I wish I had slept.
I wish I had not tossed and turned in bed last night thinking.
I wish I had not given into my memories and stayed in them all night because now I’m a tired mother who has to make sure her son gets to school on time.
I wave Samuel goodbye and blow him kisses. He waves back and walks away. I groan and close my eyes leaning back into my seat. I am hangovered, tired and I have no idea how I managed to find the strength to drive and drop Samuel off. Maybe I should have let mama take him to school but then that would mean I would be giving Patrick way too much time to occupy my mind. Besides, I need to get to the office and get a few things done before I go see the ladies for lunch. I need to sit down with them so that we can have our nkani. So much to discuss.
The drive to the office is irritating to say the least. And the minute I get to the office I regret my decision. I know I’ll get nothing done. I should have gone back home but then I would have to deal with my mother asking questions about Patrick and what he said – mothers and their curiosity. I don’t want her to know what Patrick told me last night. I don’t want her to ask me the question I’m already asking myself right now. I heard everything he said last night, all of it and while one part of me didn’t want to believe him, another part of me actually did believe him. He meant his apology. If he hadn’t, his pride wouldn’t have let him come back to me and say all the things he did.
Thank God he left when I told him to leave. Even better he hasn’t called me today. He knows I need time to think everything through. Gosh I don’t know if I can call him today – for Samuel’s sake. I don’t know if he will pick up Samuel today or if I should call mom to pick him up. If I call him today then I’ll have to deal with everything I’m feeling. Last night was intense. It was overwhelming having to hear him say the words he said. I didn’t realise I had been waiting for him to say them to me till he did. What I thought would happen and what did happen are two different things. Instead of being smug as the winner I cried like a loser because I lost alot too. I lost my heart, I lost a part of me. I cried all my anger and hurt out of my system until there was nothing left. I probably cried the alcohol out too. Did I not carry the “all men are the same attitude” for a long time? Did I not compare all the men that professed their love for me to Patrick? Did I not punish some of the men that wanted to know me because I believed they would hurt me like Patrick did. He changed me and look at the ripples he created from his actions. All those feelings I carried just to be let go in a moment of truth.
So what now?
I know Patrick is waiting for my answer.
What do I tell him?
Remind me to throw the grapes out.
For crying out loud Mukuka. Go to hell.
Well I’m dealing with an angry woman. I can’t believe it’s all because of grapes.
Let it go. I have.
I’m forgiven? Thank you.
Is he mocking me?
And what the hell where you doing to me last night? Tryna eat me alive? Dude. Really?
I was marking you. Just have a hot bath. You’ll be fine. Look in the mirror for me and tell me if the marks are showing.
Dude. I’m not doing that at all. I’m sure there is nothing showing. Just know it hurt. I hope there are no marks on me.
I make a mental note to check myself before I leave the house. Gosh Mukuka is such a child sometimes.
It will be fine. Calm down. Hot bath. I should do more on that light skin of yours.
Very funny Mukuka is. I put my phone aside and look around my bedroom. This is what it means to be a friends with benefits: when the one who owns the house leaves the house then you the one in the wrong bed leaves the house too. It’s a simple rule of FWB, why stay in his home when he’s not there. It’s not your home so you gotta go, though in my case its different, I’m allowed to stay over if I want. Mukuka allows it but I don’t follow through with it- most times. When our escapades got serious, he wanted to give me a spare key to his house but I said no. I didn’t need the added benefits of going to his house at any time. Mukuka and I blurred the boundaries between friendship – benefits included – and lovers; to be honest in my mind if I stayed over then I figured I would be admitting to myself and him that I wanted something more, more of which Mukuka was not willing to give. Besides that would mean he would ask for his keys back whenever he dates the next woman on the street. Of course that was then but now, the story was changing. And until I figure out my next move I will not alert him to my feelings like I almost did last night with my petty move. Looking at how I reacted with the grapes situation I went overboard. Who the hell gets angry over grapes in the refrigerator. Purely petty. I regret doing it to him. I can do better. Anyway we made up. That’s all that matters and now I’m home, in my bedroom and I need to take a bath. Leaving early means taking a bath at home instead of Mukuka’s.
I take off my clothes, throwing them in the washing basket as I head to the bathroom naked humming to U2’s “It’s a beautiful day.”
I am so excited; I’ll be seeing my girls for lunch and talk about nothing and everything under the sun. Today will be fun. I decide on what to wear as I step under the shower rose; the hot water touches my skin and I moan in pleasure.
It definitely is and will be a beautiful day.
“See you mummy.”
Suwilanji wraps her little arms around my thighs. Small little thing with mighty strength I think with a smile on my face. Her long dark hair in a small ponytail on the top of her head, in her beige uniform and bagpack. I pat her back as I look at Noah sitting at the table having his breakfast.
“I love you sweetheart. I’ll pick you up today. How is that?” I say happily.
Suwilanji squeals in delight and I meet Noah’s eyes. He shakes his head and laughs. I haven’t picked up Suwilanji in a while because of work. Noah usually has free time from the office and he makes sure he picks Suwilanji up everyday. Of course mum can do it, but he says he enjoys spending time with Suwilanji after school. Enjoying their moments while she’s still young and after her parents, because when she is teenager she won’t be the same.
“Don’t forget mummy. You should be on time.” Suwilanji yells.
“I promise.” I say happily.
Suwilanji let’s go of me and runs out of the kitchen, probably to tell grandma the news.
“Honey…” Noah starts.
He stands up from the table looking smart – dark blue trousers, white shirt, sky blue tie and dark smart shoes – and handsome. Yummy is the word. Is it just me or does he look super hot today. Will he find time to see plumber today? Will she see him in his suit and have the same thought as me? He walks towards me and I cock my head taking in his image and keeping it to memory.
“I love you. I will see you later.” He says. “Are we having rehearsals tonight?”
“Hmm gotta ask Gemima. I’ll let you know.”
“Great. Have a beautiful day. I will call you later or you can call me.” He winks.
“What time? Don’t wanna disturb you.”
“Woman. You can disturb me any time you want. I love you.”
Noah holds my hands and squeezes them.
“Love you too. Work well. See you later.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.”
Noah kisses me on the cheek and pats my stomach.
“I love you.” He whispers. “Both of you.”
“We love you too.”
I watch him leave the kitchen, I lean against the sink and take a deep breath. Gosh this is hard. Pretending to my husband is getting harder by the hour and I know I have to deal with this soon. Very soon. Maybe mum will help me if I just told her the truth. Mums always have the best advice for their children. Maybe it’s time I opened up to her. It’s the shame that makes me keep silent. The shame of being judged that I failed to keep my husband in my bed. Even with everything I am I lost my husband to another woman. Maybe I will talk to her. Maybe.
But first, I gotta cleanup, then take a bath and get some shopping done before I meet the ladies for lunch. I also need their advice on my situation.
Gotta get on with it.
My day has just began.
Gosh, it’s so quiet here, I can hear the birds chirping outside. It’s almost eight and I’m still in bed. Mum left the house a while ago saying she had to meet with the wedding planner and I’m here with the maid though I’m in bedroom looking at absolutely nothing. It’s Thursday, just two days left and I’ll be out of this house and into my own. That should have me excited but somehow I’m not. I’m still thinking about Kachiza and Samantha. Is this what they call cold feet?
Is it normal to have cold feet two days before the wedding? I’ve been so busy with the wedding planning that I have not sat down to fully grasp the changes that will happen in my life soon. I love Kachiza and I’ve been with him long enough so marriage was the only step we had left. But there is a difference between dating and living together; between denying your boyfriend sex and having to open your legs everyday; between arguing on the phone and giving each other silent treatment and being in each other’s face ignoring each other.
If there is one thing I know about relationships is that there is no manual for a relationship or a marriage but the rule is you keep working at it like a bee soldier does for its Queen. I am scared I might end up like my mother, alone and in tears because my husband has someone better. Or worse – taking into account Samantha is worse. What if Kachiza decides he does not want me years from now? Getting ahead of myself I know but it scares me that I’m taking a step into the unknown all because of love.
I hear my phone ring and I reach out for it.
Good Morning sweethearts. Lunch today. Don’t forget. 12:30 on the dot. Yes Salome. Be on time.
Oho. Venue still the same? Good Morning. Hope you’re all fine.
Good morning. Why can’t we make it 12 hours. Is anyone that busy today? I’m so free and at the office and I wanna escape this.
Are you okay Chibwe.
I’ll tell you when we meet hey.
Okay, we are all kinda free. 12 hours is okay. Venue will be Meraki. On time. Please.
Good morning. Venue and time is okay with me. I’ll see you guys then. Ma busy in the morning.
Doing what? Shouldn’t you be resting early in the morning ba madam baby mama.
I’ll married iwe. I have to feed my husband early in the morning.
Good morning. Remind me not to drink again. I’m so hangovered. Why did I take that much.
You were happy. Totally understandable
You better enjoy these moments now because in two days you won’t be drinking like that without having your husband getting angry.
He’s a darling. Calm down.
Wanna do it again? Tonight?
No.. Iwe Salome I just said I’m hangovered and you’re on to more drinking. No.
*Pouts and imagines a bottle of whiskey*
You totally deserve the hangover.
I think I’m gonna stay in bed till I need to bath and leave for lunch. I am a bride for crying out loud. I deserve the rest and rest I will get. Mum will deal with everything for me. Muzinga will help her out if she needs help.
A few hours of sleep never hurt anyone.
“I need a gangsta go love me better, than all the others do…. To always forgive me, ride or die with me, that’s just what gangstas do……”
“You’ve got to press it on you.. You just, think it, that’s what you do.. That’s what you do, baby…Hold it down, DARE….. Jump with them all and move in… Jump back and forth… And feel like you were there yourself… Work it out.”
My phone rings as I pour cereal in my bowl. Startled, I pour some of the cereal onto the floor. Tawanda. Shit. I never called him back. I take a deep breath and quickly answer the phone.
“Hey Tawanda. Babe. Hi.” I say
“Hey. Salome you okay?”
“Uh huh. Tired but I’m good. Had a busy night. Work pressure. I’m so sorry I never called you back.”
He keeps silent and I roll my eyes. If he’s trying to guilt trip me it won’t work.
“You at the office or home?” He asks finally
“Home. You remember I told you I had two days off right.”
“Oh yeah. You’re right. Sorry about that.”
“What’s up? Why are you asking where I am babe?”
“Great. I am coming up.”
“I am coming up. I’m downstairs. Coming up to you.”
“Yeah. I’m coming up.”
He cuts the line and I stare at my phone in silence. Maybe he’s bluffing and trying to pull my leg. Tawanda is funny like that sometimes. But what if he’s not. Why isn’t he at the office? Is he okay? I hear a knock on my door and I quickly run to the door. I open the door and there Tawanda stands. He looks tired, not his usual happy self. I can tell he is from home. Did he sleep last night? I smile at him before he walks up to me and kisses me. It doesn’t last long, he ends it and hugs me. Something is definitely wrong.
“I missed you.” He says.
“I’m sorry babe.”
“You’ve been so busy.”
“I missed you too.” I respond. Guilty. “I’m sorry I never called. You okay?”
“Yeah.. I am now. I was worried.”
He lets go of me and I stand aside to let him in the apartment and I close the door. I lean against the door and he turns to face me.
“You hungry?” I ask. “Having breakfast now.”
“No. I had breakfast at home.”
“You look tired. You need to rest or see a doctor.”
“Nah.. I’ll be good.”
“‘Hmmm are you sure?”
“Yea.. Anyway I remembered you said something about being free on Thursday but knowing you I thought I should call first.”
“There are mornings you’re never home. I call you and you say you’re at Gemima’s or Chibwe’s.”
“Awwww I’m sorry babe.. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”
He smiles at me and I smile at him. I always know how to reassure him. I make a mental note to make a date for next week after the wedding. Maybe a home cooked meal and wine with a good movie should do the trick.
“You just woke up?” He asks
“No. Just bathed. Woke up a while ago. Been busy.”
“Won’t you be late for work? Should be almost eight right?”
He walks closer to me, stands in front of me looking down at me. His eyes say it all. He’s in the mood. And early in the morning. I’m not in the mood for this.
“Nah it’s cool.” He starts. “I called the boss and told him I’d be late. Had to see you.”
I smile and move away from him.
“Uhhh you can make yourself comfortable. Lemme get my phone and my breakfast.” I say as I walk towards the kitchen.
He doesn’t sit; instead he follows me to the kitchen, stands by the door and watches as I pour milk on my bran flakes in awkward silence. Why is he here? He’s never done this before. How long was he in the car park? Was he there when Mukuka brought me home earlier. I hear his footsteps behind me as I add sugar to my cereal; I feel his hand on the back of my neck. What does he want now? He brushes the lightest kiss on the back of my neck and the hair on the back of my neck stands up.
“You smell fresh.” He whispers
“Maybe I should take the day off.”
“Why?” I say a little too loud.
He kisses the back of my neck, his hand touching my waist. I do not like this one bit. I don’t want this. No.
“We can spend time together babe. You and I.” He says.
“I’m meeting the ladies for lunch.”
“Trying to discourage me?”
Yes. Why do I have to spend the day with him.
“Besides..” I say. “I’m on my periods. So nothing can happen till I’m done.”
“That’s sad. We can just chill. At home.”
His hand replaces his lips, caressing my neck. I freeze waiting for him to stop whatever he thinks he’s doing. Maybe when he sees I have no interest he will stop this and leave my house. Tawanda isn’t acting like himself. I can’t put a finger on it but he’s acting weird. His hand stops just below my ear and he touches a spot on my neck that makes me wince in pain. He presses on it and I bite my lip to stop myself from hissing. He rubs the spot slowly back and forth.
Oh my gosh.
“Is this what I think it is?” Tawanda asks.
He comes in closer, his breath on my neck and rubs his finger against the sore spot again. I freeze, my world stops in that instant. Breakfast forgotten, the beautiful day will not save me from this.
“Salome.” Tawanda says.
I can’t move. I’m too afraid to move. Tawanda’s hand is still on my neck, I can’t turn to look at him. I can’t talk. All I can think about is Mukuka.
“Salome…. Is this a hickey?” He asks
Look I have to talk to you. It’s something important. Can I see you today? Or tonight? When you’re free. Its important. I’m sorry about last night. I lost it. I was jealous and angry.
Just tell me now. What’s the news
I wanna have your baby. Okay I’m joking. I’m sorry. But I wanna talk.
You owe me this much at least. Please. I’ll leave you alone after if you want. I just want one night with you to talk.
Fine. You are seriously getting on my nerves. Tonight I’ll see you. Public place.
Where? What time?
O’Hagans. 20 hours. Bye
Thank you baby.
I love you baby.
To be continued…