Two weeks later...
It had been yet another hectic two weeks and things were really good between Beast and I. I hadn't seen him upset ever since that weekend in Ga-Mogalakwena. We were back to our old self it was as if that immensely intimate conversation had stripped him naked of all his insecurities and flaws and we were all good from there onwards. We were still in love and planning our wedding in perfect peace. We were filled with so much excitement. I had been avoiding my mother for so long that I felt I needed to talk to her before my lobola negotiations because I knew she was going to make a scene if I had kept ignoring her until then. Every time I had to go back home Beast would book a flight for me and have my car shipped to Jo'burg and delivered to me in Pretoria. It was such a lenglthy and costly process but he didn't seem to mind. He was a little busy with business deals everywhere in the country. He was even planning on opening another Club Beast in Cape Town hence his unavailability. I loved the fact that he always strived to do better to be better so I wasn't complaining. Once I arrived in Pretoria I drove to Atteridgeville to see Bella and my mother first instead of going straight to Zamebsi. I wasn't looking forward to it but it had to be done. The moment I arrived the yard looked like it hadn't been swept in a very long time the paint on the walls around the outside of the house was fading really fast and everything inside looked like it was barely hanging on. I checked to spot anything out of the ordinary and of course all my furniture from my room was gone and there were tenants in my room and Bella's room. I knocked a few times only to get my mother's annoyed response. The house was quite filthy and it was now consumed by the loud cries of a newborn baby. Well she was about two months old by then and she was named Jenny short for Jennifer. I had no idea why such an English name but she was named Isabella. We all had English names come to think of it. We hadn't seen or heard from the father ever since she was born.
Hazel: “Dumela (hello) Mama.”
She was so surprised to see me but what made me even more nervous was that she was happy to see me. She stood up and even hugged me – rendering me speechless.
Hazel: “Wow you're so happy to see me. Is everything okay?”
Binah: (Hao (Goodness) Hazel can't a mother be happy to see her own child? Yes everything is fine. How are things with you? I've been trying to call you.”
Hazel: “Yes I've been busy. Sorry about that.”
Binah: “It's alright. I'd offer you something to eat or drink but the cupboards are emtpy. This little one takes all our money don't cute little Jenny? And we had to sell your furniture to make ends meet and rent out your room. I'm sorry but I tried to call you.”
She still had those gas lighting tendencies in her tone but I felt bad and sorry for her even then. I looked at that baby and she was just adorable. She gave me bitter-sweet thoughts. My mother must have noticed how I had been staring at her.
Binah: “Cute isn't she?”
My mother was so affectionate towards Jenny it was obviously expected since she was the daughter of my mother's favourite.
Binah: “I would let you hold her but I wouldn't want to open up fresh wounds since the miscarriage and all you know.”
Just when I was starting to see her in another light she just had to go there.
Hazel: “Well I'm leaving. It was nice to see you. I'll leave some money for groceries.”
I said that before she started asking.
Binah: “If that won't be too much trouble for you.”
Hazel: “How much will you need?”
She added ridiculous things to her grocery list along with some baby items. Slowly but surely I was becoming the bread winner.
Hazel: “How about I transfer you R5000. Will that be enough to cover everything?”
I saw the smile widen on her face.
Binah: (excitedly) “Of course. More than enough my dear. You're so kind.”
Hazel: “Okay then. I'll see you.”
Binah: “Maybe you could come by for some dinner later on?”
The last thing I needed was Bella's cooking and my mother throwing shade at my relationship with Beast. My mom could cook really great food although we hadn't had dinner together for as long as I could remember. The only time we did that was during a funeral. She hated Christmas and hated New Year's even more. Birthdays were out of the question unless it was hers or Bella's.
Hazel: “I'll see. I'm a little tired.”
Binah: “Well alright then. This is still your home you know. Even after you get married just know that you can always come back okay?”
The conversation was oddly comforting.
Hazel: “Okay. Bye.”
I walked out and found Bella getting out of a VW City Golf. She was in the front seat and some of her friends looked like they had been drinking. She approached me with a broad smile wearing formal attire. It looked like her work uniform.
Bella: “Hey sis. Long time. E reng (how's) Cape Town?”
Hazel: “E sharp (It's fine) just cold. How are you doing? You look nice.”
Conversing with my sister had always been painfully awkward because I knew she was going to be rude to me one way or another. Or at least that's what I expected hence I avoided talking to her at all times.
Bella: “Ag I'm fine. I have a job now. It's not much but I have to hustle for my Jenny. I work at the Pick n' Pay mom used to work at.”
Hazel: “That's great.”
Bella: (nervously) “Anyway why are you leaving so soon? It doesn't look like you've been here for a while.”
Hazel: “I have a few errands to run.”
I lied obviously. I wanted to get away from them. I had no idea how to even hold a conversation with the both of them in the same room as me without any conflict.
Bella: “Oh okay. Well I hope to see you real soon.”
Hazel: “I gave Mama some money. Please use it wisely.”
She became instantly excited.
Bella: “Thanks sis. See you around then.”
I still couldn't get to her sudden friendliness. In all my 19 years of life Bella had been nothing but rude to me. She never failed to let me know how much of a reject I was and just how my mother would never love me. She always made it a point to tell me just how she had a father while Malachi and I didn't have one. It was always such painful words and actions that created fatal emotional wounds that would end up being life-long scars. I had gone through so much progress with Dr. Zwide but my family was still a very touchy subject. I hadn't really healed from them. It was nice to see that she did have a job although it felt like she wasn't telling me the entire truth. She owed me nothing either way.
I left and went to the place I called home Beast's house. It felt so empty without him yet his scent was still consuming the house. I decided to keep myself busy by trying out a new recipe. Those were the after effects of having too much money in my bank account and me wanting to match up to Beast's cooking. He was so good at it I was envious of his talent. After I was done I decided to enjoy my meal with a nice glass of red wine. I was half way through my Netflix Series when a call from my mother came through. I contemplated answering it but I did eventually – after her continuous attempts.
Binah: (relieved) “Hazel ngwanaka (my child). O (are you) busy?”
She was very polite.
Hazel: “I'm just relaxing in the house. Why?”
Binah: “Oh I thought you'd love to have a warm meal with your mom and sister. Besides it's been quite a while hasn't it?”
I really wasn't up for it I mean what on earth were we going to talk about? We had nothing in common.
Hazel: “I don't know I mean it's a bit windy outside. It also looks like it is about to rain.”
Binah: “Heater e teng (We have a heater). Kopa o tle ngwanaka toe (Please come my child please)? Perhaps we can talk a little about the wedding.”
It wasn't even going to be a fully-fledged wedding as yet though but I figured she was trying to make amends or something. Beast did ask of me not to piss her off or create a further enemy out of her before the negotiations. I still needed her blessing even if it was going to be half-hearted.
Binah: “Kea leboga (thank you) my baby. I'll see you soon.”
We ended the call while I slightly dragged my feet. I honestly didn't feel like anyone's company but Beast's. He wasn't going to be home until the coming Monday. He hated it when I drove at night and since he was busy I figured I shouldn't tell him about my impromptu visit back home. I drove off and once I was there I was a bit alarmed to find a car I hadn't see before right outside the house. It had been so long since my mother had any visitors which made me wonder who could have been visiting her after 6pm
Bella: (smiling) “Hi sis. Come on in.”
I heard unfamiliar male voices and I was indeed stunned to find them dining with my mother so casually.
Binah: (smiling) “Moratuwa (My love) you finally made it.”
Ghadaffi: “Hello Hazel. It's so nice to finally see you again.”
My goodness that guy was just not pleasing the eye at all but he was dressed in such an expensive-looking suit and his cologne was absorbed by the entire house. They looked like a family setup which made me quite uneasy. Bella was so calm around them I mean Dragon must have probably been my mother's age or a bit younger. So why on earth was she dining with them dressed like that? And how on earth did my mother know those two men because I didn't recall ever seeing them coming to our house when we had a shebeen.
Hazel: (surprised) “Did I miss anything? What's the occasion?”
Binah: (chuckling) “No honey. This is Mr. Mashile and his son Brandon. Isn't he handsome?”
I was lost for a moment there. It seemed as if my mother was trying to play match-maker. I was engaged which was something she had forgotten about.
Dragon: “I'm sorry we shouldn't have just invited ourselves without letting you k now. We were just in the neighbourhood and we thought we should pop by.”
Ghadaffi: “I mean Sis'Bee has always made the best stew in Pheli.”
The four of them laughed together so loudly and Jenny got a little frightened and started crying. Beast picked her up without hassle and she calmed down immediately. Something was really off about that part. I just couldn't pin point it yet.
Binah: “Please sit.”
I sat down next to Bella overflowing with reluctance. She offered me a Savanna from the cooler box which was right next to the table which I politely declined.
Binah: “See? Mokhonyana wa ka o mo nwesa dilo tsa maemo (my son-in-law makes her drink really fancy things). She doesn't even know the taste of Savanna any more.”
Once again they started laughing but I just didn't find her joke funny at all.
Ghadaffi: “Hazel I hear you are studying psychology.”
Hazel: “Psychiatry actually.”
Brandon: “Well I mean I've always thought of it as the same thing. There is not much of a difference really. I studied Chartered Accountancy I have a masters in it actually.”
Who asked him? He seemed like a very condescending and annoying prick.
Hazel: “I see but it isn't the same thing though.”
Ghadaffi: (chuckling) “I've heard that a lot. Enlighten me.”
Hazel: “A psychiatrist is also qualified to administer and prescribe medication to the patient unlike a psychologist.”
Ghadaffi: (laughing) “Is that it? That's the only difference?”
Hazel: “Pretty much.”
Ghadaffi: (chuckling) “Well okay then. I don't see how paying someone to talk about your feelings is considered a job nowadays but that's what one gets with liberals and feminists.
They all laughed once again and at that point I had become deeply annoyed. So I was invited so that they could make a joke out of everything of mine.
Binah: “I've always wanted her to be a doctor you know? A real one. But nonetheless at least they'll still call her Doctor.”
My mother was now adding fuel to the fire. That was ridiculing at its worst.
Hazel: “I'm sorry perhaps I missed something here. What do you do apart from organizing people's finances and playing with numbers all day? I mean what do you do to make a difference in people's lives?”
Brandon: “Oh well apart from that I'm a business man. My goal in life is to build an empire for my children one day. Other people's wellness doesn't concern me.”
Hazel: “I see. So basically I was invited to this dinner to be ridiculed and to be insulted for my career choices is that it?”
Dragon: “Hazel please calm down. I'm sure Brandon didn't mean it like that.”
Binah: “Yes and I was only joking honey really.”
Hazel: “Joke about anything else – but a person's choices. See Mr. Mashile this is why people come to people like me; it is because people like you your father and my mother feel the need to destroy people mentally and emotionally while you see nothing wrong with it!”
I was boiling.
Binah: “Forgive her I mean ever since the miscarriage she hasn't been herself.”
She just had to go there yet again.
Ghadaffi: “Oh I'm so sorry. I had no idea you lost a child.”
Hazel: “Really Mama? You're the absolute worst.”
I just picked up my bag and stormed out of there without a word further. All I heard was her pleading with me to stop. Once I got into the car she stopped me.
Binah: “Hazel I'm sorry. I mean I thought it wasn't a secret.”
Hazel: (fuming) “Mama since when is someone losing a child a dinner topic?!”
Binah: “I'm sorry I wasn't thinking.”
Hazel: “Well you're absolutely right about that!”
Binah: “Look I just wanted you to meet the Prestigious Mashile's. They're good people. They do a lot for the community as well – more especially Brandon.”
Hazel: “What is the real reason for me to meet them Mama?”
Binah: “When will you see that Beast is not the one for you Hazel? I mean he used to work for Dragon before he repented and now look at his son. He is perfect for you; he is educated and his money is clean.”
Right there and then did she just blurt out the real reason why I was invited for dinner that evening.
Hazel: “Oh so you saw it fit to try and pawn me to the next bidder when Beast is about to pay lobola for me?”
Binah: “I'm not trying to pawn you Hazel. I'm just trying to make you see the truth. Beast is no good for you. What will it take for you to realize that?”
Well the real Binah Makwetla finally came out. It took her longer than I had expected actually.
Hazel: “Mama weh (goodness Mama). It's bad enough you took his money and you let him take care of you and Bella and her child. How dare you speak about him like that?”
Binah: “All I'm saying is that you are about to make the biggest mistake in your life. Brandon is good for you.”
I wouldn't have been surprised if I found out that she was actually paid to sweet talk me because she had nothing bad to say about either of them. I then remembered that Dragon guy.
Hazel: “Oh Dragon is the gangster that Beast and Malachi were working for right? Yet you didn't seem to care about him exploiting them while they were young did you? Now how dare you sit and look me right in the face and try to convince me that his patronizing son is good for me?!”
Binah: “Hazel I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you.”
As she was trying to explain herself to me Ghadaffi and his father walked out. Something just wasn't right. Why was I suddenly being bulldozed into finding Brandon attractive?
Ghadaffi: “Hazel I'm so sorry. I'd like to apologize for my behaviour tonight. It was uncalled for. Please forgive me.”
There was nothing to even talk about with him. He was nothing of mine and I owed him nothing. I just closed my car door so forcefully and I just didn't want anything to do with them any more. I drove off in high speed thinking about the entire situation. All of a sudden my mother knew the Mashile's? She had no desire to even meet up with Ma'Sibiya or any other members of Beast's family – yet she saw it fit to do that to me? I was uneasy about the entire thing. I went straight home and even when Beast called me later on that evening I had no heart to tell him what my mother had done to me. I knew he was going to have a fit so I kept the entire night from him. Something big was brewing and I had no idea – until it finally happened. The year was nowhere near over yet so much had already happened. My entire life had turned into turmoil.
Psalm 119:105 - “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”