By far this was going to be the most important day of her life. Staring at her calendar on her phone Valeria almost screamed.
She didn’t even care if she was at the supermarket. Her throat almost gave way for the shrillest scream ever. Her period was starting in the day time. With her running around in preparation for her wedding she had somehow forgotten.
At the back of her mind, she could hear her mother’s voice in all its croaked know it all intonations.
“Valeria get a brides assistant, you can’t do it all by yourself,” her mother advised, “You need to slow down or else you would break down before your D day.”
There are two things Valeria never did. One was to slow down and the other was to break down.
The fact that she had forgotten her to confirm the date of her period before setting the wedding date five months ago was a sign that she did need to rethink her principles.
She quickly dialled her fiance Tunde in the speed of light.
In two rings he picked up, “Val love, what’s up?”
That was Tunde for you, no time to beat around the bush.
“Tunde can we move the wedding?” She didn’t like the sound of panic she heard in her voice. Even a lady picking up cereal off the rack turned her way with lowered brows.
“Val you’re kidding right,” he asked while trying in vain to hide his frustration.
“Our wedding is tomorrow. Except there’s going to be a state of emergency I don’t know about there’s no way I’m delaying making you my Mrs baby,” he added with the quiet promise of passion.
Staring down the aisle, Valeria spotted the sanitary pad session. There was nothing she could do. She just had to tell him.
“You know how I was telling you how I started breaking out suddenly two days ago.”
“Yeah?” he probed patiently.
“Well, I know why and it’s not stress.”
“Baby I’m worried. What’s wrong?” she heard the panic over the phone.
“My period starts tomorrow Tunde,” she sighed as she closed her eyes to hold back the tears.
The silence over the line stretched. Even the cereal shopping woman seemed to have frozen with her hand over the cereal box. Was she eavesdropping?
If she was then she probably had Valeria coined out as a dramatic looney.
Anyone who didn’t know all she had been through as a result of this so-called period would think the same.
The first time she had her period at age 12 had been the worse. First, she wasn’t prepared to be welcomed into womanhood that early. Second, the menstrual pain had been horrible and unplanned for.
She had been lucky because it started on a Saturday. So she had the weekend to rest on her bed, take hot tea, painkillers that didn’t work fast enough, and use a hot water bottle on her belly while fighting nausea.
That became her monthly routine. At first, she could cope with taking days off from school as a Junior secondary school student. But things got complicated after she became a senior.
Teachers addressed her as the unserious student who found any reason to skip school. Students easily supported their belief. They became brutal with their bullying. When she tried to explain her period situation they mocked her.
It got so bad that she changed schools twice in her senior year until finally, she decided to beat the pain. She decided to attend school every day in spite of the pain.
On a fateful day, she was writing an exam in the hall. She felt it before it even started it. That sharp pain at her lower abdomen pricked her just as she selected B in the Physics 3rd objective question. A long way from being finished, she decided to stay until she was done.
At some point, she bowed over the pain but she continued writing that exam. Finally, as she got up and took the long walk to submit she tried to ignore the wetness she felt behind her school skirt.
Even if she had tried to ignore it, the murmuring from her classmates was enough to let her know something was amiss. While she lived trying to forget this episode more seemed to pile up in her book of bad memories.
Her NYSC, several times at work, even in the church, the cramps had bowed her over and her heavy flow had embarrassed her. Sometimes when she cried in secret she asked God why he made her a woman.
After she met Tunde she realised how grateful she was to be a woman. He made her feel ever powerful in spite of his own success as a renowned Surgeon.
Her independence had been birthed from her determination to not be questioned for her weakness which was her menstrual cramps. She refused to allow that hold her back. At the long stretch of silence, she smiled. How could she ever consider postponing her wedding to the love of her life because of her period cramps?
“Baby, you know I’d do just about anything for you. But is moving the wedding really what you want?”
Valeria laughed out loud, “Sweetie just be ready with pain killers and a breath mint.”
“I’d get a backup dress as well just in case,” He adds with a hint of humour.
“And a breath mint in case I throw up.”
“Ouch! Now everyone would think I got you knocked up and that’s why I’m in a haste to make you my wife.”
Valeria chuckled as she walked down the aisle to the payment counter, “And here I was, thinking you were in haste because you can’t wait to knock me up.”
“That, and the fact that I can’t wait to make the love of my life mine.”
Valeria made it to the counter and dropped her items. She completely forgot about the cereal lady who had frozen at some point.
The lady was still the same position. Unknown to other shoppers her period had started and she felt her underwear dampen quickly. She was in a dilemma of what to do.
Menstruation may suck but that’s what makes you woman too. So deal with it and move on to other important things. Share your embarrassing menstruation story.