By Sheillah Maonga
To read part two, click here
All this while, their parents were looking at them waiting for them to finish. They had learnt early on not to interrupt the twins when they were talking to each other. Because that hardly worked, since the twins ignored any interference until they were done talking to each other. It was as if they had their own private world. Nafula and Wakoli had realized a long time ago that when they went in one of their conversations, they would not pay need to external voices.
“Are you feeling calmer now?” Fiona asked.
Phyllis nodded her head.
“Now, tell me why you think there has been a death? And why specifically our older sister?” Fiona asked Phyllis.
“Because we are a family of five. And four of us are here accounted for.”
“Why think of death though?”
“Because dad and mum are together. They have come to see us together. For the first time ever. And it is not visiting day either.” Phyllis said.
“Hang on, Phyllis. Wait. Just shhhhhh.. Let me think.”
The parents still kept quiet and looked on. This was the way the twins communicated between themselves. So, they kept quiet and followed the conversation.
As much as they were identical twins, their personalities couldn’t be any more different. Phyllis was a gentle, sensitive soul prone to anxiety. She was a worrier. Fiona on the other hand was stoic, calm and hardly took life seriously. The other noticeable difference was that Phyllis was an academic genius. She was a gifted student while Fiona struggled in class. However, Fiona excelled socially. She was popular amongst her peers and had so many friends. Phyllis was a loner. She struggled to talk to people, so relied heavily on her sister. The two balanced each other out. What the other lacked, the other filled the gap. They were extremely close and didn’t pay heed to each other’s shortcomings.
“Why are you here?” Fiona finally addressed her parents. It was as if she had not been struck by the oddness of them being together. That was how she was, she took things at face value and didn’t dig deeper. Her twin was the opposite. She was a deep thinker.
“We came to see you.” Wakoli answered lightly.
“Why come together? This has never happened before. In fact, daddy has never visited us.” Fiona said.
“We are a family. We can do things together. It is not that unusual.”
“It is unusual in our family. The two of you have not lived together for a year. Why are you presenting a united front now?” Phyllis asked. They dreaded Phyllis’ questions more than Fiona’s.
“We are united, Phyllis.” Nafula spoke for the first time.
“Has something happened to Rosie? Is that why you are here unified?” Phyllis wailed.
“No. Nothing has happened to Rosie. She is fine. She texted me yesterday asking for money. As usual.” Wakoli said.
“Oh, she asked you for money as well?” Nafula asked.
“Don’t tell she asked you as well. I gave her, she insisted it was urgent.” Wakoli said.
“I sent her the money she asked. She was very insistent it was needed there and then. She is always asking for money. I don’t think university life is that expensive.” Nafula said, shaking her head.
“There is something they are not telling us.” Phyllis said to Fiona, cutting their parents’ conversation short. “They are holding something back from us. It is making me more anxious.”
“What are you holding back from us?” Fiona asked defiantly. Like the petulant teenager she was.
“It must be bad news. I cannot handle bad news at school.” Phyllis said hysterically.
“It is not bad news.” Wakoli said. “It is great news, in fact. Your mother and I are getting back together.
There was stunned silence before Phyllis started weeping inconsolably.
“No. No. No. This can’t be true. No. No.” She said. Then she ran away.
“Now look what you have done.” Fiona accused, before she ran after her sister.
“I don’t understand why they took the news so badly. I now regret coming here to see them. They have not expressed joy to see us. You were right, we should not have stopped by this school.’ Wakoli said exasperatedly.
Nafula started laughing. Wakoli could not understand what was funny, so he asked her to share the joke.
“For the first time ever since I knew you, you admit that I am right in something and you were wrong. It is indeed funny.”
“You have started. Even a compliment, you twist it round to make it look like a bad thing.”
“I am just amazed that you can see the wisdom of my words. Very late it is, but at least you have acknowledged that I was right.” Nafula answered wryly.
“I regret coming to see them. They were not happy to see us.”
“I am happy we came. It is good to see them.” Nafula said.
“Today is a day of miracles indeed. You applauded my decision. This is a miracle indeed.” Wakoli said.
“You are doing exactly what you accused me of doing. Turning something positive into negative.” Nafula retorted.
“Here we go. You are about to start yelling at me for messing your life.”
“And yes, you have messed my life. But I shan’t yell. Instead, I will go and talk to my daughters. At least they appreciate me.”
Nafula purposefully matched to where the twins were, leaving Wakoli rooted on the spot.