CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
I got off my car the moment I drove into the drive way in front of my home and pulled over. I could see Stefi’s car on the drive way too. This told me she was in. Nice! There was a Haley Davison power bike there too. What….! I knew no dude who owned a Haley bike. So who would that be and what would he or she be doing in my home? I could not dwell on that beyond three seconds as haste was all over me like chocolate milk all over ice cream. It prodded me. I shut my car door as forcefully as I could. And the sound that came as a result of that was quite a loud thud. Someone took notice!
“Easy, whatever it is, don’t take it out on the car, okay?” Said a passer-by, a tall black young woman all dressed up in a track suit and was jugging along a sidewalk. I had no time to respond to her. Haste would not let me. There was only one thing in my burdened mind. It was to get to that one door that led into the living room of my home. I was running like a fleeing hare lucky enough to escape a lion’s claws. I swung the door knob to the right like my goal was to yank it apart. And what did I get? The goddamn door did not open. This got me to the point I had to throw all civility to the wind. I did not only start to knock on the door, I banged on it like it was a Celtic drum.
“Stefi, open this shit ass door,” I yelled as I banged on it the more. “Open this fucking door! Open the door….!”
“What the hell… Jan must be so high on crack today,” I heard Stefi say from the inside.
“Open the door!” I yelled once more.
“Does he wanna tear down the door? Only cocaine junkies do that,” Stefi added.
“I don’t think so,” said another voice in there, a voice quite muffled I could not pinpoint who owned it. It sounded a bit like that of Wack, but I knew Wack had no Harley bike. Besides, it was only ten in the morning and Wack should be at the workshop and not in my home, I thought. When the door opened, it led me to a revelation I could later not believe it had no ties to my story that started to evolve from the test result I got from Greg’s fertility clinic. What do I mean?
The face I saw when the door opened was that of Stefi. The look on it was one that said, what nasty baggage have you brought this time? And guess who I saw when I stepped in. Wack! He was sitting on a couch with Hadley, Dick and Tammy flocking around him, playing with him and having fun. That did not bother me one bit because Greg’s test had armed me with the truth, a disturbing truth that had forced me to be humble in the sense that I could no longer boast of being from a family line known for being a baby making machine.
“Who is at the workshop?” I asked Wack.
“Hey, Men,” Wack said. “I did not see you come to work and I had to step in here to see if all is well with you.”
“And you want me to believe that?” I asked Wack, who grinned and was up on his feet.
“You’re my buddy, and why would I tell you a lie?” He replied.
“I don’t know who is lying right now and who has been lying to me and I don’t even know what to believe and what not to,” I said and focused my attention on Stefi with a sneering look. Stefi left the living room after our eyes had met. She must have left for the bedroom or the kitchen or anywhere else in the house. “I see all lies and deception around me,” I continued. “And every day I sink further down the hole of ignorance that ranges from the worst that leaves me defeated, sad and not knowing what to think, to one as simple as not knowing that Wack has a Harley bike.”
“Oh… Jan,” Wack spoke in response and laughed. “That was the little baby I added to my life just yesterday. I was going to tell you about it.”
“It doesn’t matter, Wack. You can keep your secrets, and as for me, I am ready to expose every secrete people around me have been keeping.”
“Including me?” Wack asked.
“Maybe,” I said with indifference. “I don’t know, as much as I don’t know the identity of the true father of those kids around you.” It was to Wack like I had dropped a bomb. He threw a glance at Stefi’s children, then at me, when something that would pass for fear seemed to have widened his eyes. And for a few seconds, he looked to me a man unsettled. Then he managed to bring calm to himself by taking a deep breath and forcing a smile.
“Oh, Jan,” he began speaking to me, sounding as far as I was concerned, more like a man in desperate need of shedding the weight of stinking guilt off his conscience. “I will not encourage you to start talking like that one bit,” Wack continued rambling, in my opinion. “You’re spinning out of control once again. Stop that.”
“Not when I am armed with the truth,” I said.
“I am on my way to the workshop, Jan. I can’t stand and watch you say horrible things that could hurt these lovely children of yours.”
“Stefi’s lovely children,” I added.
“And not yours?” Wack asked, with a look of big surprise on his face. “Stop losing your mind,” he was quick to add. Tammy, Hadley and Dick kept looking at Wack and I, completely oblivious of what we were talking about or what we were saying.
“I know what I’m talking about,” I said to Wack whose response came as fast as lightening.
“No you don’t!” He countered.
“Wait for the proof!”
“And I will see you at the workshop later today or maybe tomorrow,” Wack said and began to walk towards the exit.
“Are you coming again, Dad?” Tammy, Hadley and Dick said to Wack as he made his way to the door. And I was no longer the person that would hear Hadley, Dick and Tammy call Wack their Dad and feel a pang of pain. I had become so armed with the truth that I could not care one bit even if they had called every man in America their father. Wack nodded in the affirmative, in response to the question Stefi’s children had asked him. And it wasn’t long after that before he used the door, but not without saying more to me.
“See you,” he had said with a smile I could make nothing of.
I took a look at Hadley, Dick and Tammy after Wack had gone. Oh…. what a difference a test result had made in the way I now saw them. It did not make me hate them, of course I was not the type that would hate children, but this question that would not just go away, kept echoing in my head, banging on it like a drum in search of an answer. They were growing up fast, and there wasn’t much of a resemblance to Wack or my grand pa on their faces any more. There was slight resemblance to Stefi and more of another person I could not trace to anywhere. What was really going on?
And once again Tammy, Hadley and Dick gave me that look I had come to know so well, a look that expressed their disgust at the way I liked to bully their beloved Wack out of the house. They were not loving it one bit. I could see it, and my visit to Greg’s clinic had given me reasons to say they were right in treating me like a stranger in their lives. It had all been one big deception that I had driven home with the intention to uncover. There were dots to be connected. And Stefi was the most qualified person to connect them. I needed to see her as much I needed oxygen to keep breathing.
I left the living room. The first place I went was the bedroom. And I had to go to the kitchen when I did not see her there. Stefi was in the kitchen making herself a cup of coffee when I got there. She had her back at me. Then she turned. She looked at me with a frown on her face.
“Care for a coffee?” She asked me. I nodded my no, being in no mood for any beverage.
“I’ve not come to drink,” I said in a calm manner. “Neither have I come to quarrel.” With a cup of coffee in her right hand, hot vapour curling upwards from it, Stefi took a sip and snapped her lips.
“And what brings you sounding a little like you’re not out of your mind today?” She said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that you hold the key that can unlock the truth about the deception my whole life has been shrouded in.”
“Here we go again,” Stefi responded, a little bit sarcastic in the manner she did. “Once again he’s on,” she continued. “How do you not expect me to believe you’re out of your fucking mind when you keep talking like that?”
“Stefi, I am not out of my mind,” I said, my tone firm.
“Only the birds of the air will believe that.”
“I now know the truth about me and I’ve come to know the truth I know you know about us.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Stefi said. “Until I do, I don’t think I’m gonna stand here and wait for you to fill my head with words that make no sense to me.” And with that Stefi left the kitchen and was headed for the bedroom. I followed her.
“I finally went to see a doctor,” I said to Stefi the moment we got to the bedroom.
“You finally did?” She had stopped and had turned to ask me.
“I did, believe me. Stefi I now know you’ve cheated on me severally.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Your game plan has not been to mess up my day with this sort of accusation, has it?”
“I’m not mad at you. The truth about me I learned today only makes me mad at myself and not you.” A little shocked, Stefi looked me in the eye, withdrew her gaze at once and focused it on the floor.
“I could not make you pregnant at first. And later I could. That was what it was until I went to see a doctor.”
“Which doctor?” Stefi asked, raised her head to pin a look on me.
“His name is Greg.”
“You mean Greg Graz?” She asked, unfazed.
“I know him. He was the one I saw when I had to prove to you that I can get pregnant.”
“I only need to know the other truth. One truth I now know is that I can’t make babies.”
“I thought as much, so I was under pressure to quickly prove the fault wasn’t from me.”
“What did you exactly do?”
“You already know it, Jan,” Stefi spoke in low a tone that suggested there was remorse in her heart. “Why ask?” And I could feel there was no remorse in her tone that followed. “Okay if you must hear it. I slept around,” she went ahead to say, sounding like sleeping around is a normal thing any married woman should do. Damn!
I felt a cold stab of jealousy and anger. No need! I wasn’t totally faithful to Stefi too. My clinic encounter with Anna was screaming that in my head. So I had to chill. One hypocritically stupid thing I did not want to do was to be the all-out righteous man in a story my dad once told me. This man went about accusing others of stealing milk, when his lips were clearly smeared with the milk in question.
“So Wack is the father of Tammy, Hadley and Dick?” I was quick to ask Stefi.
“Come on, give me a break,” Stefi sounded irritated. “Why would you say that?” She further said. “My answer is no!” And with that, she strolled to the bed and sat down with her cup of coffee.
What! Wack had been number one and the only one in my list of whom I had suspected. I was stunned by Stefi’s answer in such a way that I was left speechless. Who else would it be? I was ready to bet my life that it was Wack. Why would he be so obsessed with visiting my home if it wasn’t him? And why would his face be showing on the faces of Stefi’s children if it wasn’t him? Why would Stefi tell her kids to call Wack their dad if it wasn’t Wack that made them with juices from his loin?
“You did tell your kids to call Wack their dad, right?”
“Yes, I did,” Stefi shot me a stabbing glare after she had answered my question.
“You wouldn’t truly do that if Wack isn’t their dad.”
“It was a game I played to make things difficult for you. I didn’t sleep with Wack. Get that straight into your head right now.”
“You really didn’t?” I asked, still not believing Stefi.
“I see you’re not yet ready for the truth,” Stefi said, and was up on her feet, sauntering. “The truth can only stay with those who are strong enough to withstand its weight,” she spoke again. I was not going to give her any chance to firmly believe I wasn’t ready for her secrete to come to light. I had to speak, and quickly too!
“I’m ready for the truth. I need the truth.” Those words came from me in a tone slightly raised, any passer-by might think I was about to get into a brawl. It was nothing but my own way of signifying to Stefi that I was no weak little kid that could not take the truth. Stefi laughed a little bit in response.
“If you can’t accept the little truth that I’ve had no sexual contact with Wack, how can you assure me you can handle the bomb when I drop it?”
“Drop the bomb,” I said, my tone projecting strength. “I’m ready for the truth. Drop the bomb!”
So what exactly did go on behind my back? I put that question to Stefi once more. She sipped more of her coffee and went to sit on the bed. I went to sit beside her, ready for an answer to a question that had plagued my mind since I left Greg’s clinic.
“Now you want to know the truth?” Stefi said to me.
“All of it,” I replied.
“I’m not sure you can handle the truth.”
“Why not? Let the truth out. Who’s the man? It must be Wack!”
“Hell no!” Stefi said with a frown. “And for your information, I don’t find Wack attractive in any way.”
“Now you know.”
“So who’s the man that made me falsely believe I was a dad?”
Stefi took a long look at me, took a deep breath and was ready to spill the beans. And I could not believe what I heard. What…..?