• The Necklace – Part Three




    And now we come to the end of our story. As you remember, Juan and Sophia Banderos had escaped the Muso Mine in Columbia and moved to Europe with money and emeralds. Pretty much the same for Ishmael and Kayenta Taysoncole. They had stolen a huge Diamond from a mine out in the Jungle in the Ivory Coast. After saving they finally were able to make it to Belgium taking the diamond with them. Now we go forward into time eighteen years. Both have children, each a boy and a girl. And as the weave of life sometimes takes strange turns, the ended up living only twenty-one miles from each other, but their paths had never crossed. The Banderos family lived in Wiltz, Luxemburg and the Taysoncole family in Wardin, Belgium. Both citizens of their new countries with no desire to ever return to their former home countries.


    “Do you think this fog can get any thicker,” said Ishmael to his wife Kayenta, as they came over a little rise on highway NB4 going Southeast from Bastogne. “I’m only doing thirty miles per hours and half the time I can’t see the tail lights of the car ahead. BAM! The impact from behind tossed them both against their seatbelts – then the rear of another car in front came up like a wave and they crashed into its trunk – both airbags deploying. “Are you okay,” asked Kayenta, concerned that her husband’s face was still buried in the airbag. “Yes, I’m alright, the airbag just knocked the wind out of me.” “Are you hurt?” he asked.


    “No, I’m fine, but I’m concerned about the people in front of us and those in back. Maybe we should stay in our car where we have some protection from other cars piling up.” Ishmael said. “Let me check to see if I can even get my door open.”


    As he was trying the door a man got out of the car in front and staggered towards him. “Oh, oh,” Ishmael thought, “If he’s German there will be a battle with lots of shouting and arm waving.   But the man was not German. He steadied himself on the fender of Ishmael’s BMW and said in English, “Is everyone in your vehicle okay?” The accent had a Latin base and Kayenta said it sounded as if the man was from Spain. “Yes we are okay, and you?” said Ishmael. “Just a couple of bruises, the Mercedes is built for things like this. As the two men stood off to the side of the road, they made an odd couple – the man from the rear car, tall, black, head shaven, speaking English like he was from Kenya or some other former British colony. The man in front vehicle, short, with curly black hair and an olive completion.


    They had both checked the cars behind and in front of their respective vehicles and it appeared there weren’t any serious injuries, but neither of their own cars were drivable – both had punctured radiators. With German efficiency, the seven cars involved in the accident were towed to garages, and arrangements made for the drivers and occupants to be transported to hotels at Bastogne the nearest town decent sized town.


    The couples from the Mercedes and the BMW ended up at the same hotel, traveling there in the same van. By the time they arrived they knew each other’s names Ishmael and Kayenta Tyancole, and Juan and Sophia Banderas. They got along very well despite their backgrounds; different races and the auto crash circumstance. Sophia asked if they would like to meet for breakfast, before they arranged transportation to their homes.


    In the morning they found that they had more in common than they thought. They were both immigrants to Europe and lived within twenty miles of one another. And out of this unlikely beginning, a real friendship was born, starting with the Tayn-cole’s having the Banderas’ come to their home after the wreck. The friendship was probably helped in that they both had two children and all the kids were under the age of fifteen. Their youngsters also became friends and within a year each set of parents were leaving the children with the others to tend on occasion. They knew a lot about one another, but two things were never explained. Exactly how they happened to end up in area of the world and what their occupations were. It might seem strange but somehow each accepted the others vague answers. Supposedly they both men were in the import business of minerals.


    And the kids got along very well – black kids playing with white kids in beautiful central Europe. The two women became very close, complaining about their husbands, sharing their children’s successes, comparing the memories of when both were in a wild dangerous place in the world with no hope of escape or of a future.  As time went by they started to hint at the treasures that had brought them to Europe and to this life. Finally each had a complete history of the other.


    Both had talked to their husbands about plans for the future.  Both had the same answer.  Yes, we have wealth, a home, cars, time to travel and a good family, but there may be a time when there is neither.  There are still people back in our native country who may know what happened and would like to do us harm or take back the gems we took. Both Ishmael and Juan wanted to keep the gems as a backup.


    While it made sense to Kayenta and Sophia, they both wanted to be able to pass down the remaining gems or their value as a legacy to their children.  And so, as women sometimes do, they started planning without their husband’s knowledge.


    About this same time, another plan was hatching. This was between Francisco and Samanya.  They had fallen in love.  The parents had misgivings, because of the some of the problems they would face as a mixed race couple. But he was twenty-one and she twenty, so there really wasn’t much to say.


    Kayenta and Sophia went to work on a special wedding present for them, not telling their husbands of course. On the day of the wedding after the couple had exchanged rings, Francisco took out of his pocket a velvet box then retrieved a diamond and emerald necklace and put it around Samanya’s neck, much to the shock of their husbands.



    But is that the end of our story, the diamonds and emeralds combined to bring a magnificent necklace into the family?


    Not quite, because there were still more emeralds and more diamonds. After the success of their design of the marriage necklace, the two women combined again and built another necklace, this one a world-class piece of jewelry. And did they keep it for their other children?



    No after a meeting of both couples, they came to a decision. Sotheby’s put up the necklace for auction in London, the sellers remaining anonymous. The necklace brought 3.7 million dollars, which went immediately into a trust for the children and grandchildren of Ishmael and Kayenta Taysoncole, and Juan and Sophia Banderas.


    So now are we really at the end of the story? Not quite. The buyer was also anonymous. But the two husbands found out. It was the president of the Ivory Coast, where the original diamonds had come from. But it wasn’t for him; it was for his mistress, Isabella Maria Coronado, a striking beauty who had captivated his heart. She was from a little town called Chiquinquira, just twenty-one miles from the largest emerald mine in the world at Muzo, Columbia, and the mine where the Bandaro’s had stolen the Emeralds.


    And now one more question. The President of the Ivory Coast was overthrown six months after he acquired the necklace for Isabella. What happened to the necklace, did the rebels get it, or did it travel back to Columbia with Isabella, or did it just disappear, to eventually hang around the neck of another stunningly beautiful woman?

    The Answer – as Isabella was trying to escape to Liberia, she was captured by the guards right where the Cavalla River defines the border.  They were young and told her they would let her go if she would swim the rapids to other side – Liberia and Freedom – knowing there wasn’t much of a chance – just for the sport of seeing her try.

    Isabella plunged in, stroking strongly for the other side, but then the current caught her and she disappeared around a bend. Did she drown, with the stones scattered down the river, or did she swim to the other side, but lost the necklace.  Or was luck and strength with her as she made it across to return to Columbia with the necklace?  You decide.

    July, 2014

    Joseph Ollivier



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