Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 8.3

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.

Knight after Knight. Chapter eight, part three.

When he came back from New York, Lindy diverted the men from the external work (which they did not complain about) and had the Lodge refurbished, furnished and equipped, ready to be occupied in a little more than three weeks, which must be something of a record. Admittedly, they had Kanene constantly on their backs whilst they were doing it and although they didn’t know that it was only an honorary position, they did know that she was a shaman. That seemed to bolster their efforts somewhat.

Max and I moved out of Nocturne, leaving Lindy and Roger to themselves which we all agreed was important at this early stage of their life together. We moved our stuff into the lodge, now named nyumba ya wageni (which translates from Swahili as guesthouse or lodge). Max even had a sign made which she hung above the front door.

“That’s the difference between us, Boss,” Lindy said when he came to inspect the work ready to sign it off, “I would call this building two. I’ll bet you had names for the rooms in the house, even if you didn’t actually label them.”

“Not really. We had the large dining room and the breakfast room. What you call guest bedrooms two and three, we referred to as the blue bedroom and the pink bedroom, but that’s all.”

“And what did you call this building? I’ll bet it wasn’t nyumba ya wageni!”

“It wasn’t. It was the eyesore.”

“Not any longer it isn’t.”

“No, it isn’t. It’s a credit to you, Lindy, and especially to Kanene.”

We settled in quite quickly and started to give more consideration to what we could do to help both inside and outside the Group. A few days into that work, and at our invitation, Kanene came around for the evening. Lindy and Roger were busy gathering Roger’s stuff from his house, so didn’t need their cook, but Kanene had said that she would bring a traditional local meal, so we didn’t need her, either.

“You know you didn’t need to take this house, don’t you?” Kanene said over dinner.

“No, but it’s convenient—”

“And makes it look as though you are still part of Knight Global Trading,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “I’m sure there would have been other houses we could rent—”

“Like the one Roger and Lindy are clearing out now?”

“What, Roger’s?”

“Yes. He doesn’t need it any more. I’m sure you could take over his lease. It’s handier for the offices, too.”

“Perhaps that’s something we should take up with Lindy. Thanks, Kanene.”

“Listen,” Max said, “do you remember that first trip we took to the villages near the orphanage?”

“The one where we ended up with a spear in the car?”

“Yes, that one.”

“I would like to go back there now, see how they’re getting on. It would do Hannice good to experience it, too. Would you like to join us?”

“Are you asking me to go to the interior with Mr Knight and yourself?”

“That’s what it sounded like to me. What do you say?”

“I say yes please.”

“Are you okay to be away from your business for a week or so?”

“Things are a bit quiet at the moment, Max. As at today, the biggest job we have is the refurbishment of Nocturne, which won’t start for about a month. That gives us plenty of time to specify and procure the materials we need, and I have good staff to do that anyway. So, yes, I’m okay to be away from KFI for a week or so.”

I excused myself from the room, went outside and started weeping. The ladies heard me and came rushing out.

“Whatever’s the matter, Hannice?” Max asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I couldn’t stop it. For years, I left Sophie to make all our travel arrangements. It just hit me again that she’s not here. And it hurts.”

“Of course it does. And it will for a long time. But it will get easier, I promise.”

“I don’t want it to get easier,” I said, “I don’t ever want to stop missing her.”

“And you won’t. But what will happen is that you will gradually become accustomed to the pain, it will become a friend. Remember, as long as you feel her absence you’re not forgetting her. In a way, she is with you in and through your pain.”

“Thanks, Max. I think I can go back in now.”

We returned to the lounge and seated ourselves in the easy chairs.

“Do you want me to make the arrangements, or shall we test out this support system Lindy says we have through his people?”

“Use Lindy’s people,” Kanene said, “I always do.”

“Do you?” Max asked, “You surprise me.”

“Why? I’m paying for it. Although my business is wholly owned by Holy Island Services, we are financially independent.”

“Does that mean he’s paying you for the work you’re doing on Nocturne?” I asked.

“Damn right, he is. And it’s all covered by contracts, purchase orders, invoices and so on.”

“I’m proud of both of you,” I said, “To think, I took you on as housemaid and Lindy as office assistant. And look at you now, two highly competent, capable and professional members of KGT’s senior management.”

“And it’s all thanks to you and Max. Without Max’s encouragement and support, I’d still be in the village, the daughter of a dead shaman, a position that carries no prestige, no authority, no income, nothing. And look at me. As well as being honorary shaman, whatever that means, I own pretty much all the village. When the depression hit, I was able to buy the houses and community buildings, all of which the residents now use rent-free. All they pay is a maintenance charge to cover services and repairs. And that hasn’t changed in years, so I’m probably losing money on it. But the thing is: I can afford to. Compared to them, I am obscenely rich. Compared to other villages, my people are living ludicrously cheaply. And that, whether you want it or not, whether you accept it or not, is your legacy. You made me the person I am, and I put the villagers in the position they’re in now. Therefore, through me, you put the villagers in the position they’re in now.”

“I don’t know what to say,” I said.

“You don’t need to say anything. I need to say ‘thank you’, and the villagers need to say ‘thank you’. Here’s the deal. I’ll come with you to the village we went to before. When we get back from there; not straight away, obviously, but when it suits; you come to my village so we can show our gratitude properly.”

“There’s no need for that,” I said.

“Hannice,” Max interjected, “the good people of Zinga want to show us their appreciation of what they see as our saving their village from dark times, albeit through Kanene. Now, are you telling me that you want to insult them by denying them the right to do that?”

“Max is right,” Kanene said, “these are proud people, and they value their dignity above all things – until they have a skinful of pombe, then dignity, like most other things, takes a back seat. If you don’t allow them to thank you in the way they wish, it will appear to them that you don’t believe them worthy of your time, of your attention. Please don’t do that.”

“Is Sekelaga still there?” Max asked.

“She is. And Habibu is one of the elders. He and Zahara remember you well, As does Mercy Kariuki.”

“The school teacher?”

“She is retired now, but still serves on the village council. And every chance she gets, especially when villages say anything bad about wazungu, white people, she tells of the conversation you and she had after the play. She says that your words to her had an effect on her that she carries to this day.”

“As do her words to me, Kanene. I would so love to meet her again.”

“Mercy lost her eyesight a few years ago, but she is still the same person, with the same positive outlook on life. I would be surprised if when you walk up to her and start to speak, she doesn’t recognise you and address you by name straight away.”

“After all these years?”

“She has a remarkable memory, especially for voices and more so since she became blind.”



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