The sun was overhead. Streaks of its rays filled the living room. Still, it didn’t do much to reduce the cold. All thanks to the winter season. Faith, now heavily pregnant, sat on the couch just in front of the TV screen, watching ER.
The series was something that made her really curious as to the kind of emergency cases doctors handle on a daily basis. Some of them were complicated labour cases. While 90% of labour cases handled in the series were successful, the remaining 10% had casualties that sometimes led to the loss of life or paralysis.
She couldn’t understand why despite the fear she had from watching the 10% suffer in the series, she still loved to watch the show.
One hand rubbed her stomach as she looked down at her protruding belly. She would be due for labour the following week; or upper week. She wasn’t sure which yet. But her feeling was a mixture of fear and happiness. She was happy she’d soon hold her child. But she feared her husband’s attitude would make life a living hell for them.
For 5 months, she had dreams she couldn’t understand. In some dreams, she had an emergency delivery, and a man was by her side. In other dreams, she was with the same man; a really handsome and romantic man who made her want to remain in the dream world, instead of waking up every morning to Alex’s cold shoulders.
The first time she came to London with Alex, he was excited and happy to show her around. He helped her find her feet in her new environment. Grace never left her alone either. They spoke over the phone almost every day, and Grace helped her find her fitting in the school and her part-time job.
But it wasn’t easy with friends and acquaintances. She and Alex had to lie she had a head injury back at Nigeria and seem to have partial amnesia. Of course, they bought the story and treated her like an egg while re-introducing themselves.
Everything was great. She even sent money home to Phina. But whenever she called, her cousin made it clear she was extremely mad at her for taking such a stupid decision. Their last conversation was more of quarrel than talk. They screamed at each other and Phina made it clear she’d be cutting off.
The development made her sad. She asked herself several times if she was doing the right thing, or not. However, she never stopped sending Phina money for school. God knows the girl needed it.
She still owed Grace her school certificate, but school had to be put on hold. She wrote to the school authorities about her pregnancy and stated she’d love to wave off that year. Her application was granted.
However, a few months in, things started to change for her at home. Alex gradually started to withdraw from her. He came home late, he talked less and suddenly didn’t care so much about her, or the baby in her womb.
At first, he never abused her or quarrelled with her, but his behaviour set off a warning alert in her head. She had asked him several times what crimes she committed. But he had said nothing. She assumed he was seeing someone else, especially since he mostly came home late. A few other times, he didn’t come home at all until the following morning, or a few days later.
Besides, the little time he spent at home was used chatting up someone on WhatsApp and smiling away. Sometimes he frowned. Other times his eyes lit up. Definitely, he was dating someone else. She would have made trouble over it. But well, wasn’t she in enough trouble already over him? She did a body swap and lost her only close family member, Phina. She had fought for him. But here he was, happily cheating on her without remorse of any kind.
Phina was right. Men are not worth any kind of sacrifice. They don’t value anything. But she was trapped in this life anyway. If after giving birth, Alex still doesn’t change his ways, she was sure she’d leave him. She’d file for a divorce and go her own way. Back to Nigeria. Grace would be disappointed. But she had to do what she had to do. As for Phina, she knew only God could help them reconcile and become sisters again.
Faith sighed and leaned against the backrest. The ER TV series was still ongoing. A love scene in the series sent her thoughts back to her dreams. Did she have a dream lover or a spirit husband? God forbid. Back home, such things are considered evil. However, this particular dream man didn’t seem to want sex. Instead he cuddled her, told her sweet and encouraging words, kissed her, rubbed her tummy in admiration. But she never really saw his face. Only a blurry image of it.
Sometimes he was sad, and she found she was the one giving him encouraging words. They’d hug, smile, share short passionate kisses and talk all through the dream.
There were times she dreamt and found herself in a hospital emergency room with him only, he’d tell her to fight for life, and not give up.
Faith closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She didn’t know who he was. She never saw his face, neither could she even remember his voice. But whatever the dreams meant, she only hoped they were not something evil, because she looked forward to her night’s rest, so she could spend time with him again.
Griiin griiiin! The phone jerked her out of her thoughts. It rang a few more times before she bent sideways and reached for it.
“Hi, Faith. It’s Grace on the line.”
“Oh, Grace. How are you? What happened that you called my telephone. You always call my mobile.”
“I tried it several times. It is switched off.”
“Oh! I guess I forgot to put it back on,” Faith racked her head, searching for the reason why she even switched it off in the first place.
“Are you ok?” Grace asked. Anyone could tell she was concerned.
“I’m fine Grace. There’s nothing to worry about, really,” she tried to sound convincing. Ever since Alex started to withdraw, she had brought Grace in on what was happening. In turn, Grace never failed to check on her.
“Are things better now with Alex?”
“No. Worse, actually. He hardly comes home. I’m thinking I might get a divorce after the baby.”
“I’m just so really sorry you have to go through all of these. I’m supposed to be going through this. It’s really a painful experience.”
“Don’t worry too much about me, Grace. Just help me take care of Phina. She hardly picks my calls.”
“Well, she doesn’t want me anywhere near her either. She sees me as a problem.”
“It may take time, but I believe she’ll come around.”
“I do hope so.”
“How’s Jerry?” Faith changed the topic.
“Oh well, Jerry acts strangely these days. Nothing bad, just that he keeps scrolling through Instagram and smiling. I’m guessing he has met a girl he admires.”
“Ah! That will be awesome!” Faith laughed, “He should hurry up, I really want to attend a typical Nigerian wedding in my motherland.”
“Hahahahaha… see your mouth. Don’t worry, I’ll pass across the message.”
“At least I’m glad he has gotten over me. Your brother is a nice guy, Grace. But I don’t think it would have worked.”
“I know. I just hope this new one that has his attention, is worth it.”
“I hope so too. He deserves better,” she sighed, “so, you know it’s happening next week or upper week, right?”
“Come on! Grace. Our baby is coming.”
“Oh,” Grace chuckled, “Yes, I’m looking forward to his arrival. Have you thought about a name?”
“If he’s a boy, I don’t know–how does Geoffrey sound?”
“Oh no!” Grace was laughing again, “isn’t Geoffrey the name of that young tyrant king in The Game of Thrones series? Cersei’s son?”
“Oh jeez! See where your mind went. You’re wicked,” It was Faith’s turn to laugh. “Look, I’ll just continue to think over this. Alex is looking forward to seeing his son, but, he doesn’t care about a name, or who gives it. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind any name,” her voice was low now.
“You’ll be fine, Faith. I promise. Things will get better between you guys. This is marriage. I hear the first few years are tough.”
“I don’t know if I’ll survive this level of toughness, and it is only the first few months. But I’ll try.”
The ladies talked some more and finally said their goodbyes. By the time Faith took her attention back to the TV screen, the ER series was over. Judge Judy was up.
She managed to get off the couch and head to the kitchen. A cup of milk was all she needed.
To Be Continued…
A Pelleura Story.
Idea and Write-up by Karo Oforofuo
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