“Darling, Adam has something to tell you.”
“Oh yeah, what is it?” Adam turned to face him.
“Since you call me family, I thought it would be cute if you named your baby Adam.”
“That’s nice. I’ll definitely consider it.” His phone rang.
“Excuse me,” he said and turned to leave the kitchen. He heard them both giggling.
“The baby is officially registered,” he overheard Adam’s whisper. When he turned back, Adam was facing his wife and couldn’t see her face.
“Uh huh.” He saw Adam’s hand on her tummy.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m talking to my baby,” Adam replied with a smirk.
“What?!” She laughed out loud.
Fitz woke up with a start. His heart was racing as if he had just run a thousand miles. I opened my eyes to find him awake, his chest heaving with each breath. I sat up.
“Hey, are you okay?” I asked, touching his arm. He glanced at me and I saw a strange look in his eyes. I cowered a little.
“Yes I am. Just a bad dream, I guess,” and with that, he got out of bed. He entered the bathroom and opened the tap and splashed water on his face. He stared at himself in the mirror.
I walked to the bathroom door and placed my ear on it.
“Honey, are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, Emily; go back to bed.” I walked back to the bed and sat down. I rubbed my bulging tummy and sighed. The ‘push! push!’ day was drawing nearer and nearer. I had tried not to think about it but recently, the harder I tried to push those thoughts away, the harder they bounced back. I had heard people say that the labor period was a thin line between life and death. Was I ready to enter that ward knowing what a sham my life was? I needed to go to church.
Fitz came out of the bathroom and he looked like he had been to hell and back. I got up and walked to him.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good.”
“You don’t have anything to do this morning, do you?”
“Not exactly; why?”
“Can we go to church…together?”
“Why, is there something you need to confess?” he spat out, walking away. He sat down. I turned to look at him.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing; I didn’t wake up right, I guess.”
“Uh huh, and I woke up to a grumpy Fitz this morning; just what I need to start my day.” I entered the bathroom.
I noticed Fitz watching me in the dressing mirror.
“So you’re serious about going to church?”
“Hey…I’ve always been a church girl. My parents are Christians. It is you who hasn’t urged me to go these days.”
“Yeah right; wait up for me,” Fitz said as he got up.
“You’re coming with me?”
“Uh huh.” He entered the bathroom.
“I’ll prepare us some breakfast.”
I cleared the table when we were done eating. Fitz checked his watch.
“Aren’t we late?”
“Don’t worry; we’ll make it to the second service.” His phone rang. He glanced at me.
“Don’t even think about it, Fitz.”
“Just one call.”
“Oh no.” I snatched his phone away and put it off.
“Your business will survive without your phone call for the next four hours.”
“Four? Is the service going to be that long?” I laughed.
“No, it’s not. Just pulling your legs.” He pulled me close and kissed my tummy.
“The baby will soon be out. Are you ready for it?”
“I am; the real work begins when it makes its first cry.”
“I know. It’s the thought of labor that freaks me out. Do you know how women don’t make it out of the labor ward?”
“Shush…don’t entertain such dreary thoughts, honey. Don’t worry about that, you’ll get the best of medical attention; I’ll make sure of that.”
“Oh thank you honey; I know I can always count on you to have my back.”
“You bet. Speaking of it, I’ll have to start getting your papers ready.”
“For your travel out of your country. You do want to give birth abroad, right?”
“Yeah but what about school?”
“I figured you’d defer.”
“Defer? What makes you think that?”
“Because I didn’t pick you to be the type to wander on campus with your baby bump.”
“But if I defer and Karen graduates, I’ll be left all alone. How do you expect me to cope with my studies? Karen is my study anchor!”
“Okay, I know there will be some adjustments to be made but I do think deferring is the best option here.”
“I’m not deferring,” I said with a tone of finality.
“Okay fine. Let’s be on our way then.”
In the car, Fitz gave me a sideways glance and I smiled back. I placed his hand on my tummy. For a moment, I saw a pained expression flash across his face. But it was gone as suddenly as it appeared. Something was wrong and I had to find out what, I made a mental note.
Church was amazing. I don’t know if it was because it had been a while since I had been there but I felt like I was back home…where I belonged. And from the look on Fitz’s face, he felt satisfied as well. I knew I had done something right for once.
Listening to the choir sing, I couldn’t help but recall those days when I’d sing with the children’s choir during children’s special service. I had dreamed of becoming a lead singer when I was old enough. I shook my head at the thought of that now.
“So how was church for you?” I asked on our way home.
“Very uplifting. I enjoyed every minute. And I liked what the preacher said about couples being honest with each other. And that the secrets they hide from each other with the intention on sparing their partners of hurt could be the very thing that could break them apart. It is always better to tell your partner the truth before it rears its head in an ugly way.”
“Uh huh; he was on point there.”
“So, is there anything you would want to come clean about?”
I gave him a quizzical look. This was the second time he had asked me that. What was he thinking?
“Are you implying that I’m keeping something away from you?”
“Are you?” He threw the question back to me.
“No, I’m not. What is going on with you, Fitz? Is it the baby? Are you skeptical about whose it might be because it would soon come out and it might look like someone you know?” I asked. He looked at me and swallowed.
“Fitz, I assure you I don’t know who the father is and even if the father knows I’m pregnant, he wouldn’t be interested in it anyway. I’m sorry our first baby isn’t your biological child and I’m deeply grateful that you took us in anyway. But we’ll make our own baby and our joy will be complete. But please don’t punish yourself with such thoughts, okay?” He nodded and concentrated on his driving.
Why was this suddenly bothering him? Oh God, please don’t let this baby be a replica of Adam or else I’m dead! I prayed in thought.
After lunch, we sat down to listen to BBC news. I got up when I felt the urge to visit the bathroom. When I was almost out of the room, Fitz spoke.
“I had quite a disturbing dream this morning. I’m not a dreamer so whenever I do dream and it haunts me throughout the day, I tend not to take it lightly.” I turned to face him.
“And let me guess, you dreamt about the baby. Tell me, who did it look like? One of your business associates?”
“Drop the attitude, Em. I’m going to ask you one thing, Emily; and I’m only going to ask this once. And I expect you to be honest with me. The preacher said it’s healthy to…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah….whatever. Spill it out already!”
“Do you…or should I say did you and Adam ever have a thing?” I steeled myself so he wouldn’t notice how shaken up I was by his question. He had almost hit the nail on the head and the sound was still echoing in my head.
“Where is this coming from? Because of the message you read on my phone?” I was getting tired of having this conversation over and over again.
“You haven’t answered me.”
“I’m not going to dignify such an insulting question with an answer.” I turned to leave.
“Aren’t you ask me what the dream was about?”
“Does it matter? Whatever it was, it is contrary to reality. So I won’t entertain it.”
“Do you remember the day when Adam made that request of us naming the child after him?”
“Uh huh, what about it?”
“Why do you think he’d ask that?”
“Because he wanted to be funny, I don’t know! Wait, do you think he is…come on, Fitz, what do you take me for?”
“Well, is he?”
“Is he what?” We both stared at each other, no one wanting to be the one to breathe out the dreaded word.
“You’re unbelievable.” I turned and started to walk away.
“So you wouldn’t mind if I asked him?”
“And why would you want to create such an awkward situation for all of us? What do you intend to get out of that?”
“I want to look him in the eye when he answers me.”
“I understand if you don’t trust me but Adam, seriously?” You know what, do whatever you want. I can see you won’t have a good night sleep if you don’t get this off your chest so suit yourself.”
“Fine; I’ll call him here.” I walked out of the room before I could hear anymore. I was panting by the time I got to the bathroom. What did she do wrong? Everything was on track or so she thought. Or maybe it was just a dream. She’d wake up before it got to the worst part. But what if it wasn’t? She wasn’t going to wait to find out.
I sat down on the seat of the water closet and sighed. This was the time I had to manufacture some serious tears to render Fitz guilty for the rest of his life. I felt something moist between my thighs so I touched my thigh and brought out my hand. My fingers trembled.