Written by Caroline Ayugi
(Did you miss Part I of this Diary? Read it here)
Four years after Dickens and I broke up, he came seeking for my hand in friendship, again.
“Since you are done with studies, we should give our relationship another shot,” he said.
I said yes.
My job contract in Lira had ended and being back in Gulu meant we could be close again.
He was still convinced though, that I had intentionally terminated our first child. On two occasions, he wondered aloud how old our child would be if I had not aborted.
I didn’t do it.
That truth was the only thing that stopped Dick’s words from splitting my head open with anger.
One night, Dick and I were watching the 9pm news on NTV when he received a phone call that would change our lives forever.
I was resting my head on his chest so I could pick what the female voice on the other end of the line was saying.
“Are you sleeping?”
“Why are you in bed early? Are you sick?”
“Is 9pm early? Do you have a timetable for my bedtime?”
I wondered what the lady had done to earn such harsh retorts to what I considered genuine concern.
That phone call marked the birth of my suspicion that there could be “the other woman” in Dick's life. His rudeness however meant that he was not interested in her, or so I thought.
A month after the suspicious phone call, Dick received a text message. His phone was right on the table where I was solving a Sudoku puzzle. Before he could take the phone, I had enough time to see that the message was from Agnes.
“Who is Agnes?”
Before he could respond, I saw a flash of guilt on his face.
“Which Agnes?” he pretended, picking up the phone immediately, to probably delete any “evidence” of her existence.
“The one who just sent you a message.”
“That was one of Airtel’s promotional messages,” he murmured, avoiding eye contact.
Ah! So apart from lying, Dick was also accusing me of being dim-sighted.
I stormed out of his house.
Days later, he called and claimed that Agnes is a woman he was seeing when we broke up. She has been complaining why he no longer ‘attends’ to her needs like he used to, he added.
“There is nothing serious. She is bad mannered.”
I believed him. Dick always told me about his whereabouts and was there whenever I needed him. Besides, I had the key to his house.
Two years after rekindling our relationship, Dick started complaining why it had taken me “so long” to conceive.
“Are you really fertile?” he blurted out one evening.
Our first sexual encounter had resulted into a pregnancy, albeit the miscarriage that followed. I didn’t understand where that question was coming from. I chose not to answer him.
I visited a gynecologist instead. He examined me and found that one of my fallopian tubes was blocked. I gritted my teeth, fought back tears without success as the doctor used a shampoo-like liquid to unclog my tubes. I conceived a month after that medical procedure.
Dick was thrilled. The care and concern he showed for the pregnancy and I, was out of this world, but it was short-lived.
Two months later, I miscarried again.
The speculations and accusations resumed.
“You must have had many abortions while at university,” he said one day.
“That’s why your womb can’t carry a pregnancy to term,” he continued.
Dick’s cousin reportedly had several abortions while at university and had four miscarriages thereafter. Although she was married and had children, her “sins” still hung on her head. Dick carried the same “sins” and heaped them on my head.
He urged me to confess so that my ‘sins’ could be corrected before it was too late.
“I didn’t have any abortions at university. I have never had an abortion,” I offered.
That should have settled matters, but Dick came up with another theory.
Apparently in his clan, a woman only miscarries after she has had sex with a man who isn’t responsible for her pregnancy.
I was speechless, but I conceived again, three months later.
One night, suspicion got the better of me and I look through Dick’s phone messages while he slept.
“I tested and it is positive,” read a message from Agnes.
Is it a disease or a pregnancy? I wondered at the message which was sent a week after I told Dick I was pregnant. I soon confirmed, from new messages in his phone, that Agnes, the ‘bad mannered girl’ was also carrying Dick’s child.
I wondered whether he slept with the two of us on the same day. If he did then he must have had her during day because Dick sleeps in “our” house every night. We enjoy all holidays and festivities together. Whenever he returned from a trip, the bus tickets were there as “evidence” of his travels.
I read messages from Agnes accusing, blaming and cursing Dick for abandoning her. That made me feel wanted. It made me conclude that this was just a fling. I could not confront Dick though, because I didn’t want to bare my snoopiness.
I was the main woman and that is all that mattered.
Dick got a job in Kampala. I was happy that our financial situation would improve. But I also knew I would be lonely. He was not planning to take me to Kampala with him.
“Life in the city is too expensive, and I need to settle on the job first,” he said. It made sense, and since he would be coming home as often as he could, I took it easy.
Soon, his mother heard about “the other woman” and demanded to meet her. She loved Agnes instantly, and that meant another headache for me.
Dick’s family started accusing me of witchcraft, and blaming me all sorts of misfortune in the family, including Agnes’ sicknesses during pregnancy. I didn’t mind much because Dick stood by my side through it all.
On the last day of my antenatal visit, the gynecologist said I was in latent labor. I was thrilled. To me, that meant I would be the mother of Dick’s first born.
That had been my daily prayer.
Part III of this series will be posted next Tuesday, 4 July 2017.