Ben felt tired as he locked his office, he looked at his watch and noticed he was almost 2 hours late from going home as he usually did.
“Hey Ben you heading home?” a friend of his from the accounts department stopped him along the alley as he matched out of the building.
“Yes Mat, I feel so tired and need a good rest “he smiled stopping and waiting for his friend.
“No way man, there is no way am going home with all this stress I need to chill out with the guys before I go home. Today is a Friday” Mat smiled as they stood in front of Ben`s ranger.
For a moment Ben thought through what Mat was saying, he was not the type to go home late but given what he has been experiencing with Jena he thought he could use some time out too.
“You know what? On second thought, am going with you” he sighed getting the keys ready to open the door to the vehicle.
“Really? What happened to going home to see my wonderful woman and have some time out with family?” Mat teased with a laugh.
“come on Mat, will tell you that when we get where we are going, lead the way am right behind you” he indicated as he jumped in closing the door as Mat went for his car.
Half an hour later, they were settled at a club. Mat ordered some beer and as always, Ben settled for some two glasses of wine.
“Hm. so what is up with you and the madam?” Mat started seeing Ben seemed lost in thoughts
“Man, am worried, I don’t even know what is wrong with her, she has suddenly grown so cold towards me. We barely talk about things, it’s like she has closed in to herself. She is most of the time lost in thoughts and I have tried to ask her what is wrong but nothing comes out of her” Ben lamented shaking his head.
“Well, that’s odd, Jena has always been the lighter of moments from what you tell me, what happened?” Mat shrugged placing on the table the bottle of beer and looking at Ben who was shaking his head
“I wish I knew Mat, it started a few months ago with talks about our late daughter and now this. Anyway, let’s not talk about that now, how is your family” Ben changed the subject.
“They are okey man. They…” Mat could not finish his sentence when he noticed a beautiful girl clad in a jean jumpsuit and high sandals heading towards them with a smile he smiled too thinking the lady was after him
“What?” Ben looks at his friend following where his eyes where at and he paused seeing his longtime girlfriend Chipo approaching them. Her looks of course more refined, it was like she had not aged a bit.
“Chipo?” he smiled making Mat look at him in surprise.
“Hey Ben, I thought this could be you, I saw you from that corner and decided to say hi, it’s been long?”
“Yeah, it has been, like “
“7 years Ben. The last time I saw you, you were with your wife at a mall” she smiled widely making sure her smiled was just perfect.
“Yeah, sure I remember now” Ben sighed. “So how have you been” he added without giving Chola a seat but she sat down near Ben completely ignoring Mat who was watching the two of them in silence.
“Been good, can’t complain” she responded
“oh, am sorry I didn’t introduce you two, Mat this is Shila, and Chipo this is Mat, a friend and colleague at work’
“Nice to meet you Chipo” Mat extended his hand which Chipo took reluctantly as her attention was on the man who was her first love.
“He is leaving out one fact” she chuckled
“Really?” Mat answered interested
“Yeah, that we used to date way back before he left for Russia and came back to marry someone else” she outlined making Ben smile as she shook his head.
“I don’t believe you could say that after so many years Chipo”
“Yeah, it’s been so many years, but up to now I have been so single because I was not able to find someone like you, I couldn’t just fall in..”
“Okey enough of this intro Chipo” Ben cut her short knowing how persistent she could be. A few minutes of her talking to the two guys, Mat excused himself to go and make an order for more beers
“What are you taking?” he asked Chipo and Ben
“Am good man, the two glasses are enough” he nodded
“Just a soft drink for me” Shila looked up at Mat.
“You don’t drink so much huh?” she asked Ben after mat had left.
“No actually I rarely take even the two glasses of wine. I just had a rough time at work, I guess” he shrugged casually.
“I know how it works Ben, been around for quite a while, have not been married for a long time before my marriage came to an end, but I know it’s either you are having issues with your wife or something is going on with you and you are not into sharing with her” she pointed out proudly
“It’s not that Chipo, come on, me and Jena are doing okey.” Ben spoke defensively.
“Hm. yeah sure, anyway that is none of my business now is it?” she smiled flirtingly.
“What do you want Chipo, I thought you said you came to greet me, I think we have had enough talk”
Chipo looked a bit offended with the Ben`s Rush to get rid of her. She wondered why he had never looked at her in the way she does him. Her marriage was a complete failure barely 7 years after. She could not help but admire Ben, in her heart she wished he had chosen her, instead of some girl she heard was his neighbor. Without making any effort to leave, she smiled and held Ben`s hand. The smooth and softness in them making her feel her heart skip.
“Am sorry if I crossed the line there love, it’s just that I cannot help feel bad for how sad you look right now. You have always been a cheerful and smiling person but today even though I have not seen you in a long time, I can see you are sad. I know you Ben, we dated for a couple of years remember?” she spoke so calmly still rubbing his fingers and looking into his eyes.
“Enough Chipo please, it was nice meeting you after a long time, but I think you have to leave” he sat up withdrawing his hand. He was aware of what kind of woman Chipo was, knowing her persistence he knew he would not get to make her leave if he entertained her further. He watched as she walked away, just then Mat joined him back holding some drinks in his hands.
“What happened? She left so soon?” Mat asked looking down at Ben.
“Yeah man, she left” he sighed deeply taking the bottle of water and drinking it all.
“So?” Mat asked making a knowing face at Ben.
“So nothing man. She is just a person from my past and that is it” he responded reluctantly.
“I saw how she was looking at you man, and she is beautiful too” he smiled lustfully making Ben stand up.
“Am going home now Mat, I have had enough time out, my family must be worried, its almost 21 hours” he frowned picking his jacket and walking out leaving Mat watching him and shaking his head.
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At home, Jena was helping her kids do homework, she looked at her watch and noticed it was past 20 30 and Ben had not called to let her know why he was delaying in coming home. She pushed the phone aside and went on talking to her daughter.
“be careful Jena, this inner fight you are having inside of you is bringing a bridge between you and your husband, its better you tell him about the dreams and how you feel, instead of harboring everything to yourself “ she recalled Muma`s advice when she had told her what she was planning.
“I know it’s bad, Muma, but Ben would not agree to me trying to dig out the truth about the death of our Daughter, whenever I bring up the topic he tells me am being unreasonable and do not want to let go of Grace. How on earth will I tell him am trying to find someone to open that Grave and try to test if my daughter was burnt in that car?” she shook her head sadly.
“You can’t tell him or anyone else Muma, please promise. I promise when the test come out positive for Grace`s Remains I will not push this any further” she told her friend as they drove around town getting some shopping.
“Hm. I don’t know Jena, you are a lawyer and you know what you want to do is not only illegal but dangerous. What happens if you find she was not in the car?” Muma asked shifting in her seat and looking at Jena.
“Please my friend, not now, let’s just say I will cross the bridge when we get there” she shrugged and the two went on doing their shopping.
Jena was still recalling the events of the other day, when she heard a car hooting outside. A few minutes later, the servant from the servant’s quarter opened the gate and she heard the car drive in. the kids ran outside cheerfully and Jena slowly followed them.
The issue of hiding things from each other is it makes a couple feel guilty around their partners. Jena could not feel so comfortable with what she was doing and every time she couldn’t help feel Ben was seeing through her lies.
“hey my love, how was your day?” she kissed him helping him with the jacket as Ben entered the house, the kids following him with other work items he had carried.
“hey, had a long day and I just want to sleep” Ben sighed casually kissing his wife and walking past her to the bedroom, just then Jena caught the scent of Beer on him, she followed him to the bedroom.
“Have you been drinking?” she asked placing the jacket on the hanger and walking back to Ben who sank deeply on the bed untying his shoes.
“Yep” he answered abruptly
“Yep? Is that all?” she stood before him sighing
“what do you want me to say, I cannot get back home to my wife and have a good time, she is not giving me the attention I am used to, yes I went to drink Jena, I needed to clear my mind cause am sick and tired of waiting to hear what causes my wife to be so cold and distant she won’t look into my eyes straight. What is going on my love? Please let me in” Ben stood straight and held his wife by the waist.
Jena opened her mouth to speak but closed it right back before she could say a thing,
“Am sorry for that Ben, it’s just that I have been having some hard time at work and…” she explained half way but Ben withdrew before she could finish.
“See what am talking about? You have not started work today Jena, I know you and I can feel something is up with you. What I don’t understand is why you taking this in such a manner, we have always doing things together what happened now?” He shook his head.
“If there was need to tell you I would my love but it’s nothing really” Jena responded making her husband even more upset
“There is no need huh? You know what? Am going to take a bath now” he shook his head walking away and leaving his wife watching him in silence. Jena sat on the bed slowly and held her face as she felt tears run down her face.
“Am sorry my love, I have to do this alone” she whispered inside herself.
“I need to have my mind at easy before I could forget my baby” she added and walked towards the bathroom to talk to him and make him feel better knowing he was upset.