Read Chapter XV here.
Fiifi’s phone vibrated on his desk. His brow arched when he saw that it was a text from Kukuaa which started with URGENT!!! What was with the caps and three exclamation marks, he wondered as he took his phone to read it. He let out a sigh when he was done reading her text. It seemed the deacon’s stray ‘adopted’ comment was going to cause more damage than he anticipated. How was he going to explain why there were no photos of Bisi pregnant with him? As much as he thought, none of the answers he came up with didn’t have lies laced with them. Lying to your child was wrong enough and even worse when he is that young.
Sooner or later, the truth was bound to come out and he didn’t want Nhyira growing up resenting him and rebelling against Bisi. God knows she had to stomach a lot to accept him as her own. Any backlash would not augur well for the family and he couldn’t afford to mess up his family because he couldn’t handle the truth well. Maybe he should give Bisi a heads up. No, that would mess up her thoughts and mood. He’d wait for her to get home. So what was he going to do? Stay cooped up in his office till B returned? Come to think of it, he felt like going to the bathroom. Oh no.
Kukuaa and Ewuresi tried to cheer their brother up and make him forget the issue with the photo album. And it seemed to have worked. Ewuresi kept tickling him which sent him into a fit of giggles. Kukuaa suggested they played a game of charades where she officiated, Ewuresi acted and Nhyira said what he thought Esi was acting out.
Fiifi could hear the kids laughing loudly downstairs. Great; good time to sneak out to the bathroom.
“Wow! That was on point, Esi!” Kukuaa said, clapping. Esi and Nhyira hi-fived each other. Out of curiosity, Fiifi peeked at them. He watched as Esi made some actions. What could that be, he wondered.
“Daddy!” Nhyira’s voice broke into his thoughts. Oops, did he have his answer ready yet?
“Hey…I can see you are having fun.”
“Yeah, do you want to join us?” Esi asked.
“Um….” He checked his watch. How much longer till Bisi arrived?
“Sure…I need a break from my work.” He descended the stairs and joined them.
“Okay, so Nhyira will replace Esi and dad, you’ll take Nhyira’s place.”
“Bring it on!”
Bisi arrived to find them eating lunch.
“Oh thank God, I’m starving!” she said with a sigh. She gave each of the kids a loud kiss on the cheek and planted a gentle one on her husband’s lips which left him smiling.
“Thank God. It feels great to be home.”
“Should I serve you?”
“Oh no need. I’ll just share yours if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not,” he said, pulling his chair back so Bisi could sit on his lap to which she gleefully obliged. He fed her and wiped away stray food from the corner of her mouth with his thumb. The kids looked on admiringly.
“You make marriage look so beautiful. I want to get married,” Ewuresi said dreamily.
“Awww…I’ll pray you two get wonderful husbands like your daddy,” Bisi said.
“And I’ll pray you’ll get an amazing wife like your mummy, Nhyira.” Nhyira smiled.
“We played pick ‘n’ act today, mummy!” Nhyira said.
“Oh really, who won?”
As the kids argued among themselves about who did better than the other, Fiifi whispered, “We need to talk,” into Bisi’s ears. She saw the serious look on his face.
“Is everything okay?” she asked, getting worried.
“Let’s finish the meal and go upstairs.” They cleared the plate as the kids got engrossed in their banter. They got up.
“Kindly clear the table and wash the dishes. I’m going to change,” Bisi said. They responded in the affirmative and resumed their chat. They went upstairs to their room.
“Okay, hit me,” Bisi said as she started to undress. Fiifi sat on the bed.
“Nhyira still seems suspicious about his status.”
“What do you mean?”
“Apparently, the kids were glancing through the photo albums and Nhyira noticed that there were no photos of you carrying him in your tummy as compared to Kukuaa and Esi.”
“Yep; there are only photos of him being a baby in our arms.”
“And he figured out that omission all by himself,” Bisi said in a tone of disbelief.
“Uh huh, according to Kukuaa.”
“Oh no, I know we prayed feverishly for smart children but I’m beginning to think that we might have over-prayed that topic. I don’t think an adult would have even noticed that if we gave him the photo album to look through.”
“I know; pretty unnerving.”
“So what are we going to tell him?” Bisi asked.
“I have no idea, B. Thankfully, he hasn’t brought it up so I wanted us to think of something solid to say to him.” Bisi sighed as she plopped herself beside him.
“You mean, lie to him.”
“I thought the truth was out of the question. He’s too young to understand much more handle it.”
“But when it comes to it, we have to tell him.”
“We’ll cross the bridge when we get to it. How do we convince him there’s nothing fishy about those missing photos?”
“How do you tell a kid there are no such photos of him because they never happened in other words that mean differently? I have no idea, Fii.”
“I know the girls have done well to distract him for hours now but knowing how smart he is, he’d definitely bring it up very soon.”
“Fine; why don’t we make more copies of some of my pregnancy photos and show them to him? We can say we forgot to put them in the album.”
“I don’t think that would work. He might notice that they are copies of what he has already seen.”
“Of course, they are copies. I looked practically the same each time I was expecting.”
Fiifi buried his face in his palms as he heaved a sigh.
“Oh God, what have I done?” Bisi rubbed his shoulders.
“Don’t worry too much about it. We are in this together, okay? If only suing the deacon for loose talk could wipe the slate clean, I’d have done that already.”
“I don’t want him to resent us when he finally finds out the truth.”
“He wouldn’t if we prove to him we truly love him. He is your son regardless of his maternity. Why would he resent you?”
“Okay; what I meant was I don’t want him to treat you badly when he finds out.”
“Then I’m trusting you to put him in his place when it comes to that. This is my home and he is here because I allowed him to. He should be grateful, not rebellious.” Fiifi looked at her and nodded.
“Thanks, love.” They hugged.
“Next time, make a son with only your wife and not with a contractor outside,” Bisi said teasingly. Fiifi laughed and hugged her tighter. He kissed her cheek.
“I’ve learnt my lesson.” They heard a knock on their door. They pulled out of each other’s embrace.
“Yeah? Come in.” Nhyira opened the door and entered, holding the photo album. Both parents held their breath.
“What is it, honey?” Bisi asked sweetly.
Nhyira opened the album and showed it to them.
“Some of my photos are not there.”
Fiifi and Bisi pretended to be studying the pictures.
“Which ones, Nhyira?” Bisi asked innocently.
“There are photos of you carrying Kuks and Esi in your tummy but there are no photos of you with me in your tummy.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, dear. I didn’t even notice. I’m sure they got mixed up with the others. I looked the same throughout, didn’t I? Don’t worry dear, it doesn’t mean you’re not my son.”
Nhyira nodded. Fiifi touched his face.
“I hope you are not worried,” he said.
“No, then you can put some of the photos at my side,” he suggested.
“That is a great idea. I’ll do just that, Nhyira. Thank you for not getting angry with me. Come for a hug.” He entered her embrace. Fiifi and Bisi shared a look. Whew! Bisi kissed his forehead.
“Now, what would you like to have for dinner?”
“Oh, so fufu it is.”
“Do we still have some in store?” Fiifi asked.
“I should think so. Even if I don’t, I have to prepare chicken soup today because my sweetheart wants it for dinner.” Nhyira smiled.
“Go join your sisters, dear. I’ll be downstairs in a minute.” He nodded and ran out of the room.
“That was easy,” she sighed.
“It’s because he trusts us and he takes our word for it. That’s why it bothers me that he’d feel betrayed later.”
“Let’s not think about that. He is our son and no one can dispute that.” They hugged again.
Josephine Amoako © 2016
Read Chapter XVII here.