“I told you”
She had told me.
“It will be hard for my parents to accept you as their future in law if you keep sticking to your beliefs.”
I looked at her belly that seemed to be swelling everyday, and wondered what would become of the person growing inside. Would he or she hate Christianity because it robbed him of a future responsible father, or would he hate me for not believing in a god and in turn displeasing her religious grandparents.
I looked again at her and loved her even more despite her shape. The pregnancy seemed to distort the possibility of our future together.
The ground beneath us moved.
“The gods are angry with us”.
“Nothing likes staying in the same place and your parents are angry with us.” I retorted. I avoided using ‘me’ instead of ‘us’ since I knew it would hurt her.
She loved me.
I couldn’t say I met her exactly in a church, since she was already coming out after attending the morning service. In that moment, pictures flowed in my mind. Somebody was flipping our album through my mind in a slow irritating manner. I wish I could have resisted and dumped the memories but it was impossible. I wonder whether the same was going through her mind.
“What will you tell your child?”
She looked at me with tears in her eyes and I knew I had made a mistake.
“Sorry darling, I mean our child.”
I held her hands, I knew she could understand. Despite being very religious and having mean parents, she had a big heart. A heart that I had created a home in.
“My parents are suggesting that I abort.”
The words stung my ears. I stepped back and looked at her.
“But you can’t do that?”
“I wish I had choices my dear.”
I hated her at that moment, but I understood.
“I won’t let that happen!”
She tried to stop me but I was too fast for her. I took the grassy path and ran to her home. It wasn’t the fault of the baby that the parents held different beliefs and views. He or she didn’t deserve to lose his or her life.
The old man sat on a chair outside sharpening an axe. His bible was on top of a stool next to him. In front of him was a table and a wooden chair. I sat on the chair uninvited and looked at him angrily.
“So you have come”. His long white beard nodded in agreement to his words.
“You will have to kill me first before you kill my child.”
“Slow down my son, the bible says that a child belongs to the mother.”
I knew there was no such verse in the bible. I had been a good Christian before.
“Show me, together with the verse that says a child has no right to choose its religion.” I pointed a finger at him and shouted angrily.
The village folks gathered at the windows to watch the drama.
“I didn’t say that a child has no right to choose his religion, all I said is that my family cannot be associated with the nonbelievers since they belong to the devil.”
The turban on his head blurred my gaze, the red cross dancing in my well of tears. His voice came out slow and callous, that of a dictator who knew he was winning.
“The devil kills, you are the devil”.
He flipped through the holy pages with his middle finger. At times he would pause to read a few pages, his middle finger pointed to the skies. I wondered whether he knew what he was signifying.
“You too.” I pointed to the skies above with my middle finger.
“Here we go……” he placed the bible on the table, the pages facing me.
“Finally brethren, do not be yoked together with nonbelievers…………” It was Paul speaking to Timothy. The word yoked was underlined in red, so was nonbelievers.
Bitter bile chocked in me as my anger swelled. I tried to exercise all my controls in order to keep myself glued to the wooden seat.
“Therefore,” he took away my bible when he realised that I wasn’t reading anymore, “you have to be born again in order to have my daughter. If you love her, then make the right choice.
“How is that a choice if it has a condition?” I wished I could have bought the old man a dictionary and help him understand the meaning of the word ‘choice’. But the distance to the bookshop was too long to contain my anger.
Instead, I jumped from my seat and covered the distance between us, landing heavily on him. His chair toppled over and we both went down, the axe between us. I was too engaged in the fight to notice her rush in through the wooden gate.
Fists rolled over fists, as curse words and abuses were countered with halleluyas and God save us. He managed to come out of the grip first, the axe in his hands. He lifted it up high and brought it down, full force.
I swept at his legs before it was too late. He fell down backwards, the axe on top of him. I rose up and lifted the axe up high. The devil deserved no chance…….
A strong hand snatched the axe from behind. I turned to check out who it was. A heavy blow struck my cheeks and the veins of my neck creaked. Soon they were all raining on me. The village women with their sufurias, the men with their walking sticks and the young men with heavy objects. Someone was sent to fetch a tyre and another offered petrol. Young women and children stood from a distance watching, maybe they understood what love is.
The beating stopped all at once.
I felt a heavy object lie on top of me. Its softness was familiar.
“You will have to kill me first before you kill him” she yelled, almost bursting my eardrums.
The villagers grumbled and walked away one by one, nobody could lay a hand on a pregnant woman.
Everything was still except the wail of a siren from a distance and her heavy breathing. I passed out.
I woke to the torture of tubes through my nose, mouth and hands and several bottles above me. A nurse was administering some medicine.
“What happened?” I tried to move but four locks held my limbs firmly to the bed.
“You killed someone, the priest hit his head on a stone when he fell”.
A large gasp of air escaped my mouth.
I didn’t even ask to see her. Forgiveness was too much to ask for this time round. She was present in the courtroom and I saw a tear roll on her face as the judge pronounced the life sentence.
The old guard looked at me sternly as he handed me the blue envelope. He had developed a loathing for murderers.
I am still praying for you to get out of prison soon. Hope you understand that I couldn’t deliver the baby. I had a miscarriage due to the heightened level of activity before we parted…………
Hinga. c. 2014.
“I told you”