He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust.
I get lost in thought as I wash my hands under the running tap. The past three weeks have been hell. Bosun is out on bail. I dry my hands with the napkin and take a deep breath. I put a call to our lawyer earlier in the week, and he explained to me that Bosun would face trial, but we could also sue for damages and all that. What is that? It sounds like a good idea. We need the money, between Baby ‘s and Leke’s hospital bills, and Baby’s therapy, our counselling and the whole lawyer involvement, we are spending so much. I had to go on leave to cope with the whole thing. I resumed work last week. Leke is not even ready to resume, he has just been moping all day since he got beat up. Or he went to defend his daughter’s honour. Ordinarily Bosun’s trial is a matter for the government, but my lawyer is saying that he could get the office of the AG to grant him a fiat for privacy reasons. We were also able to get something like a restraining order, the lawyer kept on saying a restraining order is unknown to Nigerian law, but the effect of the process to prevent Bosun from coming near any of us. And that means I won’t get to see Tessy too. I wonder how she is holding up.
I peek into Baby’s room to find her sound asleep. But it is only a matter of time before she comes to join Leke and I. The nightmares are getting worse. Tessy had talked about taking her for deliverance when we met at the police station. The mere thought of it makes me shudder. And then there is the elephant in the room – the whole house actually. Baby’s baby.
She is pregnant alright. I wipe my tears quickly. They come too quickly these days. They are so merciless. Leke and I don’t know what to do, and we can’t talk to people about it because we feel we are protecting Baby. The truth is we need help. We have succeeded in convincing ourselves that the decision is Baby’s to make. She is just ten. She is not expected to know what to do. So we hide behind her and say it is her body. We have also been going for counseling – where only I does the talking. And so, since three weeks that we have heard the news, we have been hiding behind therapy and counseling to avoid making a firm decision. And the doctor calls me every other day. The message is the same, the longer it takes to make a decision, the more dangerous the process is.
I wring my hands in worry. I take in Leke’s sleeping form. He cries in his sleep regularly. And when he wakes, he moves to the sitting room, sits on the couch and stares at the wall. Everyday since he came back from the hospital. I have to cajole him to eat, the n spoon-feed Baby too. And there are deadlines at work. I am trying so hard to be normal. I look towards the ceiling. Where is God in all of this?
My phone rings. The Pastor of our church is calling. He has been calling every night, around midnight. We will pray into the early hours of the morning and he will remind me that the church is against abortion. I used to put it on loudspeaker and Leke would join in. But Leke just stopped, and threatened to leave the house if I ever woke him up for such ridiculous activity. Where was God when everything went downhill? What makes us think that God will answer now? I dutifully say my ‘amens’ and ‘hallelujahs’. I leave the door ajar for Baby. I reply some emails and am about to turn off my phone when Baby trudges in.
I envelope her in a bone breaking hug, and soak her hair in my tears for a few minutes. She doesn’t fight me. I tuck her in beside her dad and settle right beside her, but my eyelids are not interested in sleep this night. I get up and search my side drawer for my sleeping pills. I pick my phone to check the dosage again. I see the verse of the day widget of my bible app.
Psalm 139:13 – 16 MSG
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
I fling my phone into my drawer and burrow deeper into the covers. My heart is racing. And my mouth is so dry my tongue is clinging to the roof of my mouth. I fling my arm round my daughter and begin to cry. I can’t ask Baby to do that. No. No. No. I scream silently at God.
No. God, please. No. She is just ten. The two options she has are not easy ones. Please, help us. Please, God. Please. Please.