The police vehicles outside my house had raised suspicion, a small crowd of neighbours had gathered right outside my gate. I hate attention, but the circumstances under which I was in couldn’t go unnoticed.
Being a spouse to the deceased, you are always the first suspect. I was requested to go to the police station and record a statement. Being a senior army guy the police trod carefully, I was in my turf. I looked too calm, no sign of affliction and this raised more eyebrows. I heard one cop tell the friend ‘ Huyu jamaa bibi amefariki na haonyeshi dalili ya huzuni, kuna kitu hatuambii’. I never bothered to respond to the statement, I just wanted this night to end.
I called a close family friend who happened to be a neighbor to come and pick my sons as I went to the station. The police had already done their investigation in the house and concluded that she indeed died while I was away to pick the kids from school. There was nothing implicating me other than my way of coping with the situation.
While at the station I recorded my statement. I only wrote that our marriage was in turmoil and love was lost. I neither wrote how I got her cheating nor mentioned the letter. That was my secret, our secret, anything that went publicly on paper wouldn’t be a secret anymore, walls have ears. Even in her death, her secret was safe with me, in her death I still respected her. She was the woman who stood by me from day one, the mother to my children, the one genuine friend I had, until things fell apart.
Within no time I was done and I took an Uber back home. Phone calls were flying in thick and fast from family and friends but I never wanted to talk to anyone. I wasn’t in the element, didn’t want to start dealing with people’s remorse. I switched off my phone just as I got inside the house. I went and sat at the stairs leading to rooms upstairs and my room. And in that moment I remembered our vows, the oath we took and the dreams we had. I remembered rubbing her back moments before she went into the delivery room. I remembered my son’s first cry and how tears welled my eyes as I admired the bravery my wife had. On that day, I didn’t just love her but I respected her even more.
The house was dead silent, Literally, the floor was colder than usual. I could feel her presence in the room, she was there with me. The souls of the dead remain with us, and since we were spiritually connected, I could feel her next to me. And that realization that she was no more, that my sons would be raised without a mother and that we never lived to accomplish all our life goals, that realization penetrated through my heart and at that moment I let it all out. I cried, I cried continuously for 3 hours until I couldn’t cry anymore. That was the most painful thing I had ever gone through, I even forgot about the cheating incident. You can’t hold the dead at fault, you either release them or suffer the burden of anger.
I found the strength to finally stand up. I decided I wasn’t going to sleep in my room. It was tormented as far as desecration of a marriage is concerned. However, I went to the room and picked up a bottle of whiskey at the rack. I wanted to drink myself silly in the living room and sleep on the sofa, I had to deal with my pain. While I was walking around the room I remembered the suicide note, I was yet to read it and I didn’t know if I was ready to read it. But I still picked it up from the drawer. I carried it carefully like something delicate, I guess it was.
As I walked down the staircase, I heard someone knocking at the gate loudly. It was close to midnight and I didn’t like it. Couldn’t these guys just give me some space to mourn my late wife, I wondered to myself but since it could be anyone. Even my 1st born son, I decided to open the gate. I dragged myself lazily outside with the keys in my hand. Ni nani? I asked, Ni Maggie, she responded. It was my late wife’s best friend. This was strange since she came without her husband, they always came to my place together. Either way I didn’t want to ask many questions so I let her in.
I passed her a glass of whiskey, on the rocks. She liked it that way, we hadn’t talked to each other yet. I didn’t know what to say. Nilikua tu kwa dunia yangu at this point.
Where are the boys? She asked,
They are at the neighbours place,I responded
Should I go for them and take them to my place until the dust settles?
No, it’s okay, you don’t have to, It’s too late. Wacha walale I will go for them in the morning.
She talked to me…..
She said this as she sipped her drink, trying to hide her eyes with the huge glass. As if she was guilty of something.
Who talked to you? I asked
Mary, your late wife. She told me everything that was happening, she told me about the incident. But she never told me she was going to do this.
Do what? I asked
Kill herself. ..She said
She never hinted or showed any reason to commit suicide. After you went silent on her, it tore her. She didn’t know how to start apologizing. She was never a cheater, the 1st time she did it was the day you caught her. She didn’t know how to cope with the guilt.
I kept quiet as I heard her talk, maybe I needed someone to talk to. But the conversation wasn’t helping. She was dead, all this information wasn’t relevant. I just wanted to heal on my own. But since the best friend was a family friend, I didn’t want to push her away, I decided to accommodate her. We drank, and drank and drank in silence. Until she decided to break the silence.
Have you talked to him? She asked
Talk to who? She sighed, sunk into the sofa as if she was mastering the courage to ask the question.
Have you talked to your brother? And in that instant, I knew she knew everything.