After a long, mildly uncomfortable drive, they got to her father’s new house. She vaguely remembered him saying he’d moved and inviting them all to come see the new house. Her siblings had gone. She’d slept in and painted her nails afterward. Jennifer had come in unexpectedly and seeing her, had smiled in understanding.
She hadn’t said a word then and till date, they had never spoken about that incident.
Now, the car rolled to a stop and she hesitated when she saw her father watching her steadily. They got inside the house and he made a cup of tea for her before he began to speak.
“I’m not sure how much, if anything you’ve heard from your siblings so I’ll just tell you a some things you should know now. Monday is not my twin brother and I’m happy about that. In the same way I’m glad I married your mother and I’m glad she had you all”.
And then he began to talk, weaving a tale of fear, of alienation, and cowardice.
When he got to the village with their mother, then heavily pregnant with Johnson and greeted his parents who were by that time ravaged by old age, his mother had cried and held him and his wife for such a long time. And his father kissed him and wept when he was introduced to his wife. Johnson at that point had gone to visit his own parents.
That night his father told him everything that had happened in recent times and stated that they were indeed well cared for. They spent two days there before Johnson arrived. Now, he guessed that from the moment he laid eyes on Nneka, he’d wanted her. He asked Joseph to pretend to be his twin and elicited a promise from him that at whenever his parents died, naturally, he could come live with them in the city.
After, they left for the city and Monday stayed behind to take care of his uncle and aunt.
Some years after giving birth to Johnson and the twins, they got word that his mother had passed on. Then they went home, taking all their children with them. Halfway there, they received a call that his father had passed too.
And that was the short version of how Monday came to live with them.
He introduced him to his then father-in-law, he found him a job and for a while Nneka was friendly and accommodating of him.
That all changed when the twins were about to celebrate their 5th birthday and they had a big argument with her insisting that he had to go. She gave certain reasons but he said they were flimsy. Finally, she kept quiet and told him he should choose, did he want to live with his cousin to stay or with her and their kids? He rented an apartment for Monday the next day.
But after their mother died….
She looked back down; her gaze had been fixed on the ceiling to find her father kneeling in front of her. “I want to be close to all my children again. And though you said you’ve forgiven me, I’m not sure you truly have. Jessica, will you please forgive me? I failed before as a father. Give me a chance to make it right.”
And then she hugged him.