Rough Diamond: A South African Short Story, Ch. 8
“What are we going to do?” Susan’s mother Gloria looked at her in amazement; “It is illegal to be in possession of uncut diamonds”. “This diamond was found legally with a prospector’s license, and Piet Swart will testify to it,” Susan, the new expert in the diamond world, reasoned with her Mom and with herself. An uneasy feeling started to develop in her heart. She had asked herself the question a couple of days ago, “is this diamond going to be a curse or a blessing?” Now the question loomed large in her mind.
“We are going to have to ask Sgt. van Staden, he will know what to do.” Susan knew that they would have to contact her friend in Barclay West for help. He was one person that she felt she could trust. At the same time she realized that with the diamond came danger. Why had her father been killed? Both women felt their emotions and minds going into places they would rather stay away from.
In their possession was something that could set them up financially for life in a way that they had not even dreamed about. At the same time the burden of uncertainty and fear that came with it was one that scared them. There was no doubt that they were in a serious situation here. Susan remembered Sgt. van Staden’s words some days before in Barclay: “We now have a serious problem!” he had said. She realized that he did not even know half of it yet.
The reality suddenly dawned on her. Can she even trust him? He had told her that men sometimes do strange things on the diamond fields, especially when big diamonds are involved. Here one was involved. The mixture of excitement and fear created a strange feeling, one that she had felt before while climbing a difficult route in the Drakensberg Mountains. It had never felt nearly as strongly as it did now. It was hard to think straight about all this. She and her mother were facing a situation that life had hardly prepared them for. At the same time she knew that her Mom was a strong person, something she had proved over the years when she had struggled to bring her up and secure her education.
“Let’s sleep on it before we decide what to do”, Gloria wisely suggested. They tried to talk about their options over a cup of coffee, but soon realized that they were getting nowhere. At the same time sleep did not come easily. The diamond in Gloria’s small cupboard safe was an overpowering presence. Its possibilities and problems were just too big.
Susan woke with a start. Her heart beating like a jazz drummer gone mad. Rusty their Labrador was barking wildly in the front yard. Looking out of the window next to her bed, she saw a motorcar stopped in the road. Someone was getting out and she could not see if it was a man or a woman. Grabbing her gown on the run she met her Mom in the entrance hall. Her Mom’s eyes were wide open and Susan could see that fear was etched on her face. They heard the gate being opened and peering out of the side window they saw a man walking up the pathway. “Who is it Mom?” Fear attacked her and would not let go. “Who can this be this late at night?” She did not have to tell her Mom that she was afraid; they shared the feeling.