My mind was heavily loaded with various stuffs of which I could not easily get rid of. The issue of Maggie and Benjamin was the most problematic one then that of Sepiso leaving me in the city at the time I really needed her by my side. You would not believe it that I cried the whole night that day I bade farewell to my Sepiso. While on the way, she kept me posted and it was more like we travelled together up to Kasempa. I remained lost and confused in the city since then. Owing to this, I got a local leave of twenty days just to stay at home and refresh.
Even if it was somehow embarrassing, I called dad and informed him about the DNA and fertility test results. He would in turn inform mum. I heard the old man getting disturbed on the other side of the phone conversation. He lost his patience and immediately his tone changed hoarse. I heard him calling mum to hear the disturbing story at hand. I did not mind wasting a lot of talk time; I let them talk about it and I affirmed. It was more like a funeral for mum, she cried badly. I heard her complaining about how she was blindfolded by Maggie that she loved me and she could not cheat on me.
“My son, you have not been married, instead, you were cohabiting with Maggie all this while. You took her in town for your friend. She is not the first offender of adultery but the extent to which she has played it, is way too painful. Bearing three children outside marriage, yet one is married is nothing but the highest order of infidelity and indiscipline. You ought to thank God always because you were at the verge of being killed by those two criminals. My last word is that this nonsense shall not go unpunished!” mum sparked.
“This I can’t accept! Were my healthy oxen for dowry paid for Benjamin? None of my children should suffer when I am still around. It is high time Benjamin together with his family knew me. There is no time to waste any further, take them to court. Isn’t your learned lawyer, Edah, there?” dad breathed fire.
“She is there, dad,” I responded.
“Make use of her straight away. Let the culprits appear in court as soon as possible. Within three days henceforth we shall put everything in place and we shall be your visitors that side. Some people want to be riding on other people’s backs. No, not with my children!” he smirked.
Dad is a man who always meant his word. I knew and I needed no one to confirm whether he meant it like that or not. His message comforted me and left me feeling energized for once. I terminated the call and I had to do other few stuffs.
Someone once said that if you have a lot of things in mind or to do, start with a meal and all will be well. In the same vein, I demanded some food from Memory. It was rice and beef stew alongside my favourite drink, SUNQUICK. An idea of going out dawned immediately; yes, I needed to have a sigh of relief even for an hour or two before evening approached. It had been long since I met my guys, Joshua, Zulu and others. Therefore, I invited them to accompany me out because being alone would not do me any good than harm.
They knew how meticulous I was with time, they came hastily and I dictated the place of my choice to date. I pressed an order of two crates of beer for them and gulped it as we sat outside the pool house near a swimming pool. Loud music was playing from inside the pool house and we were treated finely to it. The guys were so glad to learn that the bond was still active. I assured them that was when it was getting hotter and hotter. Well, I could see their extended hands for cheers in exhilaration.
We had fun at the lodge such that I did not notice how and when twilight approached, I was surprised to learn it was quarter to 9 PM. That was enough for the day, we packed our items and off we left the place. Needless to mention, I did not take beer for I had parted ways with such habits.
The following day Dr. Milan called to check on me. I thanked him for the care and courtesy. I assured I would get over the ruckus and emerge victorious in no time. My statement sent him hysterical. Psychologically, I interpreted that he was expecting to hear some sorrowful message from me but soldiers are never like that. During my military training, one of my instructors once instilled a maxim in me, ‘worries are for fools whereas tears are for babies’. This maxim rendered me strength mainly during times of distress. Every time I remembered it, I felt rejuvenated. So this is where I sought the solace I gave Dr. Milan.
I would say it was Dr. Milan’s call which reminded me to take up the case to another; I contacted the lawyer and informed her about the final results I collected at the hospital previously. I did not conceal anything thereof. Instead of feeling sorry or sympathizing with me, Edah simply told me the field became even more fertile, it was conducive for planting new crops. Furthermore, she stated bumper harvest was very certain and I would for sure enjoy it. I wondered the kind of perception this was that she could vest interest in someone’s real life challenges.
Finally, as I was still wondering the way she was considering my case at hand, I was invited to meet her the following day in the morning at her law firm. I was agreeable to the invitation.
The case was successfully filed in and a date was set for hearing. Edah was becoming merciless in her dealings, she urged me that she would make sure Benjamin compensated me heftily for marriage interference, raising, grooming and educating children who were not biologically mine. She cited quite a number of examples of similar cases she had since handled and their outcomes. Until she said this, I did not comprehend her earlier statement of seeing my issue a fertile field and the certainty of a bumper harvest.
Although I was still gripped by terror and uncertainty, I was encouraged by my lawyer’s positivity in handling the case. I would be the dumbest to reject being compensated because my parents had also stated it, especially dad who complained about his healthy oxen which were paid for my dowry. I had to play a low profile and let my able lawyer fix the culprits either handsomely or beautifully. And I would not mind sharing the proceeds in the ratio of 60:40 with Edah. All I wanted was punishing them and not gaining anything from them. Erring behavior ought to be punished.
Just as I said, dad was a man of his word; it did not even take him a week or so to come after hearing the court session was set. As usual, he came along with mum. I explained to them in length every detail of the procedures and results for DNA and fertility tests. Mum could not manage to fight her tears back. She was very emotional and uncontrollable that she cried like someone close to her had just passed away. Dad and I suffered calming her down. Dad bemoaned that sometimes people tend to think village girls are well nurtured and cannot bring disrepute to their families. But with the behaviour characterized by Maggie, it was all contrary and pathetic.
The academic term came to the end. Quickly, I whisked the children to my home and I refused to have them remain for holiday tuitions because they were supposed to be at home as the court passed judgment. Maggie could not even persist as she had since been in receipt of the court summon. It was however tough living with children who I knew were not biologically mine and could by no means or miracle become mine in this natural life. Nonetheless, the children knew literally nothing about the then confusion. This is when I could secretly take it upon myself examining the three in ascertaining they were not mine. Truly, my eyes were opened and I started noticing some unusual traits in them. Looking and observing Stain critically, I could see the semblance with Benjamin.
One hot afternoon I sat outside the house in the grass with my parents having some light moments while everyone else remained in the house watching television. We caught up on various topics which were befitting and we cheered. There were no dull moments where my parents featured. It was from this background mum brought out an issue of the illegitimate children. She confided in us that indeed the results were true because according to her analysis and close observation, Stain, Marjory and Peggy had no semblance of me in any kind. I was perturbed but there was nothing I could do. Dad nodded in affirmation and said that finally there was light at the end of a tunnel. They encouraged me to continue remaining strong and everything would be well for me.
Days were fast moving and the set day for court hearing was at hand; Zulu took us there early in the morning. Meanwhile, Edah drove herself and were arrived almost at the same time at the court premise. The case was scheduled for mid-morning. Therefore, we had to hang around whiling away time.
Few minutes before 11:00 hours the court clerk called out my name as a complainant of the next case in which the defendants were Maggie and Benjamin. We took our positions like we always did. Amazingly, the defendants had no lawyer again. I whispered to myself that if they thought things would turn out in their favour, they would receive the greatest tsunami of their lives.
The case was read out, I was made to testify and I did just that. Just by sight, one would straight away deduce the seating magistrate tolerated no level of nonsense. He meant serious business only. I was asked to give the court evidence that the children were not mine and why I summoned Benjamin unlike any other man. Edah took it up and elucidated what prompted her client to undergo the two rare tests. To cement it, she produced a print out of text chats intercepted from Benjamin and Maggie’s conversations. She handed a handout of eight pages consisting. Shame was written all over their faces and none of them could have some energy to argue apart from affirming. I thank the court however that they did not suffer me explain how I intercepted the chats.
Additionally, Edah stated that no other man would be dragged to court on behalf of Benjamin because in spite of what had happened, constituting to my divorce Benjamin had no remorse or fear of staying aloof from Maggie. Instead, he was always there collaborating in waging attacks on me.
So Maggie was taken on by the magistrate; question after question. The magistrate could fire psychological questions which eventually left Maggie vulnerable. In other words, she accepted the children were not mine and she knew that very much. Benjamin lacked both courage and intellect; he was only shaking in the dock and had no line of argument. He quickly accepted the three children were his thus why he teamed up with Maggie in fighting for them.
Following all the court proceeding we have had prior to this, as my lawyer submitted to the seating magistrate, he avoided calling for final judgment on a later date. He adjourned the case to the afternoon session of the same day for final judgment.
Hastily, we drove in town for our lunch break. At the table, everyone was cheerful. Edah was commended the way she professionally handed the case. Maggie and Benjamin were fixed. In response, Edah urged us that the defendants would gnash their gums in the afternoon session.
We were back in court; the magistrate went through the entire case reminding both the complainant and the defendant how it had been testified. Having done so, he was set to pass judgment unless one had some observation or whatsoever. There was total mortuary silence in court. Then he gave some opportunity to the defendants to plead for leniency.
His judgment was that Benjamin compensates me for grooming his children and interfering in my marriage. This was translated to K200 000. He surrendered two cars for concomitant. Furthermore, that same day the children were to be gotten from me. So we went home with some court messengers to witness the handing over of the illegitimate children. The children cried so much to be separated from me. Lweendo was equally uncontrollable to be separated from his siblings.
I sat on the couch holding my face in the palms while analyzing how I practically and possibly became a stranger in my own house. Children I raised, groomed, nurtured, educated and built a bright future for, finally became strangers to me. And we were not related in anyway whatsoever. This world can be so rough even to the innocent souls.