CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS*
“What?” Alex looked terribly pale, like he was going to fall sick. I must look exactly that way too, if not worse. My jaw seemed to have dropped to the ground as shock waves sliced through my veins.
Instantly, I remembered her name – Lisa. How nice! Now, I was to be subjected to having a polygamous family? I could not quite believe it, it took several minutes, or hours but I finally found the courage to close my mouth.
“Yes Alex” Lisa said, jumping happily like a girl who had just been given a Christmas dress. “You are going to be a father, my love” she said to the white-faced Alex.
I could not stand this. My legs almost unbuckled beneath me. This was just too much. In fact, I had been dealing with ‘too much’ of everything since I met Alex. How could I have been stupid enough to fall in love with this man? Yeah, you can’t tell the heart who to love, but as I thought about it, I realized just how unfair that was. Why shouldn’t I be able to dictate who I fall in love with? It was just so unfair. How many more people would get pregnant through this man? Tears spilled down my eyes. I looked at Alex who still hasn’t been able to utter a single word.
“What on earth did I do to deserve this Corper” I cried out in agony. “You should have just put a knife through my chest instead of this slow torture you are putting me through” I fought for control but found none. Alex sat looking spineless, like he was in a state of shock. “Well, you have another baby in the making, congratulations daddy. It seems you are now a baby-making factory”
I turned and almost tripped as I ran upstairs. The tears blinded my gaze but I just let my legs lead the way as I raced into my room. I slammed the door violently behind me and collapsed against the door, crying my eyes out. “Oh God” I cried. Why me? We have been ordered not to question God but all I have in my head is loads of unanswered questions. Now, there was no doubt in my mind that I had lost Alex. My Alex is dead and all I have left is a complete womanizing stranger. Would they also get married? I swallowed hard as the possibility came to view. Oh no, this is definitely a living nightmare.
I dragged myself to the bed as depression set in. where the hell were my parents? I should have left when I had the chance. I should not have allowed Alex to change my mind with tempting incentives. I should have known that nothing good comes out of the lion’s den.
As I sobbed quietly into the pillow, I heard a knock. Without studying the knock pattern, I knew it was Tina. “I don’t want anything Tina, please go away” I said with little or no strength. The door opened and I turned to glare at her. I knew she would not listen. That is the price I had to pay for having her close to me. “I said I don’t need anything” I yelled.
She looked so sad and sympathetic. “But you would need the company” she said.
“I don’t need anything. ANYTHING. Leave me alone Tina” I barked.
She swallowed and moved towards me instead of going out. Oh Crap! I just never get what I want, do i? I just wanted to die.
She sat beside my head and the expression on my face was enough to make me cry all over again. “You can get me fired afterwards but I won’t leave you to wallow in pain.” She said softly. Her words made me cry anew and she pulled me till my head was on her laps. She ran her fingers through my packed hair as she whispered consolatory words.
“What did I ever do to deserve this torture Tina? What?” I cried, like she had the answer to that. “If I hadn’t slept with Alex, my life would be in shape now. I am the only cause of my problems. Me. Only me. I wish I would just die”
“Shhh… Don’t say that.” Tina whispered. “A wise man once told me that if we continue to blame ourselves for our past mistakes, we would be making another mistake. We all make mistakes but we must get past them and move on. I know you can” she whispered.
I could not measure my level of respect for her then but I was totally shattered. “I can’t. I feel trapped and helpless.”
“Yes you can” She said strongly. “I know you can. Think about your baby. Your adorable baby boy. He is relying on your strength; you can’t afford to fail him. You can do this” she whispered. The mention of my baby instantly got my attention. Tina was absolutely right. I could not afford to despair, not when my depression could affect my baby. “Whenever Mr Alex gives you a reason to be sad, just think about your child.” She whispered.
I controlled my sob until I was left with a few sniffs. “Thanks Tina. I don’t know what I would have done without you” I said.
“I am here to help ma’am. You would be fine”
I smiled surprisingly. “Do you think you could ever call me Amara?” I asked.
I felt her smile without seeing her. “I don’t know”
Mr Peters glared furiously at his wife. She was seriously a pain in the neck. Many times, he had wondered why he had married such a dumb woman, because time and again, she never failed to prove to him that she was a first degree fool. He wondered if their perpetual state of poverty had destroyed her ability to think well. The difference between he and his wife was that his wife was not only poor but she was also thinking poor. What is wrong in geering your brain into moneymaking thoughts? The woman was just being a total stumbling block on his road to success.
“Listen to me woman, I have come this far and would never allow your stupidity to hinder my financial breakthrough” He barked at his wife. “Look at this house” he waved his hands at the tastefully furnished house that the Senator had rented for them after a few persuasions. “Don’t you like to live a good and normal life? Don’t you think we have suffered enough? This house is the product of my smart thinking. You should also do something useful with your brain. My request is simple. Talk to Amara. Encourage her to take advantage of Alex’s wealth. If she does, we can set up a business. You can start selling something and our family would be ok”
Amara’s mum glared back at her husband. “How can you say that Papa Amara? It is our daughter’s life and happiness that we are talking about here. She is not happy in that house and you know it. That Alex is a b****** and I am sure he is maltreating my Amara. Let me go and see my daughter”
Mr Peters decided to go soft. “Who told you she is not happy? Money brings happiness. Now, she can buy everything she needs, do everything she wants, go anywhere she wants. What else can she ask for?” He asked, waving his hands.
“Money cannot buy happiness” Amara’s mother almost yelled.
“But it can rent it” Mr. Peter countered. “Whatever you can’t buy, you can borrow” he said. “Listen to me woman, I am ordering you to do this. Talk some sense into Amara *, she listens to you. Do your part in this family, or else, I would get angry, and what you have been trying to hide for years would be out in the open for Amara to see.”
As usual, this got her attention. “Do you always have to blackmail me with this?” She asked in pain.
“What I am doing is for our good Mama Amara, stop* being stubborn. Do what I say and we would both be happy.”
I stayed in my room throughout that day. The following morning, Tina brought breakfast to my room. I decided then that I would reduce Tina’s work by getting my breakfast myself. I also needed to start doing some chores. It would help get over my constant depression. With strong determination to get over my depression, I decided to go for a stroll during the late hours of the morning. The stroll proved helpful because the street was so beautiful. My mind constantly went to my problems but I changed those thoughts as soon as they came.
I sighted a beautiful flower by the sidewalk and stopped. The flower was so captivating, with a hint of pink, yellow and white. My fingers traced the beautiful flower in amazement and I soon got lost in thoughts. Alex came to my mind and this time, I was not able to shut out the thought. He had given me a flower that looked similar to this in the village. I had been on my way to the stream when he suddenly popped out of the bush. It had been frightening but once I saw that it was him, my fear disappeared. i knew he could never hurt me. How wrong! If only I knew the level of hurt he had in store for me… he had walked with me to the stream and had surprised me by picking out a stunning flower from the bush. It was the most romantic gesture any man had ever shown me.
“A penny for your thoughts”
I jumped in fright, taking my hands away from the flower. Before me stood a man, who was smiling softly. I blinked rapidly, coming back to my senses.
“I am sorry to have startled you, it was not my intention” he said apologetically.
I swallowed. To say this guy was handsome would definitely be a huge understatement. He looked just as breathtaking as his deep baritone voice. He was not as tall as Alex but he was definitely tall with broad shoulders and masculine muscles which were clearly visible through the clingy top he had on. No one should have the right to look this good. As I assessed him, his face broke into a blinding grin which brought one dimple to view. I swallowed hard when I realized what was happening. The guy was obviously aware of his breathtaking outlook. Can I ever stop being an idiot? Did I learn nothing from the father of my unborn child? My face came up with a scowl.
“I hope you like what you see” the guy said, grinning. Jeez, did he know just how handsome he looked when his sparkling white teeth were in full display?
I glared at him. “People should learn to run far away from good-looking things”. Where had that come from? This guy hadn’t done anything wrong.
His grin seemed to increase. “Well then, I am glad that I am not a ‘thing’” he murmured. “My name is Kelvin” he stretched his hand for a handshake.
Oh men! Their effrontery and arrogance knows no bounds. I stared at his outstretched hand for a long time before I turned, heading back home and leaving him standing with his hand still stretched out. I did not give a d–n if he was hurt by my rude actions. One man was more than enough to tell me that all men had evil agendas, I would be damned if I allowed myself to fall into the same pit twice.
“It is nice to meet you” he yelled after me. “Just so you know, you are more beautiful than that flower”
I swallowed and walked home without a backward glance. Men! I thought again, bitterly. All they ever think about is getting between your legs. Even though this Kelvin of a guy never said a thing to suggest s£x, I knew that was what he was after, because that is what all men are after.
I stepped into our compound, still trying to keep my anger towards men at bay but immediately I opened the door to the sitting room, my thoughts and anger evaporated.
I stared in surprise. “Mum?”