So for my birthday and Ravings of Single Woman’s 1st Anniversary I decided to give you guys a present (it’s supposed to be the other way round but you guys have been there for me reading the stories so I thank you for making it amazing). To another year of better stories. Chapter 12 of Nkani is the gift. I hope you enjoy it…
A glass of wine cures the soul.
Back luck where?
The wine helped immensely. I’m in my happy place with my friends and my mother around me. When the ladies showed up I was so excited, all thoughts of bad luck and feelings disappeared. Everyone is here except Kachiza. “Running late” he had said when I had called him to ask him where he was. I decided we would do a few of the dance moves without Kachiza. I’m a perfectionist, all the time; and it sucks for those who have to deal with me, but from their dance routines, I can tell that they kept up with me and they made their moves so in sync that it I couldn’t see a flaw. Perfection.
My wedding will be perfect.
Even Mum inviting dad seems insignificant now.
And I can’t help but smile.
Weddings are a hustle. I swear going to civic centre and simply signing yourselves into a union is so much better I think, sometimes, when I see what bridesmaids go through just to make a bride happy. I’m happy Gemima is not a bride-zilla.
So Gemima thinks we are ready and perfect for the wedding. Our moves could have been perfect, could have. Noah made a few mistakes with the steps, Gemima didn’t notice but I did, he seemed to be on the edge, about to lose it, and I didn’t want to ask him what happened. One minute he was smiling and talking to me, and the next he disappeared to the bathroom and when he came back he was different. Whatever happened in the bathroom had made him angry. I wasn’t going to ruin Gemima’s moment with his drama. So I concentrated on the dance moves. One would think Gemima wants us to pull the one two break it down step moves that most weddings have but ours are basically simple dance routines. No booty shake break the floor. The last time I danced was at my wedding when I went low and shook my booty. That was then, this is now. I’m a mother now so I obviously can’t do what I did then. Noah seems to think I can. Then again Noah seems to think I can do anything. We are all sitting talking about the upcoming fashion week – the men are ignoring our discussion – when Kachiza arrives. He looks tired if not irritated and cranky. I wonder who pissed him off. But, when he sees Gemima the look of irritation is replaced with a look of love. He hugs her and kisses her in our presence; and while some look away from their public display of affection I quite enjoy it and keep looking at the happy couple. He whispers something in her ear and she smiles like a girl who has been given her heart’s desire.
Gemima is happy.
When she’s happy I am happy.
Nothing beats seeing your girlfriend happy and in love with the right man.
The right man.
Yes the right man before he changes in front of your eyes.
Gosh Noah. What am I to do with you?
I just want to go home now. I’m tired. Danced enough. Everybody is happy and enjoying themselves, drinks in hand but I just need to get home and sleep. I tell Gemima it’s time for me to leave and I make up an excuse about how I have to see Samuel before he goes to sleep and ask him how his day went with his father. Gemima who is tipsy – I’m guessing she is from her happiness levels that even a late Kachiza got away with the blunder – is understanding about it. I make a promise to meet her and the ladies for lunch tomorrow and I say my goodbyes to everyone. My ride mate, Salome mentions she will have Mukuka drop her off but I know what means. I wink in her direction and she laughs knowing what I mean. I say my goodbyes and leave.
I just want a glass of wine and my bed.
Just one glass will do.
I deserve it.
Okay maybe a bottle.
Mukuka’s hand is touching the back of my neck and it’s making me feel things I should not be feeling right now. Whatever he is trying to achieve he is doing a good job. He pretends he doesn’t know what his light touch is doing as he talks to his brother Noah about some business deal he wants to venture into. Monde sitting next to Noah is patting her tummy and oblivious to everyone in the room.
I wonder what it would be like to be pregnant. To carry a baby for nine whole months. Getting bigger, free stretch marks and the cravings. Would I look beautiful? Would he think I’m beautiful as I get bigger. Gosh my maternity wear would be epic. I would design beautiful clothes for myself. I would look chic as a pregnant woman. What would he or she look like? My eyes, my mouth and Mukuka’s dimples, his eyebrows, his sense of humor in our own mini us. I’m sure he or she would be loved. Does he want kids? Mukuka and I have never discussed children, not even in our unprotected sex moments have we ever discussed what would happen if I got pregnant. It’s like we just assumed well that will never happen to us. Get pregnant by mistake if it exists. Would he want to marry me? Or would he simply pay child support but not be with me again.
I’m twenty-eight going on twenty-nine, not sure if I’ll ever get married. But what if I don’t? Does that mean no kids too? I want to have kids before I’m thirty-five with my husband. But what if the husband doesn’t come? What do I do? Wait till I reach menopause and regret my decisions.
I think I just figured out my next step.
I think it’s time I had my own mini me.
I want to get pregnant.
I want to have Mukuka’s baby.
The shocked look on my face says it all.
Home sweet hell.
Shit. Oh shit. He’s still here. His car is parked in my yard. I look at time on the dashboard and it’s only 20:20. Why is Patrick still here? He should have left a long time ago. I switch on the car light and look in the rear view mirror making sure my makeup is still fixed right. I wipe sweat off my forehead with my palms and apply some lip gloss. I should look presentable. Who am I kidding I want to look amazing for the man who dumped me the first chance he got when things got rough.
I turn off the light and get out of the car and walk to my house as I pull my dress down. I open the door and I hear laughter coming from the living room. I know it’s mum and Patrick laughing together. Where is Samuel? I lock the door and stand by the door and take a deep breath before I take a step towards the living room. I see Patrick in his blue jeans, white Jersey, white shirt and dark converse sneakers his legs stretched out in front of him and a beer bottle in front of him on the table. Samuel is next to him covered up in a fleece and mum is sitting across from them; clearly they are enjoying whatever mum decided to watch. Mum and her reality shows on E. Imposing her horrible shows on everybody. I swear DSTV needs to stop some channels from showing.
Samuel sees me first, his eyes light up and he gets up from his seat, runs to me and hugs me. That’s a rare one I think as I wrap my arms around him. Patrick turns, sees me and he gives me his best smile. I would know, because it’s the same smile he used to give me a long time ago. I smile back at him and it’s not a forced be civil smile. It’s an actual smile that reaches my eyes and spreads all over my face.
“Hey. ” He says
Mum turns and sees me and she stands up from her seat.
“You’re home early.” She says.
I look at her and smile.
“The rehearsals didn’t last long. I had to come home. Tired.”
Samuel lets go of me and takes my hand and pulls me into the living room as he tells me the adventures of Samuel and Patrick, the father and son duo. Mum leaves the living room and heads to the kitchen and I sit on the sofa across from Patrick. No need to sit with the man. I just don’t want that. Samuel sits next to me and I try as much as possible to listen to him but my eyes keep straying to Patrick who is watching us with avid interest. He looks fascinated and he simply stares clearly enjoying the moment. He’s never seen Samuel and I together in one room and I’ve never been with Samuel and Patrick in the same room either. It’s the first time we are sitting like a family. A family. This is what I will be coming to if I choose Patrick.
“Samuel honey. Go to the kitchen and check if I have some wine in the fridge. Ask Grandma.” I say suddenly cutting his story short.
Like a good boy he stands up and runs out of the living room heading to the kitchen.
“You two are beautiful together. ” Patrick says.
I shrug and look at the television.
“You look tired. You okay? ”
” Yep. Just work madness. I see you two had fun today. Thank you for keeping time and picking him up. ”
“Anytime. I was actually hoping I can pick him up often from now onwards if it’s okay with you.”
“Sure. You’re his father. I don’t mind. So long as he’s home on time for homework. ”
Samuel walks in then with a bottle of chilled bottle of Robertson white wine. Mum obviously stocked up the wine today. Buying my favorite one. I wonder how many bottles she bought. I also wonder what she wants from me now. She only buys me my favorite wine if she wants something from me. Samuel sits next to me again and continues on with his story as if I never stopped him.
And this time I listen to him talk.
We have been getting home so late that we don’t get to tuck Suwilanji in. I feel bad about neglecting my child. As soon as the Gemima’s wedding is over I will make sure I spend enough time with Suwilanji; before her sibling shows up and takes all the lime light. Noah and I kiss Suwilanji good night and we head to our bedroom. All I want to do is sleep. For some reason I feel exhausted. After we left Gemima, we dropped off Chilumba and we drove home. Noah talked all the way home, it’s like his mood changed. He didn’t notice I knew he was earlier. I let him talk, while I simply sighed or made a few ‘hmmm‘ to indicate I was listening to him when I wasn’t. His good mood was back and in effect. It still is.
“Are you okay?” I ask him.
“I noticed you looked angry earlier. Did something happen?”
“A friend pissed me off. But I’m over it.”
“Which friend? What did he say?”
“Just ignore it. It was nothing. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”
Noah unzips my dress, plants a kiss on my the back of my neck and helps me take the dress off. I’m grateful for his help. I just need to sleep. Noah hands me pajamas and I wear them while he takes off his clothes and puts them on bed seat at the end of our bed. He strips down to his boxers and he walks to the bathroom humming to “All night long.”
I look at his clothes on the seat; Should I do it? Now? This is the chance I need. He’s obviously going to shower and I didn’t see him carry his phone. I pick his clothes up and start to search his pockets, removing every piece of paper and coins so that the clothes can be put in the laundry basket for washing. I find his phone in one of his chino pockets and my heart almost stops beating.
Should I or should I not. There is no going back. She pissed him off obviously. I want to see which friend called him.
I press the power button on his phone and it lights up. No missed calls. No unread messages. I swipe my thumb across the phone and it unlocks. No password? He had a password on it last time I checked. What happened? Did he end it with the Plumber? Or maybe he warned her about calling at night when he is home with me. I open his call log and see the last received call was from the office in the afternoon before he picked me up. He cleaned his records!! Is plumber his employee so he sees her everyday? Is that why he was looking so nice today? Extra nice is better. I scroll down the call log and I do not see any calls from ‘plumber.’
What the hell happened?
I open his messages and no plumber there either. Kachiza seemed to be the last person that sent him a message. Did he delete all traces of her from his phone? Now how will I find out who she is? Unless he changed her name to something else. But what? Jean Paul? I hear him humming in the shower and I quickly power down the phone and put it on his bedstand together with the contents of his pockets. I proceed to put his clothes in the washing basket and get into the warm bed.
Does he have another number I don’t know about? I need to get to the bottom of this soon.
But how? This is complicated.
I listen to him humming in the shower and it soothes me to sleep like a baby listening to a mother’s lullaby.
Something about tonight that makes me feel bolder than ever before.
Must be the alcohol.
Kachiza is the last guest still sitting in my Mom’s house. He is comfortable here, it’s like his second home. My feet are on his thighs as he massages them. He turns to look at me every few or so minutes for no reason and he gets back to rubbing my feet again. Mum is in the bedroom probably praying before she retires fir the night. She sleeps early probably from boredom. To keep me from getting bored Kachiza decided to stay longer after everyone else left. Muzinga and Mwape left minutes after Chibwe; then Monde and Noah followed suit and they offered to drop off Chilumba; and lastly, Mukuka decided to drop off Salome claiming he was going to have a busy day tomorrow – as if we didn’t know what he and Salome do behind closed doors literally where ever they found a closed door. And that left Kachiza and I alone to spend time together in silence.
After the day I’ve had, it feels good to simply sit and enjoy the moment. I know I need to talk to Kachiza about my feelings and fears but in my state of induced happiness I don’t think it will be the right time. But my mind and heart have games of their own and they do stuff they think is right. Like now.
“Are you still talking to Samantha? ” I ask
His hands stop and he turns to look at me.
I should have kept my mouth shut.
“No.” He responds.
So calm. Maybe too calm.
“You still on this?” He asks. “I apologised already.”
“I know and I’m sorry but I had to ask. It’s been on my mind and I don’t know maybe I needed you to say it to me for me to feel better.” I respond.
“Is something wrong? Did you hear something?”
“Okay something is eating you up inside. What do you want to know?”
I keep silent. Now I feel stupid for even asking him. What question should I ask him? I am blank now.
“Look. I understand you’re worried. Though there is nothing for you to worry about. Nothing.” He says slowly.
“No cold feet?” I ask
“Nope. In fact they are burning. Ready to run to the altar.” He laughs. “So don’t stress yourself. Samantha is an ex we shouldn’t even be thinking about anymore.”
I look at him and I know he’s telling me the truth. I shouldn’t worry about Samantha anymore. And I’ll try not to.
“Mum invited dad to the wedding.”
“Figured she would.” He responds
“He’s your father for one and his last….. Daughter is getting married.”
“Careful with those words. He might have another child with Mable. Daughter next time.”
He shakes his head and smiles at me and I smile back at him.
“You need to talk to him. He’s your dad. Air out all these feelings you have. I’m sure he will listen to you.”
“No. Not yet at least.”
“It might suck seeing him but believe me it will be good for you.”
“You think so?”
“He’s getting older. You never know. Make time for him. Forgive him. Pray for him.”
“I don’t know if I can Kachiza. I just hate him.”
“It will be okay Gemima.” He whispers.
I hope he’s right. I really hope so.
It’s just me and him. Samuel went to sleep about an hour ago – after he told me the story of an adventure packed afternoon with his father; ‘we‘ tucked him in and I’ve never seen a child so happy with that simple fact, that his parents tucked him in for the night. It broke my heart. I nearly felt bad for being a horrible mother when it wasn’t my fault that Patrick left me years ago to be happy without me. I wish mum had stayed in the livingroom instead of making herself scarce and retiring to her bedroom and leaving me with Patrick. I take another sip of wine and I close my eyes as I swallow the liquid. A good wine late at night. What more can I ask for. Inner peace and world peace while I’m at it maybe. I open my eyes and I find Patrick looking at me.
What is he looking at? I wonder. My messy hair? My sweaty skin? My bitten nails? My smudged lipstick? Because I kept kissing my wine glass. What is he looking at. Besides why is he still here? Its late. Almost twenty-two hours and he looks so comfortable and relaxed on my sofa. I should have kicked him out earlier before we had dinner. But mum wanted him to stay and so he did. But he stayed on after that too. Why? No one knows. Samuel his main concern is asleep so he can leave now. But he shows no intention of leaving.
I hear the words and I look at him waiting for something. What’s the sorry for?
“I am sorry.” He says
I take a sip of my wine and keep silent. Watching him.
“I am sorry I hurt you. I have never taken the time to actually think about what I put you through.” He says. “The pain. The humiliation. I literally abandoned you when I claimed I loved you. I literally accused you of terrible things and I broke you down all because I wasn’t ready to raise a child.”
He looks at me. Does he want me to say something? I won’t. And he knows I won’t.
“You could have gotten an abortion if you wanted. But you didn’t. Instead you kept the baby. You raised our son even if your family was disappointed in you. Even when I didn’t want you in my life and accused you of ruining my future. You still kept the baby. I’m sorry.”
Wow that’s it? Sorry? And then?
“You are an amazing woman. And you were right. Just because I’m back doesn’t mean things will change and you will fall at my feet. It doesn’t. It also doesn’t mean you will forgive just like that. Nope. I need to earn your trust back. You deserve better. Better than me I guess but I’m still here. I’m here to make this right. And I will.”
Right. How noble of you. I have no words for him. I used to imagine the day he would finally realise he had acted like a jerk years ago. In my imagination I would laugh at him and walk away and he would watch me walk away. Me having the last laugh. But now the moment is on me today, I can’t laugh and walk away because this is my house so where will I walk away to? That’s besides the point. The point is I was going to make him feel bad for what he put me through and right now all I feel is pity. Why? Because he missed so much. The first sonogram. Samuel’s first womb movement. The birth of our son. His first smile. His first steps. His first word. And I had all those chances handed to me. So all I feel is pity for Patrick because these are moments he will never have. But I do.
“When I was watching you and Samuel together I realised I missed alot. I lost alot too. I lost a family. I lost a family’s respect. I lost you. I lost the most important things a man should be proud to have. I lost my way.” He says.
“I used to wonder why my friends and my family would tell me to own up for my mistakes. For years they told me to be a man and apologise and I would say no with so much pride. Pride. Destroyer of all good things. Even men. They would tell me things about you, your accomplishments and I would simply shut them out. I didn’t want to hear them out. But then when I finally saw the special kid we had I realised they were right. I messed up. Big time. And it took me a long time to admit it and face it. And by the time I did we had aged.”
I hate him. Why is he telling me all this? Why now? Why didn’t he say this years ago? Why didn’t he realise all this when I needed him? What will telling me this do? It wont fix a thing. It won’t change my heart. It won’t fix the cracks. What does he want from me?
“Whenever I’d ask Samuel about you he would tell me stories of things you did and said. He would tell me you work hard but still make time to see his teachers and get him everything he wanted. He called you super mom. And he is just like you. He acts like you. He talks like you. He reminded me of you every time.”
He is definitely on a roll.
“I realised I couldn’t keep lying to myself. I had to come back home and face you. Make it up to you. Get back to you. To make a family with you because I don’t want to miss a second of this.” He says as he outstretches his arms.
“I want to build on this and make this bigger. I want more kids. I want a place I can call home. I want you to forgive me. For my shit. For my bad choices. And I’ll do right by you.”
He stands up and walks to me. He sits down beside me, facing me. Too near for my taste. I can’t do this now. I lift my glass to my lips and he takes it before it touches my lips and he places the glass on the table.
“I want you back. It’s more than seven years. I want you back in my life. With my son. Chibwe. I love you. I love you. I always have. And I don’t want to lose you this time around. I’ll wait for you to forgive me. You can’t hate me forever. Please forgive me.”
I look at him, our eyes meet and all the emotions hit me. And for the first time in a long time I finally feel a sense of release and peace inside of me. I finally understand what forgiveness really is. It’s that moment when anger, hurt and hate are pushed aside and love, peace and this weird brightness come in to replace the loss. Did he hurt me? Yes. Did he break my trust? Yes. Do I want to hold onto the pain? No.
It’s as simple as that.
“You need to leave.” I say aloud. “Get the hell out of my house. Now.”
And I need to cry my heart out.
A great day deserves a great night in bed. That’s what I keep telling myself as I walk out of the kitchen and head to the bedroom only to find Mukuka on his bed covered up already.
“What took you so long?” He asks when I close the door to his bedroom.
“I was hungry. I saw grapes and so I started munching on them. How come you have grapes in your fridge? You don’t like grapes.”
“A friend left them there.”
Which friend? A lady? When? When I was last here there were no grapes in his refrigerator. And that was two days ago. Is there another woman he is sleeping with? Or is he dating someome new and he didn’t tell me again? And I’ve been sleeping with him all this time. I will not get angry. I will stay calm. I will not flip. I won’t lose it. Stay calm. No need to create a problem out of nothing.
“Come to bed.” He says.
“Which friend left the grapes?” I ask.
I would like to know if the man sleeping with and decided – just hours ago- to have a kid with has a girlfriend. Contrary to popular belief I do care because I don’t like sharing my men. There are STIs out there for crying out loud. What the hell.
I stand by the door in his t-shirt. I’m not moving till he tells me.
“Are you dating someone Mukuka?”
He sits up and looks at me.
“Are you kidding me?” He asks. “Come to bed.”
I fold my arms across my chest and do not take a step towards the bed.
“Oh my gosh Salome. You can’t be do this now. It’s late. We can discuss this in the morning.”
I’m still standing my ground. I know I’m acting like a child who was told she has to share her candy with her friends though in this case my candy is Mukuka.
“Salome for crying out loud. Firstly, I don’t owe you explanations about what happens in my house. You of all people know that. Secondly, I’m not dating anyone, I’m not like you who has to juggle two men so well it’s becoming a career. Now come to bed and sleep.”
What the hell does that mean? Juggle two men until it becomes a career? I can’t even sleep with my boyfriend because of him.
“Chimuka came over with his new lady and the grapes. For drinks. Happy?”
What an ass.
“Get your chubby bum in this bed now.”
I switch off the light and walk to his bed. I get in beside him and turn to face away from him. He covers me with beddings and then I feel him close behind me. He doesn’t care that I’m angry. He never does. His hand touches my hip and he moves it till it rests on my tummy.
How did I not see this? He probably lied about Chimuka to shut me up. Though I haven’t seen any signs indicating he has another woman around. Maybe I’m being paranoid. This is why I keep Tawanda around because Mukuka is so unstable sometimes. Then why am I in Mukuka’s bed and not Tawanda’s then I ask myself. Because I love one and I can live without the other. I need to choose before life does it for me.
I feel his lips on my neck, kissing and licking, I know what he wants; why does he get what he wants. I feel sharp pain on the same spot he just kissed.
“What the hell Kuka. That hurts.” I yell.
Did he just bite me? On my neck. What the hell? He doesn’t say a word. Instead he bites another spot near the first one. This time I enjoy the pain. I should be angry with him for whatever he’s doing but I’m not. Instead I’m in the mood for you know what. What is it about anger and problems that just seems to make a passionate encounter even better. I turn to face him in the dark and we don’t do anything but simply keep silent with only our breaths as sound or music.
“No more grapes in this house. The damn fruit is causing me problems. I had a plan and the grapes are ruining a perfectly good night.”
I laugh then. Mukuka is an idiot.
“She laughs.” He says happily. “Yessssss.”
I feel his lips on my cheek. He’s wasting time I think and I kiss him.
Here is to a good night.
I swear to god I’ll do something crazy…
You know I’m crazy. Don’t do this.
I love you baby.
To be continued…