“Monde. Why are you crying?” He asks worried.
Why am I crying? Plumber? What if I tell him and he denies it. What if he says I am being paranoid after all, I have been acting weird for the past few days.
“Monde. Baby. Talk to me. Is it work? Pressure.”
I shake my head.
“Tell me. What’s wrong? I’m right here.”
I feel his hand on my back. Calming. I’m sure he’s worried and about to start panicking. My emotional outbursts are legendary and too few thankfully. But when they happen it’s more like for all the days I didn’t cry I simply let it all out on one day. Why now? Why today of all days? I just have to tell him now. This is marriage. The policy of honesty applies. I gotta tell him what I know now. Get this off my chest.
For the first time I am conflicted and scared. What did my mothers and the elderly women teach me about addressing issues in a home? Should it apply now? But my marriage is different from those marriages that involved “out of our era women.” But their advice still applies right. “Wait until he is home and you have cooked him his favourite meal, then do you bring in bad news or any problems you have in your marriage” they said to me. But which woman is willing to wait that long, especially in my case. What if he goes to her house for dinner, will that apply. This is not how I wanted my day to go. Here goes.
“I’m pregnant.” I whisper.
His hand stills on my back and our eyes meet.
“What?” He asks.
“I’m pregnant.” I respond.
I am stupid I know. I should be confronting him about the plumber but no. I’m all silent about it. I’m choosing to be silent. I need to think all this through. My marriage is on the rocks. I watch his face and I see a smile come on. That’s what happiness looks like i think. His corners of his eyes wrinkle and the dimples in his cheeks show. He hugs me tight and kisses my lips. The secret is finally out of the bag.
“Are you sure?”
I nod my head as my tears keep falling down my cheeks. I’m such a fool.
“Oh my gosh!!!!” He shouts. “Yes!!”
Well he’s excited. That’s good right? He’s happy we are going to have another mini us.
“Number two! Babe. I love you. But how?”
I sniff, “Birthday party.. Drunk moments.”
“Wait. How far along are you?”
“Almost eight weeks.”
“That night?” He asks happily
I nod. Yes that night. He remembers it. I don’t know why but that makes me feel better in view of the mess that is surrounding my marriage.
“I didn’t expect this. And that night. We were so drunk.”
“And here we are. Expecting.”
“Are you sure? About the pregnancy? Are you really sure?”
“Well no periods for eight weeks. Yes. I’m sure.”
“You are amazing. You have officially made my day. We are expecting!!! Again. We weren’t even trying.”
I give him a weak smile. We had tried to have another child when Suwilanji was two but that just didn’t work out. Our dream of having a big family had been broken into pieces. We had given up. We figured maybe Suwilanji was the only child we were meant to have. I guess all things happen at their appointed time because I’m pregnant now.
“Yes. We are pregnant. Yay.” I say trying to sound happy.
“But why are you crying?” He asks as he puts his hand under my chin and lifts it so that he can see my face. “Aren’t you happy?”
“I am happy. Totally happy. I’m overwhelmed. Hormones. They run the world you know. Plus I didn’t know how you would react. We had decided that we were set.” I say. “Set aside accounts for Suwilanji’s future. Now this.”
“Babe. Who cares. Plans change. We are going to have another baby. That’s all that matters.”
I look into his eyes and I smile. He has no idea something is really wrong with me. Men. Shocking. He leans in and brushes his lips against mine, I close my eyes and sigh.
“But are you okay?” He asks.
“Not yet I guess. Too early. But I’m okay. My body is okay. Soon enough it will start to act crazy on me.”
“We will be ready for it this time. Cravings and all. Stretch marks too. Weight gain.”
I nod, keeping silent in my thoughts.
“How long have you known this?”
“About a month. I wanted to be sure. Plus I didn’t want to jinx it. Wanted to tell you this morning but you left early.” I respond.
“I should have stayed in bed with you.” He says slowly. “I’ll stay in bed tomorrow and I can kiss you all morning if you want.”
Like you kissed her today? No way.
He kisses me and this time I don’t avoid his lips. But I don’t encourage him either. Maybe he senses it or maybe its timing but he stops and I take that time to inform him that I have to leave as I have a meeting to attend to. He understands and he literally holds my hand as he escorts me to my car. He is so excited about the baby news. I know he will tell his friends soon. He kisses me goodbye when I’m in the car and I quickly drive off. As soon as I leave the office premises I park the car by the side of the road and let out my flood of tears.
We are pregnant. I am pregnant. Another child to add to our little family. My own words ring through my mind. I wipe the tears from my eyes and take a deep breath as I look in the mirror and remove my power puff and start to fix my makeup. I’m ruining a perfectly beautiful face with tears. My eyes are puffy. The secret is out anyway, I am pregnant; and my husband is cheating on me or I think he is because I am not sure yet as I never asked him or told him I read his message. Where would I even begin from asking him those stupid questions like are you cheating me? Or who is plumber? Thinking back to our conversation I wish I had asked him when my tears started falling. I’m such a weak woman. I should have asked him. Instead I told him the secret I had been keeping for over a month. Where the hell are my balls? Nowhere. My pregnancy news should have been a joyous moment like I had planned it to be. A love making session with me adding I’m pregnant to it but it turned out to be an emotional tearful moment for me while he had been excited as I had expected he would be.
I drive back home. I am not going to work with my hormones, and feelings in a mess and I call the office to notify them I’m heading to the clinic for a stomach bug. I will tell them the pregnancy news tomorrow or whenever I find it necessary. I get home and thankfully I find mum with Suwilanji and the maid so I find an excuse to be alone and sleep instead. Mum of course notices my puffy eyes and she asks if I am ok, I reassure her that I am. I will not talk or think about my ruined marriage. I lock the door to bedroom and lay on the bed with Noah’s phone in my hand. The phone is locked so there is no way for me to check for more information. My heart feels like it’s been broken to a thousand pieces. I don’t want to wake up anytime soon but I know I have to soon enough and face the music. A day only has twenty-four hours anyway so I’m gonna have to wake up at some point.
I know I’ll be up by sixteen to make sure Suwilanji has eaten her meals and taken her medication. Plus I have to prepare for an engagement party. I know Noah will come home to change before we leave so that means I’ll have to find him another suit for the evening event. I wonder what I’m going to wear tonight. Better be something sexy to show him I’m still the sexy woman he married. I’ll find a way to make him come back to me. This is what marriage is after all. Ups and downs.
For the first time, I hate being married.
I hate keeping this to myself.
I hate looking at him and not having the guts to ask him point blank.
I hate that I have become one of those women who don’t question their husbands and pretends all is perfect.
But most of all there is one thing I hate the most.
I hate that I have joined the shipikisha club.
“You have to come with me.” I tell Tawanda on the phone.
“Fine.” He says. “But you know I wanted to stay home. And who has an engagement party on a Monday?”
I close my eyes and mentally ask myself why I called him and invited him in the first place. Because I feel guilty that’s why. Maybe if I involve him more in my life and my friend’s lives then maybe I will start to see him as something more. I’m such a lost case. Who dates a man for no reason and still gets the benefits from another man? What if he finds out? Tawanda is a good man; granted I take advantage of that fact because he is a bad kisser but I know he is a good man. I met him over six months ago at a work training and we got to talking and voila we were dating. He was exciting and he could hold a conversation which was good. The conversation part. Tawanda is the serious type. The type that talks to you to know your mind or thoughts. But that’s where good starts and ends. Mukuka might not know the truth yet but I already slept with Tawanda once. Once. Why once? Because it was an experience so horrible that it has kept me far from his bed for months with excuses from I’m busy to I’m on my periods. And it works. Tawanda is understanding. Mukuka is not. He would probably get angry with my excuses and demand proof. Show me the tampon kind of proof. Tawanda is so different from Mukuka. So him being a nice man should triumph over the bad kissing and sex right? I can teach him to become a better man. That’s why I stay with him but who wants bad sex though? And you can not teach a man how to sex you right. Why? Judgmental creatures men are. Plus that ego they carry around everyday stands in the way of progress. I have thought about this and in my head it goes like this: sex him and then teach him and its you’re too experienced, who taught you this, how long have you been doing this. Next thing we are counting bodies laid on the black sheets and stuck hands on bed posts.
“Look if you don’t want to come then it’s cool. I’ll go alone.” I tell him
“I’ll come. Sorry if I’m difficult.” He says
He even knows he’s being difficult I think to myself. How unnecessary. Why can’t he make things easy for me sometimes I wonder. This is why I can’t let him near my friends full time. Piece by piece.
“It’s fine. So you can pick me up from home at eighteen?” I ask.
“I’ll be there.”
“Oh and make sure your bed is free tonight. I’ll be coming over after the party.”
Gotta do what I gotta do. I will make this work. I will end it with Mukuka and try and see where this relationship with Tawanda goes. Bad sex and bad kissing can not make me leave a man. Period. Good men marry. Right? Or am I losing it?
“Really now?” He asks happily. “It’s been a while. You sure.”
Seriously Tawanda I ask myself. What a way to ruin a good moment. Why did I even tell him I wonder. What a waste of time.
“Uh huh.” I respond.
“Lady I’ve been trying to get you in this bed for months. This bed has been free for a long time.”
You can do this I tell myself. Yes I can. I laugh. I can flirt with him.
“Well I’ll be there tonight.” I respond flirtatiously.
“Cool.. I can’t wait Babe. Protection? I remember how you freaked out without it that first time.”
Definitely. Yes please. Why is he asking. He knows I want it. If I am going to do this then let me at least protect myself with one of the men I sleep with.
“Uhhh you decide. Okay I gotta go. Boss just walked in. See you later.” I lie.
I need strength for what I’m going to go through tonight.
I really do.
Maybe a shot of whiskey. I deserve it. Okay tequila is stronger. What am I going to wear tonight I wonder. Do I have to go shopping?
My phone rings, I roll my eyes and frown thinking it’s Tawanda when I see Mukuka’s name, the desired effect is instant. I smile. No stopping my heart from sighing with pleasure.
Hey. Sorry about this morning. Won’t happen again. I’ll make it up to you. Night cap. After the party. My place. I have your favourite bottle of whisky. Will you forgive me? Please.
My smile widens. This man knows how to get to me. All the time. Now I’m lost again. Why is it so hard? Shit. Plus he said the magic word. Whiskey. This is interesting. And it must have broken his ego to say sorry. So the apology matters. Besides I can’t stay angry with him. He’s my bestie.
Still angry with you! Jealous much?
I bite my lip and wait for his response. And like clockwork within a minutes my phone rings.
Never. Though I love your bum. Can I squeeze it again? Tonight.
I shake my head and laugh. This will definitely be interesting.
Maybe. We shall see. Don’t plan on it.
I wait for his response, trying to keep myself occupied. When my phone rings I quickly reach out for it .
Hey Babe. Thanks for inviting me and forcing me to go. I know I can be a bit difficult sometimes but you’re so patient with me. Can’t wait to see you. Love you Babe. Have a great day.
Oh Fu#k I almost forgot about Tawanda and our night plans. Do I cancel? I know I can’t. Oh my, Mukuka will be angry.
What have I done….
“I have been trying to get a hold of you Gemima.” I say.
I quickly close my office door, rush to my chair and sit down.
“I am sorry. I know I was supposed to respond to your message but ma busy. Was picking up my dress love. It’s beautiful. Plus I had to pick up tonight’s dress from the laundry and now I have to meet Mummy dearest. I am so sorry.”
I feel guilty for bothering her now but I need help because I am losing it. What if Patrick wants Samuel for good. Do I have to move to Swaziland too? And then watch him and his bimbo be happy with my son? And who the hell moves to Swaziland. What type of career is that important to move there. Now I have to start thinking about Swaziland too.
“I read your message honey. Patrick requesting to see you is an accomplishment.”
“Chibwe this is a man who outright denied impregnating you. He never wanted to claim Samuel or you at any point until months after Samuel’s birth. Granted he’s been a good dad by being there for Sammy and all. And you have blocked him from talking to you via phone, though you unblocked him for Samuel’s sake. You barely talk to him. Actually you don’t. You never answer his calls. And after doing all that he now he wants to see you? That’s an accomplishment.” She says.
“I still don’t get it.” I respond.
“Look he’s making an effort to see you, the mother of his child. He’s coming to Zambia to see you. You haven’t seen him in what? Over two years. Three maybe. So this is good. Bury the hatchet.”
“What if he wants to tell me that he wants Samuel for good. After all the law does say he can take Samuel. Do I have to move to Swaziland?
“What if he just wants to talk?”
“Has it been that long since you last had a man tell you he wants to talk?”
“Very funny. But you know Patrick and I don’t talk. So what would he be interested in now?”
“Oh c’mon. You know. Talk. Have a simple conversation. About stuff. Who knows. You gotta talk to him.”
“The past? Future payments? Something sensible.”
“What if he is about to get married and he wants to raise Samuel in a good home with his…..”
“I doubt that will happen love. He knows Samuel needs his mother.”
“Or maybe he wants the bimbo hule to take care of him.” I retort.
Gemima laughs. I laugh along with her.
“Bimbo Hule huh. Did you come up with that just now or you thought about it a while back?” She asks minutes later.
“I am not gonna answer that question. No.”
“Look. Just meet the man. He has been acting right anyway. Sending financial support every month. And you have been letting him see Samuel every holiday so I doubt he will want to change that program. Just see him and hear what he has to say.”
“We shall see.”
“Look if he wants to get Samuel then at least he’s told you in advance that way you are ready to take it to court if you have to.”
“Oh my gosh Gemmy. Court? No. I might lose. I will lose. C’mon”
“That’s a worse case scenario. Just see him and talk. He might surprise you.”
This is why I love Gemima; the voice of reason as I call her. Ever optimistic about most situations, she sees the best in almost everything while I assess the bad parts and stress out till I am sick. I feel so much better now looking at things from her end.
“Thank you Gemima. You have put my mind at ease.”
“It’s okay. You’re welcome. I know it’s not 100% though. But it will be okay. Hmm quick question. Did you talk to Monde today?”
“She sent me a disturbing message. I hope she is okay. I might not be able to talk to her till I see her at the engagement party.”
“I am sure she is fine by now. You know Monde and her theories. Oh I am coming solo to the party tonight.”
“Cool. I am sure there will be single men for you to mingle with.”
“Uh no. No men for me please. Enough drama with one man already on my mind.I will be okay.”
Gemima laughs again.
“Look. I will not hook you up with anyone but expect single men to throw themselves at you. You’re hot.”
“Uh huh. Until they find out I have a child.” I respond.
“Let’s be positive. My love I gotta go. Mum is here. Now don’t over think things. See you later.” Gemima says.
“See you later. Thank you. Love you.”
“Love you more.”
I cut the call and I read Patrick’s message again as if looking for clues that I never saw earlier. But nothing. Am I ready to meet him after our history? Am I ready to show him who I have become since he broke my heart?
But the best question out of all this is: Am I over him?
“My gosh Gemima. The least you could have done is wear something sensible. Sneakers are not you.”
I sigh and smile at my mother. Count on her to make me care about what I wear, even when I need to run around. People think that I am a diva. Yes I am always on point with my fashion, hair and makeup but I am not a diva. My mother and my older sister on the other hand are divas through and through. They sit across from me, mum in her purple knee length dress, Peruvian weave and gold jewellery around her neck and wrists, bright enough to kill whoever stares at it and my sister Muzinga, also rocking a Peruvian weave, is wearing a white dress and heels to match. See divas. Matching stuff.
“You know I don’t like mint cafe.” Mum says as she looks around.
She’s picky. Always has been and always will be. She sticks to her places and never ventures out, not even to save her life. Though for today she’s doing it all for me. She has no choice anyway.
“Doesn’t matter Mummy.” I start. “We are here to discuss the wedding. Not if mint cafe have your favourite cake or not.”
“Merakee would have been a better option. They have my favourite healthy wraps.” She answers.
“Really Mummy?” Muzinga asks.
“Fine.” Mummy responds.
“Okay. Now to wedding business. I have the other wedding dress in the car. Plus my engagement dinner dress for tonight.” I say quickly .
“That’s good. Everything on my end is going well. I’ve dealt with the decorator for the reception. Wedding planner is on schedule. It will be perfect.” Mummy says.
“So she agrees with the colours?” I ask curiously.
“Yes. You shouldn’t be bothering yourself with the details. You should be relaxing and enjoying yourself.” Mum says as she puts on her spectacles.
“I will when it’s all over.” I respond.
“You can’t plan everything Gemmy. Let the wedding planner do her job.” Mom says loudly.
The waitress comes over and I order a cup of coffee with pancakes while mum and Muzinga order a cup of black tea each. Divas. They watch their diets twenty-four seven while I enjoy my food.
“So for tonight, what is the plan?” I ask Muzinga nervously
I need to know evebrything. One thing I have learnt about planning a wedding is if you let someone else plan your dream wedding things are bound or go horribly wrong in most cases. And that is why I am an all involved bride and I like it that way. Everything works out on schedule.
“Well I went to Manchinchi Gardens and they fixed everything. It looks beautiful. Don’t stress. I got this. Or we got this.” Muzinga says happily. “All you gotta do is show up. With Kachiza of course. And please be there on time. On time Gemmy.”
“Okay.” I say. “On time. Awesome.”
“It’s so beautiful. Gosh you will love it. I swear.” Muzinga says happily.
I look at her happy face and smile at her. “I don’t know what I would do without you.” I say.
“Anything for you sis.” She responds.
“How are the rehearsals going?” Mum asks. “How is everyone?”
“Well everyone has learnt the moves. I’m happy about that. The girls love the dress designs. You have to collect the dresses and other outfits in a day or so Mummy. Don’t forget please. All in all its good. It’s all going well. All I gotta do is get married.”
“Good. On time. Call the tailor to be on time. Laundry wash?” Mummy asks.
“She’s already on it. No worries.” I say. “I’m getting married.”
“I can’t believe my last born is getting married.” Mum says slowly. “I’ll be all alone at the farm. Me.”
“You’ve been alone for a while mum.” I respond. “I moved out years ago.”
“So? The farm is big. You visit me. Muzinga got married years ago. You are my baby and you are going to have your own home. I’ll be alone.”
“Get married then.” I tell her.
Her shocked face makes me laugh.
“Or I can move in with one of you.” She says
“Uhhh not me.” I respond. “Newly married. House to ourselves for now.”
“Muzinga will take me in.”
“Awww.. Your own home love. I’m so happy for you.” Muzinga says as she reaches out for my hand clearly ignoring mum’s statement.
“Guest list!!” Mum says aloud, the soft version of her is gone. “Have they all confirmed?”
“Some of them. But I already took into account gate crashers.” Muzinga answers quickly.
“Are you sure you have the correct nunbers?” Mummy asks Muzinga.
I sit back and watch them talk. I feel happy. We are working as a family. Granted dad will not be around to walk me down the aisle but just knowing I have Mum and Muzinga around makes me feel at ease. They have literally put their lives on hold for my day. What would I do without them. My heroes.
Oh my… I can’t wait for tonight.
I’m so excited.
I’m getting married. Countdown.
Hashtag happiness overload. Super Blessed.
What can possibly stand in my way?
I have the perfect outfit for me, picked out just for you to see me in. That’s if you let me come to see you tonight. Will you come see me after you’re done with your plans? Gosh. I feel like a teenager.
What are you doing to me Mister….
To be continued…