I went to see another doctor but he told me it was too risky and i went back home accepting defeat. I threw myself into my work, religiously saving up every kobo, word soon spread that i was pregnant. Most of my clients avoided me, the only ones eagerly approaching me and willing to spend thousands of naira to lay with me were the evils one. I turned down each of them, i just knew in my bones that they had ulterior motives. I decided to change location.
I would go to lekki phase 1 and stand all night, sometimes i would make less than three thousand naira in a night. Ify managed to secure a sales girl job in yaba but her boss was always harrasing her, she started having nightmares and was depressed. I went down there and gave the filthy he goat a piece of my mind. I forced her to quit the job. I never bought a single thing for the baby, i kept hoping it would go away like menstrual cramps. Sometimes i go to Ojodu begger at night, some nights i was lucky while some nights were down right bad.
I became Ill, the little money i had saved went into house rent, light bill, water bills, hospital bill_ I began to hate any word that ended with a ‘ B’. Ify bought me some buy baby clothes and shawl, she rubbed my back when it ached, rubbed my tummy lightly when it itches, held me those morning i was bent over the toilet retching my intestines out. She did my laundry, when i came back each morning, she was always waiting up for me, a mug of hot tea in hand and a shawl to cover my tired shoulders. She combed the streets of Lagos every day searching for one job or the other. She had no certificate, not even an ssce result to back up her claim that she had indeed seen the four walls of a high school before so her search yielded no frutiful result. one day she came back with three thousand naira which she handed to me. she had gone to carry sand at a building site.
She turned over her box of clothes to me when i became too big to fit into mine, my wardrobe was a collection of skimpy crazy tops and bum shorts. My feet became swollen and i could barely move. Ify hadn’t been able to get a job in three months and i was in my third trimester, the baby could come anytime and we were out of money.
” Where are you going? ” i waddled into the bedroom holding a lit candle. Our light had been disconnected. Ify was dressed in one of my shorts and crop top. ” Where are you going?” i cried. She continued with her make up like she didn’t hear me. I sat on the bed sobbing. ” Ify please, please we will find a way. Not you too! Please no”
” The baby could come any moment from now, we can barely feed Ebere. You haven’t bought a single thing for the baby’ s birth.” She sat next to me on the bed. ” How do we pay the hospital bills? we don’t even have electricity. We have been feeding on garri since last week”.
She assemblied my working tools on the bed, silently seeking my approval but i just went on crying. She stuffed them into a tiny hand bag and walked out of the dark room without a backward glance. I blew out the candle, i lowered my self onto the bare floor and sobbed my heart out.
” Ify” i whispered and sat up.
She threw her self on the bed, i waddled to the kitchen to make her a hot cup of tea. We were silent all through the day, i was still pissed and she was doing her best to ignore me. In the evening, i decided to voice out a nagging feeling.
” Ify did you take Condoms along with you?”
She blanched. ” No”
” My God! Ify!”
” I went home with only one person and he gave me a hundred thousand naira?”
” What?! In a night!” I could help screaming in disbelief. The amount had my heart racing. ” But did he protect himself?”
” Protect himself?” She asked childishly.
I groaned in frustration. ” Did he use a condom?! Ify please tell me he did………please”
” Why! Oh God!” I moaned, ” Go to the pharmacy right now, tell them to give you some morning after pills”.
” Okay”. She said leaving the room.
She was only seventeen, a victim of rape, i should have tried my best to stop her. A girl’ s first time should be sweet and tantalizing and with the man she was in love with. I wondered briefly how a walk in client could pay a hundred thousand naira, did he abuse her? were they more than one?
We never talked about it, we splited the money equally. I enquired about selling space for Ify at Allen and she started selling cooked rice at night. One night the contractions hit me hard and Ify helped me to the hospital. One early morning i went on a long stroll with the baby, i wrapped her in a warm shawl and by the time i came back home i knew i had made the right decision.
” Where is the baby?” Ify asked.
I breezed past her into the bedroom.
” Ebere where is the baby? ”
she shook me and i slapped her hand away.
” She is safe”
” Then where is she? how could you throw away something so precious?! ” she sobbed.
” I don’t know” i whispered. ” there’s no way i could raise her myself!. Don’t you think i feel enough guilt already!”
” Will she be fine?”
” Yes i saw to it that she would. She’s in good hands” .
The next day, i took a paint container, i squeezed the milk she would have fed on into it. I tried to get her rosy cheeks out of my mind, her cries would taunt me in my dreams for many years. Survival was key to me and i couldn’t risk starving us both so self love prevailed. Ify continued selling her food at Allen Avenue and i also returned back to work. Nobody asked about the baby, clients started patronizing me once more, if not for the heaviness in my bosoms i could have sworn it was all a dream. It was just like it never happened.
To be continued..
Allen’s Avenue Episode 9