This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
My name is Stella. Yes, you can just call me Stella. I have changed all the names and places in all these stories I am about to share with you, including mine for reasons that will become obvious soon enough. You see, I lost my mother in a terrible accident two years ago. Her death was sudden and very unexpected. My mother was a very healthy and lively woman who was respected by everyone…well, almost everyone in society.
If not for her character, she was mostly known as a counsellor although her work was just shy off that of a professional marriage counsellor with a fancy certificate hanging on the wall. Before I forget, my mother’s name was Beatrice. That is what we will call her. She had been married to my father for over thirty years before he died from Malaria years ago. My parents where the happiest and most suited couple I have ever known which is why it was no surprise that everyone treated her with so much respect and came to her for marital advice before they got married and/or after they got married.
Unfortunately, or fortunately (I haven’t yet decided), in her will, my mother left me the house which we lived in and with this house came the huge room she had used all these years to conduct her ‘sessions.’ It was while I was going through her office to try and get a feel of her for the last time before clearing the room to be used for something else that I came across her diaries…diaries that have a record of every little detail of what transpired inside the walls of this office. The first time I found the diaries, my conscious told me not to open them but instead to go straight in the backyard and burn all of them to ashes. And I did exactly that!…well, maybe not exactly, but I did go all the way to the backyard and stood there contemplating whether to burn them or not until I eventually convinced myself that I would need more time to think about it.
And so I took the diaries back to that room and locked it behind me. For the weeks and months that followed, I kept thinking and thinking; to burn or not to burn? Before I realised it, a year had passed and I still had not decided what to do with them. Fortunately, the decision came to me like a thief in broad daylight, unexpected. A married friend of mine was having problems in her marriage and she came to my place to “get some fresh air,” was what she first claimed. But the truth of the matter was that she needed someone to talk to and me being a very single woman, she did not think it was a good idea to share her marital problems with me. I had seen her on different occasions having deep conversations with my mother whenever she visited me but I never bothered to inquire the details of those conversations.
You see, despite having such a brilliant and wise mother, I knew that there was a huge part of my mother that was disappointed in me because at thirty-five, I was still not thinking about marriage. Who would want to get married after seeing all those millions of people coming in and going out of our home all with their own set of marital drama, seeking guidance from a stranger who had not even been there when they were throwing vows of everlasting love at each other? When I was a kid I used to wonder why my mother used to take longer than the rest of us in confession but as I grew older and saw all those people coming and going, I had an idea of what sort of demons she was fighting with. I wanted no part of that circus and I preferred living my life free from all the drama. But that was two years ago.
I had been on the phone for what felt like forever flirting with some idiot I was hoping would give me a deal on renting some spaces on the soon-to-be opened shopping mall when I heard a knock on my door. It was my friend Nomsa, the very married friend I mentioned earlier. For the next thirty minutes or so, I sat there and listened to her complain about how much life sucked and how she wished my mother was still alive so she could tell her what to do. Thinking back, we were like a twosome of fools, crying and hugging each other and both praying a miracle would happen. But my mother never showed up that day or any other day after.
That day as I watched Nomsa leave my house, I made up my mind to open every one of those diaries to look for the answer that my friend was in desperate need of. I hang on to the hope that there might be someone who might have had a similar problem who came to my mother and got the advice that she was looking for. What if from her grave, my mother could still help out all these people? That night I searched for the diary that was dated the oldest from among them all and from that day forward, my life has never been the same. I went in those archives looking for answers but I found way more than what I bargained for. I found love, hate, temptation, scandal, sorrow, happiness, humour, laughter, tears, complications, secrets, lies, betrayal…and everything else that you can think of that is made up of life!
Over the next months, I will steal a glimpse from a page in my mother’s mind and hopefully, like Nomsa and I, you can also learn one or two things. But, instead of keeping you waiting, here’s a snippet from the story of Brenda and Richard as seen from the eyes of my mother:
Excerpt from Chronicles of my Mother: Chapter Two: The Case of Brenda and Richard
I sat there studying the two of them. I knew that one of them was to blame for how things turned out but of course I could not tell them that. The last thing they needed was for one of them to be handed the weapon to attack the other. What these two needed was time…time to heal all the wounds and erase all the bad memories. Looking at them looking at me with eyes filled with expectation, I feared I was not the right person to give them the miracle that they were hoping for. I am after all only…a mere mortal.
Every part of my body wanted to jump up and tear at something but there I sat, smiling at them as if I had the password to opening heaven’s doors. “I want it to go away,” Brenda said. I found it amazing that she still had any form of liquid left in her system after all that crying she had faithfully committed herself to. I poured her another glass of water. Oooh, the poor soul.
“Nalema,” she buried her face in her palms. “Nalema amai…” she said, slowly raising her head to look up at me. “If she says she’s tired, what do you think I am feeling after going through all of this?” Richard asked. I could see him clearly fighting off the tears threating to pour. Now here was a true representation of his species.
“Brenda my dear,” I moved closer to her and took her hand in mine. “Can you tell me again why you did it? I know that somewhere at the back of your mind, you must have a reason. I need you to stop crying for a moment and just think….think back to that time when you felt it…think my dear…just think….”
As if waiting for forever to come, we waited and waited. When Brenda next spoke, it was to rudely waken me to the fact that even at my age, there were still people that could surprise me.
Watch out for Chapter Two of the Chronicles…coming next!