CHAPTER SEVEN



Its the weekeeeeeeeeend baby!
Ok if it was any other weekend the mood would be justified but this one I am nervous and scared. I am about to commit my life to someone I don't even love and who seems to be on a mission to destroy me.

Anyways I get up and walk to the ensuite bathroom of this guesthouse. I take a shower get out and dry myself before lotioning. I look through my bag and find a long yellow summer dress with slits on the side. I put it on and wear some flops. I decide to leave my braids loose its too hot to put them in a bun. I pack all my stuff and walk to the reception to check out.

The lady offers me breakfast but I decline. I have a long way to drive and I also need to pick up Faith from the airport. Buli is already in Nelspruit. I check out and drive out of there.
After an hour of driving my phone rings. Its an unknown number. My phone is connected to the Bluetooth speaker so I answer.
Me: "Hello."
Guy: "Ntfombatana." (Girl) Its Bab'Shongwe.
Me: "Mtimandze."
Bab'Shongwe: "Unjani?" (How are you)
Me: "I am good baba how are you?"
Bab'Shongwe: "Kuyale kuyale. (So so). Buli tells me there are people coming here tomorrow."
Me: "Yebo baba. I hope you don't mind?"
Bab'Shongwe: "Of course not. I am happy to help. But are you sure this is what you want?"
Me: "It is what I want. I tried going home but I just couldn't go in. Seeing them even from far just........"
Bab'Shongwe: "No need to explain my child. I don't mind representing you. I hope someday you can make peace with them."
Me: "One day maybe."
Bab'Shongwe: "Shesha ke sisi. Ushayele kahle." (Hurry and drive safe.) He hangs up. For the first time since this week started I feel at peace maybe things will work out afterall.

Its crazy though how the people who have brought stability and peace into my life are people who are technically strangers to me but they have loved me without question and supported me through it all. I guess its true that family isn't always blood but its the people who choose to be there through it all. I turn up the music and my drive has just become easier.

I get to Nelspruit just before ten Faith's flight lands in an hour so I decide to go to wimpy at I'Langa mall to have breakfast. I sit down and order food the waiter brings my food and I dig in I didn't realize how hungry I was.

While I am eating I notice a lady looking at me and walking towards my direction. I cross fingers hoping she is passing by but she's not. She greets me and sits down uninvited. People can be so rude sometimes.
Lady: "Sorry to disturb you but can you take off your glasses please."
Me: "Askies!" She must not even try me shem I hope she doesn't think I am her husbands side dish.
Lady: "I am sorry its just that you look like someone I used to know and I was hoping you are her."
Me: "Sorry to disappoint you but I don't know you." She looks down. Maybe I was a bit harsh. I sigh. "Who are you looking for anyway?" She looks up again.
Lady: "Someone I grew up with I haven't seen her in ten years. She's from Mbuzini." My heart starts beating fast but I am curious also.
Me: "Whats her name?"
Lady: "Landokuhle Shongwe." Oh shit.
Me: "Are you her friend?"
Lady: "Something like that. Anyways thank you for your time I am sorry to have bothered you." She gets up to leave but then turns around. "Sorry I didn't get your name."
Me: "Uhm yeah Kuhle Kuhle Biyela." She smiles.
Lady: "It was nice to meet you Kuhle." She turns and goes back to her table. I let out the breath I had been holding in. This weekend needs to end before I run into more people I used to know.

I pay my bill and leave as quickly as possible. I get to the airport and Faith is already waiting for me. She comes over soon as she sees me and gives me a hug. She is carrying two large suitcases maybe she didn't get the memo that this is a weekend thing.
Me: "Friend you do know we are staying for the weekend only right."
Faith: "Girl please you know a woman needs to pack for all occasions. You never know what could happen." I laugh as we put the luggage in the boot and off we go.

We get to Lekazi by lunchtime we drive into Bab'Shongwe's yard and walk in. There are people in the lounge three men and a woman. Bab'Shongwe is not here we walk in and sit down to greet.
"Sanibonani" (hello) Faith and I say as we sit on the couch.
Lady: "Sanibonani. Ninjani?" (Hello how are you)
Me: "Siyaphila ninjan nine." (We are well how are you?) As if on cue Bab'Shongwe walks in and we get up and hug him.
Bab'Shongwe: "Mantfombatana! Nihambe kahle?" (Did you travel well)
Me: "Yebo babe." (Yes)
Bab'Shongwe: "Good let me introduce you. These are the people who will be helping with the negotiations tomorrow that is Simelane Mabena and Mkhonta and this is make Sbongile." We get up and shake their hands and sit back down. "Lady and gentlemen that is my niece Lando she's the one getting married and that is her friend Faith."
Mabena: "It is nice to finally meet you your uncle never stops talking about you. He is very proud of you."
Me: "Thank you. We will bring our bags in then go back to town to buy some things for tomorrow."
Mam'Sbongile: "No no no you are not going anywhere. You can't leave the house. Its bad enough you came today you should have been here last week."
Me: "but we need to buy food."
Bab'Shongwe: "Don't worry about that Buli is probably on her way back as we speak."
Faith: "Alone?"
Bab'Shongwe: "No I asked one of the neighbours to help out so she went with her. You can start cooking dinner."
Me: "Of course." We get up and bring our bags in. We come back to the kitchen to start cooking.

A few minutes later Buli walks in with groceries and another girl follows behind her with plastic bags too she must be the neighbour. We group hug soon as she puts the groceries on the table.
Buli: "What the fuck took you so long?"
Me: "We missed you too friend."
Buli: "Mxm. Wena your husband let you go vele."
Faith: "We are not joined at the hip hawu."
Me: "Please that man has called a 100 times in the last two hours alone." We all laugh.
Buli: "See what I mean. We should go on a girls trip for atleast a week soon."
Me: "Mbusi will be in a mental institution by the time we get back."
Faith: "Please leave my husband alone." She turns to the girl. "Hi I am Faith and this idiot over here is Lando the bride."
Girl: "Hi!" She says shyly.
Buli: "Oh yes ladies this is Celiwe she's been such a great help.
We unpack the groceries and I find some bottles of wine.
Me: "Buli whats this." She turns around and quickly comes to my side.
Buli: "Shhhh. Why are you so loud."
Faith: "Alcohol Buli? Really?"
Buli: "Hhay Mamfundisi we will need this. We need to hide this in our room after dinner we are having a bachellorette party in this house. Also there are more ciders in the car. Get them." She tiptoes out to hide the bottles. I turn to look at Celiwe.
Me: "Why didn't you stop her?" She laughs.
Celiwe: "I tried I swear to God I tried but she is unstoppable." We all laugh. We go to the car and bring in the drinks. We take a six pack of Brutal fruit and each pour one into coffee mugs and put the rest away. We place some scones on the table and we start the party early.
My phone vibrates and I take it out of my pocket its a message from Philani.
'Are you still alive'
'Lol. I am. Were you hoping I would die.'
'Lol no I just assumed those rural boys had stolen you already.'
'Shem I might just take one phela they are gifted these ones.'
'😲😲 gifted in what exactly?' I laugh out loud.
'In everything. Looks charm biceps and just all round good men.'
'Yawn. Keep trying to convince yourself it won't work.'
'Whatever I will send you the address now so I can go back to cooking.'
'Do you even know how to cook? Poor people are about to eat kak. Just so you know if you are cooking I am bringing my own takeaway tomorrow.'
'Mxm we will see.' I send the address and put the phone on the table. I look up to find the girls looking at me intently with smiles on their faces.
Me: "What?"
Faith: "Love! Its such a complex but satisfying feeling right? "
Me: "I wouldn't know."
Buli: "Bitch please I don't need anyone telling me who you were texting coz I already know the look on your face said it all."
Me: "Mxm whatever can we just finish what we came here to do cook!"
I get up and walk to the sink.


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PHILANI

I have been sitting on the couch at home waiting for my uncles these old people don't know how to keep time. We were meant to be on the road an hour ago. At this rate we will get to Mpumalanga well past midnight. We booked at a hotel there so we can rest before tomorrow. I don't know why I am anxious though.

I get up and walk to the bottom of the stairs and look up still no sign of anybody.
Me: "Akuhanjweni phela! (Lets go). I shout but these people are just too stubborn.

I turn around to see my dad leaning on the wall by the passage he must have come from his study.
Dad: "You seem to be in a hurry."
Me: "Baba. I just hate driving at night thats all."
Dad: "Or maybe you just can't wait to get your wife?" I sigh my dad is one of if not the only romantic man on earth he thinks fairytales and happily everafters still exist even today.
Me: "Don't get your hopes up baba. This is just business." He smiles and walks to the couch and sits down. I follow him and do the same.
Dad: "Son love finds us when we least expect it even when we try to shut it out it always finds a way." I told you he was a hardcore romantic fool.
Me: "Baba I know you have dreams about this marriage but I can vehemently tell you now two years from now I will be a divorced man." He still has a smile stuck to his face.
Dad: "Thats what I said about your mother look how that turned out." Wait what! Mum and Dad had an arranged marriage? They never told us that. Just then my uncles walk down the stairs.

Bab'Zwelithini: "Seskhona mfana akuhanjwe. (We are ready lets go)"
Bab Nqoba Bab Goodwill and Bab Makhosi come and sit down. Here i was thinking we are leaving. Bab'Zweli calls the maid and orders tea before joining his brothers on the couch.

Makhosi: "You seem anxious my boy are you okay."
Dad: "He is nervous." They laugh.
Me: "I just want to get this over and done with." The maid brings the tea and they drink like they are having tea with the queen of England herself savouring every sip and bite of the scones.

Its getting late and these men are far from finishing. Now I regret not leaving with Lindani and the others. I tap my foot impatiently and they notice instead of getting up so we can go they burst out laughing. Mxm I get up and walk outside. I decide to call Lindani. He picks up after the second ring.
Lando: "Hello"
Me: "Who is this? Where's Lindani?"
Lando: "I don't carry old people on my back Philani and why would you call me and ask me about your best friend?" What the heck. I look at the screen and I see Lando's name on the screen. I must have called her instead of Lindani. I must have dialled her number by mistake.
Me: "Hey sorry I thought I was calling Lindani."
Lando: "its okay are you here already?"
Me: "Nope still in Joburg. The old people are still busy with tea and scones." She laughs. "Its not funny they know I hate driving at night."
Lando: "Relax its just Mpumalanga not Timbuktu."
She is right I need to relax a bit. We talk for a while before hanging up. I get a text from Ayanda.
'Babe where are you? I want to come over so we can spend the weekend together' Shoot! I forgot to tell her about this weekend I haven't seen her the whole week and I haven't missed her I need to end things with her when I get back as much as I was hoping we would make our relationship work I don't think it will and its not fair for me to expect her to wait the whole two years. She deserves better.
'No I am not home the boys and I are going to Mpumalanga for the weekend. I will call you when I get back.' Hopefully she buys this.
'Okay babe have fun and don't miss me too much.' Whew.
Finally after a whole hour the old people decide to emerge from the house. We get into the minivan and off we go.


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NARRATED

Meanwhile at Ayanda's flat she has just come out of the shower when there's a knock at the door. She throws on her gown and rushes to open the door. Its her friend Cebo. She walks past her into the flat.

Ayanda: "Cebolenkosi whats going on?"
Cebo: "Friend where is your man?"
Ayanda: "Why?"
Cebo: "Just answer the question."
Ayanda: "He is in Mpumalanga for a boys weekend. Why?" She chuckles.
Cebo: "Is that what he told you? Men really are trash shem. Philani is not on a boys weekend he went to Mpumalanga to pay Lobola." Ayanda burst out laughing.
Ayanda: "Friend that is such a joke my darling."
Cebo: "your boyfriend is about to get married and you think its a joke? Ayanda I am dead serious. He is about to be a husband just not yours." Ayanda's face turns serious.
Ayanda: "Philani wouldn't do that to me he loves me and he will marry me." Cebo takes out her phone and opens her instagram. She scrolls to Lindani's profile. She opens a video of him driving. Ayanda watches with a blank stare.
Cebo: "Let me read the caption for you. 'Amalobolo loading. I chomi yam iyashada.'"
Ayanda: "Lindani has more than one friend he could be talking about someone else."
Cebo: "I wasn't done. #impintshiyamiyashada #MrsBiyelaloading. Tell me which other friend does he have that is also a Biyela."
Ayanda grabs the phone from her she has tears running down her face.
Ayanda: "How could he do this to me. He lied to me."
Cebo: "Stop crying go pack a bag we are going to Mpumalanga he will not play you like this."
Ayanda: "Mpumalanga is huge where will we go?"
Cebo: "Lindani will tell us where they are. Go and pack." Ayanda rushes to her room and packs. She gets dressed grabs her bags and they drive off to Mpumalanga.



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