Full Circle – Part 3

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Catherine’s Husband left her for another woman and threw her out of the house in full circle part 1.  He humiliated Catherine in front of her family and friends full circle part 2. Now ten years later he is ill in hospital and wants to see her. Find out what happens when she goes to see him in hospital.

Catherine was at the hospital at exactly 5 pm. Visiting hours were between 4- 6 and she didn’t plan to stay that long. She found her way to the cancer ward. Thimbi was in bed number 20.

Catherine was shocked at how frail Thimbi looked. He had always been a big man, not fat but muscular. He looked like he had lost a lot of weight. He was reading a book. Catherine went up to his bed. Thimbi looked up from his book. Catherine and Thimbi looked at each other none of them wanting to be the first to speak.

Finally, Thimbi said “Hello Catherine. Thanks for coming!” He coughed.

Catherine took her time to think of what she would say. There was so much she wanted to say, to actually scream at Thimbi. But he was in a hospital bed and she needed to be gracious. “The doctor said you had asked for me!”

Thimbi struggled to smile. His lips had become thin and they were dry. “Ah, Catherine always one for getting straight to the point. Do you want to seat?” he gestured to the seat next to his bed.

“No thanks, I will stand!” Catherine said.

“Ok. I can see you’re in a fighting mood and I can’t blame you. I have acted terribly.” Thimbi had a coughing fit. You could hear the wheezing in his chest. He looked so small in his green hospital gown. Catherine almost felt pity for him. She had to remind herself that this man was the devil. He had humiliated her and made her feel insignificant. She reminded herself that this man deserved what he got.

Catherine looked at the bed opposite Thimbi’s on the other side of the room. There were a few people with the patient. One of them, a lady was feeding the patient some soup. There was a look of concern on the people’s faces. “That is a man who is loved,” Catherine thought.

This thought brought Catherine to the present. She wondered where the witch was. That is what she called Thimbi’s second wife even to her face.

“Where is that witch?” Catherine asked when Thimbi had composed himself.

Thimbi laughed even though it was clearly a struggle for him to do so. “Maggie isn’t here.” Thimbi’s facial expression changed and he looked sad. “Maggie is in America doing her masters. She left me for a wealthier man. She said that I don’t give her the attention she deserves. She left me and is asking for half of everything. She was very clever. Everything is in both our names.”

Thimbi paused after that statement “I gave her everything. Money, cars, houses, expensive holidays, but it still wasn’t enough for her. I left my family for her. There is nothing I haven’t done for her yet ….” Thimbi looked at Catherine. “You were right. She is a witch. She blinded me with her charms. I gave her everything and I lost the most important thing. My soul.”

Thimbi sat up straight. He looked like he was in pain. “Catherine I called you to ask for your forgiveness. I know I have hurt you. I don’t know what came over me. You were always the love of my life. I am sorry it took me so long to realize it. Is there a chance that … that we could start over?”

Catherine was shocked. Of all the things she had thought Thimbi would say this was not it. Thimbi wanted her back. She looked at him. This man she used to love. This man who had crushed her and humiliated her. She had a flashback to all the things she had gone through.

When Thimbi had denounced her children and the backlash that followed. Thimbi had demanded in court for DNA samples from her children. Catherine had complied. The samples were taken to South Africa. During that time of waiting for the results, Hemi had tried to commit suicide. He was in 3rd form final term and the pressure had gotten to him. Some of the boys in his school were calling him a bastard, telling him that even his own father didn’t want him.

black man

Hemi had stayed out of school for one term. Catherine took him for counselling. She then had to take him out of his school and move him to a day school so that she could be able to monitor him. The results of the DNA had come in and they proved without a doubt that Catherine’s children were Thimbi’s. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

Because the will had not mentioned specifically which Hemi was to inherit the properties left by Thimbi’s dad the two sons of Thimbi got equal portions of the properties. Thimbi was made co-administrator of the sons’ estates. Jayne’s inheritance was secure.

Jayne had just started college at the time. She was pursuing a business diploma and working for her mother selling clothes. They were hoping that she would get HELB to pay for her law degree which she had been called for. Jayne had taken a semester off to stay at home with Hemi. He needed constant supervision because he was very depressed and he would have mood swings and threaten to kill himself.

Catherine would have wanted to stay home with Hemi but she was the breadwinner. She had to go to work to pay the bills. Every day she got home exhausted but she had to put on a bright smile for her children. She wondered what she had done to deserve this. As many women do in times of hardship she turned to God for comfort. She started going to church for prayer meetings. She had always been just a Sunday Christian before but this troubles had made her seek God.

Catherine had cut off all links with Thimbi. She hadn’t contacted him or seen him in 5 years. Since he had refused to pay the children’s fees or for their upkeep she didn’t need to see him. Her friends had told her to take him to court but she had refused. She was tired of all the Thimbi drama. She just wanted to get on with her life. She realized that interacting with Thimbi was just putting salt on wounds that were fresh and that may never heal.

crying woman

Catherine looked at Thimbi. He had put her through hell. She had gone through so many hard and bad times because of him. She wanted to hate him. She had hated him for a long time. Hate is a poison that consumes the person who is feeling it. Seeing him here on the hospital bed looking so pitiful and sick made her realize how she still held a grudge against him even though she had asked God for the strength to forgive him.

Catherine took Thimbi’s hand and looked him straight in the eyes. She said, “I forgive you for all the stuff you put me through.” The relief in Thimbi’s eyes was evident. He relaxed. “I have been praying for years for strength to forgive you. Seeing you in this hospital bed has made me realize that I still had anger against you”

Catherine took a deep breath and let go of Thimbi’s hand. “That doesn’t mean I can forget what you did to me. I forgive you but I don’t want you back. You have hurt and humiliated me…” Tears ran down Catherine’s cheeks “the things you have done cannot be undone. It is too late for you and me. I am sorry!!”

Catherine picked her handbag off the floor where she had put it and walked out. She knew that many of her church friends would tell her that God had answered their prayers. That she should be grateful that Thimbi wanted to come back. But she wasn’t that woman she had been 10 years ago. A woman willing to put up with a man’s misbehaviour just because she loved him. The woman who had put up with her husband having an affair with his secretary and not said anything because she was afraid of losing everything. That woman had gone through the fire and come out different.

Catherine knew that her friends would not approve. But she wasn’t going to be one of those women like some she knew whose husbands had run off, and who came back when they were old or sick. She had so much to look forward to. She was planning to take a trip with her children to Israel when she retired. She had finally made some money and she was comfortable. She was very far from where she had been 10 years ago. She had a small house, no car – she had to use matatus to work, she shopped for second-hand clothes. But she was happy and at peace. Something all that money had not given her. Something Thimbi had not given her!

Catherine had come full circle. Only this time she wasn’t the one who had lost everything. This time it was Thimbi. “What goes around comes around!” Catherine thought as she walked to the bus stop to catch a matatu.

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