“What is going on here?” Diana interrupted making Grace look up at her. “Honey, what are you trying to do?” she looked down at her husband who shook his head knowing what she was preventing.
“It’s better we tell her the truth Diana, she will get to know the truth one day anyways. So why not set the records straight before I die” he coughed painfully.
“What are you talking about?” Grace looked at her mother and father now totally confused.
“It’s nothing my baby. Your father is just being delusional I think it`s his sickness. Don’t mind him. Besides who says you are dying? God will heal you honey and there is no need for such drama now” she added and grabbed Grace by the hand.
“Come on Grace, help me serve lunch on the table, your father must have his meal now” she pulled her out. Kent lifting his head to call back Grace but she disappeared before he could get to find his voice.
“I don’t want my daughter to know any other parent but us honey. I don’t really care about your guilty conscious she is never going to learn the truth” Kent recalled the reaction of his wife the time he told her about getting to tell Grace the truth.
“Listen Diana, it’s not fair that I die leaving this world with such a secret. I know this is hard for us but it’s good to do the right thing, Grace knows that we love her, she will come to understand our intentions. She is 18 for heaven`s sake, she will have to know her mother was stupid to dump her and will accept what we did for her” Kent tried to argue his point but Diana would not agree to his idea. She warned him she was not going to risk losing Grace because of his dying wish.
Kent lay his head down trying to push the sadness in his heart, he feared he could not live to see the day Grace would learn the truth, his body was failing him every day.
“Forgive me God” he breathed heavily leaning back and closing his eyes to sleep since he was now feeling so weak and tired.
“Mom, what is going on with daddy?” Grace asked her mother as they served lunch in the kitchen.
“Forget about what your father is trying to tell you. It’s nothing important I swear, if that was the case I could have told you myself. What could it be if you could think about it? “She looked at Grace with a weak smile.
“I don’t really know mom, it’s just that dad looked so serious and sad about whatever it is so…”
“Forget it Grace. Go on and serve this on the table” Diana pushed her giving her a bowl of soup.
“Its okey mother, you don’t need to sound so upset” Grace shook her head wondering why her parents were acting so weird. At the table as they had their lunch, everyone was silent. Grace looked at her father and later on her mother and noticed the awkwardness of their silence.
She cleared her throat after drinking some water and placing down the cup.
“So, I met a guy from school” she stared making her father look up at her.
“Hm. really?” Kent responded
“Yep!” she laughed slightly shaking her shoulders.
“Who is he?” Diana asked talking for the first time.
“His name is…” Grace paused recalling what happened between her and Junior. She realized she had not intended to tell them yet, but only wanted to find something to talk about to avoid the deep silence between them.
“His name?” Joshua answered to excitedly wanting to hear about the guy in her sister`s life.
“you are a baby, this is elderly people`s talk Joshua” she laughed.
“Okey, it’s not what you guys are thinking, it’s just mare relationship. I just wanted to tell you I have a male friend” she smiled
“Well, it’s good to hear that, provided you don’t do anything that will affect your studies” Kent spoke his voice weak he sighed deeply pointing at the water bottle.
“Will it hurt to know the name of this friend?” Diana interrupted as she poured the water in a cup for her husband.
“His name is um, Jack Bwalya” Grace found herself mentioning without thinking twice about her answer.
“Bwalya huh?” responded Diana.
“Hm hm.” She murmured looking up at her mother who smile.
“You know when I look at you I always thank God, the first time I held you in my arms you were so small and innocent. You never cried but I could see that you were so much vulnerable. I knew that day you were my baby and I would love you forever. I am proud to see you grow up into this wonderful lady my daughter. I will never trade you for anything” she added looking at her husband who knew the insinuation of her last sentence.
“Thanks mom, I love you all so much” she smiled widely liking the fact that the atmosphere felt friendlier.
A week later, Grace was in her room working on something, when her phone rung. She pulled herself off the bed to grab the phone which was connected to a cable charging.
“Hey” she answered seeing a strange number.
“Hey Grace, how are you?” a voice on the other end responded “Jack here” the voice added before Grace could get to ask who it was calling.
“Yeah, Jack, sorry I couldn’t recognize your voice” she answered walking back to her bed and siting down.
“I know right? I should have earlier but I was carried away by a lot of family issues. My sister just got married and you can imagine the issues of organizing things here and there”
“Its okey” Grace shrugged to herself.
“So how have you been?” he asked after a couple of seconds’ silence
“Not so good. My father is sick. Unfortunately his condition is quiet bad. He has been in and out of the hospital the past weeks” she told him.
“Oh no am sorry to hear that. Am actually on my way back to Lusaka. Can I get off at Monze to see you?” she heard him ask and for a moment she had no words for him.
“Isn’t this guy being too imaginative?” she asked inwardly.
“So what do you say?” he asked and before she could answer she heard a loud scream coming from her mother’s bedroom. Without warning she dropped the phone and rushed out.
“Grace, Grace? Are you there?” Jack asked looking at his phone but there was no response. He decided to cut the line and call back but the call went unanswered.
Where Grace had rushed to she found her father down on the floor gasping for his breath her mother trying to lift him up.
“Mom what happened?” she asked moving to the side to help her lift him to the bed.
“I don’t know he just collapsed and fall off to the floor without warning” Diana responded her eyes filled with tears.
“Daddy! Dad!” she tried to call him but Mr. Mwape could only moan his eyes lifted up.
“We need to take him to the hospital” she shouted running to grab the keys as her mother sat there holding her husband.
“Come on mom, we need to move now!” she started her mother who stood and the two of them struggled to lift Kent to the car outside.
“Joshua call one of the male workers to come help us now!” Grace screamed at her brother who was limping towards them surprised.
30 minutes later, Grace was seated next to her mother who kept patting her thigh as they waited for the news of her husband from the doctors.
“Mom” Grace whispered looking at her mother.
“Mom! It`s going be okey” she raised her voice seeing her mother not responding to her.
“Oh Grace this is so hard. Your father has been improving in the past days but now this. Am so afraid but I know I ought to be strong for you both. Look at me, am the one behaving like a child here” she chuckled sadly.
“You have matured so early like…” Diana stated pausing as she realized what she wanted to talk about. Her mind had gone back to 18 years back when Jena had helped her nurse Grace when she had some high fever, she had reacted so fast and maturely helping to calm the temperature for the baby in a few minutes. Diana looked at Grace in her silence seeing the definite similarities in character between Jena and Grace. Even though Grace had no so close looks to those of her mother. Diana could tell Grace was in between her father and mother in terms of her physical markup. However, one who had never seen both Jena and Ben would understand that fact. Diana sighed deeply inside pushing down the sad thoughts of knowing Grace did not possess anything form her nor her husband.
“The doctor is here” Grace Spoke making Diana wake up from her reverie.
“Doctor how he is?” she quickly rushed to the doctor full of anticipation.
“He is stable, we have managed to get him out of danger. Keep praying Madam, it’s not easy having what he has” the doctor added and walked away.
“Can we see him?” Grace asked before the man could move further away.
“He is out of danger, I will permit a short visit cause we have to check on other things on him soon” the Doctor responded and Grace rushed to the ward to see her father.