By the end of second semester year three, I met Jack’s younger brother, Kelvin at the party of one of Jack’s friends. He had just returned home from service and was the breath of fresh air I needed. We got talking and his being an alumni of my department drew us closer.
However, tragedy struck before the beginning of the holidays. After complaining of fatigue and dizziness and taken to the hospital for check-up, my friend Richard, died. It was the most painful time of my life, because a huge part of me was hopeful that he would get better especially after his successful kidney transplant.
He never did.
I had to stay back to go for his funeral and it was during that time that Kelvin occupied a prominent position in my life. News of his death had left me depressed for days but he’d been there to lend his support. His elder brother and I had finally drifted apart but I and Kelvin seemed to get closer with every passing day.
I mostly enjoyed his company and was fine with being close friends with him. He was a great guy, funny, witty and more mature than his elder brother. However, he didn’t match up to Jack in the looks department, as Jack was more handsome with a sex appeal that could leave females within a mile radius, h—y. Excluding close family members, that is. Kelvin, on the other hand, was ‘silently’ handsome. His most prominent features were the dimples on his cheeks, his aquiline nose and a chipped tooth. He had a really soft side that was the direct opposite of his brother’s rugged nature. They were as dissimilar as night and day but got along fine.
All my female friends knew we were close friends and Kristen enjoyed having Kelvin in the room because he was the intelligent one. His conversations always revolved around history and happening events, Kristen fondly called him a ‘walking encyclopedia’. I knew she was attracted to him and soon, they became an item.
Kristen and Kelvin? They seemed like a cute couple and I was happy for them. Kristen had not been lucky in her last relationship. Her and her former boyfriend spent the bulk of their three year relationship in different cities and just like mine, it had been a roller coaster of emotions. After going on and off again for the 20th time, Kristen had had enough and needed a clean break. She was starting over with Kelvin.
I eventually went home for the holidays.
The harmattan that year had begun as timidly as a rabbit the month I got back home for the holidays, but a few days later the afternoon heat became more oppressive than I’d ever known it to be. My mother had said it was the worst she could recall, and dad said she had finally gotten her wish. Just like APC had done gullible Nigerians, she had brought him hell on earth. Yeah, my parents didn’t have a happy marriage.
Nature appeared as depressed as I was that season. The sun blazed warmer than usual during the day, licking off whatever moisture was left by the morning dew and the nights were no cooler than the days. At times the air was so heavy with humidity that my hair would become damp and no amount of hitting could make the itch go away. Thanks to the paralytic power supply too, we didn’t have fans or air conditioners to keep us cool during the day.
I can remember this summer of 2012 vividly because it was when things finally came tumbling down. A wind of truth was to blow into my affairs and bring my secrets to light.
I thought it was the heat and my own gloom that upset my stomach one night. My mother thought I might be coming down with some sort of dysentery. She gave me some pills and told me to go to bed early. She was a professional nurse and I believed her prescription would work wonders.
But the next morning I woke up just as nauseous and had to vomit again. My mother was worried, but once I finished throwing up, I suddenly felt better. My headache was gone and my nausea passed.
I tried to reassure her that the medications seemed to have worked but she looked thoughtful and unconvinced. I wasn’t sick again for nearly a week, but I was continually tired and sluggish, once falling asleep on the dining table.
One afternoon my mother noticed me returning from the toilet.
“How many times have you been to the toilet today, Dora?” She asked.
“A few. Just to pee, mom. My stomach’s okay.”
She still stared at me suspiciously.
And then the next morning I woke up and had the same nausea. I had to vomit again.
My mom came to my room and put a wet towel on my forehead and then she sat on my bed and stared at me. Without speaking, she pulled the duvet back, pulled up my pajamas top and looked at my breasts.
“How late is it?”
I was confused, “what mom?”
“Your period, Dora. How late is it?” She probed.
“A few weeks,” I admitted.
She was quiet. She looked away and took a deep breath and then she turned to me slowly, her eyes sad but firm. She s—-d in some air and looked up before she looked at me again.
“How did this happen, Dora?” She asked softly. “Who got you pregnant?