Tue. Feb 20th, 2024

#BLEAK

October 3rd, 2019. 7:42PM 04

 

Mulife drives us back to the house in silence, it is awkward. Something that I didn’t see happening just did, he looked at me as if he has been seeing me in a different light aside from being a house help.

 

We get to the house and only Mr. Mubita is home, I almost jump out of my skin because God knows he freaks me out.

 

‘Dad.’ Mulife says surprise written on his face

 

Mr. Mubita looks at the wall clock before turning his eyes to me.

 

‘Can you excuse us?’ he asks his son politely but I can’t miss the command in his voice

 

‘Dad.’ He pleads

 

‘I will see you in the morning.’ He responds putting his newspaper down ‘Take a seat.’ He says softly when Mulife has disappeared to his room

I sit there not saying a word, I am scared. I have never had a conversation with him.

 

‘Young lady what do you want?’ he asks

 

I look at him stunned, I don’t know what exactly he is asking and I am not sure I know how to respond to that.

 

‘Sir I don’t know if I get you.’

 

He sighs, but not out of irritation. A little like pity

 

‘Maybe let me rephrase that. What are your career goals?’

 

 

The question hits me hard and in a moment I feel insulted, maybe it is innocent that he is asking or maybe he is looking down on me because I am their house help.

 

Then I remember my father, yes I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about him but he sure taught me something; to stand my ground always and let people know that I am in charge of my life.

 

‘I have always wanted to be lawyer.’ ‘An honest lawyer.’ I add

He shakes his head as if telling me that my dreams were hopeless ‘How did those dreams change?’

‘They never did.’

 

He scoffs

 

‘And you intend on making that happen by being out late with another woman’s husband?’

 

Then it dawns on me, Mulife is married.

 

‘I swear it was innocent.’ I try to defend myself but the look he shoots me has me looking down

 

I am starring so hard at my shoes as his eyes are still burning.

 

‘Every father wants what is best for his children and trust me I am no different.’

 

His words hit home, my father said that a lot but he was unapologetic about how he hurt me.

 

‘What exactly are you telling me sir?’ I ask my courage back on

 

‘Mulife is grown up and he knows what he wants.’ ‘I am aware.’

‘No you are not.’ He snaps

 

We sit there starring at each other in the dim lit room, no one saying a word to the other

 

‘When you first came here to look for employment, we gave you that job on basis that you would work to the best of your behavior not this.’

 

I swallow hard.

 

‘I and my wife handpicked Olipa for Mulife, we know what is good for him.’

 

I chuckle and unfortunately he doesn’t miss it ‘What is funny?’

‘Handpicked.’ I respond still amused He looks at me with a blank stare

‘Sir you are saying handpicked like she is a toy or an object, like what either of them decide is of no use and importance to you.’

 

His gaze burns into my skin but I don’t show the fear he is instilling in me now.

 

‘You came here to look for employment I would advise you stick to that and not try to create a fire that you won’t be able to put off.’ He warns

 

‘Yes Sir.’ I respond

 

‘You can go to your room now.’ He says

 

I stand up to leave but stop just in time to face him.

 

 

‘You know, Mulife is a grown up. And I don’t know if he knows this but I feel there is an attachment to this whole Olipa thing.’

 

‘Excuse me?’

 

‘Don’t worry, I am not interested and I won’t try to find out.’ I lie

 

I wait a second to see his reaction; I was right because fear sweeps through his face, but as quickly as it appeared he hides it

 

There is something that the Mubita’s are hiding and I am determined to find out. ‘Here.’ I hear Mulife’s voice call in the darkness of the corridor

‘Yes?’ I respond as if his father has pumped some sense into me ‘I hope dad wasn’t hard on you.’

I want to laugh, but I would be selling myself off. ‘He is just looking out for his own.’ I say

I don’t wait for him to say another word before I walk to my room and quickly doze off.

 

Sunday is boring, there is nothing much to do around the house since Mrs. Mubita and Olipa who always find faults everywhere are not around.

 

I am minding my business when Mundiya walks into the kitchen and seats on the kitchen counter, he always gets away with it when it’s just us two.

 

‘Banana?’ I ask

 

‘Ba..na..na..’ he responds imitating the minions and I laugh

 

‘I should have been a minion.’ He says peeling it after I hand it to him

 

 

‘A lozi minion?’ I question and he is the one laughing this time around

 

I watch as he gracefully eats his banana, for a last born he sure gets less attention from his parents.

 

‘How does it feel like being a last born?’ I ask when he hands me the cover to throw in the trash can

 

‘More like you.’ He responds

 

I look at him with wondering eyes

 

He laughs lightly before turning to face me ‘I feel like you, an only child.’

‘You are lonely?’ I enquire ‘No, no no.’

‘I mean I have you.’ He adds quickly making me smile I can see that he is trying to hide something from me.

‘Talk to me.’ I say softly, I have this soft spot for him and he knows it.

 

‘Mulife is busy with work, Lackson is barely home and when he is he talks to you. Mum and Dad seem to care so much about their project so much.’

 

‘Project?’

 

‘I don’t know what they are working on but they talk so much about their project and in their conversations Olipa’s name comes up a lot.’

 

‘You think Olipa is their project?’

 

‘I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be surprised, dad wants so much to be the District Commissioner for Shangombo District and I hear Olipa’s dad is big in government. I mean what’s wrong with just having a decent job and family.’ He says getting off the counter

 

‘Maybe it will make him happy.’ ‘And we don’t?’ he questions

‘We didn’t have this conversation.’ He adds running off

 

Winnie

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