Thursday, September 2, 2010

EPISODE 38 – WHEN A GLADIATOR SURRENDERS

These days, I prefer watching series films to full-length movies. The anticipation of subsequent episodes and seasons usually trigger an adrenaline rush within me and trust me, it feels so good. I have not seen too many of these series films but a few I have seen are: Prison Break, Lost, 24, Dark Angel, Rome, The Tudors, Breaking Bad, Hustle, Heroes, The Unit, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, The Apprentice, Merlin, Legend of the Seeker and others I cannot readily remember. Recently, I watched the first season of ‘Spartacus’ (yeah I know it’s been out since like forever! Mind me not) and I have been going crazy waiting for the second season.
‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ was off the hook and has since officially become my best series film after ‘24’. What has so much endeared me to this epic film, you might wonder? Is it the battles and the blood (oh, there were lots of them; gory scenes in fact!) Is it the sex scenes (Mehn, they had some bad and raw sex scenes and serious pornography!) I began to imagine how crazy the medieval era was with the amount of sexual energy constantly exuded among those who lived then, especially in societies like England and Rome. Still on the reason I am so much captivated by this film, is it the epic tale of love and devotion, sacrifice and passion? The answers to all questions are affirmative. In case you haven’t seen this film, please do but expect a lot of blood . . . and raw lovemaking scenes!

Why have I spent so much time talking about a film? A key feature in ‘Spartacus’ is the numerous battle scenarios. Usually, gladiators are made to fight in ‘the arena’ before thousands of Roman people for entertainment. These battles are usually to the very death. However, in certain cases, if the defeated gladiator surrenders, he is spared by his opponent, of course only with the approval of the crowd and the editor of the games. The fallen gladiator puts two fingers up as a mark of surrender. Surrendering to an opponent is always accompanied with disgrace and shame for the gladiator; hence most gladiators readily fight to the very death. That leads me to my question. Is it okay to ever surrender? The answer to that question depends on a good number of factors: your chances of ever winning that battle (if you decide to continue fighting), the level of your pride (would you rather die fighting than surrender to your opponent like a coward?) the strength of your opponent (if you decide to continue fighting), your ability to cope with shame and disgrace (if you surrender), your chances of rising up again (if you surrender) . . . the list goes on and on.

I might not have considered all the options but I did surrender after it appeared I could never win the battle I found myself in. The odds were indeed unfavourable to me. One, I had no chance of winning (especially not after all attempts to get rid of the pregnancy had failed). Two, my pride had become acutely weakened to a point where I almost felt like jelly. Three, I had since realized my opponent was a much stronger being – God! I couldn’t fight God without doing myself greater harm. The thought of shame and disgrace and the possibility of getting over it eventually were uppermost in my mind and it hardly seemed like I would be able to cope with what would happen if eventually the news of BG’s pregnancy got out. My head worked like a clock to create a solution or next line of action but I constantly found myself back at the same spot. The journey to my ‘raising two fingers’ began when BG’s pelvic scan result knocked the wind out of me first.

The gynaecologist had recommended that we went for a pelvic scan in order to know the true state of the pregnancy. The pregnancy test result had already confirmed her ‘still pregnant’ but he said a pelvic scan would give a total information of how far gone she was, the position of the baby and other stuff. He even suggested that it could be a fibroid!
“A fibroid?” I had asked, trying hard to recollect what a fibroid actually meant. BG also had an instant frightened look on her face.
“Yes, since you said you already had an abortion, it’s possible she’s not carrying a foetus but a fibroid. It’s like a growth in the womb and usually requires an operation to get rid of.”
I sighed painfully. What in God’s name was wrong with this ‘medical people’? I wondered, suppressing my anger. First, it was a theory of ‘twin foetus’ and now, a new theory of ‘fibroid’. Was I the crazy one here or was everyone crazy? I asked myself.
“That is why I suggest a pelvic scan,” the gynaecologist finished.

The next day, BG went for the pelvic scan. I had declined immediately when she asked me to accompany her on the excuse that I had a migraine, which I actually had. Truth was, I had heard enough bad news in the past few weeks to last a lifetime and I was almost too sure the next one would kill me.
“You just go for the scan, okay. I’ll be here waiting for you.” I said as she left for the lab.
After BG left, I decided to take a nap – one I hoped to wake up from and discover that I had only been having a bad dream. In fact I always slept with that wish every night since the last pregnancy test result. My efforts to fall asleep proved totally futile and the migraine worsened incredibly. I was bathing my head with cold water when BG returned about an hour later and from her countenance, I needed no confirmation that there was no good news. Actually, I had secretly hoped for the ‘fibroid’ theory to be correct; at least that would have saved me from the shame and disgrace of being found to have gotten a girl pregnant. A ‘fibroid’ would have totally exonerated me but alas, it was not a fibroid. I retrieved the paper BG handed over to me and on seeing the details I thought my head would explode.

The scan result showed a dark image that was hardly visible.
“What’s this?” I asked, pointing at the funny looking impression on the paper.

BG peered closer. “That’s the baby,” she said.
“What baby?” I asked stupidly.
“The baby I am carrying!” she screamed angrily.
I suddenly found it difficult breathing as I concentrated on the image. I could visualize an outline of a tiny head and a body within a seeming cloud. It was indeed a foetus! I looked at BG’s tummy instinctively as though I would see the baby staring out of its enclosure.
“But you don’t look at all pregnant!” I said, hardly taking my eyes off her stomach.
Indeed, she barely looked different from the same girl I had always known. There was no bulging sign of any kind. I poured some more cold water on my head.
“Look at what is written after the image,” BG said.
I obeyed and read the analysis beneath the image scan on the page. It revealed that conception had taken place on 27-10-06 and expected date of delivery was 27-07-07 + 7 days. The scan further revealed that as at that date, BG was 17 weeks 5 days pregnant. I slowly remembered that the supposed conception date had been the period BG and I first had sexual intercourse. I was ready to disappear right then. 17 weeks! That was like over 4 months pregnant! Yet, there was no change in her physical features.

We were back at the gynaecologist’s that evening and showed him the scan result. The man looked at the paper for a good while and sighed.
“She’s still pregnant,” he said.
I could have punched him in the face. Of course she was still pregnant! I was not blind!
“What can we do now, doctor?” I asked, my hopes for a solution gradually waning.
“I would advise you leave it.”
“As in, have the baby?” BG asked.
The man nodded. “This is a well formed foetus” he said, pointing to the picture on the paper. “Anything you do to get this off could damage your womb or even kill you.”
I felt the gladiator in me try to strike one last blow. “Can it still be removed anyway?”
The gynaecologist sighed. “Yes it could but it is risky. Personally, I would not try to abort a foetus at this stage.”
I felt my world crashing at that moment.
“Leave this one. You might be fighting against God if you try to do anything further to get rid of this pregnancy,” he added on a final note.
As we left the premises, I asked BG to go to her house.
“What do we do now?” she asked.
I sighed. “I can’t really say anything now,” I managed. “Please, just give me the night to think about this. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

That night, I decided I would show the two fingers and surrender but I would not face the shame and disgrace. If I did, I was not sure I would be able to bounce back so I decided to do what I thought might make things easier. I went to a bar nearby and drank myself to stupor. Thereafter, I headed to Viv’s place and smoked enough Indian hemp to knock my brains out. Getting to my house was an ordeal but I made it. It must have been about one a.m that night when I picked up a small bottle of a locally made insecticide called ‘otapiapia’. It was used as a mosquito killer cum rat poison and I had heard that it was equally poisonous for human beings. In fact, I actually heard people had died from ingesting this liquid and I decided it was my way out. I swallowed the remaining contents in one gulp and in my drunken state I could hardly feel the taste. I found my way to bed and lay down. I confessed my sins and asked God for his forgiveness. I also asked him to look after BG and the baby and a lot of other things. In between the prayers I fell asleep, hoping to wake up in Heaven . . . or wherever.

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE GEEBEE CHRONICLES.

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