Bobby Chizinga and I, Alicia Zulu Chizinga were going our separate ways and it seemed we were doing so with a ban-g. I say this because of how many people were pres£nt for the court hearing. Lisa, Fred, Monde, Lubona and I were seated on the same bench. Behind us sat Angie and Bob who were holding hands affectionately. Bob’s other hand was resting on Angie’s still flat tummy. By now everyone who was acquainted with Angie knew she was expecting. There was one person whom I was shocked and puzzled to see in the court room though, Lubona’s father. I wondered what he was even doing here. Anyway, I still managed to brush the thought out of my mind.
One lawyer would interrogate both Bob and I and then a judge would decide whether or not Bob and I ought to be divorced. de-ep down, I wished a miracle could occur and Bob and I would remain man and wife but another p@rt wished we’d get divorced and move on with our lives though I didn’t know how I’d move on without Bob.
Speaking of Bob, he was first to be ushered to the dock.
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the court the truth and nothing but the truth?”
Bob placed his right hand on the Holy Bible and swore. “I do.”
“Great,” said the lawyer, Mr. Richa-rd Kapambwe. He put the Bible away and tugged at his wig as if adjusting it. “Mr. Bobby Chizinga, I believe you’re the one who filed for this divorce?”
“Yes. I am.”
“Great. Would you kindly tell the court why you’d decide to divorce your wife when you’d vowed on your wedding day to- wait a minute, there was a wedding, not so?”
“Yes, there was.”
Mr. Kapambwe raised his eyebrows. “Good. So I believe you vowed to spend the rest of your life with Mrs. Alicia Chizinga come what may. Might I ask why you’d suddenly decide to divorce her?”
“Ask the goddamn fool,” muttered Lisa un-der her breath. She was seated beside me.
“Relax,” I whispered in her ear. “There’s no nee-d to get worked up, sis.”
She rolled her eyes at me and then focused them on Bob who was still silent.
“I asked you a question, Mr. Bobby Chizinga.”
Bob cleared his throat. “I fell out of love with Alicia.”
Murmurs erupted in the courtroom.
“Silence in court!” it was the judge, hammering his gavel on the wooden surface.
The murmurs died down as fast as they had ensued.
The lawyer was smiling. “Kindly tell us how or why you fell out of love with your wife. Obviously, there was a reason or reasons that triggered it.”
“Yes, there were,” said Bob uncomfortably. He glanced at me and my eyes were focused on his. I was yearning to hear the goddamn reasons myself. “Um, Alicia kinda changed. She wasn’t the same woman I’d married anymore. Everything about her started irritating me, her cooking, her laugh, her voice, dresscode, her pres£nce, everything!”
“Wow, that’s surely pure hate and disgust,” said Mr. Kapambwe wryly. “But could it be that you’d just fallen in love with another woman and thus you now found your wife- what’s the word, bland? As per my knowledge, one Ms. Angela Habeenzu who is in the courtroom as I speak is carrying your child. Could it be that you just wanted to be married to Angela and not your wife?”
Bob swallowed. He stole a glance at me and then at Fred who was staring at him with so much disgust and hate in his eyes.
Bob said, “You can put it that way.”
“Thank you for your co-corporation, Mr. Chizinga,” said Mr. Kapambwe, bowing his head before the judge slightly. “I think I’m done examining him, your Honour.”
“You can now take your seat as Mrs. Alicia Chizinga makes her way to the stand,” the lawyer told Bob loudly.
As Bob and I bypas-sed one another, I heard him whisper, “I’m sorry, Alicia. I really had to say all that.”
I pla-yed mute and made my way to the dock where I was sworn in.
After the swearing in was done, the lawyer said, “Mrs. Chizinga, when your husband pres£nted you with the divorce papers, what was your reaction?”
“I was shocked. Yes we were having some marital hiccu-ps but I didn’t know they were that serious so I was taken aback to learn my husband no longer wanted me as his wife. I was also hurt but I remained adamant and refused to sign the papers.”
“Okay. So what finally made you sign the papers?”
I glared at Bob who’s head was bowed. “They say actions speak louder than words and my husband’s spoke volumes. There was no nee-d of staying in a one sided love marriage so I just had to get off my high horse and grant my husband’s wish. Which was to sign the papers and divorce him.”
“Are you really sure you want to divorce your husband of three years?”
“I believe I am.”
“That’s nice to hear,” said the lawyer curtly. “Are you aware your son has to choose whom to live with hence forth?”
I swallowed. This was the p@rt I’d been dre-ading most. “Yes, I am.”
“Being his mother, do you think he’s old or fit enough to go throu-gh this ordeal?”
“Isn’t seven the right age?” I shrugged. “He is seven so I believe he is.”
Fred was the next to be ushered to the stand. As he was getting up, I k!$$£d his cheek. “Follow your heart, my son.”
Fred merely nodded and even as he made it to the dock, my sixth s-en-se told me he’d pick me. Why, I spent more time with him so it was obvious he preferred me to Bob.
“I won’t take much of your time, sonny,” said the lawyer in a fatherly tone. “I know this must be tough for a kid your age but I’m going to do it anyway. Fredrick Chizinga, do you by any chance believe either of your parents is a bad person?”
“I’m glad to hear that. Fred, who do you wish to live with from today onwards?”
The court fell dead silent to me. Time seemed to come to a stand still and Fred went quiet for what seemed eternity.
When he finally spoke, he said, “I pick my daddy.”
My heart skipped a beat.
Maybe I’ve lost one s-en-se, I thought. The s-en-se of hearing to be precise. How can Fred seriously pick Bob? No, I must be dreaming.
“Yes,” I heard Bob triumphantly whisper behind me.
Angie cli-cked her ton-gue, she was obviously expecting Fred to pick me. Hell, everyone was!
Mr. Kapambwe seemed unfazed. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. Mummy just told me to follow my heart and that’s exactly what I’ve done.”
It was at that instant that I lost all hope to do anything productive with my life.
The only thing that I walked out of my marriage with was the house that Bob and I had been living as it was given to me as alimony.
I threw everything on the dressing cabinet to the floor in rage. I was hurt, disappointed, infuriated and had so many other mixed emotions.
Lisa and I had just arrived home after I’d cried my eyes red from the courtroom to my house and now I locked myself in the be-droom.
Lisa was pounding on the door. “Alicia, open this door, plea-se. Let me in. Let me console you, baby sister, plea-se!”
“No, Lisa!” I yelled. “Just leave me be. I want to grieve alone. But you can rest as-sured cause I’m not suicidal.”
I slumped to the ground, beat my brea-sts in agony wondering how my own son could turn his back on me. This seemed too difficult for me to believe. It was like I was having a terrible nightmare but no, everything was real and so was the pain.
I l@yon the cold floor and wept.
Despite the rain, I still made my way to the fancy house that Bob, Angie and Fred now stayed in. Angie and Bob had gotten married via a marvelous wedding three months after the divorce. I had attended the church service with hope that Bob would reconsider marrying Angie after seeing me but he’d glanced back at me and boldly said, “I do take Angela Habeenzu as my lawfully wedded wife.” It was then that I lost all hope of him and I ever getting back together.
It had now been about six months since I’d divorced Bob. The pain was still fresh and had it not been for Lisa moving in with me, I would have committed suicide months back but she’d been my pillar of strength and I managed to move on with life. Monde and Lubona were there for me too and I was really grateful.
I had now lost weight and spent almost all my days indoors, doing nothing except go throu-gh pictures of Bob, Fred and I and cry if I felt like doing so.
The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that I could visit Fred whenever I felt like doing so. But he’d said hurtful things towards me the last time I had paid him a visit.
It had been a week back. Once I arrived, Angie ordered her maid to bring plastic chairs outside as I wasn’t allowed to step foot into her house. She’d been blunt with me the first time I’d visited. “Alicia, I’m only allowing you into my compound because Bob wants me to. But I’m not going to risk you going inside lest you drop some juju in the house and s£nd Bob and I separate ways.”
“If that’s the method you used to steal Bob from me,” I’d retorted. “then good for you. But I’m not one to practice witchcraft so you can have Bob all to yourself because I’m throu-gh with him.”
“Or should you say he’s throu-gh with you?”
“Whatever, Angie. Can I now see my son?”
Now as I was saying, the last time I’d visited Fred, he’d hurt me with his words.
“Aunt Angie says you’re a bad woman and am beginning to believe her words. She says you don’t love me and that’s why you didn’t fight ha-rd enough to get me in court. She said mothers are supposed to look after their kids no matter what. Why did you let me pick dad?”
Wasn’t he the one who had picked Bob? So why was Fred asking me this now? Not wanting to say anything that I might regret later, I’d only gotten up from my seat and walked out on Fred.
Now I was here with some gifts in my arms. I wanted to apologize to Fred for being rude the other day.
Using my free hand, I softly knocked on the door. There was no response. I knocked ha-rder.
“Yes I’m coming!” I heard a male voice irritably call from inside.
The door was opened by a man who seemed to be in his thirties. He was a total stranger to me.
“Um, is Angela in?”
“Who is Angela?”
I was surprised to hear him ask me that. Before I could reply, he said, “Oh, you must be talking about the previous owners of this house. They moved out three days ago.”
Moved out? “Would you happen to know where to?”
The man ruefully shook his head. “Not really. They sold this house to my father and all I know is they were desperate to leave the country. They said they were relocating to another country for good but they didn’t mention the specific country.”