I paced around the hospital’s waiting room, taking in the smell of iodine and toxic disinfectant through my nostrils.
Two nurses chatted over the counter, they laughed silently. Soon, the doctor came out in his white lab coat looking like a happy bride. His set of glimmering white teeth sparkled even brighter than the sun.
“It’s a boy.”
I leaped into the air, resounding a “Yes!” like I was under a spell. Maybe I was, it was a spell or a dream, either way it had to be a dream.
Chinelo and I had been married for over twelve years; when she first told me she was pregnant, I was elated. Overjoyed. If there was any other adjective I could use to show how excited I was, I would have made use of it.
I stopped her from doing all the house chores; I came home before normal closing hours to make us dinner. I bought a new washing machine even though there wasn’t enough money to sustain us.
I was going to be a father, we were going to be parents, and that was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened.
Days blossomed into weeks and weeks stretched out to become months, my wife complained daily, back pains, leg pains, she carried a small cup in which she deposited her spittle. It went with her, safely tucked inside her handbag.
All those things she had desired to experience, all those pains she wanted to feel, she felt them. Even the joy of having a creature nestled inside her womb. She felt it.
“Doctor! The patient!” A nurse cried coming out of ward.
The happiness within me dissolved into thin air. I stared in horror, mouth agape as the doctor fled back to the room from where he came.
I replayed the doctor’s words in my head.
“It’s a boy.”
But fragments of it looked shambled, unreal, my wife was the patient, and so was our baby, but I couldn’t tell what patient the nurse had spoken of.
“It’s a boy.”
“Please, God, don’t take a life from me.” That silent prayer was all I could mutter.
The nurse came out from the ward again, running towards the counter.
“How’s my family?” I asked racing to her. She ignored me. I saw the fear in her eyes. She smelled of blood.
“Nurses, come, come,” she called to the two female nurses who had been laughing earlier.
The trio raced back into the ward and my face fell.
When the doctor came out minutes later, he shook his head.
“Mr. Amadi, I’m sorry…”
I didn’t wait for him to finish his sentence before rushing to tug at his coat. He held me, and in his arms, I slumped, like an eel to the ground.
“Your wife went into a cardiac arrest. We couldn’t save her.”
Walls crumbled, my tears poured like flowing fountains, my cries were loud and I could hear it from a mile away.
At a point, I couldn’t hear a single thing. All I could hear was, “It’s a boy.”