part 1 the orchid

I’m tossing and turning. I can’t catch a wink of sleep. It has been hour of non-stop visions. Yes I get those a lot. Sometimes they are inspiration and sometimes they scare the shit out of me. I get up and go to my clay room. The picture is still in my mind as I turn on the light in the room. I grab the nearest modelling stand and box of pottery clay. My eyes are closed I start kneading it on the stand with all the might that I have. I am tired I know but somehow I get the strength to fight with this clay and create the image in my mind. I have to I know I have to. If this is inspiration let it come now or forever disappear in my head. The last thing I need is an unfinished clay model in my studio. Okay I think I am done now. I open my eyes. Yes it is the same lion that has been hounding me this whole night. King of the jungle indeed. It’s taking up the whole model tray its size is equivalent to that of a human head. I smile. I have done it again. The sun comes up right in front of me I am staring at the lion in front of me and it has dried up. I couldn’t sleep after the whole episode. I never really do. My roommate in varsity used to mock me about that. She said I was a sleepwalker well in my case a sleep-artist. Weird? Yeah she was weird like that. I look at the clock 7am. How long have I been awake? There’s a knock that startles me. I look at the lion then at the door. I drag myself to get the door. These people just love waking me up in the morning don’t they? I open. It is Mr Suits from last night. Wait how did he know my flat? I frown waiting for him to tell me what he wants. “Good morning Ma’am” This man is too gentle I tell you. “Yeah what can I do for you?” I choose to be ghetto. His eyes widen just to confirm to me that he was expecting me to be gentle as well. Dude its 7am I am supposed to be still sleeping so please a little grumpiness is allowed. “Mr Malinga asked me to deliver this to you. As a thank you gift for your very much artistic piece that you sold to him last night” was he reading that out of a script? I nod accepting the envelope with one hand as the other one is covering my mouth while I yawn. “Thanks what is it?” I ask rubbing my eyes. “it’s a 5 nights all-expense paid experience at one of the best hotels in the cape close to the waterfront in fact” if I wasn’t so sleepy I would probably laugh at this handsome errand man slash driver in front of me. It’s like he is trying to get me to buy this holiday thing. I look at him. He has this grin that reminds me of the tea guy. No! Here I go again thinking of him. Why do I let this moron who spilt tea on me dominate my mind? Did you see his car? I am sure the suit he was wearing was borrowed. Errand man slash driver clears his throat I am interrupted. “It’s for you and a friend ma’am” he says. “Wait wait wait! Who is your boss?” I am now getting quite alert by this whole issue. “Why is he giving me this? I sold him a painting now what is the fuss?” No! Why am I fussing? The rich dude is probably just being nice. The poor guy is tongue tied. He has no answers to my questions the least he can do is tell me the boss’s name. “Mkhululi Malinga” I shut up when he blurts it out. “That’s my boss’s name” he says. “Okay well tell your boss thank you for the gift. I will give it some thought” I close the door behind me and examine the crisp white envelope with my name in black italics on it wrapped in a pink silk ribbon. Its 11am when I get off the cab in front of my shop. Hmmm that lovely smell again. If you could ask me what colour I would associate that smell with I’d probably have a tough time deciding. Each and every single colour I have worked with just comes to mind. I set up everything and then grab a broom to sweep a little. It does get dusty around here. “You are such a witch you devil with an afro” only Lebo would burst into your space by saying such words to you in form of a hello. It’s her nature I am used to it by now. “You are such a….” I take time to think of something to match up to her. “Arg you are so slow” she says hugging and blowing air kisses at me. I am really slow by the time she is blowing the second kiss only then am I blowing the first one. She has always been bubbly. We met in varsity. She was doing marketing and I was doing fine art. I had chosen drama as one of those passer by subjects and she chose it because it helped with her confidence. We got close realised that we are related. We are both ooMamgcina. “How are you cuz?” she asks gladly helping herself to my peanuts that I keep on the desk for customers. “Oh I’m fine just tired” I say. Placing the broom against a painting and then joining her in chewing those dry nuts. I never liked them. “Still hunger struck?” she says with the naughtiest look on her face. “Yes Lebo I don’t have a man yet and no I don’t need one” I say rolling my eyes at her. She burst out with laughter almost falling from the chair. “I’m sorry cuz but I’m sure spiders have found a home in your cookie” she says in between her laughs. I spank her arm playfully and we both laugh she even harder. “You are just teasing me because you get it everyday” I say. “Girl I work for it how do you expect to get a man with that rusty hair and those sandals?” She is totally undermining me now. She is the weave ad stiletto type. Wears designer clothes and owns designer watches and handbags. Whoever marries her is in for bankruptcy. I laugh and shake my hand as she twirls around for me showing me all her hard work into getting some sexual healing every night. From who? Please do not ask me. It’s almost lunch time so she suggest we visit her favourite restaurant across the street. It’s her favourite because she crushes over the manager. Always has ever since I opened my shop. “Do you think Blue eyes is working today” she asks. Oh I knew it. I shrug my shoulders as I feel a certain aura around me. I look behind me just to check the coast. I immediately get goosebumps. I look at my arm my hairs are literally standing. This is not good. It really feels like there are eyes on me gawking and staring but when I look around. There is nothing suspicious. I shrug it off as my insanity getting the better of me. We enter the restaurant and immediately order. Peri-peri chicken strips for me and her some Irish salad with dark veggies. “What? I am on a strict diet. Mandla says I should watch my figure” I am not even going to ask. “So what are you doing this weekend?” I ask. I figured I should just accept the gift from the mysterious rich Mkhululi Malinga. Don’t get me wrong I can afford a month’s holiday in Dubai or somewhere but I decided to I accept this because I need the break and well I don’t want to be rude to this rich guy. “Probably at some lame ghetto picnic with Mandla” she says looking rather displeased. I know Lebo when she is unhappy she shows it. Those lowered eyes and that pout I just know she is not in a good space. “What? You don’t like those chillas?” I ask paying attention to the dish in front of me. I love hot food. “I don’t mind going with him because yeah I have fun but cuz each and every weekend we are there! Him drinking non-stop and then I have to drive in the middle of the night in some doggy Khayelitsha Neighbourhood. I can’t deal” she says she is really in a bad space. From what she tells me this Mandla guy is quite the money spender and party lover or any place with alcohol. “Do you love him?” I ask. She looks at me like I have farted. “I never really thought of that you know” Wait. So she has been Bonking this guy for months

letting him drive her BMW Series buy him clothes spend weeks in his back room going home when the coast is clear because he lives with his mother and she is not sure if love is involved? She is truly there for the dick! “Okay since you don’t feel like a picnic how about a week in a 5 star hotel” I says dangling the envelope in her face. She lights up. “You are loaded! You can even afford this?” she says excitedly analysing the envelope. I begin telling her about the painting transaction and the weird factor of how the driver knew my flat or the name of the painting he bought. “You and your paranoia!” She says totally in love with the envelope in her hand. “So when are we leaving?” she asks excitedly. I take out my phone and call the number on the envelope to confirm that we will be checking in Saturday afternoon. Today is Thursday. It’s 8p when I arrive at my flat. I am exhausted. Now I realise that I need that 5 day holiday at that hotel. I wonder which hotel it is. If I like it I might just pay extra days myself. I am starving. Shit! I forgot I don’t have any groceries. I really miss dad. I search for my phone and call him immediately. “Nkosazana?” that is how he has always called me. Always said that I am fit to marry a powerful man a man who will embrace me and my weird talents. “How are you daddy?” I ask feeling a quickly growing lump. I’m about to cry. I miss him so much and missing him makes me miss mom and then my brother and then it goes down to the day she died and then her funeral and how I spent a week in her clothes going crazy. I was almost admitted to an institution. “I am good my baby how are you?” he interrupts my thoughts but not my tears. They are already slipping down my face. I clear my throat and try to speak. “Do I have a son in law yet?” What!!! Trust my dad to be random like that. “No dad I do not have a boyfriend yet” I say rolling my eyes. He and Lebo have been on my case. She because she thinks I need to get laid and become a woman again. He because he wants cows and a son in law and grandchildren and great grandchildren oh the list goes on and on. “Boyfriend my left paralysed foot young lady. I want no… I need a son in law. I am getting old damn it!!” the last part cracks me up a little. My lump is gone too I am smiling again. He has a way of cheering me up without even realising it. “Not now dad. I just opened shop and I am going online soon I have exhibitions lined up… it’s hectic to even have a slot for a boyfriend” I say. “Then make a slot for a HUS-BAND” he emphasizes. Oh God! Please take me now. I will never hear the end of it. The door bell ringing interrupts our crazy conversation about his ideal son-in-law. Educated talented and respectful man who knows culture and tradition. It is 2016 where will I get such a man nowadays. That combo rarely exists. I cut the conversation short with “when I have a suitor you will be the first to know” he laughs and we say our goodbyes promising him a visit in the coming weeks. I rush to my door and open. And here he is Mr You-are-gorgeous-but-you-spilt-tea-on-me. He grins at me exposing those teeth that make my knees weak. I don’t smile but give him a ‘what are you doing here’ look. “Hi” he says. “Hi” “Sorry for just coming in un-announced my butler went home early” Is he serious?? Yes he is. He has his hands on his back. He is still smiling. He is becoming very weird. “Aren’t you going let me in?” he asks as he reveals his hands holding a bunch of pure red roses scented with mint flower spray. Just the way I like it. I am tongue tied. Speechless. Not only because the man in front of me is wearing a designer suit smells fresh and looks so handsome but because he is also holding my favourite flower in his hand how he knew I have no idea. Oh his left hand is empty so he is not married! LOL I move away from the door and make way for him to enter. I close the door behind me and stand against it with my back. He looks around my flat and says “nice crib”. I look at him trying so hard to analyse him and get into his mind to find what he thinks and of course why he is here. “How did you know where I live” I ask frowning and getting pissed remembering the smug he had on his face when he spilt tea on me. “I Googled you” he says totally emotionless. He What? He hands me the flowers. I accept them and put them on the table immediately. “Even if you did no site has my home address. That is private.” I say and look at him in the face with my hands on my waist. “Then I hired a sweeper PI and a detective to find you” I choke. He is serious there is not even a sight of a smile on his face. He fixes his jacket cuff links as he walks around my flat touching everything he can. “I mean I had to find you. The first day I saw you. I knew I had to find out about you and hopefully make you my Mrs” RANDOM!!! “Oh please…” he raises his hand to interrupting me. “I then went to your exhibition at UCT. You were showing your Soul Child painting…” I nod. “Then I saw you again at Women in Art Gala in Tsitsikama” I nod again. “Your last Exhibition was in Waterfront where you sold Heart of The Sunset to a Lesbian Lady. Creepy old woman I tell you.” I blink rapidly before I actually realise that he has stopped talking and is staring out the window of my apartment. “This window is not safe at all” he says. Just like that? Out of the blue he changes the subject? “A sniper could hit you with a silent riffle from that building across the street.” What the hell is this man talking about? I am still trying to process everything when he comes close to me very close that I can smell his underarm deodorant and his minty breath. Is he eating a sweet? “What do you want from me?” I ask. In a very low tone more like a whisper. He is looking down on me and he is making me so nervous that my hands are sweaty and they start to itch. “I came to apologise for spilling coffee on you the other day” he says also whispering. Lifting my chin with his soft hand to look at him. “It was tea” I say. “Oh tea still my Empress please forgive me. I know I should have bought you another one but you ran out so fast like Cinderella.” Yeah Right! “It’s fine” I say as I yawn. I look at my antique clock and it says 9.05pm. “Well now that we have sorted that out.” He looks at me “I will see you tomorrow morning.” He says those words as he comes closer to me. Each word with every step slow steps. He plants his lips on my forehead his left hand touching my face and slowly stroking my cheek. I gasp. Trust me I wanted to step back my heart said STEP BACK. My mind said ‘Girl You better move those legs’ but my body it just locked! I open my eyes. Wait they were closed? I raise my face as he disappears behind the door. I stand there for a good 15 seconds trying to come to terms with what just happened.

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