Sacrilege – Episode 13
© Adeola Nissi
“I always loved your mother” Mark Johnson said into the silent room. “Sandra had the most unusual brown eyes and a smile that always came straight from the heart. They were the first things I noticed about her when I first set my eyes on her” a painful smile touched Mark’s eyes. Laura felt glued as she stared, wide-eyed at the familiar stranger. “I had gone to pay Frank a visit, as I entered; she was the first thing I saw. Her large brown eyes lit up with a smile as she hurried to me with arms wide open. She obviously thought she knew me and at that moment, I instantly wanted to know everything about her. I felt transfixed as she enveloped me in a tight hug, grinning up at me like I was worth billions of dollars.” Mark seemed to remember it all like it all happened yesterday. “Then, I realized what just happened; she thought I was Frank” his amusement came out through his voice. “Then Frank came in, gosh, I would never forget the look on her face; she nearly passed out. She couldn’t tell who was who. Frank and I had fun at her expense that day, her confusion and innocence was so hilarious; she intrigued me the way no other woman ever had.” He swallowed, leaning against the wall like a heavy weight had just rested on his shoulders. “But that was the much that could be allowed because she was Frank’s intended.” He swallowed. Laura could only stare in stupefied wonder.
“I fell in love with her, I wasn’t trying to, and God knows I didn’t want that much complication in my life, I could not just stop thinking about her. But love is only sweet when it is reciprocated, when it is not, it is like a poison slowly moving you to your death. I got involved with other women but I couldn’t love them. I loved Sandra so much, it was such a pain to see her with someone who looked exactly like me but wasn’t me. Everyday made it more difficult but nothing could have prepared me for their wedding day. I couldn’t handle being the best man at a wedding which I so wanted to be the groom. It wasn’t enough that the groom was my exact copy, it ate me up like acid on skin.”
“So, you raped her?” Laura’s voice croaked out. “You raped the woman you claim to love?” Mark was becoming more animated by the minute, Laura couldn’t believe that 24 hours ago, she could have vouched she knew all there is to know about her uncle.
“I didn’t rape her…” he answered after a moment of silence. “I did something much worse” his voice was laced with pain as he spoke. “There was a night party after the wedding. It lasted late into the night. My pain made me drink so much, but I couldn’t get drunk; no quantity of alcohol could make me tipsy. That was when I saw her. Sandra looked tipsy and exhausted; I could see that she really needed to sleep. Frank was completely drunk, I didn’t think he could place one foot in front of the other without topping off. Then, I went and took Sandra, leading her to the bedroom” he swallowed, running his hand shakily over his head, his voice becoming more distant. “All I wanted was for her to get some sleep but…” he shook his head, gazing intently on the floor like he could see it all just as it happened. “She was too drunk to determine who was actually leading her in, she assumed I was Frank and was all over me. As we got to the room and I tried to make her lie on the bed, she… she wanted me on the bed with her. I know I should have told her I wasn’t Frank; maybe that would have penetrated her drunkenness and stopped her, maybe it wouldn’t, but I didn’t care. I could not stop myself, I took advantage of the situation” Mark wiped at the lone tear that slid down his face. “I didn’t think of the consequences of my actions, all I wanted was a taste of heaven. I was only thinking of myself… I was so stupid”
Laura’s legs had given way under her and she now sat in an undignified manner on the floor beside the door. Her mouth was agape as tears flowed down her face. “She slept with you, thinking you were her husband” it was the worst thing Laura had ever heard. She always thought nothing could be worse than rape, but now this?
“I made love to her with all the love in my heart” Mark continued. “I tickled her and she laughed, it was the most melodious sound I have ever heard”
“Please stop” Laura couldn’t take it anymore but Mark continued.
“I endured her whispers of Frank’s name, seeing her face flushed with happiness was a gold mine for me. It was the last time I ever saw her so happy… the last time I heard her laugh…” his eyes grew dark with self-loath.
Laura couldn’t bear the thought of this. She had the vague thought that her mother had never been truly happy. She rarely laughed, when she did, it didn’t seem real. She always had this sadness lurking in her eyes, but Laura figured that anyone married to her father would be in for a lifetime of sadness. If only she knew just what the woman had been subjected to.
“She was never the same after that night. Frank found out the next day after she talked about our night together. He knew he wasn’t the one. I had to confess to what I did. I have never felt so worthless. I could handle Frank’s anger and hatred but nothing prepared me for the hatred I saw in Sandra’s eyes. But that was not the worst part; Frank changed towards her… he changed completely. He couldn’t stomach the fact that another man – his twin brother – had slept with Sandra, even though it was without her conscious thought. He maltreated her and yelled at her. I had broken him, but worse, I broke her as well” He massaged a spot on his thigh, like he was trying to get a strain out. “It got worse when she found out she was pregnant and Frank knew it wasn’t his” Laura frowned. “Frank was furious. He never gave her the attention she needed. He turned cold and grew distant, only used her as a sex object; nothing was the same again.” Mark took a deep breath. “Sandra stopped laughing, her brown eyes were darkened with sadness; but she would not leave him. She was sure her love for him would make everything right again, she was wrong; my love for her had already made everything wrong” Mark shook his head, unable to stop the tears that trekked down his face. “I had killed her that night; all that was left was a walking corpse. I loathe myself every day, I hate myself for doing that to her”
Laura stared, wide-eyed at the man before her. It is unbelievable the havoc that a stupid act can wreck in people’s lives. Small as Laura had been, she couldn’t understand why her parents were married when her father clearly did not like her mother. She always thought her mother was stupid for enduring everything her father did to her and Laura tried her best to make her mother as happy as possible, but Laura’s love seemed not to be enough. She wanted the love of her husband, but sadly, she never got it. Many nights, Laura stayed awake, listening to the silent sobs of her mother. Her mother’s tears made her cry and every night built her disdain for her father. Her hatred for Frank grew when her mother died. Sandra died weeks after giving birth to Jane. Laura had been eight years old. Laura felt her mother had been depressed all her life but it got a lot worse after Jane’s birth. The depression was so severe that Sandra started talking to herself, talking to unseen people, taking excess care of the baby. She practically behaved like a mad woman. Doctors diagnosed her with PTSD, and said she was suffering from a rare kind of depression. Though, Frank changed towards her at that time and tried to take care of her, it was too late. Four weeks after Jane’s birth, Sandra was found dead on her bed, cause of death was unknown.
Laura had never forgiven her father. She had held the death against her father. She had thought he was the monster… the one who drained her mother’s love until she ended up six feet under. If only she had known that her father hadn’t always been like that… hadn’t always been so cold and heartless… if only she had known that the very person she admired and loved was the person who turned her father into a monster…
Laura blinked, sending tears down her cheeks as she pushed her numb legs up. Standing, she stared at her uncle for a prolonged moment, still unable to believe all she had heard. She shook her head. “And I thought my father was the monster… I thought he was the devil, but it has been you” her lips shook as her heart ached for the pain her mother had to endure. “How can you live with yourself?” she spat through clenched teeth. “You’ve been pretending to be a saint, but you are nothing but a snake… a filthy snake” she yelled in sobs. “So, what now? You are going to tell me you are my biological father now?” she yelled, her eyes sparking with fire. “You are going to tell me that I am the product of that shameful night?” Laura saw Mark’s face double over with pain as he gazed at her and got her answer. “Wow…”
Laura felt like she had just been given a blow in the gut. In the space of three weeks, her life had changed tremendously. It was from one revelation to another. Laura stared hard at Mark through her tears. People had always said she had the looks of her mother but had her father’s eye. Given the resemblance, how was she to know that the father in question was actually Mark? ‘Be careful what you wish for’ now held a new meaning to her.
All her life, she had envied Tito for having the perfect father. Mark had shown her so much love and affection that Laura had wished time and again that he was her father, instead of Frank. Laura had always known Frank to be a cold man, she knew he was cold to everyone but also knew that he was more so around her. She found no love and happiness in her house when she got too much of that at her ‘supposed’ uncle’s place. Laura had called Mark ‘father’, wishing it was real. She said he was her godfather – the father God had intentionally given her as a substitute, knowing she had a terrible one. She had thought Tito was the luckiest person alive to have gotten the better twin as her father… if only she had known that it was all a shell… if only she had known that the real person that lived beneath that amazing façade was a deadly viper.
“I am sorry, Laura”
Laura laughed, shaking her head. “Sorry!” she exclaimed in amazement. “After everything, that’s all they say; sorry” she snapped. “What exactly are you sorry for? You destroyed my mother’s life, destroyed my father’s life, destroyed Teju’s life, destroyed my life… and all you have is that you are sorry?” Mark looked away; he couldn’t bear the hatred in her eyes. “I can never see you as my father” she swore. “I would rather be a b****** than acknowledge a rapist as my father. I hate you. I hate you!” she yelled and yanked the door open.
She froze as she saw the person behind the door. Tito stood behind the door, her face filled with tears. One look at her and Laura knew she had heard everything. She couldn’t imagine what she must be feeling but at the moment, Laura didn’t care. She just wanted to get away. Moving past Tito, Laura ran out of the house into the darkness of the night.
Deolu didn’t care that it was almost midnight; he just had to see Chris. He had to know exactly what was going on. He might have made his mistakes but he would be damned if he would sit back and have his best friend steal his wife’s heart away from him. In seconds, he was out of the house and in his car, honking at the gateman to open the gate.
His blood boiled as he zoomed out of the house, straight into the dark lonely road. It all made perfect sense now. Chris was always with him through thick and thin, even when they fought and had serious misunderstandings, it never lasted for more than a day. But now… gosh, how could he have been so brain-dead? Chris always voiced some things in jovial manners but he had never counted on them. The signs had been there all along, he had just been too dumb to notice. That is the thing with people who play too much; you can almost never tell when they are actually being serious. Deolu had suspected Chris had deep feelings for someone which was not reciprocated. He had thought it was probably reason why he never took the women in his life seriously, how was he to assume that Chris was actually in love with his wife?
Deolu pushed his leg against the accelerator as he sped off; light from his headlamp and street lights filled the road. His eyes caught someone running in the opposite direction, afar off. As he drew closer, he saw that it was a woman. How could a woman be out running, so late at night? He strained his eyes and slammed his leg on the brake as he saw who it was. His tired screeched to a halt in the middle of the road, as the image of the person running became clear to him. Thankfully, traffic was free. He was practically the only person on the road. “Laura?” he muttered in great surprise as he got out of the car, his initial destination was forgotten as he rushed to the other side of the road. “Laura” he yelled as Laura drew closer but she did not seem to hear him. Her face was filled with tears and his heart thumped, wondering what had happened to her. Where on earth was she coming from?
As she drew nearer, her hiccupped sobs rose to his ear and he rushed forward to grab her. “Laura” he whispered. She fought weakly, trying to break free, but she must have expended all her strength because she soon gave up the struggle, her breath coming out in short gasps as she cried.
She looked up into his worried eyes. “Deo…lu” she managed, on the verge of collapse.
Deolu pulled her into his arms. “Come here” he held her shaking form against his body and kissed her head. “Hush now” he whispered as she sobbed uncontrollably, gripping his shirt with her small hands. Right now, whatever could have happened didn’t matter to him, all that mattered was Laura. He lifted her carefully off the ground and walked back to the car, placing her gently on the seat. She looked so young, so innocent. Laura inhaled in quick successions, as her tears died down to hiccups.
Deolu got behind the wheels and spun the car around; Chris was completely forgotten as he drove straight home.
***** Teju lay curled up on the bed, the sheets drawn up to her chin. The lights were out and she stared into the darkness of her room, with no thought flowing through her brain. Exhaling, she closed her eyes, welcoming the darkness within. Even her closed lids could not hold back the tears that disappeared into the pillow. There was so much pain, and she was the pioneer of it all. Her heart ached just thinking of the pain she had caused everyone. There was so much pain and turmoil and she was the cause of everything. Her selfishness had led to this.
Tito might feel she had the whole truth and even think Teju was the victim, but Teju knew that was not the case. The diary was missing a few pages. There were some things she didn’t dare write in the diary because frankly, some words are too heavy to pass through the tip of a pen. The diary held only a fraction of what had truly happened. Swallowing, Teju placed her hand on her tummy, it was already growing. She had to endure… hold on for this little soul. She got little consolation from knowing that she could give life to another being. She felt a slight movement in her tummy, making her freeze. Tears filled her eyes as she held still, hoping to feel the movement again, but she didn’t. “My baby” she whispered in tears. Despite the odd circumstances, she loved the child. Loved the thought of holding a tiny baby boy or girl in her arms in a few months. But then, she knew… she knew she wouldn’t be holding her baby for as long as she wanted…
***** Deolu walked into the house with Laura in his arms, she was completely exhausted but though her eyes were closed, he knew she wasn’t asleep. His heart thudded in his chest. He felt complete and whole again. He couldn’t tell just how he felt at having his wife within the confines of their home again. It was like God had decided to step in and make all crooked paths straight.
He made straight for their bedroom, leaving the lights off as he went straight towards the bathroom and placed her gently on the ground. He bent and removed her shoes, giving her feet a brief massage and felt her stiffen as his hands went up to her skirt. He felt her eyes on him and looked up into her eyes. “I just want to undress you” he explained silently. “You need a bath”
She remained silent as he peeled away her skirt, leaving her in her panties. He straightened. “Raise your hands” he ordered softly and pulled off her top when she did. Laura watched him intently as he undressed her until she completely nude before him. She wasn’t running but she could feel her heart racing. Heavy silence filled the room, Laura knew Deolu had questions but also knew he wouldn’t ask them just yet. Deolu released the bond holding her natural hair together and Laura could almost hear the inaudible sigh as her spongy hair snapped free. Deolu opened the door of the bathroom and pulled her inside gently. “I can bath myself” Laura finally spoke.
He smiled. “I know that” Laura made no protest as Deolu ran the water, picked her sponge and helped her bath. He took a towel and mopped her dry. As they emerged from the bathroom, he instantly, made for the wardrobe and pulled out one of Laura’s night wears. One that fell loosely around her. He knew her enough to know she slept better without clingy clothes, and going by the dark circles around her eyes, he could tell she hadn’t been sleeping much. Laura wore the cloth wordlessly and moved to the bed. Sleep weighed heavily on her lids. Deolu pushed her to a lying position and pulled the duvet over her. He sat on the bed beside her for a brief moment, staring at her face. He caressed her cheek with his thumb as he leaned over to give her a lingering kiss on her head. “Go to sleep, love” he whispered.
Laura watched as Deolu stood and walked away from the bed, across the dark room towards the door. As he raised his hand to turn on the light for her, she realized he wasn’t going to stay in the room. “Don’t go”
Deolu turned, looking uncertain. “You should sleep”
“I sleep better with you” she answered. “Stay with me… please” she pleaded. Laura didn’t think she could stand being alone. And despite the dispute, she just wanted to forget about the pain and betrayal for tonight.
Deolu swallowed as he went back to the bed, getting in on the other side. Laura drew closer, cuddling against her husband. Deolu kissed her head again, he desperately wanted that kiss all over her body but he knew it was not the right time. Satisfied with the feel of her small form against him after so long a time, he whispered again. “Sleep now, love”
And she did.
To be continued