My father asking me that had to be the hardest moment in all this. He was my last hope and people never underestimate the power of hope. It’s the one thing that gets most people up in the morning because we tell ourselves that tomorrow will be better, tomorrow has to be better. That’s what we all live for.
“Come on dad it sounds like you are giving up on him already!”
I protested. He just looked at me as tough to say something but it was clear that his mind was not on the same thoughts as mine. I wanted my husband back. That’s all that mattered.
“Please say something!”
I begged him.
“I don’t know what to say. It does not make sense and everyone is denying having taken him. I don’t know where else to look but tomorrow we will do it again!”
He said and he walked past me and went to the bedroom where my mother was sleeping already. I was now left alone to my thoughts and it succeeded in breaking me. I was just as unhappy as I was confused as to what to do next. I did not sleep. I could not sleep even if I wanted to. I kept having nightmares as to what could have happened to him. In the morning I was the first one up. I walked outside and I saw the car that I had come with. Jack and Berry had slept in the car. Talk about security. They were knocked out. I made myself a cup of coffee and just sat and watched the news. My dad besides being the last one in was the first one up.
“So who is the girl that your brother is here with?”
He asked me. Timing was not perfect but oh well I also had to indulge him.
“That’s his fiancé dad. They got engaged recently. I work with her and she is doctor!”
“Your brother is not as dumb as he looks!”
He commented and I laughed. It was not funny but with the way I was so stressed it would do in the way of humour.
“When they wake up he will introduce you properly! It’s just how things went that has caused it be not proper like this!”
I explained to him.
“No its fine. I don’t want to fight with him anymore and besides kids today don’t want to follow tradition. I will just risk pushing him away again so I am fine with it!”
He said. My brother was technically holding my parents ransom. If they confronted him he would take years again before he came to see them and I think he really did not want that to happen again.
“But how long will you tiptoe around him? You two need to talk to fix all this mess! Please!”
I warned my father. They can’t act as though they don’t have protocol between each other. My father was still the head of this family hence why my brother had to do the right thing and discuss Zethu with him man to man. I did not want her to enter the family via the backdoor because it meant in future she would have problems.
“You know your brother won’t talk to me so what choice do I have? I have to wait for him. If I bring it up first he will take it like I confronted him. She seems nice though!”
He said. He went back to his bedroom leaving me to look at this messed up family. We seemed not to agree on anything and when we did there were always problems amongst us. My mother was next to come to the TV room. She asked me if I had plans with my father today. I told her I was going to stay in the house and wait by the phone to hear any news from my father on Sizwe.
“I had plans at church; do you want me to cancel them?”
She asked me. Really? Even now she wanted to go see her boyfriend. It was not a fight I wanted to have with her. Today I was non-confrontational. If I could go to church to pray I would. I wanted peace.
“Mum you don’t have to stay. You can go.”
I told her. She had a guilty look on her face but I could see I had given her the answer she was hoping for. What had changed so much that my mother was no longer putting her family first? It reminds me of that R Kelly song, When a Woman’s Fed up because it made sense that she was tired of my father’s shenanigans.
“I will only go after the funeral. We can’t miss that. Even your father is preparing for that!”
She told me. I had even forgotten that this thing was today. I had so much to deal with and that thought had slipped my mind. I had to bath and wake up Lintle. The guest bedrooms in my parents’ house had been an extension to the house and my mother had made sure they all had bathrooms. We are one of those people that can be accused of wasting electricity as they also had their own geyser.
“I must go bath!”
My mother said as she went to her room. Again I found myself alone but not for too long. As she was bathing Zethu and my brother finally emerged from their room. There were too many people in the house today.
They both said. They were already fully dressed for the funeral meaning that they had bathed already. I had been so far away I had not even heard them go up and down in their room.
There was nothing good about this morning. Absolutely nothing.
“I need to go bath!”
I told them wearily as I got up to go join Lintle. When I walked into the room she was coming out of the bathroom.
“Mum, I don’t mean to sound insensitive in a moment like this but I am supposed to start school on Monday!”
Lintle said to me as I was looking for what to wear. I was tired and I did not want to have this conversation with her now. Since they got back from Pietermaritzburg so much had happened and the one thing that needed to be discussed was forgotten. This was her school and her moving there. Nozipho had died the night when they got back and before that had been that fight between the father and I. We had never therefore discussed what had transpired there. I felt so irresponsible as a parent right now when I should have been trying to pay more attention to my daughter and her needs. When you have a problem child it’s more than a 24 hour job as you constantly have to be vigilant. You put in extra hours which is something I had failed to do.
“I know my dear but I think we should discuss this with your dad when he gets back!”
I told her.
“What if he does not come back?”
She asked almost afraid. It sounded like it was barely a whisper but I heard her and snapped back,
“Don’t say that! Don’t say that!”
I warned her. How could she just give up so easily?
“I am sorry mum, I did not mean for it to come out like that! I am scared for dad too, believe me I am. Everything is so messed up with our family right now I just feel like we need something new and fresh!”
She said. She was right. There were times I felt like running away too from my life and with good reason. As you get older, things can take away from you, its life. Your ability to make decisions that are entirely for you own benefit is taken away from you because above all else you have responsibilities. Getting old is a trap and the reason why so many people are unhappy in their middle ages is because they feel powerless to stop things happening in and around them. That was me right now. I was on that verge of giving up to my reality.
“Lintle I understand but where do we even start? You need uniforms and a lot of other things!”
I told her.
“Dad already ordered that day we were there. They said when I come in on Monday my uniforms will be ready. All I have to do is arrive. I have a list of things I have to buy and bring to school of course but nothing hectic. The list is at home!”
She explained. I could see she was trying to be cautious with how she discussed with me but more importantly though was the fact that she was actually looking forward to it. It’s very hard to motivate a childlike Lintle which is why it was important to use this positive thing to build up more on her.
“We will leave tomorrow morning?”
I responded. It was the right thing to do. Life had to go on somehow. As soon as I had her in PMB I would then be able to come back and focus on my husband. You got to appreciate irony though. I was sending my daughter away at a time when we possibly needed each other the most.
“Thanks mom! Now go bath please otherwise you will make us late!”
She warned me.
An hour later we were all driving into Nozipho’s family yard. It’s amazing that you never actually know how many people know a person until their wedding or they are dead. It was full. Most of the people were young and I found out it was people she had gone to school with plus friends and neighbours. I looked through the crowd with the vein hope that I will see my husband but he was not there. The uncles asked if there was any news about him as news had already travelled to them that he was missing and foul play was at play!
Needless to say we buried the beauty young lady named Nozipho on that morning. It was an overcast cold May morning. We had lost a beautiful child and the world just seemed darker. Life I tell you, we live it but we have no answers to the things that happen.
My phone rang as we got back from the cemetery.
“This is Detective Seepe!”
The man said.
“We have found your husband, or what’s left of him!”
Then my phone switched off!
Was he dead?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
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