child, you will feel the loss, if not now, in the future. You will wonder if he or she would have been fair or dark, tall or short, intelligent or dumb.’
‘Stop what? You have done a great evil in case you do not know. My advice to you is that you don’t come crying to me if that man refuses to go ahead with the marriage. Any sane man will call it off because you are not worth it. You are a vain creature with sandpaper for brains.’
‘Mummy this is enough, stop right now or I will walk out.’
‘Feel free to walk out, because I have no intention of stopping until I’m done. If Jite eventually marries you- because I don’t expect him to- God help you if you don’t get pregnant in your first year of marriage. I would be the one to tell your husband’s people what you have done.’
‘Mum! Why are you making this look like a big issue? It’s not like I killed someone.’
‘Oh, Omoboye, that’s exactly what you did. You killed someone; you killed a child.’
‘Mum, it was a two-month-old pregnancy, something that was more of blood than any other thing.’
‘May thunder strike that stinking mouth of yours!’ She screeched, sending a slipper flying at me.
I ducked and shuddered, wondering why she was being so violent.
‘You called a whole human being something that looked like blood? You were once like that too, imagine what would have happened if I had aborted you!’
‘Now get out of my sight, but Omoboye go and pray hard that your husband finds it in his heart to forgive you. If he doesn’t and the wedding is called off, I will tell anyone who asks me. I will tell them what you did.’
Driving to my flat that night I had been mad at Jite for telling Mum, but I wasn’t in the position to show it, not when he was still too angry to even pick my calls. Later that night after several calls to Jite still went unanswered, I asked myself if I was under some kind of spell. I was certain I had to be the biggest idiot ever. A smarter person would have kept her mouth shut. I kept asking myself what I had expected Jite’s reaction to be. Joy that I aborted his baby?
This has got to be the worst wedding night in history, I mused, listening to her sobs. Why am I this way, I wondered, trying to decide whether to comfort her or not.
But what’s with women and tears anyway?
They find it easy to break down in crocodile tears expecting the man to come rushing to wipe them off. That is not going to happen, I decided.
If I was a woman perhaps I would have cried too. I would have mourned the baby she murdered. Boy or girl. I am never going to know.
All my life, I tried my best to ensure no girl got pregnant for me when I was not ready for fatherhood. I trained myself and became so versed in the art of withdrawal that I swore by it and even preached it to friends.
‘It’s pretty easy,’ I would say. ‘It’s all about self-awareness and mind control. You have to be in control and make sure you are out in the split second before you climax.’
Somehow I must have relaxed after Omoboye and I got engaged and I was certain that was why she got pregnant. I felt like a bereaved father. As crazy as that sounds, it’s still a fact that I have a child in heaven or wherever it is that fetuses go after they die.
Lying beside her and listening to her sobs, I thought of how we could easily make another baby. All I had to do was draw her close and ditch the condoms. But it was a risk I was reluctant to take. Not until she was cured of her vanity and I was going to ensure that happened, I decided, telling myself it was time to shut out her sobs and go to sleep.
Use your head, Omoboye. Think! I told myself.
Mom always said you were going to be a lousy wife and here you are proving her right the very first day.
I sat up suddenly, wiping the tears on my face with the edge of my night dress.
‘What would a smart woman do?’ I murmured, taking myself back to the moment we entered the room. A smart woman would act like she didn’t know he was acting up and take to pampering him to make him loosen up. My lips curved in a smile as the ideas started flowing.
‘God please be with me on this,’ I whispered.
I moved to the side of the bed where Jite was lying and knelt beside him.
‘My husband you must be tired,’ I whispered, placing my palm on his forehead. His eyes remained close but the frown on his face assured me he wasn’t sleeping.
‘Sweetheart, I think we should eat something.’
‘Should I order?’ I pressed.
‘I’m not hungry,’ he growled.
‘You are not? What about a drink or something light? We didn’t eat anything at the reception you know.’
‘I said I’m not hungry, are you deaf?’ I cringed at his words; it was so unlike him to speak to me using such words.
’Okay then. Can I rub your shoulder blades? You look tense.’
‘See, I don’t need a back rub or anything else. If you are so bored, pick a magazine or a novel, I packed some for this honeymoon thing. Read or sleep and if its sex that you want let me know. I have enough condoms to last the entire honeymoon.’
‘Oh, crap!’ I said, sitting on the bed with a force.
‘Jite, why are you being so impossible?’ It’s not like you were forced to marry me, you could have said you couldn’t do it. Look here, I’m not going to live the rest of my life like this.’
‘In fact, how soon can we get a divorce?’ I blurted out before I could stop myself.