There are many things you hate about your body. Your boobs, the way the skin under them is always sweaty and causes you discomfort, the hyper pigmentation of your inner thighs, the way it is always difficult to get your shoe size because your feet are so wide, the cramps that come every month. Your period…
There are many things you hate about your body. Your boobs, the way the skin under them is always sweaty and causes you discomfort, the hyper pigmentation of your inner thighs, the way it is always difficult to get your shoe size because your feet are so wide, the cramps that come every month. Your period always came the way water from the local bore hole flowed, and you always ended up using two packs of Always, sometimes more.
You were always apprehensive about going out on these flow days but you couldn’t miss your test. Your fears were confirmed when you saw the splotch of red liquid on your seat when you stood up, you wished you had worn black instead of the brown chinos you wore. As you stepped outside the hall, you braced yourself for the shame and humiliation that would come from having to walk to your hostel. He came up from behind and said “hello”, offered you his sweater to wrap around your waist and told you, you needn’t be so ashamed, it is a normal biological process. You thank him and get his number for the return of the sweater. The next week, you were sitting opposite him in a cafeteria, getting to know him and forming a friendship.
You knew you loved him when you told him about the neighbour who abused you, how he lubricated himself with Vaseline and put it in you, how he told you not to tell anyone at home. You knew it was wrong, and when they started complaining about how you didn’t come home on time when you were sent on errands, you decided to stop going in when you went to buy something. And you knew he loved you too when he told you about the last day he saw his mother, how she had been raising her hand and it had seemed she was beckoning at him to come closer, but he didn’t. The nurses had made it seem like they were doing a favour and breaking a rule by letting him into the ICU, so he didn’t want to do anything wrong. He wished he had moved closer, he wished he had held her hand one last time. He told you about how much he longed for her, and he allowed himself cry in front of you.
You liked the feel of his fingers intertwining yours. You liked the way he held your hand in his and put it across his chest. You liked the silly stories he told you. You loved being in his arms and you loved it when he said he just wanted to hold you and hug you so tight you would merge. You loved how easy it was to talk to him, about loss, about desire, about ambition. You knew he would get you so it was easy to be yourself and speak your mind.
Your friends told you that it would not work out in the long run. How would your parents agree to let you be with a Muslim? You tell yourself that if religion was the reason two people shouldn’t be together, then religion could not be about God. But religion IS about God. Your religion is about God, so you do not see why you cannot be with the man you love simply because he worships God in a way different from you.
You thought society unnecessarily glorified first times, particularly first love and virginity, so when he told you he was a Virgin, you found it funny. You found it funnier when he told you he was saving himself for the right person, someone special. What 25 year old man in this age saves himself for someone special? Well, you were someone special. You loved the feel of his lips against yours, his tongue in your mouth. You loved that you couldn’t keep your eyes open when he kissed you. It was easy not to think of the precautions when he entered you. Afterwards, you had him head to the pharmacy and get you morning after pills.
You cannot imagine your life without Google, and so when your normally heavy period became a small stain on your pantyliner, you consulted Google. It told you it could be spotting – implantation bleeding. That a fertilized egg had successfully been implanted in your uterus. Bloody egg! You immediately got a pregnancy test strip. You read that morning pee gave the best results, so you woke up at 6am and went to the bathroom, peed in your bathing bowl and inserted the strip. A minute later, the two pink lines on the strip confirmed your fears.
Life has a way of playing tricks on you. You know your cycle, your ovulation time and you know your safe days. Still, nature played tricks on you. How could you be the exception who got pregnant by having sex on the last day of your menses? And how could you be the minor percentage that the pill didn’t work on?
There are a lot of ways to deal with a problem. Ignoring it and hoping a miracle will happen and make it disappear is one. So you tried to move on with life. You thought of which of your family members you would tell first. You imagine how your father would react to you getting pregnant, to you getting pregnant for a Muslim. You imagined how you would raise your kid, to say Bismillah instead of saying grace. You wondered if he or she would bear Arabic names.
You check social media to distract you from your thoughts and see that Maiduguri is trending. There’s been a bomb blast in a mosque. He’s in Maiduguri undergoing his internship in the teaching hospital. You thought he would be swamped with injured patients at the hospital. You called to find out if he was okay. He had always been a hard worker but you wanted to check on him anyway. A coarse voice picks up. It’s his sister. She sounds like she’s been crying. She tells you. Abdul was not at the hospital. He had been on the night shift. That morning, he went to the mosque.
There are many things you hate about your body. How it seemed unable to express grief calmly. How hurt seemed to be felt by every nerve in your body. How your eyes seemed like they would never dry. How eventually it couldn’t cope. You passed out. You woke up in the hospital the next morning, feeling sore, with the familiar feeling of cramps, wetness and a sanitary pad between your legs. You wished it had all been a nightmare. The doctor tells you you are having a miscarriage. How? You are the 10%.