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[STORY] LIVING WITH MY GRANDMA (Episode 15)

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LIVING WITH MY GRANDMA Story by Frank The Writer _ AllNaijaEntertainment
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Episode 15.

Grandma came in and walked straight in my direction. Her countenance wasn’t that rosy. She coughed and cleared her throat. My heart was beating gbim gbim gbim… Darlington still stood at the door waiting to hear what grandma would say or do.

“Ziora, so you’re pregnant?” She finally broke the awkward silence in the Igbo language.
“Noo, I’m not pregnant, grandma. We were just…”
“Mechieee onu — shut up!” She exclaimed.
It was at this point I knew I was in deep shit. She seemed to have been listening to all we have been saying. Darlington turned to walk out but she called him back.

“And you, special adviser. Weldon. I heard everything you told her to do. Your parents will hear about it,” grandma threatened. Please, note that everything grandma said was in Igbo, so I’m only interpreting them in English. Darlington didn’t seem bothered by grandma’s threat. He just leaned against the wall of my room and watched grandma unleash her anger.

Grandma was going to hit me angrily but I had to dodge. She was so disappointed, annoyed, and dumbfounded for a few minutes. She stood there and stared at me, but I couldn’t look her in the eyes. Shame and self-pity enveloped me.
Then she went on to talk and talk. She even went on in Igbo proverbs, she said something about a stubborn fly that goes into the grave with the coffin. Grandma loved to speak in parables too. There was nothing she didn’t say. She reminded me about her warnings and how she cautioned me about moving with boys but I wouldn’t listen. I badly wish I could reverse the whole day and wait till night before running the test. That was what filled my heart, regrets, and nothing more.

“You must not think of killing that innocent baby. You must keep her and feel the pain of motherhood, so in your next world you would listen to advise.” Grandma said and left. I had never seen her in that mood before. She was damn disappointed. And that was it, all secrets were finally open. I was numb; I couldn’t say anything nor moved my body. The thought of my parents getting to know about it scared the shit out of me and not long, I felt the urge to use the toilet. I quickly rushed in and locked the door while Darlington sat dumbfounded on the bed.

As I sat in the water closet, I found out I was sweating. Some memories came rushing through my head. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All clustered in my head. It was dawn on me that I was on my way to motherhood. Motherhood at 18? Or, probably 19, because my birthday was four months ahead. I spent close to an hour in the toilet not minding the smell that oozes from there. Nothing felt right in my sense. I guess I couldn’t even smell anything at that moment. And when I came out, Darlington was no longer in my room. I reached to the door and bolted it up and down before slumping on my bed. I thought of Meska, I thought of the probability of him denying being responsible later on. It was still morning but I had zero zeal to do anything.

Fast forwarding, when finally, the news got to my father through grandma, it seemed hell got loosened that day. I was crying while my father was talking to me on the phone, and woe betides me if I dare end up the call on him. My father said a lot of unimaginable things that could make one consider suicide. He said he won’t have anything to do with me and my unborn child. By this, he meant I shouldn’t call him for anything concerning money. If it were left for my father alone, he would want me to abort the baby.

He considered what I did a big shame to his family. He went on to compare me with my siblings and that really got me. He said I was the worst of them all for bringing down his name and that of the entire family. My father threatened to arrest whoever was responsible for my pregnancy any day he stepped his feet in our house. When he ended the call, I cried like a baby. There was nothing this man didn’t say to me. His words kept ringing in my head day after day.

Later in the night of that same day, my mom called. This was one of the worst periods of my stay in the village. At first, I didn’t pick up. She called again, I struggled with my phone and before I could decide whether to swipe right or not, it ended again. My whole body vibrated. I pondered what she could say to me. She had to call through grandma’s phone, and when I thought I had gotten the worst scolding of my life from my father, then came to my mom yelling over the phone. She was crying too.

My mom was literally going crazy with the way she sounded. She was like: Ziora, you’re too young to go through the challenges of pregnancy. She said a lot of things at the same time. “How would you cope with pregnancy and school? How would you do this, and how would you do that?” She was asking a lot of questions that I didn’t have an answer to. I started crying too, and that helped me from dodging her endless queries. She made mentioned why she didn’t buy the idea of me staying back in the village and even schooling in Nigeria.

The call lasted for fifty minutes before her airtime got exhausted. I hated myself at that moment. I hated myself for coming in contact with Meska. And sadly he wasn’t aware I was carrying his baby. I had deleted his number, so I could stop seeing his WhatsApp status. I felt depressed, betrayed, and saddened by the fact that I might forfeit my admission or get into the University with pregnancy.

My uncles weren’t left out. They were disappointed too. But Clinton was lenient with his words. He promised to take care of my studies and the pregnancy if eventually, my father turned his back on me like he said, which I doubted. Maybe because Clinton also had a baby with his girlfriend during his University days and he knew exactly what it feels like to be in my shoe.

Well, the did have been done and I had to face the consequences of my action. As they said, nobody is coming to save you. So I wiped my tears and braved up. And that was how my journey as a pregnant young girl began. My belly wasn’t big at the initial stage. The major thing was, that I always had that I-need-to-pee right now kind of feeling. Morning sickness hit hard! Like really hard! I could hardly keep anything down. I was steadily throwing up here and there. I threw up so violently that it forced me to pee at the same time. So embarrassing! My mouth was always filled with saliva. I could spit here and there to the extent, that Darlington felt irritated.

Darlington was so understanding during this period, he took care of most house chores while I spent my days trying to figure out what foods I could tolerate. Darlington did a great job in the kitchen during this period of my life. He cooked all sorts of delicacies. And I did plead with him not to tell Annabel about my predicament. Though he said they weren’t together anymore, I couldn’t trust him. He was prone to lies.

Then, I hated the smell of almost everything. My room smelled bad to me. I could perceive the smell of lots of home appliances, and I could barely cook because I couldn’t stand the smell of anything simmering on the stove.
Grandma made me a special delicacy with Uziza leaves which was believed to be beneficial to pregnant women. I craved badly for African delicacies made with palm oil. They were appealing to me. I also loved Abacha (African salad) which grandma made for me. And I appreciated the fact that grandma still cared so well, even after scolding me.

Waking up several times at night to go pee wasn’t fun at all. All-day, I slept like one who had been affected by a tsetse fly. I slept while pressing my phone and while doing other things.

***
Weeks later, clearance and registration began at Unizik. My belly was still tender and invisible. Nobody could tell I was pregnant. So, I went without any fear of stigmatization from onlookers. It wasn’t a day process. I spent money to and fro for days, and I equally used that opportunity to search for an affordable lodge.

The pregnancy seemed to change everything about me. I needed to work on myself, and I needed to be alone to do that. I stopped thinking about the past; the thought that Meska used and dumped me. I stopped hurting myself with the past. I’m not going to lie, it was never easy. Of course, I still had feelings for Meska but I needed to help myself get rid of his thoughts from my head.

Sometimes I cried when I was alone—little cries that came up out of nowhere, and sometimes they subsided quickly. Other times, I collapsed on the floor sobbing. I even stopped eating properly. Darlington was the only one that kept my company. I didn’t have any good friends around.

A week before I was to resume school fully, I went with Darlington for an antenatal check-up at a hospital in the neighboring town where we got registered. I had this mood swing, getting angry with everyone for no reason. At the receptionist, I sat and faced down because I didn’t want to speak to anyone, and I didn’t want anyone to look at me. My belly was gradually coming out. I had a slight cramp below my abdomen too. I placed my right hand on my belly and snorted.

During the checkup when the pains faded, “You’ll be fine,” said one of the nurses in a white dress. I also had one and one with the doctor. He counseled and enlightened me on things I should avoid doing, and things I should start eating too. He encouraged me to be strong too. He was such a nice doctor. He didn’t make me feel bad in any way.

Later when we got back home, I felt dizzy and sweaty. It felt like I’d pass out. Grandma wasn’t around. It was just Darlington and I in the house. I slumped tiredly on the bed. He came and ask if I’d like to eat anything, and I replied in the negative. He turned and headed towards the door but he soon stopped abruptly like he saw something through the windows.

“What’s that?” I asked.
“Isn’t that your father’s car outside the gate?”
I got frozen for some seconds. My whole being shivered.
“Toyota Camry?” I asked seconds later.
“Yes,” Darlington replied hastily.
“Damn! This man came unannounced, and Grandma is not here to save my ass.”
I jumped off the bed. I left my room and ran towards the backyard.

To be continued…


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