Today is the day Tshepo is coming back from his little business trip. I am a bit uneasy with what might transpire. I have played different scenarios of how things might go down more than a million times in my mind none of which plays out well. In all the scenarios that I played there is mostly swearing fighting and deadly threats from him but in all of them I leave one way or the other. I am more than determined to leave this God forsaken marriage and nothing or no one can stop me from leaving.
I decided I will not be running away from my house because this is my children’s home. If there is anyone who must leave it’s him I have done nothing wrong to disrespect him and our marriage. So I am not going anywhere. I worked too damn hard to build this house from scratch my sweats blood and tears all went into making this house a home that it is today.
My brother suggested I find a place of my own and move out but I am determined not to disrupt my kids’ routine by removing them from a place they have known as their home all their lives. As much as things are about to change a lot still has to remain the same for the sake of my children’s sanity.
Our family members are already here sitting in the dining room my brother mother in-law Thapelo and his uncles. None of them knows why they are here except for my brother who has been my pillar of strength throughout the past 2 weeks. My adviser and confidant. The rest just assumed I am throwing my husband a surprise welcome home lunch if only they knew the surprise is about to be on them. I want them to bear witness as I hand him the divorce papers. My mind is already made up and I have no room for their advices they better not attempt to give any.
My heart races as I hear the gate slide open I look through the kitchen window curtains and see his car drive in. Why am I feeling sick all of a sudden? My knees are getting weak heart rate elevated and my breathing just intensified. Breathe Pheladi breathe in and out I say to myself to come down my nerves. I can definitely do this there is no turning back now. The end goal is to leave this marriage alive because staying is not an option.
Thank God for my brother who walks in and pull me into his embrace just in a nick of time. In his arm I feel safe and I appreciate his presence as I am about to take this huge step. “No need to be scared I am here and I won’t let anything happen to you” he whispers to me. Just the words I needed to hear I nod rapidly as I try to convince myself that I am strong enough to do this. I feel him tightening his hold around my body as the front door opens.
Tshepo: “Honey I am home” he says cheerfully.
There he is holding a bouquets of red roses and flashing a warm beautiful smile as he walks through the door. A smile that used to melt my heart and send shock waves throughout my entire body. I free myself from my brother’s hold and force a smile on my face as Tshepo walks towards us. He hold out his hand and greet my brother who greets him back. We have spoken about this my brother and I. We are going to pretend as if everything is normal until after lunch when I finally announce to everyone I that I want out.
My brother leaves us alone and join others in the dining room as Tshepo pulls me into his embrace. One thing I can say is my brother’s hug was warmer than husband’s.
Tshepo: “Where are the kids?”
Me: “They went to church for a choir practice” I say breaking free from the hug.
I had to force Tshepang to attend the choir practice today with his sister because I did not want them present as things may get messy. He wanted to be here when his father arrived but I did not want any of them to witness the drama that is about to go down.
Tshepo: “I missed you so much my wife remind me not to go away for so many days next time because these two weeks was an absolute a torture” he says cupping my face and looking deep in my eyes.
Me: “I missed you too” I say lying through my teeth as I try to search for his soul in his brown eyes.
He places his cold lips on mine and kisses me deeply. I have no option but to reciprocate the kiss. It is taking a lot in me not to puke right into his mouth and her scent on him is not even making things any easier. But to pull this off I have to push myself and pretend that everything is normal. Thanks to Tshepo I have gotten better and better at this acting and pretending game.
Me: “Come our families are here and I have prepared lunch” I say pulling back from the kiss.
Tshepo: Letting out a deep sigh “Ooo
Tshepo: Letting out a deep sigh “Ooo here I was thinking the first thing I will do when I get home is to bury myself deep inside my wife. The things I am planning to do to you tonight. Nx nx nx nx” he says biting his bottom lip.
Like a school girl I giggle talking his hand in mine and pulling him to the dining room where everyone is seated. If you did not know better you would envy this moment right here. We look so perfect and in love with one another something we both learned to master over the years.
The room is filled with joy and laughter as Tshepo goes around exchanging greetings and hugs with everyone in the room. I look at my brother pleadingly as he wears his angry and disgusted face. I smile and mouth thank you at him as his face softens up. I know how difficult all this is for him but I need to do this my way and he needs to trust me.
I dish up for everyone like a perfect makoti that I am expected to be before all sit down and enjoy lunch over light conversation and laughter. I look at everyone around the table enjoying themselves and laughing at silly jokes being shared. How I wish things were different and moments like this lasted for ever. But I guess I am not that naïve and I know better that we don’t always get what we want.
Mrs. Mamabolo Snr: “Thank you Pheladi the food was nice. I really enjoyed myself. Ke gore I don’t know when was the last time I enjoyed a meal so well put together” she says as I clears the table echoing everyone’s sentiments.
Me: “Thank you I learned from the best” I say with a warm smile.
It’s true my mother in-law thought me all that I needed to know in the kitchen when I was still staying with them in Seshego. At least that something to add to the list of positive things I gained from this marriage with my kids being on top. I did out do myself today the plan was to cook a meal they will never forget. As Christians they may treat this lunch as the ‘last supper’.
Me: “I would like to thank you all for joining us for lunch today. I know some of you had commitments that you had to cancel when I pleaded for your presence here and for that I am grateful. Unfortunately my mother couldn’t join us today because she is feeling a little under the weather and traveling a long distance is something her doctors advised against. I know it’s unheard of for a makoti to be addressing her in-laws and for that I would like to apologize in advance because I don’t mean any disrespect towards any of you”
Tshepo: “Pheladi what is going on?” he asks giving me a puzzled look.
Kgaugelo: “Let her speak” my brother says sternly earning himself cold eyes from everyone.
I take in deep breath and let it all out slowly as I push back my tears. I promised myself that I will not cry and that’s exactly what I am going to do hold back all the tears.
Me: chuckling “It’s funny how I had a whole speech prepared but now I don’t feel it’s necessary. The fact of the matter is my marriage has run its course and I want a divorce” I say handing Tshepo a brown envelope with divorce papers inside.
The room that was filled with laughter few seconds ago in now filled with echoes of gasping and whining. The look on my mother in law’s face is that of anger while Tshepo looks at me with a blank face before turning his attention to the envelope in his hands. My brother is keeping his eyes on Tshepo and I feel better knowing that he is ready to pounce should he make a wrong move.
Mrs Mamabolo Snr: “Pheladi!! Wa gafa? (Are you crazy?)” She says at the top of her voice while banging her fist on the table.
She should just save the theatrics this is one decisions I am not planning to back down from.
Tshepo: “Mogatsaka what is this all about?” he says softly like he is lost.
Me: “This is about me chose myself. It’s about me walking away from this sham of a marriage before I lose my sanity. It’s about me finally standing up for myself and saying you have bullied me for far too long and I am choosing to leave before you finally take the abuse too far and kill me or God forbid I finally kill you in your sleep or poison your food like I have been fighting the edge all along” I say the last chuckling earning myself a deadly look from my mother in law.
Uncle Sam: “Pheladi can we please talk about this as a family and try to resolve whatever issues you two have. You can’t just decide you want out without trying every possible option there is. If you have an issue with your husband the first step is to go to your mother in-law and if she can’t solve it you call the rest of us and we solve it for you. Not this” he says with a voice filled with disappointment.
Kgaugelo: “She has done all that and each time she was told to go back to an abusive husband.… Mma Mamabolo how many times has my sister came to you crying regarding your son’s behavior and treatment. How many times did you promise her you will talk to your son? I bet it’s more times than you can remember. Of all those times she came to you how many times did you really address your son? I bet you laughed it off every time she came to you and did not even feel the need to address your son.
We are done talking. Tshepo if you know what is best for you you will sign to papers and finally let my sister live her life in peace. I am back in her life now and any more abuse from you will deal with me and trust me when I say you don’t want to mess with me”
Tshepo: “Pheladi can we please talk about this? Just me and you alone please” he says looking at me pleadingly.
Me: “I know how that ends. With my body covered in bruises and few broken bones. Your bags are packed up stairs and ready for you. I would appreciate it if you took what belonged to you and moved out for the sake of the kids. It’s the middle of the year and it wouldn’t make sense for me to pack up the kids and move to Glen Cowie. Your home is only about 10 km from here and moving back there would not offset your life. So please do this for your kids”
I watch as my mother in law spit on the ground and shake her head. I guess she is disappointed with me but I wouldn’t expect anything else from her. Tshepo is her son and I am just a daughter she gained through some cows.
Tshepo: “I am not signing anything. I will move back home for few days and let you think about it carefully I really hope you love me enough to allow us to work through this. We have come a long way and we can’t just throw 14 years of marriage just like that”
He says before looking at his family and getting up. I let out a deep sigh and shed a few tears as they all get up and follow Tshepo. I must say step 2 has gone a whole lot easier that anticipated. My brother moves his chair and crouch next to me before pulling me to his embrace. I let out a soft cry as soon as my head hits his shoulders. The road to freedom has finally began.
These are not tears of sorrow but tears of joy. I may not be divorced yet but I have set the wheels in motion. It may have taken too long but what matters is that it’s finally happening.