I turned and faced away too. I was hating the person I had become. The needy person who was desperate for other people’s acceptance. I was tired of forever living in fear of finding myself homeless, of always begging people to love and welcome me. With a child growing inside of me, I stood to lose everything I was about to gain. Alex might have been a loving man, but what guarantees did I have that he was still going to stay even after hearing that I was carrying another man’s child? He was also human, and life has taught me to stop trusting those. Human beings will love and cherish you only when its beneficial for them, the minute you don’t serve them anymore, they flee. Now go ahead and judge me for not seeing the truth as an option. Go ahead and insult me for being scared of the consequences.

“Baby?” Alex softly called out. I ignored him and sniffed. “Baby, are you okay?” he asked, turning me to face him. Yes, I was crying because I was at my lowest. I was carrying a soul and I was feeling miserable about it. How was I ever going to face death in the eye by killing it? “My love, what’s going on? You’ve been sniffing for a while now, and when I turn you over, I realize that you’re crying” he asked. “I’m tired, Alex” I sniffed again. “Tired? Tired of what?” he asked. “Of this. I’m tired of the life I’m living. I’m tired of all the pain” I burst out, sitting up. “But baby, the psychiatrist…” I cut him short. “The bloody psychiatrist will not help in any way. For weeks now, I’ve been bouncing from one home to the next .. When people realize that I’m not what they want me to be, they throw me out to the streets. I’m sick of living in fear of being homeless. Now tell me, how will the psychiatrist help with that?” at that point, tears were uncontrollably flowing down my cheeks. He sat up too. “Baby, you won’t be homeless again. The worst is over, we just have to work on your mental and emotional stability now” he said. “Easy for you to say. Would you still say the same thing if I tell you now that I’m sick or pregnant?” I asked. “Baby, where’s this all coming from? Why am I being under attack like this?” he asked, deeply hit by the wave of confusion.”Its just a simple question. Why can’t you just answer and tell me that you’d kick me out right at this hour?” I responded. “Okay, that’s it” he got out of bed. He then came to pull me out of bed. “What? What are you doing?” I asked. “Come” he instructed me, putting his slippers on my feet as I was now sitting on the edge of the bed. He then pulled me up and led me out. We walked out through the backdoor and stood outside.

The sky was boldly deemed and the stars were beautifully scattered around it, with each star serving a unique purpose of providing light in its own right. The wind was softly blowing over the cheeks of the mood as it stared at us. Our trees around the yard were slowly dancing to the tune of the wind. For a moment there, I lost myself in the beauty of it all. I forgot who I was and how I felt- and just rode the wave of the beauty that nature blessed us with. I was slowly calming down, with my breathing pattern gradually returning to its normal interval. All this time, Alex was looking at me. He was looking at me like he was staring at a precious stone.

“Let’s go back in” I suggested. “Can you see those stars?” he asked, shifting his eyes from me, to the sky. “Yes, I can see them” I replied. “Each and every star there is unique. They don’t shine the same way, they might even not be the same size. What makes them all special is the fact that they all serve their purposes, regardless of their differences” he told me, looking at me again. “You may doubt your value tonight because you feel useless, but you don’t know the value you add to my life” he added. I smiled, feeling the warmth of tears as they rolled down my wind-kissed cheeks. “I’m sorry for what happened in there” I apologized. “Its okay. All I want you to know is that I’m here for you. I love you” he said. Without a word, I neared closer to him and hung on to him for a dear life. I had my head resting on his chest, listening to his heart beat as his heart hit hard against his chest. We held each other for a while. I broke the hug and looked up at him. “Thank you” I said. He silently planted a kiss on my forehead. We then walked into the house, hand in hand. Alex locked up and we went back to our room. I took off his slippers and we got into bed.

He fell asleep while we were still cuddling. I removed his arms around me, went to switch off the lights and tried falling asleep too. It was hell, insomnia had me by the balls, figuratively, obviously. The following morning, his alarm went off. I was still awake, but I pretended to be asleep. I didn’t feel like talking. He got out of bed and walked out of the room. The minute he walked out, I opened my eyes. I was still trying to come up with solutions, but none of the solutions I was coming up with proved to be worth it. His phone rang, from his bed side. I ignored it, and continued feeling sorry for myself. Alex walked back into the room, softly humming a happy song and I closed my eyes again. I assumed he was getting ready for work, as he walked up and down around the room. “Hello, how are you?” he said, clearly not talking to me. “I’m good thanks. I just saw your missed call. Is everything okay?” he asked. I listened attentively. “Oh, really? Uhm, that’s great. Thanks for letting me know.. I’m not sure yet, but I’ll get back to you during the course of the day.. Okay. Are you still suffering from insomnia? I can tell, it’s still too early to be making calls.. Okay then, we’ll talk later. Bye” he wrapped up the conversation. After a few minutes, he woke me up. “Baby?” he softly called out. I pretended to be fast asleep. “Baby?” he softly called out again, gently shaking me. I opened my eyes and looked around. “Mmhm?” I moaned as I rubbed my eyes. “Hey, I’m leaving for work” he announced. “Oh okay” I said, sitting up.. “I’ve booked you a session with your psychiatrist for 9am. Then from there, you have to check out the computer academies in town” he said. “I’ve asked Songezo to drive you around” he added. “What? No. I can take taxis around” I opposed. He looked at me. “You just got out of hospital” he said. “I know that, but what does that have to do with anything?” I asked. He sighed. “I’m really not doing this with you right now. Songezo will be here at 8:30” he said. He seemed rather annoyed. “Alex” I called out, as he was taking his bag. He looked at me. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound like an ungrateful bitch” I said .. “Its okay. Its not you” he said. “What is it then?” I asked. “We’ll talk about it later. I’ll give Songezo your number” he said, as he came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. “See you later” he said, and walked out ..

I got out of bed and went to the kitchen, to make myself something to eat .. Zizo and Chukwudi were on their way out.. They greeted and I greeted back. “How are you feeling?” Chukwudi asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m feeling good” I replied. “That’s good to hear” he said, and he took their car keys from the kitchen counter. “We’ll talk some more, later” Zizo said as they rushed out. “Bye!” I shouted behind them. Zizo’s sudden change of behaviour really confused me, but I didn’t want to get too comfortable. I made myself two eggs, a Russian and sliced a tomato and toasted my bread. I then made myself a cup of tea and ate.. When I was done, I cleaned up after myself and went to take a bath. It was a rather chilly day, so I dressed in a tracksuit, with sneakers. My phone rang, as I was trying to comb my bad hair. “Hello” I picked up. “Mandy, its Songezo. Are you ready?” he asked. “Oh, hey. Yes, I’m ready” I replied. “Okay, I’m on my way” he said. After hanging up, I went to the kitchen to make myself a bowl of cereal. By the time I was finishing up, Songezo was already outside. I placed my bowl in the sink and walked out. After locking up, I went to the car.

“Hey” I greeted as I stepped into the car.. “Hey” he greeted back. “How are you?” he asked.”I’m fine, and you?” I responded. “I’m also fine. Alex tells me you were hospitalized” he said. I nodded. “Its just stress, nothing much” I replied. We talked about general stuff for a while. As we were talking, I felt my tummy groaning. I held it tight. It was like, my insides were turning.. It all happened so fast, before I knew it, I had my vomit splashed all over myself and the car. “Whoa! What the hell?” Songezo pulled over.. “Are you okay?” he asked. I just vomited, how could he ask me that? I silently stepped out of the car.. He got out of the car too.. I didn’t know what to do, my outfit was ruined. He came to me with a cloth. “Here, use this” he said, giving me the cloth. I tried wiping the vomit off, but with no luck. “What are we going to do?” he asked me. “I’m sorry, Songezo. I don’t know what’s wrong with me” I apologized, with tears filling my eyes. “Its okay, please don’t cry Mandy” he said. “I’m such a mess. Now how am I going to attend my session looking like this?” I cried so hard. “Mandy.. Please don’t do this, dude” Songezo said. “Do what?” I looked at him. “This is no train smash, we can go back home and get you cleaned up” he replied. “We’re going to be late. Alex pays for these sessions, I can’t keep missing them” I panicked. “Okay.. Let me call him and see if he can’t do anything” he suggested.. He went and stood further away from me while with Alex on the phone. When he was done, he came back to stand next to me. “Alex says he can’t reschedule, because the guy is fully booked for the day and its important for you to go there” he told me. “But, did you tell him that I’m covered in vomit?” I asked, wiping my tears. “Mandy, please take off this track top. We’ll get water somewhere and you will use it to wipe yourself and the car properly. For now, let’s get you to that session” he said, getting into the car. I took off my track top and got into the car too. He opened all his windows and sped off.

It was already 9am when we got there, so I just rushed in.. During the session, I tried opening up. It wasn’t easy, but I was willing to try. “So, since you never really told me about yourself, can we start there today?” he asked. I uncomfortably cleared my throat. “Relax, its just you and I here. Everything you say here will remain within these walls. I don’t mean to brag, but i have very disciplined walls” he said, smiling at me. I laughed. “No, seriously. These walls are well trained on keeping secrets. Just sit back and relax, let’s have a conversation” he suggested. After the session, I walked out. Songezo wasn’t in the waiting room, so I went to the bathroom, to get myself cleaned up. I got there and took off all my clothes and was left with a bra. I used my track top to wipe the vomit off my track pants with hot soapy water. I then dried my track pants under the hand dryer. My T-shirt wasn’t affected, so I put it back on. I took my wet track top and walked out with it.. Songezo was still not there. I sent Alex a please call me and when he called, I asked him to tell Songezo I was done. Songezo arrived shortly. “Hey, sorry about that. I took the car to the car wash” he explained. I nodded. “Its okay” I responded. We went to the car and drove off..

We finally found the computer academy that I liked. We took a brochure and he took me home. We got home and he parked outside. “I’m sorry for what happened this morning” I apologized. “Its okay, I understand. Your man just has to pay for the car wash” he jokingly said. We laughed. “I have to go then. Thanks for everything” I said. “Its a pleasure man. See you around” he replied. I stepped out of the car and walked into the house. It was such a long day. I went to take a quick bath and changed into a pair of shorts, with the same T-shirt. I went to the living room and switched the TV on, hanging my feet on the coffee table as I watched whatever was playing.

Later, Alex arrived from work. I was so happy to see him. Boredom was feasting on me. He greeted and I greeted back. “Thank God you’re back” I said. He laughed as he came to give me a quick perk on the lips. “Why?” he asked. “Boredom. I was bored out of my skull” I replied and he laughed some more. He sat down, right next to me. “How are you feeling? Songezo told me what happened” he asked. “I’m fine. I think I had a little too much to eat” I replied. “Mmhm.. And how was your session?” he asked. “It was great. We also went to a couple of computer academies in town. Look!” I took the brochure from the coffee table and showed him. “Oh, okay. I’ll check it out properly later. The session…”I cut him short. I didn’t want to talk about my session. ” Songezo said you should pay the the money he used to get his car washed” I said, laughing at the top of my voice. He smiled. I directed the conversation to where I wanted it to go.. We chatted on my terms for a while. His phone rang, and he picked up. When he was done on the phone, he hung up. “That was Chukwudi. He’s asking me to prepare dinner because they are going to a church meeting” he explained, getting up. “I’ll help you” I said, getting up too. “No, its okay” he said. We argued about it for a while, until I gave up. I only went to the kitchen to keep him company. He wore an apron and started peeling some veggies. “Baby, I forgot to tell you, my ex called” he said. “Your ex?” I asked. “Yes, my pregnant ex” he explained. I nodded. “She was asking me to tag along, to the next visit for the scan and everything” he said. I felt my heart, skipping. “And what did you say?” I asked. “I told her I’ll get back to her” he replied. “I see. So are you going to tag along?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders. “Believe me, I wish I didn’t have to” he replied. “Okay” I replied “You know, Mandy.. I don’t know how I got myself into this mess” he said.. “Mess? Why are you calling it a mess?” I asked. “I mean, I’m not ready for this. I love kids, and I want to be a good father to my kids one day. I am just not ready to be a father now. The thought of bringing a life to this messed up situation kills me. I want my kids to all grow up under one roof. I also have my parents to explain this whole thing to. They are going to kill me and I am really not ready for that” he explained. “You need to make peace with your current situation, over your ideal situation” I said. “Yes. I will try by all means to be a good father, but I’m making a vow to myself to never have another child until we both have our careers going well and fully established, and ready to tie the knot” he said. I cleared my throat.. “What if I want a child?” I asked. “No, you will not get one. Go back to school, build your career, take care of your brother, get married and then you can have a baby” he replied. “Babies are demanding, baby. Our lives would practically revolve around that baby. We are still very young, with our futures ahead of us. Let’s succeed in our careers and get married first” ….