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Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1


The soil came in contact with the designed wooden box. They sang their heart out as I went on my knees and I touched the soil. It wasn't bad. He wasn't a bad man at all he tried his best and so did I but our hearts weren't in it but we stuck together.I pull my shoal together and run my fingers on the soil. It's good that I suggested he should have a funeral cover. Now he is buried in dignity in such a place. I stand up from the ground and dust myself.  

“Woza Makoti( Come )” My mother in law pulls me away from his last place of rest.

 Dabula my husband was laid to rest today. After being sick for 2 years he is now at rest from all the pain and misery of this world. I have been married to him for 10 years I was young when we got married but my mother always said“You will Love him like I loved your father” Did I love him? No I didn't love him but cared for him so much he also loves someone else but his last words ring in my head. “I have always loved you ” Loved me ? I only know Love from one man and it's not my father nor God above us. I am not referring to them. I am referring to the man I left years ago. The man who I truely love and haven't let go of him in these years. I have always hoped we will get back together. We promised to love each other till we do is he dead ? I hope not. Last time I saw him he was in Msinga and I have to go back home. My home where I was born. 

We move towards the mud house and get inside. I am sat on a chair in the kitchen and my sister in law prepares a meal for me and gives it to me. She smiles lightly 

“Eat so you can gain energy” she says and I nod.  

I pull the plate towards myself and I start eating. Dabula back then was son to Induna of Nongoma they were rich in cattle and also land but his father died and everything faded. I believe that he went to a Sangoma to obtain those riches. How could they fade so quickly? I stayed after that. We became close and he needed me then and I was always there for him. My father doesn't know anything from this family or if I am fine. All he knows is that I am married here. If a phone call hasn't came in to inform him of my departure from earth then it doesn't concern him.  

I push the plate away and Ciyela looks at me she wants to speak but something is holding her back.  

“Makoti ” My mother in law walks inside the house and comes and stands Infront of me.  

“Are you ok ?” I nod while smiling lightly 

“Yes I am mah ” she nods.  

“We are your family. You know that ” she says

“Yes ” 

“I made food for you Mah Chiliza is serving the people from far ” Ciyela says. Chiliza is her twin sister. 

“Thank you ” she sits down next to me and eats. 

___________

I am packing the clothes away his working clothes slowly into a big suitcase given by his mother. I take the photo from my bed and I look at it. I remember this photo of us. I was young back then and he is the first man to show me love I held on it. I remember Afika taking this one. I wonder if he has grown ofcause he has ! He was two years older than me. The camera that took our last pictures I wonder where it is. I sit on the bed and I look at the picture and run my fingers on it. I have kept it well over the years. Will he remember me if I seek him? Would he have moved on as well ? I sigh and put the photo in my bag and I stand up carrying on with packing away Dabula 's clothes and his things. I only have one way to find my answers and that is finding him wherever he is.  

I put the suitcase full of Dabula's clothes on the floor and I push it under the bed. I went to switch off the lights and got on it. I looked at the roof and I turn to the side and look at the empty space where my husband should be. He just fell sick for years without any knowledge of what it is and then he dies. I hope he finds peace where ever he is going and remembers to be a great ancestor over his mother and sisters. I close my eyes and let sleep consume me.  


The morning came and I woke up very early. I went to get some wood while Ciyela went to fetch water. I started collecting as much as I can. My phone rang from my boobs and I took it out it's my sister. I don't want to talk to herSince she married someone from the city she always wants to bring me down in order to boost herself. Her husband works at a tire shop and they live in a nice brick house in the city of Durban. It has 4 rooms and she always tells me about it. I look at the ringing phone before answering. 

“Dade ( sister)” she says. 

“Dadewethu Kuhamba kanjani ?( Sister how are you ?)” 

“I am ok I heard about Dabula. Sorry” I nod.  

It's ok they didn't even come to the funeral. I felt embarrassed yesterday but now I have let that go. They are still my family 

“Its life. We just need to take it as it is ” I say 

“My husband bought me a dress yesterday. Ayibizi kanje. R200( it's expensiveR200)” I smile. 

“I am happy for you ” 

“Has Dabula bought you anything once since you married him ?” I never bothered with clothes or anything. I knew his situation and him working at the farm was for us to eat. That's all. 

“Cha ( No )” 

“Yoh Ubunomnyeni boh( you had a husband )” she says impolitely. 

“He was a hard working man. That counts ” it does .

“Yes. I have to go ke ugade inkukhu lapho ( guard the chickens)” 

She hangs up. I sigh after and take the wood that I have and tie it up together. I walk back home. Ciyela is already there with the water. I start the fire and boil the water. I walk inside the house and Chiliza is cleaning. My mother in law is drinking tea quiet slowly.  

“Mama ” I say and she looks at me.  

“I need to go back home ” I say and she looks sad she places her tea on the little kitchen table.  

“Do we ill treat you ?” I shake my head.  

“No I would like to go home ” I say 

“Ok” she smiles faintly.  

“If you will visit me ” she adds. I nod 

“I will ” 

“You are leaving us ? ” Chiliza says. She is the emotional one and I know she will cry soon. 

“No I will come back” I need to find the love of my life. Nothing is holding me back now. 

“Ok” she wipes her tears. I hug her and she smiles and hugs me back I was blessed with this family.  


I went to take the water and bathed after I was done I got dressed. I picked out my best black dress and I put a head wrap on my hair and I wear my pumps. I look nice as well. Descent as well. I take the little plastic and check my money. It will take me to Msinga or will I just go to Durban. I search for my journal and I wrote down his number back then when I left. I have tried it over the years and it never went through “The number you have dialed does not exist ” the White lady says. I sigh and go through the addresses and I found one to the taxi rank. I should hop out there. It's in Durban that I know. Ok that means I am going there I pack my things and I take my bags and I walk out of the bedroom. They look at me and Sadness clouds them. Ciyela comes and hugs me.  

“Take care of yourself sisi” 

“I am going to find him ” I whisper in her ear and she smiles. 

“Go then don't forget about me ” she says 

“I won't. I will call” she nods. I have always found it easy to talk to her about the man I love.  

They accompany me out and my mother in law gave me the little she has and I thank her. We walk to go and catch a taxi. I get one and I hop inside when and they gave me my bags and waved good bye and I did the same. I will miss them surely.  

I looked out of the window as the taxi drove off the scorching sun burning me from the window side and the lady next to me pressing me by the window but I didn't care. It's finding him that's all I want.  

__________

“Asambe asambe sisi wami !( let's go let's go my sister )” one of the driver's help this lady with her bags.

 I have gotten off in Durban but I don't know where I should really go I am here yes. I am at the taxi rank and by luck I got off here. I have my little leather suitcase that was once my mother's I hold my bag close to myself. I have the journal in my hands so I wouldn't be lost. I kept on walking through the whole taxi rank looking for him. His family owned Taxi's so I assume this is why he gave me this address Incase he moved from where he was.  

“Can I help you ?” The guy asks and I shake my head. I keep on walking around like I am crazy. 

I sigh and stop where I am

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I hold my bag close to myself. I have the journal in my hands so I wouldn't be lost. I kept on walking through the whole taxi rank looking for him. His family owned Taxi's so I assume this is why he gave me this address Incase he moved from where he was.  

“Can I help you ?” The guy asks and I shake my head. I keep on walking around like I am crazy. 

I sigh and stop where I am I feel tired and it was a really long journey from home to here the sun will settle soon if I don't find him and I would be stranded here. My sister once made it clear that we shouldn't visit her so I don't have an option at all.  

“Sorry Sisi ume endleleni yami ( you are standing in my way)” someone taps my shoulder and I turn.  

“Cholo ? ” oh my goodness He has grown. 

“Afika. ” he hugs me and I do as well. He is muscular as well we let go of each other. Our camera man . 

“What are you doing here ? I thought you were in Nongoma” he says. 

“I am here for Ntozakhona ” 

“Oh it has been years” he says 

“I know” he places his hand in his pocket. 

“I was on my way to his house dropping a taxi off. I can take you there ” he suggests. 

“Really ?” I feel excited and he nods smiling a bit. 

“You have grown ” 

“Yes” 

“Come ” he takes my bag and I follow after him. 

He whistles to some taxi driver and before he gets me inside the taxi and I thank him. I pull my dress down as I have sat and he got inside the taxi. He started it and drove off while hooting for people to move out of the way.  

“You were in Pietermaritzburg the last time I remember” I say.  

“Yeah Sikelela got married so I had to move here. He is with Qiniso and Sakhile ” he says. 

“Oh I saw Nazo is also married and a Minister.” he nods.  

“Yeah” I want him to tell me if Ntozakhona is married as well or not.  

“Sikelela and Nazo are married. ” I nod. I guess it means he isn't. 

He moves his eyes from the road and looks at me.  

“Why are you wearing black clothes?” he asks 

“My husband passed on I have to” I say he nods. 

“How did they treat you ?” well very well. 

“They are a nice family ” I say . He nods. 

“Afika...” 

“Cholo” 

“I still love him. Is it bad?” I ask. He is silent for a moment. 

“I don't know. We will see Cholo” I nod.  

There is silence inside the taxi he stops at the garage to fill it up and he pays before driving off. His phone rings and he takes it then answer. I look outside the window looking at the buildings we are passing by. He hangs up after some time and plays some radio and it's fading the silence away. We get in a nice neighbourhood and I looked at the houses. I smile while looking. He parks once we are inside the yard and we both get out. I am holding my bags close to me. I follow after him as he walks off. He just opens the door and walks inside. I wipe my feet and take off my shoes before stepping on the cold tiles. He places the keys on the coffee table. I look around the house.  

“Bafo !” he shouts. My heart is beating very fast.

What will expect will he recognise me ? A beautiful lady comes down the stairs with a gown on and has a blind fold over her eyes. She puts her hands on her hips looking a bit angry. 

“Why are you shouting in my house?” she says. 

“Where is Ntozakhona ?” Afika asks. 

“He had to go to Pietermaritzburg quickly. He will be back tomorrow” 

Afika curses under his breath and the lady looks at me. 

“Who is this ?” she frowns. I hold my bags tightly. 

“She is Cholo. She just came accomodate her. I will be back when Ntozakhona is back” 

“This is not a charity house ! ” she shouts as he walks out.  

I am rooted where I am. Her eyes land on me.  

“Sit down ” she says and I go and sit down on the couch. 

“Listen here wena farm julia. This is my house what I say goes. I am in need of a new maid or you go home ” she says. 

I don't have enough money to go back home. 

“I...I don't have money ” 

She is silent. 

“Ok you will work for it. You will be my maid neh?” I nod. I don't want to disrespect her I was never groomed and taught in that manner.  

“Go and clean this whole house. ” she walks up the stairs stomping her feet. I breath out as she walks away.  

I take out my phone and use the little airtime I have and I call Ciyela and tell her about my arrival. She asks me if I have met Ntozakhona and I tell her that he is away but he is married. It feels like daggers have been stabbed in my heart. I tell her I will come back as soon as I have some money. We finish the call and I sat there for a while. 

_________

Breakfast the most important meal of the day I made some porridge firstly. She gave me a uniform and it's blue and white she hasn't said anything either than telling me what she eats. When she said she wants a Farm house breakfast everything went blank. I don't know what that is so I stuck to porridge. I close the pot once I am done and turn the heat down.  

“Nelly !” a manly voice frightens me. It's coming from the lounge area.  

I go and peak and he is standing there placing his keys. He rushes up the stairs My heart skips a beat and I smile. He is just as I remember him. Grown and more like his father. I stood there by the corner and watched him disappear. I bursted out of my little bubble and went back to working. I dish up the porridge and the Madam of the house comes down the stairs she is dressed and looks wonderful. She places her bag on the counter and she takes an apple. 

“You are useless you know that. I said I wanted eggs bacon sausages not this shit !” she hits the pot and it spills the porridge on the floor. 

“I am going to fire you and you will be stranded. ” I swallow.  

“I want the curtains washed and everything in this house !” I nod.  

“Ye..yes ” 

“Yes inja yini wena ?!( Dog)” 

“Yes Mam” I say. She clicks her tongue and takes her bag walking off.  

I went to take the cleaning supplies and I started with cleaning the floor and the whole kitchen once again. 

I went to take out the curtains. It's quiet early and I haven't seen him since I got a glimpse of him. I put the curtains in the bathtub and soaked them. I went in the two bedrooms and I took them out as well. I was singing while cleaning I should call MaNdawonde When I am done cleaning. I am sure she was worried about my departure. I finally took them out and was about to get down but the chair moved and someone caught me. 

“Hey easy there you might break your bones...”

I look at him and he puts me down but his eyes are still fixed on me. I look away 

“Thank you let me carry on with work” I move away from him. 

“Cholo” I stop and I turn to him.   

“What are you do... Can you see me ?” I can see him properly. I know him clearly and I want to touch him.   

“I am sorry” I walk off and hold the curtains close to me as I feel a lump in my throat.  

“Wait ” He is behind me. He stops Infront me and he is examining me for a moment.  

“Mp...” he stops himself from saying it. I know what he will say and I want to hear him saying it. He places his hands in the short pockets that he is wearing. My eyes wonder off as well. 

“I am engaged” that's all he says after long silence. I plaster a faint smile while I felt a lump in my throat. 

He has moved on and he loves her he wouldn't marry someone he doesn't love unlike myself. 

“I am sorry” he says.  

“I...” I couldn't speak. My voice was breaking I move away from him and go to the bathroom to wash the curtains. I close the door and I sob softly as I am washing.  

I want to go home now. He has moved on and I got my answers I should've let go of the love I have for him 10 years ago.

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