It is magical watching an expectant woman, all buxom, delicate and stuff. She is graceful, somewhat alluring, contained and beautifully round shaped. Her busty chest rises and falls wickedly as she walks. But it is scary to imagine what she goes through, from the mood swings to the tiny or massive kicks and especially the day she’ll be swallowed up in labor pains. My friend Martha was in the family way. I panicked. I felt threatened since motherhood to me is another term that will never apply to me for the next 100 years. Talking of threats…See every girl has that woman who threatens her. Martha’s threat was devastating. She’s on Instagram. That girl has been consistently keeping tabs with the man who got Martha pregnant. Okay, that’s crude. That girl on IG has been keeping tabs with Martha’s man, soul mate, father to her unborn baby, probable husband if she’s gonna be a good girl…
She’s beautiful, we all agreed though we would have wished she wasn’t. We hated her and wished a truck would run over her or she falls in a tank of acid and her face is thoroughly ploughed and cheek bones stick out. She is classy and in fact as I stalked her on Martha’s behalf, I found in one of her pictures a pole in her bedroom. She does her nails in an expensive parlor and has a tattoo of a dragon. Let me tell you, there is nothing I fear like a woman with a tattoo of a dragon, snake, spider web or barbed wire or just a creature. Those women are dangerous and aggressive. Dangerous like the symbols engraved on their skins. And to crown it all, she wears a dress and rubber shoes. I swear this dress code is nothing but confidence. Her brows are done with such commitment you’d think she knows SDGs by heart. And she cooks those meals we read about. Her teeth are white like unga ya ugali ya jogoo and her smile equally enchanting. I looked at her profile and buried myself in my blanket and turned on Qwetu radio. Mogaka’s laughter assures me that life isn’t that serious. Then two weeks ago, as I was stalking her kama kawa, I found out she had passed on in a grisly road accident. Hio urembo yote is gone just like that. Moment of silence.
I escorted Martha to the clinic on one of her pre-natal visits. She was called into that tiny room and I remained at the waiting lobby, staring at the posters having laughable illustrations of people looking like aliens. One was about diarrhea and showed a lump of watery feces at the end of the cycle if we consume dirty water. One was about family planning and the woman happily held her husband’s hand, a condom in their hand and words captioned, protect her love. Do people protect their love with a condom? Then there was a poster of AIDS and a pathetic picture of an emaciated man, who had the virus. These days, no victim is skinny. In fact build people are the ones who just might be the agents. Somewhere amidst the AIDS literature was an encouragement of eating healthy and exercising. I was thinking to myself, will it take HIV/AIDs for me to just get serious and eat healthy?
A tiny and frail young woman came and sat next to me. She looked beat and pimples were sitting comfortably on her face. She looked underage. Underage in the sense of below 21. Her hairline was receding and her skin annoyingly oily. Her bump was rigid and her navel could be spotted through her short dress like a tiny mushroom.
“Hey! You are here for checkup ama?”
“No.” I said curtly.
“Mimi I am 6 months and it’s so frustrating.”
“Oh! Sorry” I said my tone cold and my heart frozen.
“And my boyfriend refused to escort me. I just feel I cannot deal anymore” she kept talking, yet I had shown her all lights of my disinterest.
“Woiye. Be strong. We women pass through a lot but have to forge on” I preached water. I am certain if I was expectant; I would be extra dramatic and would want a convoy escorting me to hosy, as if I was carrying 7 lives. Neighbor, former classmate, watchie, workmate, church member and kitten, obasia, mwalimu wa nursery. A whole battalion.
“You got a kid?” she keeps going.
“Yes! He’s now 2” I say without blinking.
“Ah! Terrible two. I hear it is a hectic stage.” She looks at me. I nod and lean back, totally not in the mood for friendships.
“Was your labor long?” this girl is not seeing any lights. Is she blind?
“Oh me?” I laugh nervously, feeling a pinch of guilt from a distance. “It took long. I took like the whole night and dilation took forever.” She was now looking at me, really shaken. “But people are different. My friend’s took less than 45 minutes.” I assured her.
“Was your baby big? Did you tear?”
“Yep! He was really big and yeah, niliraruka though hio hushonwa” I said casually as if it is cake we are talking about. She winced in pain already. “But you know, the pain is worth it” I closed my remarks and crossed my arms.
She looked at me and smiled, probably thinking of me as a good sister. “Can we exchange numbers so I can be asking you stuff?” she suggests meekly. She’s vulnerable and young but what can I do? I have no experience too. Martha comes back, holding her back, pushing herself wearily. “I am tired and hungry” she tells me. “You are next.” She turns to the girl and we stand to leave as the girl pushes herself to the room.