Hey I just got to E-centre. Saw your car. Where are you?
Saanyol ¯\..(•͡.̮ •͡ )../¯
I’m at the cinema floor, been waiting here for the last 30 minutes
So sorry, so should I come up?
Saanyol ¯\..(•͡.̮ •͡ )../¯
Nope, just stay at the lobby. I’ll come down to meet you. We’re not here to hang out.
Farhad used a hand to lift his pristine white Jellabiya off the floor as he fiddled with his phone with the other. He really didn’t like these malls. People stared at him, made him uncomfortable. He heard the elevator ding and came out Saanyol, looking very disinterested in his linen shirt, cargo pants and driving shoes. He shuffled over to Farhad and shook him strongly.
“I know you don’t drink but personally today has been all sorts of shitty for me. There’s a bar opposite the Crusader building. We can walk there. I really, really need a beer.”
Farhad really didn’t comfortable hanging out in a bar but he agreed on the off-chance that Saanyol would be a little more relaxed and receptive to what he had to tell him. They left the E-centre complex and turned left, walking down the busy street to a tiny bar on the opposite street constructed with welded metal sheets. Saanyol took the corner table and ordered a bottle of Heineken for himself and a bottle of malt for Farhad. The drinks were quickly provided and both boys drank in silence, measuring each other up.
Saanyol already knew Farhad had come to worry him about Kike. There was no other common ground they shared, nothing that would have necessitated this one on one talk. He sipped his frothy beer and waited as Farhad pretended to check notifications on his phone. The silence persisted through Saanyol’s first beer and halfway into his second. By that time, he was sufficiently mellowed and his whimsy saw no point in dragging out whatever issue Farhad had.
“Dude, are you going stay silent all night?”
Farhad peeled his eyes off his glass of malt. He straightened up and looked Saanyol straight in the eye.
“Look man, personally I don’t like you. You are arrogant and privileged and you use it as an excuse to be an asshole to everyone around you. Dan Iska is what my people would call someone like you.”
Saanyol smirked at derogatory name.
Farhad felt the urge to lean over and punch him square in the jaw but that wasn’t why he’d agreed to come meet with him. He took a deep breath and continued as Saanyol watched him over the top of his glass.
“You’ve been very unfair especially to my cousin. You have even hit her in public and humiliated her in front of her friends. I would have broken your nose that night, but I was brought up to abhor violence. Violence outside the law is Haram. And I was going to break the law for someone like you.”
Saanyol sighed. “Summary, you think I’m a prick and you want to punch me for slapping Kike. Since you’ll act on neither ‘revelation’, can you get to the point?”
Farhad grimaced. “I don’t feel comfortable talking about it here. Can we go to your car?”
The smirk returned to Saanyol’s face as he took the glass and poured the rest of his bottle into it. Farhad felt instantly repulsed when he realised that the unintentional sexual undertone of his statement was the reason for Saanyol’s smirk. Saanyol paid the tab and added extra for the glass and led the way to his car, drinking glass nestled in his hand. He opened the driver’s door and perched on the seat.
“We’re at my car. You don’t have to sit in it to talk, do you?”
“Fine, in haka ne ka na so. Kikelomo is pregnant and its yours.”
Saanyol sputtered into his drink. “What the fuck are you saying?”
“Kike is pregnant, ta samu ciki, idiot! When you were busy sleeping with her without a condom you forgot girls get pregnant? She tried to contact you to tell you and you deleted her off your BBM and refused to pick her calls.”
“Who knows about this?” Saanyol demanded.
“Apart from me, Tariebi. But nobody else. Tariebi and I were talking about it and she’s suggested Kike do something decisive about it because…”
Saanyol shot out of the car and snarled in Farhad’s face. “Nobody is going to touch fucking that baby, Nobody! What the fuck gives you people the right to even think of harming my child?.”
The urge to throw something hard at Saanyol rose in Farhad again.
“Are you stupid Saanyol? Kike tried to reach you through every fucking way she knew and you told her to fuck off, and now you’re here making noise about owning a child. It’s her fucking body, if she decides to remove it, well fuck you.”
Farhad grabbed the front of Saanyol’s shirt and pulled him in until they were nose to nose.
“You better do right by my cousin. If you don’t, you’ll learn how vengeful I really am.”
He pushed Saanyol into his car and stalked off in the direction of the bus stop bristling with righteous anger.
The consultation room of the aTIVE reproductive health center was twice as big as the one at the hospital her parents used. She looked at the metal bed frame behind her that held the pallet covered in a plastic bed sheet dyed in that sickly hospital green that she hated so much. A clunky white machine stood beside it, a blank screen about six inches wide set flush in the middle of the construct giving it away as an ultrasound machine. She looked past the desk in front of her to the door behind that most likely led to the wards and the theatres where they delivered babies and most likely did abortions on the side and shuddered. Tariebi patted her hand gently and tried to calm her.
The Doctor walked in from the door that led to the wards and took a seat beside them. He was holding a test sheet in his hands.
“Well, the hCG test has come back positive. And from the levels of hCG in your urine suggests you have been pregnant in excess of 6 weeks. Though I am worried, you say you have shown no other signs of pregnancy save for not seeing your period for two months now?”
“Ah. This is quite abnormal. I’d like to suggest an ultrasound to ensure that everything is alright with the foetus.”
He asked Kike to raise the loose blouse she wore and she did reluctantly. She never felt comfortable taking off her clothes around strangers. The doctor frowned when he saw how flat her belly was and Kike felt her heart jump. Tariebi held her hand and helped her onto the pallet and she immediately felt thankful Tari had tagged along, ignoring her pleas that she tried to dissuade her from coming. The doctor pulled the ultrasound machine over to them and slathered her belly with a gel so cold it made her gasp. Just then, Kike’s phone buzzed in her pocket.
“Your phone can’t be on during the scan!” The Doctor reprimanded.
She muttered apologies and climbed off the pallet and pulled out the phone, it was Saanyol.
Her heart was in her mouth as she pressed the answer key and put the phone to her ear.
“Kike, please don’t hang up.” Saanyol sounded sombre, more sombre than she’d heard in a very long time.
“I won’t.” She replied quietly.
He sighed. “Your cousin had a talk with me yesterday. He told me about the pregnancy. I’ve been a total asshole to you of recent and I’m really sorry I let my anger get the best of me. I apologise for hitting you and cutting you off. Please I want another try. I don’t want you to go through this alone. Please Kike, will you take me back. Or at least give us a chance to talk through this?”
Kike felt her cheeks go wet. She whispered a ‘yes’ before her will failed and disconnected the call. Tariebi started to ask who was on the line when she saw the tears instantly knew.
“What did he say?” She asked, twiddling with her hands.
Kike climbed back on to the pallet and switched off her phone.”He wants to us get back together, for the baby.”
Tari flashed a shallow smile; she wasn’t an advocate of people staying together because they shared something in common. Those unions never stayed happy. The doctor applied more cold gel and switched on the ultrasound machine.
“So what exactly are you guys now?” Tari asked over the gentle hum of the machine.
Kike turned her head over, beaming. “He didn’t say, he wants us to talk first but he was so eager. He’s never been that eager.”
“Please stop moving.” The doctor interrupted.
Both girls mumbled apologies and watched the tiny screen with the doctor. The more he moved the wand across her belly, the deeper his frown became. After five minutes, he reattached the wand to its rest and switched off the machine. He helped Kike sit up and handed her a towel.
“Were you on any form of contraceptives in the last six months?” He asked.
Kike looked down. “Yes, I took Postinor a couple of times after me and my boyfriend had sex but nothing else.”
He made her lie back down, reapplying the gel. She endured its sting as he retrieved the wand. He moved it around a bit and settled on the lower half of Kike’s belly. There was a stationary fleck of greyish white in the black of the screen.
“That is the foetus.” he said. “Normally, there’d be some activity but I can’t find a heartbeat.”
“I don’t understand,” Kike said, even though she’d seen enough Grey’s Anatomy to know exactly what he meant.
I’m sorry but the pregnancy did not take. Your body will reabsorb that back into self. You needn’t worry about removal.”
He pushed the machine away and removed the latex gloves from his hands, walking towards the doorway that led to the wards beyond.
“I’ll let you dress up.”
“Thank God! Thank God! You’re so lucky, Kike, so frigging lucky.” Tariebi all but screamed the moment the door was out of earshot.
Kike started laugh but quickly devolved into sobs.
Tariebi gathered Kike into her arms and held her.
“Promise me something.” She said between sobs.
“Anything!” Tari replied.
“Promise you won’t tell Farhad or Saanyol the baby’s gone?”
There was so much naiveté in Kike’s voice. “I can’t lose Saan again. He’ll leave me and go back to being an asshole if he knows. Promise, Tari?”
Tari sighed. “I promise.”