Remember me (XIV)- Short story

The story nears its end 

Chapter 14

The Mansion

Tara had always wanted to visit the house her mother lived before she married her father.  She approached her father with her finding from his room that afternoon. She walked up to him while he had dinner with the beach bottle in one hand and a piece of paper with an address scribbled in faint writing on the other.

He was livid!

“You have no business going into my room to look through my things. I have warned you several times to stay away from my business.” He snapped.

Her father always had a temper. One minute he was laughing pretty hard and the next his face was a thick map of frown-induced wrinkles. She had gotten used to it over the years and it no longer scared her.

“Your mother wouldn’t like you to go to that mansion. Something happened in that house that changed her life forever and she would rather leave the memories behind.

“I have respected her wishes and kept her things the way she wanted them. You are not to touch her things again.” His voice trailed into a whimper as he paused to regain his composure.

Tara looked on.

“What happened in that house Daddy?”

“Only your mother can tell you that. She didn’t tell me anything about it.” He lied.

He didn’t mention to Tara that he had stormed the house to confront Adetokunbo and how he had a huge confrontation with his wife Esther who was visibly angered by his effrontery. Those were memories he would rather die with than share with his innocent child.

He sighed.

Tara wasn’t sure what to believe.

“I visited the house once, to pack some of her things, but at the time it was practically empty. Those luggage in my room were from that day.” Lies always needed more lies to make good.

Tara urged him to continue, but it was clear he wasn’t offering anymore details.

“I forbid you to go to that house. Your mother would not want you to go there.”

There was an awkward silence.

Tara looked confused until her father stood from the dining table to embrace her in his warmth. He held her tight as though to hide his insecurities.

“You can keep the beach bottle; it was a gift from her father.”

*******

1992

Adetokunbo was sorry the next morning. He woke up to find himself sprawled on the bed in his sister’s room. He could smell the scent of her perfume and could feel the softness of her bed.

“What am I doing here?” his eyes struggled for light as they squinted through heavy lids.

Christiana was nowhere to be found.

Like a snow globe shaken violently, regret came settling into his self-consciousness with its weights increasing exponentially. If only he knew what had transpired while he slobbered wretchedly on her bed.

His sister held very strong opinions about rape and could not come to think of herself a victim. In her books, to rape was an act of violence to the body and soul of the victim. It was a desecration to their spirit, to their enduring sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Nothing denigrated a woman more than a forced sex, worse still, one that took away her virginity.

Adetokunbo had no idea that the damage from that night didn’t stop at one person but rolled down the generations. It was an emotional tornado that ruined the life that was yet to be called into existence.

He didn’t get the chance to apologize for his indiscretion, he didn’t feel sorry either. He had always wanted the feel of her supple skin and it was only a matter of time before the numbness induced by his drinking habit took its toll.

Esther had confronted Christiana that morning in a diatribe that left her even further broken. The words she hurled at her sister-in-law were nothing short of gutter language traded in the red-light district. It hurt her so badly she was left with no choice but to leave her father’s house in shame.

“You are a disgrace to your family and generations to come. Leave and never return to this house, you are no longer welcome here.”

She threw out her best friend without regret.

Christiana managed to pick a few personal items from her room before she left the house that morning sobbing all through. Her last view was that of her half-naked brother sleeping on her bed.

*******

Two months later Christiana knew that the missed periods and the morning sickness that caused her to retch uncontrollably were not signs of stress or illness. If she thought otherwise for a moment, how could she explain the way her perky breast ripened and her frequent visits to the toilet.

When she peed on the pregnancy stick, the result confirmed her suspicion. She was with child – her brother’s child!

It was indeed a difficult moment that would test her moral position on abortion, one she was unwilling to change.

Esther’s last words rang in her ears over and over again.

You are a disgrace to your family and generations to come. Leave and never return to this house, you are no longer welcome here.”

There was an enormity to her sobbing, as though her soul could bleed an ocean through her eyes. It came with full acceptance of the emotional and physical pain she would have to bear for the sake of the unwanted child.

Her eyes were puffy, gorged, and sore from the tears that flowed ceaselessly.

“What would become of her life now?

It felt like she was stuck in an endless cycle of regrets, shame, moral obligations, and pain. A catch 22 scenario that left her spiraling down the one-way street to depression.

She thought about the situation deeply, agreeing that she was against killing her own fetus, but perhaps there was a way out.

“What if I mistakenly poisoned myself, this should end this misery.”

That way no one would know she carried an incestuous baby and she could perhaps salvage whatever was left of her reputation to the grave with her.

The problem was that she held strong opinions against suicide too and was a prominent advocate against it during her days at the university. In this quagmire, suicide was just as bad as abortion, worse even, after all not just one life would be taken but two.

She couldn’t figure a way out of the situation and looked for reasons to remain strong and sane.

Her choice was to be strong, and that in itself didn’t come with an instruction manual.

Strong wasn’t about being free of fear, quite the opposite. Strong was about seeing all the issues and problems without self-deception and soft filters. It was about feeling the anxiety in full measure, acknowledging the fear, yet making the right choices. It was about owning her own faults and using them to make herself a better person.

“I have got to be strong.”

She needed someone to speak with, someone who could validate her thoughts and perhaps guide her as she made one of the most life-defining decisions she could ever take.

She could think of no one but Esther, her sister-in-law and best friend until a couple of months ago.

Esther it was, she had to find her one last time.

She knew just where to find her at Ann’s day school that same afternoon. The school was a stone-throw away from the house, she only had to be there before 2pm, the pick-up time.

******

Esther was bent over adjusting the 4year old’s backpack in front of the school entrance gate when she heard her name.

“Hello Esther.”

She shot her a hostile and contemptuous look that did nothing to Christiana’s worried face.

“You have got guts to come to Ann’s school. What do you want?”

“Hey Aunty Christy.” Ann screamed as she ran into her open but limp arms.

“I need to speak with you please Esther. Please for the sake of the friendship we shared.” She spoke in between kisses planted on Ann’s forehead.

“You didn’t think about that when you were rolling in the sheets with…….” Her voice ceased as though the proverbial cat got her tongue.

“ Please spare me two minutes, I need your advice.”

“Make it quick, I have to get home to make lunch.”

It took all of five minutes of the monologue for Esther and Christiana to break down crying right in the middle of the road. Ann stared at both women confused at first before joining them.

It was a sad reunion.

Continue the story here

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12 thoughts on “Remember me (XIV)- Short story”

  1. Hmmm. Read the two chapters with the speed of light. Have to go back to read them again.
    This is intrigue, suspense and melodrama or tragicomedy put together?

    The story and secrets is like they say peeling the onion. From one layer of secret to another. So much is being unraveled from page to page and chapter to chapter.

    A great writing from a master story teller.

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