He extended his left hand towards me with a packet of Abortion Pills stationed on his palm. It was green and had an incomplete drawing of a woman. In it, I knew, was enough poison to kill my unborn baby. That was 4 years ago.
I took the packet by my right hand and thoughtfully gazed at it; flipping it from side to side as a neurosurgeon would look into the brains of a cancer patient. I wasn’t a neurosurgeon. I was just a depressed pregnant lady in deep thought. One of the things that crisscrossed my mind was murder. I was going to kill and the first victim would be my own unborn baby. And we all know how God feels about murder, don’t we! And that’s if the government and death don’t catch you first.
The next biggest hurdle was the fact that I, Aisha, a Muslim lady would not only bring shame to my family but could assign myself societal torture for the rest of my life, if I decided to keep the child.
I was profoundly tormented day and night; to keep the baby or to abort? I was getting mad.
Given those circumstances, there was only one option that I thought would solve the entire issue. Suicide.
It would have been better, and so I thought, for everyone to remember me as the beautiful Aisha who “followed” [kufuata] Sharia Law carefully. A girl who had studied so diligently and earned her place at the University. As for the cause of death, they couldn’t know who fed me the “rat and rat” poison.
So, the Monkey of a man, a Mkora, an imbicile or a Zombie if you like, didn’t suffer the consequences that were befalling me. To him, a simple packet of abortion pills was enough to sort out the issue. And guess what, immediately I took the pills, I knew well that he could again want to have sex. Sometimes I don’t understand men!
When he saw me hesitate, he rushed to the kitchen and brought a glass of water and knelt down to implore me to take the pills.
Honestly, I just looked at him and for the first time, I thought of killing him too.
Yet, the only thing that managed to come out of me was a river of tears. I cried for myself. I cried because I had let my parents down. I cried for my unborn child. I cried and cried.
It is amidst those painful tears that I asked David to go away from me. It might have been something like, “David, please leave me alone, I beg you, please.”
He walked out.
I immediately threw away the packet and knelt down to pick the “rat and rat” poison I had carefully hidden in one of the shoes that was under my bed. I added the poison to David’s water. The glass now contained a white mixture as of milk.
Not once did I raise the glass to my mouth but several times; stopping only a few inches from the lips. Each time I told myself, ” Aisha, this is the end of your life. You are going to die”!
What tormented me most was the mental picture I formed of my dad crying on my burial day. I could see his sad tormented face. I perfectly knew that he could go back to alcoholism which he had abandoned a few months ago; just to drink too much to forget the pain of losing the daughter he dearly loved.
But he would understand, right?
“Papa, will you forgive me? I just want to rest. I don’t what to face the world Papa. Papa but I love you”.
Even in my mind, my dad didn’t answer me.
That cold evening, as I struggled to make a decision as to whether to end my life or not, Neema Mwaipopo’s Usifurahi Juu Yangu song was playing, it was actually on repeat mode. She was saying, “ukiona niko kwenye shida …. niombee! Ndoa yangu imevunjika, wewe niombee! Nikifukuzwa kazini ndugu, niombee! [loosely translated: When you see me in trouble, pray for me].
Picture this folks, a glass of a poisonous mixture in my right hand, a face smeared with tears, a crowded and depressed mind with an intruder inside whispering “drink, drink, drink”; no wonder God ensured that such a song played. Though far away, I heard the lyrics….
When David left, I didn’t close the door. And for some strange reason, he had forgotten his phone in my bedroom. I just found him staring at me. Afterwards, his eyes kept moving from the “rat and rat” poison, the packet of abortion pills and the glass of “milk” in my hand. His eyes revealed that he understood what I was about to do.
Any sensible man would have jumped high and acrobatically snatched the glass from my hand with warnings that taking life was the worst thing to do at the moment. Perhaps, the same sensible man would have calmed me down with an assurance that we would both take responsibility and also reach a decision together. As you have guessed, David, who had had sex with me on thousands of occasions and eventually got me pregnant wasn’t in the category of sensible men. It would have been a court case to have “sensibleness” and “David” in the same sentence. Obviously, you are going to ask what he did next, right?
I heard him say, “nilisahau simu yangu”.[Loosely translated: I forgot my phone].
He aimlessly looked around and rediscovered it on the home theatre. I saw him pocket it and walk away.
I went straight to the toilet and poured the poison into the bowl. Strangely, he had helped me make my mind. Better still, for the first time, I knew for sure that I had made a mistake of associating with this man. Was he a con artist playing nice to women just to have sex? A professional rapist?
I had met David on Facebook. By meet, I mean, he had “poked” me. He was the type of person who liked all my posts, even the ones I shared about how to grow avocados or overcoming menopause. He had to comment on everything I posted!
It is during one of those online occasions that he sent me a text with something in the line of “beauty”. I sparingly replied even though the texts kept coming in huge numbers. A weirdo, you agree?
I just didn’t want to engage in anything that could injure my relationship with Steve, my boyfriend at the time. That was in 2016. We were online acquaintances, a code that grew further, especially when I broke up with my boyfriend after a misunderstanding. Within a short time, we were busy chatting on WhatsApp and calling each other daily.
In 2017, I came to Nairobi for my undergraduate course at the University of Nairobi, Kikuyu Campus. By then, David was also living in Nairobi. We met almost weekly. It is during one of those meetings that we got sexually adventurous and I became pregnant…
Immediately I informed him, David changed! He became angrier with even life itself. We started arguing almost each time we met and mostly, the issue was about keeping the baby or having an abortion. When I stood my ground, he literally bought abortion pills and walked with them ready to serve me. Had he found an opportunity, he could have forced them down my throat.
Back to the day I almost drank the poison….
I had two options; to go to my mum at Mombasa and get killed instantly or to go to my dad at Lamu and beg for forgiveness. I figured out that I had better chances with my dad.
I called him.
Me: Dad, I want to see you.
Dad: Ma, hujambo? (Ma means, I had taken his mother’s name)
Me: Dad, nataka kuja nyumbani. (I want to come home.)
Dad: Uko salama Mwanangu? (Loosely translated: Are you okay my child?)
Me: *silence* * tears*
Me: *silence* *tears*.
Dad: Kuja nyumbani sasa hivi, mwanangu. Njoo. Nakungoja. (Loosely translated: Come home right away. Come. I am waiting for you.)
He sent me a plane ticket to Lamu.
In a few hours, I was weeping and soaping on his laps.
My beloved father is not the traditional type of a man who rules his homestead with an iron fist. He is gentle and calm; quick to listen. He hardly speaks. When he does, it is mostly to bless us. But, my four siblings have always lamented that he loves me too much. My mum says that he has spoilt me.
When I told him that I was pregnant, he didn’t get shocked. If he was, he didn’t show it on his bearded face. He “removed” his Muslim kofia [cap] and brushed his right hand through his sweaty forehead.
With a deep voice as one who was heavily hurt he parted me on the back, hugged me and said in Kiswahili, “it shall be well” I love you.
My dad later took me back home to mum because his wisdom told him that she could take better care of a pregnant me. But, before he left for work (he lived near his work place to avoid travelling back and forth daily), he ordered my mother not to mistreat me. He implored her to try and understand.
He hadn’t gone for 30 minutes when my mother erupted. She abused and mocked me for hours punctuating her speech with words like, “prostitute”, “loose”, “careless” “open legs” and “stupid”.
In the weeks that I stayed with her, a day couldn’t pass before she threw in, “God, why me? I am cursed.” If a glass got broken, the mistake could be assigned to me, “don’t be like Aisha, she is pregnant.”
I left and went to live with my dad. That’s where I gave birth to a beautiful young girl.
She has grown in beauty every day. She sparkles in innocence. She has taken after me with a broad smile that exposes her two tiny lower teeth; the first to come out. I love her so much.
I tried to reach out to David before I delivered to ask for a little financial support but, he became so hostile.
My dad reached out to him too to try and straighten up things. The guy told my dad point blank that he wasn’t for having the baby and that he had asked me to abort. Honestly!
I was too desperate. I reached out to his friends and told them to talk to him. I wanted him to support his baby not me. I was not asking for money, I just wanted him to take responsibility and pay the medical bills of the baby amongst other necessary things. I have only received Kshs. 2,000 from him since I conceived and gave birth.
What hurt me most were the Instagram posts I recently received from his friends. One was a picture of him and his girlfriend. He had thrown a huge party for her and they were at a seemingly expensive resort. In another picture, he was waving huge bundles of notes of Kshs. 1,000 bob. Forget his girlfriend and his notes…that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the fact that he is able to buy his daughter food for a month which cannot be more than Kshs. 2,000. He is also able to pay for her NHIF at Kshs. 500 bob a month, yet he just doesn’t want to!
Instead, he is partying!
When I look at my daughter laughing and smiling as she claps her innocent soft hands, I shed a tear knowing that she might never understand what it means to have a caring dad like my father. I cry more when I think about the questions she will be asking when she gets to know that a family consists of a father, a mother and children. Will she look at me in the eyes and ask, “Mummy, where is dad?”
Even then, I will cry more.