Detective Xuma sat in his office and went through his notes. He had spoken to Sinovuyo and Nosiphiwo. Sinovuyo didn’t seem to have a motive. She had the best of both worlds: her husband brought in money and she was having an affair with the man she loved. She admitted that Nosiphiwo was with her the afternoon of the murder. But Bulelani was killed in the evening.

Where was Nosiphiwo between those hours? Of the two of them, she was the one with a motive. And she was spitting mad when she left Sino’s house. She knew that Bulelani was cheating on her. And jealousy can make people do all sorts of things.

But how about Vuyo? Did he know about his wife’s affair?

This is how it could have played out. Nosiphiwo found out that Bulelani was cheating on her with her best friend. She assaulted Sinovuyo then went home and killed her husband. She left the key on the table to make it look like someone else had access to the house.

Or, Vuyo found out and decided to kill Bulelani. The only thing Detective Xuma needed was evidence. He asked two constables to accompany him back to Vuyo and Sino’s house.

The blue VW Golf was parked on the pavement. It looked shiny – like it had been recently sprayed. They knocked on the door.

“Ngaphakathi!” a voice from inside replied.

“Afternoon, Mr Xhora,” said Detective Xuma after they entered.

“Hey Detective, just Vuyo, please. You may sit gentlemen.”

The Detective sat on the sofa but the two constables stood by the door.

“My wife is at work, Detective,” Vuyo said, as he sat down opposite Detective Xuma. They were separated by a glass table on which was a bottle of Red Label whisky and a glass.

“No, it’s fine Vuyo. I am here to ask you a few questions. How well did you know Bulelani?”

“Not that well. He attended the varsity I work at. And he was married to my wife’s best friend, Nosiphiwo.”

“Who’s the owner of the blue car that’s outside? A white VW Golf was seen fleeing the crime scene.”

“As you can see, the car is blue.”

Just then the Detective’s phone buzzed. It was forensics. They had run tests on the key found at Bulelani’s house – Sinovuyo’s print was on the key, as well as her husband’s.

“Where is your wife right now?” he asked.

“She’s at work.”

“Phone her and tell her to come down to the police station.”

“What have you found?”

“There were fingerprints on the key that we found at Bulelani’s house. They were your wife’s.”

The Detective watched Vuyo closely.

“She didn’t kill him!” the man eventually blurted out.

“How are you so sure?”

“Because I did.” He put his head in his hands. “What would you do if you found a man in bed with your wife in your own bedroom, Detective?” Vuyo leaned forward with his forearms on the table. “Let me answer that for you. You would have shot him on the spot and probably killed yourself too.”

Vuyo stood up, distressed and angry.

Detective Xuma remained calm. “How did you get hold of a key to Nosiphiwo’s house, Vuyo?” Detective Xuma said.

Vuyo sat down again. “I read the WhatsApp texts from my wife’s phone the other day, while she was taking a bath. Nosiphiwo was threatening to tell me about Sino’s unfaithfulness if she did not leave Bulelani alone. The thing was, I already knew the truth.”

Just then Sinovuyo came in. “What truth?” she asked. “What’s going on?”

Vuyo didn’t look at his wife, he just continued like a man already condemned.

“On the day of the murder, in the morning, I was with Nosiphiwo. She called and asked me to meet her at a pub in Mowbray. She told me about my wife and Bulelani.” Vuyo poured himself a glass of whisky and said, “Want some, Detective?” Detective Xuma shook his head. “She told me to keep my wife away from Bulelani, if I didn’t want her injured.”

Vuyo drank the full glass in one gulp. “I told Nosiphiwo that I loved my wife and I couldn’t force her to do anything. She was very angry; she said I was half a man.”

“Jealousy is something else, Detective. More especially when matters of the heart are involved. Imagine seeing your wife and her lover in your bed. They didn’t even notice me standing by the door! You can’t imagine the pain I felt, Detective. The key was Sino’s. She must have been going regularly to his house. I took it …”

“Vuyo, stop. We need a lawyer,” said Sino.

“It’s over Sino,” he said and looked at Detective Xuma. “I am going to tell the truth. I put a hoody on and told Sino I was going to meet a friend and I’d be back later. I drove to Bulelani’s house and parked the car not too far from his house. I unlocked the door, went inside, put the house key on the table, cocked my pistol and sat on the chair facing the door. He came in and I fired the first shot, hitting his neck. I could see the shock on his face when he saw me. His eyes pleaded for mercy. I fired the last shot to his head and left. The following day I went to the panel beater to have my car resprayed.” He put his hands over his head and looked down.

Detective Xuma stood up, “Vuyo Xhora, you are under arrest for the murder of Bulelani Khombisa. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to–”

“You know what the terrible thing in all of this is?” said Sinovuyo. “That key. I was going to take it back the very next day. I was going to give it to Bulelani and tell him it was over.”

Three months later

The life insurance paid out and Nosiphiwo was the sole beneficiary. She went back to Cofimvaba and built a house for her parents. She applied to go back to university the following year and to finish her degree to make her parents proud again.

Sinovuyo meanwhile, was devastated to hear that she wasn’t the only married woman that Bulelani was sleeping with. He had kids with most of them, but their husbands were tricked into believing the children were theirs. Now she had lost a man who truly loved her, and a friend who trusted her. Nosiphiwo had cut ties with her.

Vuyo too refused to see Sinovuyo when she went to visit him in prison. It hurt him too much that after all that had happened, he still loved her. It was her adultery that got him locked up.

Sometimes love was a cruel mystery. He had plenty of time to ponder this, as he sat in his cell alone, and Sino sat at home, alone.

*****

Tell us: How do you feel about Vuyo being in jail while Sino is free? In what way is she be being ‘punished’?