Thu. Jun 6th, 2024

October 16th, 2019. 5:12PM 11

 

In this moment I don’t know what I want, whether to laugh or cry or roll on the ground. I just don’t know which emotion I can best express, I slowly get out of bed and put a robe on top of my night wear. I want to cry but they are no tears in my

eyes, it’s as if I am still in the dream except my mother is not smiling like she was.

 

I walk into the living room and find Mulife sitting on one of the couches, he looks distressed. Immediately our eyes lock I come face to face with everything I have been dreading. I swallow hard, my father is sitted on another couch and he has his head in his palms.

 

I am walking towards mum’s room but a lady I didn’t notice comes to stop me. ‘Let me go.’ I hiss and she gets out of my way

The room is white, the curtains have been drawn together. All of mum’s things have been nicely packed in bags and she is covered in a white bedsheet.

 

 

My legs are refusing to move but my soul wants to see her, so I drag myself to where she sleeps and slowly uncover the sheet.

 

The bitter tears fall, she looks like she is sleeping. For some unknown reason she looks like life has been breathed into her, she looks peaceful. All the pain she encountered in her last days is gone and now laying there is the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on – but she is no more.

 

I put the covers back and sit on the chair that is just beside her bed, the tears are falling but my voice is stuck on my throat. The bitter tears continue to fall until I can’t cry anymore.

 

When I get back in the living room I find my father speaking on the phone ordering commands.

 

‘Baby.’ He says when he sees me standing there but I don’t respond

 

I am trying to be okay with him, but how can I when he is the reason why my mother is gone? When he is the reason why HIV and Cervical Cancer took her away? When he is the reason why I have to live with the HIV virus for the rest of my life?

 

‘Can you just go and allow me to mourn her in peace?’ I ask with calmness that surprises me

 

‘Baby I am hurt too.’

 

I laugh

 

‘You are hurt too?’

 

‘Antoinette I will not allow you to be sarcastic with me.’ ‘What are you going to do to me? Give me HIV?’

He opens his mouth to say something but closes it.

 

 

‘I have asked people from the hospital to come and take her body, she will be cremated there.’

 

I look at him bewildered.

 

‘You won’t mourn your late wife?’ Mulife asks, sparing me the trouble of doing so

 

‘She is gone, what difference will three days of mourning make when I will be without her for the rest of my life?’ he asks

 

We all keep quiet, too shocked to respond.

 

***

 

PRESENT DAY

 

‘And that is how my mother was cremated.’ I say looking at a shocked Lerato

 

I get my bowl of cereal and add yogurt with some blueberries. Putting a spoonful to my mouth, I close my eyes and chew, allowing the tastes to fill every part of my soul.

 

‘You know it’s weird how you eat your cereal right?’ she asks

 

‘I know.’ I laugh taking in another spoonful before I walk to the sink to put the bowl back

 

‘Don’t you miss western province though?’ she asks

 

‘If you are trying to ask whether I miss my father, the answer is no. That man messed me up and it took a lot just to be where I am today.’

 

‘But was selling the house your mother left a good idea?’ I look at her, my best friend is the inquisitive type.

 

‘When mum died and I moved to Lusaka, that house was put on rent and is what put me through university. But after I was done I sold it because I didn’t want anything to ever take me to western province, I have built a life for myself and I am happy where I am.’

 

‘A lonely life you mean.’

 

‘Girl come on, who would want to be with me? I have HIV for crying out loud.’ ‘Mulife of course.’

‘He still has the Olipa drama in his life, I don’t want that kind of stress in my life. Besides you have never even met him or seen his photo.’

 

‘I don’t need to meet him or see his photo to know that you feel deeply for him than you accept; Antoinette it has been six years, give yourself a break and what makes you so sure that they are still together?’

 

‘Thelma thank you very much.’ I respond drinking some water She rolls her eyes

‘Out of everything that’s all you heard?’ she asks I laugh

‘Babe you are Southern Africa Manager for Mukuru, you have built an empire to last you a life time. At twenty seven you are still the most beautiful person I know, why don’t you give your heart a chance?’

 

‘Lerato we are not having this conversation again.’ I say trying to sound serious but she laughs

 

‘You really want to be mad right now?’

 

I click my tongue before smiling, I could never get mad at her even if I tried.

 

She finishes her glass of wine and decides to leave, she has a date with her boyfriend and his best friend later in the evening and they have begged me to be a plus one but I am not sure I want to go.

 

Time moves so fast when she leaves, the dinner date is at 8PM and it’s already 7. I am not even sure what I will put on.

 

After taking a bath I settle for jeans, a character shirt and nude heels. I let my hair loose before driving to Radisson blue.

 

The weather is warm when I get there and I am glad I didn’t bother to carry my jacket out of the vehicle. I have been here on countless times for business meetings and it is beginning to feel like home. I want to call Lerato and tell her I am here but I she spots me and signals me to walk to their table.

 

I smile as I walk there, but the smile disappears when I see the people she is with.

 

‘Thelma it is nice to see you after a long time.’ Jayden Lerato’s boyfriend says standing up

 

‘And this is my best friend Hugo.’ He stands up and stretches his hand. ‘Thelma.’ I say and he smiles at me ‘Nice to meet you Thelma.’ He says

Winnie

 

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