In the past few weeks I have learned to adapt to every situation that my husband threw at me, and I say threw because there were no warnings, no signs nothing, instead of seeing everything that was happening as bad luck or a curse I saw it as a challenge and a test. When you get married and you say your vows there is the part that says “for better and for worst” and I have had my better times and I guess it was now time for the worst and as much as I didn’t like the worst I had enjoyed the better now I had to just swim in the worst, even though the worst seem like it was taking forever to end, I didn’t see any light of the end of the tunnel in fact all I saw was darkness, you know how some people say they have a dark cloud covering their lives, that’s me, dark clouds were following me everywhere. Okay back to Joseph’s room, Koketso on the floor, Joseph looked at the bag, then looked at Mthobisi and I could see he was about to make run for it, not that I blamed him, heck if I wasn’t married to this man and I was just a girlfriend I would have ran a long time ago, Mthobisi looked at him and said “do you want to go back to Malawi in a body bag?” Joseph shook his head. I had not even realized that Joseph was from Malawi, now that Mthobisi mentioned it; I could hear from his accent that he was definitely Malawian. Joseph stood there looking like his about to wet his pants, he was wet from sweating. I knelt down and tried to wake Koketso up, Mthobisi closed the bag and got water out of Joseph’s fridge and poured some water in Koketso’ s face, that got her up and she looked around and asked what’s going on, I told her she fainted, she opened her mouth and closed it again, then looked at Mthobisi and started screaming, I put my hand in her mouth and told her to calm down, I didn’t want people coming to this room the last thing we needed was an audience, I lifted her up on her feet and put her on the chair. Mthobisi said we should leave and whispered something to Joseph, put the bag on his back and walked out, I asked if is he not going to fix the bed that he’s messed up he just kept walking, Koketso looked at me with such shock, she said “Lesedi, your husband has just pulled up a bag full of guns inside a bed and you are worried about a messed up bed, we slept on that bed for months, what kind of people are you?” I wanted to tell her to get off her high-horse and just build a bridge and get over what she saw but I had to play nice. I told her that she must have imagined all that or must have hit her head when she fainted but there were no guns. I honestly didn’t know what lie to give Koketso or how to spin this, like I said before my husband always and I mean always puts me in these tight awkward situations, how the hell was I supposed to explain myself out of this one? All I knew was I had to put this fire out, the last thing we needed was this loud mouth woman spreading rumours about my husband, wait it was not just going to be about my husband she was convinced that I was also in on this. Koketso looked at me and told me she knows what she saw and I should cut this act. I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, she probably had a little too much to drink, she looked at Joseph and he shrugged his shoulders and said he saw nothing and knows nothing, I knew whatever my husband must have whispered to him, would shut him up for life. Mthobisi was hooting the car from outside; I told Koketso we should leave.
We went back to Tshepang and Koketso’s house, Koketso was sobbing uncontrollable, I made her coffee and Mthobisi raided their cupboards and found a sealed bottle of Jack Daniels, he opened and poured it in Koketso’s coffee and told her to drink up it will calm her down, poor Koketso drank. I told Mthobisi to pour me a glass as well he asked if I wanted it with ice I said raw, I drank the half glass without stopping, it was bitter and ugly I didn’t care I just wanted to forget the whole incident. We all sat there in silence for a couple of odd uncomfortable minutes, Mthobisi kept filling our glasses up, funny thing is only Koketso and I were drinking, he was drinking water. Mthobisi tried making conversation, he asked us if we knew how Jack Daniels died, we both looked at him with blank faces, he said Jack died from a broken toe, the greatest distiller of his time was killed by a broken toe injury, he said Jack had tried to open his safe but he had forgotten the code then tried to kick the safe open and while kicking the safe his toe broke, the toe had an infection and that spread to his leg and 6 years later he died, none of us cared of how Jack had died, we loved his drink that’s all that mattered. Eventually Tshepang arrived, Koketso ran to him and hugged him and started crying again, Tshepang asked if she was drunk, Mthobisi and I both screamed “Yes”. She looked at both of us with such disgust if she could she would have spat on our faces, but knowing what she knew she wouldn’t dare, she was shit scared of us, I really felt sorry for her. Tshepang asked if we had eaten, Mthobisi said he’s wife was too drunk to cook and we had stayed with her to keep her safe, we didn’t want her wondering around in the streets drunk and now that he had arrived we will be leaving, it was getting late. Tshepang looked at the table and saw that his bottle of Jack was opened, we both pointed at Koketso, we were really throwing this woman under the bus, Tshepang just shook his head and poured himself a glass. Tshepang saw the bandage in Mthobisi’s hand and asked what happened; my husband said he had a small accident, nothing major. Koketso said she would go and lie down she has a bit of a headache, not that I blamed her after what she saw I would have a migraine, don’t get me wrong I was shocked by what I had seen but this was not the time to react, there is a time for everything, right now I had to protect my husband.
We decided to leave, Mthobisi said I should drive, I was a bit tipsy but I figured his hand was probably painful. On the way Mthobisi put my Beyoncé cd on , he knew with Beyoncé he could never go wrong, in my tipsy state I was driving and singing along to Beyoncé like I had no problems in the world, Mthobisi got a phone call and told me to stop the car, he got out and I also got out and followed him, he went to the front and removed the number plates, went to the back of the car and did the same thing, I asked what was going on, he looked at me and smiled and went back inside the car, this man and not answering questions was really getting to my nerves. I got in and drove, I switched off the radio and started asking him about the bag that was filled with guns, I told him that he wants our son to come and stay with us when he had all these shady things going on behind my back, I told him we were not going to keep those guns in our house, I asked him what he was doing with so many guns, I was screaming at him, I had so many unanswered questions and Mthobisi was not giving me any answers which was pissing me off even more. As I was driving I saw blue lights further down, I knew what that meant, road block, oh shit, as we got closer I could see cars were being stopped and getting searched, I was praying that our car doesn’t get stopped, “please Lord , please don’ t let them stop us, please, please” I said my usual small prayer, no time to blab on and on, God understood. I looked at Mthobisi who was looked back at me and asked why did I take this route, this man is truly unbelievable, I ignored him I had no time for his bullshit, but I couldn’t let it go I told him he had been in the car the whole time why the hell didn’t he say I shouldn’t take this route, he said if I had not been screaming and shouting at him then he would have told me but I was busy yapping the whole time and would not let him get a single word in, so now this is my fault I asked him, “oh yes Mthobisi go ahead and blame me for all the shit that goes wrong it’s all my fault”. I was not now beyond mad, how dare he blame me, I was so angry I had forgotten about the roadblock in front of us, as luck would have it, a traffic cop pointed at our car and indicated that we should park on the side of the road, “ohh fuck, fuck, fuck” I shouted. Mthobisi said “Honey, don’t stop” are you kidding me, there are cops all around, what do you mean don’t stop. My husband said “we have a bag full of guns in the boot, do the maths Lee, if these cops find that, we will be in deep shit”. “We???, Fuck “We”, those are your fucken guns, I had nothing to do with that shit, you and you alone are involved with guns and shit, this is not my problem, I’m tired of covering up for your crap which I know nothing about because you never want to tell me anything”. Now the gloves were off, I was fed-up, you know that R. Kelly song “When a woman’s feed up” that was me, I have had enough of this crap, I had taken as much as I could, this was it, I was done. With that I stopped the car and parked on the side of the road, the cop was slowly walking to us. Mthobisi calmly said “Well done Lee, you have just signed our life away, you know what this means right? We are both going to jail for a very long time, it won’t matter who the guns belonged to, you driving the car, you are my wife, no judge will believe that you knew nothing about this, you can say goodbye to our son because it will be a very long time before we see him our again”. The traffic cop knocked in my window and signaled for me to open the window. On top of everything else, I had been drinking and smelled of booze.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto