Her distrust hurt me so much that I cried when I was alone in my car. I was watching Zainab gradually slip away from me and there was nothing I could do. Who had done this to my Zainab? Why did God let this happen to such an innocent girl?! Hasn’t she suffered enough.
My mother noticed that has days went by, I grew uninterested in eating. She would serve my food and return to find it unopened and untouched. Whenever she asked me what was wrong, I’d simply tell her nothing. Very early in the morning, I’d leave home for Zainab’s place and her isolation grew worse.
She no longer ran to hug me whenever she saw me coming. In fact, she had no smile to offer me anymore. Her face was always bland and when I sat down on the mattress next to her, she would quickly scoot to the end of the mattress and snuggle against the wall as if avoiding body contact with me.
Her mistrust hurt me but I didn’t blame her. The poor girl had been hurt numerous times. I went out to get bread and akara for her since she refused to eat the fried rice and chicken that I had brought that morning. I thought she had an aversion to certain foods because of her pregnancy but I soon discovered that I was wrong when she still refused to eat the soft bread and akara.
Zainab’s depression worsened to the extent that she barely spoke two words to me. If she was not crying, she was sleeping or murmuring sadly to herself as she drew invisible figures on the wall. I tried to make her go for a stroll, hoping that the fresh air in the village and walking in the sun would brighten her mood but she wouldn’t move from the mattress.
She grew leaner while her stomach grew bigger and I knew that it was only a matter of time before she put to bed. I noticed that Zainab hardly peed and she hardly took any water too. Sometimes, she would complain about pains in her stomach and I would regard them as possibly contractions. She would complain of her swollen feet and I would tell her that it was only a symptom of her pregnancy which would subside as soon as she put to bed.
To be continued…
© Angela Okoduwa