How You Met My Father 5
Published by Luis Smietanka at Shakespir
Copyright 2017 Luis Smietanka”
I was still struck in awe by the fascinating story I had heard about my father, but the revelation about the woman before me being my father’s wife was even crazier than I could care to admit. I had no cause not to believe her now and her calm demeanor just went on to prove her right. She didn’t fidget or act suspiciously which might have been a way for me to tell she had an ulterior motive if she did.
Secondly, the environment wasn’t one someone in their right senses would want to mess in. There were more guns and other weapons around the hospital than some Army barracks held in their arsenal store. I wanted to know more though while I stared at the really beautiful woman before me. Her slender frame made her impossible not to admire and her long and smooth hair also added some level of beauty to her frame like none other.
“I’m Melissa Martin”, she finally introduced herself to me and I duly shook her hand.
I was too struck in awe and shock to respond by telling her my name. She turned around and walked towards the waiting area where she found herself a good sit to settle into and fold her arms across her chest. I took some more seconds to look at her but finally decided to return to the room where the President waited patiently for me to continue with the story about my dear father.
The tale of the assassins wanting to kill the President of the United States of America just before my father got called in to get things back under control still sounded too good to be true, but with a hint of excitement in it for me to want to know how it all transpired and who came out victorious and how. I enjoyed such tales of adventure, but this was a far more realistic one than the ones in the movies or in story books and I was more than eager.
As I was about entering into the room, thoughts of my father having two beautiful women to himself made me wonder and smile tenderly. My mother, Joana Martin had been the most beautiful woman around and people could attest to it by the way they stared and gushed at the woman all the time.
“I see you’re back”, Mr. President welcomed me into the room with a warm smile.
“Yes Sir, I am”, I responded respectfully before pulling out my chair to sit in it.
He permitted me some time to get myself relaxed before speaking again.
“Were you able to get something filling?” he inquired.
“Yes, in fact I was”, I replied while adjusting in my seat.
He coughed aloud and cleared his throat off any discomfort before proceeding with the story about my father. Like a child eager to hear about a favorite hero being mentioned, I waited attentively and with so much interest.
“So, here goes”, he smiled at men and he began.
In his narration;
Jack Martin stepped inside the White house looking like he wasn’t bothered or nervous about his mission. His composure was unlike any of his men, but they were equally calm and composed. He knew where he was headed and without much ado, he headed straight for the kitchen where he knew there were precisely seven women working in and cleaning up the place.
He had already familiarized himself with the environment to understand just how well and for certain things are being run. He committed everything to memory already before going in and his navigation of the environment came as easy as pie. His movements with his men were equally deft to avoid suspicions around the White House.
He already figured out one of the seven persons working in the kitchen at that point in time was the assassin sent in to kill the President and he kept the information primarily to himself.
I felt forced to cut in while listening to the story. It sounded absurd that he knew who the assassin was.
“Sorry to interrupt Sir, but the second killer or assassin was a woman?” I asked with a raised brow.
“Yes the assassin was a woman and it surprised us all to find out because our primary focus had been on it being a man”, Mr. President acknowledged.
I waited for him to continue narrating, ad he did;
Jack Martin approached the women working in the kitchen with his men, and took a pretty long stare at them. He thought hard and long on what it would take to figure out who the killer was and the idea hit him fast. He figured the assassin willing to die for her country wouldn’t in any way fear death. He concluded she was the most likely of them all not to feel frightened and would remain calm when the others didn’t.
All he needed was a means of making such chaos come to life and he knew just how to do.
Jack Martin asked them for a cup of tea while walking around the women who had frozen to the spot upon seeing him walk in earlier. They looked terrified of his presence while he observed them carefully. They had no idea on what was going on ad he could see it in their faces as he continued to walk around. He kept mute and said nothing the entire time.
“Is anything wrong Sir?” one of them spoke in fear. “Have we done anything wrong Commander?” she asked.
Jack Martin gave no reply and kept on walking around them. They all looked scared about something and he could read it in their eyes already. He could tell most was borne out of not knowing anything, but he ached to find out about that borne out of the assassin’s fear that her mission will fail. He knew that fear would definitely look more different from the rest and possibly bolder.
Slowly, Jack eased his hand towards his gun and the other extended freely to receive the cup of tea he had asked for. He watched around the room well enough with keen eyes and an alert state of mind as he slowly let the cup fall to the ground without any of them expecting it. They were all startled by the action.
They all shook suddenly in fright except one who remained without moving. She simply looked down to the ground and acted like it hadn’t happened at all. He had seen her and noted her reaction to his ploy. He waited for them all to gain their calm before asking the six he had noted to get out of the room. He did it calmly without instigating any measure of fear or chaos in them.
“All can leave except you”, he said to the lady who hadn’t moved a muscle in response to the fallen cup.
His men left too, as did the other ladies before he approached the woman he was left with in the room. He stared into her eyes and calmly spoke.
“What is your name young lady?” he asked.
‘My name is Elizabeth Sir”, she replied.
He nodded his head in a slow bob. “How old are you Elizabeth?”
“I’m twenty-one Sir”, she responded while taking a few steps backwards.
Cautiously and with enough awareness of any surprises, he proceeded to ask her his next question; “Who is the other assassin Elizabeth?”
She looked confused. “I don’t know what you’re talking about Sir. I’m simply here to do some cleaning in the kitchen”.
He stared at her briefly before shaking his head tenderly.
‘Your hands tell me you aren’t really a cleaner Elizabeth”, he informed her. “I can tell you’re handier with weapons, as are your fingers and well relaxed shoulders which tells me you handle pretty smaller guns from being in the military for years”.
She looked shocked but kept her composure. He took some more seconds to maul through his thoughts before finally speaking.
“You may leave now!’ he commanded her. “I will find the other assassin by myself, but I never want to see you here again if you value your life and chose to keep on living”.
His audacity startled her badly. She couldn’t understand the reason for his action.
“Why are you choosing to let me go?” she asked.
“I have a daughter of the same age as you and I can still see lots of beautiful years ahead of you in your beautiful eyes”, he explained. “Don’t come back to this country or you might never escape it. You can start your life anew somewhere else”.
He commanded her to leave immediately.
I was shocked at the man’s sense of justice. I couldn’t believe he would tell someone in such position and on such mission to leave. I couldn’t really believe he had done it because she was the same age as his daughter either. It was equally daunting because just five years back, I was twenty-one years old. It got me really confused, and made me realize there was the possibility of the Jack Martin in the story being my father.
The oddity of the same Jack Martin as my father being the hero as well as having daughters of the same age was really unlikely. I suddenly felt some sense of betrayal even more from the man. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the rest of the story as the image of my father in my head was now one of a liar, pretender and a drunk all wrapped in one.
He had hidden his identity through the years from me and it was disturbing. I thought of the possibility of the events as I recalled the days my father disappeared for weeks and came back with bloody clothes and injuries of various forms all over his body. I remembered when he came with a big chunk of hole in his head too.
Slowly, I turned to the President, feeling my curiosity try and get the better of me. I found it hard not to want to find out what was going on and he could see it in my eyes. I ached badly to find out, so I laid the template to ask.
“What happened after Jack Martin let the lady go?” I asked reluctantly but gladly. “What happened at the end of the entire thing?”
Mr. President nodded and continued;
She sighed exhaustively before turning around to look at Jack Martin just before she left the room. She was reluctant but finally spoke;
“The President has less than five minutes to live”, she informed Jack Martin. “The President will be killed as soon as he gets through with the conversation he is having with my country”.
Jack Martin listened attentively. He didn’t bat an eyelid and kept his mind focused.
“The killer you’re looking for is the National Defense Minister and I believe he is with the President right about now if I’m correct”, she added. “All he waits for his the President saying YES”.
“You have enough idea on what is going on in there I believe?” Jack asked her.
“Yes, and once the President agrees to withdraw the US Military who are in my country back to USA”, she explained.
“How is that possible?” Jack asked.
“We have his family as our hostage, and he needs to do as we ask”, Elizabeth responded.
Jack ran past her and out of the kitchen. He ran as best as he could in hopes of meeting them before they concluded their meeting. The President had already begun the radio call and was about getting through. He arrived at the door and began hammering hard against it. He hoped to pry the door apart from the outside but the Minister had convinced those in the room to remain conscious and not fall for it.
“It could be the assassin”, he said.
They further reinforced the door and he urged the President to finish up his radio chat. Jack remained persistent and pried, kicked and hammered everything he had against the door. He kept at it until it finally gave way and he stumbled into the room. He reacted quickly than the Minister could, taking out his gun and shooting at the Minister without hesitation.
He pulled out his gun and shot back at Jack immediately in response, making a good hit with his strike at Jack head. The strike hadn’t been a lethal one to kill Jack, but it brought the man down in his own pool of blood. He remained in the ever oozing pool of blood as it gushed out from his head. His clothes got soiled and he looked like he was in some serious pain in the process.
He had shot the Minister in the right place to take him down though. The shot went right through the man’s heart, sending him into shock and his eminent death just a few seconds after he had shot at Jack. Jack had come in just at the right time. His precision was impeccable and he had broken the door just in time else I would have been dead within the next few seconds.
The President was through narrating his story and it brought enough understanding of what had happened to me. I could tell the reasons for a lot of things now and it gave me enough time to patch them through. I could place a sensible explanation to events that had occurred in our house and why they did.
For instance, I recall those men who had come into our house to take my father and understood them to be his men now. They obviously were Jack Martin’s men from the navy. They had pretended to be a gang of some sort and it was all beginning to make sense to me now. The often blur and confusing images and memories in my head could be provided some good explanation.
I understood why he had the hole in his head relieving copious amount of blood from it. It was definitely the bullet lodged into his head from the battle with the Minister before the man died. I still couldn’t figure out how the beautiful lady sitting in wait in the waiting room fit into the entire episode, but I could believe it now and that was progress enough for me.
I found myself getting even angrier with the man though. I could not come to terms with the level of betrayal he shoed and acted on through the years. I found myself hating him some more and refusing to acknowledge any love for the man. I thought about him being the hero and all the lies he told me and made me believe through the years.
He never felt like he cared about me or had any emotional attachment for me either. He never protected me from any harm but left me at home to serve his country. Him going to serve and forgetting his family wasn’t something he ought to do. It was unfair he left me alone when he could have been there as a father.
“I believe I have to take my leave now dear”, Mr. President finally got up from his seat for the first time.
He stretched gently and sighed.
“When your father wakes up, I’d love it if you could let me know”, He said to me. “You can tell him I still recall what he did to save my life, and I will make all his wishes come true and he need not worry. I promise to stick by his ask even if it is difficult for me get d”.
“What did you promise him Sir?” I asked the President. “Can you tell me what it is please?”
The President got a call from his men about his schedule to leave. He exited the room and left me in there before I could even get the answer I sought. I felt lost and without any understanding, I was in shock and equally half trusting that my father is the hero while still not believing he should be one. I was trapped in a world of belief and one of denial.
I felt even if he was a hero, then it would be for the country and not for me, and I still held unto the belief that they could be mistaken. I still wanted to believe there was another Jack Martin elsewhere in the world that they were mistaking for my father. I saw him in very little different light.
I saw him as nothing but a bad father, a drunk and a disappointing liar.
I smelled funny and very much uncomfortable with the way I was. My body felt sticky, and my armpit was moist. It felt like it had been months since I had a shower last and my body itched in different places while I tried not to think about it. It had been the previous morning I had any proper hygiene done and it was telling already. I really needed to clean up and get some things I needed. I needed to have some rest too before coming back to the hospital to watch things proceed.
I walked over to the doctors to bid them goodbye, while waving at the soldiers still standing by my father’s door. The beautiful lady whom had introduced herself as my father’s wife remained in the waiting room.
“Hey, you’re still here”, I said to her.
“Yes, I will be here till Jack wakes up”, she replied. “I came here with my lawyer”.
I had no idea what she came with a lawyer for, but I didn’t give too much care into it either. I just didn’t see myself caring about her much or her lawyer.
I exited the hospital and walked out feeling tired and in urge to get home as soon as possible. I waited for the next few minutes before hailing a taxi after thirty whole minutes, to take me home. The taxi came to a halt before me, and I slid into the back seat and a swirl of emotions had begun to fuel me already. I felt restless and pretty uncomfortable.
I feel extremely stupid in believing anything about my father. I felt silly having to sit through the years believing the man to be what he wasn’t and it plagued my heart badly. I saw him as nothing but a loser and I always wondered how such loser would be able to trap and woo a beautiful woman like my mother. It never felt like a possible or right match all through the years, but there was nothing I could do about it and it pained me bitterly.
The ride provided me enough time to think and cast my mind upon loads of thoughts.
I thought about Joana, my mother again and how the hell someone that beautiful and pleasing to the sight could have fallen for a loser like my father or even granted him the opportunity to be with her. It just didn’t add up and it bothered me. He was a drunken, but a drunken with the ability to get a pretty lady’s heart. It was one of the most confusing things I ever experienced in my entire life and it bugged me.
Memories of the time my father came home as a loser and without any winning any money all through also plagued me. I felt stupid to fall for his ability to never come home with money all through the years. It was unreal and unreasonable for him not to at least come home with something just once. I know for a fact even the worst gamblers in the world had an odd day and they won something.
The odd might be slim and close to nonexistent, but even the worst of them come to get something at least once. Gambling is a game of luck but it never completely runs out for everyone. It remains even in times we never expect it to.
If he had been pretending to lose all the time, I seriously felt I should have seen through it earlier. I believed he would have gone off the path and provided me a means of finding out. My inability to spot anything made me feel rather stupid and I drowned myself in thoughts. I could only ponder on if my mother was in about the whole thing too or not. I wondered if she was in on it too and chose to keep me in the dark.
My mother and I hadn’t spoken in years after she left us both. I had heard she started up nicely for herself after the episode she had with me and my father. The information had spoken about how fulfilled she was where she moved to, finding a new husband and raising a new family over there. She seemed happy to leave behind her old life and to focus on the new one. She was contended leaving me and forgetting about my existence while I wallow in pain and trauma with the old man.
I understood she intended to absolutely forget about her past though. She didn’t want any part with it and it made me hate her even more. My hatred for her was the reason behind me choosing not to call her ever again since.
I had already taken a good cold shower and the stench from my body had gone off. I felt better than I did when I first walked through the front door. My tensed up muscles had eased too and I moved with better comfort than I did before. I changed into new clothes while trying to recall all I had gone through in the hospital. I could still see everything vividly without any hazy memories in my head.
I could still see the lady and her lawyer in my head, just sitting there in the waiting room. I could vividly make out her face and how she looked calm in a rather disturbing way. I walked down the hallway and towards the waiting room where the lady claiming to be my father’s wife sat, with her lawyer still by her side. I took a moment to draw in some deep breaths, before stepping forward.
I wasn’t in the mood to speak with anyone though. The confusion I felt within was still disturbing as well as the hatred I had grown for everyone and anyone who had their hands in making me believe things that weren’t there. I just couldn’t come to terms with the man choosing to pretend to be a loser and lie to me all those years.
It was hurting and really disturbing too. I wondered why he would lie to me if he was the Commander Jack Martin they were talking about. He never protected me or treated me right and it was a sore unable to heal. I reverted my thoughts and hoped he would truly be the drunk I was used to seeing and knowing him as.
I wished he was nothing than that. I wanted him to remain in my memory as the loser and gambler I knew him to be, knowing it would be much easier to deal with him in that light. I had known him for years that way and I wanted it to remain as such.
Tuesday, 19-12-2001, 1a.m,
It had been precisely twenty-four hours and I still hadn’t slept at all. I hadn’t had a minute rest either. Too many occurrences within the past hour had derailed my thoughts and rendered me inconsolable. I was drained out and didn’t mind getting some sleep anywhere. I dragged myself around the hospital to a suitable spot where an empty bed lay.
Without consuming myself with any more bother, I fell upon it and slept.
A sudden noise from an unknown location in the hospital woke me up. I looked over to where the lady and her lawyer were seated earlier, but they had left. I felt it was better I hadn’t spoken with them about anything. I didn’t want to and it was refreshing that I hadn’t. It felt even better that they were no longer around.
I rubbed my eyes clean of the sleep still lingering in it, while feeling a bit relaxed after the crazy day’s experience before. I was partly refreshed but had woken up without any intention to. I was certain the lady and her lawyer just couldn’t bear staying in the hospital for that long and had decided to simply go home. It was no mean task for me even though I did it well.
I tried sitting up before catching sight of an unknown figure standing right in front of my father’s room. I was startled and a tad bit confused too. He looked old and I could guess his age should clock around fifty years and slightly above if I wasn’t wrong. I wondered what he was doing there, prompting me to get up from where I was to approach him.
I walked gently towards the unaware man, trying not to startle him so I can make a proper introduction.
“Hi” I said in brief, watching him turn around immediately.
“Hello young lady”, he responded with his arm extended to meet mine. “I’m the General Commander of the US NAVY”.
His introduction sent chills down my spine. I felt some sense of discomfort but not entirely in a bad way. He was the man who had called the President five years ago and told him about a threat on his life. He was there alone though, and had simply come to pay his respect to my father by visiting as a friend. I was standing before my father’s proposed boss from the US Navy and it felt surreal.
He had his driver alone waiting for him outside and no other person with him. He had decided to leave any of his men behind.
Slowly, I was beginning to believe the tales I had heard of my father. I was starting to see reason and truthfulness in the man’s true identity as the President had explained to me earlier. It made me want to know certain confusing things and get some proper light shed on them. I wanted to know about the kind of things he did in the military the most because he lived nothing but a fake life at home and around me.
The interest to find the real man behind Jack Martin slowly consumed my sense of interest and I had the opportunity to do so. I had just found my source and it came in the frame of the old but agile man before me. It came in frame and figure of the General Commander of the US Navy.
“Can I pick your brain about certain things Sir?” I asked after we had done the due introduction and he knew who I was.
“Certainly my dear”, he obliged.
I led him to the room opposite to where my father was, where the President had given me enough details about his encounter with Jack Martin, my father just yesterday. I proceeded to make him a cup of tea after he agreed to it, before handing it over to him. It was the perfect company to have a conversation with.
“I want to know how my father, the man lying over there is or became the Commander”, I said to the man before me. “How was he like and how good was he to warrant the position because I’m sure becoming a Commander in the Navy is difficult”.
He smiled at me and took a sip from his cup of tea. I was patient enough. I was patient to listen to anything he had to say.
“I will be happy to tell you about your father”, he began by saying.
He was about telling me a fact about my father that would come to shock me even more than anything I had heard before. I was about getting stunned.
“The first time I met your father was in prison”, he spoke without sugar coating his words.
I gasped in shock.
“In prison!?” I asked.
“Yes dear, in prison”, he responded. “As at that time, he was on a death sentence awaiting his execution”.
It made my stomach crawl within.
“It was a day before his execution precisely”, he continued. “It was on that day we had our first conversation”.
He ended his sentence with a long laugh and it bothered me some way. He took a sip from his cup of tea while my eyes widened and my jaws felt unhinged as I gasped in shock. It was shocking for me and wanted to find out some more.
“What more have you done that I’m still not aware of, father?” I whispered. “You keep on coming with different ways to surprise me”.
I definitely wanted to know more about the man. I couldn’t wait to hear the rest.
…to be continued…