Read Chapter XXVII here.
“Bisi…” He made an attempt to approach her but she stopped him almost immediately.
“Don’t come near me right now. Please.”
Fiifi remained at the spot, watching Bisi helplessly and wondering what exactly Constance meant by her text.
“Since you wouldn’t tell me the truth, I decided to find it out myself and I must say, I regret doing so. I listened to the tape and…I decided to clear my suspicions so I went to see Constance…” She paused, expecting a reaction. Her irritation went up a notch when he didn’t.
“Are you just going to stand there and hear me say what you should have told me?”
“I don’t know what she told you.”
“Oh really? What do you have to tell me about your relationship with Constance?”
“In relation to?” He asked coolly. He knew he was treading on dangerous grounds but he needed to know what she was told. Bisi got up from the bed, fuming.
“Don’t try to play smart with me, Fii. If you really respected me, you wouldn’t treat me like this.”
“I didn’t tell you because I wanted to protect you.”
“From what? Telling me who Nhyira’s mother is isn’t exactly classified national security information. I thought we were a team. Hiding such relevant information gives me more room to suspect that you’re not being honest about so many other things.”
“I’m sorry…I felt…ashamed…I figured if you knew she was the one, you’d think there was more to the arrangement than it was.”
“Was there?” Fiifi hesitated. He should have spoken to Constance first.
“Why the hesitation, Fii? This is a simple yes and no question. Why do you have to think about it?”
“I’m just wondering what she might have told you.”
“What business of yours is it? Yours is to tell me the truth and it is my right to believe it or not.”
“It all started and ended with conceiving a baby boy. Nothing more.”
“Did you sleep with her?”
“Seriously? Is that your way of buying time so you can think through another yes or no question?”
“I told you it was via insemin….”
“Stop it! Stop insulting me, Fii. I deserve better than this. I went to find her not out of mischief but I wanted to save you from lying to me anymore. This is your last chance to come clean and apparently, your brain can’t process that.”
“Why are you then asking me a question you already have an answer to?”
Bisi shook her head in unbelief. It was like he was a total stranger.
“Please tell me you didn’t,” she pleaded, tears running down her face.
“What do you want to hear, the truth or what you wish it to be?”
“I was hoping it would be the same thing.”
Fiifi felt tears gathering in his eyes. He never wanted to admit that he did have a moment of weakness with Constance.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
“Oh gosh, Fii! She’s an escort for crying out loud! Where the hell did you meet her? Oh no, do I need to get tested?”
“No; you don’t. I’d never put you in harm’s way like that. I got her tested first.”
“Oh wow, and that’s supposed to make me feel better, huh? My darling husband checks out the medical status of his mistress before he sleeps with her. How considerate of you!”
“I have no mistress, B. It was part of the arrangement.”
“But why would a city escort girl be your first choice of a surrogate mother unless you were already seeing her?”
“I don’t know, B. I don’t even remember how it all went down. I’ve tried to put that behind me and I don’t want to remember it.”
“Good for you but you have a son whose eyes remind you of another woman’s bed you slept in six years ago!”
“I know I can’t change the past and if I could turn back the hands of time, I wouldn’t do what I did. You mean the world to me, Bisi and hurting you is the last thing I want to do.”
“But you did for the past six years. You shared this bed with me with such a secret hovering this room. Why didn’t you just tell me the whole truth when you brought Nhyira in the first time?”
“That would have been such a big blow…I was trying to…”
“Well, your half-truth cost me my unborn baby. And hearing the other half today gave me palpitations. I’m tempted to think you two just want to kill me off so you can run off into the sunset to enjoy your twisted love tale and live happily ever-after,” Bisi said, throwing her hands up in the air.
“You think I’m interested in her?”
“How would I know? It seems I don’t even know you anymore. You just didn’t lie to me, you betrayed me. I don’t think I can ever trust you again.”
That broke his heart. Those were the words he had dreaded to hear and made him lie in the first place. But it was all a matter of time, wasn’t it?
“I’m sorry. I really regret it now. It wasn’t her place to tell you.”
“Maybe but even she had the conscience to come clean because she didn’t want me to continue bleeding from the same wound over and over again. I gave you so many chances to tell me but you kept denying there was anything to tell. I don’t know how you were able to sleep soundly all these years. I’m scared of you right now.”
“Please forgive me. I was hoping by keeping Constance out of the picture, you’d feel that Fiifi is our son with no holdbacks. I was wrong.”
“Fiifi is our son; I took him in as mine because you asked me to. But I wished you could have trusted me enough to tell me the truth.”
“No, you’re not. You’re not sorry for keeping it from me. You’re only sorry that I found out without you. The thought that you’re not the only one she has been with makes my skin itch. ”
“I’d never put you in harm’s way.”
“And I repeat, I don’t believe you.”
“How do I make things right?”
“You’ve already wasted all your chances, Fii. I doubt there’s a way.”
“Where there is a will, there is a way.”
“Well, then maybe the will just isn’t there. When Constance said those dreaded words, I felt something snap in me and I think it’s everything that bonded me to you. My heart which beat for you…stopped. It’s…its…broken.”
“We can fix it if you give us a chance.”
“I’ve run out of chances to give, Fii.”
“B…” He made an attempt to approach her again. She went back.
“Don’t.” He sighed. Tears fell on her face and she turned her back to him.
“I’m sorry.” She heard footsteps and when she turned back, he was gone. She sat back down on the bed and cried some more.
Fiifi sat in his car and started the engine. A part of him didn’t want to leave Bisi in her current emotional state but all words have been said and she needed space to calm down. He also needed space to clear his thoughts and most importantly, confront Constance for her uncalled-for act. He drove out of his house.
The Pratt youngsters arrived home not too long after Fiifi had left. Kukuaa was anxious to find out what happened when she saw her mother’s car parked in front of the house. She called out for her when they entered the house. When she heard no response, her anxiety grew.
“Mum?” She started up the stairs.
“She might be taking a nap,” Ewuresi said, hoping her sister would lower her voice but Kukuaa did just the opposite.
“Mum?!” Ewuresi sighed. Her sister could be hardheaded sometimes.
Kukuaa burst into her parents’ bedroom.
“Mum? Are you okay?” She approached her mother cautiously. Bisi was rocking herself, murmuring unintelligible things with tears on her face.
“Mummy,” Kukuaa knelt in front of her but Bisi didn’t seem to notice her. She held her mother and shook her by the shoulders.
“Mummy, what happened?”
Ewuresi and Nhyira appeared at the door.
“What is wrong?”
“I don’t know…She’s not responding,” Kukuaa lifted Bisi’s head so she could look into her eyes. Bisi seemed lost in her own world.
“Mum!” She was frightened now. What happened at Constance’s? What did she find out?
The two joined her. They both looked shaken.
“Please call dad,” Kukuaa said to Nhyira, tears in her eyes. Nhyira ran to Kukuaa’s room for her phone.
He called his father’s number.
Fiifi was waiting for a traffic light to turn green when his phone rang. He answered it.
“Yeah, Kuks. You home?”
“It’s me, daddy.”
“Oh hi, buddy. Is everything okay?”
“It’s mum.” His heart missed a beat.
“What about mum?”
“She’s not well.”
“What do you mean?”
“Mummy is crying and talking to herself.”
“What do you mean, talking to herself?” Nhyira turned to look at his mother in her frightening state.
“When we call her, she doesn’t respond. She’s just talking to herself. Please come home, dad.”
“Okay; I’ll be right there. Take care of her, all right?”
“Okay; please hurry.”
“I will. Bye.” He ended the call. He drove to the next U-turn and headed back home.
Fiifi got up when the doctor stepped out into the waiting area, the obvious question dancing in his eyes.
“It seems your wife is suffering a mild case of a psychotic breakdown.” Fiifi’s heart sank at his words. He covered his mouth which had started to quake in anguish.
“Did she hear some bad news of some sort?”
“Yeah, kind of. We had an argument as well. Please, when do you think she’ll come out of it?”
“It’s hard to tell. It depends on how solid her support system is. If the family can be patient with her and show their support, this crisis could end pretty soon. If not, I’m afraid this could actually get worse,” the doctor said.
“But she has to go on air tomorrow…are you sure there’s nothing that can be done? I’m sure it’s a temporary breakdown, isn’t there some medication…?” Fiifi asked, desperation evident in his voice.
“I’m sorry but we can’t force her out of it. We can only help her to overcome it. And it would take time. So I’d advise you call her office and tell them she would be unavailable for some time. I’m sorry.”
“May I see her?”
“Yeah, you may. She was restless when you brought her in so I administered a sedative. So please be gentle with her.”
“I will, thanks.”
Fiifi entered the private room he had requested for her. Bisi was lying on her back, her eyes fixed on the ceiling. She seemed to be saying something, but it was hard to tell exactly what since she was murmuring to herself.
“B?” He was unsure whether to whisper or call out her name. He didn’t to disturb her any further. She didn’t acknowledge his presence in the room; her eyes still fixed on the ceiling, her lips still moving. He walked to her side and took her hand in his.
“I don’t know if you can hear me but If you can, I need you to know that I’m very sorry for causing you this much pain. It was the fear of this or something worse happening that drove me to hide the truth from you but I’ve realized I was wrong. If it had come from me, things would have turned out differently. I’m sorry. Please come back to me, to your children. They are expecting you back home. You’re the glue that keeps the home together. Without you, everything will fall apart. Please don’t abandon us. Please come back…” He brought her hand to his lips and he kissed it. A stray tear fell on the back on her hand and he wiped it away with his thumb.
Every glance at his wife in such an unspeakable condition because of his indiscretion made his heart shatter in countless pieces. He had gambled hard with his marriage and he had lost. If she never came out of this, he was finished. Even if she did, the chances of things returning to normal between them were in the negative. Either way, he was the loser. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. When their eyes met, she couldn’t recognize him and neither could he, her. The spirit of his lady was gone; just an empty shell of who she was. The thought that he might lose her forever scared him. He shouldn’t have left her after their heated conversation. He should have stayed with her. It was his fault. Entirely his.
When he finally gathered the strength to leave the room, he did the one thing he hadn’t done in a long while: he cried.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXIX here.