“Did you really mean that?”
“Mean what?” Kenny asked
Tai had been quiet since they left Claire, Kenny on the other hand had been quite garrulous, making really weak jokes and really long speeches about unimportant subjects. Tai could tell he was trying to cover up his nervousness but he was equally nervous if not more so. They never went anywhere beyond the estate or school without their parents. Tai knew there was no way their mum would permit them go as far as the town boundary. It was equally a ridiculous idea to ask her to come along; she didn’t even know who Claire was. Yes she had heard her name once or twice but if she took any special interest, she certainly didn’t show it. Tai couldn’t imagine their mum’s reaction if they were to ask her permission to go see a “friend’s” mum in the hospital.
What was really wrong with Claire’s mum; Tai pondered, Claire told them she had been in the hospital for a “while” Claire also said she was still married to her dad. She had told them this second bit without being prompted and also went ahead to inform them that she did not know what “that woman” was doing in their house but assured them or more like assured herself that she would leave once her mum got well and came back home.
She was a very intense girl, Claire would listen to the boys argue and she would smile occasionally at their conversations and jokes while staring absent mindedly into the distance, someone watching from a distance would probably think she wasn’t listening to the conversations going on between the boys but if one stood closer and listened in, one would be able to tell by the timing of those smiles that she was indeed listening. When she contributed to these conversations; which was a rarity; as she was more of listener, she became more animated and her animation grew as she became more comfortable in the company of the twins, her intensely sharp eyes became more piercing. A pattern was already in place where the boys were either with her or with Bob and their other infrequent friends. Bob had become a lot less boastful on the issue of girls, in fact he would refuse to contribute to conversations that had to do with girls whenever the twins were around.
“You mean that we’ll go with Claire to see her mum” Tai eventually responded.
“Yes I did, it’s just the outskirts of town Tai”
“You are going out of town?” Julia’s voice was calm and she had an amused smile on her face. Both boys froze; neither of them had seen their mum standing outside their room door which they had left slightly ajar. She walked in and with deliberate movements shut the door behind her, walked to where the twins sat slightly apart on the same bed, there was barely enough space for her to sit between them but as she made to sit between her children, they quickly made space for her.
“So” she started and then smiled at each son in turn before continuing, “Whose mum are you going to see?”
“Claire’s” both of them mumbled.
“Out of town?” she was still deceptively cheerful and the twins were very wary of this given her recent anger bouts. Still Kenny soldiered on surprising both himself and his twin.
“Just on the outskirts mum” he said, his voice picking up slightly.
“And when were you going to tell me this?”
“As soon as we were sure that we would go mum” Tai backed his twin up hesitantly.
“You sounded pretty sure when you were talking about it just now” Julia said.
Neither twin responded to this and after a long pause, Julia continued; “So what’s she doing on the outskirts of town?”
“She’s in a hospital mum.” Kenny was still taking the lead in this conversation.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“We don’t know”
“But she’s in a hospital on the outskirts” she added as an afterthought almost to herself “Why is she in a hospital all the way outside town?” and then continued “Anyways if you guys were planning on asking, the answer is no” she stood up brushed off an imaginary speck on her skirt and made for the door, at the door she stopped and turned to look at the boys “Your meal is ready” she said.
“Okay mum” came the chorus but neither boy moved, they wanted to discuss the conversation they just had with their mum, and to talk about the fact that they couldn’t go with Claire to see her mum as promised but Julia stood in the doorway looking at them expectantly and so, both Tai and Kenny got up reluctantly and followed her out of the room.
“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen Julia, I would have broken it off with her when she came into town, you asked me not to.” Ade was frustrated he had a lot on his plate with the pregnancy, having just had to deal with a very emotional Teni and now having to deal with an equally emotional Julia on the heels of that. He had barely had enough time to process the situation with Teni and now Julia’s outburst. She had not stopped throwing and breaking things since she walked into his apartment, she punctuated each long list of accusations with a throw. Eventually Ade had screamed at her. He hardly ever spoke when she was angry, hardly ever took charge in their relationship, he had basically let her run the show. She couldn’t hide her shock when he screamed at her. “SHUT UP” he had screamed repeatedly, she stared at him in disbelief for a couple of seconds and then her face crumbled in tears. Finally he was able to speak and when he finished the first sentence he could get in, Julia responded amidst sobs;
“So it is my fault now isn’t it, that you didn’t break up with her?”
“No it isn’t, but I should have put my foot down and done the right thing, I should have broken up with her, I shouldn’t have been part of this deceit”
“So it is still my fault right?”
“No it isn’t but she doesn’t deserve any of this, not from me and definitely not from you”
“Oh but I deserve everything I get right? Because I raped you? Because I drugged you and made you do things you didn’t want to, because you I coerced you…”
“Stop Julia” his voice was low, really low but she could sense his anger and for once she was scared of Ade, at the same time she was beyond caring, she wanted to hurt him, really hurt him like he hurt her, like she was hurting at that moment, yet something made her pause in her rant.
“I should have broken it off with her, save her all this pain and drama” he was barely audible
“Like you would have had the balls to” she mumbled
“What was that?”
“Even if I hadn’t asked you to, would you have been able to bear it, seeing her go through so much pain? A life without the oh so mighty, oh so wonderful Adefemi?” Julia mocked
“Anything would have been better than this”
“Femi, I don’t care how you do this, but I am not going to be the one left hanging, I am going to have kids and I am going to have them with you!”
Stay tuned for Episode 19 next week Friday.