The Setup

It happened on the eve of my birthday…

I was returning from home after a hectic day at the office. I could not wait to see my lovely wife and our adorable five-year old daughter. The headlights of my car caught the outlines of a motor vehicle parked on the curb of the road.

A figure stood next to it and from what I could gather, the car had broken down. I had a strong urge to drive on but the rebuking voice of my mother lingered somewhere in my memory:

“Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you.”

I stopped my car and got out. I walked towards the car and for some reason I expected the person in need of assistance to be some overweight, middle-aged man with a bad attitude. When I got close enough to the make the person out, I froze. She stood tall, had a long symmetrical face with big enchanting eyes and succulent lips. She had a busty chest and the seemingly tight blouse she wore was choking it. She had a tiny waist with curvy hips, which made her Barbie-like looks seem so surreal. My thoughts at that moment could be summarized by one word—lust.

“Hey, there, do you need any help?” My voice was unsteady—a railed at myself mentally for that.

“Yes, please,” she said and ended in a blistering smile. I smiled too but there was nothing blistering about mine—I railed at myself for that too.

Knowing very little about the mechanisms of how a car works, I pretended to be doing something. She smiled less convincingly each time I looked at her. I knew at the third smile that she wasn’t buying my act.

I announced my defeat

She smiled again. “Then can you please drop me off at my place? It’s not far from here.”

I had nearly bellowed ‘yes’ when the warning signals went off in my brain. Not entirely because I was picking up a total stranger, but partly because of how I attracted I was to her…wasn’t this the way all infidelities started?

“Off course I can”

When we arrived at her home I wished her the customary evening pleasantries. I also gave her the number of one of the best auto shops in town.

“You have been so good to me, please come in for a minute so I can offer you a drink or something.”

Another warning went off in my brain.

I was about to decline the offer when she smiled at me once again, showing her brilliant white teeth.

*

“Wow, this is a lovely place you’ve got here,” I said, “must have cost you a fortune.”

We went into a big lounge that was furnished with beautiful red sofas and pieces of art on the walls. She asked me what I was drinking and I told her to surprise me.

We sat on the couch and talked a great deal. She was a brilliant conservationist, overtly debonair and extremely charming. It was the first time I saw her face in proper light and what I saw left me breathless. Her skin was caramel and it had this wonder-glow to it that made her look almost angelic.

“You haven’t told me your name,” I said to her.

She laughed. A sensual laugh. “My name is Rose.”

“A fitting name for such a beautiful woman.”

She blushed. It was then I realized I was flirting with her.

“It’s getting late. I think I need to start off now.”

“Not without telling me your name.” Her hand gently brushed against my hand.

“My name is Mark,” I said.

“Okay, Mark, do me a favor and close your eyes.”

I should have said, ‘no’, and made a run for my life, but surprisingly, even to me, I did exactly as I was told.

My eyes had been closed for close to a minute when suddenly it happened. I felt her warm, tender lips make contact with mine. And again no resistance, for a second I thought I was having an outer body experience, and viewing myself doing the action without really doing it, but truth is, I wanted it to happen.

It was not just her lips anymore I could feel her smooth, warm tongue on the edge of my lips. Shockwaves of euphoric sensations ran through my body. I grabbed her arms and drew her close to me. I was now fully responding to her kiss and my lips crushed on to hers.

Clothes started to peel off. Our physical desire for one another was high but yet we did not rush things, her hands digging into the flesh of my back passionately, purposefully; her legs chaining my waist to hers.

The face of my wife came to my mind without warning or apology.

“I can’t do this, Rose, am married,” I said in the puniest voice.

She looked at me with those passionate brown eyes, stroked my cheek and spoke so gently in my ear. “Just relax and take me my darling.”

At that moment all my inhibitions were removed. I did not think about my wife or our child. Neither did I think about my position in the church as chairperson of our regional cell group.  I did not want to think at all.

When we were done, I fell asleep, drained from the vigorous act.

I was woken up by Rose’s hysteria. “WAKE UP! WAKE UP MARK!” she barked. I jumped out of bed like a cat on crack.

“You have to leave, my boyfriend is coming.”

“What.” I said in a confused state. “You have a boyfriend?”

“Yes he is very dangerous. Have you ever heard of Thomas Mahimba?”

My mouth went dry. The Mahimba family was the biggest underground crime family in Zambia, a seedy bunch with about every evil practice in their portfolio.

“Okay where are my car keys?”

“No, there is no time, if he sees you driving from here you’re a dead man. Just go through the back door and if he asks about the car I will tell him my brother gave it to me because mine broke down.”

I hesitated, then agreed. I gave her my address so she could return my car when she could. I went through the back door of the house.

Guilt suddenly hit me. How could I have committed adultery—A man of God, with a loving and supportive wife, and sweet child?

Then at the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up to the house. I saw a man, whom I guessed to be Thomas Mahimba get out and enter the house. After a few minutes I heard a gunshot, it came from the house I just left.

My heart jumped to my throat and I almost wet my pants.

*

When I finally did get home, the sun was slowly making an appearance. I was sweating profusely and hyperventilating. My wits were in total disarray. I had trouble getting the key to the front door to fit in the key hole. My hand was shaking uncontrollable.

I finally got into the house and closed the door behind me. I locked it quickly and stood still for a while trying to remain pacified despite what I imagined had just happened. What had happened at that house? Did Thomas suspect Rose of infidelity and then act out of rage, kill her? Or maybe she killed him in self-defense? Was anyone even killed? Maybe I heard something that sounded just like a gunshot? Those questions tore at my mind. I felt dizzy and confused.

In the midst of my thinking, the passage light went on. “Mark is that you?”

It was my wife, Angela.

“Oh, my God, it is you, I was so worried. Where have you been?” Her face was warm and compassionate. “I’ve been trying your number non-stop and you were not answering.”

I remembered I had left my phone in the car.

I was quiet.

“So where have you been?” she asked again. I wanted so badly to tell her where I had been but I knew the truth would crush her.

I forced my mouth to lie. “Some stupid kids stole my car and held me at gun-point.” I hated myself for saying that. She deserved the truth.

“Oh no! Are you okay?” She came rushing to me and gave me a hug. The hug was nothing short of loving. My insides churned with guilt. I was married to one of the most remarkable women in Zambia, and what do I do—bloody cheat. Angela was truly a diamond among the rubble. She was an extremely successful cardiac surgeon, a strong independent woman with a great passion of life and a heart so big she would make mother Theresa look like Hitler. How had I forgotten all that when I banged that whore?

I gently pushed my wife away from me.

I told her to make me a cup of coffee while I sat and thought in our big study room. I was a financial analyst at a prestigious company in my home town of Kitwe. One thing my job had taught me was that every problem could be solved by sober thinking. So I sat there and thought.

My thinking was disturbed a half hour later. “Honey there is a car coming through the gate.” My wife said.

I stood up fast. There was a sense of foreboding deep within my gut. I wandered who it might be.

The doorbell rang and I heard a voice shout, “POLICE.” Both Angela and I froze. She started to walk to the door but I beat her to it.  I opened the door.

BOOM!

One of the cops gave me a punch that threw me to the other side of the passageway. I felt like a car had run me over.

“What are you doing?”  I heard Angela shout. She came rushing towards me.

My nose was ripped open and blood was gashing out. My head felt like it was about to fall off.

“I am Detective Malama Mataka.” I finally got a good look at the man that had hit me. I thought I was tall at six-feet, but this man made me look like a dwarf. He was seven feet six inches. His arms were the size of tree trunks. His face looked bloated due to the exaggerated facial features—large nose, swollen-looking lips, bloodshot eyes and corrugated ears and chubby cheeks. He was with three other men, and they held on to Ak-47s.

“That swine you call a husband is a rapist and a murderer.”

My wife was confused she kept on asking me what was happening.

“That isn’t true at all.”

He laughed. “Prick!” He barked malevolently. “You rape Thomas Mahimba’s woman then kill the poor fellow when he caught you in the act, now you dare deny your crimes?”

“I didn’t kill anyone,” I shouted. “And the sex was consensual”

“Liar!”

The Detective signaled to one of the three men he had come with to cuff my hands.

They began to walk me towards the car when I caught a glimpse of my wife’s face. There were tears in her eyes and hurt registered all over her face. My heart broke. At that point my daughter dashed downstairs to where we were. She had probably been woken up by the excitement. She called out and tried to run towards me but Angela held her back. Angela looked at me again. She looked at me like a stranger. This time my heart shattered to pieces.

 

▪۞▪

 

Luka Mwango

 

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