Anulika had just finished with a call from a new client, while at the supermarket, and was about to start heading back home when she felt the sign that ‘it’ had arrived.
For days she ignored the twinge of pain which usually heralded her monthly flow and had become a curse as far as she was concerned. A part of her had hoped against hope that somehow she would not see it, and so she could finally tell Dozie and his mother that there was no need to adopt; that God had finally answered their prayers.
Apparently her hope had been farfetched.
She still remembered how she had shouted at Dozie for bringing up his mother’s suggestion. She had shocked them both with her outburst, and since then, Dozie had been tiptoeing around her, being extremely polite, so much that she was yet to thank him for the anniversary gift he gave her in form of a more efficient laptop for her work. Now she had no reason to say no to them, instead she felt stupid.
Retracing her steps back to the supermarket, she went straight to the aisle for the sanitary pads and chose her brand, as she fought back the tears threatening to fall off her eyes.
How long? She wondered. When will she miss a flow and celebrate it? When will she ever get to confirm the reason of a missed period? When will she get the news of another human growing within her? When?
Ignoring the questioning glance the lady at the checkout counter threw her way, she took her purchase, hurrying so she could get home and allow the tears flow freely.
For the umpteenth time, she was grateful for her neighbourhood. She and Dozie had moved here five years ago, after she started feeling the gaze of people around her former neighbourhood on her. She felt they were beginning to question the absence of a child in her arms.
She knew there was a possibility that she was paranoid, but she had told Dozie, and they had decided to move.
Their present apartment was in a quiet neighbourhood which was built in a way which protected each occupant’s privacy, and so no one could wonder why they were yet to hear the cry of a child from their apartment.
As she walked home, she prayed not to meet anyone on the road, since the tears refused to be held back. She didn’t need more pressure than she gave herself.
Getting to the house without being seen, she ran past Dozie in the parlour into their room where she quickly wore one of the sanitary pads and sat in the bathroom crying.
“Baby!” Dozie called, not surprisingly. She had known that he would follow her into the room. He was that predictable when it came to loving her.
Baby, please talk to me, what is it? Are you okay?” he asked, knocking on the bathroom door.
The fear and care in his voice only made her cry the more, as she was again reminded that she had something many other married women didn’t have; a genuinely loving husband.
“Baby please if it is your normal crying let me know you will be okay, and put my mind at rest, please,” Dozie pleaded again.
“I’m fine,” Anulika called out, even as his words sank in.
“…if it is your normal crying…”
If there was something she knew about her husband, it was that he was a realist, who always spoke his mind. He was still tiptoeing around her, and avoiding trouble, but his words came from his subconscious, and showed that he has begun to see her as a crying wife, something she had never thought possible, but grudgingly accepted that that was the case.
She had cried in the past ten years of her marriage more than she had cried during the whole twenty-three years before she got married, all because she had no child. She had a great husband who she was beginning to wear out with her whining, a great career which was getting more recognition, and a good life, with her in-laws being all the parent she lost in her late parents.
“Please stop crying,” Dozie said, sounding tired, as he walked back to the parlour.
Gently getting off the toilet seat, Anulika made a decision.
She had to stop crying and give herself something to focus on. Maybe it was time to look for other options, even if she would still keep a burning candle that her hope would come to be.
Splashing water on her face, she practiced on smiles until she got one which looked real. Back when they were being counseled before their marriage, she had taken note of one of the many reasons Dozie had given for why he liked her. He had said that he liked that he could always count on her being cheerful whenever he called or saw her, and she was like his constant pick-me-up. She had gradually lost sight of that.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed and sat back down as another realization hit her; she had never considered how Dozie dealt with his own disappointment that they could not have children together. First, he lost his first child from his girlfriend and now his wife could not conceive, and in her myopic and selfish sight, she had denied him of getting a child in what seemed to be the only way out.
Instead of her to allow them console each other, she had grieved alone, leaving Dozie to try to console her while he also consoled himself.
Getting up again, she walked out of the toilet and walked to the parlour, arriving there just in time to see Dozie pick up his car key.
“Where are you going?” she asked, startling him.
“I…I don’t know. I just need to step out. Don’t wait up for me,” he replied, looking everywhere else but at her. It was obvious that he wished to be anywhere else but in the same house with her.
Maybe it was what she said, or how she said it, but it was obvious that it touched him, stilling him at the door. It was a communication that didn’t need much speaking.
Somehow, Anulika knew that if she let her husband leave the house then, she might lose the great husband she had and get back an ordinary man when he returned.
“I will do it. I will adopt. Let us adopt,” Anulika said, closing her eyes tight to fight back tears again. She felt defeated. She felt like she failed as a woman.
She gave up the battle with the fresh tears when she felt herself get enveloped in Dozie’s arms, and the tears flowed without restrain.
“We are in this together. You didn’t lose,” he said reading her mind. “You are not defeated; you are just fighting the same battle in another way. We will love the child or children so much, especially you, you will love them so much, you will almost think you bore them yourself.”
“How do you know?” she asked sniffing. That was part of her fear; that she would not be able to love an adopted child as wholly as she would her own.
“I am your husband, and I know you are a natural mother. It is evident in everything you do. That is why I married you, you will pour so much love on our children whether adopted or not,”
Giving a wobbly smile, Anulika left his arms. “Let us tell Mummy. Let us call her.”
The happiness in her mother-in-law’s voice brought peace into Anulika’s heart, and she was happier about her decision.
She was ready to try to become a mother in another way.
The story continues
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