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Monday, August 21, 2017

Two Brides And A Ring (8)



Ebuka paced restlessly to and fro, occasionally throwing an anxious glance at a door at the far end of the corridor.

Just then, the doctor came out of the room and walked slowly towards Ebuka.

He looked sadly at Ebuka and shook his head.

"I'm sorry, we did our best...but the baby..."

Ebuka fell on the chair, groaning, his head buried in his hands. "How could this have happened? " he mumbled. "How's my wife?" he asked softly, staring at the doctor with dazed eyes.

"She's very weak after what she's gone through. You can go see her later after she has rested a bit," the doctor said before leaving him to go back to work.

He could not believe this was happening to him. Just that morning before they left to attend a friend's wedding, Comfort had been putting finishing touches to one of the spare rooms in the house which she had converted to a nursery.

She had been so happy looking forward to the baby's arrival.

 Now this...

All because of a stupid quarrel!

 On reaching home later that evening, he met Ama in the living room watching TV.

"How's she doing?" she asked, a worried look on her face.

"She lost the baby."

"Oh my God! How did...?" she began to say.

He looked at her coldly, his mouth turned down at the corners.

"What did you expect after what you did!" he said in an angry tome. "It's all your fault! You shouldn’t have touched her no matter the provocation considering her condition. And yours!"

In all the time they had been together,  it was the first time Ebuka had spoken to her in that manner. She saw how angry he was so she bit back the retort she was about to let loose on him.

'This is no time to quarrel,' she thought.

She moved close to him and holding his hand, said in a contrite tone:

"I'm so sorry dear. Really sorry..."

"It's too late for regrets now. The damage has been done," he said, turning away from her and walking towards the staircase. "I've fought nearly everyone including my mother and Comfort to keep you in this house, by my side. But from the look of things, you can't stay here any longer."

"What do you mean, Ebuka? You want me to leave this house?"

"Do I need to spell it out to you? " he asked belligerently, turning round to face her. "You have to return to your mother's home! At least, until things cool down a bit."

"But my mother's not back from the village and...I can't stay alone in that house! I've just a over month before my due date and..."

"Well,  you should have thought about that when you were fighting with Comfort! She'll be discharged from the hospital in a few days. I doubt she will like to meet you here. So, get ready!" With that, he climbed the stairs quickly up to his room.

Ama stood scowling up at him, her arms crossed on her chest.

 "He wants me to leave? Because of that stupid Comfort. And he's blaming me for everything that happened...was she not the one who started the quarrel in the first place? I'm going no where. I'll have my baby and raise it in this house whether anyone likes it or not!" she muttered to herself with a hiss.

 ***
Some days later, on the day Comfort was due home from the hospital, Ebuka prepared to take Ama to her parents place.

Early that morning, he went to her room to see if she was getting ready.

On opening the bedroom door, he saw her slumped on the floor, her hand cradling her protruding belly, and her face twisted in pain.

He ran quickly to her, his heart beating fast in fear.

"Ama, what's the matter?" he said, kneeling besides her.

 Her eyes opened slowly as she said:

"The baby. It's like it's coming..."

"But you're not due yet! Anyway, let's go to the hospital."

She could not walk properly due to the pain so with all his strength, he half- carried her downstairs and outside to his car...

***

It was premature labour, the doctor told an anxious Ebuka. "But her condition has stabilised with the treatment we've given her so she and the baby will be fine," he said reassuringly.

In a few days, the doctor added, she would be well enough to return home.

"This is a critical time before the baby comes. She needs plenty of rest so ensure she doesn't face situations that will give her stress or worries, " the doctor advised Ebuka the morning he came to take her home.

Back at the house, he had a long talk with Ama on the need to maintain the peace and live cordially together with Comfort.

"I don't want to hear that you two have fought again in this house. Circumstances have brought us all together so try to live like sisters. I provide enough for all of you so no need for rivalry or competition, " he said.

 She was sitting up in bed, a plate of diced watermelon and paw paw on her lap and the TV remote in her left hand.

"You should talk to Comfort too. She's always saying stuff to provoke me. She even calls me a thief, that I stole you from her!"

"Just take it easy and ignore her. Remember what the doctor said. I don't want anything to happen to this baby too," he said, stretching his hand to caress her stomach.

Then he got up from the chair and picked up his mobile phone.

"I'm going for a meeting with someone from the ministry concerning the contract I'm seeking. I'll see you later. Be a good girl now."

She smiled at him. "Ok, dear. Get me some chicken 'suya' on your way back. They should add lots of pepper."

He turned at the door.

 "Is it ok for you to eat such spicy food?" he asked.

She shrugged then said: "Why not? It will be good for the baby- it will make it grow strong and healthy!"

"Says who?"

"Says Dr Ama," she said, laughing.

"Hm. Dr my foot!" he snickered, made a face at her and left.

***

About six weeks later, just after midnight, Ama who was asleep, woke up to see the bed damp and feeling sharp pains in her stomach.

Her labour pains had begun...

To be continued.


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