By Adeola Nissi
I retired back to my room after eating and relaxed fully on the bed with my ‘Every Woman’ in hand. It has been a long day and all I had in mind was a deep dreamless sleep. My eyes drifted close as I read the book blindly and an exhausted yawn escaped my lips. I yawned again and finally dropped the book, giving in to sleep.
I jumped and sleep vanished from my eyes when the door suddenly opened. Tola was the person I saw when my eyes finally settled. “What is going on Tola? You scared me” I asked in confusion.
Tola looked agitated and on the verge of tears. “Amara, you need to save me please” she pleaded.
I jumped to my feet at once. “What are you talking about?” I held her.
“I can’t stay long. Lisa would suspect something. Tina would be here soon”
“What do you mean? What would Lisa suspect?” before I could get an answer, Tola struggled out of the door hastily and I stood, staring at the door. I could not even understand what the hell just happened. It was beyond strange. I paced the room slowly, trying to come up with an explanation for the weird encounter but nothing came to mind. I turned to go downstairs to confront Lisa. It was certain that Lisa was doing something to Tola and I needed to know what it was exactly.
Before I was able to open the door, the door opened again, nearly hitting me directly in the face. “What is going on?” I nearly yelled as I jumped out of the way.
Tina came in and quickly closed the door, just the way Tola did. “Can you explain what is going on or do I need to find out myself?” I asked sternly, folding my arms across my chest.
She swallowed. “You should be losing your child right now”
“What? God forbid! What is the meaning of this nonsense?” Now my anger has grown sky high.
“Please listen to me Ama. Lisa gave Tola some drugs to replace with yours. The drug is meant to abort the child speedily. According to her, the drugs are very strong. Tola could not refuse because she threatened to kill Tola if she did not comply.”
I paled and my legs shook uncontrollably. “W… What…What are you saying?” I held my tummy firmly in protection. “Are you trying to tell me that I… that I…”
“No” Tina quickly interjected. “Tola changed the drugs in her presence and gave your own drugs to Miss Lisa as instructed but that is not what you used. She later went back to change it to vitamin tablets after she told me. What you used cannot have negative effects on you” she declared and I sagged in relief. “But now, Tola is in danger” she continued, looking frightened. “If Miss Lisa is capable of trying to abort your child, I think she would also be capable of getting Tola killed, she needs to have the feeling that what she did worked.”
“What are you saying?” I asked in confusion.
“If Miss Lisa sees that you are in serious pain, she would believe undoubtedly that you used her drugs and it would get Tola out of harm’s way.”
I nodded as I thought of it and hissed. “I am going to strangle her neck when this is over, right before I hand her over to the police” I said in anger. “So she wants a little drama?” I smiled. “Drama, she would get” I turned to walk to the bed and froze.
“What is it Amara?” Tina asked, concerned.
“My… my tumm… ouch” I gasped as I bent over in pain. Tina ran to help me but when she got halfway, she stopped and almost started laughing. “Jesus! You almost fooled me also. You must be a good drama queen” she grinned.
“Can’t you see that I am in pain? Aaaarrrhhhh… this is not the time to laugh. Shut up and… ouch… get into character” I ordered.
She bowed slightly. “Yes ma’am” she answered with a grin. As she straightened, the smile on her face was replaced by a deep frown. Good girl, I thought. “Oh my God Amara, what is wrong with you?” she asked with pitched voice, coming to my aid.
“My tummy… arrrhh… I can’t breathe… the pain… aaaahhhh” I streamed. “My tummy is on fire… Oh God! My baby… ah” we bundled ourselves out of the door and started down the stairs with me screaming and collapsing on the floor. Tina was also doing a good job of being the help mate. “What did you put in the food Tina… ooowww… I can’t take it … Oh God…”
Tola and Lisa came running. “For God’s sake, what is all the commotion about?” Lisa squealed.
I really wished I could tear off her filthy hair from her head. “Jesus! This is too much” water gathered in my eyes as pain took over my features. “It is still months to my delivery, what is going on? Aaarhhh” I whimpered. “Please be fine baby… I whispered to my baby. “Mummy is here… You are going to be fine” I whispered again. “Hospital… Take me to the hospital now” I stood from the ground but did not stand straight, holding my stomach like a mother hen. From my bent position, I saw the smug smile on Lisa’s face as she stared at me and I almost gave up the charade to beat the hell out of her forever attempting to harm my baby. Tola quickly joined Tina and they both managed to half-carry my screaming form outside the house and into the car. The driver sped off like a mad man, genuinely concerned and I was actually sorry for the poor guy who knew nothing about the whole charade.
We arrived at the hospital I use for my antenatal within the twinkling of an eye and Tina and Tola made a big scene of taking me inside. Some nurses also came to our rescue, while I continued my pretense of wreathing in undiluted pain. The nurses uttered words of sympathy and encouragements which almost had me laughing out loud. I swallowed the laughter that was threatening to erupt and carried on the pretense until I was safely deposited in a room. Immediately the door closed, all my pretense ceased and Tina, who could not hold it any longer, busted unto an uncontrollable laughter.
“Jesus… I never knew you could act so well. I almost believed you were truly in pain” she laughed heartily.
Tola grinned and heaved a sigh of relief. “I owe you my life Ama” she said, full of gratitude.
“My child and I would be forever grateful to you Tola, you have nothing to thank me for” I returned.
The nurses looked at us in confusion. “Can someone explain what is going on here? Amara?” one of the nurses asked.
I looked at them apologetically. “I am really sorry for the trouble, it was a matter of life and death. Someone tried to terminate my pregnancy. If I could only see the doctor, I would be eternally grateful for the help” I said in a pleading tone.
They both looked at me in curiosity. They knew me to a certain extent and they were certainly concerned about my welfare. “That sounds pretty serious” the nurse I knew to be Nurse B, said and led the three of us to the doctor’s office. The lady doctor was with a male friend and the nurse went to whisper into the doctor’s ear. She invited us inside fully and she smiled at me. “How are you Amara? What is this that I am hearing?”
I felt awkward talking in front of the guy but since she was willing to talk in his presence, I knew that he could be trusted. Tola narrated the whole incident of how she was offered money and how she was threatened and forced into going through with the plan. She said so many things and all I could do most times was gap in amazement. It was as annoying as it was unbelievable.
“Do you have the drugs?” The man asked suddenly, surprising me.
The doctor saw the surprise on my face and smiled. “Don’t worry, you are definitely lucky you met him here. He is a police detective. Mr. Sinja. I am sure he can help you”
“I definitely can. Who is this murderer in the making” he looked really angry.
I swallowed hard. “Thank you so much sir. All I want is to stop her from ever trying this nonsense again. My child means everything to me and I would not risk his safety for anything in the world. I also want my friends to be protected. These are the people that mean a lot to me and I would do anything as long as they are protected” I said.
“Well then, let’s go. This lady must surely be arrested for attempted murder. The foetus should definitely be lucky, he has so many people who would risk their lives for him.” With that, he stood up and bid the doctor farewell, marching to the door like a trained soldier.
The drive back home was filled with silence on my part, while Tina and Tola talked endlessly, recounting the entire episode, and laughing whenever they talked about my displays. The police man made a phone call to someone I guessed to be a fellow police officer and asked for my address, which I gave. I saw the confused look on the driver’s face but ignored it. The face of the police man was as hard as stone and I found myself smiling. He was definitely a handsome man, no doubt, but his face made him look ruthless. Kelvin had looked different, yet similar, I thought suddenly, not even knowing what prompted such a stupid thought.
We entered the compound and I noticed Alex’s car. We alighted and the police officer followed closely behind, betraying no emotion. We met the duo cuddling like a pair of teenagers in the sitting room. Is it not weird that they are always doing that every time I see them? I thought vaguely.
Before I could utter a single word, the policeman emerged behind me. “I believe you are Miss Lisa” he began.
Lisa jumped out of the chair, looking alarmed. She turned to glare at Tola.
“Yes she is, the question should be, who are you?” Alex answered.
“I am Detective Sinja” he extracted a card from his breast pocket and returned it. “Miss Lisa, you are under arrest for attempted murder” he said and I heard the siren of a police car outside.
“What? What are you talking about?”
“What is this Amara?” Alex boomed, standing up to glare at me. “What are you scheming this time?”
“Oh! You would need to ask your little beauty queen over there. She is the one who tried to terminate my pregnancy with useless drugs” I shot back.
“Well, you are better off without the pregnancy, don’t you think?”
The policeman raised his brow. “If you are not careful young man, I would arrest you also because you sound like her accomplice” Like magic, he removed handcuffs.
“This is a mistake, I am innocent, you hear me” she yelled and tried to run but Mr. Sinja’s hand shot out faster than I could even imagine, grabbing her just in time. He attached the handcuffs and two other police men entered the sitting room.
“You would pay for this, Amara, Tola” she screamed. “You would pay for this” she yelled as the men dragged her out of the house.
Mrs. Bello poured herself a drink as she recounted her sorrows. It was now twenty years since she did the unthinkable, yet, she could not make herself forget her past errors, especially one. A living breathing mistake which could not be forgiven. Every year, she remembered the 20th of September and willed it to go away.
…to be continued