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The Blindspot

A few months before her 18th birthday, Angelina lay on the operating theatre bed fighting for her life. Her mother sat by the waiting room impatiently waiting for her daughter to be finally out of trouble. Two attempts had failed earlier. This was her last chance. The story made headlines on local news, “Activist’s Daughter Battles for life.”

A prisoner looking forward to embracing his freedom in a few months after serving almost 18 years of his 20 years sentence, Hillary had gained the trust of the system. They assigned him to work with a local hospital’s maintenance team on parole. He was both excited and scared to get back into the world. One evening, as he finished fastening the case of the last compressor, he overhead some nurses gossiping about the dying little girl. “This is it,” he thought, “… the opportunity I have been waiting for to kick start my life after prison,” so he volunteered to donate. What a coincidence? Both Angelina and Hilary would finally get their lives back.

Angelina got a new kidney; her surgery was a success. Months later, after recovery, she inquired of the whereabouts of her saintly donner. “Unfortunately,” she was told, “he didn’t make it.” They advised her not to overthink the matter for it was her life, a promising young and beautiful lady, over that of a cold criminal. She, however, felt grateful and sought after him. Her supportive mother, Angela, accompanied her for the visit to the family. The widow escorted and showed them his grave.

Angela screamed for the second time at Hillary, this time laying not in her bed but in a grave. Her screams failed to awaken him. Six feet under, he slept peacefully in a grave with a tombstone inscribed, “to the women I hurt in my life, I am sorry. I have done my time. Please accept this gesture for all your troubles. I die a happy man offering my life to one of your kind.” Gillian explained, “That was his dying wish, penned on a piece of paper handed to us by a nurse from the hospital.” Angela couldn’t stop screaming. She burst out as if something had possessed her shouting, “it’s him, … its him… that’s your father Angie.”

Gillian couldn’t hold back her tears recalling that her upkeep and that of her son came through a fund Hilary had setup. He and his siblings had split the money his father left them on his tragic accident in the mines. Growing up Gillian knew him as the smartest, sweetest, caring, hardworking, generous, and pious soul she had ever met. She lamented the fateful events of the day he didn’t return home. All these years she never saw it in her heart to forgive him. Her anger couldn’t bring her to reconcile the past with the pain of raising a child on her own. The two women stared at his grave before them, heads spinning with the consequences of their prejudices. Their children, William and Angelina never knew each other nor their father. The only memory they had of their father was that of a loser, drunkard, rapist, convict, and the worst man ever to live.

Angela had it all figured out, a job as the director of a women’s rights organization, living in a nice house, and driving a nice car. As a strong feminist in her mid-thirties, she couldn’t stand the idea of throwing it all away and submitting to a man as husband. Marriage was the last thing on her mind, though she longed to be a mother. The risk of a donor, she couldn’t take. As she sat on her porch one Saturday afternoon sipping her wine, an idea visited her mind, so cold and yet so inviting. The young and handsome repairs guy, a migrant from the downtown, a good for nothing but looks and manhood was all she saw him at that point. She figured this could be her long-awaited solution to the equation.

The young man walked over to her wiping grease off his hands with a mutton cloth and sweat on his body to announce that he had finished his job and was ready to knock-off. She invited him inside to collect his cash but asked him to take a shower first, while she tested the machines, before taking a leave. She offered him a drink for a job well done. He took a second, a third and a fourth one until they both knew nothing of what was happening.

The following morning, Angela sat on her bed with the most devastated look. She didn’t even know his name but here he lay in her bed. She screamed very loud that he jumped up and headed for the door. Before he could figure out what was going on, some men ran in, pinned him down, cuffed him up and threw him at the back of a police vehicle. This was the beginning of his nightmare. His case passed through the jury without contest. The news spread all over the town like veld fire, “Breaking: An attempt to soil the women’s revolution,” and so he was condemned to 20 years behind bars.

Angela knew nothing of Hilary’s life while Gillian only knew his childhood. They vowed to shield their children from their disgraceful father, the most hated man by all women in the town, rotting behind bars. The events of that fateful night colored the rest of their lives. Hillary was a Blindspot.


The Common Priest

Tawanda Chamba is a freelance writer, independent researcher, and commoner. The is a father of one and husband on one.

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