It’s a quarter past 8am and Lizzy isn’t up yet. It’s unlike her, the workaholic but today seems different and she can’t tell why. She drags herself out to the bathroom, takes out the test strip to run it again on her urine to be double sure she’s not pregnant.

The last time she felt like this was when she became late again and Ralph asked her to see her doctor for an abortion. It was the fourth time and the doctor had warned her about having any more if really wanted to become a mother in the future.

She had revolted once and it almost cost her the relationship which she had tended like a cherished flower garden; rooting out unwanted weeds and pruning overgrown flowers. It had been a herculean task but she had endured the stress hoping as the patient dog, to eat the fattest bone. However, the bone hasn’t been easy to break. 

She has come to spend some time with Ralph to enable them conclude talks on seeing her parents for the marriage rites. They have been sweethearts for over two years now and tongues have begun to wag.

Ralph is super busy at his job that keeps him late till 7:30pm daily. He’s been quite loving and caring and Lizzy couldn’t ask for more. He’s the perfect husband any woman would wish to have. She couldn’t believe she was that woman.

It’s been six months since she visited the doctor for the last abortion and she hasn’t missed a day yet. The feelings were mixed, good because she was going to rest from the painful process of abortion and bad because the last doctor’s warning was ringing afresh in her head and it scared her. What if the last pregnancy was her last? No, it couldn't be, she rejects.

Last week when Ralph had come back from work earlier that Friday, he had asked that they have a talk.

“Babe, what’s up?” Ralph had asked Lizzy with all smiles.

“I’m cool, babe.”

“So…uhm…you haven’t missed yet I guess.” He asked with a smirk.

“No…were you expecting me to miss?” She asked with squinted brows which sent a sharp straight message to Ralph.

“No, I mean not really. After all, who would want to spend unnecessary cash by this time when the economy is biting the hardest? And you going through that process, no no no.” He laughed off heartily.

“It such a big relief for my body and your pocket of course.” She smiles from her heart calming her already tensed nerves.

“Lizzy, I love you. Thanks for staying.”

Lizzy couldn’t believe these words were coming out of her man’s mouth. Her joy knew no bounds. She felt like hugging her stars.

“Babe, I don’t know what to say but I want you to know that I love you more than you can imagine. I will stay no matter what. It’s a promise.” She said with teary eyes.

“Oh no, come on here. Please don’t cry, please.” He planted a soft kiss on her forehead which made her turned all shades of scarlet.

She looks at the strip again, narrowing here eyes a little. It still shows a single faint pink line. She wonders why she’s having this feeling, is it nausea, anxiety, fear, excitement? She can’t really tell but something isn’t right with her. 

With pouted lips, she shuffles her feet towards the bedroom but suddenly stops as she hears a loud growling from her belly. She retraces her steps to the kitchen to quench it. The breakfast succeeded in silencing the growl but not the other feeling. It begins to worry her.

She takes the clothes for laundry. Mops the floor. Have a bath. Watch her favorite movie. Prepares early lunch. Yet nothing seems to distract her from the feeling.

She decides to call up Ralph but kicks against it. She doesn’t want to add to his already busy day with her unidentified feeling. She drops the phone and goes to take a nap. It doesn’t work.

It’s 8pm and it's expedient that she calls this time, for his sake not hers. He hasn’t kept a late night without letting her know. It’s kind of weird. 

First ring, no answer, second, no answer, third, call is diverted.

Lizzy can literally see her heart pounding heavily in her chest which makes her hold her chest for the pain.

Different negative thoughts are scrambling for space and superiority in her head but she doesn’t want to give any a chance. Not when it involves her man.

She calls up Paul, Ralph’s colleague and friend, still no response. She dials Ralph again but number isn’t reachable. She dials again and again.

It’s 9pm already as she glances all tears at the wall clock that won’t stop ticking away, increasing the weight in her chest. She gives a final try but his phone was switched off.

A message alert startles her out of sleep. With shaky hands she tries to grab the phone but it slips and falls on the hard tiled floor causing it to go off. She quickly struggles to put on and went to the message app. It read:

“Babe , please help me at the gate, I don’t want to use the horn ‘cos it’s pretty late. Sorry to wake you up.”

Lizzy runs speedily to open the gate.

“Babe, are you okay? You scared me. What happened?”

“Can you at least let me in first?”

“Of course, my manners.”

After Ralph has sorted himself out, he tells Lizzy he needs to explain what happened and she is all ears, sitting at the edge of the bed relieved that nothing physical happened to him.

“Babe, I’m sorry, so sorry. I hope you find a place in your heart to forgive me.” Ralph says pleadingly holding Lizzy’s hands in his.

“It’s okay, but no matter what, you should have done me a text at least to save me from a heart attack,” she says with a teasing face.

“My mistake. Babe…there’s more…how do I put it? Oh God help me!”

“Ralph you are scaring me. What is it?” she asks almost yelling.

“I…I was at the hospital to… to… welcome my…son. I’m so sorry,” he concluded and wipes a year from his right eye.

“Babe, tell me you are pulling my legs.” Lizzy gives a hysterical laugh.

“Babe, It’s just the baby that’s mine not her. It's you I want not anyone else, please.”

“Don’t you dare tell me such rubbish, Raphael.”

“Don’t you dare break your promise, you are staying and that's final, Elizabeth.”

January 07, 2022 23:00

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