Moira was quietly sipping on her hot mug of coffee when the phone startled her. With the drizzle of the rain and cold wind blowing harshly outside, all she needed was to sprawl on her couch with a warm blanket wrapped around her feet as the fire burned in the fireplace. The crackling of the burning wood coupled with the sound of soft instrumental love songs from her radio was a perfect set up for something special... she wasn't expecting anything anyway,until her phone rung.
"Hi Babe... I hope you are in the house coz' am coming over." It was Arroyo; her... lets just say 'best friend' for now, because he hasn't asked her anything important yet, though they sit and discuss anything and everything about life. Some busy bodies say they are birds of a feather. He was full of surprises;both kind and rude,depending on his mood. She wasn't sure what to expect on this particular day,though she felt the air suddenly warm and her heart play a little dance to his voice across the line.
She opened the door for Arroyo. He briskly walked in,shivering from the cold and dripping wet from the rain. She could tell from his arched brow that he needed some warmth; a cup of coffee perhaps, sitting closer to the fireplace perhaps,sharing her warm blanket perhaps,or ...just spooning and graduating from best friends to God knows what perhaps.
"This bastard needs some warmth..." he drawled. He had a way with words,sometimes she couldn't help but bubble with laughter. "What? why would you call yourself a bastard?" she gazed in awe at the expression on his face. He avoided eye contact. Something was bothering him." Coz' I am one...a bastard child" he responded, taking the cup of coffee from her hands and gazing into the fire. He had a heart of stone. A stone that can shiver and bleed. So they sat by the fireplace and had this deep conversation. She listened;
"Am afraid I may not make a good husband or dad. My father left when I was four for another woman. My mother struggled to raise us (they are four,a girl and three boys)all by herself. Our relatives always referred to us as "bastards" and "baggage" because we didn't have a father and were always in need of help. I only had my maternal grandpa as a male figure in my life,but I rarely visited since they insisted I should visit my paternal relatives instead because my culture says "mtoto mvulana ni wa baba"(a male child belongs to the father). I'd love to have a family of my own and raise it right...with my wife,but I am afraid."
It was sad to hear him doubt himself and sink into self pity. A man with brains and brawn like him deserved nothing short of a happy family. He was respectful,intelligent, hardworking and with a good sense of humor. His family were their (Moira's) immediate neighbors and her dad,being the strict no non-sense man that he was, had outlined clear instructions on who's who to associate with his family. Arroyo's straight grade A in High School earned him handshake from Moira's father and a place in their home compound,something that other young men envied.
"Hey, don't let self pity pull you down and suffocate you," she tried to reassure him. "Besides, I am a bastard child too!" she added, a genuine smile pasted on her lips. "What?..." He asked, his facial expression torn between astonishment and amusement."...Why would you call yourself a bastard?" So he listened;
"My parents never wed in Church. Their marriage is cultural. Our Church leaders refuse to acknowledge them (my parents) us as part of the congregation that can partake the Holy Communion since their matrimony is traditional. Only a Church wedding in white for mama (a colour often worn to depict purity and virginity for the bridesmaid) will make us (us!?) legit. That makes me baggage to the Church too because Mama will never qualify for the white gown. Hilarious!" She exclaimed,gagging her mouth at the last statement.They both burst out laughing.
How would they have known while they were in their mothers' wombs that they would be born bastards? Who breathes life in them anyway if not the same God of the legit? Does anyone have a right to judge them over circumstances beyond them?
They stared at each momentarily before reassuring each other: Let the world deal with it and educate the next generation on "Bastard Child Prevention strategies and Mitigation measures."
"We are gems...not baggage!" Moira concluded, and to that,she earned a warm hug at the fireplace and a kiss on her forehead at the door,before Arroyo disappeared into the drizzle. Something special had happened.