Freights of a Woman

Freights of a Woman

All the things that my mother told me will give me pride and earn me respect have come round to give me shame and ridicule. As the midwife approached me with my sixth child, who by the way is female again the sixth time, warm tears welled up in me but then, I was beyond tears and grief. It was only shame and ridicule!
What my husband’s reaction would be this time was as predictable as night imperceptibly crawling after the day. He has gone beyond his intolerance threshold. He obviously would have no more space in his heart for me. I had to go!
My name is Annabelle Carolina Olusegun! My people call me Annabella but in high school, I was popularly known as the village belle. Growing up was happy and I was permitted some dreams. I had great hopes!
I had my first boyfriend in 2004, the same year I graduated from the University. There was nothing so spectacular between Akeem and I. I hated that my first relationship because it wasn’t what I had courted in my heart all my growing-up years. There were no intrigues; just some ego-flaunting events by a chauvinist.
Akeem was one of the few executives that sat on the job-interview sessions I had with his company immediately after my graduation. He was plumb and proud; proud especially to introduce himself to a ‘favour-deserving’ graduate, freshly out of school when we met at Lunch. He leaned forward, more with a condescending air, and whispered, “My name is Engr. James!” emphasizing the sound of James, being a recent convert to Christianity. A proposal to ‘date me’, which came quickly trailing the introductions, was more of a statement to acquaint than a request needing a response. If it had been the latter, I would have asked him to give me time to think about it and get back to him; this would only be to mark time and create suspense. Obviously, much more than liking him, I knew I needed a friend on the Company’s board to avail me a job opportunity in the least. However, he made no request; just a statement that sounded like we were already in a relationship. Coupled with his teasing personality, I only needed to be smart enough to play-along. The second day, he asked me out on a date and that day ended on a note of his try to rape me. It was a sad day!
Since then, I have learnt to be more wary of men in spite of my needing them for my own advancement. This resolve was helped by my mother’s persuasion that I remained a virgin until my wedding day. “It is a virtue to be met intact by one’s husband,” she would say. In between Engr. Akeem James and Engr. Samuel Adewale, I have dated six men at different times. And in all these relationships, I did well enough to maintain my chastity (Sincerely, that’s a chastity that was betrayed by some kisses and underhand touches)!
Again, I must say, all the things that my mother told me will give me pride and earn me respect have come round to give me shame and ridicule. One of those things was my virginity! Mother told me, among other things, it would make me a goddess of sort before my husband, who will respect and trust me even with his life. That came to pass, though nothing prepared me for the open scorn i received my husband’s more-beautiful sisters, who saw me as an ugly, unattractive virgin, made so by her worthlessness – someone all men ran away from. It didn’t help that i was haplessly picked, by their unambitious brother who’d been trailed by a string of unlucky events in a comic twist of fate. Talk about misery needing company, ugly duckling falls for unfortunate pauper. My world usually came to a standstill, sometimes retrogressed, anytime my sisters-in-law were around – whether visiting or hosting us. I never made the mistake of being with them alone!
From the night of our wedding day, I have lived with the fear of my husband coming home one day, a changed man. Every day, I feared he will very soon be influenced by his siblings to do something nasty with him! But nothing terrified me as much as the thought of being thrown out of Samuel’s house with a few months’ pregnancy. This was a possibility as it was beginning to dawn on Samuel, though he shrugged it off as silly, that my frigidity in bed must have been caused by what his sisters would term the ‘inexperience of an outcast’. I lived with that unwarranted shame and the fear of an unknown future!
All the things that my mother told me will give me pride and earn me respect have come round to give me shame and ridicule. Another of such is having all one’s children being female! I always thought it was a good thing, just like mother said. It would bring good fortune, luck and obviously men will not cease from doing us good as they seek out the hands of our daughters in marriage. That was not to be my case!
As I sat solemnly on my matrimonial bed that night of my wedding with my blood miserably soaking a part of the mattress, I heard the trails of my husband’s voice berating his two younger sisters and one other person, over a matter I would only live to find out later, I didn’t know what misery lay ahead of me.
Every time I delivered a female, which had happened five times of the five times I had been delivered of a child in my life, Samuel lost a chunk of his tolerance for me. When I took in the sixth time, he had taken time to explain to me how he was left with only one chunk of tolerance, as if I chose the gender of my children. In actual fact, he warned me to behave this time. Whatever that meant!
There was hope! It was a glistening hope that aimed to obliterate my miseries and plant my feet solidly in my husband’s house. We had an ultrasound scan some weeks ago and the result was that hope. The scan revealed I was carrying a male child. When the news got to my husband, he was overjoyed. It was obvious all over him. When he got home that day, he made an attempt at playfulness, something he had lost in his character, but he fumbled. He tried to make me promises, but only void air came forth, ‘I…promise…’, then he relaxed!
Nine months is over! As the midwife approached me with my sixth child, who by the way is female again the sixth time, warm tears welled up in me but then, I was beyond tears and grief. It was only shame and ridicule! What my husband’s reaction would be this time was as predictable as night imperceptibly crawling after the day. He has gone beyond his intolerance threshold. He obviously would have no more space in his heart for me. I had to go!
The midwife tried to place the child in my hands but I was lost in thought beyond tears. I gazed at the path where I had first seen the female genital of my child as the midwife approached with her in her hands. She tried to place her in my hands but I would not budge. I was staring at a future that seemed to be absent and a past completely erased. The only thoughts that were present with me were “What on earth happened to the scanning machine”, “Could the doctor have lost his mind?”, “Could it be me? May I heard or read the results wrongly…”, “In fact, how justified is that Samuel to give me this condition?”, “Don’t you think it will be a good to bleed to death than face whatever comes after?”, “Could my child be male after all?”.
By the time I would come back around from whatever deep state I must have gone, it was my seventh day after delivery and my husband was yet to come visiting. Only his sisters who came once and yet never returned!

26 thoughts on “Freights of a Woman” by Lakunle (@lakunle)

  1. “Lakunle Jaiyesimi is a Writer and then, he became a Pharmacist”

    @Kaycee chews comments like this for breakfast. Alas…dear brah…I think you just set yourself up.

    Anyways…to the matter at hand…

    The story is interesting. It has a start-stop flow that I’m not sure is the right ‘voice’ for the narration…especially since it’s in the first person.

    Punctuation. You used ! too many times. I have a feeling that you sigh a lot.

    Paragraphing. Space out your lines…make your story more friendly to the eye.

    Pharmacist, huh?

  2. Hahahahahahaha, @seun, you don spoil the talk na. I be wan do my usual smarty mouthing.

    Any way @lakunle, you have written your story.
    I have read it. I must tell you, switching to a chemist, is a wise decision. (Hope you are NAFDAC certified.)

    I just remembered Lakunle in Lion and the Jewel.

    1. You never fall my hand.

  3. The plot is really engaging and I liked what I understood is going on here…
    food for thought for everyone…

    @Seun has said it all…paragraphing…not easy on the eye at all
    the repetition… am not sure it is this necessary

  4. Hmm, has the potential for an interesting read with the right edits – many have been mentioned…spacing (my eyes almost fell out of my head); while the repetition was for emphasis, it actually achieved the opposite as you can easily become numb to what you hear too much of; and finally, the flow was a bit difficult to follow.

    I no be writer sha but I’m a hardcore reader :)

  5. Also, it’s a little unbelievable that in Naija society, having female children is one of the things a mom will tell her child that will bring her pride – think it’s quite the opposite (generally speaking, i.e.)… Using that could work if you can build out the mom’s character as a modern day Naija woman – typically though, that would be one that wouldn’t even highlight the sex of a child…

  6. The most important is that you posted your work. At least, you’ve got the chance to be corrected. Well done. The story line would have made a good read if it had been better written as @naija mom has said. You can do better. Please keep writing.

    1. How many Kids do you have @babyada…?

      1. Hmm….what a question! If you tell me why you ask, then I’ll tell you.

        1. I was simply wondering why you are ‘mothering’ the guy…maternal insticts come naturally to any/every woman…but yours ehn…

          Just saying.

          1. Oh, don’t mind me. I can see he left writing for pharmacy and so I want him to return as opposed to @Kaycee.

            1. So..are you gonna answer me or not?

              You said –

  7. @Lakunle, so again I read a tale of a son-less woman. Nothing bad about that, but there is nothing in this story to make it stand out from the many tales of son-less women I have read before.

    I would like to know why you spent so much time on the Engr. Akeem episode; to me, it didn’t really seem to be so important to the story.

    Also, is there a reason why you end almost all your sentences with exclamation marks?

  8. Hmmm, quite an interesting story, can’t believe a naija mum will tell her daughter female children bring good luck though when men find a male child far more important

  9. I was laughing as I came across the exclamation marks. Funny thing is, you use that mark for a reason – like shouting, quarrell, drama – but not so in this story. I can understand that the use of them gave voice to the fear and despair of the woman, but the truth is that if you had described her emotions better, it would be unnecessary to use exclamation marks. Remember the five senses, use them.

  10. Hehehehehehe@Lakunle, @myne say make you use your five senses.
    Don’t mind all these writers jare, they are using you to shine. When they come to your chemist shop, do them bad.

    But seriously, you did good, but you can improve.

  11. @seun, don’t ask a woman that kinda question O°˚˚˚!
    You already know the answer sha.

  12. How much grief has this one chromosome brought upon women? When will guys finally understand that THEY determine the sex of the baby.OK, getting down from my soap box. I like the story Lakunle, I hope there is another part as I would like to know what she will do.Keep writing.

  13. Wow, where do I start from? Kaycee, elektrika, seun, myne and all. I must say you did well in your analysis. But what can the Creator do about his imperfect creatures or creatures, who became imperfect? I really do appreciate. I will see to lessening attention on my patients to focus more detail on my writing. I hope you become one of them soon enough. *winks*

  14. My mum says female daughters are very important, mixed with the male children that is. Nice story. I loved the emotions when the midwife was bringing (and brought) the baby. That part was well told. Virginity being the pride of a woman, in this era? That’s where the mother go f€$¥ up shah. Write a good novel like Chimamanda, there’s no bigger pride than stuff like that. Or at least be a success in your own little way, not virginity. Time has passed when virginity plays that kinda role. It was funny how the husband’s siblings also attributed her virginity to some other vain issues. Like I said, I love your stuff especially the hospital scenes. The interview and her dating history didn’t quite fly shah. But in all, a very nice stuff. Maybe it’s time to close down the chemist and get writing, lol. Keep it up.

    1. An an, @Kaycee and @Jaywriter, won’t you leave Lakunle’s chemist shop for him? Besides, who even told you he tell you he has a chemist shop? He said he’s a PHARMACIST. An an, don’t you get it?!

  15. @eletrika, tx for the punches. I can’t remember mentioning a chemist shop, but that won’t be a bad idea though. It will also be a good title for a story ‘the chemist shop’. Meanwhile, @Jaywriter, tx for those swags…

  16. Pharmacist and chemist ‘mist’ dey both na. It’s just Jonah swallow fish and fish swallow Jonah, most important thing was that there was a swallow.

  17. =)) =)) =)) Erinº°˚ ˚°º≈feº°˚ ˚°º≈paº°˚ ˚°º≈meº°˚ ˚°º≈Kuº°˚ ˚°º≈=)) =)) =))

  18. Keep writing bro, the coolest thing about this naija family is the love we share. Can you feel it? A lot of comments comes with jokes but when you look through it all properly,you’ll get what they mean. It’s a tough but fair panel and I think you have joined the right company. The midwife scene got me too.

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