Sun. Feb 18th, 2024

#BLEAK

October 4th, 2019. 6:00PM 05

 

I look on as Mundiya runs off, I don’t have anything to say but I feel for him. Shaking off the thoughts I concentrate on the rice that I am picking out. Mrs. Mubita and Olipa will be back the next day and honestly I am still happy about their absence.

 

The door to the kitchen opens and Lackson walks in, he is wearing only a vest and a pair of shorts. I haven’t seen him since last night and I don’t know if he is madat me.

 

‘Good morning.’ I greet politely ‘Morning.’ He yawns

I smile.

 

He walks to the fridge and grabs a container of water before placing it to his mouth. I am tired of asking him to use a cup so I just spared one that is specifically for him. He puts it back in the fridge and grabs an apple from the kitchen table.

 

 

‘I hope these are sweet.’ He says biting into one

 

Lackson loves his fruits, that is the one thing he has in common with Mundiya.

 

I continue picking the rice and pretending as if he is not in the kitchen, the day is long ahead for me to start talking about what happened last night.

 

‘You got home pretty early.’ He says

 

I look at him, not sure he wants me to respond. ‘Mulife came to the gala afterwards.’ He adds ‘Okay.’ I say walking to the sink to wash the rice Silence

‘Thelma.’

 

‘Yes.’ I respond not looking at him, concentrating on the rice that I am afraid might spill into the sink

 

‘Why are you a maid?’

 

I want to laugh, but decide against it. It’s like this family can’t appreciate a hard working person until they know why they have their job.

 

‘Why shouldn’t I be one?’ I ask putting the basin with the rice down I watch him scratch his head for answers.

‘You are intelligent, smart and I don’t mean to sound like a pervert but you are beautiful.’

 

‘I am?’ I ask with a smile

 

He laughs

 

‘See what I mean.’ He accuses and I laugh some more

 

I sigh, I am not sure I want to talk to him about it but he has been good to me. ‘My story will bore you.’ I lie trying to let it go

He eyes me suspiciously

 

‘What exactly do you want to know?’ I ask quickly ‘Why are you here?’

I sigh.

 

‘I had it easy in life, you can say I was the princess of my father’s kingdom?’ ‘Literally?’

‘Please.’ I say rolling my eyes

 

‘So being the only child plus female, am sure you can figure out how well I was treated.’

 

He nods his head

 

‘But growing up I learnt some hard truths.’

 

I pause

 

‘You know how you can never know the kind of monster your father really is until you hear it from your mother?’

 

‘I have never thought about it in those lines.’ He says ‘Maybe because you have never had a reason to.’

 

 

He shrugs

 

‘So yes, I learnt the kind of man he is from my mother and I walked away.’ ‘Leaving the kingdom behind?’

‘There is more to happiness you know.’ I say putting some oil in the pot ‘I heard everything you said but I didn’t get a thing.’

I know I am speaking in riddles and it is important right now.

 

‘What you don’t know won’t harm you, I am happy where I am and that is why your parents don’t intimidate me. I am not a low life, life just lowered me.’

 

He smiles

 

‘I know, you have always struck me as the tough type.’ I smile as I put the rice in the pot to fry.

‘How far did you go with your education?’

 

‘Got my grade twelve certificate, did a computer course too and I was about to leave the country for school when I walked away.’

 

‘Just like that? Why didn’t you leave the country then?’

 

‘And leave my mother in the hands of that monster?’ I ask as I continue to stir the rice

 

‘But what are your plans now?’

 

‘Save enough so that I can make our lives better.’ I respond pouring hot water into the rice

 

He gets another apple and bites on it. ‘I want to meet your mother.’

I laugh

 

‘If you haven’t already.’ I say with a chuckle

 

I see the look on his face and engage him in something else before he continues asking more questions.

 

** LACKSON

I haven’t met any girl like Thelma, at least not here in Shangombo. She is the epitome of beauty and she knows it, good enough to be a maid and each and every day I am drawn to her.

 

But I see the way she looks at me, I will never be anything more than Lackson. I am her bosses’ son and it ends there, but there is a way that she talks with Mulife

that makes me feel that she might somewhat like him. But he is married and I don’t think she would be as stupid as to take that path.

 

I grab my lap top and log into Facebook, curiosity killed the cat but at this moment I am ready to die. I type in her names but nothing shows up, now I am left wondering why anyone wouldn’t be on Facebook.

 

I give up then start checking my work emails, but something catches my attention. The Western Province minister is scheduled to tour Shangombo district, he was supposed to come with his wife but he is coming alone.

 

I don’t know what it is but I feel like there is something about him that looks familiar, so I look him up and his family. They are photos of his wife and I gasp at the discovery, she is the total replica of Thelma or the other way round.

 

After much digging I find a photo of a little girl, ‘Antoinette Liato.’ There is no mistaking that face.

 

I quickly go to the kitchen and there she is. ‘Antoinette.’ I call out

She doesn’t look at me but stops what she is doing.

‘What you don’t know, won’t harm you.’ She hisses Winnie

 

 

 

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