They sat and had tea. Pearl explained how difficult it was to be with Jacob, but that the choices she had made compelled her to stay. Not many women stayed in abusive relationships, but Pearl said she stayed because she wanted to help Jacob. As they talked, Carol began to understand the life Pearl and Jacob were living.

“There’s good news for you in the letter,” Pearl said when she saw that Zodwa was looking sad. Carol had just shared her ordeal, having to live without her husband and support a child without an income.

“You and mother get to come and live with Aunt Pearl!” she announced excitedly. Carol didn’t know what to say, she was shocked.

“Jacob’s orders. He said to take care of Zodwa and make sure she gets everything she needs.” Pearl explained.

“You really don’t have to, he has handed himself to the police already. You really don’t have to do anything for us.” Carol said.

“Nonsense, you will stay with me and we’ll get through this together. We can’t change the past, but we can chose different paths to make sure that try to fix our mistakes and create a better future. So you and Zodwa are staying, no arguments.”

So it was settled, Carol, Pearl and Zodwa lived with Pearl. Zodwa was happy, she started school and life was better for her and her mother. She had her father’s wisdom and she took it with her everywhere she went. Pearl got Carol a job at a supermarket of a friend of hers. The three ladies were a family of their own.

The years went by and everything was well until Carol was diagnosed with cancer. It was too late for it to be cured or anything to be done, and so she died. Zodwa was doing grade 9 at the time, life had turned its back on her once again. Her mother was buried and she had to go through the life without her around. It was hard but she had Pearl. Zodwa was smart and she did well in school. She only lived for school and Pearl.

In Christmas of that year Pearl was on her way home from shopping. She was mugged and stabbed for money and her phone. She died on the operating table. Zodwa knew from that day onwards that she was definitely alone in this world and had nowhere to turn to. Life just didn’t want to give her a break.


Tell us what you think: How can a person deal with experiencing so much pain in one life time? Have you ever experienced a series of unfortunate events?