The Confession

By Rehema

When I pick up my phone and receive the call, my father speaks in a voice I have not heard from him before. His tone sees a tinge of authority on his attitude, mild but evident and it’s heat has me rapidly gulping the pint of Glen I was enjoying. I imagine he would ask where I was but I am certain he would find out sooner or later. Perhaps, he would even pardon me. For as it is , living the life of the city is to live the life that it was built for. To adopt and take pleasure within it’s system. To consume the offerings it gives as well as drink and party in it’s bars. However, the urgency in his voice has me sucking a few peppermints as a guilty relief measure to cover up my sins as it propels my feet home.

When I arrive home , I find him sitting on the right of his favorite couch. He has since time and again told me that my mother favoured the left and even with her gone, he still lives his life in two sides never crossing her out . I look at him, ready to give my soppy rationalization for deliquency. Ready to make up lies and deny all accountability, but he remains quiet. This awkward silence engulfs us and for a moment I feel everything would be slightly better if he said something but he does not. Nevertheless, I keep staring at him. I stare at him closely enough to notice that there is something wrong. His expression is weird, it is also discreet, understated within the bounds of an agreebly ordinary look.

I have seen his face in it’s many variations. I have seen when he is angry, when he is happy, when he is completely jaded. I have also seen him when he projects control and that too I have experienced his good and bad side. But this countenance on his face now- I have never seen like this before. It’s blank. Such that when he tells me to have a seat, I immediately know that I am in for a serious banter. I however sit, although I cannot help but feel uneasy in so many words.

When he begins to speak, his voice cracks as if he is too afraid of his own words. He pauses as he gropes for words, and when he talks I cannot quite decipher what he is trying to say. Then he strikes me as though he wants to say something in a certain language, one that does not exist in any other language, trying to explain it to me, one who does not speak that language. And as I look at him, I can tell he is being neurotic which is bizarre since it’s a quality never owned by him. Nonetheless, he finally find words, steadies and regulates himself and begins to talk slowly but coherently.

” My son, people make mistakes. Sometimes people make what feel like unforgivable mistakes. Sometimes we fall short but if we are lucky enough, the universe gives us an opportunity to make ammends for our actions. That some decisions we thought as best in the past may have been of sheer self interest and that now it behoves us to open on a truth that not only concerns us but everyone else. I swore to preserve her memory, pure of all pastiche as I passed it down to you because you my son, do not deserve to be sullied in anyway by her actions.”

He pauses.

I do not understand. I cannot comprehend because dad has a tendency to use metaphors of heaviness each time he launches into a serious repartee. Hence, with the abstractness of his words, I cannot help but feel a sudden flicker of anxiety of an unknown event waiting for me. A sadness that assumes I am already in the know.

” It’s your mother, son. Your mother is alive! “

This news jolts me upright from my slouching position. Immediately I am confused by the complexity of this revelation. All my life I was told that my mother passed on when I was one year old. And as it is, I affirm it because I remember waking up to strange breasts cuddled as if by proxy. Now, I have so many questions but I am in shock, struck dumb. Even so, my father continues speaking.

” My son… I am not your real father “

This statement freezes me instatenously from head to toe. My distress is blatantly written on my face but dad is completely focused on his narration to register my expression.

” I married your mother when she was already pregnant with you and a month after your birth, she eloped with her lover to whom I suppose is your real father. My son, you are a full grown man and I have raised you well. My heart tells me that your mother is still out there and if at all by any chance she decides to reach out to you and if you are in any way interested to see what that relationship might look like, you are allowed to respond and hear her out. She is called Sifa. Sifa Leyla Idow, and she is the only one who can answer all your questions.”

He pauses.

He endeavors to conceal his emotion with words occasioned but it is a slight avail because he becomes teary. He speaks of her with so much passion in a way that in his heart, his love for her is still alive, preserved as unique and perfect even though it is tainted by misery. Maybe. Just maybe, the fact that he still loves her is proof that the fault lay not in themselves but rather in their incompatibility. So I thought.

Eyes stinging with tears he buries his face in his handkerchief as he hastens out of the room. Nobody forced him to make the confession and now he looks utterly powerless, drained and defeated. I cannot help but imagine how people harbor huge chunks of obscurity and there is an error in them whose magnitude we cannot fathom. I on the other hand was convinced that there was a lot more I needed to know before I could decide on my own attitude. I have a dozen of endless questions in my mind but the pain churning within me makes it difficult to say them aloud and so I remain mute. I am mute because this silence knows how to stay and say the words I could not.

So that in the following days, my transitory existence is hurriedly thrown into this bottomless pit where everything that defines my beingness is stripped and snatched away from me. Where I question my entire existence because this truth unravelled the illusions I have long hid under. The illusion of the fact that I was the role that got acted. Where things feel different because the condition of my past has been clearly defined.

So that in the following days, this suffering staggers as it becomes horrendous. Such that I am dazed by the terror of life. The terror of curtains being drawn from my eyes and now waking up to the realization that all these while, I have been submitting to a false self. A self I assumed belonged to me. One that I projected myself with to the outside. Hence, this sanity that comes with this revelation, makes me feel as though I do not belong here. It fills me with an urge to try harder to merit the space that I now stand. That I have to rise to this challenge without the blind optimism of ignorance.

And with the spontaneous burst of sentimentality, tears trickle down my cheeks like a faucet. I cry because to separate myself from what I once thought about my life is killing me partially. Not once since becoming an adult did I need another person’s solace. Only this once do I need them to comfort me more than I need until the time I am able to summon up courage to disentangle myself from these chaos I am grappling with. Be that as it may, I am all alone. Alone, for he to whom I have always considered my pillar is bleeding and reckoning with the same burden.

I cry because he perfected carrying it all these years and now he passes it down to me but it’s weight is too much for my shoulders. It suffocates me and I have no other option other than to sink beneath it and now, I cannot help but harbor something like a grudge against she who I cannot name. Within me, there is a loathing so fierce that churns me up with a longing for who I might have been. A longing of how I would have turned out to be if she sang me lullabies to sleep. If she were there to catch me each time I fell. If she were there to scold me each time I did something wrong. If she were there to guide me during puberty as I morphed into an adult.

What would I have become if I experienced all these from her. Thus, these thoughts struggle on to seek me forming wounds. Wounds unlike the scars from the lashing a man might give, these ones plunge deeper into the substance of my soul. Everything now begins to appear surreal as my mind struggles to wrap itself around this sudden change of events and now I cannot forgive myself . I cannot forgive myself for not asking him anything, for knowing him so little. Hence, I am left to cling on the frail confession he offered me. One where no answers confirm, dispute or justify this hypothesis. Because when dawn breaks, I find my “father” lying dead on his bed. His weariness so great. From the depths, the final surrender as this future, my future, glares at me bleak.

All rights reserved . Copyright to the work published on this website is held by Silpah Rehema.The data that appears on the site should not be reproduced or republished without prior written consent.Any violation of this will be subject to intellectual property proceedings.

2 thoughts on “The Confession

  1. Wow! What a story. I love your writing Remmy. You have a really good choice of words in describing events and I could totally relate to the mood of the story. I really enjoyed😍.


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