Melvin couldn’t believe what he had heard, as soon as Bianca’s father let the cat out of the bag, his ears began to ring and loudly too.
“What?” Melvin’s father echoed, turning to stare at his son.
“Yes, your son couldn’t keep his zip closed.” Bianca’s father said.
“Wait…wait…I don’t understand this…” Melvin’s father said.
Bianca’s father addressed Melvin in anger.
“Did you or did you not sleep with my daughter?” He asked.
“I did…but…” Melvin started.
“But what? You are going to take responsibility for your actions or the church will hear of how you seduced my daughter and got her pregnant. That baby is not going to be born out of wedlock.” Bianca’s father said.
“Calm down…we are going to sort this out.” Melvin’s father said.
“What’s there to sort out? I only came here so that we can set a date for that wedding before her pregnancy begins to show.”
Melvin didn’t know what to say, he opened his mouth to speak but no words came out.
“I need to speak with my son privately.” Melvin’s father said. “When we are done speaking, we will…”
“No! I won’t take any private discussions whatsoever! Melvin has to face the consequences of his actions and he has to do that fast!”
“Please give us a little time to talk about this. Please make yourself comfortable…we will discuss and get back to you.” Melvin’s father said as he beckoned to his son.
Bianca’s father watched the past GO and the present GO of his church walk towards the private office of the big house.
“Hypocrites!” He muttered under his breath.
Melvin stood inside the study and waited for his father to lock the door, when he did, he turned around to face him. He was furious.
“You are going to marry her.” His father said.
“Yes, you are going to marry her. You put yourself in this situation, you might as well, bring yourself out of it.”
“Are you going to deny it? I know that I saw you two, together in bed.”
“It was just one time.”
“Pregnancy can happen at anytime…you don’t need to have had sex more than once.”
Melvin didn’t look too happy.
“I want to marry for love and I don’t love Bianca.”
“You should have known that when you went to bed with her.”
“I didn’t want to…I was just so devastated over mom’s illness and Bianca was there to comfort me.”
“I am so disappointed in you…” His father said.
“Don’t make this all my fault dad, if you and mom had told me about her illness when you discovered it at first, I would have handled it better.”
“Are you putting the blame on us?” His father asked incredulously.
“I don’t want to marry a woman that I don’t love…”
“Guess what son? You are going to marry her and when we step outside this office, we are both going out there to give Bianca’s father, a date for your wedding. Do I make myself clear?”
Melvin stared at his dad, he wanted to speak but could find no words.
Bianca stood before the house that belonged to her family. It clearly looked haunted because the paint was falling off the walls and the trees inside the compound were monstrous. She pushed open the gate and walked inside, a surly looking gateman nodded at her, he didn’t even bother asking who she was or what she was doing there. She took difficult steps towards the house and when she reached the door, she brought out the keys her paternal aunt had given her and unlocked the door.
The first thing that greeted her was the cloud of dust and cobwebs that tangled in her hair, she coughed and stepped outside the house and she knew that she couldn’t stay inside for a minute longer.
She fished through her bag for a handkerchief and walking to the tap at the right side of the compound, she turned it on and soaked her handkerchief and tied it around her nose.
She walked back towards the house, opened the doors wide and made her way in, pushing the cobwebs aside with her hands. She pushed open the windows for ventilation and soon, air found its way in. She looked around at the sitting room she’d played in as a child, she saw the photographs on the wall and she saw the old television sitting on the stand, she remembered vividly, sprawling on the ground with her brothers and watching TV. All these seemed like ages ago, it almost felt like it never happened.
She made her way upstairs to the bedrooms and opened her room, it was still the same but the furniture had been caked with dust. She walked to her parent’s room and pushed open the door, she could swear that her mother’s scent still lingered in the air and the memory brought tears to her eyes. She recalled the phone call she’d made to her aunt yesterday.
“With your brother at the psychiatric hospital, you are the only child left. You need to step up and decide what should be done with your parent’s properties because they are wasting away. I need you to go to your house and look for the documents of the house so that you can either sell it or lease it to people that can live there.”
She opened the wardrobe and a skeletal frame of a lizard fell at her feet, she yelled in shock. She quickly brought out the luggage inside the wardrobe and began searching for the documents of the house.
After she’d searched for one whole hour, she began to cough because the handkerchief was growing dry and she was getting a bit uncomfortable. She searched a little longer and she found the documents to the house. She kept the documents on the bed and began to zip the luggage close, she had just opened the wardrobe again to push them in when something caught her eye.
She was curious.
She pushed her hand deeper into the wardrobe and found a hole in the wall. She was scared, ‘was that a snake’s hideout?’ she wondered. She pushed her hand in and felt something, it was like an iron box. She brought it out and stared. It was an iron box tied with strings, like a parcel. She placed the box on the bed and began to open it.
The box was filled with confusing contents, from spear-like sticks to effigies, tied together with strings.
“What is this? These things look diabolical…what are these?” She asked aloud.
She saw some letters in envelopes inside the box and she opened them. Out of the first envelope, fell a picture of her elder brother as a baby. There was a letter attached and she read it, it was a short letter written by her mother, to a woman named, Eunice and in the letter, she called her, ‘sister’.
“I thought mommy was the only child of her mom…” She said, vaguely remembering her grandmother who they visited frequently as little children.
“Dear Eunice….” She read. “This is my first son, he reminds me a lot of myself…”
When she was done reading, she brought out the other letters and for every letter, a picture fell out of the envelope. When she reached the third letter, her picture fell out and she read the letter within.
“Dear Eunice, Kentura reminds me a lot of you….I pray she has your spirit when she grows. I wish I could turn the hands of time and leave like you did but I was such a coward, I was so afraid of our mother and that’s why I stayed back. I can’t wait for mama to leave this world so that I can change my life…I want to change my life…I don’t want to go back to the life I lived anymore. It was nothing but pure darkness there, I want light and that light, only Christ can give.”
As she read the letter, she could feel her mother’s despair. What was the meaning of the words written? Why was her mother talking about light and darkness?
She realized that the letters didn’t have a postcard and no addresses were written on them but they were all addressed to Eunice, a woman, she didn’t know. She picked up another letter and a picture fell out, she stared at the picture closely for a long time. It was a picture of a woman flanked by two young girls at the side. The first girl was her mother and the second girl looked so familiar. She looked at the woman standing in the middle, she looked so much like the second girl in the picture. She turned the back of the picture and saw the inscription, ‘Me, Mama and Eunice’.
Kentura’s interest was piqued, she began to tear all the letters open, in search for pictures and finally, she saw one that made her heart stop. At the back of the picture, the name ‘Eunice’ was boldly written. She turned the picture to the front and stared at the young lady who smiled at the camera and her heart stopped. She had seen Eunice before, the only difference was that she was older now but her looks hadn’t changed in the least.
Eunice was Melvin’s mother.
To be continued….