09

JACKY

I woke up and the yoke on my shoulders was still there.

If this was a nightmare I'd be happy I'm up.

It had been two days since he passed away and it still couldn't sink in.

On a Monday and for once the house was clear.

Mrs Makhe had left with Jamal. oh what would I say to my son anyway?

I was hungry. I hadn't eaten since Saturday night.

I went to the kitchen and made myself something to eat. Nothing much just bread with margarine.

I made myself a cup of black coffee strong with no sugar.

I could feel the heaviness of my eyes which told me that I had eye bags.

I must look very ugly but Chris fell in love with me in my rugs and dirty hair.

Just thinking of him pains my heart. I could dwell on the what ifs but it won't change anything.

The fact remained; he's gone and never coming back.

I didn't know what direction my life was headed.

Being without Chris was never part of my plans no matter how much I'd be annoyed with him frustrated or how I'd hate him.

Heck I could have left him when he became a drunkard but I didn't.

I had men who were brave hitting on me but I never budged. Brave because most people were scared of me.

Just as I had finished with drying the dishes I had used there was a knock on my door.

I just went to open.

Tsaone: "Hey"

I sighed.

Me: "What are you doing here? "

Tsaone: "Let me in please "

I made space so she can get in.

She had a travelling bag with her.

Me: "Are you fucken moving in? "

Tsaone: "No one should be alone during such a time"

Me: "Jacqueline would like to be alone"

She rolled her eyes at me.

Tsaone: "I guess I'm invading your home like you invaded mine that time. Do you have food? I'm starving "

Me: "Are you fucken kidding me? "

Tsaone: "I'll check for myself "

I just looked at her.

I didn't have the strength to deal with her.

Fuck I needed some booze. Just something to take me off the edge and maybe numb this pain and make me forget about this.

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. "

Me: "Fuck not this again "

Tsaone: "What? "

Shit I said that out loud.

I faked a smile.

Me: "Nothing "

I knew that voice very well which was why I needed that alcohol.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls"

Me: "I... I have to rush somewhere "

Tsaone: "Where? "

Me: "Make yourself at home"

I went to my bedroom first took some cash then rushed out.

I didn't want to hear anything from this God.

He just had to leave me alone.

Oh Chris if only you were here.

I got a taxi which dropped right at the liquor store.

I went for brandy and vodka.

I then went to the rank and took a taxi back.

.

NEO

Guard: "You've suddenly become such an important man"

The sarcasm was very loud.

I just wondered who it could be because Thembi couldn't have returned so soon.

Me: "Who is it? "

Guard: "You'll see for yourself "

He dragged me to the visitor's room.

We were actually in an interrogation room.

There was a woman whom I couldn't recognise.

I sat down if only you were here.

I got a taxi which dropped right at the liquor store.

I went for brandy and vodka.

I then went to the rank and took a taxi back.

.

NEO

Guard: "You've suddenly become such an important man"

The sarcasm was very loud.

I just wondered who it could be because Thembi couldn't have returned so soon.

Me: "Who is it? "

Guard: "You'll see for yourself "

He dragged me to the visitor's room.

We were actually in an interrogation room.

There was a woman whom I couldn't recognise.

I sat down curious.

Her: "Jessica Willemse"

She stretched out her hand to me.

She smelled good and looked great. I could see that this was some rich person so I wondered why she'd come here for me.

We shook hands. I was even surprised the guard didn't do anything.

Jessica: "I'm your lawyer and I'm going to get you out"

Me: "What? "

I was beyond shocked.

Jessica: "Don't you think you've been in here for too long? Your sons miss their father"

Me: "I just... This doesn't make sense"

Jessica: "My husband has taken a certain liking to you. He begged me to come here and take you out. His twin brother is out on some baecation "

Me: "Why me? "

Jessica: "Because of your expertise. I'm here to negotiate a deal with you"

Me: "Go on"

This was very interesting for me.

Jessica: "We give you your freedom a house and fixed job in exchange you'll work for us"

Me: "I don't work for anyone "

Jessica: "Beggars can't be choosers. I know you want out of here and we're offering that to you"

Me: "Sounds too good to be true"

Jessica: "You have no choice but to trust us. I'll give you two days to think about it"

Me: "I'd appreciate that "

She stood up.

Jessica: "And NEO we're not Willing to take no for an answer. If you disagree we'll coerce you. Until then"

She walked away.

Guard: "You're one lucky bastard I give you that"

I was dragged back to myself.

She surely did give me a lot to think about.

I had absolutely no plans in place for when I get out so this was exactly what I needed.

I laid on my back on my bed.

Me: "Lord is this you? "

I said facing up.

Me: "Tell me please. Tell me what I should do"

I wasn't even threatened by her.

Not in anyway.

I sighed. I needed a sign. I needed to know if I should say yes.

I mean it was a good deal. All I wanted was to get out and on top of that I was getting a house and a job.

Who in their stupid mind will say no to that?

I also didn't know what kind of job awaited me but she was right beggars can't be choosers.

.

TSAONE

Jacky was a mess.

Chris's death really hit her hard.

It was now Tuesday and she had been drinking since the previous day.

I had cleaned and was busy cooking when she came looking like she had been hit by a truck.

I wanted to laugh but this wasn't the perfect time to.

Me: "Coffee? "

Jacky: "Black and strong. My head hurts"

Me: "Shame. I didn't come with any medication "

She shot me a death stare.

Me: "Sorry"

Jacky: "When are you leaving? I need my space "

Me: "I'll leave after the funeral. Are you even planning his funeral? "

She just looked at me.

Jacky: "Should I make the coffee myself? "

Me: "You're not. You probably haven't started. "

Jacky: "You don't have to keep reminding me that he's dead. I'm sure his mother has that covered "

I didn't say anything but instead made her coffee.

As much as she was that Jacky who broke into my car she wasn't as strong.

She must have really loved Chris and now I felt bad.

Me: "Do you have his mother's number? "

She shook her head.

Jacky: "She's bringing Jamal soon"

People were coming to pay their respects while Jacky was just locked up in her room.

Chris's mother came with Jamal.

She was surprised to See Me I think. I was hands on. I had even went out to buy more food so people can eat.

There was going to be a service with the pastor later.

Me: "How are the funeral arrangements coming along? "

Mrs Makhe: "So far so good. He had a funeral policy which hasn't paid out and I had also taken one out for him. I just wish his girlfriend was much help"

Me: "She's hurting. "

Mrs Makhe: "We all are but I wish we could come together and ensure that Chris has a dignified funeral"

Jamal was with his mother in the bedroom.

Me: "Well I'm here and willing to help. I might not have known Chris much and not for long but he deserves to be buried with dignity. "

Mrs Makhe: "You are a blessing Tsaone. Jacky is lucky to have you as a friend "

Me: "She's a good person deep down. Inside all that hardcore persona is a gentle heart"

She laughed.

Mrs Makhe: "My son was madly in love with her. I know I have to be patient with her for his sake and that of my grandson"

Me: "I agree "

The pastor did come.

He introduced himself as Pastor Mokoena which was a bit awkward for me since I'm also a Mokoena.

Jacky still hadn't come out but I wasn't surprised.

She was a non believer and had no interest in things that had to do with God.

Pastor: "This is probably a verse we've heard on many funerals "

I was listening attentively. This man seemed reputable.

God's grace was really with him.

Pastor: "John 14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so [b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. "

I noted it down. I didn't want to miss anything.

Pastor: "Beloveds let us not be disheartened. Chris is in the right place. Jesus had prepared a place for him and he's now with him. Let us rejoice in the memories we made with him and the impact he made in our lives. More so let us rejoice because he died in the Lord. He has made his mark on earth and all that happened was the will of God. "

The message was powerful and very comforting.

We had made tea which we served people after.

Pastor: "Can we talk? "

I looked around.

Me: "You're referring to me? "

He nodded.

I followed him outside and we sat by the veranda.

Pastor: "Your husband's heart yearns for you. "

Me: "I.. I'm divorced "

He shook his head.

Pastor: "No man can separate what God has put together. Just like he saved you this is your time to save him. He needs you know and he's closer than you think. Pray to God for direction. He's never deaf to our prayers "

He gave me a pat on the shoulder and stood up.

Me: "More closer than I think? "

I looked around.

I sighed.

Me: "Oh Lord"


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