“I am telling you the truth; I did not steal this necklace. It was given to me as a reward by Mama Lucy”- thousand times he repeated the same sentence and every time he uttered the words, he was whipped, he was kicked, and his arms were twisted.
Bakari was really telling the truth.
Maria and Jose were married for more than 18 years. They had three children. There was never a time when Maria suspected her husband having an affair with other women. But of late his attitude slightly faltered. Still she trusted him. Several times she had asked him if anything was bothering him. He simply answered “Increased work load, Maria. Please don’t increase my tension. I want to retire without any problems.”
One day, on an ordinary day, on no specific occasion, Jose gave Maria a necklace. The necklace looked really expensive. There was a locket, heart shaped with a well cut diamond sparkling in the middle. She was surprised but happy to receive the lovely present. In all those 18 years, Jose had never given her any jewelry. He detested gold ornaments. He considered it as luring thieves and exposing life to danger. He always preached her and his children to save money in the banks, not on the neck, ears and fingers. Even Lucy, their 17 years old daughter teased him of being romantic in old age.
As the days went by, the odds were becoming very regular. There was something disturbing in her mind whenever she wore the necklace. She went to the church to confess for doubting her husband.
The whole family sat down to watch the TV. The local broadcasting center was supposed to air live, the program where Jose was presenting the 5 millions cheque to the First Lady on behalf of his company. It was a fund raising occasion for the orphanage.
Amidst the applause, Jose and his secretary came out holding the giant size cheque to hand over to the First Lady. At first Maria thought it was the flashlight from the dozens of camera clicking the moment. Then it became clearer and clearer. The diamond from the necklace of Jose’s secretary sparkled constantly, the beams making different star shapes. Instantly Lucy and Maria caught each other’s eye. They did not see the giant size cheque any more. Their eyes remained focused on the sparkling object, the replica of the romantic gift to Maria, shining on a different neck. Maria took out her own necklace from her neck and pushed it in an envelope.
The next day Maria phoned Jose’s secretary asking her advice to recommend a reputable goldsmith where she could buy a gold chain for Lucy.
Maria went to the recommended goldsmith wearing her diamond necklace. The goldsmith recognized the necklace immediately and welcomed her cordially. She inquired whether he had other necklaces of the same design.
“Oh no. Sorry Madame, I made only two pieces. Your husband ordered especially for you and your daughter. We accept orders. You can order another design as you have already this one.”
Maria thanked the goldsmith and walked out.
While she was coming back, she was lost in thoughts. She did not see the cyclist pedaling on her left side. She just turned her steering wheel and cut the corner to the left. The colliding sound and scream of the cyclist jolted her thoughts back but it was too late. She lost control of her wheel, entered directly to the ditch. She broke her left leg.
Jose shouted at her for reckless driving. She kept quite. During her sickness, their servant Bakari served her and the family very obediently. Maria rewarded him the “Diamond necklace” and asked him to give it to his wife.
Bakari and his wife were thankful to Maria but to them money, in cash form, was more appreciable than the shining piece of necklace. They decided to sell. Bakari incidentally took the necklace to the same jeweler who recognized the necklace and mistook Bakari as the pick pocketer. Dialed 911.
By the time Bakari’s wife came begging Maria’s help, Bakari was thoroughly beaten, he was semiconscious. Maria bailed him out and brought him to her place to nurse him.
Jose learnt all about the truth, the whole truth. Quietly he went to the police station, told them the truth and requested to withdraw all the charges against Bakari.
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