I AM INDEPENDENT
It all started with my desire to be independent when I was a teenager, that was 15 years ago. And 15years later, I am wondering why I made that decision. Although I know in my inner most being that it’s because I saw my Mom depend on my Dad for everything and it did not work out fine for her. Now I am an extremist in independency and that has not worked out fine for me either.
‘Go on, explore the world and find us another home.’ I said to my husband. Daniel was his name and he was a very cautious and loving Husband.
‘Honey, I cannot leave you in this condition, I rather wait till the baby is born.’ He said.
‘The baby! Oh yes! Yes! The baby.’ I echoed absent minded, my thoughts were far away with another, the one I knew I could never be with. Then I thought of the days when I had no one to care for or worry about. I strolled round the living room while using my index finger to draw a line on the fine dust that had settled on the TV stand. I paused for a moment and carved out a face with the dust. It was a smiley face.
‘Rara, are you alright? RARA!’ Daniel shouted.
I jolted from my thoughts.
‘Why did I get married?’ I muttered to myself.
I could hear mother’s voice clearly in my head supplying the answer to my question.
‘Only a woman who has gone through the full circle of life is worthy of being called a woman.’
‘That’s not true Mom, are you saying women who do not have kids are not real women or women who are not married are not real?’ I asked again, this time it was a silent question as I replayed in my head, the scenario that transpired with Mother.
I felt the sting, it was as fresh as it was the first time we had the encounter.
‘Shut up, you think you know everything but you don’t. Your mouth keeps running like a tap of water, you think it’s that school you went to that will make you know things.’ Mother hissed.
I felt the tears run down my cheeks and my hands readily wiped it off.
Mother will always be mother, she disliked to be questioned or doubted by us not that it mattered to anyone except me. All my siblings listened to her and did her bidding without a word of protest. I was the one who asked the wrong questions, the thought provoking questions and the uncomfortable questions. I was the one who refused to have her plan my life like an architecture designing a building.
The relief she felt when I finally met Daniel and agreed to marry him. She did not pick up a quarrel with me for a week to express her gratitude. Yes! that is my mother for you.
I was 30 and pregnant and I wanted to be or appear to be independent. But so far I had not succeeded in wadding off the excessive fuss of my husband. I insisted on not having a househelp because I am an adherent of the ‘Do it yourself theory.’ I believed I could do everything for myself and by myself.
‘Ouch.’ I gasped. ‘
What is it? Has the contractions started?’ Daniel asked.
‘It’s just a sharp pain, I do not think it is the labour.’ I said.
‘All the same let us go to the hospital.’ Daniel replied.
‘Nah! That was how we went to the hospital on ten different occasions and I was told that I was not in labour neither was I having contractions. They really need to tell us or show us how a real contraction and labour is. Anyways, I am not going back to that hospital until the baby’s head is almost out.’ I said.
I could feel my stomach contract but I decided to be a heroine and bear the pain. Pain was not new to me. I felt pain when my heart was broken. I felt pain when I was told I could not attend a boarding school and I felt pain when I was left at the altar.
‘Ok then, I am off to work.’ Daniel said.
‘Bye honey.’ I said with a fake smile to hide the enormity of the pain I felt.
Four hours later, I heard myself screaming as the sharp pain had become more frequent and unbearable. There was no network on my phone and we lived in an isolated environment. The compound and the street was empty everyone had gone for their daily business.
I knew I could do it, maybe even drive the long hours to the hospital… then my water broke and at that moment I knew driving was impossible. Everywhere was wet.
‘OUCH’ ‘HELP’ ‘ANYBODY…’ HELP’ I screamed at the top of my voice.
Then something unexpected happened… My phone rang and at that point I could see the head of the baby poking me.
I screamed and went blank.