I can’t stop crying. I try to run but they block my way pushing me down. Fear has paralyzed me overcome me and is running through every part of my body. I am scared – no I am terrified. They stand over me laughing taunting teasing. My heart pumps faster and faster. My body is sore and dirty. I look to the left then to the right plotting my escape. They keep laughing they high-five each other as if they've done something great something admirable but they haven't. I wonder what I've done to deserve this. My mind races I feel weak cold and confused but they keep laughing they keep taunting.
“Stop!” I scream over and over until I hear and feel my voice go hoarse.
I wakened abruptly from my dream. I heard a buzzer but didn’t realize it was my front door. I stared into space before making the connection. I slowly sat up trying to focus on the clock – 9:30 am. Perspiration rested lightly on my face neck and chest. I ran my fingers through my hair rubbed my face wiped the sleep out of my eyes. I felt drained; my body ached. I slid out of bed grabbed an oversized sweatshirt slipped it on and headed for my front door. My hardwood floors were cold to the touch. My legs still ached from my workout two days earlier. Each step was accompanied by small spurts of pain a bittersweet feeling one of the tabs I had to pick up for the betterment of my toned body.
I opened the door to see my older sister Nolo standing in front of me. By the annoyed look on her face you would have thought she had been standing there for hours.
“Please don't tell me you were still asleep. It’s 10:00 in the morning Tsholo” Nolo scoffed as she entered my apartment and headed straight to my kitchen.
“Good morning to you too” I said as I closed the door shook my head and followed her.
Having an older sisters definitely meant more attention growing up. Everyone always wanted to know about its felt like to be a last born in a family of ladies only in our neighbourhood. The fact that my siblings and I were different gave us our own individuality not to mention our own styles. We shared the same caramel colour skin although our hair was black and afro while mine was naturally curly. I got my father’s height and build long legs and nice body while Nolo was a copy of our mom equipped with thick legs short and big breasts. People always marvelled at how different we looked being sisters and all but I had to remind them that we were sisters not twins
I entered the kitchen to see Nolo preparing a cup of coffee.
“Tsholo do you always sleep this late?”
“Nolo I was working late last night and didn't get to bed until about 3am” I said trying not to sound too irritated that she was breaking my buzzer at 10:00 on a Saturday morning.
“Tsholo sleeping late on the weekend only makes it harder to start your work week on Monday.”
“How would you know that? You've never held an 8-to-5 in your life” I said as I removed a bagel from a bag and began slicing it.
“I read it in magazine” Nolo said as if that settled it.
I wasn't going to touch that one.
“So Why are you here so early?” I asked as I belted out a roaring yawn.
“Did you forget babes? We're going shopping today” Nolo said as she started putting away the dishes that had been sitting in the drying rack for two days.
“How could I have forgotten? You reminded me three times yesterday email phone and then text.”
“I know how forgetful you are girl.”
“No Nolo now that would be you which is why you're here now instead of at our agreed upon time of noon.”
Nolo stopped as she looked up at me.
“Oh dear you're right; I must have mixed up my schedules somehow. Oh well since I'm here we should get an early start.”
“Nolo does your husband ever wonder why you scurry out the house at the crack of dawn?” I asked. “I mean most men like to get their ‘edge off’ in the morning and you well
“Tsholo” Nolo replied “Tumi and I do have our scheduled time together.” “Scheduled time?”
“Yes” she said. “Scheduled time. It’s something we have to do. I mean between surgery and the sisters there's really no time for spontaneity in our lives. You'll see once you get married – that is if you ever do get married.
Speaking of marriage do you think that will happen in this lifetime?”
“Please don't start not today” I seethed. Regardless of how sharp I came back on the subject of marriage it always seemed like Nolo heard “Please let's talk about it more much more.”
Nolo shifted her weight from her left foot to her right as she put her right hand on her hip. “Tsholo you're moving into an age bracket where men don't look anymore.”
“What age bracket is that Nolo?”
“You know 30 and up which is right around the corner. Men don't look at you as marriage material not as much anyway. You have to be realistic your window for bearing children is closing at a rapid speed.”
“Oh God Nolo would you give it a rest please? I don't give a damn what men think. If I meet a man who truly loves me it won't matter what age I am. At least I'll know that I married for love and not for money.”
Nolo stopped and looked at me. I knew that had to have stung. I hated it when she pushed me to say things I shouldn't say. Nolo stayed silent.
“So what stores do you want to hit first?” Nolo blurted not making eye contact.
“It doesn't matter to me; as long as they sell shoes and purses I’m good” I said still trying to get Nolo to look up at me but she was hurt.
“Well that leaves just about every store in town doesn’t it?” Nolo quipped as she continued putting my dishes away.
I looked at Nolo. She was wearing a simple dress more like a person who was going to a mall. Nolo had always been a lot more conservative than us. Had she pursued a career any career my guess is that she would have been a great doctor. On the other hand I needed anything as long as it was creative.
Nolo continued to busy herself around my kitchen. It was time to shift the conversation.
“So I had another one of my dreams again” I said trying to make eye contact with my older sister.
Nolo didn't even acknowledge what had just come out of my mouth.
“Did you hear me?” I asked.
“I heard you Tsholo; why you telling me?”
“Well for starters I'm not a psychologist.”
“I know but you are my sister.”
Nolo turned evading the discussion. She opened another cabinet sighed and began putting away more dishes. I took a deep breath as I ran my fingers through my naturally short curly hair (that needed a wash and deep conditioner). I walked over and poured myself a cup of coffee adding my chocolate coffee creamer and five – yes five – cubes of sugar. It’s amazing that I’ve never fallen into a diabetic coma. I took a sip and watched Nolo continue to organize my already organized cabinets.
“I just thought…”
“Why do you have your plates in the same cabinet with your glasses?” Nolo asked ignoring me completely.
My patience was wearing thin with Nolo’s anal ways damn did I say “anal” can Precious Moloi come here please.
“Nolo every time you come over here you rearrange something and then when you leave I can't find shit” I snapped.
“I'll make a chart of where everything is. How does that sound?”
“Sounds stupid” I said. “How about you just leave everything the way it is?”
“Why would I do that? You obviously need someone to come in to organize things for you.” Nolo paused to pull a large glass container off a shelf. “What is this?”
“What do you think?"
“Oh my God a bong?”
“It's a glass candle holder.” I snatched it from Nolo's judgmental grip and put it back in the cabinet.
Nolo scrunched up her face at the sight of the blackened candleholder now sitting back on the shelf.
“Listen do you want some breakfast? Because I'm starving” I said staring at the bagel that I just prepared and knowing that I needed something more.
“We should go out to eat” Nolo suggested.
“I was going to cook” I said.
“Nonsense we should go to that cute little restaurant on the corner. What's its name again?”
“Moja Cafe” I said.
“Yeah Moja Cafe. You go get decent and I'll finish up out here” Nolo said as she quickly turned back to the organized clutter that awaited her in my cabinets.
I gave up. As I headed off to take a shower all I could think about was how much my sister raked my nerves to no end. Then my mind shifted to Loyiso and our date later that day. I was nervous about seeing him. For the last two weeks we had been doing the whole “get to know you over the phone” thing – and one night we talked for two hours as if we were a high school kids. The only thing that was missing was my mother picking up the downstairs receiver and threatening my life if I didn't hang up immediately and go to sleep.
I wondered if I should tell Nolo about my mystery man I met through a chance encounter at a Gautrain bus station. I wondered if I should tell her about how the very thought of him brought butterflies to my stomach. Nah I think I will keep my little secret and my butterflies to myself – at least for a little while at least until after our first date.