Where is Cassandra

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CHAPTER SIX

Something I thought was thrilling and spectacular happened. It was something I used to hear my own Dad and Mom call the thrill and value anyone can have in life. What had happened had made me feel so good about myself. It was a giant proof that my insistence on standing like a giant rock and be most willing to not be pushed around, had paid off in a big way. My Mom and Dad used to say that babies are like a river. And that they flow to childless couples who wait and keep doing what they have to do to make them.

“Mom and Dad were right,” I said to myself when what had thrilled me so much had happened. “And I am right,” I also said to myself, for insisting there was no way I could be impotent. My belief in this could never be more solid because five years into my marriage to Stefi, she got pregnant. How it could have happened, you might ask, since Stefi and I weren’t necessarily in good terms as a married couple, let alone be close enough to have sex. Our sex life became absolutely absent as baby issues brought a storm into our marriage. And it got rekindled some weeks after Wack visited and was shown the way out by Stefi in a manner I never saw coming. Stefi had warmed up to me more and more since after that day. Her affection for me had begun all over again - intense, blind and unrelenting like that of a teenager who is a freshman in the game of love. Stefi was all over me. She combed my hair, did my laundry, made me special meals, asked how I would like them before she made them, and even did what she had never done before, by joining me in the shower to scrub my back with an amazing alluring sweet gentleness I never thought she had. If Stefi’s plan was to have me drowned in affection to the point that I would not be able to ask a question that raged in my mind, then she failed. I would not say I wasn’t drowned in her barrage of affection. I did as a matter of fact. I enjoyed it, in as much as it was all kind of strange to me. And it was that strange dimension to all that affection from Stefi that ensured I could voice my question.

“I hope you will understand why I need to say this,” I began to talk, looking Stefi in the eye, during one of our bed and pillow talks that had become a routine in our bedroom.

“Say whatever you want to say, dear,” Stefi replied most sweetly and landed a kiss on my left cheek before I knew it. “You can tell me whatever you want,” she went ahead to say. “I’m your wife.”

“What’s going on?” I asked. “Why are you doing all these?”

“All what?” Stefi replied nicely, and then giggled before she talked further. “Is it written in stone that I can’t be nice to my husband anymore?” Stefi got her head up from the pillow and raised the rest of her body, and was sitting on the bed in her new position. I changed my position too by switching from lying on my side to lying on my back, with my head rested on a pillow.

“I thought you despised me and even hated me,” I said.

“Oh… come on, Jan, can my hatred for you ever be bone-deep?” She asked and moved closer to me. Her head was lying on my chest within seconds. “It was all on the surface, Jan,” Stefi continued. “Any anything on the surface quickly vanishes like a bead of water that gets to embrace a red hot furnace.”

In as much as Stefi’s responses sounded sweet and somehow sensuous, they only succeeded a little in keeping my suspicions away. And she was not done yet. “It’s all like magic,” she went ahead to whisper to my left ear already gently tickled by her busy tongue. “Magic that’s so irresistible when suddenly a woman’s love for her husband surges like the waves and goes from zero to hundred percent before she knows it.”

“So that makes you wanna shower all these affection like a tap that never runs dry?” I asked.

Sure, Jan,” Stefi said softly. Her hands were all over my chest by now, doing sweet naughty things, and her legs across mine. ’This is the way it is these days, Jan,” she further said. “The more I see you the more I get horny. It’s not stopping. I can explain it much more. It’s a feeling that gets your wife yearning to have you in a way that gets her to spread her legs in desire that spreads like wild fire, if you know what I mean, Jan.”

Stefi was so cunning in sweet sort of way, and had already climbed on top of me. And there was no way I could see why our sex life could not be back in full swing from then on because it felt so sweet to me that Stefi was back in that sort of way.

Our first child, a boy, was born on a Sunday afternoon. I was at the hospital with Stefi, and was also beside her while she went through labour pains and pushed her way through to becoming a mother at long last. We named our son Jammy, who filled me with joy and got me really feeling like a Dad immediately he popped out of her mother’s womb. He cried the moment he came out, so loud, just like my own Mom had said I did when she had me. Jammy was so special to me in that I considered him to be my symbol of strength and ability to overcome adversities that worked so hard to claim that I could not make babies. So he was my son and much more. Jammy resembled my grandpa who looked very much like Wack, my buddy.

“At long last,” I said to Stefi the day we returned from the hospital. She was all smiles and a hub of happiness, Jammy so protectively cuddled in my arms as if the whole world was aiming at snatching him away from me. “We have what we’ve always wanted and I’m excited,” I further said. “What about you, Stefi?” We were in our living room, and I stood right in front of her while she sat on a couch.

“We?” Stefi asked with an absentminded smile on her face, like her mind was somewhere else, and focused on another person while I spoke. “Yes, we,” she quickly said and beamed smiles at me.

“Are you not excited?” I asked.

“How could you ask me such a question, Jan? Of course, I am excited to finally have a baby.”

“Me too. I’m excited we finally have a baby,” I said gently, after which I planted a slight kiss on Jammy’s forehead.

“What a handsome boy,” Stefi said fondly.

She then got up from the couch the moment I had kissed Jammy. Though her body language showed excitement and that she was on the same page with me, but I could not help but worry about one thing which was at the soul of the question I had asked her.

“You seem reluctant to use the word WE regarding you and me about our baby,” I said. “Why?”

“Look, Jan, I don’t really know what you’re talking about. This is a happy day for me. And it has to be the same for you if you don’t ruin it by trying to pick at every word I use and don’t use.”

Stefi gently touched Jammy’s face, kissed his nose, and I let her carry him in her arms. There was this joyful touch the whole atmosphere took on as I released Jammy into Stefi’s arms. This happened as I watched Stefi make playful gestures at Jammy, the mother and child bonding process having begun. And I could not help getting sucked into all engrossing happy feeling that had me blame no one else for the question I had asked Stefi, but myself. It was then that I fully realised how silly my question sounded and why I should never have asked something like that. Silly me, I thought. I was also determined to not have that weigh me down one bit. My first child had been born and nothing was going to stop me from savouring the delight his arrival had filled our home with. So what was my next move? So easy to guess. I joined Stefi in making all sorts of funny gestures at Jammy, who had no single idea what we were doing. He yawned for all he cared, made faces that seemed to say ‘stop that’, as Stefi and I, without costumes, tried our best to play circus clowns.

“I told you I was going to prove myself capable of having a baby,” Stefi said to me. “Now you know I can,” she further said.

“And I also did prove that I didn’t need to go see any doctor,” I responded with pride and laughed a little. Stefi said nothing and concentrated on Jammy instead, like I had said nothing at all that mattered. “You can make babies and I can as well,” I went ahead to say. “You know what this means, Stefi?” Stefi looked up from Jammy and looked at me like I was a horrendous meal that needed a home in a trash can.

“I know what you mean, Jan,” she said. “I’m gonna prove myself capable of having more babies.” I laughed. I laughed because Stefi knew what I had in mind. Of course I wanted more babies.

“That’s right,” I replied. “More babies.” I was set to go on. I wanted to have more babies than my Dad did. A large family. One down and many more to go.

Our second child, a girl, was born two years later. We named her Hadley. It was not my idea, but that of Stefi who as an ardent fan of the breath-taking intrigues and suspense found in lots of novels written by her favourite author, James Hadley Chase. And I thought it was a marvellous idea to name a child of mine after a brilliant writer like that. She was a lovely girl, so pretty that she left me so proud to be called her Dad. I could not resist giving her gentle fatherly kisses right from the day she was born. I wished the best for her just like I had also wished the best for Jammy. I wished for her to meet her ideal man when the time was right, and retire into a marriage full of bliss her sweet heart would hardly contain, a marriage blessed with lots of children. Though Hadley looked very much like Stefi each time I looked at her face, I could not stop seeing that somewhere on her face was a looked that was much like that of my grandpa, and therefore like that of Wack. What the hell is grandpa doing on the faces of my children was a question I asked myself, not angrily though, but out of some jealousy that my genes were showing solid proofs that they were not expressive enough to impress the face of whom I looked like, my Mom, on any of my children’s face. I put all that aside, being determined to be the best Dad around for my children, by working very hard to balance work and family in such a way that I would never end up being a Dad who was never there. I was ready to help do the dishes, have sleepless nights, change diapers, pack the poop, and so I did. I got urinated on, sometimes pooped on, but those did not matter because I took them to be part of what makes parenting a full time job of its own. I would never admit it was not all tough to juggle these things and still be able to work hard enough to earn money to pay bills and put food on the table of a fast expanding family. It was challenging, sometimes exhausting, and was about to increase in scale with the birth of our third child, a boy, who arrived two years after Hadley was born. We named him Dick, believe me. This time it was my idea. Stefi agreed. Well, not the biological dick many men love to go around making babies with. And what the hell was I thinking when I came up with that name? Ask me from now till the sun falls from the sky. My answer would remain that I did not know what the hell I was thinking. And when I wished the most that my grandpa would leave my family alone, he came back much more strongly on Dick’s face. Dick resembled him totally, and therefore Wack. So it became my reality that after spending my work hours at the workshop with Wack, I would come back home to continue seeing his face on those of my children. It was like my grandpa and Wack were all over my life like a shadow that does not go away even in pitch darkness. It was as strange as it was intriguing, and was only about to lead me to a startling discovery.

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