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CHAPTER 3

03.

I am in deep sleep when I suddenly feel ice cold water splashed on me. I raise gasping for air. I use my hand to wipe off the water and rub my eyes.

"Iyavuka Nja!" Sarah. (The dog wakes up).

I look at her. She so cruel. I'm covered in mud and dripping wet. She holding a cane. I'm sure she'll want to use it to whoop me.

"How was your slumber?" Sarah.
I swallow and not answer. She raise her hand and the sharp length cane lands on my skin. 
"Ahh!" I scream in pain.
"Phendula!" Sarah. (Answer!).
"It was.. f-fine thanks" I'm shivering from cold.
"Good. Now you have to get up and get to work. I've been hungry for hours. I don't even have my dinner last night just because you were fake sleeping. Now get up and fix something for me and my baby. We need to go to work" she instructs.

I get up. Though it's a bit difficult. She makes a way for me to get out. I limp my way to the kitchen. In my wet and injured state I'll have to make breakfast for the Queen of the house.

Why didn't I die?

My tears stream down my face as I start with the breakfast. You want to get to me? Great! But don't bring up my mother and insult her. She did everything for them. Not once but millions of times she came through for her sisters. Now today they want to kill me for what? I don't know. I bet she let me sleep on that wet garden for hours. She didnt even check if I was still alive or dead. I wish she killed me and done with. If not for my little brother I would have taken my own life by now.

I make breakfast. I do everything and set the coffee table in the lounge room. I switch the tv on andgo back to cook porridge for me and my brother. The life we live now. We were once used to eating Kelloggs and cheese with sausages for breakfast but it all disappeared like it never was there.

Sarah makes her way to the lounge room. 
"Who switched my tv on?" She yells.
I take a breath.
"I did. I was just try to.." 
She makes her way to me so fast like flash from superheroes and slapped my already hurt face. I couldn't finish my sentence.
"Who gave you that right!? In my house? My damn house!" Sarah.

Ntokozo walks in running.. "Yini ma?" (What is it mom).
"Is this thing. She is doing everything in my house without my consent.". She points her finger at me. "Nomzamo ngizo ku limaza mina. Lisa zinto zami engingaka thumi kuzo!" Sarah. (Nomzamo leave my things things I didn't give you permission to touch).
"Yes ma'am". I say.
"U'bona iskole la?" (You see a school here).
I shake my head. She lays another hot slap!
"Phendula ngo'mlomo!" Sarah. (Answer with your mouth).
"Qha." I reply. (No)

She clicks her tongue and moves to the lounge. Ntokozo laughs as she walks to the lounge too. I return to the kitchen. 

I put my hand over my mouth as I burst into a cry. What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong Nkosi yami? 

I cook the porridge with my tears on the way. After I'm done I turn the stove off. Ntokozo comes and places the used plates on the conter and burps out loud.
"Thanks for breakfast. I need to leave." Ntokozo.
She walks out.

I take out two bowls and dish up the porridge. I'll go and wake Musa up. I wonder if he ate last night. But I know they didn't even bother to give him food.

Sarah walks in as I turn.
"I'm going to work. I want every thing in order when I come back. Don't touch my tv. This is not your mother's house. Siyezwana?" Sarah. (Understood).
"Yebo mam'ncane" me.

She walks out with Ntokozo following her. 

I hear Musa burst into a loud cry. I rush to the bedroom. I find him in bed with mud all over him and a red cheek. What happened here?

"San ka mama. Woza la". (Mommy's boy come here)
I take him into my hold and shush him. He must've woken up and saw himself like this and got upset.
"Mama Ntokozo beat me. She beat me sisi." he cries. 
"I'm sorry boy boy ka mama. I'm here now
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she won't beat you again okay?" Me.

He just continues to cry. This is heart breaking. My little brother is exposed to such violence at this age. How can a woman we love so much like our mother do this to us? 

I manage to get him quite after some time. I help him do his daily routine and then give him his porridge. When we done I start cleaning.

.......

I take the last cloth and hang it on the liner. I limp to the back of the toilet to get the materials to wash the toilet. It's always my last job to do everyd-... 

"Hello".
I startle and dropped the toilet brush. 
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you". Says a fine young man.
"Hi." I frown.
"How are you?" He asks.
"I'm good. Thanks. You?". 
"I'm good. I saw what happened yesterday. It's not a good side to see but I came to ask if you're good?" Him.

When I thought he came to ask for directions or something else.. but this. I blink my tears off. I can't be cry to him. And what if Aunty comes and sees him here? I'll be in trouble.

"Please leave thanks for your concern. I'm good. Now you can go". I say.
"Ohw. My name is Sboniso and I live on the next street". He says.
Then how did he see me?
"I was passing by." I look at him. "You said that out loud".
I sigh. "Thanks for coming and yes I'm good. So now you can leave. I was busy when you came" I say.

He smiles showing off his dimples. 
"Okay. I'll see you around" Sboniso.
I nod. He won't see me anywhere..

He turns and leaves. I look at him until he disappears. It's for the first time someone showing sympathy or concern towards me since my life fall to the ground after moving in with my aunt. And I didn't have a come back I just pushed him away. 

I take the brush and get to work..

.......

Ntokozo is back. I want to understand why she's here and not at her father's. 

I dish out food and serve them. Sarah calls me and Musa. She address that I dish out for us and sit with them. First time history has she done this.

I obey and do as told but the other part of me is happy and doing some mini dance. I'll be eating the food that I cooked today. 

What changed?

I sit down and make Musa sit on the carpet floor. I don't want him wasting it on Sarah's white fancy couches.

"So mama what is all of this? Why is she sitting here?" Ntokozo.
"Will you calm down and eat your food?" Sarah.
She rolls her eyes and eat.
"Nomzamo"
"Mam'ncane?"
"I am doing all of this to help you. I don't hate you. I just don't want you messing up like your mother. She died in the hands of a man. I don't want you depending on a man for the rest of your life. And by what you said really got me angry. I bought this house with your mother's help. I don't want that behaviour of yours of thinking you're better than us.. You and Musa are my blood." Sarah.

Heartfelt. "I'm sorry aunty. I will never disrespect you like that again. I promise. Thank you for loving us." I say.
"It's okay" Sarah.
We focus on our food. The tv is switched off. 
"I want us to all go to church on Sunday. This house lacks the blood of Christ. So Zamo I want you to do your chores everyday like normal then tomorrow prepare clothes for us to wear for church" Sarah.
I nod. "Yebo aunty"

Ntokozo clears her throat.
"Well mama I'm going to work on Sunday."
"At what time?" Sarah.
"Around 1pm."
"By that time church will be long finished. So I won't repeat myself. I want us to go to church. All of us" Sarah.
Ntokozo rolls her eyes. You can tell she doesn't want to.

After we done eating. Ntokozo and I wash the dishes while Musa and Sarah watch tv together. They are even laughing...

"You may think you've won my mother's heart by your scheming but soon she'll get over your crap."
She never stops talking rubbish. What is she even saying? 
"Ntokozo I don't know what you're talking about." I say.
"Of course you do. Don't play me."

She tosses the dish cloth and walks out..
*
To be continued..

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