Half is All it Takes Episode 1

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HALF IS ALL IT TAKES I by 

Engee Mbah

Dept -Radiography 

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If this had been a nollywood flick, it would be one of those moments where you hear those awful sounds that go, ‘tan daaah…’ or something like that. I stare at my friend Stella, as her words ring again and again in my mind as though someone was holding the repeat button steadily. She keeps looking at me to say something but I am like a fish fresh out of water, with my mouth opening and closing, and no words coming out.

“You should know better than to ask me that.” I manage. She gives a shrug.

“You never can tell. People do things you don’t expect, when you least expect.” She says.

“Trust me, the only way I could be pregnant is if they have started catching it in water.” I tell her. 

“I am just saying, these are the symptoms o. Tender breasts, sleeping all the time and all that.” She replies.

“Abegi, leave that one. It is not possible.” I say. Of course, it is not possible. I have never had sexual intercourse. It has to be something else.

“I had to ask now. And you know, your guy visited recently. May be, terms were renegotiated.” She says. The smile on her face tells me she’s mostly teasing, albeit a tad serious.

“It is still a no sex relationship.” I insist.

“Hmmm. He’s a good guy o. My own boyfriend will not even hear of that kind of thing. I wouldn’t even know how to have a no-sex relationship, self.” She tells me. Sometimes, I wonder how I am friends with her. We are like two parallel lines, different. Still, she is my best friend. Irrespective of how she lives, she would be the first person to tell me to not have sex with anyone. Crazy, but she doesn’t take her own advice. Since we became friends, she has dated three people aside from the guy she is dating now and I am sure they were not chaste relationships. Oftentimes,I wonder how she does it. How could she go to the same church with me, minister in the choir, serve as sister’s coordinator in our campus fellowship, ‘kabash’  with the prayer warriors and still comfortably fornicate? It is amazing to me. Sometimes, I envy her that lack of guilt. After a few seconds though, my head usually corrects and the envy dissipates. 

“That’s not the kind of life one should envy.” I would tell myself, sounding much like my mother. It’s scary how sometimes, I can see her in me, in my actions, in my words, when she’s the very last person I want to be like.

“You missed lecture again, this morning.” She changes the subject.  I yawn, wondering why I am hungry when I just ate a few minutes ago.

“Bone that one, babe. I was very tired.” I tell her. She gives me a strange look.

“You were too tired to come for an eight a.m lecture?” She asks, incredulous.

“What did you do all night?” She wants to know.

“Nothing o. I slept. But when I woke up, I was tired, so, I just decided to fashi the lecture.” I reply. She claps her hand together.

“Hehehe! Serious student like you. You that used to come for seven a.m lecture by six a.m, and you wonder why I asked if you could be pregnant.” She responds. This her pregnancy talk is starting to agitate me.

“Leave that pregnancy matter, abeg. Make we talk other things.” I tell her. Obviously, reading my mood right, she changes the topic. I am one of those people who are prone to drastic mood swings. Very few people can keep up, and she is one of them. We talk about a lot of other things, mostly happenings in school, church and fellowship. After a few hours, I am ready to leave. My stomach is churning, not minding that I fed it only a short while ago. I have been eating too much recently.

“Stella, Let me go to my hostel, abeg.” I say, rising from the plastic chair I had been sitting on. She rises from her mattress and sees me to the door.

“Okay, then. We will see tomorrow. If you like, don’t come for lecture.” She says. I don’t reply as I leave and head home. My hostel is only ten minutes away from hers.

As soon as I enter my room, I open my cupboard and pull out the pot of jollof rice that I made in the morning. I dish some into a plate and relax on my bed to mollify my churning belly.

After this, I pick up a Harlequin intrigue novel I borrowed from a classmate. I start reading it and quickly get lost in the plot; that is until I get to the part where the heroine gets pregnant from letting the hero ejaculate on the outside of her vagina, basically just on her labia, I think. But, it’s just fiction, right? One actually has to have sexual intercourse to get pregnant, I think.

I continue reading the story. Then, I begin to get worried. I drop the novel and pick up my phone. I decide to ask Google, just so my mind can rest. The answers I get, though, cause my blood pressure to sky rocket. I quickly rush to my calendar on the wall opposite my bed. I am late! I am never late. My period should have come twelve days ago. 

With hands atop my head, I walk away from the calendar, as though in a trance.

“My mother is going to kill me.” This is all I can think. It runs steadily through my mind. I think of the different ways she will kill me. The options are variable, butchering, rat poison, otapiapia, by hanging, strangulation or just plain flog me to death.

My father will disown me. The church board back home will suspend me. My entire home church will whisper every time I pass. I remember something my Sunday school teacher used to say all the time, when I was younger.

“Once is all it takes. Just once and you can ruin your life.” She would say. In my own case, it only took half; no, quarter. I didn’t even do the deed. It was just dry humping, albeit without barrier. Not that I am making light of it. It’s probably just as bad in the sin-o-meter, if there’s such a thing. My conscience disturbed me for long. But, it doesn’t deserve so big a consequence. A lot of married people are trying to get pregnant without success and here, the universe is giving people who don’t want it. God just wants to punish me, I conclude. I worry about the repercussions for almost an hour, then I pick up my phone and dial Stella’s number.

It takes her a while to pick up.

“Nne, show, abeg.” I say.

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