Chapter 13 - Sunday afternoon 17th October
Jenni sat staring out over the rain drenched sea, slowly stirring her Amarula spiked cappucino. James sat across the table from her, gobbling down a giant slice of raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake in between his sips of tea and non-stop prattle. The sound of the rain on the tin roof threatened to drown out the hum and clink of chatter and clutter. She had flown down to Cape Town the previous evening after her parents had insisted she take a break from work for a few days. Now, after a lazy Sunday morning lie in while her family went to church, she had driven down to Kalk Bay with her brother and they were sitting in ‘Tuisty Baaits’ one of the area’s newest and trendiest coffee shops.
Following both Frank’s and Abi’s deaths, she had floated through the past week, disconnected from life around her, almost as if she had been observing herself from outside of herself. She had called in sick on Monday and spent most of the day in bed. Lydia had been in to clean but Jenni barely muttered a hello from under the covers. Later she phoned her parents. Her mum breathed her anxiety for Jenni’s safety down the phone and when she started to sniff Jenni gently eased her off the other end of the line.
She ignored an SMS from Pienaar.
Her sister Cathy had called on Monday evening so see how she was doing and suggested she some and stay with them for a few days. It was a welcome respite, she was temporarily distracted by little Beth in those moments when she looked for Abi’s affection.
She arrived late into work on the Tuesday morning after being delayed by calls to the insurance company and local police station about her car. It took her time to organize a rental car and only arrived at the office at lunch time. Claudia muttered some words of condolence once Jenni had explained the reasons for her delay. Ayesha was friendly at least and had a long explanation of how her ingrown toenails were currently been seen to by her fiancé.
On checking her e-mails she noticed that the one she had sent to Goodlord remained unanswered. She sent another.
About twenty minutes later, just as Jenni was about to make her way to the kitchenette to grab a cup of coffee, Claudia reminded her about a meeting on the agony column revamp which was happening at the end of that day. Jenni sighed inwardly, she felt ill equipped to be dealing with other people’s issues just then.
It was awkward trying to dodge Pienaar all week too. On Wednesday as she made her way to the kitchenette at lunchtime she heard his voice booming down the corridor towards her. The sound make her cringe, she couldn’t bear his joking flippancy just now. She turned on her heels and left the office to drive to the Parkview minimarket for a sandwich, her homemade one could stay in the fridge.
The strangest thing about the work all week though was about Sanelle. She wasn’t in for the first three days and nobody had heard anything from her and then in the last couple of days she finally appeared without an explanation for her absence. For the last two days she acted like a wild rhinoceros that is trapped by bush fires: blindly stomping to and fro in desperation across the office floor and ignoring Jenni’s attempts at conversation.
Life at home was a bit peculiar, too. Marc had not been living in the main house but had returned to his parent’s home and taken David the dog with him. Jenni saw him briefly one evening as he popped home to collect a few things, he was inconsolable and Jenni hadn’t felt it appropriate to ask him about her continued living arrangements in the rented apartment now that the main house was vacant.
Mostly though, she really missed Abi with a physical ache in her chest. Coming home toward the end of the week was lonely and quite frankly, a little nerve wracking, everything was terrifyingly quiet. She had put her head down behind her screen all week so that nobody could ask her what she was crying about.
Then on Friday afternoon Marc had called her and told her he was thinking of selling Frank’s house, it was left to him in the will but he couldn’t bear the sight of the stain of Frank’s blood on the drive way with which would not come off after Lydia had scrubbed it three times already. She would need to find another place to stay.
Finally, it had been Frank’...