Thabi dried her eyes as she walked up to the gate of her house. The women had been busy – the pavement was full of newspapers, boxes, and the broken junk. She thought about Mr Katz in the concentration camp, as a little boy in Germany. What was it like to lose all your family and everything you owned? No wonder he was scared to throw anything away.
As she handed the shopping to one of the women, a car drew up next to her. Her heart sank as Warren Katz got out. “I don’t want to talk to you. You must speak to my lawyer,” she said.
“Thabi,” he said, “we got off on the wrong foot. It was all my fault. I was upset about my father’s death. I’m very sorry.”
“That’s OK.” It was much better to make peace with him. She hated fighting with people.
“Can we chat,” he said, looking at the women sweeping, sorting and dumping rubbish in the garden, “somewhere private?”
“There’s a park at the end of the road. We can go there.”
They set off. She didn’t know what to say. What did he want from her? Warren didn’t say much, but she noticed he was limping. He took out a handkerchief and wiped his face. They reached the park and he sank onto a bench. He was panting.
“I want to thank you for being kind to my father,” he said, talking her hand.
She wanted to pull it away, but didn’t know how to do it without being rude. “It was nothing. He was a lovely man. I miss him.”
“I’m sure you do. You know my dad and I had a falling out?”
“It was my fault. I was a selfish, immature brat. I will be sorry till my dying day that we didn’t make up before he passed away.” He took his handkerchief and wiped his eyes.
“Eish. Life is hard sometimes,” Thabi said. “Your father was a good man.”
“One in a million,” said Warren, blowing his nose. “I wish he’d met my twins.” He took out his phone, and showed Thabi a photo of two little girls. “Lily and Rosa,” he said. “The most beautiful children in the world. He would have loved them. They look so much like my mother.”
Thabi smiled at the photo of the little blond girls playing in the garden in a paddling pool.
“I’m just glad he was spared the news of my illness,” Warren said, blowing his nose. “He would have wanted to help, but I couldn’t have let him.”
“I have cancer. Stage four. It’s in my bones.”
“That’s awful,” Thabi said. “I’m sorry. What does the doctor say?”
“They’ve tried everything – chemotherapy, radiation treatment. It helped for a while, but now the cancer is back.”
“Is there nothing they can do?” No wonder he was so pale, Thabi thought. And that explains the limp.
“I’d rather not talk about it.”
“You must,” Thabi said, grabbing his arm. “Isn’t there anything they can do?”
“There is one treatment… but let’s not talk about ugly things like dying. Tell me about yourself. I can see why my father liked you so much. So young and pretty and vibrant…”
“What is the treatment? Tell me.”
“It’s in Switzerland. But it’s very expensive. That’s why I was so upset when you inherited everything.”
“Oh you poor man!” Thabi put a hand on his shoulder. “If your father had known you were dying he would never have changed his will. I’m going to phone Mr Pritchard right away.”
Tell us what you think: If you were Thabi, would you give the house and money to Warren?