They had travelled to her husband’s rural home every three months, but this felt different. It was the final journey for David. Bella didn’t know that this journey signified the end of many more things in her life. Misery loves company, and it would soon be apparent to her.
The compound was busy with activities. There were women in the kitchen preparing snacks and drinks for the mourners. The men sat in the tents, having discussions among themselves.
It was beginning to dawn on Bella that David was really gone. She had been so busy fundraising to clear the massive hospital bill that David had left behind that she hadn’t taken a moment to mourn. They had finally gotten the required amount, three days to the funeral. She could now mourn her husband of twenty-five years.
Once the wake was over, people gathered in small groups and engaged in small talk. Then a man, woman and child approached Bella.
“I’m here to fight for my child’s rights,” the woman told Bella.
“Excuse me? What are you talking about?” Bella asked in confusion.
“David was my son’s father. I want to ensure he gets his share of the inheritance,” she said, seemingly agitated.
By now, the conversation had attracted the attention of several people in the gathering. The woman, who Bella would learn was Irene, had been having an affair with her husband for four years. The girl was almost the same age as their firstborn daughter. She quickly ran to the washroom to throw up from the disgust that she felt.
“David, a girl the same age as your daughter?” She repeatedly said as though David’s spirit could hear her.
That last one month of David’s life had been in a hospital bed. He had been in a road accident that resulted in a coma for four weeks. The whole situation had drained Bella emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.
She went back to the tent where Irene, her son, and brother, who had come to help her ‘fight’ for her child’s birthright were talking with the family members. They agreed to meet up the following day as David’s family tried to ascertain the truth of her claims.
So, in addition to planning for a funeral, they had the task of investigating David’s extramarital affair. They decided to ask his best friend, Joe, if he knew anything about Irene. Early the following morning, Joe availed himself.
“Hi, Bella. I need you to understand that David loved you and his children very much,” said Joe. It already sounded a preamble to a horrible story.
“How could you stay silent about this Joe?” Bella asked with tears running down her face.
“Bella, I need you to be calm because there’s something else I need to tell you. David has two more children with two other women. I don’t know if they will also come seeking their inheritance but I think you should know,” Joe told her.
Bella fainted. Some family members took her out in the fresh air. Part of the family started wailing, and chaos reigned. It was apparent that there was a division over what to do next.
“We cannot proceed with the funeral until we find the other children,” one elder said.
“No, we are going to respect Bella who has been a good wife to our son,” said David’s mother.
“Joe, did David have a will?” David’s sister asked.
“I don’t think so. He always said that he needed to confess to Bella first before deciding what to do next. However, I know he sent the mothers to the children upkeep money,” Joe responded.
Bella regained consciousness and got back just in time to hear Joe’s statement. In her mind, she wondered if sending upkeep was now going to be her job. A switch had flipped inside her. She didn’t cry or get hysterical; something larger lay ahead, and she needed all the information to prepare adequately.
She calmly asked Joe about the other women and children, nodding her head with every new detail that emerged. Bella had realized that the man she had sacrificed her dreams to support had betrayed her repeatedly and risked the welfare of their children while at it too.
Her mourning had ended before it began. She changed from her black mourning clothes into a red dress. It was evident that she had lost her husband long before he died. It was now time to clean up his mess and fight for her children.
Check out other short stories.
He kicked her out of their home and left her financially ruined. Many years later he wants to see her. Full circle; Part 1
I Went To Surprise My Husband At The Office Only To Find Out He Had Been “Working From Home” During The Pandemic
For Years She Lived In Blissful Ignorance But One Day She Found Out That Her Husband Wasn’t Who She Thought He Was
One Night Of Pleasure, Years Of Regret And Secrets Part 1
Her Husband Was The Perfect Man, Perfect But Boring. An Affair Lead to Complications And Unveiled Hidden Secrets
I Had An Affair In Advance To Avoid Being Hurt By My Husband Who I Suspected Was Cheating On Me