Neighborhood stories

A trip down town

       They say first love is true love. It could be said to be true for most people.

      K dogg was a player; one of the best in the neighborhood. His enchanting skills on girls earned him the nickname “Ronaldinho” among his peers. His sluggish stride brought an aura of classiness to his personality that matched his charming brown eyes. He had great skin texture, shinning, which announced he came from a wealthy home—even without expensive clothes.

     Lami was a hidden beauty. Her friends said you would have to look at her twice to really appreciate her features. Perhaps it was because she didn’t like to wear much make up. Lami, 18, was waiting to write her second final exams and say goodbye to secondary school uniforms for good. She, more than anything, wanted to escape her current peers. She intended to go to a university far away. To start over; to make new, like-minded friends.

     K dogg and Lami met at her friend’s birthday party. Like most things, Lami felt like she was dragged to the party. “Promise me there won’t be disrespectful boys there” she demanded before she finally agreed to go with her friends. The house party was well organized and beautifully decorated. There were fewer boys invited. Lami didn’t like that. The girls would be competing for boys and there would be a lot of gossip from girls without a guy beside them.

      “Mingle. Make new friends… Especially with boys” her friend Lee said, getting up to dance with her boyfriend. Lee loved the attention her backside drew and she shook it the best way she knew how. Lami was enjoying Lee’s moves when her view was blocked by someone, standing in front of her.

     “Would you like to dance?” A voice asked, over her head. She raised her gaze up to it. The face held a tempting smile and enticing eyes. She looked away to her side, both sides; there was no one.

     “I’m sorry, I didn’t introduce myself” he said, placing his right hand on his chest. “They called me K dogg. Ah… Would you like to dance?”

     “Sure” she said, though she wasn’t sure.

     Lami’s dance moves were basic; she didn’t get much practice he might have thought. He leaned toward her and asked for her name. Lami was barely 5ft, K dogg was at least a foot taller than her. He seemed to like it, bending his neck to look at her. After a while, he asked her if they should step out for a drink. She agreed, thanking God in her heart that he asked.

     “I felt like everyone was watching me in there” she said, walking to a bench outside.

     “That’s because you’re the most beautiful girl in the party” he said, a step behind her. He didn’t need to see her face to know that she was smiling.

     He handed her a drink as they sat on the wooden bench. She continued the conversation saying Lee was better looking and danced better than her. He insisted she was better looking but later conceded her friend was a better dancer. She joked, saying honesty wasn’t so bad after all. He was always honest he said. They talked about honesty in boys or a lack of it; about trust and other issues in a relationship. They talked until the party was over. He walked her to their car, Lee was waiting in it.

     “I didn’t get your number” he said, closing the distance between them. Close enough for their bodies to touch, hoping not to give her room to think. She typed it into his phone. He gave her a peck on a chin and said he’ll call.

                                     ***

     They were quiet for a while in the car.

      “You and K dogg huh? Nice” Lee said smiling, breaking the silence. “Pretty bold move back there; giving a peck after just meeting you, don’t you think?”

     “I know right? He is so confident… The funny thing is I like that about him”

     “You should be careful, that guy is real player” Lee said.

     “I know what I’m doing. Besides, you’re the one that wanted me to have new male friends”

      “I’m just saying, don’t go catching any feelings for the guy that’s all. He’ll hurt you”.

     Lami muttered a few words in agreement but emphasized that she knew what she was doing. Lee wished she could believe that Lami knew what she was doing—but she has been there before. Three years ago she was innocent, never done it before, getting into relationships. Finding love; trying to fall in love. A year later, she experienced her first heart break. Her boyfriend left her for a university girl.

     Lee thought the relationship wouldn’t last long. She figured if Lami was not willing to be with K dogg all the way, he would leave her. And if she did give him what he wanted, he would move on. If not that, Lami could catch him cheating. Whatever it was, Lee gave ‘the thing’ between them one month.

     To Lee’s surprise, K dogg was apparently more patient than she thought. Two months passed and they were still going strong. Rumor had it he stopped seeing other girls after their first month together. If he was, he was being clever about it. And with Lami, he didn’t go further than she was comfortable with.

     Perhaps that was his plan. To make it her idea to want it. For every kiss or foreplay exacted more pressure on her to feel and enjoy what her friends had probably experienced. To lose the burden of being intact; and to explore the hyped secrets of her feminine body. To be able to talk about these things too when her peers are talking about it. K dogg felt this plan working, for they went a little further every other time.

      They went a little further on K dogg’s birthday party, behind the closed door of his folk’s guest room. K dogg sensed her hunger for it, and her frustration of not having it. He told her he loved her and she was the best birthday present he could ever have. She let him have her. In its awkwardness as her first experience, she found an intimacy she never felt before. A bond beyond just their bodies. She loved him. Now she was sure.

       Lami began to sneak out of the house to meet him more often. Most times they just talked. She felt she knew him and he knew her. She opened up to him, about her feelings, her ambitions, everything.

     Lee kept a close eye on the relationship. Perhaps curious to see how it would end, or maybe she simply marveled at how it managed to survive. This keen eye made her suspect it, that Lami might be pregnant. As her friend, she had to share her suspicions with her. Lami wasn’t happy about it. But even with her limited knowledge of such things, she reasoned with her friend and agreed to take a pregnancy test.

                                                       ***

      Lami could not be seen taking the test. She wished there was a device she could just piss into for the test like in the movies. However, Lee was resourceful. She had a guy who worked at the government owned neighborhood clinic. All Lami needed to do was give the guy her morning urine in a container. The guy would then give it to another guy in lab, who would run the test off books. They would get the result after working hours. By the evening of the day she gave her urine, it was confirmed that Lami was pregnant, and she had a result to prove it.

      Lami’s first thought was defensive, her parents could never find out about it. They would kill her if they didn’t die of shame and humiliation first. They raised her to behave well, and were strict on her to make sure of it.

     “What am I going to do?” She asked Lee, sobbing. “How can I explain this to anyone?”

     Lee was silent for a while, not knowing what to say, then she told her to call K dogg.

     K dogg met them at Lee’s house. They sat, facing each other, on two of three plastic chairs in the garden. He sat between them. Lami was still crying. He reached out, held her hand to his lap and inquired what happened. She told him. K dogg froze; it has never occurred to him that such a thing could happen. Trust betrayed him. K dogg trusted her; he knew he was the only one she had been with. When the condom broke during his first time with her, it didn’t bother them. He trusted her to be clean and she trusted him too. Now he wondered why they didn’t consider this possible. Did they feel there had to be some planned out effort by a willing couple before it happened?

     “My parents cannot find out about this” he said, breaking the silence. “My life will be over”.

     “What are we going to do, K dogg?” Lami asked. To this, everyone was silent again.

     “What if you don’t have to tell anyone about?” Lee broke in. “What if you can quietly flush out the pregnancy?”

     When spoken out loud, Lami found the suggestion unsettling though she had been considering it deep down, since she saw the result.

     Lami knew she could not keep the pregnancy. Lami’s eyes met K dogg’s. She sensed a hint of hope in them. He entertained the suggestion as some hope that they might get out of the situation with the least possible trouble. Lami asked Lee, at length, how she could get an abortion without anyone noticing. Her mom was a nurse. Even if they could some how bribe and convince any hospital to do it without paper work, someone was bound to recognize her.

       Lee told them she knew a guy down town. He owned a small drug store but he knew how to get rid of a pregnancy. Hers would be an easy procedure. It was only a few weeks old. Lee knew girls who went to him and did it safely. There was a certain girl who had a five months old pregnancy removed by him. All the big girls in the neighborhood knew him.

     After a two days, Lami called her friend and told her she wanted to see him, “the doctor”.

                                                 ***

      The doctor’s drugs shop was smaller than Lami expected. It had wooden shelves on the walls which held the few drugs on display. The shop, painted white, had an inner room demarcated with plywood. The tight room served as both store and patient’s room. It was where he administered injections to patients.

     Lee explain the situation to the doctor.

     “This is very easy, madam. This is her first time and it’s only a few weeks old? Easy” the doctor said. “It’ll be over before you know it”.

     Lee turned and give Lami a reassuring smile. K dogg was speechless, detached, perhaps praying to God for the nightmare to be over. Lami still couldn’t believe what was happening. It felt like a bad dream she was trying hard to get out of. The doctor said a few tablets were enough to get the job done. She would, however, stay an hour or two for him to examine her as the tablets performed their magic.

     The tablets were yellow, red and white, in different sizes. Lami split them into two and swallowed one part after the other with water. The doctor spread a rubber-woven mat for her, in the inner room, and asked her to get some rest.

     Lami lay on the mat, staring at the unpainted plywood ceiling, nervously waiting for what was to come.

     It began as a benign contraction in her stomach. Lami fidgeted in displeasure. She moaned, turning to her side. Then it escalated, fast, just as it spread to her womb—causing her to snap her fingers in pain. Then the contractions became unbearable. She cried out in excruciating pain. It felt like her womb was laundry being squeezed out to dry. She shouted in agony.

     Lee and K dogg, standing by the door, rushed to the doctor. He examined her and assured them it was normal. He suggested she was a pampered child who was not used to a little pain. “Don’t worry, it will soon come out… Any time now” he said.

     Lami felt a stream of liquid, coming out of her. It wet her underwear and began to drip on the rubber-woven mat, red, escaping slowly through the tiny gaps of the weaving. She felt like her entire abdomen was on fire. “I told you it will come out soon. see?” He said, smiling. Only the doctor found any of it normal or exciting.

      The red liquid kept flowing. It remained on the mat after a while, as if the floor under it had had enough. Or perhaps it somehow found a way to clot.

      The doctor checked her underwear, the stain was dark red—darker than he expected. He said it should have stopped. Lami was weak, not moving too much. Her screams were reduced back to moans. She was bleeding profusely. The doctor rushed to a flask, emptied the hot water in it into a small bucket and added two full spoons of salt to it. He stirred it and threw bandages into it. He pulled her dress up to the waist and removed her pants. He began to wash her, using one of the bandages as sponge. The bleeding didn’t stop. The doctor dressed her the best way he could and told them the bleeding will soon stop. Within five minutes the three bandages had turned red, dripping blood. 

     The doctor’s uneasiness became apparent.

     “Who has a blood group of O+?” He asked Lee and K dogg.

     “I do,” K dogg said, confused. “Why?”

     “She needs a transfusion” the doctor said, pacing to get some things.

      Lami couldn’t make a sound, barely moving her hands. Lee began to sob. K dogg held back his own tears, trying to stay calm. His voice failed him and when he spoke, it was of despair and fear. He asked the doctor how was he going to test the blood before transfusing it; would it work?

      “It seems you don’t appreciate how serious this is” the doctor replied angrily. “You are responsible for this…Whatever you think you might have; she already has it.”

       K dogg sat on a stool beside Lami. The doctor inserted a cannula into his lower arm and wired it directly into Lami’s. The bleeding was as weak as its host, no longer gushing.

                                                ***

     Lami lost consciousness. “No, no, no, no… She needs to stay awake” the doctor cried. Lee shook her dying friend, crying. K dogg couldn’t move. Perhaps he was weak because he’d lost too much blood too or because of his helpless despair. A light bulb came alight. Electricity had been restored. As if it renewed his energy, the doctor ran outside and came back with an electric wire. He plugged it into the nearest socket and approached them.

    “What are you doing?” Lee asked.

     “I’m trying to bring her back”.

      “What? Are you crazy?”.

      The doctor stopped the transfusion.

      Before she could protest further he poked Lami’s toe with the naked tip of the wire. The leg twitched a little. Lee stopped him when he wanted to poke Lami again.

     “To hell with this… I’m taking her to the hospital. And you’re going to help me carry her to the car” Lee burst out.

       The doctor and K dogg helped carry Lami into the car. In the back seat, he reconnected the transfusion. Lami resting her head on K dogg’s laps. Lee started the car in an aggressiveness that spoke of the race ahead.

     The doctor mechanically closed his shop, the first step to his exodus.

      In the car, Lee called a nurse, screaming into her phone, crying.

     “Mama Lami, it’s me, Lee. We’re coming to the hospital. Lami… Your daughter… It’s an emergency”.

                                                    *** 

     Lami spent more than eight hours in the ICU and spent another six resting. The doctors were still trying to ascertain the level of damage caused by the incident. She opened her eyes to the grateful faces of her mother and Lee. Lami was relieved to see her mother and felt no fear for the repercussions of her actions. Her mother’s face was a face of a mother glad to have her daughter back alive. Whatever grievances she might have held against her daughter was settled by the daughter’s suffering. Whatever may come, they’d face it together.

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15 thoughts on “A trip down town

  1. Some mistakes here and there but great read, once again. You painted the state of confusion like a pro. Even added great suspense and uncertainty.

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