You would have thought Umama Winnie herself was coming to dinner the way my mom was acting. When you haven’t had a boyfriend in a while the moment you finally get one is a monumental event in this family.
Loyiso and I jumped into a cab and headed to my mother’s dinner party. I always liked to cab it when I went to one of her parties because the one thing that got me through the night was an excess amount of alcohol and I usually didn’t plan on being in any condition to drive afterwards.
I was quiet thinking about how jealous I became when Dudu brought her new friend over to meet me. I hated that feeling especially when someone I shouldn’t even be with caused it. My cell phone rang and I looked at it; it was Dudu. I hit “Ignore” sending her into voicemail. Two seconds later Loyiso’s phone rang but unlike me he answered his. No surprise – it was Dudu.
“Hey!” Loyiso sang into the phone.
I looked over at Loyiso as his whole demeanor changed. I just shook my head and looked away. Just as quickly as I looked away I snapped my head back when I heard coming out of Loyiso’s mouth “We’re headed to Tsholo’s parents for a dinner party. You want to come?”
I gave Loyiso a look of death. What the hell was he doing?
“Oh hold on. Let me see if it is okay with Tsholo” Loyiso said as he pulled the phone away from his ear. I was sure he saw the steam rising from my neck.
If murder were legal I would have stabbed Loyiso in his neck with my three-inch Jimmy Choo spiked heel. How dare he put me on the spot! If I said ‘No’ I’d look like the bitch.
I turned to Loyiso with a slight smile. “I’m sure my mom won’t mind” I said through gritted teeth.
Loyiso hung up the phone and I turned to him. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Just inviting Dudu like that not to mention putting me on the spot. I didn’t ask my mom if I could bring anyone extra.”
“Tsholo” Loyiso said “you’re always saying how your mom loves tons of people at her parties. Now there will just be more to envy her.”
I turned away and rolled my eyes; the last thing I wanted was my mother to meet my boyfriend for the first time not to mention the woman that I am fucking. How more perfect could that be?
“Baby I’m sorry. I can call her and tell her not to come.”
“Yeah and make me look like the wicked bitch of the Red Moon no thank you.”
“I can just tell her…” Loyiso said his voice trailing off.
“Forget it Loyiso; don’t worry about it really.”
“Sorry I just thought it would be cool.”
I turned my head and we rode the rest of the way in silence. We arrived in front of my mom’s house just as Dudu was walking up.
Dudu and I locked eyes as she and Loyiso gave each other a friendly hug.
“Hey” I said.
“Hey Tsholo did you forget your phone at home?”
I knew what Dudu was doing throwing it out there that she indeed had called me and I indeed had not answered.
“No I um must have it on vibrate.”
“Right” Dudu said without trying to sound convincing.
As we walked towards the door in silence I was very nervous about Dudu coming with us to my parent’s house – but what the hell there was no turning back now. I would just pass her off as Loyiso best friend. No one had to know that I was sleeping with her too.
“Darling!” my mother sang as she swung open the front door to reveal me Loyiso and Dudu the happy threesome.
“Hey Mmantwa” I said with a smile.
“Loyiso” my mom said “it is so nice to finally meet you. I was starting to think that Tsholo was making you up. Then again she did have a vivid imagination as a child. Did she ever tell you about her ten-inch bedside friends that would keep her company when she would sleep on her own?”
“Mom we don’t need to bore Loyiso with childhood stories” I said quickly cutting off “Chatty Kathy” before Loyiso did a beeline out of the house and out of my life. Loyiso extended his hand.
“Well it is great to finally meet you Mrs. Moabi ” Loyiso said smiling from ear to ear.
“Are you kidding me?” my mom exclaimed “You better give me a hug. It’s not too often that Tsholo brings home a decent man these days. By all means please call me Mmantwa I mean my own children do so why not you too?” My mom glanced over at me then turned her attention to Dudu.
“Who might you be?” Mmantwa continued this time with more of an interrogating tone.
“Oh this is Dudu Loyiso’s best friend” I said making sure the ‘best friend’ was emphasized.
“Well it is a pleasure to meet you Dudu. What a pretty girl you are.” “Thank you” Dudu said with a smile.
“Dudu is the project manager for The Hub project” I added.
“Just what honey?” Mmantwa asked her face turning up to one side.
“The project Karabo and I are working on with entertainment company The Hub”
Mmantwa held her quizzical look. Classic Madam – she only remembered things beneficial to her.
“The project is amazing I love the design plan” Dudu said trying to jog Mmantwa’s memory.
“Of course right now I remember; that’s great honey. I know it will be a huge success since you are working on it” Mmantwa said.
I hated how I always had to jog Mmantwa’s memory every time something about my work came up but then again I am talking about my mother Miss Self-absorbed. I love her but she really did live for the woman looking back at her from that vanity mirror.
“Well enough of the small talk come come in we go. There are already a few guests here” Mmantwa said as she herded us in the house.
We all trailed in the house following my mother like goslings following their mother goose. We entered the dining room to see the table set for ten. I looked around wondering who else would be here tonight and then I heard the doorbell ring.
“That should be Nolo and Gao” Mmantwa said as she disappeared down the hall to collect yet two more guests for her oh-so-grand dinner party.
Loyiso Dudu and I just stood there not really knowing what to do or where to turn. I felt just as awkward as they did and in my own parent’s home. I needed a drink.
“So does anyone want a drink?” I asked directing my question to Loyiso and Dudu.
“Yeah sure” they said in unison.
“Be right back” I said as I headed towards the kitchen to grab three glasses and a bottle of wine. As I began to open the bottle
I turned to see Nolo standing in the doorway. I jumped a bit not expecting anyone to be there. “Hey you scared me!”
“Why is that Tsholo? Were you doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing?” Nolo asked as she entered the kitchen.
“No Nolo.” I said rolling my eyes. Ever since we were kids Nolo’s mission was to catch me doing something wrong. She really needed to get a life.
“So I just met your new boyfriend. Very handsome I have to say. Is this one for keeps or just another ship passing in the night?” Nolo asked with a sarcastic smirk on her face. My sister had a way of getting her digs in any way she could.
“Well I hope so and for your good Nolo. I’m sure you’re getting tired of coming up with all those witty comments.”
Nolo ignored my comeback as she walked over to the counter and poured herself a glass of wine. “So who’s the girl on his arm?” “Excuse me?” I asked.
“The arm piece.”
“She is not on Loyiso’s arm and second she is his best friend.”
Nolo took a sip of her wine. “Pretty attractive looking best friend if you ask me.”
“How about I don’t ask you then?” “Well you should” Nolo said.
“Nolo what is your problem?”
Nolo set down her wine glass and turned to me. “Oh I don’t have a problem but you may.”
“Okay what are you getting at?” I asked.
“Just be careful who your man calls his best friend; that’s all.”
“Yeah I’ll be sure to take that advice especially since it’s coming from you” I said hoping she’d catch the oozing sarcasm in my voice.
“If you’re smart you’d take that advice from anybody” Nolo said as she poured herself a little more wine from the bottle and then picked up her glass again. “You don’t want to wake up and have your man leaving you for his so-called ‘best friend.’”
“I’m sure that won’t happen Nolo” I said thinking if Nolo only knew.
“Hmm famous last words” Nolo replied. “I say don’t let them come back and bite you in the ass Tsholo.”
“Don’t say you haven’t been warned” she said
I ignored Nolo as I watched her head out of the kitchen. I took a deep breath and followed. I walked over to where Loyiso and Dudu were standing. Mom and Nolo were chatting them both up or should I say getting as much info to use against me as possible.
As the night progressed I had to take a break and retreat to my old bedroom now a guest room. I sat on the day bed taking in the memories of the days I’d spent in this house. I had to work hard to block out the many bad memories and think hard to remember the good ones. I looked up to see Dudu standing in the doorway.
“How long have you been standing there?” I asked.
Dudu entered the room and sat next to me on the bed.
“You okay?” Dudu asked.
“I’m good just taking in the night” I said. “My family can be a bit much as you can tell.”
“Yeah but I’m sure they mean well.”
“Right or at least they act like it” I said.
I looked at Dudu and couldn’t believe how attracted I was to her. I loved how she looked at me when she spoke. When I looked at her I was able to see myself in a much deeper and fuller way now.
“Hey so sorry for crashing your mother’s dinner party.”
“No” Dudu said. “Tsholo I really wanted to see you and well I knew you would keep blowing me off.”
“Dudu I’m not blowing you off; I’m just being careful but you inviting yourself and putting me you and Loyiso in the same room is not being careful.”
“Well as long as we don’t make it obvious then he will find out nothing.”
“Please” I said “you are over-the-top obvious sometimes.”
“Not always I just like being around you Tsholo.”
Dudu and I stared quietly at one another for a moment. “I like being around you too” I said.
I took a deep breath and thought of Loyiso and what he would do if he found out.
“So do you think Loyiso suspects anything?” I asked.
“I doubt it. If you haven’t already noticed your man is deeply absorbed in his company right now.”
“This is true.” I felt my adrenalin rising with my next thought. “What if he did figure something out; do you think he would say something?” “Tsholo stop worrying okay?” Dudu replied.
“I’m trying but it’s hard. You can’t blame me for feeling weird.”
“I understand” she said “but don’t let it mess up what we have.”
Dudu put her hand on my leg. She leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips; I kissed her back and then quickly realized where we were and what we were doing. I pulled back.
“Dudu” I said “we can’t do this here. This is what I’m talking about –
Loyiso is right downstairs. What if he comes upstairs?”
Dudu sat back crossing her arms. “Tsholo I told him I was going to check on you so he thinks we’re just talking. Where’s your sense of adventure?” Dudu leaned back in and began to kiss me again this time on my cheek then making her way to my neck then closing in on my lips. I gave in and we fell back onto the bed. Dudu crawled on top of me as we kissed and caressed each other. I started to lose myself in her when I heard a thump. I jumped up.
“What was that?” I asked.
“What was what?” Dudu murmured as she continued to kiss me.
“That noise did you hear it? Like a thump” I said as I pushed Dudu off me and sat up.
“No Tsholo you’re just being paranoid” Dudu insisted.
“Paranoid or not we shouldn’t be doing this in my parents’ house” I said as I started fixing my clothes and hair.
“Fine” Dudu said with a bit of irritation in her voice. I chose to ignore it because Dudu didn’t have as much to lose as I did if someone happened to see us.
“Come on; let’s go back downstairs” I said as I stood up and adjusted my clothes.
“Fine Tsholo let’s go” Dudu agreed.
As Dudu and I headed back downstairs to rejoin the dinner party I wondered if that thump I’d heard really was just a figment of my imagination.