Keeping Within Family Chapter 39


Read Chapter 38 here.

“Hemophilia? Where is that coming from? I’ve never heard of it in our family,” Tariq said, bewildered at the news.

“Maybe it was in mum’s genes. Perhaps she was a carrier. Who knows?”
“Well, maybe although I honestly doubt that. What about Panyin, does he have it too?”
“He’s yet to be tested. But something tells me he doesn’t have it,” Ayesha said with a sigh, burying her face in her palms.

“What are you implying?”

Ayesha uncovered her face and stared at her father.

“Do you know if he has it?”
“Who?”
Ayesha couldn’t help but roll her eyes in exasperation.

“Oh you mean…? Not that I’m aware of. Ever since I’ve known him, I haven’t seen him in any crisis. Always been as fit as a fiddle.”
Ayesha sighed in relief. “Okay. So I guess, it’s one of life’s not-funny games it plays with us. Throws you a nasty bone and expects you to play with it like some toy.”

“You’re going to get through it,” Tariq said reassuringly, brushing her back with his palm.

“How’s Kakra doing?”
“Sleeping now. He was being sluggish and seemed confused at a point. I gave him his drugs so I’m expecting him to wake up feeling like himself.”
“Let’s hope for the best.”

*

Omar pulled a chair for Ida to sit down.

“This is beautiful, honey.” Ida said.

“Befitting of a beautiful wife.” He pulled a chair to sit on. His phone beeped. He stood upright when he read the message from Ayesha, “We need to talk. Call me ASAP.”
“Is everything alright, sweetie?”
“Oh yeah, just a reminder to check an urgent mail. Let me make this call and join you in a jiffy.”
“Sure.”

Omar walked away from the table and placed the call.

“Hey…what’s up? Is everything all right?”
“Quick question. Do you have any condition I’m not aware of?”
“Huh? Where’s this coming from?”
“Just ticking off some boxes. So, do you?”
“Not anything I’m aware of. Why, what’s going on?”
“You don’t happen to have hemophilia, do you?”
Omar sucked in his breath.

“Are you there?”
“Yeah, I am. Is this about Kakra?”
“Please answer the question.”
“I don’t.”
“Okay. Thank you. When are you coming back?”
“This weekend.”

“Okay. See you soon. Bye.” The call ended. Omar stared at the phone for a few seconds; wondering if he had done right by concealing the truth from her. If Kakra had it and the family knew he did too, everyone would connect the dots. He had to protect Ayesha and Kakra. This was the only way.

He rejoined Ida at the table and sat.

“Is everything okay? Who was it?”
“Some work matters. Everything’s fine. Let’s have a toast,” Omar said, raising his glass.

“To the best part of our lives.”
“Cheers.”

*

Jamal came out of the bedroom, dressed and saw Ayesha seated at the dining table, leisurely eating a bowl of cheerios and browsing on her phone.

“Why aren’t you dressed?”
Ayesha gave him a blank look.

“You know we have a doctor’s appointment today; to get the twins and myself checked.”
“Oh that…unfortunately, Kakra can’t join you. He’s still not fully himself and I don’t want to risk him getting worse by moving him around. He’s still in bed.”
“He won’t be moving around. It’s just a trip to the hospital and back.”
“I’m sorry honey but not today.”
“This is the only day I could take off to do this, Ayesha. I’ve quite a packed week ahead of me.”
“Don’t worry; when Kakra is better, I’ll take them myself.”

“I need to…you know what, I’ll take Karim with me.”

“Suit yourself,” Ayesha said indifferently, with her eyes on her phone.

Jamal entered the kids’ room and came out carrying Karim.

“Aren’t you hungry, dear? You should eat something before you go.”
“I’m fine,” Jamal said, heading to the door.

“I was actually talking to Panyin.”

Jamal gave him a sharp look. Ayesha gave him another blank look.

“I’ll get him a sandwich,” Jamal said, opening the door.

“Make sure it’s fresh!” The door closed as she said it. She sighed.

*

“Interesting. You and Karim are negative.”
“How is it possible that Kareem has a condition both his mother and father don’t have any history of inheriting?” Jamal asked the doctor.

“Beats me. Perhaps more tests need to be done.”

The doctor scowled for a moment as he studied the results.

“What is it, doctor?”
“Give me a minute.” He opened a file on his computer.

“Um…Jamal, I’d recommend a test to just clarify something.”
“Okay, what is it and how much would it cost?”
“It’s a paternity test.”

Jamal was taken aback. “What are you insinuating, doctor?”
“Just ticking off a box. That’s all.”

“You think the twins are not mine?”
“Not at all. You and Karim here are a match but something seems off with the younger twin.”
Jamal exhaled. “I guess I’m not to tell Ayesha about this.”
“You know your wife. You figure out how best to broach this.”

“Okay.”
The doctor pulled out a notepad and scribbled on it.

“Here are some places where to get it done.” He tore the page and handed it to Jamal. He read the words on it.

“Thanks, doc. Don’t mention it.”

*

Keeping Within Family by Joseyphina

“How did it go?” Ayesha asked when Jamal returned home.

“Went well. We’re good.”
“Meaning you don’t have it? That’s great news.”
“Uh huh,” he said dryly and entered the bedroom.

Later as they all sat at the dining table having supper, Jamal watched Ayesha as she fed the twins. She caught his gaze at a point.

“Something on your mind?”
“Not really,” Jamal said, shaking his head.

“Did the doctor say something?”
“What makes you say that?”
“You’ve been awfully quiet since you returned. Should I be worried?”
“No, should I?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Never mind.”

Ayesha dropped the spoon in her hand in frustration.

“Okay, I’ve been holding my horses for hours now but I’m almost at my breaking point. If there’s something you’re holding in, just spit it out already.”

“Why are you so protective of Kakra?”
“Because it’s pretty obvious he needs more attention than Panyin. But I love them both. I birthed them both. Why should that be a problem?”
“Is there something I must know about Kakra, Ayesha?”
“Like what?”
“Anything at all.”
“He has a condition which makes me anxious and I’d wish I could take that away from him. Does that count?”
“It makes me anxious too, Ayesha; but that’s not what I’m talking about. You never mind. I guess it’s a ‘me problem’ and I’ll sort it out.” He got up.

“Where are you going?”
“To the hall.”
“But you’re not done eating.”
“Lost my appetite.” He walked away.

Ayesha took the spoon and resumed feeding the boys.

*

On Saturday morning, Ayesha woke up to find Jamal not in bed. She checked out the rooms and found them empty. She opened the door to the kids’ room and found their beds empty too. Her heart jumped.

She rushed to get her phone and called Jamal but his number was unreachable. She tried a number of times but to no avail.

Jamal returned a little after 11am.

“Where have you been and what happened to your phone?”
“Sorry, put it on silent. You were trying to reach me?”
“Yes. How could you just up and leave with the kids without the courtesy of a note or text?”
“I’m sorry; I just thought of going for a drive and the kids were awake and I didn’t want them to wake you so I took them along. You’re right; I should have left a note or something.”

Ayesha gave the twins a quick look over.

“Why, you think I did something to them?”
“No, why would I think that? Come on, it’s time to shower,” Ayesha said and took Kareem by the hand.

Jamal sighed after Ayesha had left the room with the boys. He sat down. He hated that he had to do something like this behind her back. He loved her deeply and the doctor’s suggestion had put a lot of funny ideas in his head. Oh how he wished the doctor’s insinuations were wrong.

*

“Hey sis, what’s up? How’s my boy doing?”
“Getting better. Nadia, I sense trouble coming.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“The kind which could reveal everything. It all stems from this hemophilia thing that Kareem has. Jamal had himself and Panyin tested and they came out negative.”
“Okay so the big question is, where did Kakra get it from?”
“Exactly; because I’m not a carrier either.”
“So what is the possible explanation you’re working with? Because I don’t think my dad has it either.”
“Yeah, I asked him and he said he didn’t.”
“Which is good news. We could just call it one of medicine’s many mysteries.”
“Yeah but what if it triggers an investigation into his genes or something?”
“You disallow it. You’re the mother; you have every right to stop anyone from doing a test you’re uncomfortable with.”

“Even when the father demands it?”
“Is Jamal demanding some sort of test?”
“Not him; the idea came from the doctor but who knows? And I woke up this morning to find Jamal and the boys gone and he gave me this tall story of him going with a drive with the boys.”
“You don’t believe him?”
“No, I don’t. It could be true but my guts tell me it’s not.”
“Where could he have possibly have taken them?”

“I have no idea. I checked their bodies but there’s nothing.”
“Maybe you’re just overthinking things. It could all be nothing.”
“Or the unraveling. I don’t think I can sleep by him tonight.”
“Come on Ayesha, don’t be silly. Don’t make him know that you’re anxious about anything. Just be yourself or else he’d interpret it as guilt of some wrong done.”
Ayesha exhaled. “Okay, I’ll try.”
“Everything will be fine.”
“I hear you. Thanks for hearing me out.”
“Always, sis. Goodnight.”

Jamal watched shows on Netflix late into the night till he was sure Ayesha was asleep before heading to bed. He usually would plant a kiss on her cheek if she was asleep before he came in but that night, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. It feared it would expose what he had done. He laid in bed and turned his back towards her.

Ayesha’s eyes opened. Something was definitely wrong. She was sure of it now.

*

“I think you need to sit down for this, Jamal,” the doctor said. He waited for him to sit down before handing him the results. Jamal took out the sheet from the envelope with slightly shaking hands. He inhaled deeply and opened it. He blinked several times and looked up at the doctor with a puzzled look.

“I…don’t understand.”
“That makes two of us.”
“How is that possible, doc?”
“Could be one of two reasons: one of the babies were switched at the hospital.”
“Very unlikely or what?”
“Kareem has another father.”
“How? He is Karim’s twin and Karim is mine.”
“Unlikely, very much so but not totally impossible.”
“That can’t be true. My wife is a great woman and wouldn’t do anything untoward to hurt me or our marriage.”
“It could explain the hemophilia. It’s alien to both you and her family.”
“I think the first reason is more probable.”
“You just said it was unlikely and I’d agree. She was the only one delivering at the time.”
“So do I do?”
“That’s your decision to make, Jamal.”

(c) Josephine Amoako 2021

Read Chapter 40 here.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Ade Wryts says:

    The “knocking knocking has finally come”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Haha….it has

      Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thanks for reading, Mianu.

      Like

  2. verojanuary says:

    Tbe truth is slow but it finally does arrive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Yes it does. Thanks for reading, Vero.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Haha….I know! Thanks for reading, Deshi.

      Like

  3. Being Oray says:

    That thing she has been looking for, she has finally found it

    Like

    1. Good wordcraft,i love it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. joseyphina says:

        Thanks for reading.

        Like

  4. CBG says:

    I’m happy at how the story is unravelling 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Glad you do.😊

      Like

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