I got pregnant for Nana. I was scared to death of what my parents were going to say and what my church was going to do to me. Most importantly, I was scared about what Nana would say so for two months, I kept the pregnancy from him. I wanted to tell him very late so he wouldn’t tell me to get rid of it. Later when I told him, he said, “But why did you wait this long before telling me? You didn’t want me to know?” I told him, “I was scared. I was scared about everything and everyone. I didn’t know what to say or do to make the fear go away. It’s the reason I couldn’t say it right from the start.”
He hugged me. I felt comforted. He looked into my eyes and said, “Everything would be fine. You need not be scared. We’ll have it together. You’ll be the mother and I will be the father. No need to be scared.” I cried that very moment. I don’t know what made me cry after hearing him say all that. It could be tears of joy. It could be out of the comfort that he was going to be there with me through it all. It could be anything but one thing I was sure of was that it was a positive feeling.
Our relationship was only four months old. Crazy right? I didn’t know him too well because he wasn’t staying in town. He was working in town but travelled back every other weekend. Sometimes he could go for a whole month without coming back. It was the reason I kept his proposal on hold for over a month. It was our second shuperu that brought the pregnancy. Because of what he told me, I developed the courage of a lion and went to my parents and told them what was at stake. As a church elder, my dad went ballistic. He was thinking about what the church would say to him; “That I’m a bad father? That I don’t know how to keep my own home? You don’t even have a job. We feed you so how dare you bring a pregnancy home?”
I was calm in my demeanour. I told him, “Dad, I’m sorry but the man in question is ready to marry me. He will come home and do what’s right before things begin to show. You don’t have to worry too much but I’m deeply sorry for the shame I’d brought on you.” My mom screamed from the side, “Utter nonsense! Who is that guy? Where did you meet him and what does he do? How did you even know he was good for you? Is he also in the church? Oh, Kuukua, you’ve embarrassed us. Upon all the home training we gave you, is that how you decide to pay us back? You shame me.”
Everything was expected so I didn’t take it to heart. When they calmed down they asked me to bring the man home. I called Nana to tell him about it. “My parents want to meet you. I’ve told them about it and they want to meet you to discuss the way forward.” He asked, “Were they angry? Are you sure when they see me they won’t try to arrest me?” I laughed. I told him, “I’m not underage. You’re talking to a 25-year-old woman. All I need is a job and I will be my own woman. Come home and let’s talk things over.”
That was the last conversation we had before he disappeared for two weeks. He was out of town. He didn’t pick up my calls or respond to my text messages. I went to his office looking for him, asking everyone around there if they had heard anything about him. One lady told me, “Nana is on leave. His wedding is this weekend and I don’t think he would be back until after his honeymoon. I laughed. “You’re mistaken. You don’t know this Nana I’m talking about. He’s not married and he’s not marrying anytime soon. Tall, fair and had a gap between his teeth.” She mentioned the surname and I said, “Yeah, that’s the Nana I’m talking about.” She said, “That’s exactly the one I’m also talking about.”
I could hear the rhythm of my heartbeat so loud as though it was a stereo. I thanked her and walked away quickly before she could see the tears threatening to fall off from my eyes. “Nana? Getting married? Is that a dream? Maybe it’s a prank. This can’t be possible.” I called his phone several times and it was not reachable. I used someone’s phone to call him and it went through. He picked up the call and was like, “Why are you calling me with this number?” I answered, “Because you’ve blocked my number. You’re getting married this Saturday so you’re running away from me. Nana…”
Before I could switch to new gear, all I heard was kpin…kpin…kpin, he has cut the call. I called again and it was switched off. I had a breakdown. I was scared all over again. I needed something to lean on to think about the next step forward. I got home and told my parents about it and this time they were not even angry. My mom asked, “Are you serious? Tell me you’re joking. He gave you all the assurance knowing very well that he’s getting married to another woman?” She looked at my dad’s face and the two of them came to look at my face at the same time. My dad said, “It’s alright. He can go. We’ll take it from here. You’ll be fine.”
After his wedding, he came to town and started calling my phone. I met him once though my parents warned me never to see him. He looked at my face and I looked back at him. I said, “You asked me to see you, here I am.” He said, “What I did wasn’t right I know but it came at the wrong time. I have a baby with that lady so I was forced to marry her. She wasn’t the plan. If you came in the frame earlier than you did, things would have been different. I swear you’re the one I love but you know in this world we don’t end up marrying the women we love. I blame myself for everything. Don’t hate me but let’s look at a way the two of us can bring up the child in a responsible way.”
I told him, “I’m sorry I lied to you. What I’m bearing is not your child. Record my voice with your phone so someday you can use it to defend yourself if I do a U-turn. I’m repeating loud and clear that the baby I have here is not yours. You said you have a baby with the girl you married, right? I also have a serious boyfriend I’m sleeping with on the side. He’s responsible for this so feel free and go on with your life. You have nothing with me and I have nothing on you. I’m glad we had this conversation. It’s the closure I needed. Goodbye.”
He stood there like a stump while I walked away from him. I walked for a minute, looked back and he was still standing there looking at me. I kept walking away while feeling his eyes tracking my steps. I got home and blocked his number.
That was 2016. He got a transfer and left town to be with his new wife. I gave birth to a girl who looks exactly like me. It’s only the colour of her dad that she picked. My parents were very supportive of me. At some point, they treated me like I’m their only child. Everything came to me first before they could even think about my other siblings. God being so good, I have a job now and my parents have taken the child from me so I can go on and create a better life for myself. Six years later, I’m sharing this story because Nana has started coming back into the frame. He called me on another line. We talked for over thirty minutes. He had been divorced for over two years and wanted to come back into my life.
I asked him, “You’re coming as what?” He answered, “I’m coming so we take it from where we ended.” The kind of anger that I went through at that moment can’t be explained; “You’re a big fool to think that I have nothing doing with my life than sit here and wait for you. Do you think God created me to be this useless? What even gave you that courage to call me and speak that nonsense? I swear, the next time you call my phone and speak that nonsense to me, you’ll regret the day you were born. Mark it anywhere.”
He called again in a month’s time. He said, “I believe that child is mine. I want DNA to prove otherwise before I can buy into that story you told me that day.” I asked him, “Do you have a child? With who, me? Then go ahead and do the DNA. After how many years? Oh, news flash, you didn’t know that the baby died at birth? I couldn’t feed it. I couldn’t buy the drugs I needed. I couldn’t even attend antenatal. I was jobless and helpless. How could I take care of a baby all alone? So it died. I’m telling you this not because I think you’re the father. I’m telling you so you don’t stand anywhere and tell someone that I have a child.”
After this conversation, he hasn’t called again but I know he’s lurking in the shadows, searching for the truth and looking for a way to claim what he ignored for all these years. I don’t intend to give him that release from his guilt. I want him to live with it for the rest of his life just as I’m living with the scars of the pregnancy for the rest of my life.