Chapter 28

THALENTE

“Talent please take this bag to Raj’s car before you leave.”
Aarti thinks this is Mumbai and I'm the African transported-maid made just for her. Taking bags to her car isn’t anywhere on my job description plus I've had one hell of a weekend a samoosa-eating woman annoying me is the last thing I need. I had a man a 100feet tall man with disconnected beard leaving me in a party in some strange place I've never been to with strangers.
Before I can give Aarti a piece of my mind she has disappeared in the backroom. I grind my teeth in anger and pick up the heavy bag on top of the counter and take it to her husband's car waiting in the parking lot.
I've never liked this man I always feel like his eyes are undressing me and his secret compliments never sit well with me. My hips aren't all there is to me I have beautiful eyes and nice set of ribs. He can find something else to compliment just not my hips and butt.

Here he is; licking his lips with his eyes glued on my lower body. Somebody kill me now!
“Aarti said I must bring this” I say handing the bag over. Honestly I just want to stab out both his eyes and sell them to the nearest nyanga.
As he takes the bag his hands brushes mine. The fool is smiling he thinks this is funny.
“Next time you do that I will slap you” I say.
He keeps smiling like a retard.
“I mean it. Ngizokushaya.” I think now he gets it. The smile has disappeared. I had to use my native language for him to know that I mean business.
“Why are you so uptight? Do you need something to put you in a good mood?” His hand is brushing the front of his short.
“Yes but not you and your 1cm di€k.” I turn around and leave. Taking this to his wife wouldn't be such a bad idea but I don't want to be the reason an Indian couple divorces.
She is taking the money from the till. I walk past her to the backroom to fetch my bag. I'm sure the car is waiting for me outside the gate. Taxis are still not fully operating. It's so childish of me to wish the fight to go on just because I have an easy transport. A car fetching me outside the shacks and dropping me off in the afternoons. Its driver hardly ever talks to me he only asks if I want to pass somewhere and then drives all the way to Cannelands in complete silence.
“Talent come here for a minute.”
What now? My time is up. I've been on my feet the whole day and I need to go to my shack and rest.

She's standing in front of the four-plates stove with her purse under arm.
“This stove was electric-shocking earlier. Please test it for me I need to know if I should call Raj's friend to check it tomorrow” she's saying this like it's the most normal thing to ask from a person. For a minute I'm just dumbstruck. WTF!
“It was electric-shocking earlier and I must test if it still does?” I need to be sure if I heard correctly and it's not the hot biryani I ate earlier messing with my hearing.
“Yes please” she says completely okay with her request.
“You think I don't value life neh?” I ask on my way to the door. “Bye Aarti see you tomorrow. Wear your jersey it will be cold.”

Indeed the car is waiting for me. It's never late everytime I walk through the gate it's there parked opposite the gate and playing Jazz music softly. Yes the driver is old he listens to Jazz the likes of Dorothy Masuka and Hugh Masekela. He must be somewhere around 50 and he has the fatherly welcoming aura around him. I'm always comfortable in his company.
“Are you passing somewhere today?” he asks after we've exchanged greetings.
As usual I'm going straight to my shack. He keeps his music soft and drives off.

I haven't spoken to my mother in a while. Last night I tried to call but her phone was off. Mommy duties must be keeping her busy. I've made peace with it I'm done being the 28 year-old sister who “can't” have children and then acts like Maria’s bestfriend.
People have normalized teenage pregnancy to the point where if you're 40 and pregnant it looks like you're doing “underage” things. Once you reach 25 without a little rascal calling you “mom" and making your life a sweet hell you quickly make it to the list of barrens and pregnancy terminating squad.
It's good for me to step back and let them do things their own way. I hope my mother's health won't take a knock from this second round of motherhood.

I'm here; getting curious eyes as usual. I'm sure it baffles everyone how I have a driver taking me to and from work in a Hundai Tucson everyday while I'm living in a shack that could collapse any summer if heavy rains attack. Well my life has never had any balance. If it's not taxi drivers abandoning me in fancy parties it’s my pumps cracking just as I step out of the car.
“Thank you” I say and bid him goodbye.
“See you tomorrow.” He rolls up the window and reverses. 
I take the shoes off and walk barefooted to the shack. People just came back from work and there's a long queue at the water tap. I pray that my buckets have water my feet won't be able to stand another hour in a water queue.

Stepping inside the shack after it's been locked the whole day is like walking into hell. I'm not that woman who wraps a towel above her breasts with sleeping knots on her head looking like those Nigerian crazy women from movies. But today it's too freakin’ hot for a dress and I need to do something about this hair.
I'm not one of those mental unstable women who plait their own hair and still look like fine as hell. It's not even a skill- how do you do your own hair? I fold a few knots. Yes I'm folding not plaiting that's for hairdressers to do.
I freshen up and wrap my body with a towel and throw myself on bed. I brought chicken stew and slices of bread from the canteen so that stove is going to stay shining like that on top of the table. I only cook on weekends.

I don't know how I dozed off. It's dark outside when I wake up even my neighbour has switched the radio off. Mosquitoes are already humming a mosquito national anthem inside my room.
I check the time to see if the tuck-shop hasn't closed. Luckily I still have 5 minutes I search my bag for coins and rush out to get mosquito coils.
Men from the shacks whistle at every girl and ask them out. It doesn't mean that you're special when they do. I always ignore them and use the famous line; “I don't have a cellphone” when they ask for my number. Some would go as far as offering to buy me one.

I buy what I came for and make my way back. Some tenants are already on beds and having those deep conversations with their partners. The lazy ones are still cooking. I pass one of the shacks and smell onions burning in unheated oil. I want to knock and tell whoever it is that he or she must wait for the cooking oil to heat up first before throwing those big chunks of onions inside the pot but then I remember that Aarti complains about my cooking skills as well. I'm not the one to judge.
I walk into a man standing in front of my door. I wouldn't mistake him for anyone. I can see his eyes piercing through me in the dark and I suddenly have mixed feelings about seeing him. A part of me wants to have a moment with him and just give him a piece of my mind. But another part of me doesn't want to see him. He hasn't reached out since the party. He didn't even send a lousy text apologizing and explaining why he left me like that. And now he just arrives here unannounced?
“Thalente you're wandering around the shacks naked?” He's half-yelling at me.
Naked really? Some things are just beyond human’s ability of understanding.
I walk inside and leave him grinding his teeth at the door.
“Thalente!”
Oh he's following me.
I put mosquito coils on the table next to the box of pizza I don't know of. He's bringing things to my shack and putting them on my table. That's not all his jacket is on top of my bed. Imihlola kaJames!
“You should've told me if you didn’t have clothes. Why the fu€k would you go outside looking like this?” He's still at it.
Deep breath Thalente! 
I search for my scarf and wrap my head. I don't know when he's planning to leave hopefully he'll remember to wake me up to close the door after him.
I move his jacket and get on bed.
--
It's impossible to get sleep with him sitting next to my legs and the light still on. He's not saying anything and that's so unlike him. I had so much to say to him but he pissed me off by yelling at me. I couldn't bring myself to speak to him. He wronged me I expected him to look remorseful and apologetic. But no he's my dictator.

He's now going through my dishes. The door is still opened other tenants must be long asleep now. I bet it's only me who still have her light on.
“Let's eat please get up” he says sitting on the bed again.
“I'm not hungry.” Why am I even responding to him? I'm sleeping mos.
“Why are you not hungry?” Stupid question!
“My tummy is full.” Do I really need to respond though?
“Okay. Can I have space to rest as well?”
He wants to sleep here? Wait I need to get up and see his face. This is a shack my bed is tiny and I only have one blanket. 
“Huh?” I snap my brows.
The plate Aarti gave to me is on the table with slices of pizza. There's a bottle of fruit juice looking all sweet next to it. I'm not hungry but now I regret my decision.
“Shift I also want to sleep” he says.
Okay deep breath Thalente!
“Ndlalifa you went to abandon me in a party and never reached out after that night. And now you're here asking to sleep on my bed?” I ask.
“I asked Ndondo to keep you company. If it wasn't important I wouldn't have left and if it would've made any sense for me to speak to you over the phone then I would've done it.”
“You told Ndondo to keep me company? I'm not Ndondo’s girlfriend Ndlalifa. I was there with you and you just left me. No explanation. Nothing.” Sometimes I keep going and not regard how much pain I'm feeling. Talking about this is reducing me to tears and I'm not that girl who cries over petty things. Oh I even called myself his girlfriend.
“Thalente I'm sorry. Things aren't going too well at home. We have this new reality to adjust into. It's bad mostly for my father and Maqhinga.” He sounds genuinely hurt.
A knock of guilt punches my conscience. Not even once did I think of reaching out to him and find out what was happening. I was just a queen waiting to be ran after. He got me a damn job the least I could've done was to check on him.
He rubs his nose sniffs back and moves his eyes away from me.
“I've abused my father for twenty years.” He looks up and blows out. I reach for his hand and squeeze it.
“Hlomuka please don't. I'm sure there's a way to fix things. Don't let this break you.” I’m trying to comfort him but it looks like I don't have any talent in doing so. I'm breaking him even further the tears he was trying to hold back drop down to his cheeks. He lifts up his T-shirt and lies back on the bed. I shouldn't have said anything.
“Ndlalifa I'm sorry” I say and lie next to him. I don't know what to do.
“What kind of a son fails to see his own father's pain? I failed to see everyone's pain and held on to assumptions and made my father's life a living hell. I have abused that man Thalente I don't even know where I'm going to start mending things.”
I hate that he's hiding his face from me. I feel so useless and selfish. I also failed to think that he might be quiet because he's in pain.
“Please look at me Ndlalifa. I love you and I'm sorry I haven't been able to be there for you” I say.
He pulls down the T-shirt and wipes his teary face. Our eyes meet he wants assurance he's not convinced by my words.
“I love you.” I cup his face in my hands and plant a kiss on his lips. As I pull back he holds me and initiates another kiss. His lips taste a bit salty I smooch them hoping to take away half of his pain.
He rolls over me and slips his arm under my neck. I feel his chest pressing on my boobs and realize that the towel has unwrapped itself and I'm naked beneath him. My heart is on some horse race.
“Wait….the tow…” He captures my lips before I finish. His member is up and poking my thighs.
When he starts moaning inside my mouth and grabbing my boobs I instantly regret my decision of “wandering around the shacks naked.”
I've never seen anyone taking off a T-shirt so quickly. I fail to keep my hands off his chest.
Now his lips are all over my body. The front of my panty is damp I'm getting wet with every touch. His finger slips through the lace of my panty and my eyes quickly go to the door. I don't want to find myself on Pornhub.
“Please close the door” I say.
He groans and rolls off bed. He closes the door and pushes down his jean and briefs before getting back on bed. Now I have a naked man on top of me his shaft keeps swelling as our bodies grind against each other.
He pulls down my panty and leaves me completely naked. When his hand brushes over my mound my memory flashes back. It's a jungle down there. Fu€k I always made a mental note to get rid of all the hair but my stupid left brain would always prioritize other things. It would whisper to me; “It's not like anybody is going to see your shaved pu$$y. Chill girl.”
“Please relax” he whispers into my ear as his hand struggle to separate my thighs.
“Do you have any condom?” I ask.
His head falls beside my neck. He releases a sharp breath that answers my question before he even opens his mouth.
“I have the cheap one” I say.
It's not even cheap it's free. I got them from the clinic while there for my injection the nurse insisted on giving everyone a packet of Choice condoms. I kept them in my bag because kids turn them into balloons when they get their hands on them.
“Borrow me one” he says.
“It's inside my bag” I say.
I lie there like a chicken waiting to be seasoned and thrown inside the oven while he finds the condom and inserts it on his shaft.
“Thalente I really love you. I promise you you won't regret this. I'll never let you down.” His words sound genuine I meet his lips for a kiss.
“I love you too” I say as he breaks the kiss.
His hand massages around my waist. He slips one finger between my folds and chuckles behind my ear.
“So do you welcome Hlomuka in?” he asks.
“Yes I do” the w#ore whispers in response.
“Thank you.” His fingers play with my clit while he suffocates me in a deep kiss.

My knees goes up. My thigh balances on his arm. I wince as he pushes his tip in.
“It’s this condom” he says.
No it’s not! My hands find his shaft and I help him push in more gently.
“MaMbatha yini? Uuuhhh!” He's groaning next to my neck. His breaths are breaking short. None of his questions make sense.
“Sthandwa sami what is this? Oh fuck.” He's shoving himself deep inside me his name starts to slip out of my mouth.
“Babe?” He's calling me with every thrusts. My paranoid side feels his shaft going deep and reaching my stomach.
He pulls it out. It's still so long and thick I wasn't imagining things this thing is reaching to my stomach. I shift a bit too far my bed isn't very big. My hip lands on the floor and I let out a scream.
“Babe are you okay?” He jumps off the bed and kneels next to me. 
My hip hurts a little bit. The dwarfism of my bed really helped I didn't fall that hard.
“Yes I just need help to get up” I say holding on to his arm for balance. I expect him to scoop me up and put me back on bed. But not the stupid him. He pins me down on the floor and lifts my legs over his shoulders.
“This is going to kill me” he says rubbing his thumb on my clit and releases a sharp breath through his teeth.
He has me pinned down on the floor I can't even move my injured hips to help him he's having his way with me. A few furious thrusts send my body into a violent wave.

“Argh! MaMbatha you're not going anywhere. Turn around” his pleased voice brings me back to the room. Was he watching me the whole time? How I did I look?
There's a knock at the door. He is on his knees looking unbothered.
“Makhi are you okay?” That's my neighbour's boyfriend's voice. I must've alarmed them with that scream I let out when falling off bed.
“Turn around” Ndlalifa says brushing my thigh. My brain is working on the scale of 0.1.
“Makhi!” my neighbour bangs the door.
“She's alright ndoda.” He's lifting my arms up. People are concerned and all he's thinking about is doggstyle.
“Makhi I want you to tell me that you are okay.” My neighbor is a concerned citizen. Domestic violence is…
“She's okay we are just having sex. That's what you wanted to hear now go.”
WTF!
“Ndlalifa” I whisper with a frown on my face.
I'm not even sitting properly. He pushes me down on the floor I lie on my side he lifts my leg up and inserts himself while on his knees.
“Babe” I let out a moan as he pushes himself to the depths of my core.
Footsteps descend from the door. I need a new place I'm moving out. There's no way I can ever be able to look at these people in the eyes.

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