Drama… Drama… Drama…
I gave in.
I shouldn’t forget I have plans in the evening.
I had to do it.
I needed to do it.
The crave must be answered.
I need to make sure I’m done with him before I meet the other man on my list.
I just had to see him.
Besides I missed the man. Sort of.
“So you’re not angry with me anymore?” He asks
Surely he knows the answer. He’s here with me for now. I smile, give a man the world and he will screw you over. This man needs to learn that I’m not gonna sit around while he has the best of both worlds including me.
“I missed you.” He whispers.
“Hmmmm.” I repsond. “I missed you too.”
He kisses my cheek, his hand caresses my back. Calm down big man, I think. I pull away from his hands and stand up from the sofa. The man called me, pleaded with me to let him see me. It was his pleading that let me agree. That, plus the fact that he mentioned he had a surprise for me. Curiosity got the better of me. So I left Sonia’s family home to find him waiting for me outside my house, with a smile on his face.
“What’s wrong?” He asks.
I face him and smile.
“Nothing.” I respond.
“Come back on the sofa and sit next to me.”
“We need drinks. We haven’t opened the wine yet.” I flirt.
I give him a wink and the smile that promises me of more.
“Ahhh fine.” He says happily.
I quickly head to the kitchen grabbing the chilled bottle of wine out of the fridge and wine glasses.
“On my way baby!!” I say loudly.
I find him sitting on the edge of the sofa with a square black box in his hand.
“What’s that you have there?”I ask as I place the wine and glasses on the table.
“A gift. For you.”
“Really? For me? It’s not a ring right?”
He laughs. “No. No rings. Yet.”
I smile as he opens the box. In the folds of velvet sit a pair of yellow diamond earrings.
“I figured a beautiful lady like you deserves the beautiful things.” He says.
“Like your wife huh?” I ask.
“I knew it.”
“You’re still angry about that night? I swear I didn’t touch her. I only have you. You know that.”
“Right. You need to prove it.”
“You want more? What do you want? Consider it done.”
“Anything. You are my world Yolanda. My Queen, bald but still a queen.”
Well well well, I think, the man is out to impress. He deserves something in return then. I sit on his laps and kiss him hungrily. I missed this.
“Now this is the Yolanda I missed.” He whispers.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
The way to a man’s heart is through multiple organs. And I intend on showing him what I do best.
Wine forgotten, we have better things to do.
“I’m so happy for you Sonia.” Sampa exhales.
I giggle in happiness. Nothing beats this feeling. I feel complete.
“I can’t wait to have another married friend to be honest. Yolanda is still having too much fun. Sampa here is waiting and Thandie is too bougie.” Mable says.
“Ala wamene iwe.” Thandie responds.
“I can’t help but wait…” Sampa sings.
Mable and I laugh. Sitting on the floor of my bedroom, the four us in a circle with a half empty bottle of wine in the middle. Sampa smiles at me and I smile back at her. The marriage introduction meeting is done, whatever has been decided I’m certain Ian will tell me about it later in the evening; I am to excited to call him; it’s a start to our future that makes me so happy. We are heading to our dream life together.
“Oh my gosh.” Sampa whispers.
“What?” Mable, Thandiwe and I ask in unison.
“Ladies…” Sampa starts. “Sonia is geting married. The planning. Wedding things. Kitchen party. Engagement party. Hen party.” Sampa starts. “So much to do.”
“Calm down Sampa.” I respond. “Let all the meetings end first.”
“Has Ian called you yet?” Sampa asks. “To tell you what was decided. How much are you worth?”
“Not yet. I’m certain he will tell me later. And I don’t think I am that expensive.” I laugh.
“Oh. You never know until the amount is revealed.” Mable responds.
“I don’t think it’s that bad. Ian will tell me. He’s probably with his family discussing all this too.” I respond.
“Uh huh… With his mother…” Thandiwe says.
That is the sad part about this. Ian’s mother. I wonder if she took to the meeting well -if she can accept my culture for the way it is or maybe it is too backward for her son. She didn’t look happy when our eyes met earlier. What if she tells him not to marry me? Will he listen to her? What if he is charged more than what they think is enough, will he let it all go and have his mother win? What if she never blesses our union? Will that mean our marriage will not work out? I just wish she was nicer then she would see her son is in good hands. Even if I’m darker and older than him. Love has no age, no boundaries, nothing. It’s a feeling. It’s forever.
“It’s gonna be alright.” Sampa says. “Ian loves you Sonia. That’s all that matters.”
I look at her, she knows what I’m thinking about. What would I do without her? Without all of them.
“Thank you.” I whisper. “You guys are the best.”
“Anything for you hun.” Thandiwe says happily.
“I think we need more wine.” Mable says
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Sampa asks. “You do know that you’re the one driving us home right.”
Mable rolls her eyes at Sampa. “You worry too much. I can handle my drink you know. Besides if I get too drunk then we can sleep over. Right Sonia.”
I open my mouth to respond but Thandiwe points a manicured finger in my direction, no word should come out of my mouth. I sigh, shake my head and drink my wine.
“I have a husband to take care of.” Thandiwe retorts. “So do you.”
“Fine!!” Mable says loudly. “I will not drink anymore. Happy?”
“Giving in so easily? Wow. That’s a shocker.” Sampa responds.
“It is Sonia’s day.” Mable responds. “I am gonna be nice and happy about this. So no more drinking for me.”
“Your phone is ringing hun.” Sampa says, pointing to Mable’s phone.
Mable lifts her phone from the floor, looks at it and places it back on the floor, screen facing the floor. She smiles at us. Something must be up, I know Mable too well; never one to let a phone ring forever and never one to let go of a bottle so long as it is not empty and she’s let the half empty bottle be.
Something is definitely up.
Mr Forty: I miss you already. I want to see you tonight. When you’re done with your playing. Call me. Wear the earrings I got you.
I pride myself in a lot of things.
Doing things at their appropriate time is one thing I am so good at.
It’s almost eighteen, Mr Forty is out there smiling like a baby who just had his favourite food handed to him on a very special day; and Masulani is outside my house waiting for me. Timing is everything. What’s the use of losing time and then having to miss the fun of hanging out with a single specimen of a man.
I smile at my reflection in the mirror and blow myself a kiss. If I am going to spend time with a single man in Lusaka then I might as well look the part. The forever young kind of look that gets the men’s tongues rolling. Yellow diamond earrings included. Maybe I will Masulani’s tongue rolling like I did Mr Forty earlier. I close my eyes and exhale.
“Calm down girl.” I tell myself. “Shit. I should have gone all the way.”
No use now. I grab my clutch off the bed and quickly head out of my house. I find a very amused Masulani leaning against his car, head bowed as he types something on his phone. A tall walking crime of sin that he is, he has me smiling already. Why does he have to be so simple and sexy at the same time, I wonder.
I let out a cough and he looks up. He smiles, he likes what he sees.
“Chitenge skinnies. I swear I have seen it all.” He says.
I walk up to him, smiling.
“Well, I love fashion. Might as well go all out in colour with my pretty bald head no?” I respond.
He laughs. “Touche.”
“You think I look bad?” I ask.”Be honest. Be a good boss and tell me the truth.”
“As your supervisor…” He starts. “Or friend… I think colour suits you and your bald head. Plus those earrings add to the outfit.”
“Actually you’re pulling it off.”
“Thank you.” I respond happily. “For your kind words Sir.”
“Ready?” He asks.
I am so ready for the night and whatever it brings.
Mable I miss you
Are you okay?
Talk to me.
You’re punishing me woman.
Okay I’m now certain you don’t want to talk to me
Lemme know when you want to talk.
Just know that I miss you
I replay the messages again word for word for the umpteenth time on my mind. He misses me. And I would be lying if I said I don’t miss him. If I could just type a message and tell him everything. Tell him my life. My struggles. If only.
I clasp the dangling gold earring to my ear, if only I was dressing up for him. I know he would appreciate the dark green silk wrap dress I have on. I’m certain he would appreciate what’s underneath the smooth fabric that caresses my body. I place my hands over hips and squeeze them softly like he would do it; if he was here I know his hands would be squeezing my hips through the dress, his lips on my neck, whispering things my husband should have been whispering instead. I shouldn’t think about him anymore. I should forget he exists. A part of my life that never existed. A dream of sorts. I touch my lips, close my eyes feeling my thumb smudge my red lipstick.
“Mable. Are you ready to go?”
I open my eyes and watch in the mirror as a smartly dressed Chinyama walks into the bathroom.
“You look beautiful.” He says.
“Thank you.” I respond.
I wish I could stay home and not deal with a husband who wants to make amends. He’s supposed to give me time to think. About him and his mistakes. To be alone. Just because he apologised doesn’t mean I have to let the Cynthia issue go to bed. The stupid man needs to be sat down. And yet he is touching my back as if everything is perfect. Taking me out to dinner as if we the perfect couple in the world.
Our eyes meet in the mirror. Does he suspect I was finding happiness in another like he did? I should have said no to his dinner request. I should have stayed at Sonia’s, lied that the ladies and I would be having a celebratory dinner for Sonia. Anything to avoid being with him. But no. Guilt got to me. The thought of my beautiful children not having me home for one more night made me change my mind. Or maybe it was for the sake of peace that I agreed to head back home for dinner with my husband. For the sake having my friends in my life and no longer use them as bait. I don’t need Chinyama thinking I am seeing another man.
“Let’s go.” He says
Not until I decide if my marriage is worth saving. Isaac or Chinyama.
I turn around and smile.
“Lets.” I respond.
“Hello Future Mrs Graham.”
I smile. Mrs Graham. That will be my name if all goes as planned. I have faith it will all work out.
“I am great. How are you?”
“I’m actually amazing. I’m with dad and he’s saying hi.” Ian responds. “He is so excited about everything. He can’t stop talking about what happened earlier.”
“What’s he saying?” I ask curiously
“How rich your culture is. Fascinating. The process of it all. I thought it would be hard to be honest.”
“I’ve heard the stories babe.” He starts. “The families that love to overcharge on bride price. Get over excited and charge the price of a new house.”
“And my family? How much did they charge you?”
“A reasonable amount to be honest.” He says relieved. “I’m actually happy about the price. We didn’t need to negotiate as much. It was simple”
“I am happy you’re happy.”
“Everyone is happy. Mum on the other hand made her mind clear.”
I roll my eyes. Obviously his mother would have something to say about the meeting. Why wouldn’t she? Surprising they managed to end the meeting peacefully.
“She thinks bride price is like some form of slavery.” He says
“Having a price on someone’s head as if you’re buying the person were her exact words.” He says. “She wondered if it was necessary to pay the amount. She thought it was too high.”
“And what did you think? Do you agree with her.” I ask
He keeps silent for a few seconds before he coughs.
“I personally loved it. Dad loved it. Your family was amazing. Easy to talk to to be honest. They made everything simple for us. They welcomed us.” He says. “The fact that they didn’t judge us based on my skin colour is something. It means one more thing I have to do to get you to be my wife. I love your culture. It’s beautiful.”
I smile. Relieved.
“I can’t wait to be a part of your family.” He continues.
I sniff. For the umpteenth time in my life I wish my parents were alive to see this. To live this moment and watch the man I love declare he loves my culture. I truly am blessed with this man.
“I can’t wait to marry you Sonia.” He says. “This is happening.”
“And your mother. Won’t she get angrier with the lobola meetings. The payments. That’s what is next right? ”
I hear him exhale.
“She will be fine babe.” He says
So she’s not fine yet. Is there something wrong with Ian marrying a black woman who loves him with all her heart? I wonder how she would have felt if my family had told Ian that he was too white for me. It’s as if my feelings don’t matter in this area. It’s not supposed to be this hard. What if she doesn’t bless our union? What if she curses our marriage? Is it even worth it?
“I don’t want you to stress yourself about anything. Your family and my family decided to have the payment talks done this coming week.”
“No buts Sonia. We are getting married. Everything will work out you’ll see.”
“You are so wrong.” He laughs.
“Why?” I exclaim. “At least it’s the truth.”
“You act so… So.. Different at the office.” He says.
“Excuse me, so do you.”
“Well I am a supervisor.”
“I am basically not allowed to show my true colours. We don’t want people wanting favours and all.”
“And yet you want me to show everyone my true colours. No. No. No.” I respond. “People looking at me weird all day. I’m okay.”
“I still don’t believe that story you told me.”
Masulani laughs, wiping his eyes free of the tears welling up in his eyes.
“I’m telling you it’s as bad as it sounds.” I continue.
I pick up his glass of whiskey and take a sip of it. Sitting on the balcony area of Cigars N Chill, a popular restaurant that Masulani thought would be kinda my style enjoying well Cigars and drinks. He was right, he chose the right spot for me to smoke my lungs out and be loud. And I loved it. Sitting with Masulani as the cool air touches our skin is an amazing way to enjoy the night. To top it off the huge platter of roasted meat just makes the place all the better. We sit watching the inside of the restaurant getting packed each hour that passes. And I know soon enough the music will change tempo so that the hules in shiny dresses can dance for something other than drinks.
“You’re lucky you have friends like that to be honest.” He says
“I know. I don’t know what I would do without them. They keep me in check.” I respond. “I swear.”
“What other crazy things do you do that your friends have to keep you away from?” He asks
“Wait, you want more stories?” I ask, feigning shock. “I have told you stuff about me that I should probably keep to myself considering you’re my boss.”
“Oh come on that’s not the worst thing you’ve done.” He says, picking up the glass of whiskey and drinking it.
“Uhmmmmm.” I respond. “True. I’m not telling.”
“Okay I won’t push you. I will wait.” He responds. “Good things come to those who wait right?”
“Oh? Wait? You think this will happen again?” I ask jokingly.
He looks towards the glass doors as if deep in thought, making me wait. For whatever answer he has in mind.
“Definitely.” He responds.
“Is that a promise?” I ask.
He looks at me and in his eyes I see much more than a promise.
Time must truly hate me because looking at my watch I just want to go home and sleep.
Time moves slow when you’re unhappy.
It moves even slower when it realises that misery is a part of the conversation.
And the worst part out of all this?
Time deliberately moved slower when Chinyama decided to spoil me to dinner at a restaurant I’ve gone to with Isaac. And now I’m stuck staring at the people around hoping I do not bump into Isaac tonight. Oh my the fear I experienced when I thought I saw him walk into the restaurant. Lusaka is too small when it comes to perfect dinner venues and cloud nine is one of the best.
Gosh if Chinyama wanted an amazing unique I would have cooked for him myself. Even in my anger I am willing to cook for him if it means I avoid all the places Isaac has taken me to. Though I am grateful Chinyama chose a table at the back of the dimly lit restaurant that way I can easily see who is leaving and coming.
Dinner was a horrid affair. I had my eyes scanning for a familiar face while I tried to concentrate on my husband. Chinyama seemed to be in happy spirits from the time we left home, all throughout the drive, through dinner and now desert. The man can’t seem to notice I am not at all with him in the present.
The only refreshing thing about being with him is the fact that I can drink to my fill and stare while I pretend to listen to him talk about work. Isaac has not texted me again since his last message – I know, I’ve been checking for my phone for anything from him and I’m hoping he does not text me while I’m with Chinyama. I do not think I am ready to face him while I decide what to do with Chinyama. I lift a spoonful of chocolate cake and ice cream to my lips, that’s the second best thing about this – the cake is to die for. I would know. It’s the same choice of cake that I tasted when Isaac brought me here last week.
Shit. This is not what I wanted to happen to me tonight of all nights.
“I miss you.”
I look at Chinyama lost. Maybe I am listening to some things after all. The irony.
“Mable.” He says
“I miss you.”
It takes all I have not to roll my eyes at him. I can’t believe he thinks it will so easy to get back in my good graces.
“I’m right here.” I respond. “Never left.”
“I don’t mean…..”
“I know what you mean Chinyama.” I cut him off.
I give him a weak smile and he nods. I look away from him, my eyes straying to the elevators watching them open to reveal more guests. Ladies dressed to kill literally with nothing underneath but killer bones and men in smart wear that it’s a sin to stare.
“Nothing is going on between Cynthia and I?” He says.
I eyes snap back to his face. I fix my eyes onto his beard. The greying strands stand out, I know by the time he’s fifty the grey is all that will be left. But he will always be the same attractive man I married. The same man that put me through the worst only for the word sorry to be a solution.
“I know when you found her at my office it looked bad.” He continues. “Especially considering what happened before.”
He keeps silent. If he’s waiting for a response from me then he’s wasting his time. Clearly I have had enough of him and that Cynthia woman.
“But nothing happened.” He says. “Nothing. She just came by to say hello. She just came back from Tanzania and…..”
What the hell? Our eyes meet and he stops. Tanzania? And he was in Zanzibar recently.
“No.” He says quickly. “It’s not like that Mable.”
“I didn’t say anything.” I respond slowly. “Nothing. To be honest you do what you want when you want. I don’t control you Chinyama.”
I lift my hand to silence him.
“I don’t want to talk about this now. In public. If you wanted to discuss this we should have stayed home and not go out with your guilty face.”
“You never want to listen to me. You have this anger and mistrust about me.” He says lowering his voice.
“Are you surprised why?”
“Mable, I messed up before. And maybe I did recently.”
“For crying out loud Mable, let’s be honest you’re partly to blame too.”
“You cheated.” I tell him, pointing at him. “You cheated. I was pregnant Chinyama. And you know what I’m over that.” I respond. “But you surely can’t expect me to trust you one hundred percent. We barely communicate. We are not the same people.”
“I cheated over four years ago.” He says. “And you? You are so held up in your shell all the time. With your girls. Or your bottle. Look at you now. What glass are you on?”
“I’m drinking because of you.” I respond. “I don’t know what you expect from me. You have a wife and a mother of your children. Let’s not pretend there is more here. Look at us. When was the last time you actually felt love making was something we could do any time? This dinner is your guilt.”
He opens his mouth to talk but closes it.
“You are so busy you barely have time for me. I don’t work. I keep the kids. I’m the wife. And that’s it.” I tell him. “I have the girls. And I drink. Because I’m so tired of waiting for you to grow up considering you’re much older than me.”
“I’m sorry.” He says
“You keep saying you’re sorry. Is anything gonna change?” I ask. “We’re going back home to our routines again.” I shrug.
“Mable I’ve made mistakes but I’m still here.”
“Of course you are?”
“What does that mean?”
“Where would you have gone? To Cynthia?” I whisper.
“That’s not what I meant. Shit you’re stubborn.”
I keep silent.
“I meant I’m here with you. You’re still here with me.” He says. “I want us to work. I’m tired of fighting with you. I miss laughing with you. I miss the woman who had the craziest things to do to get my attention. Granted I’ve been a little off…”
“A little?” I ask
“Fine. I’ve been a whole lot off but you and I can work on it. I miss us. You want randomness then I will give you that. No more routines. No calendars. No schedules. Just you and I.”
“And I have to…”
“I need you to let the Cynthia thing go.”
I shake my head and laugh.
“I’ll make more time for us. And the kids. No more working late.”
“You’re a horrible liar.” I respond.
“I’m trying here Mable. Meet me half way at least”
“What is half way? Me staying with you after the mess is more than half way.”
“No more drinking as much. No more fighting. Family nights every night. Date nights. Anything. We can get back to what we used to have.”
I look at him and my shoulders sag. When have I ever denied this man a chance to make us work? Never.
“And no more Cynthia. You need to let her go.”
“Chinyama.. The Cynthia thing is on you. I have been through enough with you. And I swear to God, if I find you with her again I will beat you both. And then leave you.”
He laughs. He reaches across the table and takes my hand.
“I mean it. I’ll hurt you both.”
“I love you Mable.” He says before he kisses my knuckles. “I love you so much.”
I smile at him. And in the moment it’s as if we are back to the old times when everything was perfect. My phone rings then and I look at it.
I miss you Mable
I believe I just saw you
Or I think I did.. Must be seeing things.
And for the first time things are clear.
I think I’m in love with you
This is bad and good at the same time. The excitement I feel right now is enough to make me dance all night but instead I’m with a man who I shouldn’t be with. I can’t help myself. The honest truth is I want this. I wanted this. And the opportunity has presented itself. Grab it by the biceps and take the chance.
Is this right? I ask myself. What if the rules are different today? What rules run the dating world today?
Or does the 90-day rule always stand no matter the situation.
Friend or boss. Maybe I should have called Mr Forty and had him service me all night like he loves to do. Just thinking about him makes me want the man in front of me more. What’s the use of thinking about Mr Forty if he is with his wife in bed, leaving a single me alone.
What’s a woman to do?
Go to the next in line.
This feels so wrong that it’s right. I should have left the car when he opened the door for me. In fact I should run away when he closed the door after I said I wasn’t ready to end the night. I should have said goodbye and goodnight when he asked if I was going to sit in the car all night. But no, I, Yolanda didn’t want to to leave without getting what I had been thinking about for hours; and somehow I convinced the man to join me in the back seat of his car.
He started this.
He was going to finish it.
So then this is a good thing.
It must be a good thing if an almost drunk me is sitting on a tipsy Masulani’s laps in the backseat of his car. I make out the shape of his face in the dark, laughing as I run my hands over his chin. Even in the dark the man feels attractive. I’m losing it. We’ve been like this for minutes now, our deep breaths the only sound in the car. Now or never. I shouldn’t be doing this.
“Are you sure about this?” He asks, his lips so close to mine I can smell his breath.
I smile, he even has to ask? I imagine what his lips will taste like. He keeps stalling. Why can’t he get it over and done with. If he’s disappointing I will walk away and try to salvage what work relationship we have.
“We should stop this.” He says
“Well because we had a little bit too much to drink. We are tired and I believe it’s past two in the morning.” He whispers
“Lucky us we have no curfew right?” I respond. “Or maybe you do and she is waiting for you right now. Pots, pans and chitenge on knees ready to serve you.”
He chuckles. I wish the car light was on right now.
“You won’t stop with the assumptions huh?” He asks.
I smile at him the darkness.
“Come. I’ll help you move and I’ll get out of the car, help you get to the door, but those heels of yours have got to go.” He laughs. “Okay?”
“Okay.” I respond.
“Great. So I’ll open the door and you need to help me out here.”
“Okay.” I respond.
“Are you ready?” He asks.
I was more than ready. I had been waiting for this moment for hours and it was finally here. Now or never .I touch his cheek, lean in and kiss him with all that I am answering his question in so few words about one simple action that will change everything betwee us.
In that kiss, I thought of the effort invested by him to ensure the night was a success. The drinks and conversation; the unsaid words and how in those moments it seemed so easy to open up to him. We were in our own little world and nothing was going to take my mind from his attractiveness; and it was because of that everything that happened after came easy. The tension made it easier for me, and here we are, with his hand on the back of my my neck pulling me in.
It’s better than I thought.
I smile against his lips as I feel his hands unbuttoning my shirt. There is no saying no now. This is it. He kisses my neck, his tongue trailing after his lips. I close my eyes. True bliss. Nothing beats this moment.
Tonight just might be my best yet.