High flying company man. Power. Money. Teen pregnancy. Illegal abortion.
“Danny, I’m expecting,” came Anna’s voice on the other end of the line. Danny sat frozen behind his desk at the office. He stared at the ceiling trying to come to grips with the message. He promised himself that their relationship would end two months ago. But it was already too late. What would his colleagues say? He knew many of them had extramarital affairs but this was different. Worse still, what would his wife say when she found out. And it was only a matter of time before that happened.
“Danny…Danny! Are you still there?” said Anna earnestly. “Danny!”
“Anna this isn’t the time…” he said quietly into the phone as he eyed his secretary though the half opened door. “Listen. Why don’t you meet me outside the Holiday Inn after school. Then we can talk.”
“No, Danny, We need to talk now.” Anna was on the verge of tears. “ you said you knew how a woman’s body works and nothing of this sort would happen. I’m…”
“Listen, Anna,” Danny cut her off. “I told you I’ll meet you after school. And I mean between three and four thirty, okay? What more do you want?”
“Yes, Danny,” Anna sobbed on the phone. “I’ll see you at the Holiday Inn.”
Danny’s head was spinning. His mind was clouded with all the possibilities. All the consequences and solutions to the problem. He knew this would not have happened if only he had listened to that small voice in his head that had repeatedly said: “Don’t do it.” He really had to do something about his drinking now.
He sunk lower into his chair as he recalled the events of the day it all began. It was on a Friday six months ago when Cheeky, his mate from sales invited him out for a few beers at the club. Everyone called him Cheeky because of his way with women.
It’s after lunch. Cheeky had said to him. Why not start the weekend early. That was what everybody did these days and besides his wife would have objected to the idea of going out after six in the afternoon. Having a few beers from lunchtime to six was the better option, he had resolved.
When he arrived at the club, Cheeky brought him a few beers and as he settled at the table, he noticed two girls who were also there. They looked like teens. He guessed they were between 18 and 19. No drink session was complete without a few girls, Cheeky used to say. Danny looked at them and then at his mate who was draining the remnants of the amber liquid in his brown bottle.
“I found these two on their way home and they agreed to come and join us on the condition that we drop them off in Gerehu.” He said placing a hand on one of the girl’s thigh. “But this darling can come home with me if she wants to. What do you think, baby… go home…mmm?”
Danny sat down with them amidst the giggles of the two girls and opened another bottle. He was now regretting that he had gone along with the suggestion. It all began when Cheeky suggested that they rent two rooms at the nearby hotel if they didn’t want his wife to find out.
He was sure she had consented to it. But then it was only after he had convinced her, after a few drinks, that he truly loved her and that she would not become pregnant. Before six o’clock the two men drove the girls home. Anna said she wanted to be dropped off a block away so nobody would notice her late entry. It should have stopped there. It should have stopped when she told him she was a secondary school student. It was as if he was in a trance like state for the last two months. He wanted sex and she gave it to him. She wanted money and more than a few lifts in his car. He gave it to her. He fiddled with the pencil and then put it down on his desk. He pulled open a draw and stared down at five boxes of condoms. How foolish. How foolish to think he didn’t need those “stupid rubber covers.” But then he never needed those things. In fact he was totally against being unfaithful to one’s wife. This single affair had become a disaster. Now the phone call had brought him to his senses. He wiped the sweat off is brow. His hands were shaking. He needed advice. He always discussed problems with his wife but this one was a definite NO. He shuffled names in his head. Possible advice-givers. Dad? No. He was too far away. Besides what would he think of him? Colleagues were out of the question. The last thing he wanted was for his superiors to start asking what a regional brand manager was doing with a secondary school student. Cheeky! Yes! True… he was a colleague but it was his idea that led to this disaster. He’d definitely have answers to his problem. Almost immediately, he sat down and dialled Cheeky’s extension and heard a faint “hello” on the other end.
“Cheeky….mate!” he said trying to mask the pressure he was under. “Listen… You come over to my corner right now. I need your thoughts on something.”
“Sure, bro,” came a chuckled reply. It’s 10:30 now – lunchtime according to me. I’ll be there in a few moments. He heard the engaged tone as Cheeky hung up and in a few minutes, he bounced through door with a wide grin.
“Sup man?” he said his hands pointing downward in the hip hop gesture he was so famous for. What did women see in this prick? Danny wondered. He was like a cross between Snoop Dog and a politician who knew how to use his power and influence to get what he wanted when it suited him. He had almost schizophrenic-like qualities. He was the learned, cultured sales person able to relate to the high-flying female company executive and the rugged coffee grower from Mt. Hagen. Now, he was going to double as a relationship counsellor.
“Thought you were going to hang out with the cool chick we met some time ago,” he chuckled.
That’s exactly why I called you in, said Danny with a grave look. I need…”
“…Advice?… Well you’ve come to the right place. Tell me about it.”
“Well… you see…” Danny began. “you remember Anna? One of the girls we went out with.
“Yes….” Cheeky said.
“Who from? You don’t really think you…” Cheeky said trying to offer some reassurance. “Come on, mate… I mean it could be from one of her boyfriends and she could be trying to pin it down on you so you can pay the maintenance. You know what young girls are like these days. Get pregnant from somebody else and then find a man who has the money or a job and say it’s theirs.”
“I don’t think so, mate,” Danny replied. I’ve been seeing her for the last two months on a regular basis.”
“Yes! We’ve been doing it, too.” Danny almost yelled.
Cheeky had suddenly become very thoughtful. Could his girl be pregnant too? He didn’t want to become like Danny. He was already paying the price for previous encounters and paying for three children from three other woman was quite expensive.
“If I were you, I’d find a doctor and have it removed as quickly as possible,” Cheeky said with a serous look. “….Unless you want to end up like me.”
“You mean have an abor…” He felt shocked and ashamed. But it was a real solution. He had the money to do it even though it was illegal. Cheeky told he could line up a doctor by the end of the day.
“Just make sure the young lady agrees to it. Pay her if you must. Pay her school fees. Anything. Just make sure she goes to the doctor with you.”
Danny watched as Cheeky went out the door. The bounce in his feet was gone. He too was probably back to his senses. Danny tried to work but he couldn’t. He stood up and paced around the room. Just then his mobile beeped twice. Text message from his wife, Shirley.
“Taking kids to Pool. Don’t look for us. Luv U.”
Well… that solved the problem of going home late. At least Shirley won’t be expecting him early. He looked at the computer screen. 2:30pm, it read. He sat on his chair for an hour before picking up his car keys and walked out slamming the door as he went. Despite the air conditioning, his shirt was soaked with sweat. His heart of pounding as he thought of how he was going to persuade Anna to go through with an abortion. He entered the elevator, pressed CP for Car Park and felt the elevator descend. What if Shirley found out? The girls parents would probably have him castrated or killed. Damn!
He headed for the Holiday Inn. He slowed down and peered out through the dark tint. He was startled by a knock on the side of the window. Turning around, he saw Anna with her eyes all puffy and red from crying.
“Get in,” He said casting a cautious look across the street. He drove off as soon as she got in and headed for Ela beach. Pulling up under a shady tree, he turned off the engine. They both sat speechless for a few minutes before Anna broke the silence.
“What are we going to do?” she turned to Danny with an expectant look.
“I’ve worked out something. But first you have to agree to it. We must remove it. Destroy it now.”
“You mean an abortion!” she exclaimed. “It’s murder. I can’t do it! I just can’t go through with it. You said you loved me. You said nothing would happen…” she was now sobbing uncontrollably. Danny felt the urge to reach out comfort her but restrained himself.
“Shut up!” He shouted at her. “Listen. It’s a simple procedure. Cheeky has arrange for a doctor who will do it all you need to do is come with me.” Her sobbing was deafening in the enclosed space. Danny wanted to get out of the car but he didn’t. He grabbed hold of her shoulders and shook her violently.
“You want to continue school?” She nodded. “You want your parents to find out about this?” She shook her head. He was finally getting through. “…then you need to have that abortion…”
Anna stopped crying. She wiped her tears. And said in a calm voice: “I’ll tell the teacher tomorrow that I’m sick and I’ll go.” Her father would kill her if he found out. Her mother was never at home.
Danny was at her school at nine o’clock. Together they drove to the clinic Cheeky had named. She was directed into a small waiting room.
“Unless you are a relative, you’ve got wait outside, sir.” The nurse said to him.
Danny stood for a few seconds and watched as Anna went into the room. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notebook and wrote a message for Anna. He walked to the nurses station.
“Nurse… when my sister come out, could you please give her this note? I’ll come back later.”
Several hours later, Anna opened the note. “Dear Anna, I’m sorry I had to leave for an urgent meeting…” She squeezed the note and the it in the bin. It was no use crying.