SHIMMER OF HOPE………CHAPTER ONE…………
Catherine had her eyes on him, a handsome figure of a man; a man who owned her heart filling it with all that she could’ve possibly imagined could be love. Isaac, a gentleman with a smile that could melt her soul away brightening her darkest moments, was everything she could’ve wished and asked for in her better half. From him she’d borne two of her dearest babies, Andrew and Anita. Andrew was more like his father, so much in looks and his stature was taking after him. He was a soft, gentle and tender-hearted boy much like his father, but he had his mother’s hair, eyes and complexion. A young boy full of wonder, exploration and keen interest to learn, he was simply a charming little man at only four of age. Anita on the other hand was a quiet one, sometimes a chatter box when excited but rather seemingly to take in the world one baby step at a time. No wonder her grandmother thought she saw a young Catherine in her; according to Catherine herself she believed Anita was a soul that wasn’t only having some of her looks but was like her in so many countable ways. Perhaps it was because Anita wanted to be like her mother whom she pictured to be the bravest woman she’d ever laid eyes on. She was seven of age.
The boat’s roaring sound made Catherine rise from the shelter and walked along the wooden planks with her two children with her. Little Andrew in hand by her waist with Anita by her side clasping her other free hand. She was, a fairly, tall young woman with a caramel complexion, long dark soft hair with eyes that shined whenever her spirits were high. She was in a traditional hair wrap, beads around her neck, shiny silver looped earrings, a golden yellow African wrapper with slippers on. She had her smile wide when from the boat approaching the banks hoped out that tall, muscular, fishing gear dressed man with a cap on, folded sleeves. Her man! Her children’s superhero, their daddy.
“Daddy!” screamed Anita first as she let go of her mother’s hand and rushed into her father’s arms as he literally picked her up and spun her up high with her laughter filling the bright blue sky with music of a beautiful little girl.
Catherine walked closer and let go of the other little one dying to rush to the man the sooner his sister’s feet touched the feet, “Go get him soldier!” whispered his mother in his ear and like a bolt of lightning he ran his father’s way catching him by surprise and was scooped up high laughing with every toss up high before his father caught him only to throw him again.
“Again, again!” Andrew pouted.
“Sure, thing little man!” cried a merry Isaac as he tossed the boy some more, Anita tagging at his trousers to have another turn.
Now standing beside their superman, Catherine would only look with resonance in her eyes, her soul singing rhythm that could only reach her heart and burst into a song that she would ever wish to sing out loud, a song contentment. With Isaac, Andrew and Anita life was at its fullest peak. She was happy with the man of her dreams and her bundles of joy though a handful at times were all she ever needed. Patiently waiting for her turn to meet him she stood gazing at the three chattering away till the man grinned when he saw how she looked at him.
Isaac put his kids down and walked to his wife, her face gleaming like she had been the day he’d asked her to be his wife. He loved that look on her whenever they met eyes, she met the inside of him warm and tender. She was surely his beauty of his heart.
“Hi”, he said stroking her hair with his huge hairy hand and kissed her lightly, “Missed me?” he said tearing away from his wife looking with more resolution than before, “Did you?”
“Remembered me now, huh?” she said looking at her kids now playing with the water, “They love you dearly Isaac”, she said pulling him for another kiss and held onto his strongly belt shoulders feeling his warmth and heartbeat, “I missed you”.
The man grinned, “I know you did”, he said wrapping his hand around her waist from the back as they walked to where the kids had been playing.
“Lunch’s ready guys. Let’s go eat”, said their mother the moment she and their father had reached where they were.
“Right!” screamed Anita splashing water at her little brother, “Race you to the table!”
“Hey, not fair, wait up!” cried Andrew pattering after his sister, “Wait for me!!”
Anita ran faster with little Andrew tagging behind sending laughter to their parents for he’d been lagging and scared that his sister would beat him to the food shelter, like always.
The family had been enjoying their vacation at Kafue River Cliff, one of the cherished times that both Isaac and Catherine had to worry not about work and just leisure all day spending quality time with their kids. At some time in the day after lunch Andrew and his father had gone fishing and quite excited was he to be having his fishing pole with him. Months had passed waiting to finally go fishing with the big man and now that his awaited opportunity had come, being calm was the last thing on his mind.
“I caught one, I caught one!” he’d cried then went, “It fell back in again”.
“Are you sure it was a fish? What if it was a shoe?” Isaac asked.
“Whose?” Andrew asked surprised.
“Mine, because I’m missing one!” Isaac said, and they burst into laughter.
Nearly all afternoon the too spent time by the fishing area whilst as sunset drew by Catherine set up the table, watching other families enjoying their vacation much like she and her family had been doing. Looking back to the table, there with big eyes fixed on her mother, was Anita. She’d been reading a book with pictures not so long ago when she’d paused to gaze at her mother; watching as she set the table. Her eyes said it all, she had much to learn from her role model and she could stare with admiration as she put everything in place.
Catherine giggled and called the girl to her side, gazing at the dimly lit sky, “One day you will grow up to be a fine girl. I would love that you would still have that look I see in you, always”, she said brushing Anita’s hair and held her chin.
“I will mum, always”, she said hugging her tight.
“Good girl”, chirped Catherine planting her lips on her baby girl’s forehead before locking eyes with her man and son heading their way with buckets of fish in them, silvery in the night light and seeing the bold look of success on Isaac’s face, she could only show her dimples……
TWO YEARS LATER……
“Mum? Mum?” cried Anita shaking her mother vigorously in the dimness of night. The lights went out, “Wake up, mum?”
“Hmmm”, mumbled Catherine sleepily as she felt the gentle hands rubbing her shoulders. She’d been tired from working all day and had fallen asleep no sooner than she’d thrown herself on the bed. The girl kept calling till her eyes slowly opened, adjusting to the dark room, eyes firstly resting on the photo of Isaac and her hugging her from the back before turning to her daughter standing beside her bed, “What is it?”
“The lights went out”, she said looking at her mother, “And I haven’t done my homework yet. Won’t you help me?”
Catherine looked at her dear child lovingly. She had been exhausted but she knew she had to help her. Shortly after having supper made she’d retired to bed and only then was she awaking. She slipped out of bed, it was around eight. She’d arrived earlier at six.
“Sure”, she chirped walking to the door, “Where’s your brother?” she asked.
“He’s in the living room, probably sleeping since the lights went out and he can’t watch TV”.
“Okay”, replied Catherine looking in the cupboard for a candle and a box of matches before lighting it and settling down on the sofa, the candle on the table, “What are we doing tonight?” she asked.
“Maths, English and Social studies”, replied Anita, now aged nine.
Andrew had been dozing on the arm of the opposite chair and their mother turned to her daughter again, “Okay, let’s start with Math”.
She helped her child with school. Her child was bright. She’d done her best raising them well.
“No, not there”, Catherine corrected with the pencil, “Write the answer here”, she said.
“Alright mummy”, Anita responded, kneeling against the table scribbling in her small exercise books in the brightness of night whilst her mother watched on correcting and showing her what to write where stuck.
Simon panicked as he paced about the floor with the gun in his hands. His mind running wild with thoughts that were spiralling out of control. He was restless. His breathing pattern was out of rhythm. The kitchen window had its curtain flapping and though he’d tried to shut the light out, he still could imagine the gruesome scene before him. He was pacing vigorously and rapidly with his hand to his brow. He was slowly gripping the edge of sanity. He’d lost his temper. It wasn’t supposed to have turned out that way. He was frustrated and Cindy his dearly wife only had to nag and be burdensome. All night she would banter about his drinking habits and late comings instead of minding her own business and serve his supper like any woman ought to do according to his expectations.
So, what if he added a bit, or rather, a couple of drinks to his daily livelihood and came home later than expected? Wasn’t he toiling day and night working hard to provide food on the table for both them and their children? Why had she to make a fuss about everything? She had to blow his fuse all the time and that night of all nights to whine and trouble him she just had to over-do it when he had his mind elsewhere. Now look what had resulted from it? His neighbours had obviously heard it. Their yells were enough to wake up the whole streets of Rhodes-park, but he feared what his kids would fathom had they come across the deadly scene of their dear mother lying prostrate on the kitchen floor, dead.
He’d killed her! He shook his head disdainfully yet filled with great amount of guilty registered on his face. He slumped on the kitchen floor leaning on the drawers and clasping a handle to glance at the scene, the bloody pool sending his eyes tight once again.
“Daddy?” cried his two girls and that was enough to jolt him back to his feet rushing to the door leading to the dining, “Daddy, daddy?” they cried fearfully coming to the door.
“Sophie, Melanie”, spoke Simon in his calmest voice from the kitchen door blocking their entry and hiding the view of their mother, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you sleeping?” he asked foolishly for he’d not known what to say really.
“We heard noises”, spoke Sophie the eldest who was eleven and her other sister was only eight, “Where’s mum?” her face had a wave of fear, “Daddy, where’s mum?”
Simon panicked for loss of words, “Uh, why do you ask? Probably sleeping is she not?”
“She’s not in the bedroom and you and she had been arguing like always”, Sophie cried, “Why dad, why do you have to make mummy cry and worry all night because of you? Why do you never show up at seven or let alone eight for supper? We miss you nearly every night”.
“I try sweetheart”, he saw how she looked, “Your mum stepped out for air”, he said in a tone that was best satisfying and added, “Go sleep”.
“Is she okay?” asked Melanie with sulky eyes on him.
“Yes, she is sweetheart”, Simon responded calmly, and the girl wiped her eyes dry.
“Is she?” questioned Sophie who was finding it hard to believe him, “Is she?”
Forcing up a sober smile as he ran his hand through her lovely coloured hair Simon spoke, “She is”, he heard noises outside and added, “Now go sleep, okay? It’s late”, he said pushing the door shut and locking it.
The noises were getting louder. Hardly had a minute passed when he frantically began checking drawer after drawer for plastic bags which we tied on and bent low to his wife’s body. His sunk in, he was distraught for his actions, but he had to clear his mess before anyone got to his house. Pulling her by both hands, he dragged her body towards the door attempting to carry it the sooner he pushed it wide open but suddenly there walked in a couple of men with clubs, brooms, and garden tools. The sight was awful! The women tailing after their husbands let out deadly shrieks upon gazing at poor Cindy. Simon’s face went pale and ashen. The women’s wails shook the little bits of wits still in him and in seconds he was the target of everyone.
“You killed bana Sophie!!” lamented one woman hysterically clasping her head, “How could you?”
The other women took off their head wraps and began crying for their beloved sister and neighbour whilst the men gave Simon some good beating, literally kicking aiming for his head. They could’ve killed him had it not been for the police who’d showed up to arrest the situation. The neighbourhood watchman had rung him.
“He’s been drinking! He’s mad!” stormed one man with a broom hitting with a handle when he’d managed a slim chance to hit him with it.
“What a wicked man!” went another one shaking his head, he had a rake of metal, “Whatever shall become of Sophie and Melanie now?”
“Can you all be quiet”, cautioned one officer as they towered a bruised Simon with swollen eyes. He looked over at the corpse now covered in polyethene plastic bags whilst the forensics got to work clearing the scene. Fixing his gaze, sharp eye on Simon clutching the tips of his bleeding elbows, he squared up, “Now, mister, could you tell me what happened here?”
Simon looked up with sullen eyes, mouth sore and dry with nothing to say.
“I asked you something!” rumbled the man with bloodshot eyes, “What transpired here that led to your killing of your wife?”
Looking up at the squared chin of the officer with bulging eyes that glowed with a hint of rage, rough look on, running his hand on his metal disciplinary rod of a weapon as he practically inched closer, Simon felt his skin crawl. Undeniably he had no way to explain himself, the gun lying on the tiled floor was enough to explain that there wasn’t going to be a chance to get out of what he’d carelessly landed himself in. His careless actions had landed him in far much bigger trouble than he could possibly grasp. Seeing his dead wife’s body being taken away in the plastic covering by the forensics, he could only but gulp especially that policeman beside him was practically breathing on his neck seeing how close he now was.
“I asked you a question mister!” the officer yelled slamming his rod on the kitchen unit frightening the crowd gathered behind him as the yellow and black “Do not cross, crime scene in procession” tape was stuck from the kitchen door past the threshold to the front yard inches from the road. The nearly a dozen crowd was enough to handle for the two cops shooting daggers at a somewhat mute Simon barely uttering a word still.
“So, you don’t want to talk?” asked the other officer hands on his hip upon pushing the eleven people out through the door, “Fine, we’ll force the info out of you if we must”, he spoke huskily producing handcuffs from his pocket, fastening them on Simon’s hands, his eyes not once unlocking from the supposed criminal’s eyes, “Mr. Simon Nsama”, he spoke gruffly, “For the charge of murder of one Mrs. Cindy Nsama, I hereby have you under arrest with no further say to justify your actions clearly seen as an act of murder. Get up!” He pulled the man to his feet and pushed him out the door to where the rest of the police squad had now parked outside besides the lawn, some interrogating the neighbours narrating what they possibly could whilst they scribbled away in their reports and others inspecting the crime scene.
All around Simon were husky voices, yells, police sirens and crying which probably was the mere sound of his two daughters shuddering at the loss of their beloved mother. Getting absorbed in the company of policemen sandwiching him, Simon could do nothing but walk towards the car thinking things over and over as he pulled hard on his cuffs.
SEVEN YEARS LATER………
She kept staring out through the window, her mind elsewhere but there. The nearby voices seemed so distant though she was right up close to them. Everything went quiet, she was in her own world. She could only wait to step out of there. The place was suffocating. She couldn’t stand to be in there any minute. She had to wait only a little much longer. The clock was ticking away and then….
“I’m dropping here!” she said clutching the handle and the cab driver pulled over by the side lane, “Thanks”, she said paying her fare and stepped out. The rays of light hit her eyes before shielding them with her hand and walked along the dusty road, clutching her bag strapped on one shoulder. Over the years she’d grown much older, stronger, defiant, elegant, yet, masking all that could possibly tear her a part. A strong soul she’d become but the years ahead had made her a shadow of what once she was.
“Mum”, Anita called out dropping her bag on the table walking with her hair partly covering her eyes to the kitchen but there was only a pot cooking, steaming, stew it was, practically whistling and rattling. The curtain was flapping softly. She was probably in the bedroom, “Mum?” she called out in the corridors and tapped on the door before pushing it ajar and there she was in her high heels, lying on the bed over the beddings; in a stunning outfit of a woman looking so perfect in stature yet hiding within what not even her daughter could possibly decipher.
Rolling her eyes at how her mother didn’t bother taking off her office clothes Anita’s eyes looked past the headboard to the chest where a capsule of sleeping pills stood on it. She needn’t have bothered anyway. Sighing she slipped out of the bedroom closing the door gently. It was ever the same, except that some days, nights, were a living nightmare.