By Kathryn Mweupe Yule Kazibwe:
In life we make lots of connections. Those lost along the way are not always wrong. They are simply lost links whose lessons it is upon us to decipher.
I recently ran into a long lost friend of mine. It took me a while to recognize the beauty who practically shouted my name as I walked by her. It wasn't until Samantha said her name that I recognized the face of the girl whom I once called best friend. We'd been inseparable throughout primary school, but had grown distant when I moved to another country for my secondary education. Sam was still as beautiful as I could remember; only her eyes looked wizened. She tightly held a pretty little girl in her arms and introduced her as Tammy, her five year old daughter. We exchanged numbers and set a lunch date; there was a lot of catching up to do.
We met at Sam's home in Muyenga, and got right into bringing each other up to speed about our lives. Sam picked at the lush fabric of the sofa as she told me bluntly how she got pregnant in high school.
“He was my classmate, and I didn't really like him, but I was eager to lose it. I was the only one in my class who was still in the dark about it. So when he asked I said yes.” She looked at me with a small smile.
“The condom burst, and Tammy was conceived.” She glanced at Tammy then, playing quietly in the corner, and pain flitted across her face. There are no accidental babies, my grandmother told me once, only accidental parents. Sam was one of those. She continued before I could say something awkward.
“I tried getting rid of her. I failed, and only managed to get myself in hospital, with everyone aware of my little secret. The accusation in their eyes was laced with pity. That night when they were all asleep, I tried to get rid of myself. I failed at that too, and now their looks turned into terrified ones. I was the crazy daughter.” Sam's words came out in a rush, and the last statement was made on a dry breath of laughter. Her eyes looked tired. I didn't know what to say, and I reached out to rub my hand on her shoulder.
“When the time came, I had Tammy. She was so small, so precious. I felt guilty for what I'd tried to do, for not wanting such a lovely gift. Worse still, I couldn't forgive myself for harming her, my own daughter.” I looked at her questioningly. There were no tears in her eyes, but her voice was dripping with them. She turned her wizened, pained and slightly crazed eyes to her daughter. “The failed abortion and suicide attempt damaged Tammy's brain. I took away her chance at a normal life.”
That night as I lay cradled in Patrick's arms I wondered if Sam's story would have been different had I stayed in her life? I had this silly feeling that I could have kept her from all the suffering. Then I realized that our paths had probably crossed again for a reason. Maybe this is the part of her story I belong to.
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