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One Prayer Away, If Only For The Judgement

None of the beds was empty. Some had turgid plastic containers dangling from metal holders with thin tubes draining their contents Nhamo Muchagumisa Natalya was awoken by the ringing of her right ear. The sense of having overslept nagged her. She was definitely going to be late for work, and even though her immediate supervisor would never find fault in her, she would not take advantage of that. She opened her eyes to be greeted by a high white ceiling with six pairs of white-hot florescent tubes spread evenly across its surface. She turned her head to look at the right wall, and a line of high beds met her eye. None of the beds was empty. Some had turgid plastic containers dangling from metal holders with thin tubes draining their contents into the systems of the people lying in the beds. Natalya needed not ask where she was.

None of the beds was empty. Some had turgid plastic containers dangling from metal holders with thin tubes draining their contents

Nhamo Muchagumisa

Natalya was awoken by the ringing of her right ear. The sense of having overslept nagged her. She was definitely going to be late for work, and even though her immediate supervisor would never find fault in her, she would not take advantage of that.

She opened her eyes to be greeted by a high white ceiling with six pairs of white-hot florescent tubes spread evenly across its surface. She turned her head to look at the right wall, and a line of high beds met her eye.

None of the beds was empty. Some had turgid plastic containers dangling from metal holders with thin tubes draining their contents into the systems of the people lying in the beds.

Natalya needed not ask where she was. She needed not ask what had brought her where she was because the memory of the attack on her along the quarry road, a few kilometres from Mutare, down the Masvingo Highway, came flooding back in such vivid images that for a moment Natalya thought it had started again.

How could Dera hire  such evil men to assault her when he only needed to tell her that he had decided to move on to settle the whole matter?

Had she not told him that he had a sacred responsibility to fend for his family, that if the burden that she might be in his life began to manifest, one word was good enough to end their relationship?

 

 

Had he not been the one who worshipped the ground she walked on? Then he had hired assailants to dispatch her to the spirit world! No, there ought to be another explanation.

The car that brought Dera to the rendezvous was his, but who was it that did not alight from the car and drove away instead?

“I need to talk to Charles to get to the bottom of the matter,” Natalya whispered to herself.

Suddenly, she began to think that Dera’s life was in mortal danger. Maybe, the people who had harassed her both physically and psychologically were after Charles Dera’s life too. “But who was it that drove Charles’ car away after dropping him at the rendezvous?” the question kept on recurring.

People started pouring into the female ward. It was the early morning visit. Who was she expecting?

Natalya closed her eyes to think, but her eyelids flew open when the image of Charles being stabbed to death by the same assailants played between the lenses of her eyes and the thin skin of her eyelids.

A finger rested lightly on her right shoulder, and the return of her normal senses brought her back to the female ward where she was and her mother was looking down at her perspiring face with grandmotherly concern as was her custom in such situations.

 

 

“Praise the LORD that you have been given another day to hear your mother’s voice. A devilish gang nearly terminated your life exactly a week before your twenty-sixth birthday,” Natalya’s mother explained.

The elderly lady explained how Natalya had been attacked by a gang of criminals in the presence of her married boyfriend, how after an anonymous phone call her father had to drive to collect her unconscious body from the crime scene.

The wetness in Mrs Matikana’s voice increased as she spoke. Thank Heavens, the devil gang did nothing unbecoming to your womanhood, at least the doctor’s investigations found nothing to that effect.

“But Mother, who do you think made the private call?” Natalya asked, the lust for the truth making her feel more alive than she ought to. “Charles Dera,” her mother said, ” We have already reported him to the police.” “How do you..?”

“He sent you a WhatsApp message   gloating that he was behind the whole thing.”

Mrs Matikana extracted Natalya’s phone from her handbag and showed her the message. Tears suffused Natalya’s eyes.

“I don’t believe this mother,” the young woman said, searching her mother’s face for a better explanation behind her solemn facial expression.

“The devil’s victims are more eager to defend their torturer than they are ready to pray to their protector after surviving an ordeal such as the one you went through,” Mrs Matikana said. “Come, let’s pray together, the visiting hour is almost over.”

 

 

Her mother was back at dusk, with the news that Dera was now in police custody. The elderly woman realised at once that her daughter received the news as a disturbance to her conscience rather than a relief. “Ok, that’s how things have turned out to be,” she had said and closed her eyes,  as if her illicit lover’s release was only one prayer away. Mrs Matikana did not have the audacity to admonish her for not showing any sign of delight on hearing such great news.

 

 

Upon her discharge from hospital, she approached her lawyer to visit Charles in remand to work on an out of court settlement, but her parents had prevailed on her that she must demand a considerable figure as compensation for the physical pain and trauma she had gone through. She thought it prudent not to oppose them.

She was glad her employer had granted her a fortnight sick leave, although her physical wellness was no longer in doubt.

She visited Dera at his workplace behind her parents’ backs. Like a client she sat in his office, looking at the man behind the desk.

“I’m sorry, I just want to know who drove away in your car on the cursed day,” Natalya asked the man who she had thought she would easily let go if that was his wish.

“I find it difficult to say, but I brought my woman with me that day,” Dera told the woman he now hoped would give him the chance to be a man again.

“Go on, I’m listening,” Natalya said.

Dera explained how he had driven all the way to put an end to their relationship, how his wife had demanded to be witness as that happened, how she had driven away as soon as Dera had alighted from the car and how he had lost possession of his phone.

“Does it mean she hired those devils?” Natalya asked.

 

 

 

“Not for me to say, but I’m sure you and I will be forgiven if we think she did because I’m struggling to find an alternative explanation,” Dera said.

The scratches on Dera’s face and the red spots in the white of his left eye told Natalya of Dera’s experience with the gang. They must have turned on him once she had dropped unconscious. Dera then told her how he had regained consciousness in a different place further down the highway. “Where is Deline? She can’t get away with what she did!”

“Across the Limpopo my dear.” The last two words in Dera’s discourse made Natalya blush.

The game was tilting against her as if she was swimming against the tide. Now she wanted him in her life forever. It was not such a blessed relationship, but what choice was left for her to correct her mistakes?

If she had nearly died for him, why not live with him?

A long pause followed as each listened to the silent loudness of the other’s thoughts. Dera finally spoke, “I give you time to think about it, but I wish us to marry. Even if your answer takes an eternity to come, I will still be waiting.”

“I ought to be the one asking you to marry me,” Natalya said, as the desk melted away before them.

Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263771271478 Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Zimbabwe Digital News

Contact: (+27) 834767918
See News Differently
Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital Express
Twitter: @realdigitalnews

 

 

 

See News Differently

Twitter:@realdigitalnews
Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital Express


Zimbabwe Digital News

Contact: (+27) 834767918
See News Differently
Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital Express
Twitter: @realdigitalnews

 

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