The warm dinner sits on my lap as I watch Generations with my mother and my mind is still stuck on the memory of Mr Ndlovu hugging me the moment I started crying. I remember his dark skin and the touch of his hand the moment he held me and also all the little pimples you'd never pay attention to from afar but when you're up close as I was you'd somehow feel as if they were perfect just the way that they were and I can't stop thinking about his voice his eyebrows his eyelashes his hands his veins his scent and the slight moment he held me in his arms comforting me about a situation that I have yet to accept yet somehow I slowly grow to tolerate because of those words he said to me and the way that they made me feel like I actually had a father for a brief moment. My mother and father had always had a rocky relationship from what she'd tell me because for me I don't remember much from the troubled family life that we had and the information she'd give me would be hazy and incomplete like a book with ripped out pages.
"So how was school today?" She asks as the ad break comes along and she takes a bite from her plate.
"It was okay how was work?"
"It was okay I'm just so tired right now actually come give me a massage after you're done eating lapho."
"But ma." I mourn looking at her irritated.
"Please I really need it."
"Okay fine but it's gonna be just for a few minutes."
"That's all I need you know you should make sure you don't make the same mistakes I made."
"Of being as old as I am having no one to give you massages. You can't rely on teenagers these days."
"You had dad though?" I say as the face
"I'm sorry I didn't mean that."
"No it's okay." She said trying to regain her humor.
"Yeah you should also not marry for love because it won't get you anywhere in life. When I met your father I was very young and naive and I believed in all of that eternal love and marriage but as time went on. I realized that I didn't know the person I was married to and you were very young when he died and I'm ashamed to say that I was very happy when he died."
"How can you say that?"
"You don't understand you were too young to remember all the things your father put me through. You may not remember it all but I do and I won't ever forget it and I couldn't divorce him because I made a promise to God and to him that I would stay with him till death do us part and I did. I kept that promise and vow." She says standing up by the dinner room entrance and looking at me with her arms folded.
"So what if he didn't die? What would you have done?" "Then I would have stayed with him even though I didn't love him anymore."
"And this is why I'm against alot of things that deal with religion and God. That sounds like a very unhappy life to live."
"But that's the religion and you cannot change that. You know I still remember the dreams we used to have and I wanted this huge double story house with white banisters and a garden outside. I've always wanted that for us but he never understood my vision nor could he afford it. I put my entire life on hold for him as he wasted my youth nd my time that I shall never gladly get back and I'll always hate him for that."
"I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything it's not your fault. It's your father's fault."
"But you know this is so hard for me because I never got to know him like I do so it's kinda hard for me to hate him because I don't remember anything. The only memory I have of him is him buying that blazer for my when I was very little and how much I adored that blazer but I think he took it away because I couldn't find it anymore and I I remember how sad I was."
"I remember that blazer and he didn't take it. I am the one who took that and I burnt it." She said taking her plate to her kitchen. "But how could you do that? That's the only memory I had of him and I felt so bad when I couldn't find it."
"I did you a favor you're lucky that you don't remember all of the things he did to me. I'd give anything to have all of the memories erased just like yours did. He was a fucking womanizer of a abuser who believed everyone was wrong in the world except for him. You don't remember him cheating on me but I do you don't remember him acting as if it was my fault but I do. You also don't remember the times he'd come drunk and gambling his entire paycheck leaving me to be the one to be the breadwinner but I do! I have to live with that every single day but you have nothing at all! You don't have all those memories haunting you at night and you don't have all of the scars to prove it but I do so once can you stop talking about your shitless good for nothing father? He didn't love or give a shit about you." She says pointing her finger at me as tears fall down on her face and I remain shocked by the unexpected conversation we're having.