Tue. Feb 20th, 2024

#BLEAK

September 30th, 2019. 4:30PM 01

 

I hang the last of the laundry before wiping the sweat off my forehead, to say that I was tired was an understatement. Washing for the guys wasn’t as exhausting, but Olipa. My God Olipa almost gave me a heart attack. And to think that this wasn’t even her house.

 

There was nothing in her eyes that was perfect, it was either the house was too dirty or the clothes were not properly washed. If not that the food was either undercooked or overcooked, if I could I would throw her out but that was none of my business.

 

I knew my bosses would be home at 1PM, it was 12:30 but lucky for me the relish was done and nshima wouldn’t take me forever to prepare.

 

I walked to the kitchen only to find Olipa having her bread with the relish that was meant for lunch, I didn’t say a word. I guess again it wasn’t in my place.

 

‘You need to bath before getting started with lunch, you smell like a pig.’ She hissed

 

I looked at her debating on what to say

 

‘You heard me.’ She repeated as I drew water from the sink into the kettle

 

‘It’s almost lunch and Madam will be home soon, I can’t go and bath right now as that will take up most of my time.’ I said without looking at her

 

I heard her click her tongue

 

‘I have more powers in this house compared to you, so whatever I say goes.’ ‘How about you cook?’ I heard Lackson ask

For a moment I almost laughed, I had tasted Olipa’s food before. The last time she cooked the entire house had a runny stomach which lasted two days

 

‘I am going to tell your brother that you have no respect for me.’ ‘Go ahead and bath Thelma.’

I felt my insides crack and I was trying so hard not to laugh

 

‘You heard me, go and bath since she has told you so and she can finish cooking.’

 

I didn’t need to be told twice; apart from Mundiya, Lackson was the only other person that I got along with in the house. And so without hesitation I rushed to the bathroom where I did a happy dance.

 

When I was done I went straight to my room, I knew my bosses were in for lunch and I didn’t want to be present when they had their meal.

 

‘Thelma.’ I heard Mrs. Mubita shout

 

I knew that tone, I grabbed my chitenge and rushed to the dining area. Kneeling before her fuming self I dropped my head.

 

‘What is the meaning of this?’ she asked showing me the nshima ‘It’s nshima madam.’ I responded

‘What sort of nonsense is this? You want me and my husband to get sick huh?’

 

 

I took a closer look at the plate she was showing me and realized that it was not well done

 

‘But madam.’

 

‘Oh you shut up!’ Olipa said shocking me

 

‘Mummy I told her to pay attention when cooking but she told me that it was none of my business.’

 

‘Is that what happened?’ my boss asked looking back at me

 

‘That’s enough, Thelma give us whatever is there and throw this food away.’ Mr.

Mubita who had been quiet all along said

 

‘Bo Mubita mealie meal isn’t as cheap as it used to be.’ ‘What do you want the poor girl to do? Eat the nshima?’

I saw how her face softened, but at the back of my head I knew she would come back for me.

 

So rushing to the kitchen I quickly grabbed the bread and made them sandwiches.

 

When they had finally gone back for work, I made myself busy with the kitchen and got dinner started. I didn’t see Olipa the rest of the afternoon and it was only understandable because of the way she had behaved.

 

‘You look distressed.’ Mulife said

 

I almost jumped out of my skin at the sound of his voice, he had never said more than two words to me.

 

‘I didn’t mean to scare you.’ He apologized

 

‘I guess I am just a little jumpy today.’ I apologized as well

 

 

He laughed

 

‘Let me get back inside before the sand swallows you.’ He said with humor

 

I almost cursed when he walked away. I didn’t know what to make out of Mulife, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen, and he was intelligent and down to earth too. With good papers I knew he could have gotten a good paying job outside Lusaka but he stayed here with the council.

 

For someone of his caliber it was hard to accept that he was married to Olipa. ‘Hey.’

I turned around only to find him still standing there ‘I am sorry about earlier.’

‘Lunch.’ He added obviously seeing my blank stare ‘Thank you.’ I said not sure I wanted to say more

I sat there watching as he left and in a split second my thoughts went to my mother. She was the total opposite of Mrs. Mubita, my mother was the most calm person I knew. She took in whatever was thrown at her and maybe, just maybe that is why we were where we were. Thoughts of my childhood flashing back at me but I was too emotionally drained to start crying over spiltmilk.

 

I stood up and walked back to the house but stopped half way when I heard voices. ‘Why were you talking to the maid?’ Olipa asked

‘I don’t have time for your drama and her name is Thelma.’ ‘So you even know her name?’ she asked

 

‘I am tired, very tired and if you want us to have a peaceful night maybe you should let this go.’ He pleaded

 

‘I can’t and I won’t, that girl is coming between us and I hate it.’

 

‘Are you even listening to yourself? If you knew better you would have known that I am committed to you.’

 

‘Mulife Mubita don’t you dare walk away from me!’

I think he eventually walked away because I heard her hit her palms on the wall. Winnie

 

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