Often, the dramas unfolding in my office kind of compel me to take a break from the medical profession, and take a master’s in creative writing. Journalism was my passion, but my single mom couldn’t tolerate the thought of putting me through a less serious profession, she had points to prove. Mostly, to mama Gene, who never tired of singing about her boys.
Last week, an annoying happy couple walked in, all over each other. Such couples breed a tiny little envy in me. Two of my past relationships ended because I barely had time for them. Ronnie said he needed a wife. An African wife that will prepare his meals, iron his suits and have at least six children. While Zach simply stated he can’t marry a woman with higher pay. Somehow, I just needed someone I could regularly bore with my patient’s stories.
“Hello! Are you the doctor?” The man asked, pulling a chair for his lady.
“Ben! Didn’t you read the signage on the door?” the lady interjected.
I’m so used to this. Men and older women that walk into my office often check more than twice, scan the room, and ask if the doctor has stepped out. Most fathers take most of the silent moments I’m jotting down my notes to share kind words. Applauding me for being a “female doctor”. Then immediately ask if I’m married, how many children? When do you go home to them?
It’s close to the reactions I get when I go out with my Tinder dates. One particularly tall dark guy, with brown fake leather shoes and a cheap-looking bag, was so fascinated by this fact, that he immediately asked to marry me. The date had kicked off on a rather sorry note because he sexualized me the moment he lay his eyes on me. He started whistling, rubbing his chin and talking about the fine catch I was. In fact, he shared he thought we would have a good night. Upon learning about my profession, he thought we’d make the perfect couple.
“We need to have a DNA test on our baby, Tasha”, Chioma volunteered.
“Why is this?” I asked, sitting up for another interesting tale.
“The thing is, we need to ascertain to some loser that this child is mine. He won’t stop lurking around my wife and daughter, so he insisted on the DNA, and we are here to prove it”. Ben joined in.
“Well, is the other party present?”
“Yes, he’s outside”, Chioma responded.
“Would you mind ushering him in please?” I asked.
There was an awkward silence, “Ben, do you?” Chioma offered.
He stood up, pulled on his blazer and made for the door. Chioma followed him with her eyes and said my name with such desperation. A desperation that’s quite familiar in my line of profession.
“Zawadi, you have to help me!”
“Are you okay, Chioma?” I asked.
“Perfectly fine. But my marriage won’t be after this test is done”.
“Well, I cheated on my husband a few weeks before our wedding. My ex, is claiming that my daughter Tasha takes after him. So, he insisted that we do a DNA test”.
“That’s what you are here to do, to clear the air. After the test is done, you will know who is her biological father”.
“That’s the problem right there”.
“What do you mean?”
The door flung open with so much force, Ben walked in, and it banged back, closing, without the next patient coming in. We exchanged looks with Chioma as if we both anticipated this kind of reception. Then, slowly, the doorknob moved and a man in dark shades, a black leather jacket, a mavin and a pair of jeans walked in. He had a scar on his right cheek. It appeared more like a burn scar. I immediately resolved to add “looking for a dark man with burn scars on the cheek and great fashion sense” on my Tinder.
“You need to treat me with some sort of respect. Remember I’m paying all the bills. Your hotel bills, your airfare, the hospital bill and probably your divorce attorney”, he bragged.
“Tony could please respect my husband”. Chioma said, almost fearful. Like she was mandated to say that, like her life depended on it.
“Listen here, I can pay for all of that, but I’m not here to massage your ego, man! This is my wife, you should have considered that before going after her” Ben replied, agitated.
“I don’t see a ring on her finger”, Tony replied, his voice laced with malicious intent.
“Traditionational weddings don’t have wedding rings, bro! You’d know that if you had a little respect for people’s relationships!” Ben screamed and stormed out of the room.
I was really enjoying the drama, in fact, I wanted it to go on and on, but I needed to get home early.
“Okay everyone”, I cut right in. “We know what needs to be done to clear this up”. “Can we just get right into it?”
As a pediatric doctor, I’ve come to appreciate the value of life immensely, by how quickly these young ones are whisked away by death. Tasha was quite lucky to have such reasonable parents, who cared to know the risks she might be exposed to throughout the procedure.
Chioma seems rather uncomfortable, stealing glances at Tony. She keeps opening her mouth and closing it without uttering a word.
“Tony, did you really have to do this?”
“That’s my daughter, Chioma. And you know I’m a responsible man. Why would I let her live with another man?”
“That man is my husband. We’ve talked about this with him. He’s down to raise her as his own. He has her best interest at heart. Can you just let this go? Tasha doesn’t need this? she’s still too young!”
“Chioma, you went ahead and married that man even when I asked you not to. You don’t love him. I left you for just one year to advance my career and you agree to a cheap wedding proposal because of age?”
“Is this about Tasha, or about your ego?”
“A bit of both, actually”.
“I hate you for this Tony, I really do”.
“See you in court, Chioma. I’m dragging this”.
Tasha started crying. They all walk out and after a few minutes Ben walks back in, rather too casually, his face unsure but focused.
“Hey! Could I talk to you for a minute?” he asked. I cursed under my breath. Something within me wished it was Tony. Somehow, I have a thing for arrogant men. Maybe it’s because they are too opinionated, and I like winning arguments.
“Sure. Please sit down.”
He wore ankle socks, with a suit! Who does that? My face must have crammed up with disgust when he caught my eye, because he appeared a little confused, fidgeting in the chair.
“My wife confessed about sleeping with her ex, Tony, a week after it happened. We were sexually active at this time too. I choose to forgive her, for reasons best known to me. What bothers me, is what are the chances this child isn’t mine? Could she have been pregnant by the time they slept together? I just need assurance that the child is mine” he said.
“Ben, I guess we both know that I’m not the right person to ask these questions. Have you tried talking to your wife about this?”
“I haven’t exactly asked the same questions. I don’t want her to feel disrespected while this is still ongoing”.
“That’s very important, but I’m not the best person to ask in this situation, if you’ve been patient since Tasha was born, then you could wait a few weeks for the DNA results”.
He seemed conflicted. Like he wanted to ask a few more questions, prolong the conversation and stay silent, hoping I could make sense of his thoughts. I turned back to my notebook, I needed to write my shopping list.
“You look dashing by the way”, he said, still seated.
“You too Ben”, I lied.
A couple of months have passed and I’ve been staring at these DNA results for a while now, and my stomach aches for both Tony and Ben.
Probability of Paternity of Index A :0%
Probability of Paternity of Index B : 0%
I can imagine the looks on their faces, when they both find out, that Tasha isn’t their daughter. These two men that have been on each other’s necks, how will it feel like to know, that none of them sired this child?
I was going to look for a date on Tinder but after this unexpected turn of events, I’d rather enjoy singlehood for a while.
NOTE: This story is based on a real story curated from this Twitter thread.
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