Tue. Feb 20th, 2024

October 2nd, 2019. 9:30PM 03

 

I stand in front of the mirror not sure I am looking good enough, Mrs. Mubita has left and Lackson told me that I could wear anything that makes me comfortable. I figure it’s because he knows I don’t have much to my skin.

 

Blue jeans hold my curves in place, a white vest and denim jacket to finish off the look. I don’t have heels, never even been a fan so I throw in my trainers.

 

The knock at the door tells me that Lackson is done, I see the shock on his face when I open the door. He is dressed to kill, in a tuxedo and is probably wondering why I am dressed like this.

 

‘I wasn’t supposed to dress to kill right?’ I ask with a chuckle The look on his face tells me that maybe it was a bad idea

We walk out of the house with him walking ahead of me, I mind my own business and think of how good it feels like to be in jeans after a long time.

 

Mulife is in the driver’s seat when we get to the car, he is in a pair of chinos and a t shirt. My inner goddess is mesmerized by his sight but I try to hold it together.

 

‘Why don’t you two go together instead?’ Lackson asks as another car approaches us

 

I almost feel bad but Mulife shocks me.

 

‘Suite yourself, we can’t bath for nothing.’ He says to his young brother signaling me to get into the car.

 

I look at Lackson who doesn’t seem too pleased with his brother, but he surprisingly kisses my forehead and asks me to take care of myself.

 

I get into the vehicle and we are on our way, but I notice the route we are takingis different from the councilroute.

 

 

‘Where are we going?’ I ask ‘You will see.’ He responds

We seat there for a good five minutes without talking until we get to the Cuando River. He parks but keeps the lights on.

 

‘We were supposed to be at the gala.’ I accuse not looking at him He laughs

‘I know you didn’t want to go considering how you are dressed.’ He says removing some sandwiches from the back

 

‘Want some?’ he asks

 

‘Sure.’ I respond as my stomach betrays me, I had not eaten the entire day.

 

We sit in silence as we eat our food, I am not the shy type but Mulife confuses me and I know it is bad but how can I fight it.

 

‘Thelma.’ He calls out before wiping his mouth with a napkin I am still chewing so I hold my mouth with my hand.

‘Yes.’ I say food still in my mouth ‘Don’t choke.’ He says before laughing

Now I am embarrassed and so avoid eye contact.

 

‘You wanted to say something?’ I finally ask after swallowing ‘How old are you?’

‘Twenty one.’ I respond not sure where this is going

 

 

‘But why are you doing this kind of work?’ ‘What do you mean?’

‘You don’t strike me as that kind of girl.’ ‘What kind of girl do you think I am?’

I almost regret saying it as soon as the words come out, but he has heard.

 

‘You are intelligent for starters, and looking at the other house helps Shangombo is graced with; you look different.’

 

I don’t bother to ask what he means lest I regret it.

 

‘I have not always been like this.’ I say with a sigh pushing back my seat

 

I try to think of my life growing up, a smile sweeps across my face before my

father’s image comes on and I feel the anger build up. But I smile still. Pretense is a virtual I have well mastered.

 

‘Where is your home?’ he asks ‘I was born and bred in Mongu.’ ‘For real?’ he asks with shock ‘For real.’

‘I always thought you were from Kalabo or Kaoma.’

 

I laugh, I don’t blame him. I have never told anyone my story so everyone is allowed to think what they want.

 

‘Where are your parents?’

 

‘Dad is in Mongu whilst mum in Senanga.’ ‘And your siblings?’

‘I was born an only child.’ I say with a sigh He keeps quiet.

‘Why haven’t you left Shangombo?’ I ask him

 

‘You are trying to run away from my questions right?’ he asks before laughing I laugh too.

‘This has been home for all I can remember, I have never imagined being in any other place apart from here.’

 

‘Or you are just scared.’ I accuse

 

He faces me as if trying to read my face but am void of emotions but his gaze is making me feel shy.

 

‘I haven’t known any other place apart from this place, this is the place of my birth.’

 

‘But you went away for school.’ I say remembering that Mundiya had given me a brief history on his brothers

 

‘Being away made me appreciate home even better.’

 

There is silence between us before his phone rings, I peep through and it’s Olipa calling.

 

‘You don’t mind?’ he asks looking at me I shake my head.

 

He gets out of the car and talks for less than a minute before he comes back in. ‘You and Olipa.’ He accuses

‘What about me and her?’

 

‘You don’t seem to get along that much.’ I chuckle, like she gets along withanyone.

‘I guess we are like poles.’ I say causing him to laugh ‘You are funny.’

‘Thank you.’ I say bowing my head a little and that causes him to stare at me ‘I don’t want to marry her.’

I don’t know whether I am supposed to respond or just wait for him to pour out his heart

 

‘I thought you guys are married.’ ‘In her head.’

‘Your mother’s too.’

 

He sighs heavily before silence falls between us.

 

‘We were raised to believe that we were perfect for each other.’ ‘Arranged marriage?’ I ask bewildered

‘Yes.’

 

I laugh so hard and I don’t regret it.

 

‘It was a thrilling idea, I mean being with the perfect girl that your mother

approves of. I didn’t have to struggle with introducing her or worrying about their approval. It was a walk over and that thought made me feel like there was nothing out there that I needed.’

 

‘What went right?’ I ask, sarcasm evident in myvoice

 

‘Going to school and being exposed to a whole different environment gave mea different perspective on life and marriage as awhole.’

 

He pauses

 

‘I don’t want a girl that is approved by my parents.’

 

I look at him

 

‘Don’t get me wrong, yes I want a girl that my parents are going to love and all but not one that is trying so hard to be perfect in their eyes but never in mine.’

 

‘I don’t get you.’

 

‘Never mind.’ He says

 

I sit upright and face him, hold his hand then stare into his eyes. ‘You can always talk to me.’ I say not sure why

‘You won’t leave me?’ he asks

 

I don’t know what he is asking but I am too mesmerized to act sane so I agree. ‘I won’t leave you.’ I respond our eyes still locked

Winnie

 

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