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BN Prose: Fracture by Wana Udobang

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“Babes please call me back, I have jist for you”. That was what the text read. I had no particular interest to respond. It was Chinwe after all and it would be nothing more than a conversation about some new guy whom she was dating, or perhaps another man who had asked her to marry him. The man was probably married or had a girlfriend. He was still undecided as to whether he would dump his long-suffering woman or carry on with the relationship. Chinwe seemed to be the filler. The pervert’s muse, I would say to her at times. The one who fell for their badly constructed stories about how they wished they had met her first and how she was everything their wives weren’t. I often wondered if she gained an interesting kind of pleasure from being the other woman in these men’s lives. Perhaps there was a power that came from the knowledge that you were everything that these women weren’t.

Chinwe wasn’t the only one, it was the only topic of conversation every girl was interested in talking about in Lagos.

“So is he the one”?

“Is he husband material”?

“How long have you guys been together for”?

“Is he ready to settle down”?

“Don’t let him waste your time ooo, hm that was what happened to me, I was with this man when he had nothing for over seven years and he married one bank cashier in less than six months after we broke up”!

I was exhausted from the man bashing. The conversations made me want to hurl in agony. But I had trained myself to hold a smile perfectly hoping that it wouldn’t crack out of irritation. The women here were fixated on men and marriage. It seemed nothing else mattered. It was why I started gravitating towards friendships with men, at least they seemed to be more interesting gossips.

I sat in front of my television completely absorbed on Bear Grylls drinking his urine as a mechanism to keep himself hydrated under the scorching desert heat, when I was distracted by the blaring sound of Femi Kuti’s “So tan”. It was Chinwe calling and I knew that if I ignored the call, she would spam me with whining messages of how bad a friend I was. As I pressed the green button to answer the phone, I knew that the forthcoming man bashing would need preparedness and patience.

Dalim wetin dey happen, dis one that you remembered me today, has Jesus come?” I said. It was my diversion tactic. Reverse psychology I suppose. It was my way of pacifying the fact that I hadn’t responded to her text message.

“Have you not been getting my texts?” she asked. “No ooo, which texts?” I retorted.

“Anyways, hmm dis babe, there is plenty jist ooo. Remember that thing that happened to you, well…it just happened to me”

Somehow, watching Bear Grylls trying to survive in the Sahara squeezing the fluid from faecal matter that was encased in a camel’s intestine didn’t seem so appealing anymore.

She sounded so casual in her delivery. But I understood the feeling of being on autopilot. In that moment, there seemed no right or wrong. It just seemed the only choice was to do what you needed to do. Or do anything that would allow you to stop being sick.

Then I asked, even though I probably knew I didn’t need to, because I anticipated the answer already. The question would just be a necessary utterance: “So what do you want to do?” She told me she had been to the clinic for a consultation already and her procedure would take place over the weekend. My throat became sealed with silence because my head was flooded with a slideshow of memories. I started to remember being barraged with pain. From the moment when I inserted the pessaries into my cervix, then crawling on the floor in anguish and then my lower body had been anaesthetised by the pain. If it wasn’t all flushed out. Like mine, Chinwe would have to go back for a Suction termination. That’s what the doctor called it. Because the first time everything wasn’t expelled like he had intended. I remember the iciness if the forceps between my legs and then the puncturing of my womb before he placed this little tube and started to suck it all out. With each scream I became more numb, with each suck, my front teeth sank into a pillow. My fingers clenched to the sheets as though about to rip it to shreds. Somehow, I knew I was doing my time.

The amalgam of thoughts and memories that clustered inside didn’t allow for me tell her what she was about to experience. She said she was two months in, so I knew that, like mine, she would be going full throttle.

A few years ago, Chinwe, I and three others decided to get drunk on cheap vodka and store brand acidic orange juice. We were undergraduate students in England hanging out in the living room of our shared flat. Our drunken stupor led to a game of truth or dare. Just after she had been dared to strip to her under pants which she did, she blurted out in a very strange kind of randomness it almost seemed choreographed.

You guys, I have a three year old daughter.”

My eyes widened in disbelief and for a moment, I thought it was the heartburn from alcohol and tangy cheap juice that had induced the outpour.

“Biko this babe don’t be joking with this type of thing, I said. Chinwe was usually terrible at keeping a straight face and from the stern and sobering look, I knew our game of truth or dare had come to its conclusion. It seemed the combination of nerves and excitement from exposing her enormous cellulite riddled bottom had led to a revelation of something even bigger.

She had gotten pregnant for a boyfriend when she had just finished secondary school and she told us that Catholic guilt would not permit her to think of any options than to keep the child. Her mother had her stay with an aunt in America until she gave birth. The child was named Nwamaka after her mother’s elder sister who had cerebral palsy and stayed at a convent in Asaba till she died.

After the birth of Nwamaka, Chinwe’s stomach was pressed down with hot water and then tightly embalmed in a wrapping cloth. Her aunt in America told her that the hot water would make her tummy go down so that when she got back to Nigeria, no one would know she had been pregnant. What they didn’t tell her was that when she got back to Lagos, her mum would raise the child and she would become the aunt by default. The story that would go around was that Nwamaka’s mother was a close relative of the family who passed away and Chinwe’s mother adopted her. Chinwe missed her little girl but had to teach herself to feel nothing. It was like a self induced post-partum depression that would go on for the rest of her life.

It almost felt like the Jack Nicholson story – he discovered in later life that his aunt was really his mother and whom he thought was his mother was his grandmother.

However blank Chinwe chose to feel, I could always tell that she was already torn.

Still on the telephone and with sweat trickling down the side of my face, by this time Bear Grylls had already used the camel’s hollow ribcage as a bed and its skin for a blanket to protect him from the desert sand blitz. He even revealed in the process that the hump was a water reservoir.

I asked in an almost muted tone if she was sure that she wanted to go ahead with the procedure over the weekend.

With a crackle in her voice as though trying to find the words, she said:

“Do you know what it’s like to have a child and your child doesn’t know who you are? You look at her and she calls you aunty, but she runs to another person and calls that person mummy. I had to live with that and I can’t put myself through it again.”

As our conversation ended, I was taken back to when I came off autopilot. I would walk on the street finding myself touching my stomach at the most arbitrary of times and then realise that there was nothing there. My womb was empty, broken, fractured by a sucking tube.

Photo Credit: www.thegloss.com

55 Comments

  1. changing faces

    February 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    interesting piece…..
    many Fractured lives and many Secrets, the life of a woman!

  2. chat

    February 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    first

    • Omogekofo

      February 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      not quiet. lol

    • THE AMAKA

      February 22, 2011 at 3:00 am

      NOT QUITE!…lol
      @Omogekofo, only i can do it, ah ah!

    • G

      February 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

      Lmao!!!

  3. laremmy

    February 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Nicee.first to comment

    • Omogekofo

      February 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      not quite. lol

    • THE AMAKA

      February 22, 2011 at 3:20 am

      not quite! lol

  4. Babe

    February 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I understand the way she feels, being on that table and I swore never to any more. Till this day I see kids and hope one day I will be able to hold my first child, no second child and never ever let harm come its way, love life and my baby till my dying breath.

  5. mee

    February 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    moral of the story: women open your legs with caution and not…. !
    sad story!

  6. Newbie

    February 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Emmmm, Life of a woman. What men put us through because of a tingly selfish feeling. Leaving us with guilt, regrets and hate. Well written. God help us.

    • K!

      February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      My dear, the men don’t put us through anything. Like I always say, whenever you’re having sex, bear in mind that you’re doing it with your potential baby daddy (or baby mama as the case may be). We should all learn to take responsibility for our actions and not look for someone to blame

  7. Omogekofo

    February 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    1st……lol
    now, back to business.
    don’t know which is more painful here…the pains of abortion or the fact that ur baby call u aunty which may change later in life or the fact that a soul is killed.
    what if something really bad happens to her womb in the process? what if she has to go back to the doctor for another procedure or what if she ends up having a severe case of “Ashermans syndrome”?
    I know this is fiction but hell, its happening everyday….I believe this write up is meant to touch someones heart so she could save her baby and save her future……… We mustn’t do stuffs because our friends did it and are ok or because we don’t want shame. There are voluntary mothers out there…motherless baby homes…the children could be dropped there and an arrangement and picked up when the mother is ready hopefully before the Baby is so grown to realize it all….

    • Omogekofo

      February 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      not quiteee. lol

    • Omogekofo

      February 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      …. there *on* an arrangement…
      excuse my typographical error.

    • THE AMAKA

      February 22, 2011 at 3:01 am

      not quite….hahahahaha lol

    • gidigurl

      February 22, 2011 at 8:50 am

      @omogekofo…i rili feel ur comment

    • belzi

      February 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

      true talk thnks 4 d advice

  8. Jade

    February 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    oh my God, i hope never to experience that EVER!!!!

  9. random

    February 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    thanks joor omogekofo well said. there is noting intrestng about taking a baby’s life at all cos no matter wat u do d guilt will continually lie in your heart. i feel its better togive birth to d child and even have her call u aunty than killing it.

    • Abike

      February 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Easier said than done darling. Easier said than done

  10. Anuli

    February 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Deeply touched…will there be a part 2 to this piece please?

  11. amaka

    February 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    i totally agree with Omogekofo. its beta 4 ur child 2 call u aunty….abortion shud nt b an option…. God help us! ! !

  12. Q

    February 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    ummm, ‘m just thinking…..how is it d fault of men here, in neither case was d response of the guys involved in both pregnancies documented in d story, her life would be beta off if ‘she’ chose to keep her legs closed after d first tragedy she went through….n u blaiming guys alredi…please, she’s just as guilty, her story is painful n i onlyhopes she makes better choices, but as far as faults go…..she takes it! who knows if d belle is even for one of d married men who’s attention she constantly enjoys!!! its time for her to turn to prayers, some serious soul searching n self awareness, dats all i will recommend!

  13. Q

    February 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    By d way, d last comment was a response to newbie…ciao!

  14. Purpleicious Babe

    February 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I can never know the pain women with abortion feel or unwanted pregnancies. What I do know is God is awesome so ask for wisdom and guidaince in anything from pre-marital sex, to getting pregnant, aborting, giving up for abortion etc. Humans may condmn you but not ur creator. It is important to seek help and support from loved ones that are trustworthy and pls dont go through the pain alone.

    I pray that God will continue to enlighten us women to learn from our mistakes, the mistakes of others and the expriences life teaches us. Pls if you are have been affected by this article, take time to hear JESUS loving words concerning you, he loves you and he will not use this against you, all he wants is for u to stop leaving in guilt, accept repentance and take time to heal and enjoy life again. He is your only friend and ally, and yes, it will be tough but imagine having a friend that is not judgemental holding your hand through that journey… Be blessed.

  15. kaycrew

    February 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    nice piece. may God help women make better choices, so as to avoid future regrets.

  16. Fuad L. fagge

    February 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    dont even think about it. it is hell

  17. partyrider

    February 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    truly its easier said than done,BUT thats why we need God’s guidance and protection.cos no matter the justification,its still a soul u are taking..
    may God help us to make the right choices before and even after we find ourselves in this kind of situations.amen

  18. pepepe

    February 22, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Everything in life is not black or white.It is so easy to pass judgement if you have not walked in the shoes of someone who has had to deal with this.

  19. africhika

    February 22, 2011 at 12:51 am

    this story is heart-wrenching…even haunting. and beautifully written. i would love to read more

  20. dami O

    February 22, 2011 at 1:31 am

    “Dalim wetin dey happen, dis one that you remembered me today, has Jesus come?” that quite funny. i understand how you feel about touching your stomach only to find nothing there i can relate to that about the child calling her aunty when she older she can explain to the child how the “aunty” is her mother May God continue to forgive us our sins amen

  21. Monalisa

    February 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

    i relate totally with touching ur stomach only to find nothing there…especially when the in-laws keep on looking and searching; and then the nosy ones start asking if there’s something in the past that has caused the situation. i relate to the young girls who go thru d agony of having to believe that they have no choice, like I did, when in actual fact there is another option that termination. its age-old, i saw it again just yesterday…and i told her its not the end of the world, that there is indeed another option and that she has to be strong and that it is better for her face it the truth and the child, than face the risk living as I do now…

  22. gidigurl

    February 22, 2011 at 8:52 am

    omogekofo,i rili feel ur comment

  23. Ronnie's Jeans

    February 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

    It’s not just single women who have abortions.Even married women do.I disagree with whoever said its the man’s fault.I say if you’re old enough to have sex, then you’re old enough to take responsibility.It’s not easy though and I feel for whoever has to go through this for whatever reason….The guilt, the fear that you’ll never have babies again etc. Just not worth it but may God help us all..!

  24. Oma

    February 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Great piece. For all the women with broken hearts and fractured wombs,God is able to heal you. Seek him today.
    http://lifethroughomaseyes.blogspot.com

  25. Akan

    February 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Great… God’s word is clear on the matter, but ultimately to your own master, you stand or fall.. Be healed today and go on to live the life of God.

    http://www.berryfeistypen.blogspot.com

  26. nenye

    February 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    who no go ….no know! some kinda luv r so mystical dat we can neva undastnd, For All I care “the fear of GOD is b beginin of Wisdom” WOMEN onli God can help us, our fellow women cannot nida can d men du. Trust GOD,Fear Him,sEEk Him….Trust! he will perfect dat that concerns us.may God help us All…!

  27. lola

    February 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Why do we blame men all the time? The both parties enjoyed the pleasures. What happened to contraception? Women, which is a lesion for you all

  28. eni

    February 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    very fantastic piece

  29. viv

    February 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    i agree Q, why do we always blame the men? were we drugged when it happened? were we raped to get pregnant? lets all take responsibility for our actions. the first shud have thot her a lesson. its a horrible thing to terminate a child, trust me. we need to make strong resolves to avoid that thing that’ll lead us to this!

  30. voicy

    February 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    hmmmmmmmmm am soo speechless!!!

  31. Aibee

    February 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Very few women go through an abortion just because… Most women who opt for an abortion have weighed their options and made what they felt to be the best decision for them at that stage of their lives. How many of us have had sex with a man only to regret it after wards? How many of us have picked a fight with a friend or family/colleaague only to regret it a few minutes later. Point is we do things we think are right are the time only to regret it later. So ladies, go sheath your words and stop judging.

  32. readerX

    February 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Wana Wana Wana… the Wana…. seriously… beautiful piece… ttys
    x

  33. Enigma

    February 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Until you’re in that position, you never know what choice you will make. Walk those shoes before you talk about it. Having said that prevention is better than cure, there are so many ways to try and prevent having to make the choice; abstinence (if you can), safe periods, Condoms (both male and female), The Pill, Diaphragms, Postinor (the morning after pill). Know your options, status and decide and then if you do get to that point, abortion, adoption, single motherhood, or marrying your baby father to give your child a home whether you love him or not, understand you made the choice and live with it. Whether or not the man’s opinion is sort in your decision, the choice is and always will be yours to bear! Remember that!

  34. bcgeorge

    February 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t agree with all the female bashing thing about having abortion but if only men have been sensible enough to use protection but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then you must judge a monkey on its ability to swim. Be fair at all times.
    shikena!

  35. Chioma

    February 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    In my next world, i shall be a …
    Well, probably not a woman…
    Wana, how did you do that? How did you, with the power of your words, evoke all those overwhelming emotions in my heart. i felt like weeping for the victims. it’s sad what women go through. i’ve always know that an abortion is quite an unpleasant experience. But no one ever really put it this way.

    So help all women make healthy choices.

  36. q

    February 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    am a guy.i will not blame wanas’ friend.shoot me for all i care.we africans,nigerians especially r hypocrites.how many guys wud b willin to take home to mama a girl wt a child?and b man enuff to withstand d onslaugth that wd follow? i believe women shd not go thru this pain,science makes life easier.learn abt contraceptives,it doesnt kill!!!!!

  37. Eduvie Oyaide

    February 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Great piece….. Thought provoking and deep. Been seating in my car in d dark, reading this… Nice one Wana, can’t wait to see you at the next poetry event and permit me to say You rock!

  38. Mary007

    February 24, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Wana the way you have written this is very factual, very! well done. To those women who have had no other option than to terminate the pregnancy I hope you are able to heal so God does the rest. Its against my belief to abort however I will never crucify women who have had to do it especially rape victims and to those women who are later childless and drown in the guilt of that ONE TERMINATION that it may or is the reason they are childless I hope you let go of your guilt and one day hold your bundle of Joy

  39. honeybee

    February 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I got preggers at 18 and had my son. Best decision of my life by a million miles!!! He is 10 now and I have absolutely no regrets…

  40. DIVA

    February 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    well…without meaning to sound judgmental at this point but sin of fornication is one…why add murder to it…in sch all the girls that got pregnant were popular girls but guess what…they kept it and have such beautiful kids….today though not yet married the two of them are in two lovely relationships…one is already singing the wedding tune. honestly ladies except perhaps rape victims, it takes courage to keep the pregnancy it sincerely is cowardice to to have an abortion…and I want to believe that for keeping the baby, God will honour and bless you with the right man eventually just talk it over with Him b4 killing that innocent toothless smile! Dont let the devil tell u “afterall u ve already fallen short by sleeping with the guy what will one more sin cost u? do it then repent of them both” that one act of saving urself from shame as a single lady pregnant outside wedlock might cause you shame in ur marital home the rest of ur life by barrenness pls think well…….pls just my honest opinion dint mean to sound judgemental….

    • Neighbor

      February 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      I’m sorry but not everyone believes in your god and those ‘sins’

  41. Tiki

    March 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Very touching indeed, and this story raises a debate as old as time itself…which is the lesser sin?To abort the baby, or to have the baby out of wedlock and subject the baby and yourself to the stigma that comes with it?

    It is my strong belief that only the wearer of the shoe knows where it pinches…it is unfair to pass judgement on a woman who commits an abortion, as only she knows how that pregnancy will change her life. However, before a pregnant woman does have an abortion, let her think of this – would you live your life a certain way because society says so? Why then are you ready to go against your body and your God because society says an unmarried girl should not have a baby? To each his own, but ensure that your motives are right, and founded. Or else, your conscience might not kick in now, but when it does, the pain shall surely destroy you.

  42. Kunmi

    April 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    “It seemed the combination of nerves and excitement from exposing her enormous cellulite riddled bottom had led to a revelation of something even bigger”. Wana, YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER. Simples. I love, I love 🙂

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