Regrets! What would you do if your life was written in pencil and you could erase it and start all over again? This Paul contemplates as he struggles to give his life a meaning. They say time heals all things but it seem not to have healed the wounds of his regrets.
At the age of 21 years, Paul had his future in front of him. He wanted to be a successful businessman and nothing was going to stop him. Not even a pregnant girlfriend at the time. Paul not willing to take responsibilities, went away to school leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend at the time. In his defense, he couldn’t even look after himself how is he going to be able to provide for a girl and child? He had advised her to get an abortion and tried to explain to her that they were just young and naïve and bringing another human into the world would be the worst decision of their young lives. He explained the danger of bringing a child into the world unprepared. They would have to give up on their dreams and aspirations, they are only bring the child into the world to suffer and the scariest of all is how they were going to face their parents and the society at large about being this irresponsible?
But his girlfriend at the time was just a young, scared girl in love who has read about the dangers of getting an abortion. It would be her life she would be risking. In her head she wondered what if things go wrong during the abortion and she loses her life or live with complications of not being able to give birth again later in future, will she ever be able to forgive herself? She felt Paul was just being selfish asking her to risk her life like that. She always believed that no matter their parents or the society would look at them, if they love and stick by each other, it would be them against the world like Bonnie and Clyde.
At the time Paul felt she was making decisions based on emotions that might or might not be love and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his future for such. It broke her when he told her he would deny the child and that he was leaving town for studies. It drove her into depression and the last time Paul asked about her, he heard that in order to avoid the shame and trauma that comes with being a pregnant teenage girl in a society full of private sinners and public saints, her parents sent her to the village to live with her grandmother.
In school, Paul was as diligent as he could be, averaging good grades and being aware of the company he keeps because coming from a Christian background, his parents had always taught him that bad company corrupts good character.
Although in school one would believe that Paul was being exposed to all sort of girls from different background and that he was spoiled for choice but Paul never got over his first love. He had always believed that she was wait for him somehow and he would work hard, graduate, get a good job and go back and do what was right by her. But life sometimes have plans of its own.
In his third year, Paul went for a party with some of his friends both male and female and had one too many drink that night. And a one night stand turned into a pregnancy couple of weeks later.
How did this happen? How did lightning strike twice? Could this be karma for leaving the love of his life? All these and many more crossed Paul’s mind.
As usual, Paul tried to convince the girl that the best thing to do was to get an abortion considering what bringing a child into the world at this stage of their lives would do to them both career wise and socially. Besides they weren’t in love or dating so keeping a souvenir of their recklessness made no sense at all.
The girl being logical had the same thought process as Paul. Her only concern was funds for the abortion and Paul was capable and assuring that he would fund it. But can Paul afford to pay a good hospital or doctor?
Paul could only afford what his money could afford and that was a lady who was known for performing abortions for students with unwanted pregnancy. He convinced her that the lady had good track records and with God everything would be fine. It is quite funny how people suddenly remember God when it is time for them to face the consequences of their actions.
The abortion did not go as Paul hoped for, the girl lost her life. Both families got involved and it became a police issue. The incident was reported that a 23 years old man took advantage and raped an intoxicated 18 years old fresher and forced her to get an abortion from a quack, unqualified lady. Paul was sentenced to prison and there wasn’t much his Christian parents from a humble background could do to save the situation. Paul got the sentence to serve 15 years in prison.
It is funny how time flies. In Prison and full of regrets, Paul often wondered how life would have turned out if he had accepted responsibilities and stayed with his first love to raise their child together. He hasn’t heard anything about their whereabouts since he was arrested. For sure she must have found someone deserving of her love by now and settled down. All he could hope for was that life turned out better for his childhood love and his child which he later found out was a baby girl.
At this moment he realized that impregnating his childhood girlfriend may just be the one right thing he has done in his lifetime. And he was grateful she birthed the child against his will.
Although Paul knew he was a long way from home and from salvation if there is any for him, he only had hope that one day he will get to see his daughter at least. And he also hoped she got a mother’s eyes.