Meet Me Halfway Or Not At All!!
He sat centimeters away from me, he smiled as he placed the order for his meal. My mouth was sore from longing to spill my secrets all over his face; yet the secrets are mine to keep.
Kike never understood what it meant to bite according to what one could chew until about a week ago.
One call, two messages, no response and zero conclusion. The foetus in Kike’s womb did all it could to continue to grow. Ope was never away from his phone, she dialed him the 5th time as she crossed her legs and taped her right feet continuously.
The women down the hall assessed Kike with their eyes, as they placed one hand on their abdomen to support their baby bump as they tapped one another to gossip. Kike could tell that she was being assessed for a wedding ring, which she had or rather which she put there seconds before alighting from the car.
Here’s the thing about going for an ultrasound, Kike realized a while back that if the Doctor doesn’t ask how many kids you have or if you are married, the ladies outside waiting for their turn will try to put you into the ‘one of us’ box of the ‘other’ box, so Kike decided to choose the box with less criticism.
She got up and headed to the car, as the ladies flashed her a smile and bid her goodbye, pleasantries reserved only for ‘one of us’. Her eyes spun as the sky darkened as the words of the doctor rang in her ears. ‘Pregnant?’ How could she be so careless? Why her?
I called him over 6times and sent about 3 messages, but no response. Times like this when you need him, he is never there, he should know something is wrong, I usually call once or twice and that’s it. My hands shook as I weighed my options, leaving me with the only one I have, and I know who can help me with that.
‘Is abortion legal in Nigeria?’ I asked Jen as I clenched my teeth and held my phone tighter.
‘Why do you want to know?’ Jen inquired in a high pitch.
‘Yawa don gas…’ I murmured as I placed Jen on speaker and glanced through my notifications to see if Ope had reached out.
It didn’t take time for Jen to figure out what had happened. My voice went from flat to brittle.
When you miss your period, you feel a balloon in your chest, it gets bigger the more the days, the balloon expands until you can feel it compressing your lungs, you gasp for air but it’s barely adequate.
Suddenly, you see the blood and the balloon slowly deflates, as you can feel a cold calm compress in your chest. Isn’t that relieving?
When you don’t see your period, the balloon takes the space of your lungs, you can’t breathe and you are gasping for life itself as you feel your lungs explode in your chest.
At this point you think of all the contraceptive options that were available to you, yet it’s either you were unlucky or you intentionally rebelled. How does one understand consequences and still fire at danger? Call it human nature all you like but, we know who’s at the receiving end- women.
‘Kike Kike!!’ Jen shouted from the other side of the phone, pulling me out of my thoughts.
‘Yes Jen, I’m right here.’
‘What are you going to do, have you spoken to Ope?’
Jen’s questions fell on deaf ears but I knew she had the solution. Every friendship circle needs at least one friend who is a fixer. Jen is the perfect mix of Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating. She knows how to fix everything, if she can’t fix it, she knows someone who can.
FEW HOURS LATER
I felt a sudden warmth on my shoulder, I heard my name being called but it was far far away. I opened my eyes slowly as I saw Jen standing in front of me.
‘Are you okay? Kike, can you hear me? Jen inquired with fright in her eyes
‘She’s going to be in and out for a while but she’s okay.’ The doctor said
A while after, everything was as vivid as day. High on pain killers, all I could feel was relief, I almost felt guilty but I have no use for a child right now, I wasn’t ready, not mentally or financially.
Irregardless, I couldn’t overlook how lucky I was, in a country that doesn’t consider abortion a basic woman right except when it is done to save the woman’s life, where even those against it pop pills or shove hangers into themselves to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies or end up in facilities unequipped to handle such procedures.
Later that night, Ope called and explained that he forgot his phone at home and that’s why he couldn’t respond to my messages. I’ve always known Ope to be Pro-life, and I knew he would never understand why I had to do this.
My religious side didn’t let me be, over analyzing what I had done. I spent days battling with myself, wondering if I could have brought a child into this world just for the child to suffer. I believed I did the better thing.
My moral side grieved for she was torn between telling Ope and keeping it a secret, and she chose the latter. If he was meant to know, he would have been reachable.
THREE MONTHS LATER
I have been trying to summon the courage to break up with Ope. I wouldn’t want to hide such a big secret and continue with this relationship. Jen thinks I should let him decide but I would rather make that decision for us. Call me selfish, but it’s my call.
‘I would tell him today…’ Is what I’ve told myself for three months, I love him but I love my peace of mind more.
Today is the day I will tell him. Ope and I are having dinner later at night and I’d like to see this as our last. Ope is the definition of fun, he brings life itself to life, asides his rigid perspective of life and inability to forgive people, one could say he was almost perfect.
I wore my velvet green slip dress with a gold sandals and wore my hair in a ponytail. Ope was wearing a black suit with a green shirt that made his dark chocolate skin glow, it seemed as though he knew what I would wear. He was a bit more chatty than usual but if I made as much money as he did that week, I’d also be chatty.
We dined as Ope ordered the second bottle of Moet and dessert, I was concerned because there was no way either of us would be able to drive after drinking. He called his driver so he would be the one to drive us home.
Dessert came in a 6 inches brown buttercream cake and before I could process it, I saw ‘Marry me Kike’. The table rotated as everything in the restaurant spun faster and Ope went down on one knee and said ‘Marry me…’, everything else he said fell on deaf ears.
‘Oh girl!!! ‘ My head screamed.
I wanted to say yes but I couldn’t say yes. I love him too much to lie to him.
I shook my head as I managed to say no, Ope laughed it off, thinking it was one of our pranks, he urged me to be serious and luckily the only person around was the waiter.
‘I love you, but you can’t understand. I’m sorry but this is over.’ I said bravely as I held back the tears in my eyes.
I helped Ope up and it was obvious he was in shock, and dumbfounded.
I walked away, as I held my purse tightly, that was the only thing restraining me from crying my eyes out.
I have made a lot of bad decisions in life, the abortion is definitely not one of those, even though it might have cost me the love of my life, but I don’t want to be with someone if they don’t understand that I have the right to decide what happens to my body.
He called out to me but I never looked back. I disappeared into the night, it was my decision to make but is this the right choice?
We find love in different places and different people, and sometimes we find pain in the arms of those we love.
‘Oga, take heart.’ The waiter said as Kike disappeared into the night.
Nothing made sense, she loves me and I’m sure of that. We’ve spoken multiple times about marriage and we were always in agreement, it doesn’t make sense for her to say no and walk away.
I have no intentions to coerce her, but I believe I deserve an explanation.
I got up and placed the blue box gently in my pocket, my head rang loudly as I shivered from within. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t find the tears, how does this happen? What did I miss?
Time lapsed and I didn’t know when I got home. I bid my driver goodnight and headed straight for bed, I took 1g of paracetamol in hope that it would relieve my headache but I don’t think it worked.
I tossed and turned on the bed, I clung to my pillow as I would cling to Kike if she were here, sleep deserted me.
It’s 5:00am and I still haven’t been able to sleep. I’ve called Kike about 5 times but she hasn’t picked up. I need to know why the woman I love will decide to walk away from me, I picked up my phone and typed,
‘I need an explanation, you can’t just walk away like this…’ I deleted the message, that’s too long, she might not even reply me.
‘We need to talk.’ I deleted again, I just want to see her, I want her to look into my eyes and tell me she doesn’t love me.
Why? If she needed more time, she could have said so, but call the whole thing off? That’s not the Kike I know.
‘My love, I want to know what went wrong.’ I pressed send and prayed she would respond.
I walked around with a hole in my heart, and a shadow over my spirit, with fragments of Kike in my mind. At work, I was nothing but a zombie.
I tried to see her but she wouldn’t see me. The only direct link to her was my friend Eke, he and Kike’s best friend are dating and I’ve been trying to get him to have his girlfriend talk to her. Now, he’s telling me of how his girlfriend’s attempts has been fruitless.
‘Guy, are you sure you didn’t do something?’ Eke questioned as I rubbed my bald head.
‘I’ve been thinking for days and I swear I didn’t.’ I replied as I heard my doorbell rang, I told Eke I would call him back.
I managed to slip my feet loosely into my black slippers and dragged my feet to the door as I re-tied my burgundy robe. I opened the door and saw my neighbor holding a letter that’s meant for me.
Letter? From who?
Wait! It’s from Kike.
I snatched the letter from my neighbor and closed the door, I kicked my slippers off as I sunk my butt into the rug in the living room and opened the letter.
My love, it hurts me greatly to hurt you this way. You’ve always known that there’s no other person I would have wanted to spend the rest of my life with asides you, but I did something I don’t think you’ll forgive.
Few weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant and I had an abortion. I tried to reach you that day but I couldn’t. I’m not sure reaching you would have made a difference in regards to the decision I made but , at least you would have been aware. I know you’ve always been pro-life and I couldn’t imagine keeping such secret from you. I wanted to tell you but I just couldn’t find the right time, and I wish I had. I would have avoided having to hurt you like this.
I’m not telling you this to fix anything, I only believe you deserve to know the truth. And irregardless, I will always love you.
Kike was drowning herself in a movie on netflix when her doorbell rang, it was most likely Jen, Jen has been checking on her everyday after she turned down Ope’s proposal.
Jen believes she’s only pretending to be alright , which is partially true but writing the letter to Ope made her feel a lot better, at least now he knows the truth and he isn’t to blame for anything. After this week, she would probably travel to Namibia, she needed time to process her heartbreak and she believed a new environment would aid that.
Kike opened the door without looking at who stood there, she turned as she caught a glimpse of the figure standing at the door, she turned around and realized it wasn’t Jen, except if Jen had grown 2ft taller overnight together with a broader chest.
It was Ope, Kike’s heart sunk into her chest, its easier to write a letter, but to come face to face with Ope was something else, even with his puffy eyes, his melanin popped. She swallowed and straightened her back as she forced a smile and tried not to get distracted by his beauty.
‘Why couldn’t you tell me?’ Ope asked, Kike tried to mutter an answer as Ope entered and closed the door behind him.
‘ I can’t believe you went through all that alone and said nothing after.’ Ope continued as Kike wasn’t sure about what to say, Ope being here and saying this was definitely nothing close to what she would have imagined.
‘When I say I’m pro-life, it means that is what I believe in, it doesn’t give me the right to impose my believes on you or force you to do anything you won’t want to do, I could have tried to show you another way but at the end of the day, it would have still been your choice. I hate that you went through all that alone thinking I would hate you for choosing the best decision for you. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel you couldn’t rely on me.’ Ope expatiated as he moved closer to Kike.
‘I didn’t know that was how you thought about it, I thought you wouldn’t be able to forgive me and that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to tell you, I’m so sorry.’ Kike responded as tears enveloped her eyes.
Ope pulled her closer and wrapped her in his arms, as he gently rubbed her bonnet.
‘I think it’s obvious that we are not ready for marriage, we still have more work to do in terms of this relationship.’ Ope suggested as he rubbed his round nose over Kike’s pointed nose.
‘I agree.’ Kike affirmed as she let the sweet scent of Ope’s Intense Oud engulf her nostrils as they swam in one another’s warm ocean.
THANK YOU FOR READING.
YOUR OPINION MATTERS!
WRITTEN BY: MARIAM ALAYANDE
ILLUSTRATION BY: BRIANNA PIPPENS