She came to collect the shared property the following day after the court’s ruling. I had wanted not to be around the time she came but on a second thought it was imperative for me to witness the execution of the legal exercise. She was in company of her two blood brothers, a sister and another stranger whom I was not even interested to know. They got whatever they were obliged to get. For once, my house looked and became desolate, my car park was shaken. They made close to four trips to finish ferrying the items.
My parents were somehow upset and had to sympathize with me. None of my children was at peace; Stain and Marjory were old enough to read what was taking place but not for Lweendo and Peggy who cried their lungs out. I only realized of late to send Zulu to take them out in town for shopping. However, it was tough because they had all protested the offer.
Lweendo and Peggy demanded to go with their mother but I strongly opposed them. Maggie also enticed them to follow her. After a prolonged struggle of suffering them not to go with her, and with less achievement, I entered my bedroom and came out with my black whip. They all knew what its appearance meant to anyone who was erring. So I grabbed Lweendo and gave him three good strokes, and Peggy was next. I further angrily roared that no one should cry.
“Like this and you expect me to leave my own children behind! How much more will they be whipped in my absence? It is a lie; whatever it takes, I will take them though not today. I swear upon my Saviour!” Maggie protested.
“Get them at your own peril! I will bury you alive if you think I am at your level of doing things. These hands have touched and handled both good and bad stuffs, evil and sacred stuffs. Dare getting them and ensure you shift to the moon where I cannot afford reaching. Your stupidity shall not be tolerated in my yard anymore!” I roared furiously.
My father only came by, held me by the hand and whisked me to the backyard garden where he pumped some sense in my mind. That old man knew how to calm down someone because at the end of it all I found myself guilty. By then, there was silence in the house and everyone was glued to the television set. Dad asked me to publicly apologize to Lweendo and Peggy for what I had done to them recently. For the sake of peace to prevail, I swallowed my pride and apologized to them.
Living in the same house with your parents when you are also a parent to someone is rough at times. And it makes you to appear as though you are not yet eligible to own a home. My parents could defend my children regardless of whatever wrong deed they did. Mum would mainly say just understand them and learn to know that is not easy for them to go through what they were going through; losing their dear mother in such a way. Actually, they were as tormented as I was.
One day, as we sat in the living room watching TV and catching up on various issues, Lweendo posed a question which was so touching and disturbing; the boy wanted to really know and understand factors which lead to divorce among some couples. I felt pushed to the wall and stabbed on the back. I could not even have the energy to explain to him. It took the courage of his grandfather to categorically explain to his understanding. At least I was saved from the challenge. Shockingly, the boy further challenged his grandfather why he had not divorced his wife if divorce was one of the ways of problem solving. Or better still, he wanted to know how many wives he had so far divorced. Hey, I saw my old man in a fix and struggling to answer the grandchild’s questions. The fact is that he told him he had not divorced anyone before. Lweendo turned around his eyes and gave me that look of being displeased. Before I said anything, he looked away, sobbed and went to his bedroom.
I had tried to ignore him but mum motioned to me suggesting I follow and calm him down. Have you seen what I mean when I say living in the same house with your parents when you are also a parent is rough at times?
TWO WEEKS LATER
My leave was over, I resumed office work. School holiday was over. Stain and Marjory were back at school. I took them there and cautioned their boarding teachers against allowing them accessibility to strangers. Should I hear that anyone came through and did anything stupid to my children; the teachers would not like my conduct in any way. Anyone who dared visiting them should produce an approval of express permission from me. Teachers from both schools agreed to my submission.
I made similar restrictions to the school where Lweendo and Peggy were admitted. I went further to urge Memory and Zulu not to condone Maggie in any way. She should not be allowed to enter the house because she might be having a hidden and deadly agenda. The best was rejecting her right at the gate if she came.
It was high time my parents left for their home at the village. Before leaving, they sat me down and we discussed various life issues at length. I was time and again reminded not to rush into a relationship which would result into a painful marriage. I was reminded that certain ladies and or women are desperately looking for marriage as though they lost it somewhere. Therefore, falling in love with some desperate ladies would prove to them I was open for marriage and I would find myself in an inescapable and inexplicable marriage. If I wanted to remarry, I needed to take my time and thoroughly find a woman would not only love me but also my four children, my aging parents, my brothers, my sisters and all my family. I was not to be quick in declaring my interest in looking for a woman to marry but to simply play it lowly while remaining committing it to the Lord in prayer. He alone would approve a woman to spend my life with.
Apart from counseling me, my parents met all my children and rendered them some counsel befitting their ages. They were assured the best in their lives so long they heed my advice and avoided unnecessary protests. I was so grateful to have such caring parents. Even if a chance was availed for me to be born of other parents, I strongly bet I would choose my very own parents.
Looking at the luggage I packed for them as they prepared to leave, I was compelled to realize the challenges they were going to be subjected to on the way using public transport. Therefore, I requested them to leave on Friday in the afternoon after I knocked off from work. The best for them was to be taken up to the village. I wanted to send Zulu to take them but again I thought it was incumbent upon me taking them there so that I could also have time to meet my family members that side. So as per plan, around 15:00 hours we left home and started struggling to beat the traffic in the city. At least even if we reached the village at night it was not a big problem; the most important consideration was my parents’ safety.
I drove at a good and careful speed on the Great North Road. We passed through Chilanga, Kafue, Mazabuka, Monze, Chisekesi, Pemba, Muzoka, and finally we were in Batoka which is my home. We arrived at night.
On Saturday, I rested and met some of the family members as well as friends. I must confess to you all that I had quality time with them. Indeed, there is no place like home. They comforted me a lot on the loss of my wife although some get more comforted when they lose their partner in death and not in other weird ways. I left the village the following day in the morning on Sunday. I knew my children were missing my presence at home as it was the first time for them to have both their parents out of home at once, however, Memory confirmed all was well.
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It became my routine to be taking out Lweendo and Peggy for ice cream or just a drink at least twice in a week just to sway away that thought of missing their mother and also wanting to accompany her. I made sure I took them to various places of their choices. We could also visit Stain and Marjory at their various schools. It was assurance after assurance that they too would be taken to boarding schools as soon as time allowed for that. I became a good parent to them just as my parents urged me to be.
Life was going on well for me and slowly but surely the memories of Maggie were fading away. The interest in her was completely lost. I was reminded of my guy, Joshua after everything had settled. For sure I could be a very bad person if not the worst if I forgot about him completely. I called him, we chatted on phone. My main interest was how he was getting on at work. It was so good to learn that he did the job professionally and none suspected him of having leaked it or alerted me. To cut the long story short, I invited him for a drink over the weekend.
Being divorced is quite a challenge; life becomes somehow dreamy at times and one cannot easily take its numerous challenges. If you have been single for a while and unwilling to marry, people do not waste much of their time expecting marriage from you. The situation is way different from whereby one has just been divorced because certain ones even dare throwing themselves on one. As such, one is exposed to both serious and pretending partners just trying to win one’s heart.
In my case, I started seeing so many female friends, those who knew my situation, making advances towards me. Some would come to me as though they were sympathizers. Workmates could not be ruled out of this race whose finishing point was not yet determined but I am so certain the prize for many was marriage.
At times I could just be told at home by my children that aunt B came and brought us this and that. The other day again another one would be reported to have done the same. Huh, Lt. Jay, take your time is exactly what your parents counseled you about. Some inner conviction could also whisper to me that I take on one of them but again I did not have to rush because some of them would even be worse than Maggie. I was not so desperate to be blinded like that. I just told myself that the one who is meant for me will surely come and we shall get settled together. I did not allow anyone to take advantage of me owing to my situation.
One Friday evening, I knocked off a bit late because I needed to meet one of my female friends, Sepiso, who was a registered nurse at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). She had arranged to meet me that evening and have some quality time together. I had been however turning down her requests for uncountable times, yet that Friday I had to make her feel good by granting her requests.
It was a pay day for civil servants. I guess you can imagine the excitement and congestion in town when civil servants are getting their salaries. The city was so congested that one would wish walking was faster and more efficient than driving. Sepiso left her car at home that day – a move I strongly suspected was a deliberate one just for her to be so close me. She called me to pick her up from Levy Mall Where she was doing some shopping from. I drove there and found the lady had bought a lot of valuables which could hardly fit on a trolley. Immediately, I was bewildered whose groceries they were for since she was staying alone in Lusaka. Anyway, I decided to be callous and waited upon time to reveal the next move.
When we left the mall, she told me to drive to my home as she wanted to deliver the groceries to Lweendo, Peggy and Memory. I was startled but I did not want to disclose it to her for doing so would put her off the mood. Time check: 19:48 hours. I drove home fast beating traffic so as to create some time to take her back to her house. I was humming alongside to Emmanuel Mpande’s song titled ‘alone’ (ndakazyibila koona endikke).
At home I was greeted by some sad news; Maggie came and whisked out the children. She was with a man who did not disembark from the car but he resembled Benjamin very much. Memory maintained chances were that he might be the one. Having gotten the children, the undisclosed man drove the car at a great speed fast joining the main feeder road and disappeared.
I became powerless and stood akimbo. Then I felt some smell of blood in my chest. I was so furious. I got back in the car without saying a single word, leaving behind everyone including Sepiso as I pursued the kidnappers.