It’s been two weeks since the incident with my mum in the kitchen and she has been acting weirdly. She was always lost in thoughts and whenever you asked what the problem was, she would lie that there was nothing going on. You know how I knew she was lying? Because she is a terrible liar!
I was supposed to return to campus the next week so I decided to confront her. I wanted to do it when dad was not around because I knew if she wanted to spill, she might not be comfortable around dad. This was a woman to woman talk.
I decided to pay her a visit in her workplace and as I sat waiting in the reception area for her secretary to inform her of my presence, I planned how best to present my curiosity in order not to make it awkward.
“Ma’am, your mother will see you now,” the secretary said in her cheery voice.
“Just go left then…..”
“I think I know the way to my mother’s office. Thank you.”
I opened the door to her office without knocking.
“What the….Oh, it’s you my darling.”
“Good day mum.”
“Sweetheart, you didn’t tell me you were dropping by when I left the house. Is everything alright?”
“Do you have a minute?”
“Well of course. I was just about to take a break.” She exited her chair behind her desk and moved to the mini-sitting room in her office. Her office was real exquisite. French polished table, state-of the art gadgets, milk painted walls, pink leather couches and a plasma TV hanging on the wall. Generally, her office smelled success.
“I deserve the truth to what I’m about to ask you.” Yes, my plan was to be the attacker in this conversation.
“What are you talking about?” She asked although I knew at the back of her mind, she knew where this was headed.
“That day in the kitchen, the days after that with all the going in and coming out of space, what do they mean? Surely, what I said that day in the kitchen didn’t sit well with you and I want to know why.”
“You can’t handle the truth baby.” She was facing the wall now, avoiding my eyes. It was my turn to ask, “What are you talking about?”
“Some issues are meant to be buried and never brought up, and this is one of them.” Now my curiosity had travelled past the ceiling and was heading northwards.
“Many years ago, things were not going as planned. I had to do something and do it fast. In the end, we are all happy. Aren’t we? If only he had….” She stopped, realizing she almost spilled something. I was furious. What was it that my mother felt I didn’t have the right to know?
I stood up.
“I’m leaving. But know this: I’m going to get to the root of this. It is better I hear whatever the problem is from you because if I find out the truth and the truth is nasty, God help me.”
With that I stormed out of the room leaving my speechless mother. From the corner of my eyes, I saw tears streaming down her face and that sealed the deal. I would get to the bottom of this no matter what it took!
Throughout that last week of the holiday, I gave my mum the silent treatment. What hurt the most was that instead of trying to talk to me and straighten things out, she threw herself at her work; what she always did when she was avoiding something. My dad barely noticed our issue as he too was engrossed in his work. I returned to school unhappy and as expected, Diana picked up on my mood and was soon on my neck.
“What is wrong with you girl?” She asked for the hundredth time. “Ever since you returned from the holidays, you’ve been moody. Did you fight with your parents? I would doubt that though since you’re the perfect daughter. Oh wait, are you in love?”
I looked at her like I was seeing someone who had gone crazy. In love? I knew she was pulling at several strings just to make me spill.
“Will you just drop it? I already told you that I’m totally fine.”
“Look at me,” she commanded, “do I look stupid to you? I’m your best friend, the only friend you ever had and I know you like a book. I know something is wrong and I deserve to know what.”
“Exactly what I told my mum.”
“Oh, so the problem is your mum.”
“Yes. You remember that professor I told you about?”
“The one who you were his spitting image?”
“The same one. I told my mum about him, you know, casually and ever since, she has been acting all weird, like there was something she was hiding.”
Diana’s eyes grew wide.
“We are so going to meet that guy.”
“One, he’s not a guy, he’s old enough to be your father and secondly, why would I want to meet him? What has he got to do with this?”
“Everything. Don’t you see? He started all of this. Do you really want to get to the bottom of this?”
“Damn right I do”
“Good. What faculty did you say he’s in?”
“I really don’t know, but I got his name from one of his files that fell down that day. No, don’t give me that look, it was just by chance that my eyes strayed. Stop wiggling your eyebrows Diana!”
“Whatever. What’s his name?”
“Professor David Sheph…… Oh my God, David Shepherd. That’s his name, David Shepherd. We share the same last name. Do you think maybe we are relatives?”
I could feel the excitement swelling within me. I’ve always wanted a relative and my parents seemed not to have any.
“We can never know until we find out.” She brought out her phone and looked up his name and department on the school’s website.
“Gotcha! He’s in Sociology, faculty of Humanities. Let’s go.”
“Wait, what? I haven’t had my bath.”
“Too bad, we’re running out of time.”
As we marched out of the dorm towards the faculty of Humanities, I couldn’t help but feel like a secret detective.
Two hours later, I was on the phone to my dad. I didn’t bother with greetings as he picked up.
“Hello, my ange…”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me you have a brother?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You damn know what I’m talking about.”
“Don’t you use swear words on me Rechael. Who told you I have a brother?”
“David Shepherd. Rings any bell?”
There was a pause on the line.
“Seriously? Mum is hiding something from me and you too are not telling me the truth. You told me you had no relatives. You never said they were dead or alive, you just said you had none. How many lies have you both been telling me all my life?”
“You won’t understand.”
“Oh please, don’t even use that line on me. I’m twenty two and in my second year of college. I think I have a very developed brain, SIR!”
“Rachael, can we talk sometime, I’m in the middle of something.”
“Yea, we can talk, actually, we all are going to talk soon. I invited him for dinner tomorrow night.”
“You heard me.” I hung up the call not giving him the chance to say anything further. I won’t stand another lie, I resolved as I slumped on the bed, exhaustion taking over. Diana had gone to her room and as I surrendered to sleep, I remembered my promise to my mum to get to the bottom of this issue. It was time to show her how serious I was.
“Why do you never come visiting? You practically live forty minutes away.” I asked David, I mean Professor David- can’t get carried away- on our way to my house. I was sitting in his car and trust me, his car is amazing.
“I think it’s pretty obvious your family never wanted any ties. I guess your dad never told you about his family. Well, I don’t blame him, it’s not like we parted ways hugging each other.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You know, when you bumped into me that day, I knew instantly who you were and trust me, I tried staying away. Coming to me was a big mistake and I think you’ll find out why soon enough. Oh, I can’t wait to see Jane’s face.” He said, a smirk climbing his face.
Wait, not only did he stir the conversation away from my question, but he’s being ambiguous and creepy. Did I make a mistake sitting in this man’s car? God bless Diana if I get kidnapped. She will so pay.
Before I could collect my thoughts, we were in the driveway of my house. Hold on, he knew the way to our house? No wonder he never asked for directions all through.
We got out of the car and I led him to the door, throwing my face into a frown. I was here for business, my mother and father should know that.
No one was home when we got in so I offered him a seat in the living room and went to make some coffee.
“Where’s the remote control of the TV?” He called out to me.
“It’s in the cabinet below it.”
I returned to hand him his coffee. He took it without taking his eyes off the TV. A football match was on and he seemed so engrossed in it. I went to the dining table across the room and sat down with my own cup in hand.
I watched him for like forty five minutes and his eyes never left the TV screen. Who was this man? I found myself asking. Surely, there was something going on and to think that I had been lied to, probably all my life, was eating at me.
I went up to my room and decided to take a nap. I woke up later to the sound of my dad’s car pulling up in the driveway and I hurried downstairs. As I was climbing down the last step, the door swung open and in came my dad.
“Whew! What a day. Racheal is that you? I never knew…..”
He paused as his eyes fell on the person in the in the living room.
“What are you doing here David?” He growled, his eyes growing darker. That was something I had never seen in my dad my entire life.
“Well, well. Is that how to welcome your long lost brother?”
“You’re lost for a reason.” He replied, his voice growing colder.
“Hold on guys,” I had to come in here. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have the whole night to catch up.”
They both sat on adjacent couches while I pulled my dad’s jacket off his back and went to get him a glass of water. I decided to start making dinner before mum arrived leaving the two grown men glaring daggers at each other.
Like she planned it, her car came into view from the kitchen window as I was dishing out food into plates and taking them to the dining room.
Her reaction was worse than my dad’s. She broke down into full time sobs.
“No need to cry Jane. I only came for what is mine.”
…….to be continued.