The reflection in the mirror stared her back in the face. She didn’t know if she was already beginning to lose her mind gradually. This was not what she had planned for. The wedding was coming up in a few months and this was around the time they were supposed to travel out of the country to take some time off to rest. Now, her 6’3 feet tall groom would have to be confined to a wheel chair on their wedding day.
Yeah, he had said the wheel chair was just temporary and in some months, he would not even have need for crutches that much. She remembered how frail and afraid he had looked when he held her hands and told her all that had happened. He hadn’t said it but his eyes pleaded deeply with her soul not to leave him. She knew he needed her, and she wanted to be there for him with all of her strength. But she just wished all this was a dream. Even if she nursed him back to sanity and health, he would always be an amputee. A prosthetic.
She thought about the pregnancy. She didn’t know what to do about it. She didn’t understand how something she had had so much love for, suddenly began to scare her. She wasn’t sure if she wanted this baby anymore. The problem was not wanting the baby, but wanting Femi’s baby.
“I don’t understand what’s going on with me!” Jade sighed, walking into her sister’s room.
Teni looked up at her elder sister from her laptop, and took off her reading glasses.
“What do you mean?” She replied.
Jade placed her hands on her head and began to cry.
“I don’t know what to do. Everything has changed. This was not the plan from the start!”
“Sis, it’s okay.” Teni hugged her. “We just have to deal with what we are faced with, okay? There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Their mother walked in, and shut the door quickly like she didn’t want her husband to know she was in there. She looked at Jade, who had begun to wipe the tears smeared on her face.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” Mrs. Martins asked, forgetting the reason she sneaked in.
“I’m fine. I just…” Jade started but Teni had blurted it out already.
“That is exactly why I came to talk to you.” Mrs Martins said. “I don’t know why your father wants to continue with the wedding plans o.”
Jade looked surprised, and the facial expression was identical with Teni’s. No doubt they were sisters. The semblance struck even through mere expressions.
“What do you mean?” Teni said.
“We can’t go on with this wedding. I have been thinking hard on this and you just can’t marry him. Olorun ma je! (God forbid)”
Jadesola was surprised. Her mother had always loved Femi.
“I don’t…I don’t understand…” She stuttered.
“You can’t marry him. I understand he is a nice man. But you are a young girl and I won’t let you start a marital life of liability. It is not our portion In Jesus’ name. Abi, Teniola?”
Teni shook her head, wore her bedroom slippers, and walked out. She was obviously going to talk to their father.
“Jadesola, I am your mother and I have to tell you the truth.” Mrs Martins sat on the bed beside her, and pulled her daughter closer.
“This is the time you have to save yourself a lifetime of liability. What will people say when you and him go out for events? Jade, it won’t be easy. You are a young and beautiful girl and I don’t want you to waste your opportunities. He will always be defensive and will whine and find a reason to blame you.”
“Mom, I’m confused…I can’t leave him. He is my fiancé. We have sent out wedding invites. I love him and he really needs me to stand by him at this crucial point in his life…”
Her mother had begun to say something when Jade stopped her.
“I won’t leave Femi when he needs me the most.” She said and walked out.
She dropped her Prada handbag on the burgundy couch in Femi’s living room. The space was rough and totally untidy. Yemi had left since the day Jade had insulted her, and Femi wasn’t getting as much care as he should. His gateman helped out once in a while, and she also tried to help by buying meals from Shoprite and dropping them off for him before heading for work. She knew she hadn’t been really there for him. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to. She was just so frightened and didn’t want to be reminded of what she would have to live with for the rest of her life.
She walked into his bedroom which was a lot filthier than the living room. She saw the pack of spaghetti and coleslaw she had dropped off the last time she was there; two nights ago. It was untouched.
She found him under the duvet, in the same t-shirt he had on the last time she saw him. He looked absolutely unattractive with his growing curly thick hair on his head and face.
“Femi.” She said, sitting on the bed.
He turned, opened his eyes, and gave her a weak smile. She knew he was disappointed in her with that look he gave her, but he just didn’t have the strength for nagging with all he was going through. She knew she was the one person who was supposed to be there for him. He didn’t keep many friends, and he really didn’t have anyone else, since Yemi walked away. Maybe it was high time she called Yemi and apologized.
“Baby, how are you?” He said with a very groggy voice.
The odor from his mouth was horrible.
“Femi this place is a mess.” She said.
“Yeah, I know. I would have but…I’m still tired and can’t move around. The gate man was going to clean it up.”
She looked into his eyes, and she knew the mess was an extension of what must have been going on in his mind. She couldn’t help it. She burst into tears.
“Jadesola!” He said, sitting up slowly. He wanted to pull her closer but he knew he stunk!
“It will pass. I told you already. This too shall pass.”
“Femi there’s no miracle that’s bringing back your real leg! This is forever.” She blurted out.
Femi was hurt, but he knew Jade was a spoilt girl and he liked her that way. He was the older one and had to act like it.
“I know…but nothing’s impossible…”
“Please let’s be realistic, okay. Don’t go all Teniola on me.” She said, like a defeated soldier who was trying to be defensive.
“And what if I’m going to be this way forever, Jadesola? What if I’m now a handicap? You can’t deal with it? Is that what you’re scared of? Is that why you can’t be here to take care of me? All the mess in here is because of you!” He had begun to raise his voice.
Jadesola blinked. Femi was rarely angry or upset. She opened her mouth but didn’t know how to answer his questions.
“I’ll go run you a bath.” She said and walked into the bathroom, blinking away tears forming. The stench from the toilet stained with urine nauseated her. She looked in the bathroom mirror. Her pregnancy was still weeks old. She had not told him about it yet. She didn’t know if to go ahead and tell. How would he react? Did he want to have a baby now with everything that was going on? Did she even want a baby? His baby…
She remembered all her mom had said earlier and a pregnancy was not going to make this easier.
She needed to divert her mind from all these thoughts. She took off her blouse and rolled her Capri. She needed to do some cleaning. She grabbed the Harpic on his toilet lid and poured it round the toilet. She grabbed a scrubbing brush and began to clean the bathroom, crying, trying to wash her mind blank.
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