People think being a wife is easy… sigh! He is still around he didn’t keep to his word of leaving and I haven’t mustered up the courage to oust him out. He told me a bunch of mumble jumbo about how R.J will be affected by our separation.
I can’t think straight with him around I need space I need time alone. I need to be away from him surely I am not asking for too much. His presence has me confused about a whole lot of things like when I see him play with the kids. Randall the cheater is wiped away from my eyes and I start to adore Randall the family man.
“Mom I can’t find my soccer boots.” He doesn’t knock when he enters my room nor does he greet.
“Hey what did I say about knocking?” He’s standing in the doorway smiling up at me why am I falling for his charms? R.J is his father’s child.
“Sorry mom.” He murmurs below a whisper and tramples in barefooted he throws himself on my bed which is something I have warned him about.
“What is it R.J?” I have to abandon my things just to accommodate him.
The little boy sits up Indian style and pats the empty space beside him. I can’t entertain him I’m late for work. So I scold him with a single glare that has him puckering his lips.
“I can’t find my soccer boots mom” this child is forever losing his things what am I going to do with him? Sighing in frustration I decide to give him my full attention. It’s a good thing I’m ready for work R.J can be a very big distraction.
“You’re kidding me right?” Lord this child. What he’s wearing drains all the strength in me and he has the audacity to shrug his shoulders as if he’s oblivious to what I’m observing. “R.J you’re not even dressed for practice yet?”
“I can’t find my boots” he’s lying we go through the same thing every Friday afternoon where R.J hides his soccer boots and I spend an hour looking for them. I don’t know why Randall had him take up soccer the boy clearly hates it.
“Why don’t you quit?” I have suggested this before and he plainly declined I don’t know what he wants.
“I don’t want to” this is what I’m talking about. He won’t quit yet he hides his shoes.
“R.J mom needs to be at work before 5pm. Please work with me baby. Get your shoes so I can drop you off.”
“My tummy hurts can I skip practise today?” His hand suddenly finds a possible pain on his stomach honestly I do not have time for this.
“Fine I have work. Chioma will take care of you.” The boy regards me with cartoon eyes a desperate look of some sort.
“Please stay with me mommy.” He pleads flapping his eyelashes. Mommy? This child is nine the only time he calls me mommy is when he wants something.
“You know I can’t miss work” I tell him grab my handbag and get ready to head out but R.J scampers off the bed and blocks my path. He is looking up at me with his Bambi eyes.
“Please” he sings and for the life of me I am tempted to stay.
“I’ll be home before dinner I promise.” This should make him smile and he grins like a Cheshire cat.
“Yes!” The boy rejoices throwing a fist in the air. “I’ll tell Liya you’re joining us for dinner.”
With this announcement he pounces out of the room in excitement. I thought he wasn’t feeling well Randall has to talk to him regarding this soccer thing. I don’t want my son doing things he doesn’t like.
Now I have to go to work and pretend to be sick so they send me home.
Randall faintly smiles at his son running to him he almost bumps into the coffee table but manages to dodge it and jumps on the couch with his feet. He would chastise him but he’s too eager to find out what Amara said. The smile on the boy’s face could only mean one thing… mission accomplished.
“And?” A curious Randall asks the young prince who jumps on his lap and suffocates him with a hug he can’t help but chuckle at R.J’s cuteness.
“It worked dad it worked. Mom will be home for dinner.” R.J happily announces he pulls back from the hug and looks up at his father. Worry splashes in his eyes his small hands start drawing circles around his father’s eyes. The sudden contact is random hence the inquisitive look on Randall’s face.
“What is it Kwame?” Of course dad has grown curious.
“Liya told me what these circles mean dad you haven’t been sleeping. Are you and mom still fighting? I heard you guys arguing the other day.”
“The last time I checked you were nine not sixteen.” It bothers Randall that his kids are growing up given a chance to make a wish he would freeze time for an eternity. That night he fought with Amara he went to his son’s room. Watching him sleep Randall decided that he would fight for his family even if it meant not respecting Amara’s wishes. Leaving the house is the same as giving up on his marriage and kids and that’s something he’d never do.
“Liya teaches me a lot of things she’s also been teaching me self-defence.” He jumps off his father’s lap and starts practicing random kicks careful not to knock off objects in the lounge. “Look how high I can kick dad.”
Randall chortles at the sight he grabs his son by the waist and sits him back on his lap.
“Why is your sister teaching you self-defence? Is everything okay Kwame?” R.J drops his head and falls into a series of thoughts it’s not a secret that the child has something in his mind.
“Nothing is wrong dad” his answer has his father furrowing his already puckered brow he senses something and there’s an urge to push the conversation further. He decides otherwise knowing R.J will tell him when he’s ready.
“Hey!” At this Randall cups Kwame’s face. The little boy timidly looks up at him his innocent eyes make Randall’s heart clip. He can’t imagine anyone hurting his baby. “Who is there for you?”
“Who will always protect you?”
“Who loves you more than anything in this world?”
“Good.” Randall finishes and pastes a soft kiss on his forehead the little boy’s nose crumples up and he falls into giggles as he sends a hand to wipe the wetness away.
“Eww dad” he whines shying away from his father’s loving gaze.
“I thought you’d be used to this by now.” Randall kisses him again and envelops him in his arms. The hug is tight R.J is not complaining moreover he loves it when his father babies him.
“I love you Kwame.” Randall proclaims tightening the hug and loving the giggles emanating from the little boy.
“I love you too Uze.” R.J adds a tease and earns himself a scolding stare from his father. “I mean dad I love you more dad.”
The boy’s wide grin melts his father’s heart.
“So what does this mean? Is my girl still a virgin or Mkhize broke the glass?”
“I don’t know we didn’t go that far. Or maybe we should ask the ancestors since they know everything.” Liyana snorts.
When I called her she wasn’t in the mood to talk. She expressed how she feels embarrassed and has been avoiding that fool she calls a boyfriend for three days now.
“What were you thinking Liyana? I thought you said you’ll wait till you’ve figured out what they want from you.”
“Well…I thought since Zweli loves me they won’t interfere.” Yeah right.
“Like they didn’t interfere the number of times you two were making out? You should know better than to risk your life you’re lucky they haven’t put you in a comma.” Me and my big mouth I have probably given them an idea. “Oh no do you think they are listening? Liyana someone in the underground is taking notes.”
“Come on Zitha” she’s laughing hopefully not at my stupidity. “I doubt that is possible I think they do those things because they want attention.”
“They want you to accept your gift babe.” I retort.
Isn’t that the reason why the dead decide to invade our lives?
“I’m not ready they’ll want me to wear beads and ancestral clothes. I will have to live for other people I’m not ready to give up my life just yet. I’m still young
“What life are you talking about virgin Mary? Is it not you waiting for Saint Gabriel to come and tell you that you are with child.”
“But Zweli and I have tried to do it many times and they interrupted us. I would be experienced if it were not for them.” This girl is not getting me geez innocent girls can be a pain in the anal.
“That’s boring Liya one man is not enough. But forget about that don’t be me. I can do whatever I want you have a crazy father who will castrate any man who tries to stab your cake.” I tell her the truth and nothing but…
“Papa is better grandpa is the problem. It’s bad enough that he can see everything from wherever he is. Ancestors do not care about privacy they watch us like hawks.” She grumbles.
“True babe they do as they please. When they roar you better listen. The calling does not go away it only gets louder. Maybe you should do some kind of ritual to appease them.” I’m a genius I know. I hear Liyana sigh in defeat upon my suggestion.
“They won’t accept it this whole charade started when I was R.J’s age. They have waited for too long but it’s my life. I will live it as I please.” She sounds like a spoiled brat I should call her out on it.
“Yeah right you know that’s not how it works. You’re black babe don’t give them that model C attitude. They don’t understand that am I allowed to pity my friend? If it’s not your ancestors it’s your father acting like Chuck Norris. That man is a different kind of ancestor he’s got surveillance cameras on you.”
Mr. Okolie scares me sometimes I think he knows about Liyana’s relationship with Zwelethu. The last time I was at Liyana’s house he was glaring at me like I grew a pair of horns. I swear I almost told on Liyana I was ready to give him Zwelethu’s address cell number… his father’s name and where his grandparents are buried. And probably help him pick the murder weapon boy when Mr. Okolie finds out about that relationship all hell will break loose.
“I can take care of papa don’t worry about him.” Liyana.
My cousin charges into my room just before I could deliver a hefty comeback. Her nostrils flare as she eyes me like I’m covered in shit.
“Who is going to watch your mother when you’re busy gossiping on the phone?” Yoh this girl’s words are sour. She probably sucked lemons from her mother’s breast as a baby. I nod and gesture that she leaves. She walks out with a tongue click swaying her uneven hips.
“I have to go my mother needs me” we have been talking on the phone for too long.
“Okay I’ll call you in the morning.” I’m not happy about Liyana’s proposal.
“You and your morning calls don’t you need time to recharge after waking up maybe until 12pm?” I tell her to have her laugh at my question.
“I’ll text you then” sounds better that way I will take my time to respond. “Kiss your mother for me.”
“I am not doing that” I dispute maybe they do it in Ghana not here. We shake our parent’s hands or greet while standing five feet away from them.
My mother is sick no one knows what’s wrong with her not even doctors. It was a sudden sickness it began with her crying of painful joints. One day she woke up and couldn’t move her body gave up on her. Doctors gave up on her two years later she is still bedridden. I have to feed her and clean her. We live with my aunt and her daughter Sizakele in Orange Farm.
Aunt is a nurse she works night shifts most of the time. Sizakele is two years younger than me we are not really best of friends we butt heads a lot like my mom and aunt used to before she fell ill. I’d like to think they are still at daggers drawn because despite being a qualified nurse aunt refuses to touch my mother. She claims that she’s forever tired even on her off days.
I bid my friend goodbye after she reminds me about her parent’s anniversary party Liyana is throwing the don of all parties for her parents. Her words not mine. She says it’s going to be the biggest party ever thrown amongst the elites. Where there are beverages I am there and nope I am not talking about Oros.
I met Liyana during the second semester in Varsity we’ve been friends ever since. When I was in primary school I was accelerated for two years. The joys of skipping two grades because you’re too smart for your peers… I have lived hey…
Seriously I have to slaughter a goat for my ancestors just to thank them for giving me brains. Maybe go to church for two Sundays to thank God as well. Christmas and Easter will do. What more will they want from me I would’ve completed my task in life.
I graduated with a degree in Marketing although I wanted to further my studies money became an issue but mostly my mother needed me. I’m a nineteen year old unemployed young South African.
I head to my mother’s bedroom the house has four bedrooms. It’s an RDP house belongs to my aunt. She renovated it four years ago we’ve been living with her for as long as I can remember. I have hated it here my whole life Varsity was my sweet escape.
My mother’s eyes meet mine as I walk into her bedroom she would smile at me if she were not a vegetable.
“Mama.” I kiss her cheek to realise that her skin is cold. There’s an extra blanket in the wardrobe I use it to drape her body. My mother can’t speak she can only hum. It pains me to see her in this state if only my father didn’t decide to die maybe things would be different. The man chose the wrong time to die before I was born. Maybe the thought of meeting me killed him… what other conclusion should I come up with? No one wants to tell me how the man left this earth and I’ve never seen pictures of him.
My mother would have gotten proper medical help if he were alive. When you’re not privileged society turns its back on you.
My dream is to work hard make something of myself and help this woman. When she is better I will give her everything she wants. I will spoil her... Isn’t that what everyone wants for their parents? To live lavishly without any worries.
As I lay down beside my mother Sizakele walks in. The look on her face says she is here to complain.
“I’m hungry” she spits as if I keep food in my room.
“So?” She should not try me tonight I might just bark and bite her.
“You haven’t cooked Zitha what am I supposed to eat?” This girl is tickling me in all the wrong places.
“If you’re lazy to cook drink water and go to bed.” This is what I have to live with since my mother’s predicament. “Or should we call Gordon Ramsey? He’ll cook for you while serving you with a bunch of curse words isn’t that what you like Kele?” She frowns at my remark I am just about ready to punch her flat nose. I would have told her shit but my mother can hear everything. Out of respect for this once Shembe freak I have to act like a lady. But my thoughts are a childish boy’s thoughts.
“I will tell mama about this we’ll see if you’ll still have that big mouth of yours. Ugly bitch.” Sizakele throws insults I can take them. I mean she can do better. I want to tell her that the ugly bitch is her mother I’ll keep that for later. Right now I need to think of a way to make her pay for her dirty mouth.
Forgive me Lord for I am about to sin.