Jimmy sat still at the wheel of his car. The basement parking lot was murky and silent which wasn’t unusual being a rainy Sunday in the CBD. Outside, the soft patters of the rain hit the ground in harmony. They were slow and lazy and hadn’t changed pace for the half hour he had been sitting there. The nipping cold outside devoured everything in its path, and now, even the delicious smell of rain was nonexistent.
On his laps were documents that would change the course of his life.
His doctor friend had asked him before she left, “Are you sure you’ll be okay alone?”
He said yes because he genuinely believed he did. But after she had left, he couldn’t bring himself to open the brown daunting envelope, he just stared at the hospital logo on it, replaying all the happy memories of his eighteen-year-old marriage.
He remembered especially the birth of all his three children, how ugly and fragile they were, how they smelt and more importantly, the joy they brought to him and his wife.
The first child, their only son, had especially been their greatest blessing. After years of trying to get a child, and hundreds of thousands down the drain on treatments, they had finally been successful in getting pregnant. The news had driven them insane, in a whirlwind of joy and gratitude to God. They were healed.
The two daughters that followed came without much struggle. They were healed.
“You know these women can’t be trusted, bana. Juzi some friend of mine just discovered that their last born wasn’t even his. Imagine! After just eight years of marriage. They’ve even separated.”
That’s all he heard from a group of men in the elevator a week ago. And that little seed of doubt planted by the random strangers grew into a little thorny shrub of deep retrospection that led him to this moment – in the basement parking lot of a building holding the DNA results of his three kids. All the wonderful memories had segued into one fiery ball of doubt and suspicion, the prominent question in his head being, “what if?”
He finally mustered enough courage and tore the seal off and pulled out three documents, on each, the names of his seed; all bearing his name. He couldn’t bear the thought that one or all of them might carry his name illegitimately.
His hands were sweaty and they shook uncontrollably like a recovering junkie.
And then his worst fears were confirmed when he saw the results of his son’s DNA. They were negative. His boy wasn’t really his boy and that crushed his soul.
He looked at all the incomprehensible biological terms and percentages, muddled and terrified, and wondered what he would do. Do you end two decades of happy marriage because of one old die? Would that be selfish to the kids? And what about his boy, would he look at him the same way? These were unnerving questions that tormented his mind.
All he could do at that moment was cry, and so he did.