“…..Melanie got on the plane with her three boys, she thought that they were flying out as a family of four while in reality they were five! Yes, Melanie was pregnant, and she didn’t even know it.
Settling down was a challenge because she was almost sick all the time and after about a week, her sister took her to see a doctor who ran a battery of tests and he came back and told her that she was expectant. The doctor could see her face turn white and he immediately sensed that there was a problem.
“Do you want to continue with the pregnancy?”, he asked
“I just saw all the colour flush out of your face in shock. That’s why I asked”
“Yeah, I’m in shock. I can’t believe that I’m expectant, but it’s fine, I will keep the baby”
She broke the news to Nancy, her sister who got excited, but she could see that Melanie wasn’t as thrilled about this new baby. She thought that maybe it’s because it brought back memories of Borris and so she tried to console her. Both of them cried in the car each for a different reason and that’s when Melanie decided to tell her the truth.
“There is a very high possibility that this may not be Borris’ baby”
“What?” said her sister
“Yes, I cheated on my husband with another man”, she went on to narrate the whole story without omitting any detail.
Nancy was visibly shocked, she couldn’t believe the fact that Melanie could cheat. She had always been the angel of the family with upstanding morals and now she has just said that she slept with another man other than her husband? While all this is going on in her mind, she tried to calm down as she remembered that her baby sister was in a confused state, still hurting from the loss of her husband and her guilt. She held her head in her palm not knowing what to say.
“You must be very disappointed in me”, said Mel
“N…no….noooo, er….Um…I’m not disappointed,er… it’s just that this is too much information unfolding at once and I’m trying to process everything”
“I know you Nancy, you are my sister and I’m familiar with that look”
“Don’t worry Melanie, you are my baby sister and I want you to know that you can count on me no matter what. We shall get through this and I’m here for you”
Melanie did not believe it, but she decided to see how things would unfold. If she sensed even a little hostility or judgment coming from Nancy, then she would move out. On the contrary, her sister turned out to be a darling. Together with her husband Jeffrey, they cushioned her with love and supported her together with the kids. They went out of their way and did everything they could to help them settle down and integrate well to their new life in Australia.
“There’s something that I need to tell you”
“Okay, I’m listening”, said Casey
“Ohh Congra…..wait….wait, what did you say?”
“I’m pregnant Casey”
“Melanie, you are pregnant?”
“Yes, I am”
“Can I ask who the father is?”
“I’m not sure”
“Hmmm, have you been active?”
“Noooo, Nooooo. No, No….!!!”
“Oh, owkay, fill in the blanks”
“When I said that I wasn’t sure, I meant, I don’t know if it belongs to Borris or Maxwell”
“Okay, I get it”
Melanie had kept it from her best friend for 2 months. She didn’t know how she would react because she really valued her opinion. Casey affirmed her and told her that she had made the right decision to keep the baby and now she was able to join the dots at the airport lounge when Melanie had developed some serious hunger pangs. 2 weeks later, she was in Australia to offer her support to her best friend and Melanie really felt loved and cared for.
In the meantime, Maxwell was busy with his kids, but there was something missing. He no longer felt the enthusiasm to wake up and go to work and he was really getting frustrated and irritable. His mom thought that it was because he was missing Melanie, but then he told her that he had decided to close that chapter.
“Did you close the chapter or the book?”, asked his mom
“What do you mean ma?”
“Let me rephrase, did you stop reading the chapter because you are no longer the hero of the story, or did you come to the end of the chapter but then left the book open, just in case, or did you close the book and better yet burn it?”
“Mum, you like talking in parables and I don’t have the mind to process your imagery. All I know is that Melanie and I were a mistake that should never have happened. I indulged in an emotional affair and then I allowed myself to get into bed with another man’s wife and he is now dead, because of me. I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. When I came back from Honolulu, I told you that I was done with women and I just want to be a single man and focus on my boys for the rest of my life. Tafiah left me and …. I just don’t know…right now I’m at a crossroads with my career. I just feel tired and I want to quit.”
That’s exactly what he did. He resigned from his job and decided to go back to school. He had developed a budding interest in photography and he also wanted to be an active writer, more like an author. He decided to major in journalism and minor in photography and because he did not want to risk bumping into Melanie, he moved to another city so that he could make a clean break or close the book altogether like his mother said.
Weeks turned into months and Melanie had taken time to explain to the boys that they were going to have another sibling. The scan revealed that it was going to be a boy and she gave them the freedom to come up with a name which took them a week to have some consensus and they finally agreed on Norman. That was another hurdle that they had crossed.
One morning during breakfast, her water broke, and Nancy rushed her to the hospital. In about half an hour, baby Norman was born and just as Melanie had feared, he was a cute biracial baby that weighed 5 pounds. There was no doubt that this was Maxwell’s son, she had hoped that he would somehow lean more towards being Caucasian but nope, he (Norman) was right in the middle and now she was engulfed in a sea of mixed emotions. The joy of being a new mom to a handsome baby boy who was also the nagging constant reminder of her illicit affair.
Her kids were excited to have a baby brother, it’s just that he looked different from all of them. The adjustment was going to take a while and they all decided to pull in the same direction. Casey came to see them and was of course the natural choice of a godmother. Melanie decided not to tell Maxwell even though Casey thought that she should inform him, because he is the legitimate father and he has the right to know. Melanie was firm, she couldn’t break past her guilt and Nancy sided with her sister.
When Norman was turned 3, Melanie and the boys moved out to their own place so that they could find their own footing in this new land. The older boys had grown up and became responsible teens, they soon learnt how to embrace the new addition with different features. They all loved, dotted on him and cared for him. As he grew up, they had to learn how to protect him from bullies who made fun of his skin color or his hair. It wasn’t a smooth ride, but they were all on the same page and that’s what really mattered.
Back in America, Maxwell’s decision to go back to school was one of the best decisions that he had ever made. He connected with his passion of writing and taking pictures. After graduating, he decided to do his own thing. He became a blogger writing on topical issues and current events. Once in a while he could write for some news agencies as a freelance journalist. He also developed his own online gallery where he sold his pictures. He became really good at it and a friend advised him to start his own art studio where he could have his own exhibitions and also invite other artists and photographers around the world to display their work.
He loved his newfound passion, because it gave him the freedom to be what he wanted to be and at the same time work at his own pace. The flexibility it accorded him meant that he could spend quality time with his boys and be more intentional as a dad. The only sad bit in this story was that one woman was not here to witness this transformation. His mom had passed away 2 years ago.
On this particular day, he stood at this new location looking at this huge empty wall in an effort to decide what picture was going to fit there. Then someone tapped his shoulder and he felt a flutter in his stomach, it was a familiar one, he wasn’t sure what to make of it, he had a headache since he hadn’t eaten the whole day and so he thought that he was daydreaming, but that butterfly was unmistakable, only one person in the world had made him feel that way.
So, he turned….
TO BE CONTINUED…