Last Straw

Last Straw

“It’s a girl”

Amara walked away from the clinic despondent. This could only be described as the worst day of her life. Several thoughts crossed her mind as she walked blindly to the car park. She had had enough.

Amara and Ezekiel had been married for 9 years. He was her first love and her childhood sweet heart. They had faced opposition from Ezekiel’s mother and sisters, but eventually true love triumphed, and the wedding had gone ahead despite the odds. Even till this day, the expressions on the faces of her in-laws in the wedding photos amused Amara.

“I won!”

The dejected faces of Ezekiel’s mother and his eldest sister were a testament of the battles of the yesteryears.

Ezekiel’s mother was known to friends and family as O so di eme which translated as ‘her husband’s helpmeet’. She was not given to diplomacy. She did not crack a smile throughout the ceremony. His sister, was wilier in her approach, but was no less lethal. Nevertheless, Ezekiel was resolute, he was besotted with his bride. The future was bright. One boy one girl that was all they wanted, and after that she could dust down her certificate and get a job. Ezekiel would be the bread winner, his job as an Accountant with Dafione & Co would sustain the family. That was the plan.

But then man proposes and God disposes.

O so di eme was having the last laugh. She seemed to delight in my failure to produce an heir. I wanted my first born child to be a girl, and when we had our first girl Onyinyechi, Ezey and I celebrated our good fortune. Our second another girl arrived within a year. A tad disappointed, we called her Kosisochukwu. 10months later Onyekozuolu was born. I was hoping for a boy child, as was Ezey, although he assured me he would be happy with whatever sex our baby was. When we were blessed with another girl my disappointment was palpable.

After the birth of Zulu, due to Papa’s illness my mother could not come for omugwo. Oso di eme volunteered to come and help out. The gloves were off. She became openly hostile and made my life hell, mocking and jeering at every opportunity. “If na before, we for chase you commot this house, useless woman!”She would say, careful to ensure Ezekiel was never within earshot when she dropped her missile. “Na so so yeye girl full your belle!” and on and on and on. The 3-month sojourn was so stressful, I was tempted to persuade Ezey to send his mother home; but I knew that would only stoke the fire.

Though Ezey sensed my misery, he attributed it to my overwhelming feeling of failure. Regardless of what he said, I intuited Ezekiel really longed for a son. He was the only son of his mother, it was up to him to perpetuate the family name. I knew I had to deliver the goods. I perceived Ezey’s disappointment. His disappointment made me feel insecure. Fear gripped my heart. What if Ezey decided to try for a boy outside? It was to stem the probability of this threat that I took in again.

The gods had me in derision. Our fourth child needless to say was…you guessed right… a girl. We called her Odinaka .

I decided this was it. I was not going to try again.

I was fed up and then I became indignant.

I had put my life on hold to have our children. Nothing else had gone according to plan. Ezekiel’s family put the blame squarely at my feet. Ezekiel was despondent, but he remained steadfastly loyal. He was a loving husband and an affectionate indulgent father, but deep down in me, I knew it was a ticking time bomb.

Paranoia set in, I begun covert surveillance ,searching his pockets, briefcase, pigeon-hole, mobile phone, shirt cuffs to see if there was anything happening behind my back. For the first time since we got married, I insisted on condoms. It was a tough decision, but in my insecurity I no longer trusted Ezey.

I did not want to have another child, nor did I want to catch any disease even though nothing in Ezey’s lifestyle suggested it.  He seemed relieved. His mother began visiting more frequently, hinting to her son about picking someone from the village that could do the job I couldn’t do. During a recent visit, she had in tow, a nubile 18 year old baby-sitter whom I promptly dispatched back to her origins.

I prepared to start looking for work, to repackage my life, and recoup what was left of my youth. I rekindled my sense of purpose.

And then one morning getting ready for a job interview, I felt nauseous.

I was pregnant again. I contemplated abortion. Ezekiel and I discussed it, his response was equivocal. Well meaning friends cautioned me “Amara don’t…! This could be the boy you have been waiting for”. I was so confused. I did not want a baby, certainly not another girl; not now I was trying to make a life for myself.

Eventually against my better judgement, I decided to keep the baby. I was already 30weeks in, but I did something I had never done. I went for one of those special scans. I did not want any surprises. I needed to know. I did not tell anyone.

“It’s a girl…”

I felt cheated. I was trapped. As I left the clinic that day, I contemplated a late abortion, I entertained suicidal thoughts. My mind in turmoil. What was I to do? I wanted to end it all. I would prefer it to end quickly. Rat poison. Carbolic acid. Cut my wrists. Caught up with plotting my quickest, tidiest escape from the shame of the birth of another girl, I did not see the molue bus approaching from the corner until it collided with my car.

“Doctor, how is she? My wife…? Is she ok? How is the baby?”

“Sir, your wife was brought in unconscious, she has lost a lot of blood, we need to stabilise her first and then we will try to salvage the foetus”

“Please do your best Doctor, do what you have to do”. Ezekiel was inconsolable “Oh God, please save my wife, please give me my wife back, please” he sobbed “How will I live without her, please God spare her life!”

Finally, the doctor emerged to deliver the news to Ezekiel. “We had to perform an emergency C-section. Your wife remains in critical condition”

“Oh God please save my wife”

“Baby is premature and on life support, but is clearly a fighter”.

“Will she be okay…the baby?”

“It’s a boy!”

The news took Ezekiel unawares “What…?”

“Yes, you have a baby boy…”

33 thoughts on “Last Straw” by doubleespresso (@doubleespresso)

  1. Nice one Doubleespresso!Men have been putting pressure on Women since the beginning of time to have baby boys.However they are the ones who are responsible for the gender since they are carrying the Y chromosome.I have a question: what happen at the ultrasound when she was told it was a girl? ;0)

    1. Jefsaraurmax,
      Thanks for taking time to read. I agree with you, our society has carried on like so for ages. It tells a lot about where we are in the scheme of development. Look forward to more of your candid remarks.

  2. i have worried severally over the issue of the male versus the female child. much as there is sense in the desire for a male child by most people, me inclusive, i think we have tortured women enough for it. fact is people don’t even want to think for once, no matter how much education they have, that babies sexes are not just willed.
    in my culture you have names meaning “a girl is also a human being”, “who knows tomorrow” given to girls…you can imagine the veiled meaning in that.

    well done

    1. Hi Xikay,
      You can see in this case it was woman-on-woman violence. As you pointed out, there is no exact science, and by the way, this is a near true story…

  3. This story raises a critical issue that has prevailed over time, thank God for enlightenement now.

    That said, I noticed ur switch of POV, that is a major flaw for this effort, and it affected the narration, especially the part after Amara’s accident. Always remember to stick to one POV when writing

    1. Thanks for taking time to read Scopeman, your comments are much appreciated. In the last paragraph my MC was unconcious hence the omni POV, although the begining highlights your point. Please keep your comments coming.

  4. I was able to predict the end. Me no want any daughters jare.I don’t need the constant worry.

    1. and you think that male children are not to be worried about?…who are the rapists, armed-robbers, kidnappers and the lots, female children?…i want a male child but so do i want daughters

      1. Kaycee, na girl you go first born O! So get your shot gun out, the guys are coming to surround your compound (smile).
        No stars for predicting the end though.

      2. xikay, I hail o!

  5. Daisy (@divinethought)

    I think you’ve managed to capture your MC’s struggle to prove a point / please her husband. I especially like the way you illustrate her desperation. However, I feel like the story needs a stronger surprise factor and more development at the end. For instance, if she did have a boy, what if he came out disabled? For a topic that is prevalent in Nigeria, I’d like to see how the MC strives despite the shortcomings she faced. That said, I appreciate the hard work we all put into story telling so kudos to you!

    1. Daisey,
      Thanks a bunch for your great comments. They are appreciated and well noted.
      Sometimes some commenters on this site lose sight of the fact that a lot of work goes into getting out a story, and they just trash it like say na from dustbin person go collect am. Their comments are rude, and cutting, making it difficult to swallow sometimes.
      I really appreciate the tone of your comments, and I’d like to use this opportunity to ask the moderators to put in an icon for denegrating and rude commenters.

  6. Great story telling, suspected the end, but couldn’t predict it.. Well done!!..Noticed a few tense mix ups, like “amused” instead of “Amuses” and “begun” I think should be “began”…..Xikay! help me out

    1. @mercy, you are right with your observations.
      Even till this day, the expressions on the faces of her in-laws in the wedding photos amused Amara.[TILL THIS DAY and AMUSED ARE IN DIFFERENT TENSES… TILL THIS DAY IS PRESENT WHILE AMUSED IS PAST….AMUSES IS THE RIGHT WORD.]


    2. Mercy, Thanks! Always respect your comments and like to hear what you feel. They motivate me a lot, and helps me improve. Please keep reading and commenting.

  7. Nice story! Very Nice, although a tad predictable. Some couples never have boys,as in never and like someone said, It’s nobody’s fault.
    I’ve entertained thoughts of never having a boy child. Yeah, it’s not up to me but what the heck. All children are from God.
    Well done with this. I love the pace!

    1. RemiRoy,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and express your comments. I like.

  8. Scopeman has already said what I wanted to point out. Noce one.

  9. As evry1 has said,nice one. The pov switch didnt work for me though,especialy as u cntinued in 1st person even when d lady was uncnscious nd culdnt have heard d discusion btw husband nd doctor.
    Also,use f words like intuited,perpetuate etc sound grand,but do not strongly cnvey the feeling intended neitha are they the best for flow of the reading

    1. @stan you have spoken well.

    2. I never use grand words O for this tory (lol). How perpetuate and intuited come be big words? One proverb from my village say “Dance never start, baby goat wan break leg”.. abeg o.

  10. You have a story but you told it as if you were undecided of the angle you want to tell it from: POV! No matter how good a story is, the POV is very important in making it ‘feelable’ and readable. Work on that. Nice story, though predictable, at least, to me!

    1. Thanks bro.

  11. @mercy &xikay,nice point,well taken but i think the correct tense should be ‘Amuse’-{ Even till this day the expressions(subject)… amuse Amara}. Might be wrong but i doubt it! Lols.

    1. wow, caught me there Miss Rola. I did not see the plural Subject, EXPRESSION(S)…with it, then AMUSE is the right word. if it were EXPRESSION(singular) then AMUSES would have been right. thanks for the pointer

    2. Thanks Miss Rola… and Xikay…lol

    1. will take that to heart…Miss…will you please try to get a real avatar?

  12. nice one,but a little typos-….husband’s helpmeet

  13. @Uchechukwu, Helpmeet is a less common word for helpmate and not a typo. Glad you liked the story.

  14. Also many thanks to Ms Rola, and Uchechukwu Obiakor and others who read but did not find time to post a comment. Please feel free to do so next time.

  15. The story is captivating and I could flow very well even though I predicted the end.

  16. I like the telling. Particularly the way you captured her fear and paranoia…searching her husbands pockets and all…

    Just so the ladies know…not all men cheat at the slightest excuse. Some of us are die-hard loyal.

    Nice story jo!

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