Fifteen years after her husband’s brutal murder, Christabel was never the same person she used to be. She had become a different woman - wiser, tougher and a lot more protective of her children - and she had learned to hide her deep sorrow.
But one only had to look into her eyes to realize her still existing pain….
Because she had endured so much agony over the years, there was a glacial stare in her eyes, a certain plain look that came out of her deep sorrow. Even when she outwardly tried to project an image of toughness ….. of normalcy ….
Unlike in earlier years, when she was rated by many Kenyans as one of the best political wives, she had receded into the background, drastically reduced her public appearances.
In fact, it became known in circles around Nairobi and Kisumu that she longer wanted to appear in public, to do interviews or meet anybody linked to her husband’s murder.
And she had learned to endure those long lonely evenings – and mainly those nights where she craved for his carresses – the warmth of his voice and mainly the tenderness of his touch.
She was still glad that she had refused to see his tortured body. In her memory and that of her children, he could therefore continue living as the husband and father they had seen last ….. a loving and caring and very proud man ……… she had therefore asked on that fateful day when his mutilated body was found that his brother should identify him …. and neither she nor her children had ever seen the ‘empty’ shell exhibited in that coffin ……….
This evening, in her Loresho home, she looked at the documents sitting in front of her. It was a pile of papers, most of them evidence and annexes she had brought to the two previous investigations.
She went through each of them methodically, refreshing her memory, trying to stay true to what she had said in the past. As she went through the exercise, she was stunned by how fresh, how raw the emotions still were.
She combed through all the evidence other witnesses had presented, what top officials in the Kenyan Police had said. She looked at the statements made by Senior Government Officials. She perused the papers describing how the herd-boy had discovered her husband’s mutilated body behind a hill.
It was wrenching.
Putt off, she reached for the family album sitting on a shelf. She opened it.
On the first page, she came face to face with Bob. He was as handsome as ever with his sincere open smile. He was tall and proud. And so full of life ….
She knew, most people had regarded him not only as the best Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenya could have had, but also as one of the most brilliant and charismatic leaders of all Africa.
But to her he was simply ….my love and my life …..
All those things some people had said about him having affairs with other women, she didn’t buy it.
This rubbish was put out there by Bob’s enemies to undercut his credibility.
She then looked at some pictures of her children. They were all grown now. She was struck by how her eldest son looked so much like his father.
It made her smile.
Then she came across a picture of a family friend. A white woman. She remembered the evenings they had spent with her. How kind she was, how driven she was and how much trust Bob had put in her. How close she had been to both of them and to their children.
She had read that she was coming to Nairobi to testify. Christabel smiled …… you have really courage, Marianne.
Finally, on the last page, she came to the one picture she had always wanted to burn, but had somehow not done it.
The former Head of State was next to her, his arms around her. All over the living room, Senior Government Officials were smiling at her.
She looked at it closely, brought it to her face. And for the first time, she saw something she had never seen before. President Moi was crying!
Christabel could not believe her eyes. Why was the man crying? Could it be that he had nothing to do with her husband’s murder? Could she have believed wrongly all these years?
And then she thought about her speech during Bob’s funeral service – trying to hide her tears - and her pain - because she had believed to owe it to him and their life together not to show her real feelings in front of the public…….