Kathryn buried her head in the hollow of her palms. Her forehead felt heavy, and it gave a bad ache too. She closed her eyes. For a moment, Kathryn wished everything about her could go into oblivion. Oblivion, she mused. A mild way to describe death. Kathryn raised her head a bit, only to find Simeon staring searchingly at her.
“So . . . David could be my nephew, huh?”
Nephew, she almost said aloud. Simeon could also be David’s uncle. It surprised Kathryn that she had never imagined such.
Kathryn returned Simeon’s gaze. She knew she had only mentioned Philip to Miss Chinonye Ibeh. And she could swear that her confidant had not betrayed her trust so soon. Moreover Simeon could not have guessed randomly. Kathryn was certain that Simeon must have had a recent conversation with Philip.
“You’re just staring at me. Say something.”
“I don’t have anything to say to you, Simeon.”
“And I suppose you do expect me to take my leave now, right?” Simeon scoffed.
“I expect that Philip must have given you the details, every bit of it.” Kathryn yelled. She swept her left thumb under the lower lid of her right eye, painfully reminded of the ease at which her eyes do let out tears.
“Hey, I came for peace, not war.” Simeon said calmly. “Actually its been a while—” Simeon started. He knew he had Kathryn’s attention; he hoped a brief pause midway in his sentence would heighten the effect of his words. “actually, its been a very long time I last heard from him. Philip left the country over twelve years ago for studies. Sadly, based on what we know, he didn’t graduate.” Simeon chuckled. “And, as expected, Philip did not consider it a wise decision to come back to our father land—maybe, just to our father.” Kathryn looked on as Simeon spoke. She heard his words, and her thoughts too; though her thoughts sounded louder. Kathryn did not like the thoughts nor the images that came with them. Neither did she enjoy Simeon’s attempt at humour. Kathryn wished Simeon didn’t continue, but he did. “You know, Philip is a peculiar type. So, I doubt his amorous affairs would be a topic he would be willing to share.”
Kathryn wondered if Simeon had come for something more than all he had said so far. Maybe like an expert persuader, he was carefully using his words to wane her resolve to reject it, even before he made his proposal known. To be termed gullible, at the moment, was completely unwelcome.
“The DNA result is out, right?”
Simeon responded promptly, like he had been waiting for Kathryn to ask. “Yes.”
“Why did you lie earlier?” Kathryn asked. She continued before Simeon could answer. “It all makes sense now . . . you’re not David’s father?”
“Why didn’t Miss Ibeh inform me?” Kathryn asked, though more to herself than to Simeon.
“I doubt she’s aware.” Simeon said rather calmly. For the second time that evening, he didn’t miss Kathryn’s surprised look. “Dr. Zakari was a former classmate.”
“Ok.” Kathryn said as she wiped off tears from her eyes. “Its Ok.”
“Hey, I didn’t—” Simeon said as he reached for Kathryn’s shoulder.
“Leave my house.” Kathryn said, throwing Simeon’s hand off her shoulder.
Simeon held her gaze for seconds. He wanted to say something, but decided not to.
“Philip didn’t seek my consent.” Kathryn said as Simeon walked towards the door. “And that’s just for the records.”
“And don’t worry, when the good doctor eventually calls, I’ll pretend like I’m hearing his report for the first time.”
David stood close to the door. He held on to its knob, wondering what side of the door he really wanted to stand. He slowly closed the door behind him and walked to his bed. David sat on its edge and pulled his pillow close; he lifted his earphone off the pillow. David turned up the volume to its peak after he had put it on. He hoped it would still every thought. Still, David wondered if he had chosen a better alternative, as compared to eavesdropping on the conversation that, he was sure, would follow his exit from the sitting room where his mum and her guest sat—mute. David had concluded, as he left the adults, that some drama was up. He accepted to remain in his room after considering that it really may be in his best interest to remain ignorant. Likely the drama was rated 18—too much explicit content for him.
David looked to his Report Card that lay on his reading table, and the gift wrap by its side. The wrap had earlier provided covering to the gift he had received that morning for taking the second position in his class. Kathryn had beamed with joy when his name was called. He always wondered if she would eventually get used to him always being among the top three in his class.
But, David knew that was not the only gift he had received that day. He stood from the bed and walked to the table where his school bag also lay. He pulled the zip of the bag, and brought out the wrapped gift Susan had given him, after an apology.
“I’m sorry,” she had began. “you never seem to have a time for any of the girls, so we just tried to pull a prank on you.” David had looked intently at her, and she seemed sincere. Susan had smiled before she said, “And we didn’t do too well at it—no one really believed our claim.”
David allowed a brief smile. “Its ok.”
“Here,” she said, handing David the gift. “Merry christmas in advance.”
“Can we hang out during the holiday—friends?
“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
Corner stone Estate, Ikeja.
Simeon had only taken a meal all day, yet he felt full. Still he had stopped at the Ikeja outlet of a popular fast-food restaurant to buy a plate of jollof rice. Almost two hours after he got home, the plate, and its content, still sat on the dining table—untouched.
Simeon adjusted his body on the bed, laying on his chest. He rolled to soothe the bulge that pressed hard against his short. His first sexual experience still remained fresh—with Kathryn. He had been careful and slow, driving his erect member into her, wondering when to stop; wondering if she could take all of him. He gained confidence after a few thrusts. Simeon wished that experience had led to David’s existence.
Simeon wished he had been more considerate. After Dr. Zakari’s revelation, he had been too fast to conclude that Kathryn had offered same pleasure to his brother, Philip. He didn’t make opportunity for his mind to consider the possibility—now reality—that Philip had raped Kathryn.
Simeon was sure Kathryn would not file a law suit against Philip—except the fast-talking Miss Ibeh proved to be quite convincing. Kathryn, he figured, only wanted peace, and she had found it.
“Time to go to bed.” Kathryn said as she snatched the game pad off David’s hands. Kathryn smiled knowing her presence had startled him. David had been too engrossed in the game he played that he did not hear her footsteps.
“No, no.” he protested. “I was almost there. I’ve never won three straight sets before.”
“You can continue tomorrow.”
“Afresh, that is.”
“Yeah, if that’s how it works. Off to your room, young man.” Kathryn said.
“Good night. And do put off the light.”
“Yeah ma’am. I will.”
Kathryn watched David leave the sitting room, before she switched the light off. Kathryn could remember the first day David walked, unaided. Now he stood with broad firm shoulders and only few inches shorter than her. Kathryn wondered if David would grow to have Philip’s physique.
She soon got to her room, and gently turned the knob of the door.
Kathryn laid her weight on her bed and reached for the laptop which sat inches away from her. She pulled it close and tapped a button, before she proceeded to read the words she had persuaded herself to type after Simeon left earlier in the evening.
Kathryn had barely finished a sentence before her phone began to ring.
“Sorry I had to call this late.” Miss Chinonye Ibeh started. “Dr. Zakari called, and he requests that we come to the hospital tomorrow.”
“Did he say anything about the result?”
“No, though I’m certain its ready. We would have to wait till morning to know the details.”
“Ok.” Kathryn said. “Have you informed Simeon?”
“Oh, yes.” Miss Ibeh responded. “I can hardly wait for the drama that will follow.”
“Have a lovely night, dear.”
To read the previous episode, click on this link: www.naijastories.com/2015/05/illusion-episode-9/