Till death do us apart. And it did.
Akos has been waiting on his porch for hours. The angry grey clouds have been watching, plotting, conspiring to storm down at any moments. She’s on her phone, pretending to be on a call, hoping it’ll send the landlord a message. He’s been sitting outside too; in front of his own two-bedroom eyeing her. Up and down. Up, up and down again. Akos should have greeted when she came in. The ripped shorts and tight crop top probably worsened the situation too. She looked over at his dogs. Six of them. They looked just like the landlord; lean and hungry but this wasn’t the type of hunger that made you hungry. This was a hunger they have known for too long, making them too lazy to bother. She remembered a time when she was just like that till she met Elikem. The gate opened and he sauntered in just in time, before the senile landlord and his dogs could make a feast out of her.
Akos run to him, pushing through wind and sand, through the cold stares from the half-dead landlord. Elikem caught her breathless, tiny rivers of sweat running down her back, glistening her yellow-brown skin.
“I’ve been waiting for so long. What kept you now?” Akos whined, taking his briefcase from his hands.
“You won’t believe the traffic and heat I was stuck in. half of the people in the trotro got down before they even got to their destination. It was really bad.”
“Well, I’m here now. Change and bath. I will prepare something for you to eat.”
“You know my favourite”, he winked.
“I know, I know.”
Elikem rarely chewed so all you would hear is hearty swallows of carefully boiled pieces of yam generously dipped into garden stew. He didn’t notice the way Akos kept her hand on her belly the entire time. He didn’t notice how her breasts threatened to burst out of the seams of the tight yellow top she was wearing.
He reached out for a chilled pure water sachet sitting in a bowl. He tore lightly through it and belched loudly.
The silence in the room fell quiet in in itself. Dead. That’s how it felt, like nothing as there.
“Won’t you say something Eli?”, she pleaded.
“Wow!!!! I’m so excited and very surprised. Why didn’t you mention the earlier?”, Elikem asked
“I wanted to be sure. I checked twice already and I’ve already seen some changes”, she smiled, “Here, feel it. I’m so happy?”, her smile dropping as she went on.
“No, no, no, of course I’m happy. How far along are you?”, he asked, smiling.
“It’s been a month and two weeks.”
“Have you told your parents?”
“Why do you think I am here? My dad ignored me and Maa threw me out. So…. well, we can’t say we didn’t see that coming. It’s how it always goes in the movies and local real life.”
Elikem stroked his beard, a cocktail of emotions in his barely brown eyes. Tiny hairs on his arms and legs stood up, his lips went dry but he kept the smile plastered permanently on his lips.
“From now on, leave all the cooking to me. The heavy work as well.”
“Oh, it’s not even time to start that yet”, she laughed nervously, relief dawning on her face.
“Doesn’t matter. Anything for my queen.”
There was blood everywhere. Tears too. Both cold and warm. Akos, lay on the floor, writhing in pain. She couldn’t shout, it would do nothing for her. She crawled into the kitchen, the blood following her in a crooked queue. Even though she was the only one in the room, she could her the screams of death. She grabbed a bottle from the table. She placed it beneath her and fetched the blood from under. The child that was not meant to be apparently but she couldn’t let her go. Her. It would have been a girl. She knew, mother’s instinct.
Elikem couldn’t stop shaking. Akos wouldn’t talk. It’s been three days. She wouldn’t eat. She just sat in bed with the bottle of blood tucked awkwardly in her arms. She would raise her hand occasionally to adjust the cloth she had placed around the ‘baby’. Elikem remembered the way they both cried for a child they never got to see. He didn’t sleep that night. The eerie sounds of harmattan winds felt like haunting baby cries.
“Akos, you can’t keep going like this. How are we going to make a new child if you keep doing this?”
It feels like centuries before she replies.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. Our baby is here. She is here,” she whispered, patting the top of the bottle.
Elikem got up from the bed, hopeless, tired. He headed for the bathroom with his phone. He propped his phone on the sink top, whiles he sat on the toilet. He grabs himself the woman from the phone moans. He rubs and strokes knowing nothing would happen, but hopeful anything is possible. He pours out a little oil and keeps stroking, faster, faster even faster. He keeps his thoughts in the gutter, purely dirty but when he looks down, there is nothing hard. Nothing. He would try again. He would have to keep trying, so that this time, the child would be his. He knew Akos would want him tonight. Angry and sad, he grabbed the thick plastic toy hidden deep under a pile of his shaving sticks and creams. He puts the lights off in the bedroom before going in with the vibrating stick. He shouldn’t have drugged her water. He should have given that baby a chance, even if it couldn’t possibly have been his.
“Are you ready baby, I’m ready.”
“I’ve put the baby to sleep.”
“Akos, you know…….”
“Don’t talk, can we put the lights on tonight? We always do it in the dark.”
“I like it better in the light. Now just lie down. Let’s make another baby.
“I love you.”