It hurt like hell…but I was the happiest I had ever been.
Lying there with Jimi, it felt like I was in heaven. And I regretted nothing about having given him my virginity. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I can’t believe you were a virgin!” Jimi remarked, for probably the tenth time, obviously in awe about the whole thing. “You are truly special, Folabomi! I hate myself for being so foolish back then!”
I had smiled, even though somewhere deep inside, it still irked me to remember that, years back, I hadn’t been the one he’d chosen.
We’d lain there until evening, when Jimi had reluctantly gone home. After he left, I was left all alone in the house, with only my thoughts for company. And they weren’t good ones. Lying in bed, I tossed and turned, wondering how I’d measured up compared to Dolly. I winced at the memory of how I’d recoiled in pain during our lovemaking, and couldn’t shake off vivid images of Jimi and Dolly, bodies entwined, in positions that would have made the kama sutra look like child’s play. I knew she was definitely more experienced than me…and I couldn’t help but wonder if he had been just as satisfied with me as he’d been with her.
As a result of my fitful night, I didn’t fall asleep until dawn, so when my doorbell rang at 9am, I was jolted rudely out of sleep. But opening the door, and seeing my Jimi, standing there with a bag of doughnuts, croissants and muffins, I almost levitated. That was how happy I was to see him.
We’d spent the rest of the day gisting, laughing, and doing the naughty. It didn’t hurt as badly this time, and I found myself wishing I’d read and watched more to educate myself about how to pleasure a man. It didn’t appear that Jimi was anything but satisfied, but I found myself wishing I could do a bit more.
That became our routine for the next few weeks. Every morning, Jimi would come to my house. Sometimes, we would drive out to grab a bite, and other times, I would make us something to eat. He was everything I’d imagined he would be…and more. He was my soulmate in every sense of the word, and my life was almost perfect. Almost.
If only I could just shake off all comparisons with Dolly from my head. I desperately wished the comparisons would end, because I always measured up short. In my head, I could never be as good as my sister; not as pretty, not as entertaining, and not with half the sexual prowess. And day by day, it ate me up that, perhaps, Jimi was also comparing us.
Well, all good things must come to an end, and after those blissful three weeks, it was time to return to reality. Jimi got a job with an Architectural firm on the island, and I eventually got placement in a small hospital in Surulere, thanks to my dad. It became harder and harder for us to see each other during the week, and soon, we were reduced to only weekend visits. Even though he was as consistent as he could have been, given the circumstances, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he was losing interest…
When I missed my period, I chose not to believe what it could possibly mean. I decided to ignore it instead, convincing myself that my body was probably reacting to having so much sex for the first time ever. And as I had none of the sickness that I heard accompanied pregnancy, I chalked my absent period down to my new sexual activity…and perhaps the stress of my new job.
I did the same thing the second month my period was absent, and then the third, choosing to ignore it instead. But by the fourth month that my period had been absent, I realized it was getting harder and harder to fit into my clothes. That was when I found the nerve to check, once and for all. Not wanting a scandal, I had gone to a laboratory in Mushin, where I didn’t run the risk of anyone I knew seeing me. And that was where it was confirmed, via both blood and urine tests. I was pregnant…and about 16 weeks along, I would later discover.
I’m not sure how I got home that day, because I was in a daze. I had no idea what I was going to do. I knew enough to know that an abortion at this stage would be risky, but in the absence of any other option, it was the only solution.
I called in sick the next day at work, and toyed with the idea of finding my way to Unilag to enlist Bimbo’s help. I knew Bimbo and her boyfriend, Ekong, had had at least a couple unplanned pregnancies, so I knew she’d know what to do. But I found myself unable to leave the house. I just couldn’t move. The thought of being led to where I’d get an abortion was mortifying…and I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to go through it.
Soon, the weekend rolled along, and as usual, 11am, Jimi was at my house. I half listened as he regaled me with stories of his eventful week at work, and how much fun he was having on the development project they were on. That was when it dawned on me that he was my only ally in all this. I couldn’t afford to let my friends know I’d been impregnated by my sister’s ex-boyfriend. That would have been too much of a scandal…even for those that loved me. Jimi would have to get me out of this mess.
“I’m pregnant.” I heard myself blurt out.
He had stared back at me, unblinking. “Huh?”
“I’m pregnant. I just found out a few days ago. I’m quite far along, so an abortion now might be risky…but I’m sure we can make it work. I’m sure people with more advanced pregnancies have been able to…” I rattled along, trying my best to sound convincing.
“Wait, hold up!” Jimi had cut in. “You’re pregnant?”
I couldn’t quite decode his reaction. I couldn’t quite see whether, beneath the shock and surprise, he was happy or upset about it.
So, I hadn’t answered, and just stared right back at him.
“Wow!” he had exclaimed, sitting back in his chair. “Wow!”
“I can find out a good place…a good doctor…” I stumbled, trying to get to the end once and for all.
“First of all, you need to kill the idea of having an abortion!” Jimi cut in, not even noticing the pun in his sentence. “That’s not what’s going to happen. You’re not going to kill my baby!”
It was my own turn to be surprised. “How else are we going to solve this? A pregnancy isn’t exactly a flu. There will be a child in another few months!”
“We can get married.” Jimi said quietly.
You could have heard a pin drop, as we stared back at each other, each of us pondering the weight of the sentence hanging in the air between us.
“Married?” I repeated, my voice barely audible. “Is that what you really want?”
He had shrugged. “It is what it is, Fola. Obviously it’s much earlier than I would have liked, but it’s the best thing for us to do.”
And that had been my marriage proposal.
The next day, Sunday, Jimi had taken me to meet his folks in their Ikoyi home. I had expected some stuffy, condescending aristocrats, but they had been the most down-to-earth people I had even encountered. The first of two boys, Jimi didn’t come from a big family, which is probably why the thought of having an abortion wasn’t being entertained. In fact, from the way his mother danced and hugged me, and waited on me me hand and foot while we were there, they were even excited about the idea!
My family, on the other hand, was a difficult game entirely.
The first person I’d told was Adun, who had been shocked that virginal me could have made such a mistake! And with Dolly’s ex-boyfriend, no less. But in the end, she had been supportive, which was a far cry from what I got our mother…and, of course, Dolly.
“You are pregnant for Jimi?!” she had yelled so loudly, I’m sure if I listened hard, I would have heard it from my house. “You are a snake! So you were just waiting for me to be out of the picture before sinking your claws into him!”
“Because you are not meant to go after your sister’s man, ex or not!” she had yelled right back.
“Says the girl who did take her sister’s man!” I quipped, ready, finally, to go there!
After a prolonged silence, she’d finally answered, “So this is revenge, right? I see. Folabomi…you are dead to me!”
And the line had disconnected, leaving me quite visibly shaken. I’d expected a wide array of reactions, but a fiery anger hadn’t been one of them. Dolly’s reaction truly stomped me.
My mother’s, however, I could predict annually.
“Folabomi, you have killed me!” my ever dramatic mother had shrieked. “O ba loyun?! Ha! I am finished!!”
I had zoned in and out as she ranted, not quite knowing whether I was expected to interject or not.
“And of all people, your sister’s former boyfriend? Is he not doing NYSC like you? Ha! Fola, you have finished me! I blame your sisters for making me think you were responsible enough to be left alone! Dolapo, did you not tell me your sister is a virgin?! Virgin indeed!”
Then the lamentation changed to insults. Any name in the book, my mother threw at me. She only stopped short of calling me a prostitute…which was funny considering that tag better described her favourite daughter.
When I spoke with my father, on the other hand, although disappointed, he had been supportive and promised to be in Lagos within a few days, to meet with Jimi’s parents. My mother flared at the mere suggestion of her returning to Lagos for anything.
“Which kin yeye wedding? What do you need me there for, when you have kuku given them everything they need? You want me to come and price something everyone in the market has finished eating!” she had snapped. “I came here to take care of Adun and her baby, and I have not finished doing that!”
Adun had laughed heartily, when I told her about this conversation with our mother.
“She is taking care of who? Someone who barely stayed one week with me! She’s been with Dolly, waiting for when they will finally meet Frank’s mother.” Adun had said. “But trust me, I was too glad she decided not to be with me for long. If she’d stayed any longer, one of us would have been dead by now! Wole’s mom is helping.””
The next weekend, my father was in town, and we had received Jimi’s family in our home. As I was already starting to show, it was agreed that the wedding would have to hold as quickly as possible. In all the planning and discussions, Jimi looked pretty happy about the chain of events…but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was really happy…or just faking it. Did he regret not going along with the abortion option? Was he looking for a way to get out of getting married? Did he wish he was marrying Dolly instead of me?
Those were the thoughts that went to bed with me everyday.
So, in August 2000, at 25 weeks pregnant, and the age of 22, Jimi and I had exchanged marriage vows at his family Church. Adun and Niyi had come home to watch our father give me away…but our mother was still keeping Dolly company, as they waited for Frank to make a decision.
My friends, and indeed almost everyone from Unilag, had been stunned that, not only had I been seeing Dolly’s ex-boyfriend, I was expecting his baby and marrying him. But they had turned up for the wedding, and it ended up being a nice event.
After the wedding, we had moved into a small apartment Jimi’s parents rented for us in Dolphin Estate. It was ironic that now that we finally lived together, sex was off the table, as Jimi refused to come near me in my condition.
“Who knows what the baby can see or feel!” was always his excuse, as he chose, instead, to massage my feet, back or waist anytime the mood hit.
But as always, all I could think was that he was finally feeling roped in, and was sorely regretting marrying me…
By November 2000, our son, Rire, was born.
But as happy as I was about his arrival, and being a family unit with the love of my life, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all short lived…
You can catch up on Fola’s story here:
- Sister, Sister 1: Calling Me Mrs.
- Sister, Sister 2: The Odd Family
- Sister, Sister 3: Floating On Air
- Sister, Sister 4: The Many Wives of Jimi
- Sister, Sister 5: Russian Roulette
- Sister, Sister 6: So Much In Common