“Are you okay do you need anything?”- Anna has been on my case all the way from the doctor. I told her I am fine. I told her I am not hungry and that I am not in pain. Well I lied I am in excruciating pain. Although I am walking but my legs still need to get used to mobility. I haven’t used them in a while. “I just need to lie down Anna. I’ll be fine.” – I say balancing on the crutches all the way to my bedroom. I need to call Leya. I know I promised her I would call her last night but after that walking episode Anna rushed me to the hospital and the doctor admitted me for the night. He said it was a miracle that I suddenly healed after he and two other specialists declared that I am paralysed and I might need nerve shock surgery. I don’t even know what that is. “Hello?” – “Leya?” – I don’t know what to say. She’s quiet for a while and then I hear the tiny cry. “How’s the baby?” – I ask. “Cranky. Listen mother did the checking ceremony. They named him Ntuthuzelo. He doesn’t have the birthmark.” – She’s quiet. “So this means Liso is definitely the ordained princess?” – I ask. I am not happy about this. Back then I didn’t mind because I told myself I would be there to guide her through it all but now how will she do it all without me? Who will teach her how to be a good queen? Who will she look up to? “We are having his welcome ceremony next week.” – She says. “Leya… I need to see you.” – I say. I have no words to say to her. Let my presence do the talking. I am to blame for all that she has gone through. I still wonder what drives her to still love me the way she does. I do not deserve her and she does not deserve the pain I am causing her. Day in and day out! “Well… I don’t know how we are going to do that. Mother will want to know where I am going if I leave… she’s keeping me on a very short leash since yesterday’s incident.” – “Please Leya. I really need to see you.” – I beg. I hear her exhale. “Okay… I’ll try” – “Thank you” – I hang up. I look up to see her standing in front of me with a tray of a bowl. “I’m not hungry. Please inform Sabelo I’ll be going out soon.” – She’s not moving. – “Annabelle I do not have the strength for this today.” “You are playing with fire and you know it.” – She says placing the bowl of pasta in front of me. I hate macaroni! “She’s my wife!” – “Your family thinks you are dead and she’s not completely all screwed up here…” – she points her brain. “Get out… I said GET OUT NOW!!!” – The bowl crashes against the wall and the food is just a hot mess on the floor. “Get out Annabelle. Now!!” She’s gone. I should have let Sabelo take care of her when he suggested it. I know Leya has a loose screw but she has no right to say it and besides that’s one of the reasons I love her and want to make things right by her and our children. My phone beeps. It’s a text from Leya. “I’m driving giving me your address” – I would have preferred to meet at a restaurant or something. One; it wouldn’t be wise to let her know the house. I know she will want to come all the time. That will raise suspicion. And two: Annabelle is here and with Leya being a little bit crazy I am afraid sooner than later hell would break loose up in this joint. Yet here I am typing out the exact address. Sent!!Let hell break loose and descend upon us. Leya is my wife I fought blood with blood to have and keep her. ** ** “Leya is coming; she’ll be here any minute.” – I say sitting on the couch as she is standing by the kitchen. “Mal?” – “Mmm?” – “I’m sorry for calling your wife crazy.” – “It’s fine. I’m not angry anymore.” – Next time I will not be so lenient. Where do you get off calling my wife a nutcase? Nxx My legs are tired. I need to go to bed and lay down. “Please show her my room when she comes.” – She nods and I struggle back to my room. It’s not only my legs that make me wanna walk up and down; But the nerve and anxiety too. It’s just going to be me and her. I don’t even know what we are going to talk about. But I know that the tension would be so thick not even a chainsaw would cut through it. I am clean this room is clean. Okay! “Please get take-aways for two. Something like a full plate with meat and chips or something”- text sent to Sabelo. Ping!!I hear the doorbell ring and my heart jumps out of my chest rolls towards the exit as my soul escapes my body. “You have a visitor” – Our eyes meet; Mine and Leya’s. She cracks a nervous smile as she is glued to the entrance. I let out my hand… “Ooooh my love…” – she’s squeezing the life out of me before I know it. The relief I feel now is more than the pain that is consuming my legs. She pulls away and looks at me; analysing me. “You look underfed. Is that girl feeding you Your food?” – I smile. I know what she means. She knows I have a very massive appetite and small quantities never fulfilled me but with Anna I have been truly underfed. Not that I have noticed but now that she mentions it… “Her name is Annabelle…” – I say. “I don’t care. She should know that you are a man and you eat real savoury food. Not the noodles and spaghetti she was preparing when I arrived. Are there groceries here? I’ll cook you a good meal before I leave. I hope you have vegetables. Gosh why won’t you? That girl is like an anorexic rabbit…” – “Leya…” – she exhales getting up from the bed and walking towards the door and closing it. “I missed you” – she says her mood suddenly changing. I can see and I can feel the hurt. She looks out the window with her arms folded. “I know. I missed you more.” – I say. “Ntuthuzelo has your hands and feet. And those dimples above his bums.” – She says; I can see the tears that she is trying as much as she can to hide. “Liso…” – “Leya please… stop.” – I beg because all she is trying to do is convince me that I should be at home with my family and yet she refuses that I reveal the truth about me and the fact that I am not dead. “What do you want me to do? Your children miss you. I miss you! I need you!!” – She raises her voice pointing to her heart. Her voice is shaky. “Please don’t cry” – I beg. That is all I tend to do lately; beg her! “Malinga you are my husband! But if you go home you will be arrested for two deaths on your head. It’s a good thing you are dead! Mother would never survive nor would our children. I would never survive it! I would never survive being caught between you and the family.” – She is still standing talking and crying all at the same time. I do not see her; I do not see the Cataleya that had a scruffy afro the Cataleya that was a painter that tiny woman with a big heart. I do not see her any more. I see the woman I broke. The woman I turned into a monster the woman I caused nothing but pain. “Do you remember when you breakfast with me for the first time?” – I ask. She looks at me and smiles. “When you dumped your phone in a fish bowl?” – She smiles with tears still in her eyes. “Is that all you remember?” – I smile at her. She looks down and giggles. “I remember you lied about who you are. You kissed me and I didn’t even know your name.” – She says. “You wanted me to kiss you.”- “I did not!” – She’s laughing! I love it. I let out my hand and she takes it. She gets on the bed and lies on my chest. “So I take it you don’t remember what I said.” – I say. “You said a lot of things to me my love. I don’t know which one you are talking about.” – She says. She is laying comfortably on my chest like I did not die and come back to life; like I have not betrayed her in so many ways that if the tables were turned I would probably have already shot her in the head and buried her. “Do you remember the hotel gift?” – I ask and she quickly nods. “Yes and how you acted dumb when I wanted to cancel it because you were not happy that you wouldn’t see me the whole week…” – she says. “And what did I say?” – I ask. She stops smiling and looks at me. “You said you would never expect a sacrifice from me for you… ever!!” – She looks away from me. “Well I am still standing by those words my love. I would completely understand and frankly I think it would be the best… if you stood by the family if they stood against me.” – She looks at me. “Does this mean you are coming out?” – she asks she is not happy at all. “I want my children Leya. I want my family to know where I am. I want to love you again without any secrets or any painful events happening.” – “You will go to jail!!” – She screams; getting up from my chest. “I know that. But if it’s what I have to do in order to go back to my family then so be it.” – Her hand against my cheek leaves a burning sensation. I am shocked as hell. I remember the first time she ever hit me she regretted it as soon as it happened even though she later pushed me down the stairs. But right now I do not see remorse. I see hurt and anger. “Over my fucken dead body!!” – She says and walks out of the room. *** *** I must have fallen asleep because she’s hovering over me with a tray of food; a fully cooked meal with vegetables meat salads and stuff. There’s a glass of whiskey on rocks too. I clear my throat as I sit up straight. “Thanks” –I say as she places it on top of my lap. She walks out without saying a word ad comes back with a take away box. Oh yes I sent Sabelo to buy food. But… “Why do I have roasted skinless chicken and you have steak?” – I ask frowning. “Because you haven’t had a decent meal ever since you died…” – I am laughing when I realise that she is slightly smiling. “Do you still paint?” – I ask. She shakes her head as she continues to eat. “I just haven’t had the inspiration of expression lately. It’s just not there anymore.” – She says and dismisses it like it doesn’t matter anymore. “And the company?” – I ask again. I figure we might as well talk about everything. I might as well ask about everything. “Melumzi is acting CEO until I can go back. The shareholders wanted it that way. They practically gave me no choice.” – She says and goes back to eating. This food taste really great. It’s like she put her blood and sweat in it. I wouldn’t put it past her! “He’s getting married to Kate I think next month. Apparently she wanted a huge white wedding and he told her that there will only be a traditional wedding.” – She’s laughing. “I can imagine Kate dressed as a brand new makoti!! My god!! I don’t know how she’ll cope with all those duties. To top it off she’s a vegetarian!! Where the hell did he get her…” – she’s in stitches and I can’t help it but stare at her. “What?” – She asks with food in her mouth. “I love it when you laugh.” – She blushes and looks away continuing to chew the rest of the food. “Come here” – I say putting the tray on the pedestal table next to me. She puts her plate down too. She climbs on top of the bed and walks on all fours towards me. Our eyes glued to each other. I don’t wanna blink; I don’t wanna miss a thing. She is still as beautiful and gracefully made as the first time I saw her face to face. Her eyes spoke volumes even though her mouth is shut. Her hand touches mine as she lays her head on my chest. I am sure she can hear my heart beating so fast I am afraid I might have a heart attack. “Cataleya I love you and I am not afraid to tell you this. I love with all my heart and soul. I told myself that I would do anything to protect you and my family. Sthandwa sam I know I have hurt you more that you have ever imagined. You have experienced tragedies because of me but believe me when I say never again!! I love you and only you. It may seem like a crazy obsession but I know this is love. I still want to wake up next to you every morning. I still want 7 children with you…” – she giggles. Harmony to my ears! “Seven children? Your fourth child is only two days old and you are already thinking three more?” – She asks giggling. “No five more with you!” – I say. There’s a wet little kiss there. I hope it doesn’t complicate things because I miss her soft succulent lips. “When God decides that men should also carry babies for half the pregnancy period then maybe I will consider having one more…” – she says and returns the kiss. I can’t let her go. A single look into her eyes a pull towards my face and our lips meet for a romantic dance with our tongues and our hearts the only companions in this moment of glory. “Make love to me please…” – she begs. “Leya you haven’t healed.” – I protest. “Please!” – Her sobbing voice begs. She raises herself and kneels on top of the bed. She unbuttons her jersey. She removes the scarf around her waist along with the black doek on her head. “I am here in flesh and blood. Make me your wife. Show me you love me the way I know you do…” Say no more!!