“Ge-Mi-Ma.” She says when I am within ear shot of them.
Who the hell says my name in it’s syllables. Only she would do that. Make me feel like a kid learning how to pronounce my own name for the first time. Samantha Mwape is the very definition of the word beautiful. Her smooth long face, long lashes, big round eyes, small nose made the talk of the neighbourhood. Her eyes made men look away. And to top it off she had the perfect height to prove it. She was miss perfect. And she had the perfect man. Then. Gosh she has him now. Holding onto him again. Her hand in the crook of his arm, holding onto him like she’s his fiancee, oh she almost was once upon a time ago. Why is he letting her touch him? Men and their inability to say no. I walk closer to them and she finally lets go of Kachiza’s arm. Clingy much? Exes and holding onto things that they no longer have. I hate her. She comes in close to me before I get to Kachiza and gives me a hug. Is this what exes do? Give hugs to their ex’s current lady? Act like it’s their best day ever seeing their ex so happy and in love. Smile too. Is she really happy for him? I shouldn’t have come here to talk to them. I should have stayed with the girls and pretended I didn’t him wave. I am angry but I won’t let it get the best of me. This is my day. Mine. So then why did I come here? Because I need to know who invited her here. Besides, why does he need me here talking to her. She’s not my friend. What can Samantha tell me that will make me happy tonight.
“Samantha.” I say
Pretend to be happy till you look happy I tell myself.
“Aww Gemima. You look beautiful. Congratulations are in order.” She says.
My hand is in hers and she squeezes it hard. I truly hate her. She turns to look at Kachiza, flashes him her brightest smile.
“You surely got the best man here. Probably in Lusaka. Maybe even in the world.” She says.
Kachiza smiles at her. Okay. This is officially weird. Something is not right here.
“I remember when I was with him. I missed out hey. This could have been me. Or we would have been married by now with kids of our own. Right Kachi.”
Kachi? Okay this is too much. When she was with him? Gosh they would be divorced by now.
“And this dress my love. Oh my. Its beautiful. I love it. It makes you look like hmmm.” Samantha starts. “What’s the word?”
“Like a bride. Or the owner of the engagement party?” I ask.
“That too.” She says happily. “Oh Kachiza I now understand why you are marrying this one. Small little thing too.”
She understands. Wow. Let’s open the champagne then. Like I care if she understands. Mocking me in his presence is unacceptable and he’s letting it happen.
“Thank you Samantha. You look awesome too. Australia agrees with you I see.”
“It really does hun. But I’m on leave and I figured I should come home for a bit and see the fam. Zambia is still so behind. But beautiful still. So exciting. And lucky me you guys decided to get married during my leave.”
Is she high on drugs? Lucky her? Who even told her we were getting married? Which of her bimbo friends told her. Kachiza and I did not update our Facebook statuses to engaged or in relationship. So how did she come to know everything? Was she keeping tabs on Kachiza after all these years?
“And when Kachiza invited me yesterday I was so elated.” She continues.
I look at him then her. My eyes are wide open now. Wow. This is new. He invited her yesterday? They actually talked to the point of engagement party invites. What the hell has he told her about us? What time did they even talk? Did he see her? I don’t even want to ask. But knowing Samantha, she will tell me anyway. Soon enough.
“We met yesterday at O’Hagans and he told me everything about the wedding. Aww you two look so beautiful together. You’re so lucky Ge-mi-ma.”
See. But wait ,O’Hagans? That little tramp of a female I call Juliet. So that’s who he was with last night when Juliet saw him. But then I look nothing like this bimbo ex. Juliet knew what she was talking about when she told me she met Kachiza last night. That little twat was testing me to see if I knew the truth! Some friendships. Cutting that female out of my life tonight. But either way, in as much as Juliet loves drama, why are men so complicated? Why keep this from me? Why invite her to our engagement party after all they had. She’s an ex for crying out loud. I didn’t invite my exes to my wedding but he invites his? Granted it is over but he knows I never liked Samantha. I want her out of here this instant, but I don’t want to cause a scene. Our eyes meet and while his are apologetic, mine are are burning in fury. He knew how I feel about her but he disregarded my feelings and let her in. I shake my head at him and sigh.
“I swear Gemmy I forgot Lusaka still has good chill spots hey. And Kachiza made sure I had fun.”
I smile at her. Ahh yes this is what she wanted from me. To tell me the truth. She wanted me angry. She wants to ruin my night. How stupid.
“Thank you for letting me come to your party.” She continues. “I was going to have a boring night if this hadn’t come up.”
“Uh huh.” I respond.
“So are you ready for the big day?”
“Yep. I am. Can’t wait.”
“Awww. I’ve been where you are. Oh almost. I forget we never really got engaged. Right Kachiza.” She says.
“Uhh yeah. Never got there. Probably was never gonna get there.” Kachiza says loudly.
I want to laugh but I don’t. That must have hurt. I look at Samantha and she’s still smiling at him. Wow. She’s strong this one.
“Don’t say that. Remember we did everything together. We were so in love Kachi.” She argues. “We almost got married.”
So she reminds me. Kachiza wanted to marry her once. Once. When he thought she was it. And then things went haywire. Now she wants to rub it in. Lile it’s my fault. Lady you were never even engaged to the man. Please shut it I think.
“Almost?” I ask.
Kachiza coughs and I look at him. I see him pleading with me to not push the topic further.
“Remember he almost proposed. Years ago. Kachiza I hope you didn’t use the same ring hey.” Samantha says. “Hope you sold it like I said you should. You know he kept it.” She tells me.
Ahhh I’ve had enough. This is it. This bimbo trash.
“Don’t worry Sammy. He got me something I wanted hey.” I say slowly.
I lift my left hand and show her the ring sitting on my finger. The blue rock shines bright and i smile. The perfect ring.
“See.” I say happily.
“That’s amazing. I wish you and Kachiza all the best and blessings in your marriage.”
Of course you do. I know you do. Bimbo hule trash.
“Thank you.” Kachiza responds.
His smile looks stretched on his face. I can’t stand here any more. I might hit her in the face. What a nightmare. Reminding me of the past. Trash.
“Anyway Samantha. Nice meeting you. I gotta go mingle with my guests. Enjoy yourself.” I say.
“That’s fine. Don’t worry I let him run away. I’ll watch Kachiza for you.” Samantha says happily.
She lets go of my hand and she stands next to Kachiza placing her hand in the crook of his arm. I hate her. I turn and walk away from her and Kachiza. I’ll let them hold hands for now. Samantha doesn’t know me and my need to slap her ugly face.
I’ll deal with him later.
I seriously need a drink.
Actually I deserve it.
“Exes and shit.” Salome says. “That b… Pardon my French needs to beaten.”
And I thought I had drama.
I watch Gemima walk away from Kachiza and Samantha and I wish I could do something about it. Samantha showing her face here was a low blow and I feel angry that a woman with a head full of pride would do this to herself. I considered following Gemima earlier when she went to see Samantha but I thought wise of it so I stayed back with Chibwe and Salome. If she needed us she would call.
I look to where I last saw Noah and in that second I am grateful I am already married and not dealing with exes even though I am dealing with a new threat but I know I will get to the bottom of the mess he put us in. I watch him laughing with Mukuka and my heart swells with pride, he is my husband and I know he will never subject me to exes and mistresses in my face. He respected me that much to make sure I never knew if he ever indulged in that and to be honest I liked it that way.
“I swear Samantha is childish. Going to an ex’s engagement party. For what?” Salome asks. “I’m sure closure is her reason.”
“I have no explanation. I wish I did though.” Chibwe responds.
“We should beat her up.” Salome says.
“Who will throw in the first punch?” Chibwe asks.
“Me. She’s an idiot. Who does that? No shame. The man is gone. For good. Wow.” Salome says. “Who even wants her here? Who invited her anyway. Trashy behaviour.”
“Come on we have friends in common hey. Obviously someone said something and boom she’s here.” I respond.
“Bullshit. So invited herself. I hate that girl. I hate her.” Salome says.
“Woman.” Chibwe says.
“Who?” Salome asks.
“Samantha is a woman love.” Chibwe responds
“Women don’t act like that. That’s a girl. I hate her. I am so angry.”
“Calm down Salome.” I say slowly.
Always the dramatic one I think.
“I need a drink.” Salome says.
If Salome is angry, I can imagine how Gemima is feeling right now.
I thought I had drama in my life.
But this tops it all.
I swear I hate drama. If I could only beat up that Samantha chick. Surely who does that? Exes and drama surely go hand in hand in darkness. Though I’m sure Gemima will teach her a lesson or two. Knowing Gemima she should be fuming right now but still capable of smiling as bright as the sun. I look at the guys who are still chatting and laughing. Why are they supporting their friend who is doing this to our friend. This is so wrong. Why can’t they advise him or something. Men. Always in each others corners even when it’s for a foolish reason. I stare at them and I catch Mukuka’s eye. He’s hot. I saw him come in a while ago and he headed straight for the men. He looked handsome in his dark suit. I know how much he hates suits but he made the effort. So hot. His eyes look at me and I instinctively bite my lip. Shit, this is so wrong on so many levels, we keep staring at each other without breaking eye contact. It’s a little game we play, battle of the sight or something like that. I know we will keep at it if I don’t break contact. Why are we like this? I see him smile at me and I can’t help but smile back at him. This is what be wants. To show me he can make me smile even if my boyfriend is near. He’s clearly enjoying this right now. What if Tawanda sees us staring at each other like love sick puppies. But Mukuka doesn’t break eye contact even when the men around him laugh, he actually laughs with them all the while staring at me with those dark brown eyes.
Oh my… Those eyes. I shouldn’t be doing this. Thinking about him and the way he touches me and kisses me. The way he looks at me when I’m with him. No. I will break the contact. So what if I lose. So if it means I need to give him head for a month. We are over anyway.
I lift my glass and toast in the air and look away. Here is to losing.
I’ve made my choice.
Oh my. Mukuka distracted me from the issue at hand. Samantha and her need for drama years later. See Mukuka takes over my mind. I’m sure if I turn right now I will find him looking in my direction. My heart beats faster at the thought. I miss him.
What time do we eat?
The whisky is getting to me now.
This should be interesting.
Engagements are full of drama. To be expected really. I take a sip of my wine and survey the crowd then turn to face Monde who looks to be deep in thought.
“Well at least it’s an ex we all know about. Can you imagine having a woman claiming she’s carrying his baby.” Salome says. “Need to pull her weave off her head. Such childishness at this age?”
Wow. The scenario Salome just played for us. Such things don’t happen. Though I totally agree with her. Going to your ex’s engagement party or wedding is a disgrace especially if the relationship ended badly. What the hell was Samantha trying to achieve? That Kachiza might still fall for her again and leave Gemima for her. Seriously it’s so confusing. I don’t know what to think giving their explosive history. Who the hell does not know the story of Kachiza and Samantha and how she cheated in him countless times and eventually got pregnant by we don’t know who and tried to put the blame on Kachiza. She was convinced he was the baby daddy. She actually almost convinced him. Or maybe she did. The woman had her ways alright. Psycho chick she was and probably still is and she now shows up to taunt Gemima. Trash behaviour really. I know Kachiza loves Gemima so much so I know for a fact Samantha is wasting her precious time and treading on dangerous waters. If it’s a fight she wants then a fight she will get tonight.
“She’s an idiot.” Salome says.
Well she’s super pissed I guess. And so am I. Gemima does not deserve such on her special day. So much for love saves the day. Love is definitely trash.
“Well Gemima will handle it. She knows how to.” Monde says
And she’s right. Gemima knows what she has to do. We will support her no matter what she does. Best friends support each other.
“True. So we can just hope for the best. So calm down ladies.” Monde says.
Salome groans and takes a huge gulp of her whisky.
“Fine.” She responds. “But if she tries anything that’s it. I’m beating her up.”
We keep silent then, each of us probably in our own thoughts about the issue. It will be okay. I’m sure of it. Samantha isn’t a threat. She’s a fly on the wall.
“Ladies… the buffet is ready if you would love to eat.” Says the bar man behind us.
“Finally.” Says Salome as she walks away towards the buffet tables.
Ever the eating one among the four of us I think as Monde and I follow her.
I cut into my steak and eat a piece, well done meat is always the best. I look at Monde across from me picking on her food, something must be wrong if she is barely touching her food. Chibwe is enjoying her food on the other hand and chatting with Muzinga. Gemima seems to be in a better mood, sitting with Kachiza at the end of the table, probably because Samantha is on the opposite side of the table talking to one of Kachiza’s cousins. Gemima and Kachiza look so smitten with each other as they laugh together, the issue of Samantha forgotten though I know it’s not.
“So you made a choice?”
I close my eyes willing my tongue to not utter an insult. I open my eyes and face Mukuka on my left.
“What do you think?” I whisper close to him
“I think you are making a big mistake. Bestie.” He says aloud
“Fuxk it. That was too loud. Keep your voice down.” I whisper.
“I want something from you.” He responds.
He lifts his fork and quickly picks the cut meat from my plate.
“Eat off your own plate.” I say.
“Ahhh we are best friends. You feed me.” He responds. “Like this morning. You fed me.” He whispers near my shoulder.
I get chills from his voice. Gosh he is doing this deliberately. Reminding me of what we did in the morning. And it’s working. Now my mind is on it.
“I want you. You want me.” He whispers.
“No I don’t.” I respond.
“You sure. This morning was fun right. Let’s get high again. You and I?”
Putting my foot down here and now. Enough is enough.
“No.” I say.
“No to what? My touch?”
For crying out loud I think.
“You’re making a mistake.” He says.
“Well it’s mine to make right? Not you. It’s all gone Kuka. All of it.”
“What’s all gone baby. Everything okay?” Tawanda asks to my right.
Shit. Mukuka raises his eyebrows and smiles at me and looks to his plate. Why the hell did he decide to sit next to me? Really? I hate this. I should never have brought Tawanda to this party. Now I’m stuck hoping Mukuka can keep his mouth shut about everything. I turn to my right to face Tawanda who is looking at me. He seems to have enjoyed his food because his plate is almost empty.
“You enjoying yourself?” I ask him
“Yep. I’m glad I came.” He responds
“So what’s gone?” He asks
“Kuka wanted a cigarette and I was telling him it’s all gone.” I respond.
I lie to easily. That’s worrying.
“You quit smoking.” Tawanda says.
“Exactly. Hear that Kuka I quit smoking.”
Mukuka looks at me and smirks. I turn to look at Tawanda and he’s smiling at me. Poor guy. What else am I supposed to say to him. Moment of silence. I smile at him. He’s a sweetheart. Such a nice man. Why am I so difficult? Why do I feel I’ll have nothing exciting if I stay with him. But do I need exciting everyday? I feel like turning to Mukuka and telling him to take me home right now. But I know I can’t. I’m with my boyfriend.
He will take me home.
He will put me to bed.
Kill J. Holiday.
Kachiza kisses my hand and I look at him. I’m still angry and he knows. He’s making the most of the situation. I can’t believe he did this to me. Invite Samantha and not tell me. I wasn’t prepared for her. It’s like he forgot what she did to him years ago. Men are foolish. I can tell from his eyes that he’s worried. He better be worried but he knows I won’t cause a scene here. Home? That’s a different story.
I take a sip of my wine and look around the long table at my guests. Conversation following, music in the background and it looks perfect. I’m still amazed Muzinga pulled this off. When each and every person is done with their meal, waiters serve desert – cake and sweet fruit – and a glass of wine for the ladies and whiskey for the men. The cake is amazing, missing ice cream I think. I need to get a tub of ice cream tomorrow. Kachiza takes a piece of cake off my plate and I sigh with pleasure.
“I can’t wait to marry you.” He whispers.
I smile happily. I see Samantha looking at us. In your face I think. This is what love looks like. Pure and true.I see Muzingaa stand up and so do my three ladies. Music volume is lowered and Muzinga lifts her glass and spoon and hits her glass softly to get everyone’s attention.
“Hello. Everybody.” She says aloud and everyone turns to face her.
“Hello.” She says. “Thank you for coming to Kachiza and Gemima’s engagement party. Gosh where do I even start from?”
She turns to look at me and she smiles.
“Gemmy. My tiny little baby sis.” She starts. “Horta emphasise on that.”
Everybody laughs at that.
“I’m so happy for you. Gosh you deserve it all. The very best life and love has to offer you.” She continues.
“Gemima you are crazy and smart.” Salome says. “You link us all. Our voice of reason. And Kachiza you are weird. And somehow my friend loves weird. So it’s like cool.”
Everybody laughs again.
“But you have a beautiful heart that has seen the worst. We have seen you suffer abd work hard to be the man you are today. But you still managed to make my best friend feel like a princess. Everyday.” Salome continues.
“You both faced heart break. With psychotic people.” Salome says. “Psychotic is putting it nicely. But you get it huh? Awesome.”
Salome is in it for the jabs I notice as I smile at her. I do not dare look at the recipient of the jabs. I’m sure Samantha is super angry. Thank you Samantha. Always fighting battles for everyone.
“Gemmy. Remember when you first met him and asked me if he was single? And you wondered if he would like you and he did. Well today like every other time I’ve said this, I’ll say it again, he made the best choice ever choosing you as his wife. His one and only.” Salome says.
“I remember when you told me you were dating Kachiza. Thee Kachiza. And you had this look on your face that just said it all. Love resides here.” Monde says. “You were ecstatic. And that’s what makes you two beautiful. The effort you put into making this work. No matter what was thrown your way you made it work.”
“And when you told us he proposed.” Monde continued. “You came right over to see us and we screamed for a good part of an hour. It was the best shock of your life. I have watched him make you happy. Make you smile brighter than ever. And you make him happy. You do. Better than anyone else has.”
Oh my, Monde is in this too. This will be fun.
“Gosh two of my friends are getting married to each other.” Chibwe starts. “Isn’t that what we wish for at the end of the day. We wish to have someone who knows us inside out, through and through. I have been fortunate enough to be beside the both of you before and after and now to be there to witness forever.”
“It’s a beautiful thing this love. It makes us. Breaks us. But it builds us. Kachiza you have in your life the most amazing, kindest, happiest little person I know.” Muzinga says. “She’s my sister but I happen to know she’s all those things because well she is always at her best.”
“And Gemmy.” Chibwe says. “You have your friend, your shelter, your strength in that man next to you. Girl this is what we pray for and you found it. He is the best man there is for you.”
I laugh. I feel tears in my eyes. These women will make me cry.
“So we wish you the best. We pray your love never ends. That it grows ever strong.” Monde says
“And we pray you always depend on each other through it all. Never go to bed angry ever no matter what or who is thrown your way. Or throws themselves on your path. Drive over them. Hit and run.” Salome says as she looks at Samantha. “Always be happy. Remember where you came from. All the pain and trash forgotten.”
I laugh again and so do Monde and Chibwe.
“I say here is to love prevailing. Love resides here. To the countdown. To your future. To happiness. To love. To Kachiza and Gemima.” Chibwe says as she raises her glass.
We all raise our glasses.
Everybody else stands up except Kachiza and I, and they make a toast to Kachiza and I, even the ex. This is my night. Hand over my chest I smile and blow them kisses as tears fall down my cheeks. I’m blessed. Yes I am. To have friends like these. Family like them. What did I do to deserve them? More tears fall down my cheeks. Tears of joy. I feel Kachiza’s hand on my back comforting me. I’m so overwhelmed by this. I did not expect this from my ladies. I’m so humbled. They are the best. I stand up and I slowly walk to Monde, Muzinga and Chibwe and they hug me. I can’t say a word but I hope my tears say all there is to say.
“So unfair guys. Wait for me.” Salome says and I laugh as we all have a group hug.
I am blessed.
I am so richly blessed.
My life is perfect.
This is what friendship is for.
“For good times, and bad times I’ll be on your side forever more. That’s what friends are for”
– Donnie Warwick
Please come over. I miss you. Just one night. Tonight. Sleep over. Hold me. Please think about it. I haven’t received a text from you all day. Is everything okay. Don’t ignore me Baby. Call me. Love you.
To be continued..