She stood on the bridge, staring into the dark waters below. The wind blew chilly gusts across her tear-stricken face.
The Moon was shining. Bright. Too bright for her melancholia. She wanted darkness. Thick, impassable darkness to colour the night. To hide her from the world.
She thought his name over and over. She saw his face. The face of one so innocent, so endowed with godlike beauty.
Yet a face that stole dreams.
She felt her belly, trying to catch even the minutest sign of the life growing within her. His welcome yet so unwanted gift to her.
The world’s most painful souvenir.
“Kyle. Oh, Kyle,” she let out a sob. Then wiped her eyes furiously as if angry with herself for letting out emotions for a man who she wasn’t even sure gave two cents about her.
Apart from her pretty face. Apart from the confident gait with which she walked. The self-conscious sway of her hips. The deliberate parting between her cleavage.
Abruptly she turned away from watching the river and made her way back home. Her teeth made jangling noises as she gritted them.
She felt her stomach again and was overcome with a great surge of loathing she spat, feeling the urge to empty her intestines on the dusty road.
Ahead of her, the lights of the city glowed like a million artificial stars.
She held the pills in her hand, the glass of water on the other. She stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Seeing as if for the first time her ethereal beauty and hating the probability that what she was about to do would take even a microscopic fraction from it.
Some things just have to give.
That was her mother’s favourite saying. It rang and rang encouraging beats in her head. She wished she had known better than fall for the husky voiced, dark eyed, sweet faced, man and his heartrending smile. She who disdained men. She who led them around in mental shackles. She who could have ten of them eating her shit if she fed it to them with a spoon.
She glared at herself angrily. How could she have let that happen? It was unthinkable. She with the eyes that had made police officers rethink speeding tickets, Unilag lecturers revoke failed grades, notorious Lagos landlords write a two year payment receipt without ever seeing a penny or the colour of her underwear!
Her teeth made jangling sounds again.
But there was something different about that man, she admitted grudgingly. The way he carried himself not as if he owned the world, but as if he doesn’t care who owned the world or ruled it for that matter. The way he sat in a deserted corner of the bar and stared at everything, taking them in without seeming to really see them. The sharp way he dealt with the drunk who had tried to pick his pocket, driving an elbow into his gut as the man bumped into him, picking his wallet off the floor with a “sorry, I guess this fell down.”
The way he finally smiled when she managed to catch his eye. The careless stare he gave her that made her promise to make him pay.
Except Kyle wasn’t a man who owed anyone anything.
She put on her special manipulative tacts. They fell flat. She wouldn’t call all day, hoping he would eventually call,gushing about how much he missed her, it didn’t work. And even when he called nd she didn’t pick it, she soon found that meant not hearing from him for days.
And he was so charming and full of grace she soon found herself hopelessly marching to his beats. Like a gone to soldier.
He had a tattoo like nothing she had ever seen before. A rattlesnake swallowing a python. She asked him about it after their first and only sex.
” Better known than told,” was what he said.
Better Known than told.
And as she watched him walk naked out of her bedroom, somehow she knew she wouldn’t be seeing him again.
She braced herself and tipped her head to receive the pills. She gulped the glass empty and waited for the sharp pains the doctor had told her about. The pains that would tell her that the pills were grinding Kyle’s seed into mush.
But thirty minutes later, she began to wonder. A flurry of what ifs crowded her mind. She dismissed each and every one. She had a will of steel.
NINE MONTHS LATER.
She lay on the bed. Labour pangs ,making her scream. Blood-curdling screams that made the doctor and his two assistants look at each other nervously.
Her mind flashed back to all the pills and concotions that she had taken in her system to flush so stubborn a seed, Kyle’s seed.
Her screams were not just of pain. She could hear echoes of fear in her own voice.
“Push,” the doctor admonished. “For the love of God, push.”
And push she did, with the last ounce of her strength, she pushed. With dark clouds hovering around her, she pushed. With her breath coming in gasps, she pushed.
” Jesus! Sweet Jesus!”
The last she saw before the darkness took her was the doctor holding a baby in his hands. The doctor’s eyes were filled with fear as he held the baby far from his as if it was a deadly virus.
It was a boy. There was a beauty about him she couldn’t describe. Something godlike, something Kylelike. She was about to glow with pride when she noticed what had made the doctor scream, one assistant cross herself and the other run out of the room.
The infant had a tattoo. Of a rattlesnake swallowing a python on his arm. But that wasn’t what made the doctor scream. On his clenched left fist, he had what she could recognise as pills. The same pills she had taken to destroy him. He gripped them tightly like a souvenir.
But the doctor’s eyes were focused on the object dangling in his other hand. Her eyes flew wide as she recognised what it was. Her hands flew to her chest.
The doctor’s eyes met hers. Cold understanding passed between them.
Just as the darkness descended on her with a roar, she had time to think, Kyle, you son of a bitch, breaking my heart wasn’t enough for you. You had to send your son to rip it out……..