I am pregnant

I am pregnant.

That is the story.

The rest is the detail.

After five misty years of casting out my net, I finally catch a baby. But when I announce my pregnancy to Dumebi, he slaps me. Hard!

Those five years, while I drank goat milk from source and ate human poop, Dumebi hosted his friends in our house and drank wine and laughed and watched Champions frigging league. My pastor would always tell me, “Chinelo, obi gi dere du,” but she was talking to the crawling ants. How did she expect me to relax when my father’s coarse voice traversed through sound waves, on a weekly basis, reminding me that I would never stand well in my home unless I had a son? Years later, my father would say, “Even if it is a baby girl, we will manage.” My mother’s calls always started with “Any news yet?” as if I am CNN. Then there was Dumebi’s mother, with her big head like Standing Fan, thin body like Standing Fan, noisy like Standing Fan. She said my ovaries were so light they could live in a floating barbule.

In those five years, I scrapped my knees, crawling up the rocky mountain of Awhum monastery, praying the Stations of the Cross. These are a few of my unfavourite things about Awhum. For Jerusalem’s sake, the least a monastery of Christ should do is to spell its name truthfully. Awhum is the English spelling of Ọhụm, and, like every other name the British found impossible to spell properly, Awhum stuck and stayed with those who could spell it properly long after those who could not spell it properly had any say about the proper spelling of the name.

After Ọhụm failed me, I gobbled prayer houses like a guzzler. That was how I ended up eating hot, yellow human shit. At least it was fresh. The shitter pastor said that the smell of the paste would make my children uncomfortable, would force my children out. I long stopped going to the hospitals because while the doctors’ confident lips declared us healthy, their troubled eyes flashed on Dumebi.

Then when I finally take in, Dumebi slaps me. Hard!

“Who is responsible for the pregnancy?”

“What! Dumebi! Who else?”

Dumebi slaps me hard the second time. My eyes blur. His oily forehead shines under the light. The middle of his head is an oasis.

“I am asking you for the last time, you bloody whore. Who the fuck got you pregnant?”

His eyes seem shaded with veils of pain. The veins of his neck plaster on his skin, looking like drought-infected cracked land. Maybe it is my silence that made him shrink. Maybe it is my silence that made his fingers and toes curl as he took two steps away from me. Maybe it is my silence that made him fall and wrap his arms around his body. His legs bond and his bended knees touch his chest. He lies like that, shaking, crying Justin Timberlake a river. Then he jumps up, rushes to me, grabs my neck, and slams me to the floor. While his palms worked hard to stay together around my neck till death do them part, his eyes punch mine. Those dusked eyes are not the eyes of the man I fell in love with. The man, in a glorious dark blue suit, who rushed to help me up when I fell in the mall after my koi-koi shoes succumbed to overuse. Dumebi keeps looking into my eyes while I struggle for air. It dawns on me that he will never again see me with the eye. My nose stops functioning. I open my mouth to take in air, but my tongue seems to block everywhere. I pull out my tongue to make way for oxygen. And when I stop seeing the eyes of this bastard monster, a gush of oxygen, sweet like wine, rush into my lungs.

Dumebi slaps me hard the third time. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingling all the way in my ears precede the screech of his car wheels. My eyes leak salty liquid. I squeeze my eyes shut, recalling the only time I gave the grass of the toothless goat to the sheep. The haves and the have-nots are hungry, but they hunger for different things. So that when the sheep’s eyes licked up my body in one quick scoop, while he welcomed me, I knew he was hungry. When he opened his brown eyes after praying, my brown, bouncing, pulsating, juicy breasts welcomed him from the spiritual realm. I kept my eyes on Mr. Pastor, daring him to refuse. His Adam apple ran up and down the stairs. I imagined his penis rising to the occasion. He flung his bible, grabbed my breasts, and spread me on the table.

A thirsty man will rush to a running tap. It is common sense!

(previously published in the Kentucky Kernel)