The reason why my mum was sobbing was beyond me and it seems my dad too was finding it hard to comprehend, judging from the bewilderment in his eyes. He rushed to her side and pulled her into an embrace, shooting the professor a suspicious look.
‘It’s Ok darling. What is the problem?”
My mum kept repeating, “I’m sorry,” over and over again.
“What are you sorry for? What’s all this about?” He asked, tightening his hold on her, apparently making every effort to calm her down.
“I never meant for this to happen,” she continued, he voice thick with sadness. “I never meant for it to be this way. We needed this so bad and there was no other. I’m sorry.” She broke down again.
The she suddenly stopped crying and shot the professor a dirty look. He returned it with a straight face, willing her to continue and I could almost imagine him making up his mind to tell the truth whether she liked it or not.
“I thought we agreed that you were never going to show your face here again? Ever again!”
“For the last time, what is going on here?” My dad barked out, apparently furious for being in the dark till now. Though I didn’t know what the problem was, I was kind of glad that he was tasting of his own medicine. And then my mum dropped the bombshell. The next sentence she said changed my life forever.
“Rachael is not your daughter.” My dad released her from his hold immediately, retreating backwards and I spun my head towards her so sharply I felt the pain. What did she just say?
“David is Rachael’s father.”
“What did you just say?” My dad whispered loud enough that we all heard. My mum dropped to her knees and resumed sobbing profusely.
“We were running out of time,” she tried explaining, “I was fast approaching menopause and the judgments from the public in whose face we were constantly in was weighing on me, on us, on our marriage.” Involuntarily, tears began cascading down my cheeks in torrents. This couldn’t be happening.
“And then I ran into David at the mall. I knew you had cut all ties with your family after you left your abusive parents and non protective elder brother but I saw a chance. I knew I was stupid and desperate and..and..I begged him to help me, to help us.”
My jaw had dropped at this point. I knew I had been lied to but I never expected this. I never knew that the man I had grown to love, to respect, the man who had gone all out to give me the best out of life was not my father. It was too much. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw my dad charge towards his brother.
“How dare you!”
Before anyone could do anything, he was on him and had delivered about three punches to the face. Surely, if he was allowed, he would commit murder right then and so, I ran to his side and begged while pulling him up. After much struggle and a battered faced David, I successfully dragged him to the other side of the room.
My mum was still on the ground sobbing and I felt hate, a feeling I had never harbored for anyone, wash through me.
“Get out, the both of you.”
They both left to only God know where and I hugged my father tightly, letting out all the pent up pain. He hugged me equally tight and for the first time in my entire life, I witnessed my dad cry.
One year later my parents were divorced and I was twenty three in my third and penultimate year at college. I had visited the court more times than I wanted to remember. That was through my parent’s divorce and during this period, I experienced pain like never before. Right before my eyes, the two people who I had looked up to as role models were separated and it tore me into shreds.
Diana was there with me all the way and by God, she was always an inch close to beating my mum to a pulp each time they were in a one mile radius.
My dad and mum faced a lot of heat from the press after all, they were public figures. Those maniacs hardly gave them breathing space and to say this took a great toll on their individual businesses would be an understatement.
My mum on several occasions, had tried to reach out to us but we both shut her out. What she did was beyond cruel. And she lived with it for twenty three freaking years. Geez, what a heart that woman had!
My “supposed” real dad too was going to try to come into my life until Diana made it plain that she would finish the job my father started on the floor that day of the confession. She was willing to go to jail to see him away from me. Seriously, that girl was my sister.
I was determined to show life that no matter what it brought my way, I will still be the best that I could possibly be and with this resolution, I held my head up high and picked the remaining pieces of my life.