As she took her seat on her flight, the empty seat next to her reminded her of her disappointment in Thabo. She took the window seat and put on her headphones. It was a two-hour flight, just enough time to rest and recap how crazy her week had been.
Seeing Tiago had derailed Vanessa’s plans. To accommodate their lunch, she had to reschedule one of her birthday traditions.
Every year, the week after her birthday, she would get dressed in her fanciest outfit and visit the place she called The Place Where The Sun Never Sets.
Vanessa and Tiago would take the day off, she would rearrange the furniture in one of the rooms and ensure it resembled an old memory, a room from her past.
Tiago said it was a therapy trick he read up on somewhere. Despite it being his suggestion, he was never allowed to enter the room, he would wait outside until she was ready.
The one year Vanessa rearranged the kitchen, the other year it was the living room. She chose based on what part of home she missed most or remembered best. She first practiced the tradition with Tiago and Malik took over after he left.
Vanessa expected judgment from Malik when she told him about it but instead, he was very supportive. He even suggested that instead of simply rearranging furniture in a different room every year, she should rent a few storage facilities instead. That way she could spend more time being in the moment than getting the room ready and then having to put it all back to the way it was.
There was a protocol on how the day would progress. She would sit in the storage room and he’d wait in the car or drive around on errands, never straying too far. It was something they kept a secret from everyone, including Kami.
Vanessa had been so busy with work and her friends that she hadn’t had time to visit the storage rooms. Every year, the first thing she’d do is sit in the centre of the room, getting a clear view of everything in sight while one of her mother’s favourite songs played in the background.
Vanessa always sneered at the thought of her mother. She felt the title was unbefitting of the woman who raised her. She never got the warm feeling that most people had when they spoke of their own. She felt nothing but animosity towards Maya.
Maya Costa never liked the word mother either, it was as if she saw it as a limiting factor, something that denied her the pleasure of ever being more than that. As a child, whenever Vanessa called her by the name ‘mother’, Maya would turn cold.
Maya wasn’t always like that. In the beginning, she and Vanessa were inseparable.
Maya was a wonderful mother, something she learnt from her own mother Angela. Angela was a Hispanic blues singer, who fell for a soldier while he was stationed in Cuba. Vanessa never met her grandparents, but she saw their influence on Maya – sometimes she would catch Maya staring out into the night, singing to the stars. They died a long time ago, but Maya always talked of their love story.
Maya also warned Vanessa of their generational curse; a pattern Maya would bring up constantly. Whenever a woman in their blood line found love, they would relocate. It was the same when her grandparents met and fled from home so they could be together on their own terms. When Maya found out she was pregnant, she didn’t hesitate to pack her bags and move to Mozambique when Abe asked.
Vanessa always saw it as a blessing, a promise that one day she would escape the hell she called home.
Another pattern Maya noticed was that the women in her family were never much for childbearing or for long lasting relationships, they would each only ever have one child and then be left to raise the child alone or with another man.
Angela’s soulmate was killed during action and Maya lost Abe during a city riot.
Angela never sought for love or remarried but Maya soon found solace in Michael.
Sometimes Vanessa wondered if the child she’d lost was her only chance to ever be a mother. She’d picture how her life would have been after Tiago had left. Would she have raised the child alone like Angela or fill the void with the wealthiest man she could find as Maya did?
Maya was a beautiful woman – long black hair, a petite waist and a smile that would make others smile. She could have any man she wanted. She only chose Michael because he was the exact opposite of Abe. Abe was an activist who cared about people and human rights, Michael was a politician who cared more for power and self-preservation.
With Abe, Maya was happy and kind but with Michael, she was just a woman who didn’t want to be alone.
When Maya met Michael, she was a widow raising an 8 year old with barely enough in her account to pay her rent. She thought Michael would be her savoir, little did she know, he would be the death of her.
‘Maya Adriana Noble, wife to Michael Noble and ex-wife of the late political activist, Abe Costa, was found dead this morning. The 48-year old’s body was found alongside the river by two boys on their way to school. Currently the whereabouts of her daughter, Vanessa, are unknown. Any information on her location would be greatly appreciated.’
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