Unbelievable! I just couldn’t and wouldn’t believe the twins could do such a thing. Who would have? At first, I almost ran mad but was gradually able to come to terms with the reality staring me in the face. Maybe I played a role – I mean a decisive role in the development of such a plot – and the twins merely reacted at the wrong time and place. Would it have been different if they bothered to listen to my side of the story? Maybe, but they didn’t. I tried every night to explain to them; I woke them up at dawn to defend myself. But no, they just wouldn’t listen.
I picked up the last bottle of wine from the fridge – chilled of course – and poured the little that was left of the whiskey into the glass. Amazed at what was left of the full bottle I kept in the fridge a day before, I remembered that my husband rinses his mouth with it both morning and night; he calls it holy water. With the glass in hand, I moved to the veranda of our three bedroom flat apartment, sipping the wine like a little girl would pinch a piece of cake in a bid to maximise the pleasure that comes from it.
The mild texture of the evening breeze is always soothing, charming and tempting on that sea-side area of the Lekki Peninsula. I was tempted to mix with the breeze and vanish into thin air in a search for another bottle of whiskey, but the thought of my husband’s sudden return restrained me. As I sipped the wine, I began to think about the unfolding incidences in my world in recent times. Swinging like Oswald Mitchali’s “Boy on a Swing”, east started to turn west; and south heading north. I thought of their conversation once again…
“Wake up, Taiwo! Daddy is here again” Kenny alerted a hungry Taiwo to the arrival of their father.
“Let me be. Don’t you recognise the steps of daddy?” Taiwo gnawed and whined at his twin brother’s disturbance.
However, Kenny would not just let him be. Obviously, what has always been good for Kenny’s goose hasn’t always been so for Taiwo’s gander! While the former has been growing increasingly bigger in recent weeks, the latter has been gradually diminishing.
“I’m serious, Taiwo! Won’t you come and say ‘Hi’ to Daddy?” Kenny continued to aggravate his brother’s anger, borne out of hunger, unknown to him.
How could he have known? His brother had never made his grievances known to him. As far as he was concerned, there was no fire on the mountain. Meanwhile, Taiwo awaited a last chance to vent his repressed anger at his brother and finally got his opportunity when Kenny hit him one more time.
“You are too daft to be my twin brother. I have always suspected your arrival from the beginning. How you got in here remains a mystery to me” Taiwo uttered angrily.
“What do you mean?” the brother asked.
He was curious, but not inquisitive enough to unravel the plot behind his brother’s anger. Taiwo looked away, hoping that his brother would not repeat his query, but he did.
“What are you driving at, Taiwo?” Kenny asked again.
“Haven’t you noticed that daddy has been away for over a month now? Yet, you keep screaming ‘daddy’ each time you hear a knock at the door. Don’t be daft, Kenny!” Taiwo responded in a more relaxed and reasonable tone than he did initially. Kenny must have swept the sleep off his swollen face.
“How could you say that? If daddy has not been around, then who has been knocking at the door almost every night when we are dead asleep? Who has been rubbing our heads mildly and rocking us to bed when mummy sings her sweet and soothing lullaby?” Kenny kept piling up a heap of questions until his brother begged him to stop.
Of the truth, Kenny had been very insensitive to the goings-on in and around the house. He was not even aware of the fact that their father had travelled a month before and was due to return the following week. He had been blind to their mother’s loneliness and eager craving. How could he be so daft not to have noticed the obvious reality Taiwo had been faced with for a while now? How could two-hearts beat as one and yet reason un-alike? Taiwo couldn’t have told him because he was also unsure of the thesis and the antithesis he had been trying to synthesise to no avail for a while now.
“Haven’t you observed that daddy does not knock in a hurry like that? He doesn’t hurry in and out like that; he always takes his time. Not only that, Daddy does not veil his face from us with that waterproof rubber he wears like a jacket…” Taiwo was poised to go on and on but Kenny cut in unsolicited.
“That’s true, you know. I knew it! Daddy doesn’t step out in a hurry like that; and he does not leave us without giving us some pap to stimulate our appetites!” Kenny submitted, confused.
I was dying gradually within me as I played the eavesdropper. The breeze was gradually losing its potency as my eyes kept counting the stars of heaven over and over again at such an unimaginable speed. I wished I knew that they knew what they knew. Maybe I would have made all things new before then. In any case, it was already too late for wishes – reality was already staring me in the face…
“It has to be daddy’s friend. He has been very stingy since I have known him. The first time he came in, he left me weeping until daddy later came to wipe my tears” Taiwo added cynically.
“But, how could that be? He is daddy’s best friend and daddy trusts him with his life. See what man is doing to man…!” Kenny lamented.
Taiwo felt the need to talk but had to restrain himself. His twin brother was, no doubt, as innocent as him but he could not but worry that his very own brother – one who carried his semblance and shared everything in common with him – was a product of men’s wickedness.
Uncle Tom had come that night when his father was on night duties. It was the night of the evening when his father had deposited him. He was alone and free just for a few hours before Kenny arrived to compete for space and every other thing he had thought would be his, for at least several months. That was the only night Uncle Tom had not veiled his “pen” with a rubber.
Kenny finally came to terms with the reality of the present as he recollected Taiwo’s initial statement: “You are too daft to be my brother!”
The twins, realising the reality of their separate but inseparable conceptions, stared at each other with their mouths agape.
“Unbelievable! Daddy must be daft to have entrusted mummy to Uncle Tom” the twins remarked angrily, throwing punches right inside their mother’s belly.
I am the mother of the unborn twins. I was told I feinted on the veranda but what happened after that no one ever said.