As we got to the hospital, aunty Jennifer rushed to the front desk at the reception and asked the lady behind for some information concerning uncle Sam. I had anxiously been waiting for her in the waiting area while I watched her talk to the lady behind the desk. Then I saw a nurse coming out from somewhere and aunty Jennifer going to meet her. I stood up when I saw them talking because aunty Jennifer was looking really distressed. The nurse walked away immediately I joined them, so I asked aunty Jennifer about uncle Sam. She didn’t say anything for a while, then sat down on the closest seat as she said;
“They said he’ll be fine hopefully Meso but that he lost a lot of blood due to the shooting and car crash.”
All that rang in my head was ‘shooting’. Uncle Sam was shot? I almost said out loud. I was so scared because I knew that there was a probability he wasn’t going to make it. At that moment, he was in the emergency room so I bowed my head and said a little prayer. I asked God to help uncle Sam so he could live again. I begged God and promised him that he would change his ways and I would change mine as well. In my mind, I thought God wanted to punish us for the things we had been doing behind the curtains. I looked at aunty Jennifer who sat beside me with her face buried in her palms. She was muttering some things and I could see she was really worried. Tears were rolling down her eyes and I joined her in tears. Not just because I was worried about uncle Sam, but also because uncle Sam and I were guilty of a crime that if only she knew, would be so disgusted with us and feel even worse. She looked up and saw me crying, then held me close to her chest, whispering to me that it would be alright. She also said a little prayer and I whispered an ‘Amen’. Aunty Jennifer was a good woman. As much as I loved uncle Sam, I knew she deserved a better man. A lot was going through my mind as my head rested on her chest. After about an hour, a doctor came out to meet us at the waiting area.
“You must be Sam’s wife and his niece”
Aunty Jennifer stood up and responded with a ‘yes’.
“It’s a miracle he’s alive.”
When we heard this, we sighed in relief and thanked God.
Then the doctor continued, “….Please come with me to my office.”
We followed him to his office and he spoke to us concerning uncle Sam’s condition. He told us that uncle Sam was really lucky to have still made it even with the shooting and car crash. He also said if he hadn’t been brought to the hospital immediately, we would have probably be mourning him already. Then aunty Jennifer said she wanted to see him so the doctor picked up the landline, dialled a number and spoke to someone, before a nurse walked in. The nurse was asked to escort us to uncle Sam’s room so we left with her. We got into his room and saw uncle Sam in the worst condition we had ever seen him. He had bands on his left arm extending to his chest area. He had a drip placed on his wrist with an oxygen mask resting on his nose and mouth. He really was in a horrible state. He was asleep, so we took our sit on a couch that was in the room. None of us could say anything because we were still trying to believe the state of uncle Sam. It was not a pleasing sight at all. Uncle Sam woke up after some hours. It was about 10:00pm in the night. Neither I nor aunty Jennifer closed our eyes to rest. We had been waiting for uncle Sam to wake up so when he opened his eyes, aunty Jennifer went and sat beside him. I just sat where I was and watched them both. I watched as aunty Jennifer leaned in and pecked him on the cheek. He was trying to smile at us but I could see he was in pain. I was only at peace because he was alive. Aunty Jennifer had asked if I wanted to go home and I had told her that I was fine staying with them so we were up till about 2:00am.
At this hour of the night, uncle Sam suddenly started gasping for air. I couldn’t understand what was happening because he was using an oxygen mask. My heart was racing as aunty Jennifer signaled to go get the nurse or doctor. I ran out and returned with a nurse who checked and saw that his oxygen mask was working fine. She tried doing so many things but it didn’t take long before uncle Sam stopped breathing. The nurse looked at us and said he was dead. He was recorded as a dead man right there and then, in our faces.
“eeehhhhhhh, eeeehhhh, Sam! Sam! Samuel!” aunty Jennifer who was right beside uncle Sam shouted while crying and gripping him.
The only thing I can remember is that at that moment, I blacked out. I woke up beside a very sad aunty Jennifer who was seated on a chair with some people I guessed were her colleagues, consoling her. She had even stopped crying. She was just mute. I looked around and found myself laying on a hospital bed with a drip placed on my wrist. Then, my eyes went straight to the wall clock that hung on the wall directly opposite me and saw I that it was almost 2:00pm. I was about to get up when one of her colleagues asked me to lay back while she goes to get the doctor. The doctor came into the room and checked me up. He said I was discharged but decided to spill the result of my blood test, they had obtained when I passed out.
“Do you know that you’re pregnant?” the doctor asked, looking down at me.
I looked around first and saw that everyone in the room heard the doctor including aunty Jennifer who laughed sarcastically before maintaining an expressionless face. The people around her were just talking to her I guess trying to console her. I thought I didn’t hear properly after the doctor broke the news. First, uncle Sam was dead, and then me being pregnant. This had to be a dream.
“Pregnant? I’m pregnant?” I asked the doctor in a surprised but sad low tone.
“Yes! Miss Meso, you’re one month pregnant. You haven’t had any symptoms?” I shook my head in reply to the doctor as I began to shed tears. How was I pregnant and didn’t have any symptoms? I did miss my period but I thought it was normal after I learnt about irregular periods. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be pregnant. I was definitely pregnant for uncle Sam. I cried even more when I remembered that he was no more. There was obviously no other explanation. I remember it was about a month ago when uncle Sam came to lie with me the night we almost got caught. I didn’t want to believe my ears. Not after uncle Sam already passed away. What would I say to aunty Jennifer? How will I tell her that uncle Sam was the father of my unborn child? What would I tell my sister, my relatives? This would be too much to bear in just a day. I thought about uncle Sam and I didn’t know whether to cry that he had gotten me pregnant just before his death or to cry that the man I once said I loved and couldn’t do without was nothing but a corpse. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Everything was too confusing. Was uncle Sam really dead? Am I really pregnant? I couldn’t even say much again so the doctor spoke to aunty Jennifer and I in his office before we left the hospital. One of aunty Jennifer’s colleagues drove us home. Even when I had just heard the news of my pregnancy, the only thing I could think of while seated in the car was uncle Sam. I let down the tears that I had been trying to control but hid it so that aunty Jennifer who sat beside me wouldn’t see me. She didn’t even say anything to me. Nothing about uncle Sam or even my pregnancy.
Nobody in the car even acted like they knew I was pregnant. Neither did any of us mention uncle Sam. I looked to my right where aunty Jennifer sat and found her in a worried state. Her face was swollen from crying a lot. I was expecting her to ask me questions concerning the pregnancy because we were both seated at the passenger’s seat, behind. I was ready to lie to her that I was once raped by a stranger but she didn’t say a single word as we drove home. It even scared me because I thought she would have guessed uncle Sam as the father to my baby. When we got home, we saw cars packed both outside and inside the compound. Everyone was waiting for us to come back because of the news of uncle Sam, including his families and friends, except my relatives who lived outside Lagos and Esther.
As I got inside, I went straight to my room with tears still in my eyes. I sat on my bed as I wept bitterly. At that moment, some of my aunties and uncles walked into my room and came to console me. They sat beside me and told me to take heart even as they were trying to console themselves. Everybody had a worried look. When the doctor had said he survived, I didn’t know things were yet to get worse. I thought he would live and things would be different after the promise I made to God. Nobody couldn’t just believe that uncle Sam would leave this soon especially after just getting married. I even heard aunty Jennifer from the sitting room wailing and screaming on top of her lungs for her husband to be brought back home. She shouted for a while, then kept quiet before continuing with her lamentation. She bitterly cursed and cursed the armed robbers who had caused the accident.
My relatives who surrounded me thought I was mainly crying for uncle Sam but I was crying because of the guilt that I felt, because of his death and because of the baby in my womb. They didn’t even know I was pregnant except aunty Jennifer and a few of her colleagues who still hadn’t said a word about it. I wished I could turn time or change a lot of things but it was too late. It was probably when he was coming to pick me up, that he got attacked. This thought caused me to blame myself for everything. From his death to my pregnancy and the pain everyone was going through.
I had a plan. I suddenly stopped crying, then wiped my tears and told my relatives that I wanted to sleep so I could get some privacy. Only one of them stayed with me for a while before I was left completely alone. I told myself that I wasn’t going to keep the baby so I decided to abort the baby on my own. I even thought of committing suicide because I believed it to be the best decision for myself. I didn’t want to live to see the shame and disappointment that I would bring to my family when everyone finds out that I was pregnant for my dead uncle.
To leave the house, I had to pass through the back door so no one could see me. I had already gathered all the money I had saved from the times uncle Sam gave me money. I put them into my small shoulder bag, put on a sandal and left my room. The back door was in the kitchen and my room was on a corridor which was the closest room to the kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t around the sitting room where everyone was present so I was able to get out of the house through the back door. I didn’t see Mohammed at the gate so I ran out as fast as I could, making sure that I wouldn’t get caught.
I managed to escape and walked as far as I could from the house. It was dark after sunset and I had a scarf tied around my head and face so no one could easily recognize me. I was crying as I was walking. I finally got to the bus stop and entered the first bus that stopped at my front. I didn’t even want to know what kind of bus or where the bus was headed to. I just wanted to be as far away as possible from everyone I knew.
To be continued