“Her eyes did not betray trail of tears. Her mien did not tell on her. She sat in front of the nurse and said four words: “I want it out”. Minutes later, lying supine on the couch, both legs drawn up, her underpants in her right hand, the nurse prized her open and deftly dragged out a wet Copper T. Fully clothed, she muttered her thanks and stepped into the street, joining the swarm of people. She was anonymous once again, not a bereaved mother whose only child died last night.”
I am in awe of the possibilities of fiction. I read somewhere that everybody has got just one story to tell and one must learn to tell it very well. Perhaps this is why I find myself revisiting story ideas and rewriting them often. The short 90 word story above actually happened. It is a powerful image that has somehow stayed with me. After writing the above piece, I felt unsettled and adequately haunted by the image to perpetuate it further. So I wrote a longer piece which I called I.U.C.D. Might I just add that the I.U.C.D is a form of contraceptive popular amongst married women.
“Asabi knew it was her first customer for the day when she heard the knock. She rustled out of bed and winced and cursed old age. She wrapped her blanket over her threadbare nightgown. The door opened with a slow creak. It was a familiar face, a sullen face. A young lady, perhaps in her thirties. She did not smile when she muttered her greetings. She walked into Asabi’s living room. Posters with pictorial diagrams promoting health, hygiene and Family Planning hung from the wall.
Minutes later, the lady lay supine on a creaking couch, legs drawn up, helms of her skirt on her thighs, her brown underpants clasped in her right hand. Asabi prized her open with a snub-looking speculum. The lady felt the metallic chill in her nether region and stiffened.
Asabi impatiently said, “Loosen up, loosen up”, thrusting the speculum into the lady. The lady winced, her grip on her underpants tightened. Her eyes watched the white ceiling. Her thoughts rose above the din of the waking city. Tears welled in her eyes.
Asabi inspected the T-shaped copper material retrieved for completeness. She dropped it into a kidney-shaped dish. She dragged out the moist speculum in spite of the lady’s plea for gentleness.
“Get dressed”, Asabi said peeling off her latex gloves.
The lady muttered thanks when Asabi said the procedure was free of charge. She sat up from the couch and gently straddled her underpants. She wiped tears from her eyes and stood from the couch.
She walked into a swarm of people, anonymous once again, not a bereaved mother whose only child died last night.”