It is morning. Eyram is ready to go to the hospital. She plans to quickly go through the morning’s scheduled surgeries and then go to check on Chris. As she steps out of the room and locks it she sees Effe’s car turning into the yard. Eyram’s face clouds over, and she sighs. Her face hardens as she waits on the porch. She is aware that there is a very painful wall between her and her sister, and she wonders regretfully if that wall will ever get broken down, and if they will be able to recapture that wonderful fierce love they once had for each other.
The car stops, and Eyram sighs again when she sees that her parents are also in the back seat. The three of them climb to the porch, and silently Eyram turns and opens the door.
I don’t think this visit will take that long, Rammy. Mom and Dad didn’t even know I was bringing them here until I entered the Quarters.
Steam turns from the door and raises her eyebrows.
Oh. Wow. I see. You won’t even sit?
No. We’re not sitting.
Ken Kedem and his wife exchange sad looks.
Now, what is going on with you two? I didn’t raise you two to go to war with each other.
We’re all going through a very painful situation here, Eyram, especially Effe, who is losing her husband and son. It’s time to stand strong.
Eyram looks at her mother bitterly, and sudden tears form in her eyes.
Typical, Mom. Simply classic. Why am I not surprised? Of course, you will always take her side. She’s the angel, and I’m the evil one. She’s always been your favourite.
Oh, Eyram! How can you say such a thing to me? Take her side always? Baby, you’re both my children! I love you both the same!
Oh, spare me the dramatics, Mom! We all know she is your favourite! I grew up with that notion, and you know that is right!
Tears of pain spring to Madam Ivy’s eyes.
Oh, then I’ve failed as a mother! Then I’m a bad mother! I’ve never taken sides, Eyram. I’ve always loved the two of you equally. If I didn’t agree with you on some issues, then that was how I genuinely felt and not because your sister is my favourite!
Ken Kedem puts a comforting arm around his wife’s shoulders.
My God, Eyram. You’ve hurt your Mom! She has never been biased, and you know it!
Eyram looks at Effe.
Her look is filled with bitterness.
So, we’re all here, Ef. Surely there must be a reason for bringing them here.
Effe is sad. She walks forward until she is inches away from her sister.
What other reason can there be, Rammy, apart from your infatuation with my husband?
Infatuation! Wow, Ef, don’t you think I’m old enough to know the difference? And husband! That’s cute. The last time I heard you were informing us that after the trial you and your Steve were going to get married.
Pain crosses Effe’s face. She reaches out blindly and takes Eyram’s hand.
Good God, Rammy! I was hurting! I thought Chris betrayed me! I was in a deep emotional pain! I couldn’t think straight.
Eyram snatches her hand away.
Of course you couldn’t think straight. What happened to your vows? What happened to ‘for better and for worse’ Effe?
She had a right to err, and to have a misunderstanding with Chris, Eyram. She has just learnt by the hardest way possible that trust and belief in any relationship is key. Come on, baby girl! You’re not really thinking about taking your sister’s husband, are you?
They’re not married anymore, Dad! She divorced him!
But it still does not make it right, my darling! Don’t tell me you’ve already slept with Chris!
No, I haven’t. It’s only because he was confused and he didn’t want to do it. If he had wanted to, I would’ve gladly slept with him.
Dearest me, Eyram! Are you crazy? That will be incest!
What do you mean by incest? Chris is not my brother, Dad!
But he’s my husband, Rammy. He is my family. And I love him.
(with a curl of her lips)
Love him? Love him enough to consider prosecuting him, Ef? If you had had your way, he would’ve been in prison by now, and you would’ve been Mrs. Effe Hollison by now. How convenient of you to forget that!
Effe looks at Eyram, and she nods and wipes tears from her eyes.
There are some bitter lessons we learn in life, Eyram. Bitter lessons that stay with us forever. I’m not proud of what I did, and I’ll forever live with that pain. The bottom line, however, is that I love Chris, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I’m just begging you, as a twin sister to a twin sister, by the special bond we share, I’m begging you. Please don’t take my breath from me. Don’t fight me over Chris.
Tears come to Eyram’s eyes.
For several seconds she cannot speak.
They look at each other, and slowly Eyram shakes her head.
I can’t do that, Ef. I’m really sorry. I love Chris, and I’m going to have him, if he’ll have me.
Oh, Rammy! Don’t break this family apart.
This nonsense must stop right now, Eyram. You can’t possibly have an intimate relationship with Chris. It is madness! I won’t allow it.
We wouldn’t be needing your permission, Dad. I’m sorry. If he would have me, we would leave this country. I have it all planned out. I’ve received citizenship in the United States. Chris will come as my husband. We can have a new start in life. Effe never trusted him anyway, and she never believed in him. I’m sorry, but she doesn’t deserve him.
Effe slowly puts her bag on one of the stylized cane chairs on the porch. She opens the zipper and takes out a little box. She peels the cellophane rubber off the box, opens it, and extracts a white plastic pregnancy test kit.
She slowly walks out of the porch.
The three people stare at her.
Turn your back, please, Dad.
Ken Kedem turns away. Effe parts her legs. Eyram is looking at her sister, and suddenly she looks broken, deflated and shattered. Effe holds the kit under her urine flow. When she is done she cleans her hands with a sanitized tissue, and cleans the kit.
She walks back up to the porch and shows the reading face to Eyram.
There are two thick maroon lines.
Effe is pregnant.
Tears fill Eyram’s eyes and spill down her face..Her lips tremble, and her whole face is one of terrible pain and absolute agony.
(in a pained whisper)
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(with a sad sigh)
Yes, Rammy. Three months gone. Chris and I made love, and I’m pregnant again. For him. What’s the child going to call you? Auntie? Mom? God has blessed us with another child. Chris’ child. Please. Let us end this right here!
You have no right, Effe, damn you!
Effe puts the kit on a low table and looks at her sister.
Listen, Rammy, I have every right! I went to my wedding bed a pure virgin. Chris is the only man I’ve ever been with. When I saw him making love to Elaine I had every right to be angry and jealous. I had every right not to trust him. I had every right to be resentful. I had every right to be angry with him!
She stops because there is pain in her throat, and she swallows painfully.
Eyram just stares at Effe and cries silently.
You trusted Chris, Rammy. You gave him a place to stay, and you always believed him. Do you know something really sad? In spite of all you did, nothing gives you the right to sexually desire your own sister’s husband. I may have treated Chris wickedly, but helping him is your right as his sister-in-law, but you had absolutely no right to marry your own sister’s husband, even if we were divorced. That’s the difference between us, Rammy. Look into my eyes, Rammy, and answer me truthfully. Do you think that I, your sister, will ever find your husband desirous enough to sleep with him, supposed you had been the one with a husband?
Eyram opens her heart, searches within, and then she shakes her head as her tears flow faster.
No, Ef. You’re too principled. You’ll never do that.
Effe nods sadly.
That’s all I wanted you to know. A woman can be an angel to her brother-in-law, but no woman anywhere, should take over her sister’s husband. There is absolutely no justification for any woman to love the man her sister has married, no matter how good she is to the man. There’s no justification whatsoever!
With a little sob Eyram turns and flees from the porch. She enters her car, spins it round, and speeds away.
Effe looks at her parents, and there is great agony on her face. Ken Kedem puts an arm around her.
It’s okay, sweetheart. She’ll get over it.
I hurt her, Dad! I hurt my sister so much! But I just can’t live without Chris. He’s the love of my life.
I know, my dear. Don’t worry. She’ll be fine.
JAILBIRD continues tomorrow