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Guard your coasts

Guard your coasts

Agh!!  As soon as I sat behind this desk to type you a story, Lucy’s call came through.  I thought she was in some kind of trouble when I picked the call.  She sounded so morose and broken in her spirit.  “Ablah, Ablah I feel like dying.  I feel like killing myself, ”she threatened. “Are you home?  Where is Frank?  Are the children okay?  Is your home flooded again,” my questions dispensed simultaneously.  I was damn scared.



She burst out hysterically in tears before I could expect an answer.  There was no way I was going to travel all the way to Weija so late in the evening to check on a potential suicide threat.  It was past 8 o’clock in the evening.  I had just settled down from a very busy day and wanted to have some peace and quiet to “boss” you about an incident I witnessed at Alajo.  There was no way I was moving out of my home; not also at a time when the clouds were predictably pregnant and about to clear their womb of all heaviness.    

“Lucy, if indeed you want to kill yourself why do you have to inform me first.  Is Frank at home?”  I asked for the second time.  Whimpering, I heard her say “no.”  “So tell me, why do you want to kill yourself?” I queried.  “Ablah, I am dead ooo, I am dead ooo,” she started to say and cry.  Her whole confusing behaviour was starting to make me livid. “You say you want to kill yourself.  Now you say you’re dead.  But you’re talking. Lucy are you okay?” She responded with a statement - “Ablah the thing I fear most has befallen me oo.”  At this stage I was on the verge of cutting the line.  

I desisted and kept mute for a while, trying to see if she would say anything meaningful.  She wailed and yelled for about a minute and said, “Ablah, I am pregnant.”  In fact, if she were standing close to me, I would have given her a killer look to send her into the realms she initially threatened to go.  “And if you’re pregnant, what’s wrong with that?”  I asked cheekily.  

“Eigh Ablah!! Is that what you have to say?”  She asked.  I didn’t quite get her.  What did she mean by was that what I had to say?  Some friends have a way of trying one’s patience.  What was she expecting me to say?  That it was bad news?  That she had made a mistake?  That it was abominable?  Honestly!!!

“Lucy, whose baby is it?”  I asked.  “Ablah, you’re not insinuating I am into adultery, are you?”  She asked with a shaky voice.  “Lucy, far from that, if this baby is Frank’s, as you claim, why are you so sad?”  I probed, feeling very unsympathetic.  “Ablah stop being sarcastic.  You know how I always said I didn’t want a sixth child.  Now see,” she said, blowing her nose noisily.  

“Sixth child and so what?  For goodness sake, Lucy, you’re a married woman.  And by the way, have you stopped sleeping with your husband?  Dry your tears and stop breathing empty threats.  Otherwise go and kill yourself as you already said you would,” I said, not seeing the sense in her complaint.  “Ablah can’t you see I am 43?”  She asked.  “Aaagh, Lucy, so you knew you were 43 and you went doing what those younger than 43 do, not so?”    

Lucy made the whole thing sound as though I was there when she was “playing encore” with her husband, Frank.  Why was she asking me all these questions?  What had her being 43 got to do with me?  

Why do some married women behave like this?  In fact, let me use this medium to caution all my friends- the weather is terribly cold these days.  If you know you can’t afford to lie quietly on your side of the bed at night without parting your “red seas,” be prepared to bear the consequence of your merry-making alone.  I am very serious. 

The next 50 minutes and more that followed, were complaints about how she wasn’t gainfully employed at the moment; how Frank was struggling to make ends meet and how certain recent happenings had even delayed the payment of the school fees of their fourth and fifth children who are in class five and JHS 2; how her sick mother who lives with them was draining their meagre finances with her diabetic drugs; how  her siblings who are also being lashed by financial hiccups weren’t supporting her with her mother’s upkeep; how she wants to abort the seven week old foetus …. Oh boy!

What should a married woman do when after having five children, she wants no more?  Anyone heard of birth control?  In this day and age when so many of such controls are in place, should anyone describe any pregnancy as unwanted or a mistake?  

I listened as she went on and on and on.  In the fifty-something minute, I heard her say, “oooh, I’m being told I have one minute more.”  I was so happy to know I was going to be let off the hook.  See how she took all the time I was poised to type you my story of Alajo.  

The weather is cold, so for the married, who don’t want to trouble me with your “aftermaths”, please keep your coasts clear … but should you get pregnant, keep the baby. I’m out! 


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