I know not to judge other people on their intellect. I know we are told that all men are created equal but that’s not
true is it. When you went to school, in your class there was always someone who came out number one and someone who came out last. It’s not something you can pretend never to have known was there. Yes God made you human, you walk breathe talk shit like everyone else but our brains function differently. I hate stupid people and my sister was one of those people who defied logic sometimes. My mother used to cuddle her and protect her whenever she made bad decisions but I was not my mother. She had known Mbuso for such a short time and already she was marrying the dude? What did she even know about him? I was not being harsh on her but she was beyond ridiculous.
“Lungi wait come on that’s not fair!”
My sister said running after me.
“You can’t just say such things and walk away? I am stupid for wanting to get married to a man who wants to marry me and I want to marry him?”
She asked me pulling me by the shoulder to turn me around to look at her.
“What is it that you want me to tell you? Do you want me to say that it’s a good decision this thing you are doing?”
I asked her very annoyed at her grabbing me like that.
“No! I want you to be my sister and support me in my decisions! You are supposed to be happy for me and not pass negative judgments or call me stupid!”
She told me and yes she had a point but sometimes allowing a fool to act foolish is testament to your character not theirs. I was not going to entertain her.
“You know what? I don’t want to state the obvious but if you insist, let me ask you this! Did Mbuso tell you what happened to his child’s mother?”
I asked her. It’s the first thing that came to mind in all the things I could have said.
“Why? What’s that got to do with anything? She died long ago so that’s not our focus!”
“So what if he murdered her and ate her will it still be something in the past not worth focusing on?”
I asked her. She wanted to say something then she stumbled when her mind caught up with what I had just said,
“Lungi how can you even say that no eeuw? Come on who thinks of such things though?”
She said completely horrified by what I had just said and ok maybe she had a point!
“I am just saying though! It’s something worth considering just so you know! If you think that was a fair question do you know his family? His background? Where he works? How you will raise his daughter? You are not even fully divorced yourself and already you are talking about marriage?”
I asked her a barrage of questions which left her defeated, hands which were on her waist at first now dropping loosely on her hands.
“It’s going to be an adventure ok! You want me to date a guy for five years as though he is trying to get a degree in me? That’s your way right? You have all these guys running around in circles because you can’t fucken decide what you want in spite of all those brains you always show off! I chose my heart to listen and I am stupid? What has your brainpower given you so far except for confusion?”
She asked me angrily. She even had a vein sticking out on the centre of her forehead!
“I am trying to protect you ok! I am trying to protect you that’s all!”
I said taking me a step back.
“Protect me? From what? You are selfish and self absorbed and as long as you are the one who is getting to be happy everything is fine but screw everyone else when they try to even match the grandeur of your shadow!”
She went on at me.
“I am leaving!”
I said and I walked to my car! I had not intended to fight with her but all the emotion in me had overwhelmed me so much she was the one I took out on. I felt bad but I was not wrong about what I said. I had just driven away when my phone rang.
“Lungi where are you? I am back home!”
The voice said and the relief in me.
“Miriam thank heavens! I was so worried. Your phone was off so I figured that Jerry must have switched it off!”
I told because indeed I had tried to call her.
“No I switched it off. He wanted to go with it after you left but I refused saying I needed it for my mother to call me. She just arrived here at my place but you know how annoying she can get. Please come to my place!”
She asked me and I did not even hesitate to agree! I had nothing to rush for at home with all that was happening and the distraction was more than welcome.
I told her.
“Please bring me some wine! I sent Bongani to buy me some and he brought me wine that taste like piss!”
She said and she laughed,
“How do you even know what piss tastes like Miriam?”
I asked and she laughed it off. Somehow because I knew what she was going I already knew that the laughter was meant to mask the pain she was going through. I know society would expect her to be mourning and rolling around on the floor as though she was on a B rated Nigerian movie but this was Miriam.
“I will be right over!”
I told her. Anything to get my mind off things right now I will take at this moment. I went and I bought two bottles of her favourite Dry Red and headed to her place.
“Lungi come on you should know better!”
He remonstrated with me.
“She has just lost someone, we have just lost someone and if we facilitate her with alcohol she will drown herself with it. It’s going to become her vice and she will drink everyday to forget. Please Lungi you should know better!”
He complained to me and instinct was to say that Miriam was a little drunkard anyway but he was right. I know how some people hide their grief in the bottle and especially now soon after.
“Is it the reason why you bought her the non alcoholic wine?”
I asked him trying to sound funny. He threw his hands in the air and said,
“I had to buy something I suppose!”
He said and we both laughed.
“I am sorry I should not have been tricked into it. She needs something positive she can sink her head into! Maybe I will encourage her to focus on the hair business!”
I told him.
“Oh she has not told you?”
“No told me what?”
I asked him.
“How are you guys even in business together?”
He asked me.
“What do you mean?”
I asked him again. Just get to the point dude and stop being patronizing I was thinking at that moment.
“The girl you were buying the business decided that she is keeping the business for herself on the last minute. She sent Miriam a message saying she won’t be selling so that option is out!”
Bongani said to me and it felt like a punch in the gut especially when I thought of how excited Miriam had been.
“Why didn’t she tell me though? She also had my numbers!”
I told him visibly disappointed.
“Ah you can’t trust these kids of today. Now let’s go sit with the others before we get suspected of being outside for too long. You know what my mother in law is like right?”
He gossiped with me and we laughed. She was that hectic Mam’Dolly and she could turn this story around in a second if it suited her. I was not going to allow that to happen indeed.
“Lungi why didn’t you tell me what happened?”
Mam’Dolly asked me.
“I could not tell you because Miriam wanted time alone. I wanted to but it was not my story to tell!”
I told her. She was referring to why I had not told her of the miscarriage.
“Mom leave her alone. She did the right thing because you would have been panicking back home for nothing. It’s not like we can change things now can we!”
She said almost too dismissively for my liking.
“Still we are family we don’t keep such secrets from each other!”
Mam’Dolly was often a bubbly person but at this moment she was a shell of herself. She was in pain over what had happened that’s for sure. I felt bad for her.
“Did you bring the wine?”
Miriam asked me.
“Ah Miriam you can’t be drinking right now!”
Her mother protested. I looked at Bongani and thankfully he saved me.
“Yes she did but I don’t think it’s a good idea. You can have one glass and that’s it. Please baby don’t fight me on this!”
He pleaded with her.
“Ah you being controlling now Bongani I can drink if I want to!”
She protested, went straight to him and took the bottle from him forcefully. That was a very awkward moment indeed because she was disrespecting her husband in front of her mother plus best friend and I think she realized this immediately after because she then said,
“One glass then ok, but it has to be the biggest glass!”
She said trying to save the situation. She went and took guess what, a beer mug! It was a bit too late for that now to be honest and Mam’Dolly intervened,
“Miriam that was rude! I did not raise you to be this disrespectful! Please apologize to your hubby here!”
Her mother said to her trying to calm her down but Miriam turned around with so much anger in her eyes even tone.
“What did you raise me to be then? I was sleeping with boys by the time I was 15! I was drinking even younger than that? Where were you?”
She confronted her mother. Shit this had just turned south.
“Ah Miriam are you blaming me because you could not sit still?”
The mother asked.
“Yes I am blaming you! Do you know what the reason they gave for my miscarriage was? They said that I had a weak placenta which could not carry me to full term probably because I had been drinking for such a long time!”
She said angrily.
“So you are blaming me! You need to take responsibility for your own actions! Who was the one who looked for you every time you disappeared from home? Who went to police cells, hospitals, taxi ranks looking for their child?”
She asked her angrily tears coming out of her eyes,
“It was me! It was me you ungrateful little bitch!”
I had never seen Mam’Dolly lose it like this.
I said trying to calm her down but she was not done!
“You slept with everything that had a dick on our street. I would beg you and you would tell me that it’s your body, it’s your right! I tried beating you up for it but I realized I would end up killing you my child for it now today you have the nerve to say I failed you? How dare you? Today you go around saying how Black Parents failed you as kids do you have any idea how hard it is to raise a prostitute for a child? That’s what I did and I loved you everyday regardless!”
She went on. Miriam poured a glass of wine and poured it down her throat. Had her mother just called her a prostitute? This was not going to end well. I went and stood closer to Mam’Dolly she had to calm down.
“Even now you are being advised of your actions and you still not listening. You killed your own child because of your lack of self control! You acted like you were the first woman to ever see a dick! Did you think it was a Bar One with Milk? When you were drinking all that alcohol did you think it was water? Grow up! Now you have killed your child and you still won’t take responsibility! You are a murderer that’s what….”
She was about to say but Miriam threw the glass she was holding at her mother. Bongani and I reacted but not fast enough as it hit the elderly lady straight on the forehead.
As Bongani and I both got to her at the same time.
I shouted at the unconscious lady but there was blood everywhere!
Miriam just stood there mouth in her hand.
***********The End *************
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Good morning. We don’t have a letter today so I figured I should ask some burning questions I had writing this chapter if you don’t mind.
1. When a parent has a child that sleeps around and drinks like Miriam was in her teenage years how should they handle it? It’s now illegal to beat up your child and frankly speaking nowadays money talks so loud that parents can’t stop their daughters sleeping around for it even if they tried. How should they go about it then trying to bring a wayward child back to the right path?
2. When someone miscarries, what is the best advice to give them so that their lives don’t descend into further chaos? As you can see with Miriam I feel no one knows what exactly to say to her. How do you console her and even start telling her that kuzolunga, everything will be fine eventually?
3. Miriam was in her last trimester so does her loss amount the same way if she had given birth, held her baby and the child died after? Is the grief the same?
4. How much blame do you give a mother of a wayward child in this case Mam’Dolly on how their kids turned out?
5. Why do women often not get along with their mothers?
Thank you for your time and please do send those letters.