‘Belief is a beautiful armour, but makes for the heaviest sword.’ – John Mayer
I had already named our child. Of course, I did not tell anyone this – my Abeo was gone and there was no reason to harbour impossible dreams – but I had named the baby nonetheless. One day while day-dreaming at work, I accidentally called one of the children, a small boy named Bayowa, by my unborn’s name, Ifelewa, and quickly had to correct myself. I was afraid they would have me declared unfit to look after the little ones in my class at the day-care – paranoia told me that one day they would have a meeting in my absence and say “One day this girl will believe one of these children is hers and run off with him or her. Eh! She must go heal from her loss elsewhere, not here. Better yet, let her go home. Her husband is dead, what is there left for her here?”
No. I could not allow that to happen. I still had a firm grasp on reality and working with the kids kept my mind off my grief. Also, the bills had to be paid. As my clothes became tighter, I acknowledged the secret to myself; Ifelewa was coming.
On the day that Abeo and I were meant to have gotten married, I called in sick at work and made my way to the chapel with my wedding dress folded and stuffed into a bag: I had named our child in his father’s language and he would have his father’s surname too. If nothing else, I could at least give him that.
As I approached the chapel, I slowly unzipped the bag that held my wedding gown. The moment reminded me of a story I had once read about a boy whose jersey got caught on a barbed-wire fence and began to unravel as he walked home. Then, when the wool from his jersey had mapped out his journey home, he began to unravel too, at the gate of his house, until there was nothing left of him. I realised that I often thought of the story because the little boy was me. For my entire life I had been becoming undone, slowly unravelling on my way home.
Tears blinded my eyes and I struggled to unzip the bag. Life doesn’t know when to stop taking, does it? It strips you of everything and when you have nothing left, it takes you too. It had already taken my Abeo. It stole him from me mere weeks before our wedding day. Now it was clamouring for me, for my sanity. When I woke up from the accident, the doctor had told me about the baby. Neither Abeo and I had known I was pregnant. She then said I was the lone survivor, but I knew that was a lie. I could feel my baby. The ache in my belly had to be Ifelewa.
Soon, I would have to deal with people telling me I was not married even though I had come to my wedding on the day Abeo and I had set. What madness! I pulled the dress out of the bag and smiled when I heard faint music coming from inside the chapel. I walked in. There would be a wedding. Of course there would. I picked up my dress and walked in, guided by the vision of Abeo smiling at me from the altar and a tiny ache in my lower belly. I was not alone.