Dead men tell no tales but sometimes they just might. There are shameful deeds we do in the name of love that sometimes when we have outgrown them, we look back and ask ourselves, were they indeed necessary? I won’t live to see the sun. Tomorrow may come and will find me gone. It’s okay. Something tells me that I tried. That all was not in vain. That even though I won’t live to see the smile of my day old daughter, who by now is nestled in the arms of her mother; who is cursing out while crying as two nurses take her from her arms to help them inside the ambulance; I’m regrettably certain, that with sadness, her mom will tell her about this day. She will come to this place where I last saw the blurry vision of her. The place where my dreams got soaked in the soil. I’m lying down in a myriad of confusion as my breath is coalesced with dust minced with blood that oozed from the spaces left behind by my broken tooth. Slowly, regaining my senses, I hear voices chanting. “Kill him. Burn him.” There is a sharp pain on my spine and I know that another blow is about to fall. If it is true that in the moment of death whether natural, suicidal or murder, someone often think about the person they love the most and not the danger that befall them, then perhaps I could have loved Denise more than anything I ever owned.
But before we get there…
I’ve just been fired from my own company. A baby is due on the way. There is a pregnant girl waiting for me to get home, I don’t love her. I love another. I’m seated in a park, staring at the empty benches waiting for the worst to happen. Because when luck evades you what is it that you can do? When fate is not in my hands and destiny abandons me, what more can I do? So I sit there, locking those who ever cared out. I’m in a glass castle and everybody stretches their hands, but I dissuade them. Nothing means anything to me. Afraid to go home, staring at the tree branches, sunlight cascading through. Hoping for some blissful abyss. I can't go home, I really can't go home, and I sit there, staring blankly at hues of the melancholies that brew. The girl that awaits me in the house, I cannot stare at her twice. She does not give me the chills my babe used to give me. She was a one night stand, during a lonely night when I found her loosely clasped, then I whispered unto her and allowed me to take her in. For infidelity’s sake, it was just a simple one night stand that made her miss her periods like typos, and she knew I was the daddy. Even though I had doubts of my own, she now sits in my house painting her nails, waiting for me, so we can make dinner. Waiting for me to get back so we could talk about baby names. Waiting for me so I may speak to the baby, maybe the baby would kick in her womb on the sound of my voice. So she can get to know me more. So she can tell me more about her. About her past, her present, and the future, not forgetting how the baby makes her feel.
Going back home to her is not one of my favorite parts. To me, what’s inside her womb means nothing but just a mistake that should forget quickly. She was a random girl easy to get along with. Maybe too easy to toy around with. 8 months ago. The baby was not made out of love but out of sheer malignant desire of lust. A moment of weakness. It’s so tauntingly amazing how we have learnt to call something so beautiful, something that’s meant to be sacrosanct, to be casual. For when she called Jill was beside me. She overheard the phone convo, and the question she asked of was, “Phill, is it true?” I was held bent there on the couch, looking away, shrugging as if I was trying to recall 8 months ago. “Maybe, I do not know.” It was true. She found out. She said, “If she is pregnant, we both cannot be.” She left and left me to deal with it. For she wouldn’t keep me when another needed me more. She wouldn’t keep me while I was going to father another woman’s child. I tried persuading her. Trying to keep tears away from her eyes. I said I loved her, she called me a liar. For if indeed I loved her then why spew my seeds into another woman’s bowels?
There is a girl waiting for me in the house with a baby bump, while I am seated in a park trying to call Jill. Trying to get her back. I am sending texts, “Jill, can we at least talk??” but Jill does not want to talk. Jill does not want to put up with me. The girl in the house lies there, her stomach crumping and all that. She aches, and lies silently sobbing, clutching on the pillow, holding them so hard, knowing that any minute from then I'll come home, and I'll take her to a health care Centre. She holds on as she wrings in agony. But I do not show up. I’m trying to call Jill, but Jill keeps on hanging up. The girl reaches to her phone and dials. I see the incoming call expecting to be Jill, realizing that it’s not her, I duck it with a side snare. She calls again and it's all the same. Thrice, four times and even more, and it's all the same. I’m thinking about Jill. And the mistake I did 8 months ago. Before I sigh even more, a text comes through, it reads, "Phill, please, come home it hurts, and I need your help...” But in that moment I do not care. I’m trying to act cold so that she can leave. When she leaves I’ll be thinking about getting Jill back to the house. Why the hell won’t she leave me alone? Can’t she find somewhere else?
So after hour’s had elapsed, let's say 2 hours or even more, I got up and headed home with a heavy head, and a broken heart. Jill didn't come through. As I get to the house, I find the door opened ajar. Making my way in, I notice spots of blood on the floor. I stand aside, turning around to see if someone is behind. There is no one. As I tiptoe in, I call out her name, "Sam..?" Silence, "Samantha...?" But she doesn't respond. On the bed there's blood too, it's all messy, the pillow cases are thrown on the floor, Samantha's phone lies on the floor as well, there's no sign of her. And I am not even scared. I am thinking she just bled a bit, then chose to leave to a friend. Somehow the thought gives me relief. Finally I am free.
"What sort of a man are you? You’re getting other people’s daughter pregnant when you can’t care for them??" A feminine voice bursts through my ears like a sound produced from a barrel of a gun, disrupting my thoughts, as I turn to look, I find her standing on the doorstep, a grown woman, who is my next door neighbor. Before saying anything, she rattles me, " Don't you have shame boy!? Your girlfriend has been taken to the hospital, and you better head there right now or I will make you regret knowing me!"
I didn't even think, didn't even blink, I find myself in a matatu heading to the hospital. Because life has drastically changed and there’s nothing else to think about, nothing else to do. At exactly 11:30pm I get to the hospital's receptionist, trying to find out if Samantha was brought in. She confirms that indeed she was brought in hours ago, and directs me to some sort of a maternity ward. I get there and no emotions is ridden on my face. I’m just lukewarm, like I have dead cells. A doctor dressed in a white lab coat and round glasses that gives her that serious doctor-ish gaze, with a stethoscope dangling on her neck approaches me.
“Excuse me, a woman was brought in here moments ago, can I see her? Is she okay?”
“What’s the woman’s name and who are you to her?”
“Her name is Samantha and she is carrying my child”
“Ooh I see. You’ll have to wait for a while.”
The doc says that I can't see her any moment from now, till tomorrow. I ask why, she tells me some sort of labor pains and reasons that I wasn’t ready for. Things that I have no interest to hear. So I decide to wait as I sleep in the waiting area. To be sincere with you, I have no idea what I am doing in the waiting area. To begin with, the idea of being a father has never been ideal to me, more so if it’s with a girl I do not fancy. Crazy, right? I am wondering as well what could be the probable reason to my stay in this facility waiting for someone that I consider to have ruined my life with Jill. But there is a baby coming to birth and I do not know what schemes my mind has plotted. Won’t this girl get well so I can take her back to wherever she came from?
“Good morning, are you Phill?”
My thoughts comes to halt when I hear an unfamiliar voice only to realize I have been sleeping in the waiting area and surprised the same how time has elapsed. I slowly open my eyes only for my gaze to set on a nurse, with a furtive kindly smile on her lips.
"morning too, yes I am Phill...” I reply back as I get on my feet.
"Your presence is required in ward room 6." The nurse walks off immediately after relaying the information. Hazily I make strides to the room, where I find a doctor holding up a baby, effortlessly trying to quiet it down to no vain. The doctor notices me from our earlier encounter, and comes towards me, with the baby crying, "Hello, Samantha, right? You are the father?"
I mumble some words, it's inaudible, some sort of a-yes-no-I don't know-, kind of an answer. But before it comes out clear, the doc gives me the baby. Unsure, I stretch out my hands to hold it. I feel uncomfortable, but as soon as I hold it in my arms and pull it close, the baby feels comfortable, it quiets down, all the cries fades, and it brings tears to my eyes, the doc stares so ardently at the two of us, she says, "that's what we call the magic of a father...." and in that sane moment, as I stare at what I helped bring to life, smiling with all these tears budding, finally I gather enough courage to say. "Yes, I'm the father". It feels so good for the first time.
"It's a baby girl by the way, her mom chose to name her Denise. Denise Phillips...”
"Hello Denise, nice to meet you. “ I say while smiling, "can I see the mother...?”
Silence, the doctor and the nurse exchange looks.
As written by Phill Ibsen
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