“So y’all are here to kill Tucker?” I say.
Inonge suppresses a smirk and shakes her head at my silly attempt to be punny. The rest didn’t seem to understand it.
“Glad one of us finds this funny.” Wezi hisses. She seems to be the ring leader here; in this blurred scenario, that aspect is undoubtedly clear.
This is not how I planned this evening, but it’s now or never, I guess.
“Come in ladies” I look into Inonge’s eyes, she seems to be lost, questioning why she is part of this. That confidence in her eyes isn’t there, something is amiss.
Wezi seems ready to burn the ogre, she seems to be trying to maintain some kind of order. Jazz, seems shocked and trying her level best to hold in her tears, she has finally confronted her fears. I honestly feel bad, she has been hurt. Again, I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional pain.
My poor Kandi, will she ever look at me, love me? Our trust…broken by past relationships and lust. She is still standing looking like a lost little girl. Is she alright…
How did I let this happen? I was going to do right by all of them, end things with each of them before tonight. Guess fate required we all go down with a fight. Jazz scans the room with envy or is it jealousy, she wants this and it’s pretty clear to see. I had lied to her about where I stayed anyway so I guess she’s seeing me for what I am really worth.
The three ladies sit down together on one of the sofas. I close the door and look at Mukandi for a sign of anger. But she looks calm and lost at the same time. The lady who can find herself if she was lost in a bush with no map. I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to hold her. I take the seat across the three ladies while Mukandi sits alone on an empty sofa. Should I move? No. Then it would come out like I was choosing her. Then again she was my fiancée. I just proposed. Was that off too?
Time to drop the ball.
“Kandi, by now you must know or have an idea about what’s going on” I say slowly.
I wouldn’t put it passed her to be totally oblivious to the current situation. Such a beautiful soul, I fear what she’d be like if she ever lost control. I don’t want to take the chance and see her murderous side though I know she has none. But what if. No, I’m curious.
“I have been sleeping with these women behind your back.” I continue.
Mukandi says nothing. She just looks at me. Nothing. No tears. No screams. Just silence. Shouldn’t she be crying and complaining about how she trusted me and I let down. The other women look at her.
“Sleeping?!” Jazz blurts out, cutting their leader Wezi short, as if to correct me and state that there is more. In a twisted way, she is right and we all know there was more. Passion vs lust I’m not sure anymore.
“I love how you say sleeping with these women behind her back.” Wezi starts. “Are you implying we are the other women? Do you mean what we had with you didn’t matter when you were cummin’ every time and coming back for more.”
“Promises you made Ntazana. You remember them?” Jasmine asks. She looks like she will cry. I know my words will hurt them all. But there is no going back now. Maybe if I keep silent they will insult and curse and feel better. They will leave and I can face my problems.
Moments later, they are all quiet, looking at me. Love, confusion, lust, anger and pain. All in one room, like different carriages, one train.
“So, you are all here to make me pay I guess. I owe every single one of you the honest truth and the biggest apology, and at this point my words would probably be meaningless. But this ends tonight, no late night meetings, no house visits and no random flights out of town. Nothing. ” I say
At this point Inonge fidgets in her seat. She is once again faced with defeat. This is it.
“Wezi, I will always be grateful for my son, you are the mother of my child but let’s be honest with each other. For years we have tried, maybe past feelings would creep in but the honest truth is, you will never be anything more than Lukundo’s mother. You know this, I know this. Sometimes I’m weakened by guilt for not trying harder with us, then again without our son in the picture, we are simply trying to get where we want to be, chasing the bus.”
She looks at me, they all do, waiting their turn. It’s time for truth. Then they look at her, like with their eyes they say why did you usher us here, just to let it burn. Silence is not her. It is not the usual Wezi response, but seems to be one of those rare moments when we both agree. Like the moments shared only when it concerns Lukundo. A knock at the door, Silence, everyone seems even more confused. Jazz begins to sob silently. Finally. Or is it the idea of someone else coming to this party that finally breaks her? All this drama and more?
I walk to the door, who would visit me this late at home? A package I had ordered for Kandi. A sigh of relief from me and probably everyone else in the room. I sit down with the package. I can’t give it to her anymore. I need to finish my truth.
“Inonge, with the utmost respect we shouldn’t have let things get this far.”
She knows I’m right and she is unmoved by the faces staring at her.
“We let things based on a selfish agreement get out of hand.”
The look in her eyes, almost translates to an obvious truth…I know, I understand.
She apologizes to Kandi and asks not to be contacted by any of the women in a stern tone, she reaches for her bag and prepares to leave. Wezi opens her mouth but says nothing, it`s something she can’t seem to understand or believe. This gesture scares and amuses me a little, but probably she has been through worse and she has made her point clear.
“If he genuinely chooses to be with you, all the best but be careful my dear” Inonge says. Dear?!? She still has some sense of humour left after this mess. We’d joked about this during our age related stories. Now all nothing more than memories.
Inonge smiles at me and stands up.
“I will find my way home Wezi.” Inonge quickly makes her exit. I`m already dreading being in the office, a criminal constantly in the company of the police.
“Why Ntazana, why would you do this to me, to us!” Jazz is in tears now and of course I feel worse than a donkey`s ass. A part of me is just as confused as she is, as everyone is. I should have ended all this, alone with each one with the greatest of ease.
“Jazz, I was selfish. This isn’t how things were supposed to be.”
I’m surely worse than the men before me.
“How the fuck was it supposed to be Ntazana?” Wezi interrupts. Yup, there is the Wezi I know. I could still see it, that fiery glow. She still thinks she can win this argument. But she doesn’t matter.
My Kandi, what was going through her mind? She sits there. Looking at her hand. The ring. I wanted to be with her, would I be with her now? Would she take me back? Fuck! I would need whatever love she had left for me and truck load of luck. I think I have used everything she had in her to hold us together.
“Mukandi.” I say. “I am sorry. I….”
She lifts her hand to stop me. Finally she will speak.
“You are sorry? You love me? I am the one you proposed to. I don’t even know if we are really the four of us or maybe Wezi didn’t do a good job in finding the rest. I won’t ask you why. I won’t ask for dates either. But don’t say you are sorry when you knew exactly what you were doing.” She says.
That’s my girl. I am proud of her. That is who she is. The lady who sits and listens. And when she talks it is carefully thought out. I didn’t want to hurt her. I wanted to marry her for crying out loud. Mukandi stands up and walks out of the living room leaving me with Wezi and Jazz.
“So who will you choose now? Inonge obviously doesn’t want you. Mukandi is obviously going to have cry first.” Wezi says loudly. If she wasn’t going to win by selection she hoped to be in by exclusion of the others.
I shake my head. Gosh. Her thick head is not needed right now. She can’t win this. I am tired. I need a drink. A strong drink.
“Wezi. Please stop. Enough. Aren’t you happy now?” I ask. “It’s done. You’ve done what you came here to do. You can leave.”
She keeps silent and gets up. I see her smile. She’s happy. She believes she has me now. After all I still have to deal with her when it comes to Lukundo. What a mess.
“Let’s go Jazz.” Wezi says.
Jasmine looks at me with her puffy eyes. She looks like she has more to say but she stops herself. She gets up and walks with Wezi. When they leave I sit back on the sofa and groan. What a night. Mukandi. Shit.
I get up and check the other rooms of the house hoping. Hoping for what? That she stayed. Stayed to tell me she would forgive me and love me. But she is not around. I’m sure she left through the kitchen door. She obviously couldn’t bear to see my face after the drama. I wonder if I should call her. Check up on her or give her space. What do I even say to her now?
My Aunt M. Shit. I forgot I told her I would be proposing. She will hear of this. Now my heart really sinks and I feel all the hurt, pain, disappointment and the weight of my decisions. My eyes begin to water, have I blown my last chance to be at the altar?
What to do. What do I do? Where the hell are my car keys? Should I go to her house? Or should I wait for her? To call me and tell me the way forward. Shit!
I sit back on the sofa. There is no relaxing tonight. I need a drink.
I don’t know how long sit on the sofa, thinking, replaying my decisions and creating new scenarios. What if I never met Jasmine? What if I never slept with Inonge? But these questions will never be answered. I did what I did because I was selfish. Selfishness never paid off in the long run.
I hear my phone ring then and I quickly reach out for it. Private number. Mukandi? Maybe?
“It’s me. I’m sorry I left like that. I couldn’t talk to you. I had more to say to you but Wezi telling me we were leaving stopped me.”
Jasmine. Seriously. Did she want another explanation for my actions. Or did she want closure. I feel even worse.
“I still love you. Can I come and see you? We can talk. Just the two of us. No drama.”
What the hell!!!! She still loves me? Is that even normal? After everything I did. She still loves me. I lied to her. She was the other woman. Wezi was my baby mama so it really wasn’t hard to go back and sleep with her; Inonge was my workmate and we had that attraction; Mukandi was my girlfriend, the official girl ;and Jasmine was the other woman, the last piece of pizza I had to have before I went off the junk. And she still loves me?
“I can forgive you for your crap. I can still take you back. What Wezi did was wrong. I shouldn’t have gone along with the plan. I’m sorry I hurt you. But I can make it up to you.”
“We can still be together Ntazana. You and I?”
“Just think about it. I know you probably distraught but just know I’m still here.”
I have to end this. Now.
“No.” I say
I might regret this tomorrow but it has to be done. In as much as she is beautiful, Jasmine is not the girl you marry. She is the girl you show off to the world and let your boys get jealous about your blessings.
“No what?” She asks
“I can’t be with you. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I used you. I’m sorry for everything I did but I can’t be with you.”
“Because of Mukandi? She’s gone isn’t she?”
Yes. But I don’t tell her that. I let my silence answer her.
“She won’t take you back. You deserve to lose us all.”
No. Only one. Who I hurt the most.
“Look… We are done. If being alone is my punishment then so be it. But I’m not getting back with you.”
I hear her sniff. Oh shit. She’s gonna start crying again.
And she hangs up. I don’t have the energy to call her back. She will be fine I guess.
I deserve this. It’s my fault. There is no going back.
Three Months Later…
I’m driving home early and my phone vibrates.
1 Unread Message
Hi Ntaz… Tried to call you last night but your phone was off.
By the way Aunt M called last night, something about receiving the wrong colour of chitenge for the kitchen party scheme. Call me when you find the time. Miss you loads. Mwah.
I smile and put my phone back in my pocket, after all she always tells me not to text and drive.