Jena was seated lost in thoughts outside their house in new Kasama Lusaka. She had just won a case in court but like it had been for years she could not feel as content. Inside her she felt she had something missing and to that there was a name, `Grace` attached.
As she recalled the events of the date 13 years ago, she felt hot tears run down her face she let herself cry. It had been 13 years and she cannot believe her daughter died just like that, burning in a car to ashes they could not find any traces of her. She had lived her life blaming herself of her daughter`s death even when so many times her husband would tell her it was not her fault.
“You are back already?” Ben`s voice startled her making her look back before she could get to wipe her face.
“Babe, you are crying again” Ben sighed getting closer to her.
“Am sorry I just…” she tried to say but her words were stuck in her throat she cried even more.
“it’s her birthday today, she could have turned 18” she sobbed as Ben sat next to her holding her close in an embrace, he couldn’t help himself but cry too letting Jena cry out on his shoulder.
“I know this has been hard on us the years past but we have to let go my love, what can we do?” he spoke softly wiping Jena`s tears.
“How do I let go when I could not say bye to my little girl? I only had her for a few years. She was so young and full of life Ben, why did it have to be her?” she cried loudly making Ben look up to stop his own tears from coming out.
“we cannot question God my wife, he gave us and we were happy with her, maybe that was the only purpose of her life, to make us happy and show us what true love is, we fought so hard to have her and we lived happily with her till that fateful day. Please come with me inside the house. Our children might walk in any time soon we cannot have them seeing us like this” Ben pulled Jena up.
“Am sorry, sometimes I feel I cannot love our kids more cause I have this gap in my heart, am afraid Ben. Am so afraid of losing my children because I am not a capable mother” Jena lamented
“Don’t you ever say that you hear me? You are a good mother and both Isaac and Chimwemwe know that. Am a proud husband too and over the years it’s the love we have for each other that has kept us strong. Am sure where ever our little angel is, she is happy. Now stop crying and come with me” he sighed with a slight smile standing up and pulling Jena up.
“We have to go and put fresh flowers on the grave Ben” she sighed looking at her husband as they walked inside hand in hand.
“no my love, this year we are not doing that, I don’t want us to continue mourning Grace but to live to celebrate her life, we will only go there when we can stand on her grave and smile not with tears like this” Ben responded.
A few minutes later their kids arrived in the vehicle driven by the driver from school and rushed inside.
“Mommy! Look what Isaac did to my bag, I told him to help repair the zip which broke on the way here and he messed it up even more” cried their 10 years old girl Mapalo.
“Its okey my love, mommy will get you another bag tomorrow” Ben responded instead as he held his daughter on the shoulder.
“How was school guys?” he asked his children with a smile as Jena watched on still a little sad.
“It was okey daddy” they responded and Mapalo hugged her father walking away.
“Mommy are you okey?” Isaac asked standing close to her mother.
“Yeah am okey baby. Just tired. How was school?” she tried to smile as she talked to her son.
“You don’t look okey to me, daddy what is going on?” he looked at his father questioningly.
“Son, come with me” Ben took his son to the couch in the next room.
“You are scaring me, is everything okey?” Isaac asked worried his school bag still in his back.
“Remember your older sister I told you about?” Ben started,
“Yeah, I have heard of her, you have told me about her and how she died in an accident, what about her?” Isaac asked innocently.
“Well, like I told you I want you to start having an understanding of some things being the second man of this house. today could have been her 18th birthday and so you can imagine how hard that is on your mother, we loved her just like we love you and even though she has been gone for years we still remember her” he explained
“I see, am sorry daddy, I didn’t know that, how was she like? I mean before she died since I came after she was gone” he asked.
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Ben smiled as memories of a small 5 years old Grace came to his mind. He recalled how he had gone with her and Jena who was at the time 7 months pregnant to the play park. She came running to him her leg bruised on her knees.
“Grace what happened baby are you hurt?” he asked her kneeling down before her.
“I fall down from the swing daddy it hurts” she cried and he lifted her to the bench they had sat with Jena he gently rubbed her leg and bought her some ice cream. In five minutes she was standing up ready to go back to the swing.
“You are going back to the place you hurt yourself?” he had asked her and the girl smiled widely.
“Yes daddy, if I don’t go back then I will never swing again” she smiled handing her father the corn ice-cream and running off jumping up and down.
“What was that?” Ben had laughed looking at Jena who shook her head.
“She is like someone I know, so stubborn” Jena laughed and they watched as Grace played on like nothing had happened to her.
“Daddy? “ Isaac called out snapping Ben from his memories.
“Am sorry son” he sighed looking at his son.
“Yeah you asked how she was like huh?” he asked him and the boy nodded his head.
“Well, she was a beautiful girl full of life, she had a lot of energy your mother and I where always on our toes to catch up with her” he smiled widely.
“You miss her too don’t you?” Isaac asked
“Yeah a lot, but you and your sister are here and that is what makes us happy” he responded and looked at Jena who walked in smiling at her husband and son.
“Go on now sonny, go remove your uniforms” he dismissed the boy and stood to hold his wife leading her to the bed room.
“Was that necessary?” she asked as they entered their room
“I think so babe, he is no longer a small boy and he needs to start having an understanding of things.” Ben responded.
“Now tell me how the case went today?” he held her waist close after she stepped out of her heels.
“Well, I won the case my love” she giggled holding his neck and swinging from side to side with a smile.
“What? And you couldn’t even say?” Ben smiled
“I was to tell you but when I got home that is when I realized the whole day I had forgotten it was Grace`s birthday. I felt awful I was carried away” she shook her head sad again.
“come on Jena, it’s been 13 years and its normal to move on, we lost her and she will always be a part of us but that does not mean we have to live in the past she is not coming back you know” he shrugged
Jena could hear those words and know that her husband meant well for her but inside her heart she felt that gap that she hoped someday could be filled up. For some reason her inner most being had hopes of seeing her daughter again and even though she found herself feeling weird over such thoughts, she couldn’t help it.
She watched as Ben took off his clothes and smiled at her moving closer to her she knew he wanted to be intimate. She closed her eyes as he touched her but not due to the pleasure he was making her feel but to hide what was in her heart. She kept thinking of her little girl and wished a miracle would happen and Grace would walk through the door and smile at her calling her mother.
“I love you babe, you make me proud “Ben whispered as he took her to bed she realized he had taken off all her clothes without her paying attention.
“I love you too Ben” she whispered but this time from her lips and not her heart. She tried to push off thoughts of her baby and pay attention to her husband for a moment, just to not worry him and to satisfy him.
“Am sorry I left you in the car my baby, I wish I had taken you with me into that shop, I was so stupid and careless” she cried looking away from Ben who had closed his eyes after he had calm.