The doctor put his hand on her arm and said gently ” You or the baby will survive. Not both, I’m sorry”. Aduke couldn’t believe it, this wasn’t how everyone had said it was going to be.
She had always been the serious one, the one voted most likely to succeed in her high school year book. It wasn’t surprising that people thought she was going to do well for herself, she took every opportunity to tell them.
She wasn’t born with a silver spoon, or any spoon for that matter so she had always known she would have to work hard to get anything she wanted. After school, she would follow her mother to hawk Abacha , the one with slices of coconut added. On a good day, an hour would be enough for her to sell everything on her tray so she could go home and do her assignments, put things in order for school the next day and still fix in two hours of study time. Nobody understood how she did it but she always had the best results at the end of the school year. She kept up with this routine until she graduated high school.
Through sheer luck, she got a sponsor that paid her way through University , a member of her mum’s church that always happened to hear testimonies whenever Aduke would ace an exam. She was so impressed that she decided to support her to whatever level of education she aspired to.
Four years later and Aduke was a graduate of Economics from the prestigious University of Ibadan, her mother was ecstatic, her sponsor was proud, her community organized a party but She wasn’t done. While her mother was talking about settling down and getting married, Aduke was talking of getting a job at Central Bank of Nigeria and subsequently going for her masters. Her mother started getting worried, she knew her daughter’s stubbornness but she kept pressing upon her to start thinking of raising a family , “no matter what you have, if you don’t have a family you’ll be called a failure o” she’d tell her daughter but the latter wasn’t having any of it.
So she did what she had to do, she went to Mrs McWilliams (Aduke’s sponsor) and complained. Mrs Williams was calm as she listened then she said “do you know my son will be back from England tomorrow?” and they exchanged knowing glances. Nothing more was said after that. True to her words, David returned the next day and Aduke and her mother were asked to dinner at the Williams’ to celebrate.
All through Aduke’s school days, she never had a boyfriend. Her excuse was always that there was enough time for that later on but when she laid eyes on David time literally stood still, he was tall and commanded attention just by walking into a room, and his voice when he spoke was a sexy baritone that sounded like it was coated in honey because of its smoothness but the best part was when he walked towards her and shook her hand and welcomed her in, she got to see his face up close. She had to shake herself to be sure she wasn’t dreaming. That day marked the beginning of their romance, they were inseperable and soon wedding plans were being made.
But the thing with love is that it doesn’t tell you that your David uses cocaine or that his overprotective attitude would make him beat you 7 months into your pregnancy after he promised the last time never to hit you again. As she listened to the doctor going on about complications and what not, she tried to remember what she had done this time to anger him, the man at the store had just asked her what skin products she used for her skin to be so even so he could get for his wife.
The doctor put his hand on her arm and said gently “you or the baby will survive. Not both, I’m sorry” and Aduke cried and cried and cried.