Three Lives/Faraway #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

William Clarke stood at the water’s edge, his toes buried in the wet sand.  It had been ten years since he was last here but the memories were as fresh as the darkest day in his life happened just yesterday.  He shoved his hands deep in the pockets of his jeans as the he recalled the night when he was jolted awake by what sounded like gunshots.  They had come from the guest room.  Heart racing, he darted out of his room.  He burst into the room and skidded to a stop when he saw his mother standing over the bed still pointing the gun at the two lifeless, naked bodies of his father and Bheka.  He held on to the bed post, as a wave of nausea washed over him.  Bheka and his Dad?  How could they?  How long had this been going on?

He and Bheka met on the Oxford campus and he fell hard for her.  She was unlike all of the other girls.  She was quiet, unassuming, intelligent and wise beyond her years.  They began dating and then one day he took her home to meet his parents.  His parents seemed to warm up to her.  At the time he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary between his Dad and her.  They seemed to like each other and got along which pleased him.  Nothing could have prepared him for the shock he got that night when he found them in bed together.  And his mother, he had forgotten her for a moment.  She was still standing there, her face white as sheet, holding the gun.

He cried out, “Mom, what have you done?”

That seemed to break through the fog she was in because she looked at the bodies and then him in horror.  She dropped the gun as if it burned her fingers and buried her face in her hands, her body shuddering as she sobbed bitterly.  He held her for a long time before he took her out of the room.  He set her down on the sofa while he called the police.

They arrested her and the coroner came and took the bodies away.  He went to stay with relatives.  The trial was a difficult one and she was convicted of double homicide.  She received a life sentence.  For a long time, he couldn’t face her because he felt responsible.  If it weren’t for him, his father would not have met Bheka and had an affair with her.  And his mother would not have murdered them.  Three lives had been destroyed.  He visited his mother as often as he could and watched as she wasted away.  She had lost a lot of weight, her face was pale and gaunt.  Her eyes were dull and lifeless.

She recently died in prison and after he buried her, he sold the house and left Oxford for good.  He moved here to Cape Town, Bheka’s home.  There were moments when he missed her and there were moments when he hated her for what she did to his family.  He stopped blaming himself for what had happened.  He, like his mother, had been betrayed by the two people they loved and trusted implicitly.  He later found out that the affair had begun shortly after Bheka met his parents.  They had managed to hide it until that fateful night when his mother discovered them.  They were so caught up in their passion that they didn’t even realize that she was in the room until it was too late…She had heard the sounds coming from the room, opened the door and saw them.  Blinded by rage, she went and got the revolver from the drawer in the study and returned to the room where she fired until the chamber was empty.  Later she would say that it felt as if something had possessed her.

He stood looking at the tranquil water now, thinking, “There are memories that time does not erase… Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.”  His loss had become bearable over the years but not forgettable–never forgettable.  His parents and Bheka would always be a part of him.

This story was written in response to the #writephoto Prompt – Faraway at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

Source:  Good Reads


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