CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
I opened the door of the car before Kelvin got to my side and he frowned but said nothing. “I don’t know what possessed me to even think of coming with you. This is a ridiculous idea” I said.
“Not as ridiculous as you trying to take your own life” he said as we walked into his apartment.
I looked at him. “There is nothing ridiculous about that. There is a limit to the pain one can endure” I countered. He was silent until we entered the house. The house was spectacular and beautiful – moderate in size for the bachelor that he was; if he was telling the truth that is. The sitting room was filled with equipment which looked totally masculine. I saw some picture frames and I nodded internally when I saw a lady’s picture.
“She is beautiful” I said with an odd smile on my face.
He followed my gaze and smiled too. “Of course she is” he said with pride in his voice. “That is my stubborn sister. She is beautiful but a pain in my neck most of the time. I love her anyways.” He smiled and his eyes shined with love.
I smiled genuinely for the first time. “I love sibling relationships, it must have been fun growing up with her”
He smiled and shook his head. “Most times, it was. Other times, you just wish she would just vanish; but then, she leaves the house for just a week and you miss her like hell” He smiled at me and I smiled back, thinking about the fun he must have had. “Do you have siblings?”
“No” I said immediately, and then froze. “That’s wrong” I murmured and swallowed. “I actually have a sibling. A brother” I said bitterly.
His smiled had vanished by the time he came to sit with me. “Amara” he called for the first time. He asked for my name in the hospital and since I told him, he has not called my name. He smiled softly. “Can I call you Ara?”
I frowned. “Ara? Why that?” No one has ever shortened my name that way.
He smiled. “I understand Yoruba language a bit and ‘Ara’ means ‘wonder’. I think the name suits you very well” he said smiling softly. He always looked handsome whether or not he was smiling but whenever he smiled like that, he looked absolutely breathtaking. The way he pronounced ‘Ara’ made it sound so sophisticated and pleasant that I almost preferred it to my real name.
“I like it” I said with a faint blush.
He smiled. “I like it when you blush this way honey”
I startled. “Stop calling me that!” I barked, instantly on guard.
“What?” he asked in confusion.
“Honey… sweetheart… darling…” I ranted. “I hate it”
“You hate endearments?” he asked with a soft smile.
I glared at him. “I see no reason why you should smile. There! I know why you fight with your sister often; you are annoying”
He grinned wider. “And do you fight with your brother often?”
I froze and stared at him. His smile faded and I shifted my gaze.
“Tell me about your brother” he said suddenly and I blanched. I shifted and played with my fingers. “You have been trying to prevent me from interrogating you but you know you can’t run away from it. You would eventually tell me, so why not now? Why did you attempt suicide, even in your condition? Why does the mention of your husband or brother have such a negative effect on you?”
No! I couldn’t tell him. He would surely run! I thought vaguely. How can I tell him that my husband and my brother are one? Who on earth can hear such rubbish and remain sane? The fact that I am still in my right senses remains a mystery to me.
“You can trust me Ara, I just want to be a listening ear” he said softly.
I shook my head carefully. “When I said my life was fit for a movie, I was not lying” I said. “I can’t possibly tell you, it is more devastating than you can ever imagine”.
He nodded seriously. “Please take pity on me and tell me, because if you don’t, I would just think my way into insanity, wondering what might have happened to you”
I sighed and stood up from the chair. I walked over to Kelvin’s sister’s photo on the wall and ran my fingers through it. “You must love your sister, more than anything in this world” I said and my fingers shook. “I am sure you would protect her from anything that might hurt her; you are not likely to bet on her virginity”
“Absolutely not” his voice made it obvious that he thought the idea ridiculous.
I turned to him with a faint painful smile as I fought back tears. I wondered if a time would come when I would tell my story without tears. “Oh, well, thank God for brothers like you”
His eyes widened as he gazed at me. “Why don’t you sit with me honey?”
I shook my head and turned away from him. “You want to hear my story? Well, you would. I can’t effectively narrate it on my seat.” I smiled weakly as I stared Kelvin’s family portrait on the wall. “I grew up with my father and mother. My mother was practically my best friend. I never really got along with my father but I loved him anyways. I had high dreams. I was and I still am a village girl. I grew up in the village and studied there. But because of my high dreams and goals, I read every book I laid my eyes on. I stole glances at our neighbor’s television and spent time with our teachers. You must feel that I don’t really talk like a village girl – well, I am like that because I adapt quickly to change. I learn as many things as I can and I try to put them to use; but where did that curiosity land me? It landed me in the arms of a viper in a corper’s garment. Because of my habit of spending time with teacher in order to learn more, the corper used it to his advantage. He seduced me and flirted with me endlessly; but guess what? I actually fell for him.” I laughed softly and shook my head. “I threw my ambitions to the wind and lost myself in the sweet words and flowers that the corper threw to me until I finally crowned it up by giving up my virginity”
I shook my head and fell silent. Kelvin was silent for several seconds and I could almost hear the ticking hand of the wall clock. “Hold on” he said and I turned to see his face looking incredulously at me. “I am trying to connect dots. Are you trying to say that your brother placed a bet on someone deflowering you?”
I smiled tightly. “That is precisely it” I conceded.
He jumped to his feet. “The Son of a b****” he cursed through clenched teeth. He looked furiously dangerous. “Forgive me honey but your brother is a stupid b******. How dare him?” he asked on raised voice. His anger was almost enough compensation for the trauma of reliving my memories. “And who is the b****** who actually perpetrated the act? Forgive me for being rash with my words; I don’t know how to say this. Who did that to you?” he asked angrily.
I laughed bitterly. “That is the funny part isn’t it?” I said as tears slipped unnoticed out of my eyes. “Wouldn’t it have been better if someone else had actually carried out the act?”
He stilled slightly. “What do you mean?”
I turned to face him fully as more tears flowed. “I was deflowered by my own brother” I declared. He froze and practically became a pillar of salt before me and insanely, I started laughing. “It is hilarious right?” I asked as I laughed uncontrollably. “It would make a great comedy” I said laughing until I discovered I was no longer laughing but crying. And when I started crying, Kelvin walked towards me but I stepped back. “Just… just leave me…” I cried. “I just… I just want to cry…” I said crying. “I want to cry until someone takes pity on me and wakes me up to tell me that this is just a really bad dream…” I rubbed futilely at my cheeks as my watery eyes swam. “I have tried kelvin… I have tried to wake up” I cried. “But this dream seems to go on forever. I am scared it might not be a dream after all… it looks more and more like reality with each passing day”.
Disregarding my attempts at warding him off, Kelvin pulled me into his arms and held me close; as close as my tummy would allow. He took me to the couch and held me in his arms. “It’s Ok” he whispered soothingly. “You’ll be fine. It’s ok” he continued to whisper until I almost found those words believable. My cry subsided to hiccups and then vanished altogether. Calmly, I gave him the full story and he listened with his arms tightening now and then. When I was done, it was like he was boiling with suppressed anger and his jaw was tight. When he opened his mouth, it was to change the subject. I was stunned and momentarily disappointed that he did not say anything about all I said.
“Are you hungry?” he asked and I raised my head from his shoulder, leaving the circle of his arms in an instant. I wondered what my problem might be. I have not gotten over what Alex did and here I am, in another man’s house. I am my own problem.
“You can trust me Ara; I am not Alex” he said through clenched teeth that showed that he was still boiling with hunger. How he could easily read my thoughts was still a major point of concern to me. Can I not think of anything without him knowing? He smiled softly. “I would get you something to eat.” He said and stood up.
“I can’t stay here. Even if I trust you, this place is too close to Alex’s house” I don’t want to have a cause of seeing anyone if I am going to stay alive and living so close to them might not achieve that. Besides, I can’t possibly live with Kelvin; that is too much. Apart from it being risky living with a man alone, I would not want to infringe on his privacy.
“And where would you go?” he asked.
“Anywhere” I said. “I can take care of myself.”
“You can but you won’t. I know I won’t be able to make you stay here” he said. “But I have a place not close by. It is a quiet and conducive environment; you would love the place. You would spend the night here and I would take you there tomorrow. I would have someone to be there with you, so don’t worry, I won’t be staying there. Would just be visiting”
I swallowed. “Why are you so kind to me?” I asked.
He smiled. “Because I can’t be anything but kind to you. Not everyone has bad intents Ara; I just want to make you smile again”
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
I strolled on the street of my new residential environment, feeling exhaustion. Kelvin brought me to this apartment about a month ago just as he promised and I have been here ever since. The house was of moderate size and there was a woman who was in charge of maintaining the house. Apparently, Kelvin inherited the building from his grandfather but he hadn’t lived there. He had instead hired Mrs. Kalu – a widowed caretaker – to keep the building in shape. The building was very fashionable but with an ancient look to it, showing that it had been built a long time ago; although, one could easily see the exquisite taste of the builder in the structure and design of the building.
But after spending a month there, I was bored half to death. I was about eight months gone and my tummy protruded like a car’s bonnet but I feared the silence of the building was making me feel as ancient as the building itself. Mrs. Kalu was as mute as a fish, going about the house soundlessly like a ghost. Although I wished she would talk more so I don’t feel so bored, my efforts were useless. She is the perfect definition of an Introvert with a capital ‘I’. Trying to get her to talk even worsened my state of boredom until I gave up hope. I always looked forward to Kelvin’s visits which were not so often. I always found myself missing him immediately he stood up to leave. I never mentioned my boredom to him because I would not want him to think I am not grateful for his help. Quite the opposite, if not for Kelvin, I have no idea where I would be now. Probably dumped in one of the worst graves in town, I presume. Kelvin is a funny and interesting company and I found myself drawing closer to him with each passing day. He visits once or twice a week, depending on his work schedule.
I sighted a church as I strolled – the only church on the street – and for the first time, I stopped. I always passed by the church without a glance but now, I stopped to gaze at the building. I raised my eyes to the signboard and read. ‘God’s Love’. I shook my head again. The name of the church seemed unusual. I had always heard of God’s immense love for humanity which made him sacrifice his only child; but thinking about it, I don’t think I deserve that love. I have made mistakes; the worst kind of mistakes. I don’t think God can love the likes of me. I blinked and turned away from the church.
I walked back to the house and sat in the sitting room. I seemed to have a fixed routine: eat, watch TV, stroll, watch TV, eat, watch TV, sleep. The number of times I watched TV was staggering and tiring. I really wished I had books to read but there was none and I definitely could not imagine myself asking Kelvin for it; he has done more than enough. Although, I tried to while away time by cooking and doing the laundry, Mrs. Kalu would have none of it, stating that she had been given express orders to make sure I did nothing stressful. It was irritating because the woman, though mute, was firm and unshakeable; even Kelvin would not listen to reason. Little did they know that my idle state was posing more stress than any physical activity could. Reluctantly, I accepted my state of joblessness, hoping that I don’t die of boredom.
I sensed a movement close to me and raised my eyes to see Mrs. Kalu approaching me with her face as straight as an arrow. “Lunch is served” she stated.
I don’t think I have ever heard the woman utter a statement above ten words; it was like she was economizing her words. “Thank you ma” I said, smiling gratefully. It was such a burden to have this elderly woman attending to my needs. I missed my mother – or fake mother, as the case might be.
“You are welcome” she said and turned back, retreating to her room, where she almost always stayed.
I went to the dinning and started eating. The good side of her is that her meals are always perfect. I never could refuse any of her meals. As I started eating, I heard the familiar sound of Kelvin’s car and frowned. Kelvin had never visited on a Thursday and having him around now was as relieving as it was worrisome.
I left my half-finished food and walked hastily to the door. As much as I was happy that I would have a great company to drive away the boredom I was feeling, I was slightly worried, just thinking of why he was coming on a Thursday when he clearly stated once that Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays were his busiest days. Was he coming to tell me that he no longer wanted to help me or what? I would not be surprised. I am too much baggage to take on.
I opened the door and truly, Kelvin was walking towards the entrance, looking more handsome than before. It was like he grew more handsome with each passing day. He was carrying a bag and I wanted to collect it from him but I could not do anything but stare at him.
“Hey beautiful” he called. “You still find me handsome?” he asked with a grin.
I shook my head. “You are still too full of yourself?” I returned with a smile. “Can I help you?” I asked referring to the bag he was carrying.
His smile widened. “If only I can help you with the one you are carrying” he said.
I shook my head and hid a smile, giving him a straight look that did not last long. He was always teasing me about my pregnancy, never for once mentioning the paternity of the child and I was grateful for that. I only wish it could be easily forgotten, because for as long as I live and see the child, I would always remember what he stands for. “Well, you arrive just in time to join me for lunch. Eating alone can be so tedious” I said as we entered.
I heard him make a sound and I knew he was at it again. “Is it eating with company that you really enjoy or eating with ‘my’ company?”
I shook my head, grateful that he was behind me; he would not be able to see my ridiculous grin. “You are impossible.”
He laughed heartily. “You look spectacular when you grin”
I totally ignored him and my face which flamed at his compliment and sat down at the dinning with Kelvin pulling out the chair like a real gentleman instead of the ladies’ man that he was. I stopped him from serving himself and insisted on serving him. “If having a wife feels like this, I might as well get married as soon as possible” he said and I laughed, placing the food before him.
“It is a wonder you are still single, getting ladies should be as easy as the road to hell” I said.
Kelvin laughed. “Oh, I see. My charm is working on you now, isn’t it?” he raised a brow.
“You wish” I returned. He shook his head with a knowing smile on his face and I wanted to slap that smug look out of his face. Oh men! Too full of themselves!
We ate in companionable silence but I noticed the seemingly innocent glances he shot my way; probably because I was glancing at him also. I noticed a little tension in him. Despite his carefree flirtatious attitude, I still sensed a little tension in him; especially when we ate in silence.
Mrs. Kalu miraculously surfaced as we finished our meal and her surprise was evident when she saw Kelvin but it only lasted a few seconds after which her face rearranged into its usual straight form. “Never knew you were here sir” she said with a faded smile on her face. “You are welcome” she said as she cleared the table.
“Thank you Mrs. K” Kelvin said.
“Thank you ma, the meal was delicious as always” I said and she smiled. I have noticed that the only time she really smiled was when someone praised her cooking skills.
“I almost bit my tongue” Kelvin emphasized with a boyish smile.
“Thanks” she said smiling and quickly retreated to the kitchen.
Kelvin and I sat on the couch in the sitting room, staring at the television without actually seeing it. I had the vague impression that he was hiding something from me and my instincts always prove right; when I follow it, that is. “Spit it out Kel, what are you hiding?”
He smiled. “I love it when you call me that”
I frowned. “I am not smiling now Kelvin, what do you want to tell me? I know there is something” I demanded.
He sighed. “Ok. Someone came to see me in my office some days back” he began and his face took on a serious look, shedding the playboy look he always had on.
“And?” I asked nervously.
“He is a police officer – Detective Sinja. Following what you told me, I guess that is the man who secured Lisa’s arrest” he said. “Well, he came asking to see you. I wondered how he discovered that I had any dealings with you but he is a police officer and they have their means of getting information.”
I breathed. “What does he want?” I asked nervously. The last thing I wanted was to face anyone from my past. Kelvin had convinced me to forget about all that happened and try to build new memories, seeing ghosts from the past might be a good step in the wrong direction.
“He wants to meet you” he said with a concerned look. “He said you both have unfinished business. I guess he is referring to Lisa’s case” he said.
I nodded. “I have not visited the station once ever since she was arrested” I said.
“What are we going to do?” he asked.
I looked at him. He always used that word – ‘we’. He always saw my problems as his own responsibility too and I wondered how I could ever repay him for willingly carrying my cross. “I want to see him and be done with it. I am withdrawing my charges against Lisa. If she had gone through with her plan, as evil as it was, I would have been saved from a great level of pain” I said, internally apologizing to my child.
“Are you sure honey? You shouldn’t go through any form of stress in your condition”
I smiled. “I am not made of glass Kel, I am sure”
Kelvin and I decided that it was best to meet Detective Sinja at an eatery, we did not want a situation where other people like Alex would suddenly show up at the door and that could definitely happen if someone knew where I live. I walked into the restaurant and soon sighted Detective Sinja sitting at a corner of the eatery. Kelvin sat a couple of table away from him and I walked up to the detective. Mr. Sinja stood up as I drew closer. “Good evening sir, it has been a while” I greeted with a tight smile.
Mr. Sinja smiled and for some seconds, I stared at him. Mr. Sinja was definitely not a young man, even though his muscles and body build made him look much more fit than all the young men floating around. He had an athlete’s build and one could not easily predict his age from his appearance. He must definitely be the toast of ladies with his great looks; that is if his domineering and arrogantly indifferent look did not ward ladies off him. If I could guess, I would assume that he would be in his forties, but his eyes – those dark eyes which gazed piercingly through me now – made it seem as though Mr. Sinja had seen far too many things in life.
“How are you Mrs. Bello?” he asked.
I frowned. Oh no! The last thing I needed was for someone to call me Mrs. Bello; that brought only one person to mind – and that is the last person I want to think about right now. “Amara is fine” I said quickly and sat down before my legs unbuckled beneath me. The evening was already looking bad. I caught Kelvin’s concerned look from across the large room and I swallowed.
“Amara it is then” the detective said and sat down. “Do I order something for you?” he asked.
I shook my head quickly. “I am fine. I want to get this over with as fast as possible” I said.
He smiled. “Of course. Actually, I thought you would take out time to visit the station but you never did. I am sure you are aware that Lisa was granted bail?” he asked and I nodded. “Well, Lisa’s family has been in and out of the station, pleading with us to drop charges against her. We should have charged her to court but we are waiting for your word. Are you ready to pursue the case or not?” He asked.
“I am dropping my charges against Lisa. I don’t…”
“Habeeb” someone gasped and our heads automatically turned. I blanched and nearly fainted when I saw who was standing, gaping at us. Why did the devil have to materialize? Mrs. Bello stood a few tables away from us gaping mostly at Mr. Sinja. Who would have thought that this woman would show up here? I had always known that meeting the detective was a bad decision but I never knew it would be this terrible. She turned her gaze to me in horror and she seemed to turn paler. The last time I saw Mrs. Bello came slapping back at me and I grabbed the table tighter. Kelvin approached the table with his concerned look trained on me. He looked from one person to the other and for the first time, I glanced at the detective. He had also gone white.
“Do you know her?” I managed to ask, puzzled.
He did not seem to hear me. “Are you Ok Ara?” Kelvin asked when he got to our table. “I think it is better we leave now” he murmured.
“Habeeb?” Mrs. Bello gasped again.
Detective Sinja swallowed. “Kate” he responded and my curiosity became pricked. He must know her on a personal level to be able to call her by her first name.
“Let’s go” Kelvin said again with more force.
“No, wait” Mrs. Bello said, rushing towards us.
I could almost feel the tension radiating through Mr. Sinja. He looked completely different. He stood up. “I think I need to leave also” he said.
“No!” Mrs. Bello yelled forcefully, causing some other people at the eatery to turn in our direction. “You can’t go. You know Amara? Oh God! My life is ruined” she lamented, looking scared.
“What about Amara?” he asked with a tight look. “It doesn’t even matter” he dismissed. “It was nice seeing you again Kate, I need to catch up with an appointment” he said and quickly made for the door.
“There is something I need to tell you” Mrs. Bello yelled, stopping him in his tracks.
He turned to face her with his face carefully blank. “And what is that?” he asked.
She looked around at the people gazing at us. “Why don’t we discuss this somewhere else?” she said and looked questioningly at me.
“Amara” Kelvin called softly.
“I have nothing to discuss with you Kate” Detective Sinja said and made to leave.
“You have a daughter.”
The detective froze, along with me and everyone in the eatery. Everyone had their eyes fixed on us. “You are right Kelvin, let us leave this place” I said, already tired of the melodrama. I stood up and made for the door where Mr. Sinja stood, rooted to the ground, looking at Mrs. Bello like she had just lost her mind; I also wondered if she had. I walked hastily out of the eatery with Kelvin holding onto me firmly.
“Amara! Wait!” Mrs. Bello yelled, running after us.
“Damn it! I never should have allowed you come here.” Kelvin said angrily as we walked on.
Mr. Sinja followed Mrs Bello closely and dragged her forcefully, turning her to face him. “What the hell are you talking about? Which daughter” he growled.
“Amara” she called shakily and I stopped. How can she even have the nerve to call my name? I turned to glare at her. “Please listen to me. I am sorry my dear, I am sorry for all I did to you. I would forever regret my actions. I am not proud of what I did” she said as her eyes watered.
I glared at her. “Whether or not you regret your actions does not change anything now, does it? We are creating an unnecessary scene. Please leave me in peace ok?”
“You can’t go” she said shakily.
“Oh? And why not?” I shot back at her.
“Because… erm…” she glanced from my face to Mr. Sinja’s and back. Mr. Sinja turned to look at me, then glared at her.
“What daughter are you referring to?” he asked, shaking her like a piece of doll.
“Our relationship years back produced a child Habeeb” she said shakily. She turned to look at me. “She… Amara… she is that child” she swallowed. “Amara is your daughter.
I blinked. Oh! My ear drums echoed for a while. This had to be a big joke, I thought, staring at them like they were speaking Latin. I grabbed Kelvin’s hand tighter. “Damn it Amara! I am getting you out of here” he said forcefully.
“You don’t mean it right?” I yelled, snatching my hand from Kelvin’s, looking at the two people before me like they had grown horns. Mr. Sinja was frozen to the spot with his mouth agape, looking at me like I was an alien. “How can you say such ridiculous nonsense uhn?” I yelled angrily and felt a dull pain in my stomach. “You have lost your mind, you don’t know what you are saying… you don’t know…” I bent over as the pain in my tummy grew.
“Ara” kelvin exclaimed, grabbing me. “What is wrong? Are you ok?”
“Amara” Mrs. Bello yelled running over.
I tried to stand up but the pain that overtook me almost knocked the wind out of me. “Aaaaarrrrhhhh” I yelped in pain. “My tummy” I cried out. “Kelvin…… my tummy…” I cried out as the pain became increasingly unbearable. “Aaaaaarrrrrhhhhh”
“Get the car” I vaguely heard Mr. Sinja bark as he whisked me into his arms effortlessly. The pain took over my senses and raked through every fiber of my being. My baby… Please be fine… Please be fine… I took my numb hand to my tummy but all I felt was this immeasurable pain that took over my brain, making me yelp and gasp in pain.
Kelvin paced the waiting room of Corina Hospital in agitation. “How can you two be so insensitive?” he barked at Mrs. Bello and Mr. Sinja. “How couldn’t you bring up such a topic before her, in her condition?” he asked, glaring at Mrs. Bello. “I knew it! I never should have allowed her out of the house. I am so stupid. You can hi ishmeal on+233544142683 to be added to Novela story room,sweet and nice stories,to enjoy reading more episodes from there. If anything happens to her, I don’t think I would forgive myself” he said, pacing. Immediately Mr. Sinja had showed up at Kelvin’s office, Kelvin had had the vague feeling that he was related to Amara somehow. The resemblance was obvious, but Kelvin had shrugged it off, telling himself that so many people looked alike without necessarily being related. How wrong that was! If only he had known, he would have protected Amara and prevented her from finding out the horrific way she did. He honestly did not know what he would do if anything happened to Amara. He turned to stare at the detective.
The elderly man looked like he had been struck by lightning as he clenched his fists painfully beside him. Kelvin felt for the man, wondering what was going through the mind of the man who seemed to have gone through equal bouts of deceit and pain.
Kelvin sighted a doctor coming out of the department Amara was rushed into and moved hurriedly towards him, along with Mr. Sinja and Mrs. Bello. “Doctor” he called hurriedly. “How is she? How is Amara? She was rushed in now” he ranted.
“We are her parents, please tell us” Mrs. Bello said and Mr. Sinja glared at her.
The doctor looked at them in concern. “Her situation is very delicate. I fear she has fallen into labor” he said.
“What? But she is not due till next month” Kelvin said in agitation.
“Yes, but if she doesn’t deliver that child now, her life might be at stake; she is in enough danger as it is. She is in great pain; I guess it is due to physical or emotional stress. I hope the situation does not get worse because if it does, we may have to resort to CS. Please take it easy, we are on top of the situation; excuse me” he said and left hurriedly. Kelvin stared after the doctor, white-faced.
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
EPISODE 28 (finale)
The waiting room was filled with people seated in different places but waiting obviously for one person and thinking about that one person. Mr. and Mrs. Peters were there and Mrs. Peters was almost out of her mind with worry. She had paced the waiting room until she started becoming dizzy. She felt pained that she had hurt her daughter so much by keeping the truth from her when all she wanted by keeping Amara’s birth a secret was to prevent her from getting hurt. She regretted what she did but knew that regrets and being sorry was not enough to write off the damage that the secret has caused in her daughter’s life. If only Amara could find a place in her heart to forgive her…
Mr. Peters, on the other hand was angry. He felt sorry that Amara had gone through all these – ending up married to her brother and all – but most especially, he was angry that she was no longer on their side. Why did everything have to crumble just when Amara started bringing home some cash? Despite his numerous threats to his wife that he would reveal the mystery behind Amara’s parentage, he knew that he would never have gone through with the threat; not when he knew what he could lose. He knew he could always get cash from Alex through Amara if she was on their side, but now that everything was in shambles, that possibility was totally out of the question. He had no idea what he was doing in the hospital, seated like a jobless man. Even though Amara had been a great daughter, she had made the mistake herself; she should pay for it herself. But still, it wouldn’t hurt to be seen with the Senator’s family, would it?
Mr. Bello snr sat some distance away from the rest, with his head resting heavily against the backrest. He had a lot of things to do at the office but he just could not turn a deaf ear when he heard that Amara had gone into labor prematurely. Normally, he should despise Amara for being the product of his wife’s betrayal but he was never one to transfer aggression. He does not think and act like other men. He liked Amara a lot. She had a fierce fighting spirit which he admired. He had instantly liked her and that feeling only grew when he saw the way she was handling her odd relationship with Alex. It was not the girl’s fault that she was not conceived in a respectable way. Actually, he could not begin to imagine the level of pain and sadness Amara must be feeling, all because of the stupid actions of the woman he married. No wonder the child in the womb was reacting to the extreme tension. Even though the Senator was so worried about Amara, he hadn’t been prepared to meet the culprit who got his wife pregnant. His former employee was seated in the waiting room when he arrived and right there and then, Mr. Bello wanted to forget his position in the society and break Habeeb’s bones with his fists but he strictly had to put his anger under control. There would always be another place and time for that, he told himself, even though he continued to clench his fists.
Mr. Habeeb Sinja felt like his brain had contacted deadly virus. He could not process any thought normally anymore. His daughter was just behind that closed door ahead of him, struggling between life and death. His daughter! That sounded so weird even to his own inner ears. His life had been a disaster for as long as he could even remember. When Kate had pushed him out of her life and out of his livelihood, his life had crumbled. He hadn’t expected to fall in love with Katherine but then, she had dumped him like a piece of trash. It had been expected though; who wouldn’t see that coming when she was obviously married with a child. He should have been wise enough to avoid any dealings with her; or even wise enough to keep his heart under lock and key. But then, he had fallen for her and had paid dearly for it. He hadn’t been able to love again. After many years of staying alone, his family had forced a woman on him. He had married her and even though he did not love her, he respect her and treated her well until he was able to see her as a friend. But then, tragedy struck again and she died in an accident, along with their three years old son. Destroyed beyond redemption, he had joined the police force, not even considering another marriage. And now, he had a daughter? He could not lose his daughter when he just found her. He just couldn’t. Not even the presence of his ex-boss could stop him from praying for his daughter’s wellbeing.
Alex carried a bottle of hot wine in his hand but he was not drinking it. Ever since he found out his true relationship Amara, he had been drinking, just hoping that he would forget everything. But after drinking himself to stupor and the haze cleared, he was left with his problems looming over him, looking bigger than it was the last time. He had instantly got a lawyer to process their divorce, but that still did not change the fact that he had been married to his sister, did it? It did not change the fact that he had treated his sister like a piece of trash to be used and trampled on at every given point in time. She was there right now, laboring to birth the child that he had put in her, but what could he do? He could not do anything but wait helplessly. He turned to look at the woman he called mother and moved farther away from her. She was still crying, biting her fingers occasionally but Alex could not feel anything but anger towards her. She had been the originator of this mess; she effectively destroyed everyone because of her selfish desires.
Kelvin could not keep still, he was either seated or standing or pacing. His thoughts were in complete disarray. He tried to come up with clues of what Amara was going through in there but had no idea. He had never been in the labor room with anyone but experienced women always said that a woman in labor was a handshake away from death. They had explained the pain that they go through until Kelvin almost could boast of a mental picture of the entire process, but waiting in the waiting room was giving him too much tension. Tola and Tina were also as agitated as kelvin, pacing the hall with their mouths murmuring inaudible prayers.
The door opened and a doctor walked out. Everyone ran to him, firing different questions which, at the same time, had the same meaning. The doctor, looking completely strained, shook his head. “I am sorry…”
Hushed silence fell on everyone at once. “Sorry for what?” Tina cried…
Pain was the only word I knew. Pain! That throbbing feeling that spreads through the body, soul and spirit until you can’t think about anything other than pain. I squirmed, screamed, pushed and pushed until my lower body felt like it was on fire. The word ‘Push’ was repeated over and over again until the word became permanently stamped in my head. I screamed in extreme pain and tears rolled down from my eyes as I gripped the sheets on the bed. I bit down on my lips to stop myself from screaming helplessly in pain but it was not enough to prevent my unconscious exclamations.
Then, the pain subsided and vanished altogether. Complete silence reigned. Even the ticking of my heartbeat was silenced and I could hear nothing at all. It was a complete contrast to the noise and screams that reigned barely seconds ago. Surprisingly, the silence was more scary than the noise. I wanted that noise again. It was like everyone had vanished from the earth and I was left all alone. I don’t want to be alone! I don’t want to be left all by myself! But then, I remembered. I have always been alone! The people who wanted me did not belong to me, yet, the people I belonged to did not want me. What a dilemma. How could a person want to return to that? How can I even want to return to that?
But I am a fighter, I don’t give up. I have things to prove to myself and the people who rejected and abused me. That alone is a reason to live.
I felt a hand brush shakily against my cheeks. The soft caress almost made me sigh but then, as I slipped back to a conscious state, I felt that overwhelming pain again. It was not as worse as I last remembered, but it was there nonetheless. I opened my eyes slowly and felt a form looming over me. I raised my eyes and caught Kelvin’s extremely worried look. As our eyes held, relief washed over him but his worried look was still there. “Hey” he whispered with a soft smile. He bent over and kissed my forehead, lingering longer than he ought. He sat carefully at the edge of the bed and I noticed his heavy eyes which showed that he hadn’t slept for a while. My hand felt weak but I raised it to his face.
“You shouldn’t be so worried about me” I croaked out weakly.
He smiled and kissed the inside of my palm. “I can’t help myself honey” he said softly. “How are you feeling?”
Truthfully, I wasn’t feeling anything but pain, but how could I tell him that when he was so worried about me. “I am fine” I said.
His eyes flashed with something I could not recognize and he bent to kiss my cheeks. “I really want you to be fine sweetheart” he whispered. “Be fine for me” he scent enveloped my senses. That scent that was always clinging to him.
I noticed something different about me, and then stiffened. “Kel, where is my baby?” I asked and he froze.
“Fine. Your baby is fine” he answered hurriedly.
I stiffened. “You are a poor liar Kelvin, where is my baby?” Fear gripped me as I saw Kelvin struggle. Raising my voice was causing incredible pains but I endured it. “Where is my son Kelvin? I know he is a boy. Where is he?” I cried, trying to sit up, to look around.
“Calm down Ara. Please…” he forced me on my back. “Lie still Ara, please. You are not strong enough”. He pressed a bell closed to my bed, using one hand to keep me glued to the bed.
I tried to relax. “I am calm now Kelvin, tell me where my child is. I need to see him” I begged.
“You need to get better first, then I would take you honey, please” he begged.
“Something is wrong, right? Something is wrong with him?” I asked with pale face.
The doctor and two nurses entered then and Kelvin moved away. I was held down firmly by the nurses and I saw the doctor holding an injection. I turned my eyes to the nurses. “Please tell me where my baby is… my baby boy… please tell me…”
“He is fine ma. Please calm down” one nurse said and then, I felt the piercing pain of the injection. My eyes became fuzzy and I blinked as my eye lids closed of their own volition. Before I passed into the state of unconsciousness, I caught Kelvin’s pained expression and got my answer.
Kelvin held onto my hand tightly and I gazed up at him. “I told you I can walk on my own” I murmured. I was already discharged and free to go home but how can I feel happy about going home when I wasn’t carrying a child with me. Stillbirth!!! The word rang over and over and I steeled myself against crying. I have cried enough tears to last a lifetime. Tina and Tola had visited, trying to encourage me by making me see the positive side of the situation but I still felt shattered. Even though my child was a product of an abominable act, I still wanted him, because, at least, I would know that I have something or someone who was truly mine. I would know that I have my child to encourage me, but then, I have to face the harsh realities of knowing that I am always alone. Kelvin’s hand tightened and I smiled. At least, there is someone who would not leave me; or some people, I thought, thinking of Tola and Tina.
Kelvin paused as he was about to open a door. I looked at him and he smiled down at me. He kissed my forehead and opened the door, and then I saw them. All of them! Everyone that helped in destroying my life! I stood still and turned my eyes to Kelvin. “I prevented them from seeing you throughout your stay here honey, but I could not prevent this” he explained.
I sighed and faced them. I had no feelings left. I could not even feel anger, hatred or dismay; I just wanted this to be the last time I ever saw them or most of them at least.
“Amara… My baby… Amara… How are you…? I am sorry……” different things were thrown hurriedly by everyone; I did not even bother to know who was asking what. I just wanted to leave this place. But a few last words were in order.
“Please listen to me” I said, raising my voice. “I am fine. You all do not have to worry falsely about me. It is too late to worry about what I might be feeling.” I said with a vague amused look. “I am happy that I am seeing you all now, because I might not see you anymore, and I would be extremely happy if I never see most of you again.” Silence fell over everyone and I turned to Alex.
I raised my amused brows at him. “So you can really be worried about me now Corper? It is funny right? Men do things to women that they would not want to happen to their own sisters. When you were mocking me and dishonoring me behind my back, you never knew you were doing those things against your own sister. Well, I am sure you would be a lesson to all men. Before you do things to women because you can, think of how you would feel if the same is done to your own sister.”
I shook my head and turned to Mr. Sinja. The police officer who just happened to be my father. “Sir, I am sure you would forgive me if I can’t call you dad now” I said and he nodded vigorously.
“Of course my dear…” he said.
“I was right in thinking that you had seen so many things in your life. I don’t know half of your story and I am sorry if I would not have enough time to learn them. You look like a good man and I am pretty sure that you would have been a very good father if you had been given a chance.” I said.
I turned to the parents I have known all my life. “Papa, mama… I know that I have overemphasized my anger towards you and I am sorry. Even though I know that Papa never really loved me and accepted me, I still am eternally grateful to you. When I was rejected and tossed into the trash like a messed up diaper, you took me, welcomed me into your home and provided shelter for me. You took care of me for years and provided for me even though you had next to nothing. I would remain grateful to you for as long as I live, and you would never stop being my parents” I hugged my dad briefly and hugged my mum who held me tightly.
“I love you my baby… I love you so much… I am sorry.” she whispered in tears.
I saw the senator and turned to him. “Sir” I bowed my head in respect. “I instantly developed respect for you the minute I saw you. I have never seen a man as principled as you are. Even though I was not in a happy marriage, I saw you as the best father-in-law. You should hate me for what I stand for in your family but then; you are here, worried about me. I respect you sir. I really hope you find happiness because you deserve it more than anyone.”
I really wanted to leave but there was one person left. I turned to Mrs. Bello. I just could not smile at her. She stood shakily, looking at me. “I hated you the instant I saw you” I began without preamble. “You were a terrible mother-in-law but as a mother, you were worse. If there is one person I never want to set my eyes on, it is you”
“Pleeeaaaase… I am sorry…” she pleaded.
“You are not my mother; I can never accept you as my mother. You rejected me then, now, I am rejecting you… You hated me, now; I hate you beyond measure… You did not want me then, now I tell you, I do not and would not have any cause to need you in my life. You have caused so many people sadness” I shook my head. “You are not worthy to be called a mother. Please don’t look for me. You won’t find me” I said and turned to face kelvin, who was standing with Tina and Tola now. “I need to leave now”
Despite the protests of those in the room, I hastily walked out of the hospital with the only people who really mattered to me. Who says blood is thicker than water?
I stood with my luggage in the sitting room, waiting for Kelvin to enter. The door opened and he came inside. Immediately he saw me, his legs stopped moving and he stood still, looking at everything before him. “Where are you going to Ara?” he asked as his face grew pale.
I sighed, wondering how I was going to handle this. “I am leaving Kel, I am going away.”
He marched towards me in an instant. “What are you talking about? Where are you going?”
“Anywhere. I am going anywhere, I want to rebuild my life, on my own, putting all my garbage behind me” I was now legally divorced from Alex. All I needed was a totally new environment to begin my life from the scratch.
“B… But… but you can’t go” he lamented as his arms fisted beside him. “I won’t let you” he said on raised voice. He looked as if his life had just snapped.
This was becoming harder. I could not quite look into his eyes. It was hard to see him struggling for composure. “I have to do this Kelvin” I said as my eyes watered. “Staying here would make me fade out Kel. I have nothing but bad memories now and no matter how much I try, you have also been linked with those memories. I want to go far away, to a place where I can build new memories and forget all that has happened. You understand me Kelvin, I know you do” I held his face, forcing myself to gaze into his eyes. “I need to start all over again Kel, please don’t stop me… please” I pleaded. Of everyone in the world, I really wanted him to understand me.
“But… But…” he sighed and walked over to the window. I stood behind him, tense and confused. His muscles vibrated with tension. I just wanted him to hold me. Tell me he understand me… tell me… “I love you Amara”
I froze and swallowed as his words sank in, creating a terrible ache in my chest. Alex turned to face me. “I love you”
“Please… please don’t do this…” I murmured.
He smiled painfully and pulled me into his arms. My heat raced as kelvin kissed my forehead lingeringly. I have never stood this close to him before and the effect was scary. He lowered his head and kissed my eyes. “Kelvin” I gasped as my legs threatened to give way.
Before I could think of protesting, his mouth closed over mine. My heart threatened to break through my chest as his mouth moved from gentle to insistent. I held onto his neck as we kissed and I was alarmed, just thinking of the effect of what was going on. Kelvin stopped suddenly and gazed at me with blazing, unreadable eyes. I was pretty sure my face mirrored his. “Go” he said suddenly. “Be happy” he said and swallowed, moving away from me. He raked his fingers through his hair and exhaled audibly.
I swallowed hard, dragging in much needed air. “Kelvin…” I called questioningly, not sure I even wanted to leave anymore.
“Pleasse promise me you would be fine Ara” he asked breathlessly.
I nodded. “I would take care of myself Kelvin”
He nodded. “I would take you anywhere you want”
I shook my head. “I want to do this on my own Kelvin; you have done more than enough.” He nodded again, running his fingers through his hair again. “I would see you again, I promise. But I would have achieved my dreams by then, so you can be proud of what I have become”.
He smiled. “I would move heaven and hell to see you again honey”.
I nodded and quickly wiped the tears that slipped off my eyes. I bent to pick up my two bags. I walked to the door with my heart feeling heavier than the bags. I turned to see Kelvin standing where he was, with his hands buried deep in his trousers. “Goodbye Kelvin”
He nodded. “Take care of yourself”
I nodded and wiped at my tears again. “I will. Take care of yourself” I said. He nodded and I quickly opened the door, lifted my bags and walked out. Breaking through your walls of pain can be very difficult, but when you finally succeed, you emerge stronger and better. I go to make a better person of myself; to pursue my dreams and gain back everything life took away from me because of my mistakes. Falling down in life is expected but how you get back up is what matters. A mistake that does not kill you makes you wiser. I turned to look back at the house, knowing that Kelvin was there, probably looking at me through the window. I would achieve my goals this time; I would do it for the one person who loves me wholeheartedly – Kelvin