SHORT STORIES

CLANDESTINE

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I knew it was going to be a long ride down to the village for my first cousin’s traditional marriage after missing the last flight for the day. I quickly rushed back to town and headed straight for ABC terminal good a thing they had two seats left when I got there and twenty minutes later, we were on our way.

Having been summoned to make myself available by all means three days prior, a burden I bear for being the first daughter in my family, I didn’t have the luxury of nursing my anger neither did I want the frustration of a road trip to keep me unsettled, besides I have a hundred things to do before her marriage rites. So I said my prayer for a safe trip and wished for sleep.

The guy siting besides me wouldn’t stop talking on the phone. His conversation went on forever. Whoever was on the line with him must be very insensitive for he has been whispering pleas to no avail.

He was so heartbroken and this night, sleep seems to be a thousand years away.

I will hate to be seen as nosy for I derive no pleasure in meddling in people’s business but this was just in my face so I waited for him to finish meanwhile I listened like a lawyer.

The phone must have abruptly disconnected, for before I could shut my eyes and pretend like I was sleeping, he turned to me and said the words I dreaded to hear: “I could die right now!” ‘Why’, I asked. ‘What’s wrong’, I repeated. “It’s a long story. I don’t want to bore you”. ‘Oh no, it’s not a problem’ I shot back at him, if there is anything we both have, its time and at this point, my ears are twitching for his story.

There was a long pause and then he said, “She was the love of my life. I understood what love was the first time I saw her but she was fresh out of the university and way above my class. My father was her Daddy’s driver but somehow it didn’t matter to us and within the first four months of my service year in her father’s company, we slipped briskly into an intimacy from which I’m yet to recover from.

I guess it was my bad luck because not long after, she became pregnant and as scared as I was, I dragged my father along to meet her Dad and ask for her hand in marriage but he refused us, all my appeals fell on deaf ears and two months later, they relocated her to the US at least that’s what I think because they have a huge family based over there and just like that, she disappeared from my life along with her, a part of me.

Sometimes, it feels like a dream but It’s over eight years now, rumor has it that she had twins, a boy and a girl, but I’m yet to verify it. What baffles me is that she never tried to reach me as I didn’t even know her whereabouts.

You see, what we had was not a lighthearted relationship; we talked about our future and how beautiful our lives will be together. We were so in love and till today, I can’t understand her silence or even the shadowy events surrounding her leaving. Maybe it all meant nothing to her.

Anyway, about two weeks ago, her Daddy died, and here I am going back to their village, a trip I have made several times with my father and relatives without any result but this time I’m hoping that her mum will have pity on me and tell me the truth” who knows, maybe I will get to see her, I am very sure she will come to pay her last respects or won’t she? Gosh, I wish I know.

He let out a heavy sigh, closed his eyes and continued, I could die right now and not know, my whole life depends on this trip, I have to know, if I am really a father, if I have children somewhere with my blood flowing in their veins. I hope they look like me.

‘Oh Lord’ I muttered, I sincerely wish that I had some rational answers for this man at least something, or anything to help with his misery. Sometimes I wonder why parents take crazy decisions, playing God at the expense of their children. I was close to tears as I pondered on these issues.

Why is the prestige and respect of a family name a factor when it comes to life and happiness of others?

Why is there still a long shadow cast on class division?

Why cross the line of decency just to save face

I wonder what lies they tell themselves, wanting reality but living in fantasy.

If the motive is right, then why is the result always wrong?

Imagine the time lost to this father and maybe, children that yearn for him. Imagine the strong bonds and family ties missed out on.

I can sense he has been troubled for these nine years; the thought of not knowing is slowly killing him

For nine years, he waits and hopes for a truth he might never hear.

This man is in a rollercoaster of what ifs and what not’s and he is not for a moment amused at all.

What a vague life of uncertainty and doubt.

Looking at him, I can tell, he could have made a good father and even a loving husband albeit this twist of fate, not because he had the swag and look but something deep in his voice as he spoke to me sounded just like my Dad.

I know the dangers of a single story but I wonder if his wrongs is deserving of such mystery –here is a man denied the joy of fatherhood when many others would gladly abandon such responsibility for other pursuits.

I offered many words of encouragement and even said a long prayer for him but in a world like ours, where life is stranger than fiction, I doubt if he will ever know the whole truth but for now, all I can do is help share his pain.

Vivian Belford is a lover of God and all the good things life can offer, a girly girl who believes in having fun with whatever she does. She is currently starring in her own reality show titled, Living and Dying With a Smile! Her Mantra: *Put on some lip gloss,pour yourself a drink, sit back and have a really good laugh!* The world is one big comedy afterall!!!!

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