My Parents’ Secret

“John. Where are you?” Lizzy said over the phone.

“Yes, what it is? I’m at work, why?” came the response, Lizzy bristled.

“Work? Since when do you work on Saturdays?” Lizzy asked, still angered over the nonchalant response, but she was more concerned at the matter at hand; she didn’t know what she was going to do with her son seated in the sitting room. He was supposed to be in school.

“Ok, I’m with a girl. Why do you care? You’re the one that asked for a separation,” John said, feeling he was right.

“I asked for a separation not a divo—” She paused and thought that having this argument wasn’t necessary at the moment because of her twenty-one-year-old son that was in university of Lagos at the moment. That his school was in the same state as his home didn’t mean he could come home without informing her.

“It doesn’t matter John. I want to ask if Dave told you he was coming home today?”

“David? Our son? No! Why?” John asked slightly confused, he knew his wife was one to fight, but she totally changed the subject like a day old diaper.

“He is at home. He wants to see you,” Lizzy replied, tired of the conversation.

“Shit! I’ll be there as fast as I can, don’t tell him anything.” The line went off

John stood up from where he was lying with a rather busty girl that was too young for him, or was it her childlike face that got him confused? He grabbed his shirt and threw it on as he rushed to his car. How was he going to handle the matter at hand? He and his wife had separated to figure out what was wrong with their marriage and know the next action—getting a divorce or fixing their marriage. Lizzy insisted it was better to be apart for a while because she was still hurt over John’s infidelity.

David stood staring at his mum as she avoided eye contact with him. She was scared of something. David couldn’t understand, he had tons of ideas in his head but he didn’t know which was right. He only asked his mum where his dad’s clothes were since he was just coming from their room and saw only her belongings.

“Mum, what’s wrong? What happened with dad?” David asked. He sat beside her on the sofa, held her hands, he wanted her attention on him, not her manicures. The feeling in the house wasn’t homely, something had happened. David was the only child and for a year now, his parents had always instructed him not to come home without informing them. David had asked a few times but it always ended up with an excuse, and the couple of times when he disobeyed them, he was always berated.

Why shouldn’t he come home when he was broke and because he missed his mother’s home-cooked meal, which was the best? The last time dad had driven to school with home-cooked meal to give to him just so he wouldn’t have to come home.

In all of that, David missed his bed, he missed the smell of home. It was weekend and he needed to pick up some materials for his classes next week. He had also planned to go to church with his parents like they used to do, but coming home without informing them had led to this.

“Your dad… your daddy’s things…” Lizzy gulped. “They are…”

“Hello David,” a familiar voice called out, making David to look straight ahead and his mum turned to see who it was.

“Dad? I thought something bad had happened to you,” David said. He was relieved one of his ideas was false.

“I’m good son, why are you here?” John asked. He was surprised at the arrival of his son, he thought his wife was jesting and just needed him to come home to satisfy her womanly needs. She had always praised him for his sexual prowess and claimed ‘No one can satisfy me, but you’. He prided on that compliment and wanted to hear more of it, although from different women.

“I missed you guys,” David replied smiling at both his parents.

“What did we tell you about coming home?” John countered. He was a bit disappointed about the outcome.

“It doesn’t matter dad, I’m home now and you guys are okay,” David said feeling excited but his face slightly fell when he saw disappointment in his parents’ face “You guys are okay, right?” he asked again. He didn’t like this feeling of dread.

“We gotta tell him John,” Lizzy said while she stood up from the sofa, she moved closer to David and held him. She couldn’t keep it a secret again. She missed her boy so much.

“David we have something to tell you.”

“What’s wrong?” David asked curiously, he looked to his mother across his right shoulder.

“We are separated!” John said.

David didn’t know how to process this information. How could his parents be separated and not tell him? Was that why they didn’t let him come home all this while? Why they always said he was a student and shouldn’t come home but focus on school till he was done?

“For how long?” he asked with his eyes misty with tears. He wanted to be strong, to be manly, he was twenty-one for fuck’s sake.

“Nine months now,” Lizzy said. She was dejected.

“For nine months dad has not been living here and none of you could tell me? How the fuck were you able hide this from me for a whole month not to talk of nine months?” Dave shouted. He was hurt by their actions, he felt betrayed

“We are trying to sort things out, you weren’t supposed to find out till we decided if a divorce would be best.” Lizzy’s breath ceased under the word ‘divorce.’ She couldn’t believe that the man she’d thought she would be married to for the rest of her life was the wrong match for her. Even though they just separated, he still had the guts to sleep around, they were still married for Pete’s sake

“Divorce? You guys are getting a divorce? This is Nigeria, things like these rarely happen. I don’t think it happens at all, every couple fights but they don’t end up getting divorced,” David said confused. This wasn’t Hollywood, nor were they acting a soap opera.

“No, we are not, we are just trying to sort out the situation,” John said cutting in. He wanted to salvage the situation and his marriage. He missed his family and wife, but he was not ready to give up on his flings.

“Are you sure? Mum?” David looked at his mum. She was just staring down at her feet. Lizzy zoned out for a minute. She was at the centre of it all. It was time to make a decision. They both stared at her, waiting for her response.

She looked up at David with pity and said, “We are… we are getting a divorce. I’m sorry John I have made up my mind.”

“Lizzy what do you mean?” John was shocked. Here he was trying to fix it all and she ruined it.

“David, your dad is an infidel. He has been sleeping around ever since we got married, or maybe longer,” Lizzy said in pains. She regretted marrying him, despite the opposition from her parents.

“What!” David said clutching his mother. “Dad is this true? You’re cheating on mother, your wife all these years. You have been—get out! I never wanna see your face ever again.” David drew his mother closer and hugged her. “Mum it is alright. I’m here now.”

John stood and watched them he wanted to speak, he didn’t want to lose anyone of them, especially his only son but what could he do? His actions and high sexual libido ruined everything.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered and left.

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