Adesua was preparing dinner when her water broke. She stood there for a while her heart thumping with excitement, and then rushed to the bedroom to call her husband. She searched for her phone for a few minutes, the whole time cursing herself for not remembering where she had dropped it. When she found it, she dialed her husband’s number with shaky fingers and grew increasingly agitated when he didn’t answer on the first and second ring. She tried the third time and when she got the same result as before, began to mentally go through the list of people she could call. She realized in dismay that all her friends were too far away and her only option was her loquacious neighbor. She doubled up as a contraction passed, which helped make up her mind.
She went out and knocked on Bisola’s door still trying her husband’s number. Bisola answered the door with her usual exaggerated cheerfulness. “Oh my God, Adesua how are you?” she screamed, enveloping her in a big hug. Adesua winced and said hurriedly “I was wondering if you could take me to the hospital Bisola, I’m about to go into labor and I can’t reach my husband.” Bisola widened her eyes theatrically and literally bouncing on the soles of her feet, she said “of course, let me get my car keys.” She ran inside and Adesua smiled wearily, wondering where her husband was.
Entering his car, Femi checked his phone and saw that he had eight missed calls from his wife. He gulped and called her but the phone was answered by their neighbor who informed him that she had gone into labor. “Where have you been, she has been calling you?” Bisola asked accusingly. “I’m on my way now” he replied and hung up the phone. His eyes filled slowly with tears as he drove at top speed to the hospital.
On getting to the hospital, he asked for his wife and was told the doctor would see him shortly. Few minutes later, he was asked to the doctor’s office. “How is my wife?” he asked anxiously at the sight of the doctor’s expression. “Your wife is okay Mr. Femi” the doctor replied measuredly. “And the baby?” The doctor shuffled in his seat and said “I’m sorry Mr. Femi but your wife gave birth to a stillborn, I’m…”
Femi tuned out the rest of the doctors words and buried his face in his hands. After some time he raised his head and asked “Can I see her?” Dazed, he walked to his wife’s ward and approached her warily. When she saw him, Adesua sat up and put her arms around him crying uncontrollably. He hugged her back and they remained in the position for a long time. Finally Adesua stopped crying and asked “What happened to you? I called you several times” “Um, I was in a meeting and had my phone on silent” “Oh” was all she said in reply.
Femi put his arms around her and whispered “everything is going to be alright”
Adesua didn’t think so however. She had always loved babies and had looked forward to carrying hers, but life had other plans. She put her head on her husband’s shoulder and cried until she fell into an uneasy sleep. Over the next few days, Adesua moped around the house after being discharged from the hospital. Friends and family came to see her and her husband took a leave from work to be with her, but no one could get her out of her misery.
Two weeks later, while they were having dinner Femi told her he had to go back to work the following day. Adesua said nothing and continued toying with her food. “Did you hear me Adesua?” he asked tentatively. She gave no reply and stood up, pushing her plate away. She went into the bedroom and slammed the door. Femi followed her and asked “What is wrong” “Oh nothing is wrong” she snapped “Except I just lost my baby and you don’t even care!” “Adesua how can you say that?” Femi said hurt, “Remember it was our baby” “Adesua broke down crying “I’m sorry, I just don’t want to be by myself all day” “But you don’t have to, you can go to your friend’s house or something” he said consolingly “You need to go out more anyway, staying indoors all day isn’t healthy for you now”.
The next day, Femi left the house after making her promise she would go out. Hours’ later, feeling claustrophobic, she decided to visit her friend. Shola greeted her warmly and they got talking. Minutes later, Adesua found herself laughing like she didn’t have a care in the world.” How is your husband?” asked Shola, “I saw him some weeks ago though” “Oh he is good, he was the one who made me come out today too” “Well you better tell him to stop going to hotels or chicks like me are going to take him away before you can say jack” Adesua looked at her confused “What do you mean by hotels?” “Yeah I saw him at the hotel where I work, I wanted to go charm him but then recognized him”
Adesua’s heart dropped when something clicked into place in her head. To be sure she asked “Can you remember the exact day you saw him?” “Yeah I can but why?” Shola asked, worried at the sudden change in her friend’s mood. “Just answer the question Shola” Adesua said, fighting the urge to scream. “Well, it was definitely on the twelfth, cause’ that’s my mum’s birthday and I…” But Adesua didn’t hear anymore. She stood up dazed and Shola quickly put a hand out to steady her. “Adesua what’s wrong? I haven’t said anything wrong have I?” “No you haven’t, I just remembered that I have to do something” she said rushing out of the house and leaving her friend confused behind her.
Femi got home and slumped on the couch tiredly. “Adesua I’m home” he called. Adesua came out, her face expressionless. “How was your day?” she asked. “Tiring” Femi exclaimed, “I had a ton of work waiting for me” Adesua clucked sympathetically and said “I made dinner” “Oh great” “Did you go out?” he asked. “Yeah I went to my friend’s place” “She asked about you” she added as an afterthought. “Oh, let me go take a shower” Femi said, standing up. “Where were you that night?”Adesua asked suddenly.
“What?” Femi asked, stopping in his tracks.“The night I was at the hospital, where were you?” “Why are you asking me that?” said Femi, his heart pounding. “Why aren’t you answering?” she countered. “Well, I was with my friends” he said hesitantly. “That wasn’t what you told me that night” Adesua said sadly. “I could smell a woman’s perfume on you that night Femi but I was too caught up in my misery to place it for what it was” “You cheated on me Femi” she said as though there was no question about it. Femi stood stunned for a minute, and then “I can explain…”
Adesua buried her face in her hands. “So you mean while our baby died, you were with another woman?” she sobbed “Don’t talk like that Adesua” Femi said pleadingly, “It was not meant to happen I swear” “But it did happen” Adesua said with a note of finality in her voice. She hesitated and then said “Get out” Femi started to speak but she cut him off “Please just go, I need to be alone now” Femi walked out slowly and she fell on the floor crying. Things might get better, she might find it in her heart to forgive him, but one thing was certain for now, she neither had her husband nor her baby.
© 2020 Oshinowo Sherif