‘’I’m sorry.’’ Rea managed to murmur when her mother came to settle beside her on the bed. She felt so much for the woman. She most definitely didn’t deserve a man like that and she took this upon herself not to settle for less either

“it’s okay. This day was bound to come anyway.’’ She cautioned and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

“don’t you think I deserve knowing why all this is happening between the two of you? I mean why pretend like everything is okay when its not? And why does he keep treating me like I’m some form of outcast or something?’’

‘’let’s save it for some other time honey….’’

“no, I wanna hear it now. Why does he cheat on you and drink so much?’’

“it’s a long story.’’

“well, I’m all ears…’’

Mrs Brew sighed and tried as much as possible to avoid her daughter’s gaze. “I made a mistake when I was younger than this. Your father and I were seeing each other when we were quite young and what we thought to be a fling resulted into you and since he came from a noble family, we had to get married when his parents found out I was pregnant.’’

“and…’’

She stood up this time and tried as much as possible to hold back the tears in her voice while she continued. ‘’your father wasn’t the only one in my life at that time and he was also in love with this girl from school but she didn’t have what you’ll call ‘Noble blood’ and since our parents wanted us to be together, we decided to make arrangements on how we could see our lovers while pretending we liked our parent’s arrangement.

And then, someway somehow, your father’s girlfriend found out about the whole arrangement thing and how his family didn’t want her and she left him a note and ran away. Joe wasn’t himself anymore and threatened to leave if she didn’t come back.

“I did all I could to make him stay, I tried convincing him about how much his family needed him and we were alone in the house. That was the first time I’d ever seen him drunk in his entire life. we were not that close but Joe wasn’t the kind given to drinks.

Rea was quiet and so she continued.

 ‘’and so I stood as a bait. i forgot about my secret boyfriend and kissed Joe, hoping he would come to his senses, break the kiss and take hold of his life. my goodness what in the world was I thinking?!! We didn’t stop there, one thing led to another and I got pregnant.’’

‘’he knew about my other boyfriend and told me to push it on him but how could I? When Joe was the one who got me pregnant. I’d fooled around with Bob in the past but the test confirmed Joe was your father.

‘’And so his parents and mine knew it would bring shame to their reputation if my pregnancy showed and I wasn’t married yet and so at the age of 18, I married your father and ever since then, my life has been a living hell.’’

She grabbed tissues from her daughter’s bedside table and blew her nose into it.

Rea had never seen such a sad woman in her life. living with a man she didn’t love for 16years while he fooled around with other women? Something was missing in her story and she didn’t have to think deep before she knew  why Mrs Brews still lingered in this house.

“when do you plan on getting a divorce?’’

The woman widened her gaze. ‘’you’re okay with it?’’

She shrugged. ‘’if it’s gonna make you happy.’’

She shook her head and blew her nose into it. ‘’now is not the right time—‘’

“because you love him?’’she interjected. ‘’because you loved him enough to use yourself as bait when he was going to run away to some place he knew nothing about. You loved him enough to tie him down with your baby so that he would have no option than to forget about his other girlfriend and you’ve still kept on loving him even after 16years of marriage that hasn’t worked out since it began?’’

“I just want him to be happy…’’ she sobbed

“well, that man is never going to be happy till you give him the freedom that he wants outside marriage. And you are never going to stop crying till you give yourself a break from the selfish man that he is and start thinking of yourself.’’

‘’but—

“you’re a beautiful woman—Mum, and I want the best for you. You’ve stayed too long in his grip and you’re afraid to spread your wings and fly just like how you’re doing to me.’’

‘’all I’ve ever wanted is for you to have the best and not make the same mistake that I made.’’

“well, you’re not doing a good job as far as I can see.’’

She dabbed her face slowly and nodded without saying a word.

‘’it’s your life Mum, not his. If he wants to spend his life drinking and sleeping around with a wedding finger to show that he carries the tag ‘married man’ without showing any interest in you, then its high time you call it quits.’’

Her mother looked uncertain. ‘’but it’s against my beliefs…’’

“well, so was premarital sex—‘’ she blurted out before realizing what she had said. “I’m sorry….’’

‘’no, its okay. A mistake, that’s what it was…but I’ll never regret the day you came into my life Susan Ruth Brews. You were so beautiful and never wanted to let go.’’

Rea smiled sadly. if only she knew how far she was from the real S.R. Brews

‘’why did you name me Ruth?’’

“well, it’s a name from the bible. It reminded me of myself in a sort of way.’’

“how?’’ although she was ignorant about the whole bible thing, she was curious

‘’well, Ruth found mercy and fell in love with this great man even after there was no hope at all.’’

“you think I will?’’

‘’we both will. My faith is that strong.’’

“do you think God hasn’t forgiven you and is now punishing you in some sort of way?’’ Rea queried remembering how she’d heard stories of people acting sober because of their past. Most especially religious folks she’d encountered

‘’well, I hope so.’’

‘’did you ever ask him to?’’

Mrs Brews blinked.

“I know I don’t know much about God to be asking this sort of stuff and its not in my place anyway to know but I just know that from what ive heard, I think forgiving you isn’t the problem, getting you to move on is.’’

Her mother smiled and a tear escaped to her cheeks down her throat. She bent low to kiss Rea on the lips.

“I love you.’’ She stroked her hair lovingly and Rea could only mumble ‘you too.’ Before she stood and headed for the door.

‘’goodnight.’’ She hit the switch, leaving Rea in darkness.

She didn’t know when she dozed off.

 

 

 

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Susan was so engrossed in her homework that she didn’t notice when her mother strolled into her room. She was mumbling to herself in French and scratching her head with her pen when her mother spoke up.

“didn’t know you speak french’’ she teased with a smile.

Sue looked up.”’Maman!’’

Mrs Rivera cocked an eyebrow and shook her head. ‘’you never seize to amaze me.’’

she laughed. ‘’I’m glad I do.’’

Grace studied her daughter’s face and wanted to point out so much that this wasn’t the Rea she knew but she didn’t want to ruin the moment. What if her daughter was changing for real? What if her prayers were being answered after all and Rea was beginning to see things differently and understand that life wasn’t going to be the way she’d always imagined it would be and that she had to stop taking out the anger of her father’s death on herself and her new family and embrace what she had.

“your room.’’ The changes in the room were one of the things she first noticed on entering. Organization and neatness were finally making their home right here in her room. “it looks better.’’ Was all she could say

“a girl’s room shouldn’t be any less.’’

Grace nodded and settled on her daughter’s bed when she moved for her to settle down.

‘I just wanted to tell you I’m glad you’ve decided to put the past behind you and move on with Rick and your siblings.’’ She looked into her eyes then and raised her hand to stroke her hair. It had been years she had touched her daughter’s dark hair which she had inherited from her late father.

“I love you Andrea.’’ She reached for her hand and squeezed. ‘’and I want you to know that I understand if you still want to keep your father’s memory but Rick will love you like his own. You gave him a chance today after so many years of me wishing and hoping that you will open up to us.’’

       She blinked back tears and smiled wholeheartedly hugging her daughter fiercely before Sue spoke up.

“could you please remind me what happened to Dad?’’

Grace released her and inhaled deeply. ‘’you don’t like hearing it and I don’t like telling it either.’’

“please…’’

“you were only 9 years old then when the accident happened. Your father and I had a fight that day and he had stormed out of the house in anger. If only I knew that was the last time I was ever going to set eyes on him again.’’ The tears had begun strolling down her cheeks since the memories became fresh replaying itself before her. ‘’a careless truck driver had crashed into him and that was the last time we ever saw him. you knew about the fight. You knew when He stormed out of the house and when you heard about the accident, you blamed me for everything. You yelled at me and said things to my face, and I wished I could turn back the hands of time and bring him back. I cried so many nights Rea but you thought you were the only one grieving. You ran away from home when you were eleven and even when we found you, you proved stubborn and so rebellious. Like you were out to get me y’know.

I was miserable for days. I missed Jerry, I missed you because you felt If we didn’t have that fight, your father would still be alive now and you hated me so much.

And then Rick came into my life and I found hope. I found the reason to live again and love once more. He tried to do so much for you but you just wont let him. you hated the sight of him. even When Mickey and the girls came, you didn’t really act like they meant anything to you. And I thought maybe seeing a therapist would do you good but you flipped and you’ve always wanted to be alone and everything else that came along with it.’’

Sue’s eyes filled with tears and she sniffed. ‘’I’m so sorry for putting you through all of that.’’

Grace managed a smile. ‘’its okay. I understand that He was your best friend and your father but He was my husband and I loved him. you don’t know how much I hated myself for that silly argument that came up between us.’’

“I was just a selfish little idiot!’’ Sue blurted out and embraced her mother allowing the tears to flow freely. How could Rea have done this to her hurting mother? She wasn’t the only one who had been hurting. Everyone had been hurt but the girl blinded herself to all of it

She was going to make it up to her new family, no matter what…, and do what Rea had refused to do when she had the chance to.

she only hoped she was given enough time.

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