Kathryn had her eyes fixed on the cup in front of her.
“A DNA test?”
“The result may come out negative.” Kathryn responded, not in direct response to Simeon’s question. Her eyes still fixed on the cup.
“May—yeah. Still, I guess its only proper you allow me a glimpse of the big picture.” Simeon said. He tapped lightly on the table as he spoke. “What about a positive result?”
Kathryn could not utter a word in response. She had not expected Simeon to easily accept her proposition. Yet a cold, almost sarcastic stance was least in her expectations.
“Why did you decide to bring this up now?” Simeon continued. “Look at me, Kathryn, and tell me the reason why you are coming up with this after—fifteen years?”
“I owe my son the truth.”
“What?” Simeon swallowed. He thought he had heard Kathryn say—our son.
“I owe David the truth.”
“I cannot be David’s father; you—you know that too.”
Kathryn raised her head and met Simeon’s gaze. She shook her head, and looked away.
“You told me you wouldn’t get pregnant.”
Kathryn returned her gaze to Simeon. A surprised look neatly sculptured on her face. “I never knew you do take the words of naive seventeen year old girls so seriously.” Kathryn responded. Her words for once matched Simeon’s—sarcasm. It also infuriated Simeon.
“Why didn’t you bring me into the picture when the episode was yet fresh? Why deny me the pleasure?” Simeon paused briefly, then he continued; “You could have told the world that you were not a virgin before—” Simeon hesitated. The right term seemed to have eluded him. But it occurred to him that his voice was unnecessarily raised.
“Before I was raped?” Kathryn offered.
Simeon looked away.“I’m sorry, Katie.” He apologized, “I didn’t mean it that way.”
“What—what we had was only days before I was raped.” “I . . . I—” Kathryn paused to calm her nerves. Simeon’s stance and the cold air from the air-conditioner made her uncomfortable. It seemed the air-conditioner had been turned up a degree or two. “I made myself believe you were not responsible. I could not tell my parents there was a possibility that someone else other than the guy who raped me was responsible for the pregnancy—how could I? Kathryn sighed as a tear ran down her chin. She knew there were a lot she had kept to herself, and even now she was not revealing all of it.
Simeon reached for Kathryn’s hand. “Katie, please, be considerate.
“I’ve been married for five years without a child. We’ve been through a lot, my wife and I,” Simeon paused. He seemed to weigh his resolve for revealing so much about his personal life. “I want to be a father, but not exactly by this means.” Simeon pleaded. “My marriage, right now, hangs on an edge. I don’t think it will survive an extra push” Simeon heaved, then he concluded, “I’m sorry, Katie; I can’t walk that path you are about leading me.”
Kathryn slowly pulled her hands from his grip.
Simeon raised his hand to draw the attention of a waiter walking by. Kathryn knew he wanted to settle the bill. She also knew Simeon had said as much as he could: discussion was over.
“Allow me to pay” Kathryn heard herself say. Her voice sounded noticeably weak. “I initiated the meeting.”
Simeon looked at her fully. Kathryn guessed the sound of her voice more than the words she had spoken had been responsible for the look. He slowly turned to face the waiter who was standing by his side.
Kathryn looked on as both men conversed. Kathryn knew there was a huge change from the boy she had loved as a young teenage girl and the almost bald man in front of her. Kathryn also knew the receding hair line was least in the changes she had observed.
Kathryn’s mind drifted to that day—four days before she was raped. The day she lost her virginity to Simeon.
It had been a Saturday and days after Simeon’s nineteenth birthday.
Kathryn had showed up confidently in front of Simeon’s residence. She didn’t bother knocking on the huge gate. Simeon was standing there, waiting. He had informed her earlier that he would be alone during the day that Saturday. Simeon held her right hand as he led her into the sitting room. In her other hand, Kathryn held the gift she had presented to Simeon on his birthday. His playful refusal to accept the gift had dragged Kathryn to his house. Simeon wanted nothing else than some time with the one he loved.
As much as she knew the troubles that day had come to bring, she still loved every moment of it: she had been young and in love.
Kathryn’s thoughts got the best of her until Simeon touched her hand. Kathryn noticed that the waiter was gone.
“I’ll pay on our way out.”
Kathryn got the cue. It was time to leave.
“I’m not asking you to do this for me” her voice sounded low, barely audible, yet she was sure Simeon heard her. “You’ll be doing it for David.”
“Let time decide that, Kathryn. Now is not the right time.”
“Time?” Kathryn questioned. “What if there’s no more time?”
“You’ve kept it low these years; I’m sure it can wait a little longer.”
“David needs at least a parent when I’m gone.” her words more than her voice caught Simeon’s attention this time.
“What did you just say?”
Kathryn held his gaze as she said, “I have cancer, Simeon. It’s terminal.”
To read the previous episode, follow this link: www.naijastories.com/2015/03/illusion-episode-2/