Splinters of Pain
Mum wanted me to be a nurse, she liked their white dresses, and pious kind looks. First I did not like nurses, second, that was not in my plans, third, I was just getting to know the lady they called my mum and I was not so sure I wanted to listen to her advice. Fact is we didn't know each other very well! Wasn't very sure of where I stood with her. I never really was sure until she died some twenty something years after that famous advice. I am only gradually beginning to miss her, which is a bit late if you ask me and yes.. you have not asked me! So where was I? Yes. How I got into writing. This could get very boring you know. Come to think of it that is how I got into writing! I was bored. I told my stories. I liked telling myself stories. I use stories to get out of pain. I use stories to make me happy. I use stories to tell myself not to be frightened when I watched for my first child alone in a big city with a man who did not know better than to make me pregnant. Come to think of it I was too plain dumb to know any better myself! I used stories to wipe out my pain and confusion when the very first fruit of my womb did not last for more than two days and I was perplexed and in pain. I did not even know whether I loved the baby. He ,I called him 'HE' each time because I could not call him by his first name and I had no idea what other name I should call him. At least he was male so 'he' would do! By our tradition I was not allowed to call him by his first name. Interesting bit there because he said he did not care for tradition but he would remind me of that particular aspect. He had promised to educate me in return for that promise I had agreed to marry him, I had allowed him to make love to me. Along the way I got pregnant and I told him. He stared at me for long moments then asked me what I wanted to do. I stared right back wondering where he was coming from. Finally, he asked that I should come to his room. I was still in school a boarding student and had no where I could go, definitely not my mum and Dad had died. The school gave him one room in the boys hostel. One night, dressed in boy's clothes, he sneaked me into his room. I lived in that room hidden from sight for nine months. He kept me in a room all day, hidden and brought me out only at night to get some fresh air. I was pregnant but a teenager, supposed to have just finished secondary school and go home. There was no home, I had no business having a baby. I could not go home. There was no future and this man had promised to continue my education. My mum had advised that I should just agree to marry him but be very sure not to get pregnant. Problem was, she did not know how to tell me what I should do not to get pregnant. Just said I should not get pregnant. What if he asked for sex? I had asked, nice girls are not supposed to know about that but then how do we ensure we do not get pregnant. My mum did not have an answer so she simply said tersely I should make sure I did not get pregnant. He was much older my teacher, so I simply told him what mum said , he smiled and lifted my skirts. He forgot to take me to ante-natal clinic in all the nine months the pregnancy lasted.He said he was too busy imparting knowledge into young brains and by the way have I ever seen a goat taken to ante-natal? No I replied in wonder and he said it was better I had my baby naturally without the benefit of ingesting chemicals. He kept me in a room with my piss and shit until I could clean them out at night. I held the prize for the most stupid babe in the universe! Then one night fortunately for both of us sharp pains came and he sneaked me out and took me to the hospital. The doctor was shocked at my pallor. I looked like a ghost! I had never seen daylight in nine months! I was a white- black! My own words really. I had no idea what was going to happen to me and this pain, just this pain. The man said as casually as he knows how, that I should not attract attention to myself. After all I was just going to do a normal thing. Have a baby. He said it was a biological function of the female species to have babies. Nothing strange in that you know. Goats, lions, pigs have babies my friend! No need to make waves about a normal thing. Whoever heard of a goat attending ante-natal? So I watched the nurses solemnly. Did all I was asked to do. I was too scared to ask what the nurse meant when she said I had a narrow pelvis! I tried to look like it was normal to have a baby when I still didn't understand much what the hell was going around me. When I missed my dad in the middle of the pain, I cried but hours later a beautifully pale child came forth. I called her Yvette because in all my favourite stories, that was a heroine. I mean we both made it out of that blur of pain and embarrassment. But the doctor had a big frown on his face when he saw both of us later and took us off to the teaching hospital. “HE”? Oh funny you should ask that.. he left. Didn't turn up until two days later. He had lectures he said. Couldn't spare time. Anyway I was only having a baby! She died from anemia hours later. I came back to the hospital bed, confused, upset and very much alone. When the man came in the evening of the second day, he listened quietly then simply went out again. I did not see him until the next evening when he took me back to that room. He never said a word. He never told me what had happened to her. I did not know where or if she was buried because I was taken away. Until today and even beyond today, I never knew what happened to her. It became a story for me. I needed to write the story to get out of the silent despair. I never told my mum about Yvette. She said I was not to get pregnant remember?