For Taemy, and everyone of you who has kept faith with me, enjoy!
Emeka and I sat to see the movie. I honestly don’t remember what we saw. Probably a romance flick or something. For a guy, he sure enjoyed the movie; once in a while he would say something, or refer to something from the movie and we’ll laugh about it or discuss it.
As the movie credits rolled, he turned to me.
“So are you going to tell me why you have built a wall between us?” he asked.
Huh! In a million ears, I never expected that!
“Uhm, I haven’t uhm….” I stuttered grasping for words. My thoughts deserted me, this was like having prepared for an exam, the examiner comes at you from another angle and you’re left scrambling. For the life of me I couldn’t think of a response to that question.
And then it came to me, honesty has always been the best policy, so I went all in.
“I lost my husband a year ago, when he died, everything went to pieces. I’m in the process of rebuilding my life, and there’s no room for a man in that process.” I said sincerely.
“Why not?” He challenged.
Again, I was flustered. I had expected him to take that response without questions asked. “I can’t merge both. I need to focus on my children, I have two kids.”
“I know you have two children, I’ve met them. So I know they are a part of you.”
“It’s not as easy as that, Emeka. What will people say?”
“What will people say about what?”
“I have to be a good example for my children, I can’t parade relationships in their presence, they need me to be a good example for them.” I got up and began to pace, I was suddenly so very uncomfortable and couldn’t sit still.
“I remember the first day I told you I wanted us to be more than friends, what was that, fifteen years ago?” He asked quietly. “I remember it like yesterday. I told you I was going to marry you.” He laughed. “I remember you eyed me thoroughly with all the sass in your teenage body and asked me what I knew about getting married. Do you remember my response?”
“Yes.” I whispered. He had replied my question with a ‘nothing, but you are the one I intend to find out all about marriage with.’
“The fiancé who died; she was a story I made up.” He went on. “I mourned my loss when you married another man. I came back to Nigeria soon as I could when I heard of your husbands passing. I’m not going to be another in a line of lovers. I’m here for good, here to make it work.” He came up behind me and turned me around gently to face him. I avoided his gaze fixing my teary eyes firmly on a point behind him.
“I have two children for my late husband.” I said as though it was in dispute.
“Do you?” he asked softly.
My eyes flew to his, and I saw that he knew. Oh my God! Had he known all along? I felt faint, and actually staggered. He held me from falling and led me to the nearest chair.
“You knew?” I asked in an accusatory tone.
“I’ve always suspected, you just confirmed it.”
“I, I don’t know for certain, I never suspected until that day I saw you both together. What made you suspect?”
“His date of birth. My mother told me when you had Daniel, by my calculations it could have been.”
“But all these years you never said a thing.”
“I love you Miriam and will never do a thing to hurt you.”
And I burst into tears.
My heart was broken in two. This wasn’t how I envisioned my life to be. Who would believe my story. What if it were true, what if Daniel were Emeka’s son? Do I tell Daniel; do I tell Ken’s family ‘oh I’m sorry, I made a mistake, but this is the boy’s biological father’; where do I go from here?
Ken had loved our children, would this be fair to his memory, to unearth information that will tarnish his memory.
I asked Emeka to go.
“I can’t leave you like this.” He protested.
“I’ll be fine, please go.” I insisted.
“Are you sure?”
He left reluctantly, promising to call me in an hour to check up on me. He said if I didn’t pick his call, he was coming right back.
I promised to pick his call. I just needed him gone. I had a burning urge to open that envelope all of a sudden.
Soon as he left, I went back to the envelope. There were two folded pieces of paper, I opened the first one, it was a letter dated three years ago and addressed to me.
If you’re reading this, it means I’m dead, or I’ve finally summed up the courage to leave this letter where you can find it.
I have wronged you terribly Miriam, and I apologise for two wrongs can never make a right.
It started as a stupid joke some years ago; one of the guys had joked about men not knowing whose children they were raising, and just as a joke I took fibres of Daniel and Ada’s hair and had them tested with mine. Daniel’s returned negative. I had it retested; same result. I realise now, it was a stupid thing to do, and my actions thereafter were even more stupid. Rather than discuss it with you I volunteered to go for the Abuja project for five months and when I returned, Ifeoma was pregnant for me already.
I remembered that period, Ken had been behaving funny at the time, and upped and went to Abuja for a ‘project’ for a five month stretch.
Her parents insisted I marry her traditionally, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I don’t know what happened with Daniel, I’m not sure you do either, but he is my son, and I love him with every fibre of my being.
I am sorry for betraying you, for two wrongs never make a right, but I ask one thing. If you’ve ever loved me; I ask that Daniel remain my son, regardless of who his biological father is.
Also, I ask that you find it in your heart to accept Ifeoma’s children, for they are mine biologically.
I love you,