Written by Olatunji Rockdweller
“A blow from your friend is better than a kiss from your enemy.” – Pythagoras
“I get by with a little help from my friends.”- John Lennon
On the 6th of April 2016, I got a mail from a very good friend of mine, Rita. Rita and I have been friends for over 3 years now and we have grown to be great confidants . She is a very beautiful lady with a big brain, a lady of desirable grit. The mail was succinctly scribed and it demanded my presence as soon as possible .”After reading your last publication ‘Living Intentionally’, I felt I really need to talk to you about this”- She wrote. I lost my calmness immediately I read through the lines of the two-paragraphed mail, I replied with the shortest response ever “ok dear I would surely try”. I brought out my phone and put a call through immediately to this super-cute friend of mine, she eventually picked after my fifth attempt, with a pale voice she muttered “Tunji I am in a very big mess” and I replied in a soft voice. “Babe no mess is too big for God to clean up jare, be happy and I would surely see you on Saturday before noon”, I was a bit unsettled. However, l didn’t allow that to bother me because Saturday was just few days away.
Saturday came though slowly but surely. I had a church meeting as early as 7am and it was stated to end at 9:30am. I was present in the meeting, however restless like a man whose wife is in the labour room –my mind had teleported into Riri’s room as many questions kept seething the nerves of my overtasked brain. Is she sick? Has she lost her job? Heartbreak?– these were the topmost questions on my mind as I was busy plotting the mental graph of the soon-to-commence meeting. Finally, the church meeting ended and I escaped from the hall like a bullet that left the gun. A friend of mine who domiciles within the same estate luckily came to church with his 2014 model of Toyota Avalon, so everything was so smooth as we rolled and gisted during the very pleasant ride.
Everything was fine until I saw the huge inscription ‘Lekki Phase 1’ then I became a little bit nervous and the feelings of unpreparednes wore me like a gown – – my heart raced even as I trusted God for wisdom to help a friend truly in need. I got to her glittering black gate and put a call across and in few seconds she appeared, ready to usher me in a gracious but cold manner. I followed her into her apartment like a chick following the hen: however not with a cheerful heart. She was looking elegant in her fitted sky-blue jean trousers with a piece of white collar Polo Shirt. On her left wrist was a chain of Michael Kors timepiece, her full lips were intact though her smile framed by those cute dimples were totally missing.
I sat with my legs straight and my feet flat on the glittering tiles in the cartoon themed-room, brightened by the hanging chandelier. Rita who was sitting directly opposite me(with a small glassed – top table separating us) sat with her right leg crossing her left with a sofa pillow on her laps. We were both muted and soundless for the first few minutes even as we both maintained eye contacts, until I shattered the ‘tormentous’ silence, when I said “Babe what’s up! Not even a welcome hug or a warm hospitality?” She mumbled under her breath “TJ am so emphatically sorry for my erratic behavior jare, I was awestruck and confused at the same time, I really do appreciate your presence, though I am not surprised that you kept to your word, but I don’t just know how to start”. I smiled and said “Rita, you knew I would be here today and we agreed.. right? I wouldn’t come here from the mainland just to be staring like a lost sheep, start from anywhere jare preferably the subject matter “. She scratched her right thumb against her forehead and she stammered ” Tunji I… am.. p-r-e-g–n-a-n-t !… It was the… worst mistake.. of my life “. I became suddenly sick and cold yet felt unusual heat oozing from within me, tiredness and hunger decended on me like dew at the same time, I was completely mute for almost three minutes. She looked at me with so much bamboozlement as tears gathered momentum in her eyes and finally escaped down her cheek. I left her weeping for a few moment (like 5mins) before I left the comfort of the sofa to extend my mild consolations to a ‘poor’ friend. I patted her back, massaged her left shoulder muscles– we finally ended up hugging so tightly, until my white Balenciaga white long-sleeved shirt became soaked and drenched in Rita’s tears. In my firm voice I whispered repeatedly, “Riri, you would be fine, don’t let this tear you down, you are stronger than this, you are a lady of great grit and audacity”.
The pious consolation didn’t save her from my numerous questions. The major questions were; who is responsible for this “wonder”? How old is the pregnancy(her tummy was still as flat as ever though) and what’s next? I got the answers however reluctantly. Then I requested chilled drink as we discussed the super-sentive issue further (my request was more of therapeutic than imposed hospitality) she gave me a super chilled cranberry with a pack of shortbread as she explained further . I disagreed with the fact that she called it a ‘mistake’, I smirked and told her – – rape is the only mistake associated with such ‘magic’– any sexual intercourse is a calculated adventure and heaven sees it as asking God for a baby/babies, always remember our God hardly denies his own children. Looking straight into my deep eye balls, she shook her head and gave a scary wry smile. I further told her that many of us had made such mistakes in the past but somehow we escaped the trauma simply because grace didn’t allow the bullet to hit any bird. (many people steal sometimes, but those who are caught are called Thieves).
I overstepped my boundary when I disagreed with her on her abortion ambition. My point being that she isn’t no longer a child – she stays alone in a very comfortable apartment, a car and a constant flow of income. She screamed with a piercing high pitched voice “Hello, I have made up my mind! It’s my load and life not yours, I hope you got that right into your skull?!!!”. I immediately took a “chill pill” and my pride erupted like a volcano as I munched my shortbread and sipped a bit of the drink – – knowing fully well; though her protruded stomach may not be visible yet but emotionally she’s pregnant with pains, rage, and frustration, therefore she deserves nothing from a friend closely knitted, than perpetual love and unending support. Being an intelligent and super-sensitive buddy, she could read meaning to my sudden silence and she apologized immediately even in her anger and disappointment, I gladly accepted her apology and asked if I could go home or continue with my searing and unbearable point of view.
“Go where? you are gonna exhaust everything you have in your mind about this mess, aren’t we in the mess together again ! “she said.
“Sure we are together in this pool but not at the same depth “. I replied jokingly
It was a deal and she was a bit calm at this point of our discussion.Our conversation went a bit deeper as I was determined to know why she was hell bent on the abortion ‘ish’, being a close friend whom I know her reputation as a very responsible and audacious lady. The colloquy turned to a heated debate as we both presented our strongest point to buttress our views. She asked in a very calm tone of voice, “Tunji, do you really care about my health, the baby or the fact that you think it’s sinful and immoral ?”. I adjusted myself on the comfortable sofa, cleared the pathways of my throat, and finally I replied her very intelligent questions.”You and the baby dear of course! – – hurting either party is very wrong and that is sinful (hurting whom Jesus died for). She sighed and said, “Tunji, you will never change “.
Her second questions propped out immediately as she muttered. “I don’t think it’s as grievous as you are seeing it, ‘flushing’ off this stuff at this stage isn’t murder because the feotus isn’t fully formed yet according to one of my female friends who is a medical practitioner “. I was a bit offended with that school of thought, yet I didn’t show it at all, (because opinion is like a name; everyone has got one) as I responded with so much calmness,” babe,
do you believe everyone on earth has a specific purpose and assignments?” she answered with so much affirmation, “of course, I do! “. “Woow, thanks for the smart answer but why did you think so?” as I placed my hand on her frail shoulder. ” You mean why I feel everyone has got a purpose? “She asked and I nodded gently in reply. She affirmed. ” It’s scriptural now”. Her response launched the conversation into another level.
Once she finally drove us to the scripture I felt a bit comfortable with the idea. I told her to read out Jeremiah 1:5 which she did in a shaky voice “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations(Jer1:5)”. I further explained my view about it; if God had already had a plan for us before embryonic processes commenced, then there is no difference between a grown-up man and a foetus in God’s own view of things (both have a definite responsibility and purpose), abortion is killing whom the Lord had known, ordained and separated for a specific assignment, unguided sex is beyond the ecstasy and the emotional jamboree – it’s applying for a child (with a definite assignment) to fill a space in the future. Aborting after ‘application’ is gonna create an everlasting vacuum in generations yet to come and that is impermissible!. “I think it’s such a great huge burden for anyone’s shoulder not even yours” I blatted.(immediately, silence engulfed the room for some minutes, as tears gathered momentum in her eyes and finally escaped and ran down her cheek again )
She wobbled towards the water dispenser, slightly backing me, she quivered ,” Tunji you wouldn’t understand jare.. You wouldn’t understand the shame of carrying this for 9months,the torment of nurturing a baby I never prepared for, the emotional tortures, what would my friends say? office is going to be hell at least in the next few years, how about my pastors and people in the choir? Tunji I would be totally ridiculed! How would I tell mum and my siblings, did I tell you the guy responsible for this isn’t ready yet?”. She exhausted all her worry and fears. “This is why I hate you”. I replied.
” H-A-T-E… me?” She stammered in tears.
Yeah.. I do hate you when you care about what people say about you dear, moreover, the people who care-less about you and relegate opinion of your beloved ones,why spend more time trying to impress those who don’t like you and those who you don’t really love? – Your mum wouldn’t advise you to abort this even if she gets mad at you(grandma in the making) , your younger ones wouldn’t disown you, that I know! .. Your real friends would help you navigate through this tunnel of life and in few years from now you would be glad you took the right decision. I hate it when you prioritize the view of ‘haters’ over the love and affection you get from the people who really matter the most in your life.
I had to conclude by telling her that, the fact that you abort this baby doesn’t change the fact that you were once pregnant but it only showed you were irresponsible for your mistakes, therefore denying someone the right to life. On the final note ; only person who ever had the right to abort a pregnancy was Virgin Mary simply because she was a Virgin and had no concrete explanation for the protruding belly, yet she didn’t. If she had yielded to her shame and her fears. What would have been our hope in this world?
My eyes looked in the direction of the wall clock, and it was 16:37.(damn it! how time flies). I rushed up and told her “Riri, I have to go now, I promise to keep in touch”.”Thanks so much dear Tunji, you are indeed priceless”. She replied. We hugged warmly and tightly as I whispered in her cute left ear. “The ball is in your court now and I do hope you do the right thing. Whichever way it goes.. just know that I will always love you and you will always be my friend”. (We departed)
DISCLAIMER: RITA; requested the writing of this and ensured it’s publication here to encourage others. The pregnancy is in good shape and all the glory be to God.
[**RITA isn’t her real name for security purposes]