Both private and public schools were closed. Stain and Marjory joined us at home for the holiday. One thing I noted from mum was that in spite of her not being in good terms with Maggie, she had no hard feelings for my children. She loved them unconditionally. For Peggy, the youngest, she could and did not mind carrying her on her back around in the compound. She embraced all of them and chatted with them most of the times. By the way, I named my last born daughter, Peggy, after mum. Maybe that is the very reason she was so fond of her. Unlike many other town dwellers, I ensured all my children had no difficulties in speaking my native language (Tonga). Even though it is not taught as a Zambian language in Lusaka Province, they knew how to speak it fluently. This enhanced effective communication whenever they were chatting with their grandparents. They watched films, documentaries, movies etc. together since both mum and dad were elite.
Notwithstanding the abovementioned good rapport, it did not take long from the time all the four children came for a holiday; they heatedly wanted to know what transpired for their mother to leave the house. Little did I know Stain had been in constant communication with his mother while at school, how could I know that when I did not know he had a handset at school?
His mother briefed him about the confusion which was going on and that it was threatening the marriage to fall apart.
It was in the evening slightly before supper time when I heard a soft knock on the door to my master bedroom. I was busy sorting out clothes from my closet in an attempt to come up with an outfit for the following day’s outing as I was invited at a braai. I wondered whether it was Stain or Marjory knocking because for Lweendo and Peggy were not familiar with soft knocking. I allowed whoever was there to enter.
Softly, Stain opened the door and closed it some seconds later. Marjory came directly to where I was busy sorting out clothes while Stain sat on the bed and looked so troubled and gloomy. Marjory offered helping me finding and pairing at least an outfit for the outing. Afterwards, she tenderly held my arm and led the way to where Stain was. We sat there for a while without uttering a word to each other. Marjory looked directly into my eyes and then she closed up the gap by sitting closer to me than before. As an alert military man, I quickly assigned an inference and knew nothing was good that evening.
Marjory could not wait any further to ask me whether I enjoyed the challenges I was bearing then. I tried to challenge her what challenges I had; she started by mentioning the way I struggled sorting out the attire for a braai – a task which could not have taken her mother a couple of minutes for she knew how to match my clothes perfectly. It is not a joke that I was a rough man and spared no time for nonsense but I had a very soft spot for my children, my wife and mostly all my family members. The way Marjory handled and approached me that evening finished me completely.
I dodged her questions strategically so much that she could not feel hurt at all. However, Stain, who was cleverer than her; he blatantly challenged me that he knew what had transpired between his mother and me. Being the first born, he was informed by her the moment I sent her out of the house. Moreover, she was in constant communication with him and he was fully updated with the court proceedings. After being troubled and haunted by it, he informed his immediate young sister but kept it privy to the other two younger ones. Therefore, he stated there was not any need of me concealing it to the people who actually knew it.
I felt both upset and low learning how much information my children had concerning my failed marriage. I hugged both of them and affirmed the facts they had. I sincerely apologized and asked them what they thought could be done (I knew however if they said I forgive Maggie it came from her). Their answer was just as I guessed. Their main purpose of coming in my bedroom was to plead on her behalf. Certain things call for no one but a Solomon. As such, I asked them not to reveal it to anyone in the house but their mother could come back and be forgiven in no time later. I saw real happiness in them even as they hugged me and saying I was the best dad ever in the world.
Zulu drove me to the office with a view to requesting the shift officers stop guarding me at home. We had a long discussion with my seniors that mid-morning. I tried raising points as to why those officers were to stop guarding me. But unfortunately, the guys convinced me that task was in fact to my own benefit. They would stop them doing it the moment everything was in place.
I picked one aspect critical from their argument: It was not only about me attacking Maggie but also me being attacked by Benjamin because he had no way out of the case owing to the valid evidence I had. He was then living between the devil and a deep sea. He could do anything possible to have himself vindicated out of the filth he dragged himself into. One of the captains even reminded me of how one man was murdered in cold blood because the defendant knew very well he could not be spared in the court of law. The most potential way out was by clearing the complaint so that he could have no complainant once he appeared in court. I nodded in agreement and left.
The Captain’s candid explanation rang an alert bell in my mind why I was left armed. Benjamin was indeed a threat in my life. I shook a bit as I sat in the car while assimilating the Captain’s line of thought. Well, then, fine. Whatever it called for, I was equal to the task. If he wanted to kill someone; why not killing Maggie and not me?
Ugly thoughts befell on my mind. I asked Zulu to drive home so that I could get my pistol and arm myself even as we went out. I tacked it in the pair of jeans trousers together with six ammunitions. Then I ordered him to take me out for a drinking spree at my favourite lodge. Before buying a single bottle of beer, I made sure I surveyed the place and noticed its weak points. We sat outside the main drinking place where those who did not like much noise drank from. Zulu started roasting the chicken we carried forth.
Drinking gave me comfort and solace. At least I could have nothing much to worry about my then happenings. Having gulped quite a number of bottles of beer, I was motivated to jump into a swimming pool and cool my body. I swam and sat there in the shallow water while sipping my dear Whiskey Black.
Suddenly, a couple arrived at the swimming pool where I was. They put down their beer, undressed and dived into the swimming pool also. Using my fake parallel eyes of inspection, I saw how they played cuddle games, which were so breathtaking and mind-blowing. The woman’s body looked like my wife’s. I was moved greatly and disturbed. Anger coupled with envy engulfed my mind. The tasty beer turned sour in my mouth. I went out of the water and walked to where I had left my clothes, got dressed and told Zulu to drive home.
I was only awakened for supper by Peggy. It is inexplicable and indescribable how I managed to sleep for more than four hours without even removing my sneakers. I woke up and found Peggy standing beside my bed. I sat up and witnessed how heavy my head was pounding.
My eyes were sore red and chilly itching. My mouth had an awful odour. She looked at me without saying anything apart from inviting me for supper. I thanked her and we went to the dining table. That is when I remembered I had given Zulu a chicken to roast for me. I was so certain I did not have its taste. He must explain who ate it or else he will not afford to dodge my iron fists!
Mum had always advocated for me quitting beer drinking, her observation during the days she was with me at home was that my drinking habits had worsened and she was not happy with that at all. She sat me down and expressed her displeasure about my conduct. My line of argument was that I was drinking so as to drown the sorrow and torment I was going through. Whenever I was drunk, I had a sigh of relief and everything seemed right. She was quiet and followed my explanation keenly. This gave me even more courage to explain in details how the issue of Maggie could disappear the moment I gulped beer.
Intelligently, she asked me if I knew that sorrow was a good swimmer which could not drown or be drowned. Instead, it floats on top of beer and resurfaces properly when all the beer disappears in the blood stream. She further urged me that I would end up losing myself in an impossible way of attempting to do away with the memories of Maggie. Mum is one woman who would at times have no sympathy. That day she talked against all the nonsense I had been doing of late. She could not spare me considering that I was a family man and with grown up children who might be hearing what she was saying. She reprimanded me the same way she used to reprimand us when we were still growing up. I thank dad who came to my rescue.
Since I could not quit beer drinking at once, I was asked to be drinking from home because mum and dad would leave for the village immediately after the court’s final judgment. However, before they left, they wanted to discuss and iron out certain issues with me which they had always been failing to do due to my drunken situations. I had no reservations but to sober up and become a good guy for once.
Maggie had been calling and texting mum frequently requesting her to calm me down so that I could forgive her. She had really learnt her lesson. Life was no longer worth living anymore. Mum simply handed all the texts from Maggie to me in order for me to read for myself. I roared angrily and castigated everything because I had nothing to do with her in my life. Unfortunately, dad was the one who rebuked me then. If she had only cheated on me by two or slightly more times and with only one man, it could be possible she might have had indeed learnt her lesson and she would not cheat on me again. “Have you ever caught or suspected her of cheating on you before this incident at hand?” my father asked me.
“To be sincere, she has never done such a thing in our marriage. This incident is the very first one and I have never had any clue to have such suspicion,” I answered earnestly.
Owing to my response, they persuaded that I forgive Maggie and we get back together. They cited lots of factors they considered as parents who had seen dark and light days. I wondered what came over them to start sidelining with her when they all knew she misbehaved and disowned me.
Not long ago, dad was the one telling me my children would not be the first ones to have a stepmother… I was urged to take my time when finding another woman to marry in order to eschew such problems. But how come they had to make Maggie a darling again? This world is indeed crazy! Not wanting to hurt their feelings and show disrespect, I pretended I heard their line of thought. Nonetheless, I could not forgive her. I requested to give them the feedback later.