You picked up a doctor’s number off a flyer, and booked an appointment. Then, you honored that appointment.
You got yourself a vasectomy.
It didn’t take long to hit you how insanely underthought that decision had been. Healing sore parts is a long process, hard to lean back and trust. It hurts.
They conveniently leave those parts out in the colorful brochures at the clinic. To slay any skepticism, they’ll have sunny photos of a picture-perfect family in a kid’s park. Daddy is all-smiles.
Jesse sits calmly on the sofa. It’s an Oriental-style, white fabric – with a few ugly stains. It’s bad. Stains are overlapping. What looks like tomato paste runs into an orange juice stain. The sofa’s wooden arm is polished to a shine, but flaunts shaded figures and illegible symbols in ink.
Jesse cannot tell which of his twin children – now almost 4 – wants to be a biro pen artist.
He looks around, but the house is eerily silent. None of the usual cacophony. His wife Ciru had gone to her parent’s home and taken the kids along. They may stay for a while, considering the packed bags she’d dragged out. That was a week ago.
Jesse needs to get to the fridge, for some ice. It’s in the kitchen, just a few feet off – but, well, seems like Mount Everest hike.
The previous year, someone in human resources office had thought it’d be a good idea to book the staff in a lodge on Mt.Kenya for a team-building session. It’d flopped. The first day’s hike up a twisting trail had left them sore and moody.
If only the kids were here. Any slight movement would have an arrow of pain shooting up his groin.
A few month’s earlier, Ciru had brought up vasectomy in the middle of dinner. Jesse could swear it was the first time he’d heard it. Someone’s husband in her circle of friends had got a vasectomy.
She didn’t say it in a suggestive way – like, in a tone you’d use to say: “Hey, jana, I saw Kamau’s car stuck in the mud outside their gate…”.
Jesse had just grunted, and dipped his Chapati’s business end into a bowl of bean soup. He loved Chapati. She’d then asked why he did that. He didn’t know why. Childhood habits die hard, you know.
The vasectomy thing slipped by.
Except, it didn’t.
Vasectomy started coming up at odd moments. Ciru would be brushing her hair at her full-length mirror, then:
“Babe, don’t you think vasectomy is a good idea?” She’d ask.
Jesse would fidget around. The ‘don’t-you-think’ in her question gave him a dry throat.
He’d take off his frameless glasses, blow, put them on.
The pandemic had shut down his office. He didn’t know if he still had a job, or he didn’t. He had a lot on his mind. She’d leave, in silence, to her business. She had a cereals outlet.
At the end of that month, Jesse had got three months’ pay, and a PDF file on his Whatsapp asking him to wait out a bit, as the ‘company restructures to accommodate the pandemic’. They didn’t even have the courtesy to call. He’d been made redundant.
His wife started bringing up the vasectomy issue more frequently.
One day, in a particularly bad exchange, he’d outrightly asked her if she wanted him to get a vasectomy.She hadn’t skipped a vowel:
Yes, please do a vasectomy, for us all – you know, my business cannot keep us going on forever – we need to take precautions – the twins will be needing school fees in a few months…….
It’s so tough, being a man.
Be tough. Be strong. Have a beard. Don’t cry in public. Don’t watch girlish movies. And, for God’s sake, don’t cry over a girlish movie. Above all, be the all-round provider, the evergreen Father Christmas…..
A man not fitting into these pigeon boxes, is considered less manly.
So, Jesse, had found himself agreeing to the procedure. Next morning, he’d found some flyers on the dressing table after Ciru went off to work. He’d ignored them. She didn’t ask anything – and, that was worse. He’d booked an appointment.
Ciru had even taken him to the clinic. She had sat there holding his arm. She had waited, as the surgeon’s scalpel hummed along.
All this while, Jesse was silent. Like a muted prop on a badly shot movie.
When Ciru drove him home, Jesse realised a lot more had been left at the clinic. Their chemistry was gone. She seemed like a stranger, a guest in his home. He couldn’t play with the twins. Conversation that’d be a perfect flow, now started bumping into rocks.
While losing a job was Jesse’s coffin, getting a vasectomy turned out to be the last nails on that coffin. He felt degraded, diminished and less, less of a man. He’d become bitter, and irritable.
They had fought and cursed each other. She’d packed up, picked the kids and drove to her parent’s home.
Now, Jesse sits sore and numb on the stained sofa. He misses his kids.
He wonders why man’s most sensitive part of his body is an organ that literally hangs outside, unprotected. God didnâ€™t even give man a shell, or anything for it. Itâ€™s just there, waiting to get hit by things.
Vasectomy? No, thanks. Not in this lifetime.