Who I Really Am
Gradually, Arda’s shock left her and she placed the phone back onto the table. It was barely touching the table when her phone buzzed with a call from her younger sister.
Arda took a few more seconds to calm herself down before receiving the call.
“Hey, sis.” she said.
“You’re not my sister.”
“You are not my sister and I think it’s about time you knew.”
“Mabel, what are you talking about?”
“Ask my dad and my mum.”
Arda did not fail to notice how she stressed the word my in her statement. Before she could say anything, her sister was off the line.
For a moment, she chose to believe that her sister was joking. Arda redialed her number and it kept ringing but there was no response. She decided to call her father who received the call in a single ring.
“My dear, you’re still up late?”
“Yeah, studying.” She responded. She didn’t want to talk about her problems.
“Okay. Take it easy.”
“I will. Where is Mabel?”
“She’s around somewhere in the house.”
“Look dad, I know that Mabel and I barely get along as siblings but she just said something nasty to me on the phone. Now, she won’t take my calls. I need you to tell her to stop. I can’t take her shenanigans anymore.”
“What did she say?”
“That I’m not her sister. She said I should ask you and mum. She’s just talking nonsense.”
There was silence at the end of the line but she knew that her father was still there. So why wasn’t he responding? He cleared his throat and she heard Mabel’s voice in the background. “Tell her the truth dad, tell her. Mum, please tell her.”
“Dad, I can hear Mabel’s voice in the background. What is going on?”
Fear was slowly creeping up her spine. Her heart was beating faster than normal. She felt as if it was going to burst if it did not stop. “Dad, please tell me it’s not true.”
She heard her father sigh heavily.
“Sweetheart, this is not how I envisioned telling you about this but you know your sister…”
“Dad, no. Please tell me it’s not true.”
“Dear, you need to come home and I’ll tell you everything, but no matter what? You’re still our baby.”
Arda felt like her head was about to explode. A dizzy feeling was threatening to overpower her and it felt like her body was struggling to hold her.
“Arda.” She heard her father call her and it sounded distant because of the turmoil overtaking her senses. “Arda, are you still there?”
Arda could not speak. Her eyes landed on her reflection on the mirror. Who the hell was she? She had to know. She couldn’t take all the secrecy anymore. “Sweetheart,” She heard her father say. “Are you there?”
“I’ll be home tomorrow.” She said and ended the call. Then she felt tears filling her eyes and rolling down her face. She had thought that the breakup with Luke had drained her tears. She had thought wrong.
Moving herself away from the dresser, she walked over to the bed, her hand covering her mouth so that she would not cry out and disturb her friends. They had already held her hand over one problem. She didn’t want them doing that again twice in one night. It felt like her life was a curse but not everyone had to know that. Not even her friends, not now at least.
She climbed onto the bed, slipped under the covers and cried herself to sleep.
Hours later when she woke up, it was to a new day. She sat up on the bed and instantly, memories of the previous night flooded her vision and she acknowledged the reality that was her life.
She no longer had blood related family. Her relationship was broken before it could even begin and she had a stalker on the loose.
The only important thing now, was getting home so that her adopted parents would enlighten her about her birth.
Arda left the bed and began preparing for the weekend. She packed a bag and ventured into the bathroom to freshen up. When she emerged at the living room, it was with her packed bag.
Arda was not prepared for the sight that greeted her eyes. She stood, trying to absorb the shock of finding her friends with their lips locked together at the entrance of the kitchen.
When they saw her, they quickly disengaged, guilt covering their faces. Arda could not stop feeling betrayed. Luke had been right after all. And just when she thought that the surprises were over, this had to come up.
She looked up to the ceiling. “God, please who did I offend?” she asked wearily. “Who are my ancestors? And who did they offend? Am I fated to bear some sort of consequence?”
“Arda,” Jacob said so that her eyes fell on him. “Please don’t be hysterical.”
“Perhaps, it’s a wrong choice of words but all I’m saying is that you should please calm down. We were going to tell you eventually.”
Arda looked at Karina who nodded in support of his words.
As she stared at them, she found that she was unable to decide if she was more angry than disappointed.
“Luke was right after all. He was the one that told me.”
“Arda…” Karina began.
“Look, what I don’t understand is the reason for your secrecy. I mean, what are you both hiding? I just don’t get it.”
“There’s a reason for that.” Said Jacob.
“Oh please, spare me.” Arda said wearily as she headed towards the main door. “I’m going home.”
“Arda, we’ll talk about this when you get back.” Jacob said to her. “Please don’t hate us.”
“Go eat a rock, both of you.” Arda threw over her shoulder. Then she let herself out of the house and slammed the door shut behind her.
Outside, the sun was starting to tear through the sky. It looked like the day was going to be warm and sunny. The atmosphere looked pleasant but Arda did not feel pleasant. She was slowly losing her grip on reality.
She walked over to her car, threw her bag into the back seat, slid into the driver’s seat, started the car and drove off.
On the city streets, she appreciated the smooth traffic. She could not wait to get home and find out who she really was or where she came from.
It took Arda an hour’s drive across the city during which she crossed a major bridge that linked the smaller town where her family resided with the city where her school was located.
Her home was one of the several rustic ranch houses sitting by a quiet street. The houses were a bit far from each other and lay behind a backdrop of trees and natural vegetation. It was easy to get into the woods from each home.
She knew that her family was home as she spotted three cars by the house. She joined her car with theirs and when she stepped outside, she saw her family at the door. Her parents were middle aged and looked good but stressed at the moment. She guessed it was because of the present situation.
The tension was obvious as they all stared at each other. Then her parents hurried over to her and hugged her. She couldn’t move.
She turned her gaze towards Mabel who remained standing on the front porch. Without a word, Mabel turned and stormed into the house.
Arda held onto her parents. She didn’t feel any different about them. They had raised her even though she wasn’t theirs and she had never suspected anything because of all the love they poured on her.
“I still love you both, no matter what.” She said.
“We love you too.” They both responded and Arda knew it was the truth.
Later, they all sat inside the living room to listen to her father. Arda was seated beside her mother who was holding her hand.
Mabel sat alone, looking bored as she toyed with her fingers. Arda’s father laced his hands together and began to speak.
“It was years ago but it feels like yesterday. My favorite sport is hunting. It’s kind of like a family thing and you all know that. So one night, I went hunting during a full moon.”
Arthur flashed back to the day he found Arda and remembered everything.
The last thing Arthur expected as he aimed his hunting gun at a deer was to hear the cry of a baby.
Under the glare of the full moon, amidst the sound of chirping crickets in the forest, the animal stood beside a tree, completely oblivious of his presence and the danger he posed for it.
Arthur was about thirty-five years old and of average height and blessed with a kind face. Between keeping his gun aimed at the deer, he wondered how a baby could come to be in the woods in the dead of the night.
Perhaps, the baby’s mother was with it, he thought or maybe they were lost. Whatever the case, he did not appreciate the distraction.
The deer he had in his sights was plump and he could already picture the savory meal it would make.
As he kept monitoring his impending kill, it became obvious that the animal could also hear the baby’s cry.
It craned its neck, looking like it was trying to decipher the direction of the sound. At the same time, it was turning its back on Arthur. Then it leaped forth into the bushes but not before being struck on its flank by a bullet from Arthur’s gun.
The deer let out a yelp of pain and Arthur watched it blindly gallop forward and clash headlong into a tree. It staggered backwards, only to hit another tree before tumbling sideways, frantically kicking out its limbs for a bit and finally going numb on the grassy ground, blood seeping out of the smoky hole from the gun shut.
Arthur could still hear the baby’s cry and it was coming from the direction ahead of him where the deer currently lay. Holding onto his gun, he hurried forward, following the desperate sound of the baby’s cry.