“That….that thing lying over there is not my baby,” he said slowly through clenched teeth, making sure not to draw any attention to them from the other new mothers in the ward.
She sat up straight.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I said that is not my baby!” he hissed, louder this time, before he could check himself. A few people turned to look their way.
“You are crazy,” Zip said disbelievingly, but he could see the slightest hint of fear in her eyes. He knew. He knew she knew and he knew she knew that he knew.
“You call me crazy and you are the one who just gave birth to a white baby!” he almost spat at her. That’s how much she disgusted him right now.
“I’m sure there is a mistake somewhere, it cannot –“
“Don’t test me woman!” he exploded. He couldn’t help it any more. The pain was just too much. The calm look he was trying to put on his face did not portray the turmoil in him. The emotions were too conflicting, the thought of his wife betraying him too much to take in. He never knew that such strong emotions lay inside him and the revelation shocked him to no ends. The torture felt like a physical wound and he knew if he kept on standing there he might end up killing someone. He would be lying if he said the thought hadn’t crossed his mind in the last few minutes.
It was Betrayal at its best.
He’d come rushing immediately he heard the news. He had dropped everything he was doing and come running like a mad man, only to be met by the bluest eyes he ever saw and a tiny beautiful head with Caucasian hair. Although to be fair it was difficult at the time to say if the baby had Caucasian hair or it was just new born baby hair. He stood there in shock, taking in everything. There was no way on earth that baby was his own. He did not know what hurt more – the fact that the baby looked so beautiful and innocent or that it was a boy. A boy!
Ten years! He had been waiting for a baby, praying for a child – no, begging God for a child– for ten years, only to be slapped hard in the face with this. More like a slap in the balls is what this was. Ten bloody long years.
And father lord, of all the ways that you decided to expose my wife’s infidelity, you chose this one. You win, Father. You win. What a cruel joke. The utter humiliation!
He turned to look at Zip, the wife he loved with all his heart. The woman he would gladly exchange his life for and at that moment as he’d stood there still in shock, she had been smiling at him, beaming as if everything was okay. The audacity! Was this how he had been duped all along? He felt the bile rising and could feel the corners of his left eye twitching. He could smell the impending disaster and he wanted to go on his knees and cry to the gods for playing this cruel trick on him.
Instead he just stood there folding his palms into fists and unfolding them.
“That baby is not mine,” he managed to repeat for the umpteenth time.
“Of course he is yours darling. Ours. Where is all this coming from? I don’t understand you at all. Is anything the matter?”
She sounded so sure of herself, so sure of the fact that the boy was his and the confidence only served to infuriate him further.
“Devil,” he spat disgustedly
“What’s that love?” she asked with that innocent bewildered voice again.
“I said you are the devil!” he shouted and now everyone turned to look at them.
You could hear a pin drop.
“Once you are healed come and pick your stuff from my house. I do not want to see you ever again.”
“But darling –“
“Don’t darling me,” he barked harshly and the tears came to her eyes. “It’s over. I repeat, just in case you did not understand me the first time. I do not want to lay my eyes on you again. If I do, something bad might befall either of us. While I was busy hustling my ass off, busy working extra shifts in preparation for our baby – my baby – you were busy spreading your legs for other men. A white man to be more precise.”
There were gaps from the other people in the room. He had their full attention. A baby cried from somewhere and the speed with which the baby’s mouth came into contact with its mother’s breast was impressive.
Zip was crying. She looked so heartbroken, so heart stricken that his heart almost flew out to her. She was convincing alright, he had to give her that. She looked so tiny, so scared, this woman that he loved with his whole being. What a brilliant actress she was.
“I gave you everything you asked for. I have been the perfect husband for you and this is how you choose to repay me. Karma will be knocking in your door soon.”
He started to leave and zip clung to him, whimpering like a little baby.
“Please don’t go darling; I swear there must be an explanation for his blue eyes. It could be some sort of condition. Please, let us talk to the doctor, maybe he has an explanation for all this.”
“I might be a lot of things woman, but I am not a fool. Even I know when to accept defeat. Let go of me.”
He moved forward hurriedly. The sooner he left that place the better for everyone. Zip couldn’t hold back anymore, she let out a loud anguished cry. She avoided looking at the women; she couldn’t stand their looks of pity. The others on the other hand went back to whatever they were doing. In the next few minutes they would have forgotten everything, seeing as they had massive problems of their own to think about.
As soon as he left the premises he called his father, relaying the heartbreaking news to him.
His father was quiet for a long time, leaving him to think he had hung up.
“Hallo, are you there father?” he said into the receiving end.
“David,” his father begun in an almost inaudible voice, “there is something I need to tell you.”
“What? What is it?” the panic in his voice could not go unnoticed.
“I don’t know how I never told you this before –“
“Told me what?” David yelled into the receiver.
“Your great grandmother was white.”