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‘I knew you should have pulled out,’ she says, tossing the test strip to the ground.
‘I tried,’ he says. He wants to reach for her face and smooth the lines that have appeared across her forehead, take her hands in his and stop her chewing on her nails. ‘I thought you were on the pill.’
‘I was. God, I am!’
She stands and starts pacing.
‘Well,’ he says, ‘you know they say these things aren’t one hundred per cent.’
‘You could try not to sound so… undisturbed.’
‘Why? Why?!’ She stops in front of him, her eyes wide and incredulous. And angry, because she knows that he knows why. Or at least her reasons why.
‘Yes, why can’t we have a baby?’
‘And take care of it how?!’
‘We’re not exactly poverty stricken.’
‘Not exactly, no, but with this baby,’ she laughs, ‘with this baby we’ll soon be spacing out our meals – one-oh-one if we’re lucky.’
‘Don’t be a prophet of doom.’
‘Oh I’m not; one-oh-one is very optimistic.’
‘Do you know how much baby food costs? And if the baby has your appetite, we’re finished!’
He stops himself from laughing. She is angry. She continues before he can speak.
‘And we haven’t even talked of clothes and toys, hospital bills…’
‘Jesus God! What of when it’s time to start school? Are we going to send our child to some converted flat that some person who knows nothing about anything decided to call a school?’ She shudders. ‘Aunty Morayo International Private School… something like that.’
‘Onome, we’ll be okay. We’ve been saving.’
‘Ehn, but how much now. How much?’
He looks at his wife, her small body tense, and imagines her nine months into the future. She will not be delicate and fussy in her pregnancy – he knows her – and part of him wishes she would. He wouldn’t mind the chance to have her really depend on him for once, let him take care of her. He finds the thought of her waddling about the house, slow and heavy with their child, hands on her hips, strangely erotic.
‘Wale! You’ve not heard a thing I’ve been saying abi?’
She sighs and looks deflated. He stretches his arms out.
She looks at him, like a suspicious child.
She eyes him for a moment before obeying and going to him. She stands, not touching him, but close enough so he can take her hands and lower her gently onto the couch, in the space between his thighs. She leans back into him, and he wraps his arms around her, nuzzles her ear.
‘We will be fine.’
She half turns, an attempt to see his face.
‘How do you know?’
‘It takes more than money to raise children well, you know.’
‘I know, but money is important too. And we don’t have enough of it.’
‘We don’t have a surplus, but we’re okay.’
‘And we’re getting better. The store is starting to pick up; you have your job. Things are getting better. Say it with me: things are...’
‘Things are getting better.’
‘Not quite the spirit there, but I’ll take it.’
‘I’m sorry. But I don’t know if we’re ready yet. I just want them to have the best.’
‘They already do, with you.’
She says nothing, but he knows he’s getting through.
‘And me,’ he says. ‘At least, I hope and me.’
‘You’re the best,’ she says, as simply as she says the day of the week.
‘Great. With two of the best people in the world, how can our kids not be awesome?’
She smiles. ‘I don’t think they have a choice.’
‘Exactly!’ He plants a kiss on her neck. ‘Besides, we can’t ask God to take it back. No returns or refunds.’
‘So, my darling,’ he sings, turning her around to face him. ‘What do you say?’
‘I say… let’s do this.’