November 30, 2013
Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
She walked alone along the lonely, bushy path. She knew the dangers that part could bring and she also knew they lurked in the bushes, waiting for the opportune time. Kathryn heard footsteps behind her, and she quickened her pace. She perceived the acrid smell of burning food as her assailants bridged the gap. Kathryn tripped and fell as she made to run. She heard a crashing sound before she hit the ground.
The sound seemed so real and near that it jolted Kathryn from her dream.
Jesus, Kathryn cried as the smell of burning food hit her nostrils. Kathryn leaped from her bed and ran to the kitchen.
There were broken pieces of plate on the floor close to the dining table, adjacent to the kitchen. Kathryn’s heartbeat raced as she advanced towards the open kitchen door.
“Oops! I guess its not a surprise anymore.” David said as he appeared at the door holding a broom and a dustpan. The lines that revealed a mock frown—as he saw his mother—also revealed his disappointment. Kathryn smiled. She needed no explanation—her son, for a reason best known to him, had chosen to make breakfast and, sadly, it had proved a little more complex than he had anticipated.
“What’s for breakfast?” Kathryn asked as she leaned on the wall.
“Spaghetti and a slightly—over-cooked sauce.”
“Well,” Kathryn yawned. “I’ve never had that before.”
“You’ll love it.” David said, squatting to gather the broken pieces of the plate. He looked up at Kathryn, “I almost forgot, breakfast is being served with—green tea.”
Kathryn laughed heartily. There’s more to this than what meets the eyes, Kathryn thought. The cluster of bulbous nerve endings on David’s tongue had a strong dislike for green tea. And David rarely touched the pack of the tea, except he wanted to clean the dining table. “Just clean up that mess. And don’t forget—no sugar added to the tea.”
“Alright.” David said, also making comical salute. “Don’t worry. Breakfast will be served in bed, soon.” He finished his sentence with a playful wave of his hand, urging her away.
As Kathryn tiptoed to her room, she called out, “Try not to burn the house.”
David chuckled. “Ok, I’ll be careful. Sorry about the plate.”
“Plate? I only saw broken pieces.” David’s deep throaty laugh made Kathryn to pause. She looked over her shoulder to her son whom puberty had stolen his once high-pitched voice. “It’s expensive you know” Kathryn continued. “I’m sure it’ll cost a month’s allowance.”
Kathryn only smiled as she continued to her room.
The alarm clock on the bed-side table was ringing as she walked into her room. This was the time she had agreed, late last night, that she would wake—8:00am.
Kathryn walked towards the table, reached for the clock and slowly put its hammering sound to rest. Kathryn was grateful it was a Saturday. She had enough time to rest.
As Kathryn sat on her bed, she felt a dull pain at her side, just under her left armpit. She was yet to receive the result of the last of three tests her doctor had suggested. Kathryn wondered what had caused the delay. And she was obviously not ready to call Dr. Wallace.
Kathryn felt the lump at her side, close to her left breast. She swallowed as she remembered she had ignored it for a while too long. She knew she needed a miracle desperately, not for herself, but for David. David still had a long way to go, hopefully.
Broad Street, Marina, Lagos Island.
Simeon laid his head on his office table. He sat up again, slowly opened the drawer and searched for a pain-relieve for his throbbing headache. He found one, popped two tablets off it and walked to the dispenser to get some water. Simeon had resumed work, a week short of his two-week leave. The days following his meeting with Kathryn had been very difficult for him and he needed some distraction from the thoughts that continually plagued his mind.
Even on a Saturday, Simeon had dragged himself to work.
As Simeon gulped down the water, he knew the tablets would only bring temporal relief.
Simeon walked back to his seat, sat down and held his head with both hands.
Although he had concluded that a paternity test for Kathryn’s son was something he was not ready for, still his thoughts had not ceased to trouble him. Simeon reached for his phone on the table—he wanted to contact Moshood, his lawyer. Perhaps there may be legal implications to his decision not to go for the DNA test, he thought. Simeon dropped the phone moments after he had picked it up.
There’s no need to panic, Simeon; he tried to assure himself. No need to panic, at least until she makes a move, if she does.
Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Kathryn sat on the floor in her room with some papers scattered about her—official work she had brought home. She directed her gaze to the door when she heard its soft squeak.
“Mum,” David called from the door, revealing only his head. “Susan just arrived; we’re studying together”
“In the living room.”
“Ok.” Kathryn said, careful not to show her concern. She had her quiet reservations as regards the friendship between her son and his best friend, Susan—best friends?
“I’ll leave your room door open, so you can walk in on us at anytime.”
Kathryn smiled. She wondered where David had gotten such wisdom from. “Close the door, please.’
Kathryn’s mobile phone rang few seconds after David closed the door.
Kathryn pulled her phone close, and shrugged. Max Udofia, she muttered. She shook her head. She wished Max, a corporate executive she had met at a function two months ago, would understand that the relationship between them would never go beyond—professional. She had, first, admired his free-spirited, jovial disposition; until Max started with the advances. Now she loathed his presence, and worse, his persistent calls. Kathryn allowed the call to ring through without responding appropriately.
Her mobile phone began a second ring seconds after the first ended. This time it was not a contact she had saved.
“Hello. I’m Miss Chinonye Ibeh, the founder of Women Advocacy Group, Lagos. Am I speaking to Miss Kathryn Brown?”
Women Advo—, she pondered. “Yes.”
“We just considered the e-mail you sent. And we believe your story; its one story we would be glad to follow. Don’t worry about what it’ll cost, our services are free.”
“Your son must know his father. We will see to it that he does.”
To read the previous episode, click on this link: www.naijastories.com/2015/03/illusion-episode-3/