Part 1

Sara 

At long last! I could change my 30 year old surname to Mrs. Sara Pantsiwaa Appiah. What a wait it has been too! The uncountable and cringing times of relatives and friends asking ‘When are you getting married?’ ‘My wedding hat is getting old’ and the worst of all  ‘What are you waiting for?’ had come to a joyous end! I don’t even know how i survived the almost sympathetic looks from my mother’s church friends every Sunday. Some of them went to the point of laying hands on me to pray for my single soul and to break any demonic spirit which had kidnapped my soulmate in helldom. Although i didn’t believe my being single was a spiritual attack, I trusted the Lord to bring he who I was created for in His own good time. Six months into the New Year, I was married! Thank You, Jesus! In a way I was relieved and I couldn’t help but hope it wasn’t a yielding to marital pressure. 
The wedding was simple as Kwesi and I had planned it to be. No point in spending above our means when we are just about to start life together. Kwesi wasn’t exactly the man I had always dreamt of marrying. He wasn’t thick tall and didn’t have gorgeous white teeth to make any woman swoon neither was he the hunk I had envisioned falling for when I was in my secondary school days.  His five foot 6 inch frame with a slight belly bulge sat behind a dinner table at which I also sat during a 75th birthday party being held for a grand-aunt of mine. My loud Uncle Paa introduced us and he could hold back practically shouting, ‘She is SINGLE!’ to the 10 seater table and to my soon-to-be husband. I cringed. He smiled and said hello. Crooked nice smile. I wonder why his singleness wasn’t  proclaimed to the heavens too. The night ended without us exchanging phone numbers  but I guess it wasn’t that hard for him to find me as I saw a Facebook friend request a few days later. I accepted.
 I had decided a long time ago after some failed relationships that I wasn’t going to have sex with my next boyfriend until the day we got married. Kwesi got that message loud and clear although he did attempt to change my mind once or twice. He could be very persuasive too! 
A week of endless lovemaking and lazing in hammocks at the Paradise Beach Resort made the honeymoon so relaxing and enjoyable. ‘Good sex comes to those who wait’, I told him during our first night together as I slowly inched up his slightly pudgy body. He was thrilled! But boy could the man cum early! He said it was all the time he  had to wait so now he couldn’t hold back anymore. He went down south to give me some amazingly mind-blowing orgasms. 
Life as a married woman is different, I thought to myself as I drove through the gates to our rented apartment. Its like everyone sees me differently and sometimes speak to me differently too. Maybe a bit more deferential. I wonder why. I wasn’t feeling too good at work today so I had closed early to get some rest before making dinner. I felt nausea building up as I climbed to the second floor to our quarters. I felt the strong vibration of my phone in my bag and paused on the stairs. It was Joycelyn, my old time friend and ex maid-of-honor. 
‘Mrs. Appiah, 3ti sen? You have dogged me kwraa oh!’ she whined down the phone.
‘Herh, Joycelyn! Didn’t we just speak last Friday? You like attention paa!’
‘Oh really? I thought it was two weeks ago. Never mind! Are you in the office?’
‘No oh! I closed early today. I don’t feel too good today so just thought i should get some rest before making dinner for tonight.’
There was a pause at the other end. ‘Ei! Are we pregnant?’ Joycelyn half-screamed. She went on, ‘Amen oh! I hope its a girl then you can name her after me!’
‘As for you! I won’t mind you! I don’t know if I am. I just feel nauseous.’
‘I am positive you are! Its been three months since your honeymoon and I know Kwesi is eager to continue his bloodline. Hehehe!’ 
I shook my head at my friend’s incongruous comment. I promised to call her back if there was any good news and hung up. Pregnant? I hadn’t thought of that but then we weren’t exactly using protection either. We had discussed kids during our courting days and we agreed on having only two kids whom we could offer the best of everything so that was our plan where children were concerned. 
My head was pounding! I closed the door behind me and threw my bag unto the couch. It landed on the tiled floor. In the bathroom, I found some Advril and swallowed two. Why am I so nauseous? The next bout of nausea saw me rushing to the toilet bowl emptying out the jollof rice I had for lunch. Thats a strange colour for Jollof rice, I thought as I retched. I flushed the toilet when my stomach refused to give up any more  of its bile-tasting acidic content. Sweat glistened on my brow as I looked at my face in the mirror above the sink. I washed out my mouth. I must be pregnant. A swell of joy threatened to erupt within me. I had to be sure so I quelled that spirited joy back to its depths. I took my shoes off, set my alarm to wake me in 30 mins, shrugged off my blazer and fell atop the bed. Sleep. 
Silence descended once again in the occupied bedroom. What is that noise? Sounded like an angry bee trapped in a honey bottle. Or its my alarm? Was it 30mins already? Goodness! Mustering up some superhuman strength, I half-arose, sat still glad to realise the headache had fled and walked to the kitchen. I prepared dinner as quick as possible and called Kwesi who said he was on his way. Its good I made different sauces over the weekend, it made weekday dinner preparation so much easier. The key turned in the lock some twenty minutes later and Kwesi walked through the door looking as tired as any banker could be. He came to the dinner table, I gave him a warm hug and gave him a peck.
‘Sorry dear, I can’t kiss you with my puked out mouth,’ I told him taking his unshaven face into my hands.
His black eyes became worried, ‘Why are you sick? Something you ate?’  
‘I am not sure. But it feels better now. Funny I was telling Joycelyn and she was already prophesying a baby in the making. You know how she is.’ I casually mentioned.
Kwesi’s arms tightened around me and he had a surprised look on this face, ‘Could you be…. are we….??’ 
I laughed and told him I wasn’t sure but would go to the hospital first thing in the morning. His resounding kiss showed me how excited he was at the prospects of he becoming a father!
 Dinner was the usual chatter about work and funny tweets on Twitter for the day. I loved his sense of humour and how he laughed over the simplest things. We cleared up together and watched an episode of Dexter which as usual made me cringe at the suspense. Kwesi was snoring. Ei! He must be really tired. I shook him slightly and proposed bedtime. He locked up for the night, washed down and was out like a light. I like taking my time to prepare for bed especially because of the hot shower. I removed my make-up, and took off my clothes in the bedroom with the bathroom light as my guide and slowly walked into the bathroom with only my panties on all the while absently rubbing my abdomen wondering what life was growing in there if there was any. The bathroom mirror was already steamed up from my running of the hot shower and I could see only but a haze of my silhouette. I reached down and took off the last clothing I had on and threw it onto the sink to wash after my shower (a habit of mine since childhood). A red spot caught my eye as i walked into the enclosed shower. I paused and turned back and looked blankly at the underwear. My vision got clouded by the steam like a slow and hazy vision. I wasn’t even aware my hands were shaking. A red smudge looked back at me almost victoriously as it fixed its glare at me. It had soaked through the soft cotton and as I looked and clarity came to me, I knew for sure… I wasn’t pregnant. 
*Welcome to Season 1 of my new short story ‘Empty’ Episode1! 🙂 please note that all names and characters used are fictional and have no relation to any person whatsover. also no animal was harmed during the writing of this piece. 🙂 However, childlessness is a real occurrence in many marital homes in Ghana which often brings about marital challenges and conflicts. Many childless couple are stigmatized for their inability to have children causing emotional turmoil for both.  How will Kwesi and Sara go through this challenge or will they succumb to advice of family and friends to try ‘somewhere else with somebody else?’ 

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