Nkechi sat, crossed legged at the reception room of the General Hospital. From where she was waiting, her attention was drawn to a nurse who constantly went in and out of the lab room where her urine was taken for test. What the outcome of the test would be, she had not the slightest idea. Nkechi was anxious. The fear that enveloped her could not be compared to anything she had faced in the past. Bose was supposed to be at the hospital with her but she had a family party to attend, her parents wouldn't ley her miss it for any reason what so ever. Lucky for Nkechi, her ban had been lifted so she could go out alone. How would she have explained to whoever accompanied her that she was going to the hospital for pregnancy test?
"Phew!" She sighed. In as much as she wanted to be sure about her condition, she was certain she was careful enough. There was just no way Bose could be right about her being pregnant. "I was careful." She thought. Her mind flashed back to different instances she was intimate with Alex. She remembered his voice whispering sweet nothing into her ear as he penetrated her. She swallowed involuntarily at the thought. A warm feeling crept over her body and she felt sensations between her inner thighs.
"Oh let it go Nkechi. He was never yours. Just let it go."
She used to enjoy his touch and sweet talk but at that moment, she saw it as nothing but more lies. What was important in her flashbacks was that she remembered always telling him to wear a condom. "Could it be possible that the condom tore? Or did Alex forget to wear it at one time." She thought. "Oh God! I can't be pregnant, please. I just can't be. I have my whole life ahead of me."
Bringing her mind back to her surroundings, she noticed that the nurse who had been walking in and out of the lab room finally stood at the receptionist's desk. She re-arranged some envelops she brought from the lab and soon started to call the names on them. One by one, the people who had also been waiting answered their names.
"Etey Okeige, Linda Asore, Emeka Bruno, Tunde Olagunde..." She called until she got to Nkechi.
"That's me." Nkechi responded with raised hand before getting up to collect her result. After collecting, she left the hospital while the nurse attended to others.
Nkechi walked fast, away from the hospital premises. She didn't want to be mistakenly caught around there, either by her parents, uncles or aunties, siblings or even classmates who reside in the neighbourhood. She knew that if any of them spotted her at the hospital, they would dig into her land of secrets and uncover what she was hiding.
Minutes later, she arrived at a small eatry. There she sat and ordered for a bottle of malt and meat pie. As she ate, she looked at the brown envelop housing the test result sheet. She didn't open it, she could not. She didn't know what was inside so she decided to let it be.
"What I don't know can't harm me." She thought before picking up the envelop and folding it into her jeans pocket.
"Its a good thing we are on holiday. I'll just go home and sleep. I don't want any body's trouble."
After eating, she paid the restaurant attendant and went on her way. However, Instead of heading home, her footsteps led to Alex's house. She knew she wouldn't find him there, at least not after the new occupants had said they didn't know who Alex was. But from a distance, she watched the house. The place was quiet and void of activities. The occupants were either indoors or out.
"Mmmm..." Nkechi sighed. She was clearly still sad about Alex's sudden disappearance. "How could he hurt me so bad?" She thought, not for the last time. "How could he abandon me just like that? And how could I have thought that what we had was real? How could I have thought that it was pure love?" These and more questions ran through her head as scenes from their escapades replayed in her mind. "You won't be a happy person, Alex. For making me this sad you can't be happy." She cried.
Early the next morning, everyone had left the house before her nausea started. Several times, she ran to the toilet to throw up. It continued like that almost all morning and she felt weak too. Her only joy was that no one was around to ask questions. All the same, she was sad because she had no one to support her. She couldn't pull herself together until afternoon and that was when she took breakfast. While she ate breakfast, She looked around the sitting room. She was supposed to do the chores but she didn't have the strength to.
"Why am I so sick today?" She thought. "Mummy will be so mad at me if she meets the house looking..." She was interrupted by a loud knock at the door. Nkechi got up slowly as her mind started to plan what excuse she would give her mother for not cleaning the house.
"Mummy I..." She was saying after opening the door. However, her voice trailed off as she stared unwaveringly at Bose's confused face.
"Mummy?" Bose asked, wondering what was up.
"I thought you were my mum." Nkechi explained. "She's supposed to be back now."
"Oh! Ok. So how far?" Bose asked, going into the house and shutting the door behind her.
"How far with what?" Nkechi asked, returning to the dinning table where her food was.
"The test. What did the result say?" She asked, taking the opposite seat.
"I don't know, I don't know." she repeated. "I didn't have the guts to look at it."
"Where is it? Bring it out I will read it for you."
"There is no need. I don't want to know what is inside."
"But what if you're really pregnant? This is the fourth month now since these pregnancy symptoms surfaced. We need to know if you're pregnant then know what to do. If you leave the baby unattended to medically , It could be disastrous for you. Your health now is even more important."
"You mean you want me to go for antenatals." Nkechi scoffed. "I'm not pregnant Bose."
"Well, there is only one sure way to know."
"As you wish."
Nkechi went into her room, brought out the envelop housing the test result sheet and went back to the sitting room. "There! Feel free to knock yourself out." She handed the test result over to Bose and took her seat again. Bose tore the seal open, brought out the result sheet and read through.
Although Nkechi looked calm and collected, she was head over heels nervous about what Bose might find in the result sheet. She hadn't had the heart to open it but with Bose around, she was sure she would soon have an answer to her questions.
"Nkechi." Bose said at last, breaking the long silence that had enveloped them.
"Yes?" Nkechi knew all was not well. Bose had called her full name, something she only did when there was serious problem.
"I want to believe you didn't open the result only because you were scared."
"How's that important? The important thing is I'm not pregnant."
"Wrong. You're so pregnant. You're four months gone, Nkechi. Actuall, four months and two weeks."
Nkechi 's spoon fell on her plate, making a tinkling sound. She swallowed her food hard."You are joking, right?"
"I'm not. See for yourself." Bose slid the result sheet over to Nkechi 's own side of the table. Reluctantly, Nkechi took the result sheet and read through.
Covering her mouth with one hand, she cried. She cried her heart out. Bose couldn't bear to see her once lively friend like that. She moved over and drew Nkechi into her comforting embrace.
"We are in this together, Nkechi." She said. "We are."
To be continued...