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Mixed confusions

Then Abokwe began to talk.  Something in her mind was troubling her. Corroding the inner woman she was, an acid so reactive, an atomic bomb ready to explode. Her pink lips parted exposing her milk white teeth time and again as she constantly uttered word after another. Issues popped up in her head like popcorns in a pan as a valley of tears streamed down her soft velvet skin. A rare essence of African beauty…

She spoke of the lifestyle shehad adopted…

Of dresses she wore that now defined her reputation …

Of the make-ups she plastered on her face tarnishing her image…

Of the neighbors who labeled her with a variety of names which she claimed she didn’t deserve. Somehow I wanted to talk but the truth is I had nothing to say. There she was seated next to me talking yet all this time I had not even made sense of her single sentence.

Abokwe looked at me avidly. She continued talking after realizing I had adopted silence (an advice I got from the police after filing a peace order against her). She began narrating on how we’d met and why she thought I was special to her. Of the way she loved me more than anything else-: at least, maybe. I wasn’t moved. Nor did my eyebrows twitch at the sound of that. I was hurting inside but didn’t know how to show it. I stood up and went straight to the toilet leaving the door shutting itself up. I open the zip and the water comes out with reassuring force. I go out, head straight for Makhosi’s Fridge and take out a Pilsener I had left the previous day at half and start to sip it as a way of quenching my thirst for liquor, slowly but surely.

She began to tap her fingers impatiently on the coffee table as a sign of reminding me that she was waiting for me. I look straight in her eyes as I made for my place, she shies away. Using the back of her hand she wipes away the tears off her face, and darts her eyes far away to where Makhosi lay, covered in sheets and shame. Somehow I felt like I had to speak but after a series of heartbreaks my heart had become stone cold heartless. Nebulous, I remained.

I look straight at the hour hand slightly past two and the minute struck at nine. Suddenly Shylene burst in the room, draped in a see through night gown which exposed her full breasts held by a pink bra and her panties covering her womanhood. This night dress reminded me of the quarrel I had had with Abokwe months ago…

‘What’s the point of wearing clothes when you going to sleep? I mean, you not going for any modeling contest or a party’ I had said.

‘But we sleeping, and every woman wears them…I mean have you not seen how it fits Noluntu of Generations?

‘The question is: are you Noluntu? What has got into women of these days? You see an actress and already you want to live like them, wear like them and the next time you’ll be behaving like them? Don’t you know that Maryline Monroe was found cold in a night dress…? I had barked but I remember I had lost the war after she gave me a slap which she later said was to knock sense into my thick head.

Shylene stood there frozen as if she had just seen a corpse waking up from the dead. She noted the emotions written on Abokwe’s face and Mengezi who had now stood up to wear his boxer. Like a toddler caught stealing sugar, she just unraveled the reasons of her unknown and unplanned visit. She said it without shame, not afraid that her husband who lay in the main house may find out about her absence from bed.  When she finished I was now convinced why other men in the bar always said Makhosi was fed with love potions. What kind of man knew that his wife was a lesbian who woke up at night to get satisfied by a lodger in their cottage?

I stood up, looked at every face in the room. I could tell they all wanted me to bark, cry shout and even slap any of the three. I just kept quiet and as I headed for the door, Mengezi pulled his dropping trouser and ran to me while he held it with the other hand. Looking in my face, he pulled the zip begging me not to go.

Saying that he had made a mistake which the family was not supposed to know…

Saying that if they knew he would have become an outcast in the family…

I looked at him and I could tell from my eyes he saw the pain I was entrenched in.  It was as if he could realize that three weeks ago the government had managed to terminate my contract without pension or notice after faithfully serving them for fifteen years though my wife had not known. For the past three weeks I had been a cloth vendor but two days ago the only bails I had got from the Mozambique’s port had been seized by the council police which I later found out they gave the clothes to the first lady to donate them to her husband’s party as if it was the one that had donated the clothes.

I just greet the darkness outside hanging like a cloudy mist, as I head for the BMW 325i the only valuable thing I had managed to bank for and buy with the peanuts I got from the government.  I began cursing, beating the steering wheel as I did so. I cursed the man I’d become, so weak and stupid to ask Mengezi to look after my wife yet not knowing that he did more than that. I cursed, for believing in a government that had failed the country for more than just thirty five years and yet I kept voting for it. A government that had drafted everything that failed, from the land reform program, the bearer cheques up to the ZIMASSET, an asset that was not,even an asset.

I turned on the ignition and the car went on and I started moving towards the black sliding gate, slid it open and out I went. I headed straight to the West park cemetery.  It’s been three years since I lost my best friend and since cementing his grave I had never paid her a visit maybe that is why I was facing all these problems. I sit on her grave and start drinking the last bottle of pilsener I had got from Mengezi’s fridge.  I start laughing, not because there was something amusing or funny because I now missed the moments we used to laugh together with Latoe. As I did so, an owl comes and rests on the branch aloof my head and looks at me with its big green lugubrious eyes.  Then fear runs through my body down my spine. I fear the dead. I fear the owl. I fear my wife. I fear even my own mind. I glareat it for a while and it flips its wings in an act of intimidation. Big green eyes pop out of its head and I vomit Spaghetti with mince all over my jacket and lie in the slippery liquid with my mind buzzing in circles as I feel the comfort of my nearest and dearest friend.

The vibrations of the phone on my lap as Stan by Eminem keep ringing out loud, awakening me to my attentiveness. I rub my sleep filled eyes as I pick it up and I am told Im needed at my house urgent by the Police. I am sitting behind the steering wheel of my car, staring through the windshield at the lines of cars in front of me, on either side of me, resting there like turtles waiting snout to tail for some distant leader to move. Now the turtles are creeping forward, stretching, keeping their lines but racing now, passing me or dropping behind, and suddenly I am in the clear, asphalt before and behind, wire fences blurring, nor car for acres of blacktop, and I know I am free… For a moment…

Then Makhosi calls, telling me of how he had ran to my cottage after hearing breaking glasses and screams as his wife began beating Abokwe for cheating her with Mengezi. He narrates to me, how Mengezi was stabbed as he tried breaking the duo free and how Abokwe had crushed Shylene on the LG LCD TV before she drank rat poison. He further explained the sight he saw when his wife screamed, Mengezi lying in a pool of blood still bleeding profusely, Shylene holding her forehead with a ice rapped in dishtowel as Abokwe’s body gyrated like a rat on a trap (a punishment for her sins I thought) as the last of what used to her came to an end. The only thing as Makhosi and Shylene said was that I was to blame for not having said a thing.

I hang up. As I re-fix my mind on the road, the curbs are now lined with cars that never moved never left spaces. And those cars already moving creep in endless columns, inhabited by people who have nowhere else to live or couldn’t find a parking place close enough to make it worthwhile going home. These cars are in perpetual motion, searching, circling, ready to lunge into spaces that never appeared as in my mind I have made a decision of parking getting on a Malayitsha’s quantum to SA to face the xenophobic attacks and the Kalanga insults than this…

 

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