“Ouch!” I winced as the petite dark nurse pricked my index finger.
She pressed my thumb and held a testing strip to collect the blood that swam out. She set the strip down on the table between us and handed me a dry cotton wool to hold to my finger.
The smell of medicine in the Laboratory made me feel nauseous. I had been throwing up since I found out I was pregnant three months ago.
“How long is it going to take?” I inquired of her.
“Not long, but you can go out into the waiting room, I will send your result along with the other tests to the doctor’s office”
“Okay” I said and lifted my body up from the chair and began to walk out of the chilly laboratory.
My phone beeped in my handbag, hanging down my left shoulder. I looked around and sighted a dustbin besides the laboratory door, I threw the used cotton wool inside, dipped my hand into my bag and withdrew my phone, it was my husband calling.
I swiped the answer button and placed the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I spoke into the handset while clutching the door handle and pulling it open.
“Baby how is it going?” He asked.
“Fine o” I answered, stepping into the hallway and shutting the door behind me. “They just took my blood now” I halted besides the door.
“Ehn, it’s a requirement for the ante-natal registration”
“En ehn? So what are they checking for? What do you think?”
“Sugar level, infections, this one we just did now is HIV..” The other end went silent. “Hello? babe, hello?”
“Y-y-yeah I’m here”
“I couldn’t hear you again”
“Sorry, must have been network”
“Okay. How’s Ceecee? Hope she is not disturbing you too much o”
“When will the result be out?” His question made me blush at how caring he was.
“Today o, soon sef”
“Okay, hope you are good though”
“Yeah, how about you, have you eaten?”
“Yes I have, I’m just watching cartoon with Ceecee now..”
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you”
“Really, what is it?..”
“Madam abeg excuse me” A patient said to me as she approached the laboratory door
“Sorry” I responded to her, stepping further aside. “Babe, what is it?” I resumed conversation with my husband.
“Don’t worry, when you get home. Just know that I love you and I cannot live without you”
“Awwwhhnn, babe, you’re just making me blush anyhow..”
“I mean it”
“I know, I love you too”
“Alright, see you in a bit.”
“Hope the money you have will cover everything?”
“Oh yeah, it should”
“Let me know if it doesn’t”
“Okay, I will.”
I listened to him hang up and I withdrew my phone from my ear and walked to sit amongst the other pregnant women waiting to see the doctor. I found an empty chair between two heavily pregnant looking women.
“Doh” I greeted as I sat down on the empty plastic chair. My stomach was barely showing, I had one of those stomachs that stayed relatedly moderate in size, even at nine Months pregnant, when I was heavy for Ceecee, I looked only five Months pregnant..
“Chinansa Nnamadi” I heard the nurse call my name.
I jerked up from the chair. “Yes?!”
“Doctor go see you now”
“Okay” I said, picking up by handbag and hanging it down my shoulder.
I moved quickly towards the doctor’s office, thankful that I came to the hospital really early, otherwise, I would have still been on a long queue.
I clutched the door handle and pushed the door open.
I stepped into the moderate space, closed the door after myself and trudged forward into the room to the doctor’s table.
“Good morning Doc”
“Good morning, please sit” he gestured to the chair besides me.
“Thank you doc” I said as I sat, smiling politely.
“How do you feel?”
“Nauseous” I chuckled. “I throw up everyday”
“Sorry about that, it’s expected” He said, fidgeting his pen over my card before him. “Madam, I have your test results here with me..”
“Okay” I smiled, sitting up straight.
“Your blood pressure is fine, your sugar level is okay too….but..”
“What doc?” I frowned, when he won’t speak.
“I’m sorry but the HIV tests came back positive..”
“…this is just the first test, “ he continued. “we will schedule you for a confirmatory test”
“Which confirmation? What are you talking about? Who has HIV?” my eyes were narrowed at this point, brows furrowed and body leaning forward.
“Shock is a usual reaction in situations like this..”
“Which kind of shock? Who is shocked? What are you saying?!” I felt heat begin to rise up within me, accompanied by an instant urge to pee.
“Madam you are in shock and it is understandable but let’s do a rerun of this test, it may come out negative, it may not, but whatever the case, they is a ….”
I blacked out.
I was staring at him, bug-eyed, lips apart, tears gathering at the corner of my eyes, I couldn’t believe it.
I had stayed faithful to Joseph for the past five and a half years of our marriage, so this wasn’t from me, it definitely wasn’t from me.
But, could Joseph have cheated on me? He was a good husband, we had a great sex life, hardly argued except for the years we were trying to conceive after having Ceecee, but, we always worked things out, we talked it over, every time, in spite of it’s consistency, so what could have made him cheat?
He didn’t seem like someone who cheats – he was dedicated, loved me, came home on time, told me he enjoyed making love to me, what possibly… how could this possibly be….happening? Or could I have gotten this due to an infected needle at the salon?
I thought I was in a dream.
“Madam, madam!” I felt the Doctor tapping my arm.
I shut my mouth, blinked my tickling eyes, and the tears came running freely.
“Madam, put yourself together,” He was bending forward over the table, his palm on my hand “It’s not the end of the world”
I watched him sit back in his chair, pick up his pen and begin to scribble something on my card. “I’m referring you for a second….”
Ghostly, I picked up my handbag which had slipped from my laps to the floor and I hadn’t bothered to pick up because I was too shocked to bother about a bag when my life was falling apart.
I rose from the chair, and turned towards the door.
“Madam, “ the doctor called as I began to stroll towards the door. “Excuse me, madam?”
I turned the door knob and walked out of the room, all so slowly, not bothering to shut the door after myself.
The doctor came out after me, but I didn’t stop moving forward, slowly, like I was half asleep.
The nurses heard the doctor calling me and tried to stop me, but I heard the doctor discourage them
“Leave her alone” he said. “Just leave her”
I walked out of the hospital, feeling nothing but shock.
My driver who had driven me to the hospital sighted me and brisk walked to the car, he held the door open for me.
I got in.
“Madam, everything dey okay?”
My eyes were staring in the atmosphere, tears streaming down freely.
“Madam you dey okay?” The concerned middle aged man asked.
I shot him a side look, full of daggers and he quickly bowed away from the door, closed it shut and got into the driver’s seat.
The ignition came alive and the car began to reverse out of the premises.
I wasn’t thinking at that moment, my head was blank, except for one clear thought – to get home and confront Joseph.
He better not be the reason why I was four months pregnant and HIV positive!
The car drove fast on the Ikeja tiled road and anger began to brew in my heart.
The shock I felt metamorphosed into a vexation that was making it hard for me to breath.
‘How dare Joseph’, I thought to myself, ‘How dare him?!’ After giving him my love and devotion, this is how he chooses to pay me back? With lies, adultery and a HIV virus? As if the adultery was not bad enough, how dare he?!
“Kunle drive this car fast abeg!” I scolded the driver, wiping forcefully at the tears on my cheek .
My right leg began to shake and I put my left hand to my waist.
Joseph better have a good explanation today, this better be the fault of a needle or razor or something!
As if the traffic understood my plight, we arrived at the house twenty two minutes later.
“Honnnnnnkkkk” went the sound of the horn at the gate. “Honnk Hoonnnkk”
Our lanky gateman slid the heavy black gate open and the driver drove into the compound.
The car had barely pulled up into the car park when I jumped down from the car, leaving my handbag behind.
I brisk walked, then almost began to race to the front door .
I jacked the door knob, turned it and pushed the door open..
To be Continued….
Written by OGBUGOH TERUNDU JOY.