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Two weeks dragged by and the swell of my tummy became visible for all to see. Unfortunately, the only things that saw the swell apart from me were the four walls of my bedroom and the sparkling furniture that were hung in several places. Alex had brought the agreement, just like he talked about, two weeks ago and I had signed instantly, wanting to get the deal over with. Ever since I endorsed the document, I have not set my eyes on him. It was not surprising since I almost never stepped out of the room. I had everything I needed there; the soft warm bed, the enticing bathroom which I learnt had hot and cold water a fingertip away and a refreshing view of the soothing garden from my window. I initially paid Tola back in her own coin, making her do everything, ranging from washing my rag-like clothes, to washing the bed sheets every blessed day. It was not much work since I learnt that they used a machine to do all these, but the fact that I was ordering her around was enough to frustrate her. It was not long before I grew weary of this because it was not in my nature to have people do the chores for me, so I decided to apply maturity by allowing Tola have her space. She was surely regretting her earlier actions, it seemed unnecessary to add more fuel to the fire.
Tina was helpful as usual, never letting me rest. She tried to see me as the madam that I was but I was not comfortable with it. Living big was so strange, it was almost scary, and I needed a friend to stand by me. After carefully schooling her and letting her know that I would rather have her as a friend than my maid, she finally gave in, though, she still showed great levels of respect. Tina has been responsible for making sure that I eat, and she would talk me to death if I don’t eat anything. It was annoying sometimes but many times, it was refreshing because it felt good that at least someone cared for me. I wondered why my mum hadn’t visited. If my dad didn’t visit, it would be great in saving me mental and physical stress but I needed my mum more than I could express. Even though she behaved too soft many times, making other people ride her easily, I still loved her so much. And despite my dad’s awkward behaviors, I still loved him nonetheless, but would be happy to avoid him for some time. Our poverty state seemed to have changed his mentality.
I sighed and rolled off the bed to answer nature’s call. I had been urinating a lot and Tina attributed it to the pregnancy. After releasing the content in my bladder into the water closet and flushing, I walked back into the room. I heard a knock and instinctively knew it was Tina. I had grown so accustomed to her knocking pattern.
“Come in Tina” I said as I sat on the bed carefully. The dizziness had gone, thank God and my appetite was improving, thanks to Tina’s unrelenting efforts.
Tina entered with a big smile on her face which effectively made me smile also. I was just so blessed to have her at a time like this. “Good morning. How is my madam doing today?”
I smiled. “My name is Amara. How many times would I repeat that?” I asked softly. The tray in her hands caught my eyes and my mouth watered when the tantalizing aroma assaulted my nostrils. Whatever was in that tray would definitely be devoured by me because I heard my tummy groan in response to the aroma. My child seemed to jump up in excitement.
She grinned. “You may be my friend but you are still my boss. You can perceive the aroma, right?” she asked knowingly. She was the best cook I had ever seen. I vowed to learn how to make some of the complicated delicacies from her, as soon as I am able to get myself off this mess.
“This aroma is more than enough to awaken my taste buds.” I murmured, with my mouth salivating as she lowered the tray.
“Thank God, I won’t have to force it down your throat” she said with a smile. Immediately she opened up the glass plate, I confirmed my suspicion. There was a large piece of deep fried chicken, which was largely responsible for the aroma. A small quantity of jollof rice was beside it, and I noticed the fried plantain with great joy.
I smiled wholeheartedly. “I see you are bent on making me happy today” I said.
She nodded. “I can’t have you starve the little angel in your tummy, can I?”
I dismissed her words and started eating immediately. Tina sat by the bed, watching me eat, with a calm smile on her face. “If this is what it takes to make you eat, I might cook this everyday”
I nodded vigorously with my mouth full. I truly would not mind this delicacy, if it tastes like this all the time.
She looked at me softly. “I was actually planning to ask you something” she said and I nodded my head for her to continue. “Are you not going for antenatal care?” she asked.
I raised my brow. “What is antenatal care?” I asked ignorantly.
Her eyes widened as though she could not quite believe her ears, but she soon wiped out the facial expression. “Oh, antenatal care is used by hospitals to monitor and guide pregnant women through the stages of pregnancy” she said.
I almost stopped eating. “I have never heard of it. Hope it is not too late” fear gripped my heart at the thought that something might have happened to my child.
“Of course not. I can follow you to a hospital this evening if you like” she offered.
“Of course. Thanks Tina” I said gratefully and she smiled.
I pulled my faded gown over my head as stared at the full length mirror. The gentle swell of my tummy brought joy to my soul. Notwithstanding what I was going though, my child was my happiness and I have made the habit of talking to my child before I sleep, believing that the fetus could hear everything I said. This would be the first time I am stepping out of the house and there was a tiny feeling of excitement. My hair was pulled tight into a pony tail and I turned away from the mirror, not looking at myself for a long time. I stared at the credit card that Alex gave me two weeks ago. How could there be money in this plastic card? I wondered vaguely. I picked it up nonetheless. I hoped that Tina would be able to use it since we might be needing money.
I climbed down the staircase and found Tina waiting for me. Even in a maid’s cloth, her appearance was way better than mine but I did not give a damn. I would be damned if I would accept Alex’s money for my own personal expenses. I would only take whatever is necessary if my child is involved.
We walked to the door together talking quietly and out of the corner of my eyes; I caught Tola staring at us. I paused slightly and turned to Tola. “Please take care of the house, we would be back soon”
“Yes ma” she said bitterly.
I turned and proceeded out of the house with Tina. “Do you think you can walk? The hospital is not far but if you can’t handle the walk, we can ask a driver to take us”
I laughed. “Oh Tina, the pregnancy is not on my feet. If I can’t walk now, what would happen when I am nine months gone? I am sure I would not be able to lift a finger.”
She laughed and we both started down the beautiful street. I stared shamelessly at the beautiful surroundings and decided that taking a stroll every morning would be a fantastic idea. It would be good to leave the depressing house every morning, I told myself. It did not take long for us to get to the hospital. I went through the registration process and was made to take lectures with many pregnant women. It was refreshing to see women who were also pregnant, especially the heavy ones who looked like they were carrying nothing less than a dozen children in their tummy. I wondered what I would look like in the next six to seven months. I smiled at the thought. I might look three times my current size but I did not care. I was always a lover of children and the thought of having my own was too exciting a thought; I would not let thoughts of the child’s father kill that silent joy.
Before leaving the hospital hours later, a female doctor approached me. “Hi” she said with a soft smile.
I was in a really good mood for the first time in a very long time, so I smiled gaily at her. “Hello doctor”
“I don’t think I have seen you here before” the nurse said.
Tina smiled. “Actually, she is new in the environment” she said hastily.
The doctor smiled kindly. “Oh. Have you done your scan?” she asked and my heart froze. I definitely knew what a scan was, through extensive reading. But what I did not know was if I was ready to know the sex of my child.
“I… I don’t think…erm…” I stammered in anxiety.
Tina faced me. “Actually, that is a very good idea ma’am” her brows creased in a frown. “Why not? It would help you know the kind of clothes to buy. You might even be carrying twins” she squealed in sudden excitement.
I fidgeted with my gown in anxiety. She really had a point, and a part of me really wanted to know. In fact, all of me wanted to know. My only wish was that the man I loved was there with me holding my hands. I swallowed, quickly changing my line of thoughts. I smiled weakly at the doctor. “Can I do it now?”
She nodded excitedly. “I am sure you would be glad you did the scan.” She said. “Come with me”
I followed her and the presence of Tina was really a life saver. I did not know why I was so agitated. Probably because a part of me knew without a doubt that the child would be a boy. I swallowed. It was also probably because the scan would remind me vividly of the time the life in my tummy was created. How Alex worshipped me with his hands, body and words. I concentrated on breathing properly as the doctor led me to bed in the lab. I lay on the bed with my heart pounding and fixed my wide eyes on the screen ahead of me. Tina was standing beside me, hopping anxiously too. The doctor did some things on my tummy and an image appeared on the screen. My heart skipped and raced wildly as tears came to my eyes. I saw my baby! My baby! My thoughts centered on the life growing in me as my love for my child grew several degrees.
“Oh so cute” Tina cooed and jumped like a four year old girl. I wiped my tears which was making my vision blurry and fixed one hundred percent attention on the child. Oh, how could I not love the child?
“A boy right?” I gasped out. Even my voice sounded strange in my ears. I swallowed hard.
“Yes. A boy” the doctor grinned happily. The baby turned slightly, as though in confirmation. I gasped and my hands flew to my tummy as my eyes blurred with tears again.
“My baby. My baby boy”
I entered our large house several minutes later. Today had to be the best day of my life. I was bubbling with excitement. I was having a baby boy! Wow. The thought was so pleasant. Tina was right. Right now, all I could think about was clothes. I wanted to buy so many clothes for my child, and I tapped the credit card in my hand with excitement. I could not wait to buy tiny clothes for my baby boy.
I opened the door to the sitting room and entered. As soon as I stepped fully into the sitting room, I froze. Tina almost bumped into me but I was not looking at her. My gaze was fixed on Alex and the woman with him. Everything I had experienced during the day evaporated as I stared at them. I had avoided Alex for several days, why did he have to show up today of all days? That was not as annoying as the fact that he was with that lady whore. The very same one he brought the other day. I wondered why she went back to him after knowing fully well that he was married. She really had no shame. Anger coerced through me and I felt Tina touch my arm softly but I snubbed her. I approached the two people who apparently were too busy caressing one another to notice my presence.
I raised my voice. “Like I said the last time, you both should be sensible enough to restrict your shameful act to the bedroom” I yelled, gaining their attention at once.
Alex’s gaze pierced through me and instantly, the agreement I had signed came to my mind. I froze slightly as I swallowed. I had thought this would happen but why did it feel like a knife was been stabbed into my soul?
The girl rose from Alex’s lap, seeming more confident than she was last time. She smiled like a serpent as she ran her gaze over me, stopping on the slight swell of my tummy. I placed my hand on the evidence of my superiority in the house. She smiled.
“I wonder what Alex saw in you. You look worse than a one night stand. But don’t think that because of this thing in your tummy and that wedding band, you have won” she grinned. “On the contrary, you have just signed your death warrant because I would make your life hell on earth. Apparently, I have Alex’s heart” she said with a grin and turned to gaze at Alex. “And I have something else” she continued frighteningly. “I also have his seed growing in me”
The rotation of the earth seemed to stop at that. Alex seemed to have gone pale. The little witch placed her hand tenderly on her flat tummy. “I accepted you back because of this Alex. I would have told you the other day but this thing showed up and shattered everything. Since then, I decided I would like to have her in audience when I break the good news.” She paused slightly and then grinned happily, with her eyes shining. “I am pregnant Alex”