Chapter 3

I wake up and the first thing I remember is what happened last night.

I check the time it way past 9 in the morning and I’m shocked no one has come to wake me up.

Honestly I don’t feel like seeing anyone right now. I just want someone to tell me it was just bad dream.

My father can’t expect me to get married to that man I’m still young. I cringe when I think of the fact that I’m going to be someone’s second wife.

“Akha!”  Someone is calling and its must be mom but I don’t answer.

She knocks once and I open letting her in

“Good Morning” she says with big smile on her face someone is happy.

“I doubt there is anything good about it” I say getting back to bed

“Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem you know?”

Is she serious? I’m being sold off to a married man! What can ever be worse than that?

“I’m being married off to a married man Mama how bad can things ever be?”

I get out of bed and I start making it.

“A married man?” She asks looking rather confused.

“What married man are you talking about child?”

Now I’m confused.

“That Zimele guy” I say

She laughs

“Oh poor child you think you’re getting married to Zimele?” she says letting out another huge laugh

“I’m not?”

“Nope your man is very much young and not married” she says walking out more like swaying her hips from left to right.

My mom is curvaceous and she knows it. At least I got that from her and her big eyes but not the dimples.

I am still not happy about this whole arranged marriage thing but I must say there is some relief in knowing I am not going to be a second wife.

I don’t want to get married period! And I am going downstairs to tell my father how I feel at this very moment.

Good thing he is here.

“Baba”

“We don’t greet in this house anymore Nokwakha?” he says.

Now let me tell you something my father is rude and ruthless at times.

“I’m sorry good morning Baba”

“Now tell me have you thought about last night?”

Good thing he asked first because that’s exactly why I am here.

“Yes and I am not doing it” I say holding my breath he doesn’t lash out on me.

“Nokwakha my child there is one thing you seem to be forgetting in all of this” he says very calmly and pauses.

I know where this is going I just know.

“None of this is a request my child”.

I knew it!

“But Da…”

“But dad nothing Akha you will get married to Phiwokwakhe and that is final!”  He says as he stands up leaving me sitting there.

Why me?

Doesn’t this Xulu family have a daughter then SHE can be the one marrying one of my cousins or something?

This is just unfair how can my own father do this to me?

I stand up and go back to my room.

I decide to take a shower funny enough my chest is painful and I want to cry but I can’t.

I get into the shower as I feel the water on my body I let out a huge cry but still no tears.

I want to cry I need to cry!

After a while I get out and get dressed and I decide to call Zoe.

I had forgotten that I was in the shower; I can’t stop thinking about this.

“Friend!” she answered sounding very happy.

I wish I had that kind of happiness. My life is about sacrificing and now I have to sacrifice my own happiness.

“Hey friend how are you?” I say letting out a sigh

“I’m good but I know you are not”

This one knows me too well.

“What’s wrong?” she asks

“I miss you that all”

“Don’t lie” she responds quickly

I am lying. I don’t miss her I miss being me and that’s if I have ever been myself.

“I’m getting married” I say

“What? Who is he?  When did you guys meet and why don’t I know him?”

Because I also don’t know him that’s why.

“One question at a time Zoe” I say as I take a deep breath

“Okay sorry but seriously though who is he?”

“I don’t know him we have never met and the whole thing is arranged”

As I say this I realize how insane this whole thing is. Who came up with this culture again?

“Wow friend what madness is this?” she says after some time sounding rather disappointed.

I have been asking myself the same thing this whole damn time!

“Do people still do that?” she asks sounding like that was supposed to be an inner thought.

I’m afraid they still do

“How do you feel about it though?”

“I have to go” I drop the call.

How do I feel about it really?

That one question I can’t get myself to answer. I don’t want to feel anything period.

I really found it useless talking to Zoe she can never understand.

I’m hungry let me go and make food.

I find Mom and Lihle in the kitchen already making lunch so I decide to help them out.   

Why is she still here again?

“Have you talked to him?” mom asks out of the blue

“Yep!” I say without looking at her

“And?”

Is that a trick question you know your man don’t you?

“He said it wasn’t a request” I say walking out of the kitchen

She follows me to the lounge.

“I know you are young Akha and this is not how you had imagined your life at 19 but it will never be a burden you are unable to carry” she says as she hugs me.

I just remembered it’s my birthday tomorrow random? I know.

“As women we sacrifice and that is how these warm homes for our families come about you won’t understand this now but one day you will I have been there and look how it turned out”.

Oh she’s still here?

She breaks the hug and then say “He loves you you are his world”.

Why I have never felt that way?

“Now cheer up” she says nudging me and I smile

We go back to the kitchen

My mother always has a way of making me see the light in the darkest moments.

Maybe she is right I mean she’s been there and she knows what she is talking about. We will learn to love each other right?

I know I sound insane right now but then if I really am

then this whole family also is to have put me in this position.

The Xulu’s too.

We chat away as we make lunch we finish and we eat.

After we are done with the dishes I make my way to my bedroom.

I decide to continue reading my book that I haven’t read in weeks to take my mind off everything.

“Akha! Nokwakha!” Mom is calling from down.

I get up and go to her.

“Get yourself ready the Xulu’s are coming”

“Why?”

“I don’t know that’s all your father said wear a doek too” she says going back to the kitchen.

I do as told but I am still confused why are the Xulu’s coming. We are not getting married today are we?

I decide to wear my long bodycon beige dress and I use one of my black scarfs as a doek.

Yes the struggle. I don’t own even one doek and lucky to have this dress even right now.

After 20 minutes or so I hear cars pulling up. Thereafter I hear voices and people laughing.

“Come this way” I hear mom’s voice making her way towards my bedroom.

She walks in with three women one looks like she’s almost her age if not older. She is very beautiful with dimples; the other one seems younger than them but older than me. I could say she’s between 23 and 25 dark complexion but still beautiful. The last one is a girl she is younger than me in her teens probably.

They are all dressed very well each one dressed to their age.

“Hi Nokwakha I’m Mrs Xulu but you can call me Mam’Zodwa”. She says letting out a gorgeous smile which shows the beauty of her dimples.

This must be Bab’Xulu’s wife so it means she is Phiwokwakhe’s mother.

“And I’m Anita Zimele’s wife the second lady says giving me a quick hug.

And to think I thought I was getting married to her husband makes me want to die she seems sweet.

“This is my daughter Zimasa” she says pointing at the younger one I think she’s 13 years or so.

“But mom I can speak for myself” she says nudging her a little

We all laugh

“Nice to meet you all” I say in a shy voice

I have never been this shy in my life!

“You are so beautiful” says Mam’Zodwa

“Thank you”

“I guess I’m destined to have gorgeous daughter in-laws” she says looking at Anita

It’s only fair looking at your beauty I think to myself.

These people seem modern why are they still hung up on this tradition crap?

I mean look at this woman with a nicely curved body and light complexion. Her dimples make her stand out and she has that “I know myself” posture. Her skin is clearly well taken care off and her small breast makes you wonder if she really has children.

A thought hit me while I was talking to these people does this mean I’m really marrying this guy I don’t know?

“Let’s go downstairs” says Mama

I remain seated.

“You can change the dress but keep the doek I know how you are feeling” says Mam’Zodwa

Oh My Gosh! How did she know? I think I’m going to love this woman!

I was ready to stay in my room for the rest of my life if this is how I’m supposed to dress.

I change to a pair of high waist black jeans and black polo neck with a brown belt it’s kind of cold. I wear my white sneakers and now I feel more confident.

I love my body more than everything simply because I gain weight in all the right places.

I don’t have curves big as my mom but I’m well shaped.

“And she gains her confidence!” says Anita

We all laugh and make our way to the lounge where everyone is.

There are four men sitting there it’s my father Menzi Bab’Xulu and Zimele.

I thought this Phiwokwakhe dude would be here also but nope. When am I meeting him anyways?

 “Makoti (my daughter in-law)” shouts Bab’Xulu as we make our way downstairs.

He seems to be very happy this time everyone here for that matter.

“You look beautiful Makoti Phiwokwakhe is very lucky to have you as a wife” he says shaking my hand.

Well I can’t help but wonder how he feels about all of this?

While we sit down I notice how everyone makes their way to their partners and I end up sitting with Zimasa on a three seater couch.

Time seems to be passing by so fast; it could be because of the laughter in this room.

After what feels like forever with Bab’Xulu speaking highly of his sons and Mam’Zodwa emphasizing how much she can’t wait for me to visit her everyone decides to call it a night.

We all walk them to the car and bid goodbye.

I must say they seem very nice especially Anita.

We ended up exchanging numbers and promising to have lunch just the three of us Her Lihle and I.

“Just because we are married doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun” her exact words.

Am I married already?!

We go back inside the house

Menzi and Lihle get up and walk out after some time come back with a cake and start singing.

“Happy Birthday to you!” and everyone else sings along.

Ooooh Wooow! I had totally forgotten it’s my birthday and to think they remembered?

I did not expect this! I feel so special right now.

“Thank you guys!” I say blushing.

“AWWW!” Lihle says “You don’t have to thank us this is your special day” she adds

Wow! This has my mom written all over it.

They even bought my favorite cake. How else could they have known?

I blow out the candles.

“I hope you made a wish” Lihle says as she gives me a wrapped gift.

“It’s from all of us”.

I can’t make out what it is but it is soft almost like a blanket.

“Thank you!”

“And this one is from me!” Menzi says handing me his gift.

“Aww! Thanks brother” I say giving me a very tight hug.

“You can let go now Sis!” he says

We all laugh!

“This one is from me and your dad” mama says handing me their gift.

It’s in a very small wrapped box. I think its earrings or a watch.

“Thank you guys” I say shaking the gift.

“This one you’ll have to open now” my dad says.

My dad and gifts? I never thought.

I open the gift and its car keys.

“Car keys? You bought me a car?” I ask with my eyes wide open.

They bought me a car!

I couldn’t help myself I scream jumping up and down.

I run outside I don’t see it and I come back to the house.

“I don’t see it!” I say loudly

They all laugh at me.

These people are wasting my time I want to see my new baby!

“It’s in the garage” my dad says

I run out again this time everyone follows me I guess they just wanted to watch me go outside for nothing and be a fool.

I open the garage door and there it is. A black Range Rover Sport S I can’t believe this.

I open it and I get in I’m screaming thank you nonstop.

“Get in” I say to Menzi and Lihle

They hop in and off we go!

We drive around the block and we come back.

I haven’t been this happy about anything in years. It’s not about the car it’s about the fact that they did all of this without telling me and it just makes it special to me.

“You love it?” Mama asks

“So much” I respond

“Even though it’s feels like a bribe” I say after

“Akha!” my mom says nudging me

“I’m kidding” I laugh

I’m not it does feel like they are bribing into marrying this dude

I am literally like a kid in a candy shop.

We go back to the lounge and we continue celebrating while eating the cake. Hours later we decide to call It a night. I can’t stop thinking about my new baby!

Here is to being 19!

So much has happened in two days that I can feel my head spinning just from the thoughts. It’s frightening the way things are happening. Spending time with the Xulu’s and seeing how easily we got along just made me feel like maybe all of this was meant to be.


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