Dawn broke crisp and clear that Saturday. Marvin was up early. He did twenty minutes of exercise, took a hot shower and got dressed in a Tommy Hilfiger v-neck over a blue jean trouser, slipped into a pair of leather sandal and got his car out of the garage. He had plenty of time to make his appointment with his friend and to pick his children from Simisola’s house.
So, he stopped at a neighborhood eatery, bought a newspaper and read it over a cup of coffee and meat pie. He looked around him; the place was virtually empty with only one man sitting at a corner chatting with someone on his phone. Marvin wondered where everybody was as he continued reading. He searched for the missing persons page as usual. It was a habit that he had adopted for years now and still there was nothing on Kemi.
Marvin’s mouth curved up as he sipped his coffee. Why did she have to run off like that? The woman was just evil, plain hard-hearted evil, how could he have married her? Everyday was a tough day for him until he met Alice and lost her, and he knew things would only get worse if he didn’t find Kemi.
It was as if Kemi just wanted him to suffer when she did what she did. The deal was done and it had affected his sons, his lovely little sons. Damn you for making us suffer for your cruelty, Kemi, Marvin swore. He stared ahead of him and flashes of the dreadful day came into his head.
He had heard the doctor telling him that his babies were HIV positive. They had been infected at birth by their mother. Kemi wasn’t there but she had somehow heard the news. She had sneaked out of the hospital and ran away since then, leaving her shadow to haunt them. As if her infidelity was not enough, she had to sign her children’s death warrant with the incurable disease.
It all started when the doctor confirmed that Marvin had a very low-sperm count and the probability of him fathering a child was one to twenty and would be a miracle even. They were two years married by then and half of which Kemi had stopped sleeping in their bedroom and had moved to the guest room.
It was always a fight to sleep with his wife, he gave her the choice of leaving but she didn’t. She would only let him sleep with her only with the condition that he would be fast about it. So, when she told him she was pregnant, he was skeptical but happy at the same time.
He later discovered the infidelity and the fact that the pregnancy was not his. He decided to accept the pregnancy and kept it a secret until that day that had pulled a shadow over his whole living. He did the HIV test and tested negative and felt some kind of mixed feeling.
He loved the kids and whenever any of them fell sick, it worried him so much. After her disappearance, in the innermost part of him, he wished Kemi was okay and in good hands.
Her secret lover had the disease and the police had said she was not with him. She had disappeared without a backward glance. It took Marvin months to look for her before he gave up the search. Theirs was a court marriage and so he just couldn’t marry anyone else no matter how much he loved them.
It took him a longer time before he told his parent the real situation of things and they couldn’t help too. Nobody wanted to associate with an infected person. Marvin had to pay a lot of money to the school his children attended because nobody really wanted them. His parents tried their best to take them abroad but it didn’t work out.
The school that finally accepted them was not his choice but it was his best option and he stuck to the deal he made with them. He was like a patron to them. He was the one that took care of most of their monetary needs but he didn’t complain as long as they educated his kids.
And now he could not fall totally in love because of his sick children and a wicked woman. It was a fact that he loved Alice very much but would he be able to handle it if she rejected his children, if she finds out? He had kept them a secret long enough and had pleaded with Timmy to swear on their secrecy.
“Are you sure that is necessary?” Timmy had asked him when he said he did not want Alice to know about his past life and kids.
“I am sure you remember Kathy and Susan. They made life difficult when they heard about my kids. What if Alice rejects them and you know I won’t be able to live without them,” Marvin countered. “Just promise me that you will not tell her.”
“Okay, I promise. I still think there is no need to do it because she has a right to know,” Timmy had maintained. But she kept to her words. She told him about her encounters with Alice but still kept the secret.