“EVERY time a woman feels she’s been done by in a relationship with the opposite sex, she goes yahooing about it to everyone who cares to listen—including the press,” so wrote Effiong in response to the article: ‘When you’re in love, you’ll believe even a serial womaniser,’ featured on this page some months ago. “What they fail to broadcast
is the number of times they’ve turned an otherwise happy-go-lucky man into a nervous wreck.”
He continues: “It all started when I was tired of being lonely and made an effort to get involved in a stable relationship. I was already doing fairly well in my one-man business and when I was introduced to Susan, a trainee nurse, I fell in love with her. She was big, had a great sense of humour and she loved to have a good time. When she was admitted to a nursing school outside Lagos, we both decided it was a good
opportunity she dared not miss and we made love till we almost dropped…until she left. It was decided she would come home as soon as she was settled so we could decide on visiting arrangements.
“Two months went by without a word from her. I tried to call her mobile, but someone replied that it had been sold to him. When I finally went to her sister with whom she resided in Lagos, I learnt she’d been on a visit once. I was baffled. I’d written her so-called college without any reply. I was at the end of my tether with worry when I
received a letter from her asking me to meet her somewhere so we could talk. She skirted around the fact that we had gone too fast too soon in our hurry to make up for lost time. Reading between the lines, I understood that she was now pregnant. The tone of the letter showed she wasn’t all that excited, whereas being a father had always appealed to me. For years, I had dreamt and hoped that one day, I would become
a father and have the pleasure of raising a family.
“When Susan finally called me at home and blurted out the fact that she was pregnant, I told her that I knew. I calmed her down, but I was never so scared in my life. I felt her insecurity and had the notion that she just might try doing something foolish about our baby.
“When she came to the house the following Saturday, she started acting funny. Then she blurted out something I hated and nearly wanted to strangle her for even thinking of: ‘I’m going to have an abortion. I don’t want to raise this baby and end my career.’
“The hell you are’, I yelled at her.”Listen, that baby is part of me too. It’s half of me and I want it!’ She started to walk out of the door. I ran after her and grabbed her arm. ‘Where the heck do you think you’re going?’ I asked her. “I’m leaving,” she snapped. ‘I don’t like your tone of voice.’ I was really desperate for her to change her mind. ‘If you
don’t have the guts to raise the baby, then don’t kill it. I’ll raise it!’ Argument after argument followed. If it wasn’t about one thing, it was about the other. When she eventually left, I thought she’d finally seen reason to have the baby and at least give it a chance to live. I couldn’t believe she could even think of abortion. And she in a profession that saves lives? Some nurse! How could anyone take care of others, knowing that they didn’t have enough guts to take care of their own?
“As time passed, Susan was being off-hand, pretending to be ignorant about the baby. I started having serious doubts about her and started calling the new mobile I bought for her to make sure that she still planned on having the baby. There was no answer. For days, I tried, I didn’t know what to do. My business suffered and I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was desperately planning to visit her in college in spite of her not even encouraging it, when I came home to find yet another letter waiting for me.
“I was a bit frightened to open it, not knowing what it might say. I sat on my bed to read the letter. It started with an apology and from there on it was heartbreaking. The nurse, the one I had fallen in love with, or at least had thought I had, had taken matters into her own hands and decided that she would rather have an abortion. In doing so, she not only killed the thing I cherished most for that short time, but killed me inside also. I could feel a big lump in my throat, and trying to hold the tears back was impossible. I howled like a wounded lion! I couldn’t believe it! The one thing in my life that I had always dreamed of and wanted had disappeared.
“For weeks, I mourned the lost baby. I couldn’t help the way I felt. I wanted so badly to be a father. I wanted to be able to show my baby all the things good about life. Right now, the only thing I can think about is the one thing that is bad: abortion. It stole my fatherhood. At least the woman in your story had the heart to have her child even though she knew the child wouldn’t have the benefit of a father….”