Today was Sunday. I did not even bother to wake Katlego up because unlike me church was not really much of a priority. She hardly drank last night and this was something I was going to ask her about because i had seen she was really uncomfortable. I had also resolved that i will talk to her about Zamo as this could not go on much longer before it got physical;. This girl got on my nerves and if I had to change rooms to avoid seeing her I would. Today however was a day of God so my focus was on finding my faith. This weekend had been way too much fun now I needed to ground myself again. I am young so I like new age churches. Back home we have them but they are still very much Zulu, in a tent and with pastors who want to be called Baba which and I am almost certain not in the contest of Father but Daddy as the pastors are usually young and very flashy. They also have a superhot mam’fundisi who acts like she can chew water the way these women are usually so proud. I did not like such a set up. My church here was different, multiracial and we actually sang song I enjoyed.
I screamed as Pastor Johnson did his thing and church was more than just wonderful. It’s amazing how a good church can make you feel at peace and everything is well with the world. I loved every second of it. When it came to tithing I gave away ten rand because it’s all I had. I did not even feel good because with the little that I had that was what I could afford.
A voice said to me as I walked out of the auditorium. The accent was foreign and immediately as I turned I recognized the person. It was Abisola. Immediately I felt guilty and ashamed for having lied to her after how well she had received me at her party.
“How are you? Wow you managed to wake up after last night?”
I asked a very redundant question as obviously here she was standing in front of me.
“Yes I did. Lots of water does the trick. How was church today?”
She asked me. Have you ever noticed that church people love to validate each other on the quality of church service when they attend together? You all have to say how great it was even if it was not.
“It was good hey. I love the worship part but I won’t lie if I do not say that I wa a bit tired after last night!”
I told her.
“I like your resolve hey most people would just have slept in and avoided this part. Come I take you for lunch. I am not in a rush to get home and besides Sunday afternoons are often boring!”
She asked me weird enough my instinct was to say no because well after what I had confessed to Ada I did not think that it was appropriate hanging out with her but for some reason her easy going charm made it so difficult for me to say no.
“As long I am home by 3pm as I have lots of work to do. This weekend has already been too hectic for me even financially so I can’t be out for too long!”
I confessed to her.
“Don’t worry I understand the student lifestyle and I also need rest as tomorrow its back to work for me. I didn’t even go back home for my birthday this year because it’s been so busy so I too need the rest.”
She said casually and with that I was sold. I really had a bit to do so someone who respects my time is also worthy of mine. Johannesburg on a Sunday is not like Mooi River. Back home Sunday afternoons are dead but here the roads were actually quite full.
“Yesterday you know I found myself laughing because of you!”
She said which took me off guard because I am actually not that much of a funny person.
“What did i do?”
I asked her curiously, cautiously, and instinctively i put my hand on my mouth.
“No stop stressing too much, don’t worry you did nothing wrong!”
She said seeing my gesture and she burst out laughing.
“Ada does not drink!”
She said and for a moment it didn’t sink in.
“What do you mean?”
I asked her for I was not following. Last night he had practically drunk all my drinks do me so why was she lying.
“I am serious Ada does not drink or rather not anymore. The last time he drunk i think was 7 or 8 years ago.”
She said casually and she laughed meaning that she had actually found this so funny.
“Then why was he drinking my drinks. He practically drank most of them!”
I asked a bit bemused actually. It did not make sense at all.
“Well, he did it for you. When Ada likes someone he becomes overprotective and in this case, he realized you didn’t drink like the others so he did not want you to embarrass yourself!”
She said. Ok let me be honest, that is either creepy or incredibly sweet. Being told a man in overly protective in South Africa is not a compliment but a red flag. It’s a red flag because such love often turns into femicide. There is nothing more dangerous in South Africa than being born a woman.
“Wow, I can’t believe that he did that. That is so sweet!”
I told her which was not entirely a lie and is what she needed to hear. Well, it is not Nigeran men that are killing South African women, it’s South African men so maybe this was what it was meant to be a sweet gesture.
“It’s so weird seeing him make himself vulnerable like this to a South African woman because he tends to stay far away from you guys so we are literally all in shock.”
She said and at that, my heart sank as opposed to melting. I already lied to for alcohol, wanted his friend and not him and for now was holding on to his money. Is this not what the rest of Africa say about South African women let’s see, we love alcohol and to party, we are loose moralled and are liars and finally we are self-absorbed yet narrow-minded. I left out the one thing that even South African guys add, we love money literally more than our own lives.
“I need to stop drinking then, I can’t he forcing him to drink just to hang out with him.”
I said feeling sorry for him but I made it sound humorous. I was not intending on hanging out with him again and this was largely because I doubt he would still want to see me again.
“Nah he is not like that. He is the biggest gentleman out there literally and figuratively!”
She said and we both laughed. She took me to 45 Stanley in Maboneng. It was a very cosmopolitan African setting place with lots of Rastafarians. It was at lunch that i finally said,
“I am looking for a job. I am not this student that lies idle and does nothing all the time and besides i need to help my mother out she is struggling.”
I told her in one blow. Women are more willing to help when you tell them another woman is suffering, especially a mother. Needless to say she was touched and said,
“That’s easy, I have a lot of friends in the club circuit so I can get you a hostess job.”
She said. I almost said no before i remembered that at this stage, ijob ijob a beggar cannot be a chooser.
“Thank you so much i will really appreciate it!”
I told her. Please get the irony here, in the middle of South Africa I could not get a job from fellow South Africans. Everyone had shut me down yet a foreign person did not even hesitate, did not ask for 5 years’ experience or for my proof of residence. Sigh.
“Speak of the devil…”
She said showing me her phone. Ada was calling.
She said when she picked up.
“Guess who i bumped into at church and having lunch with!”
She said without even being prompted. This girl was like Zamo, waphapha sies why did she have to say i was here?
“Yes i am with her!”
The man must have guessed correctly because got it right clearly. Next thing she was saying,
“Here, he wants to talk to you!”
Ah come on Samke! How much bad timing can a girl have in one day? I could not even say no after eating that nice steak.
I said taking the phone from her.
“Hey, how are you?”
I said nervously as I was sure he was about to go berserk on me. Imagine the lack of shame in me that his sister had just bought me lunch after I had admitted to him that I had conned him. I must clearly seem ruthless.
“How am i? Well let’s see nwa lewa, i been trying to call you all morning but your phone is not going through. Did you block me?”
He asked. I have to say this, he did not sound angry rather more like he was pleading and confused.
“Shit. My mum is going to kill me. My phone has been off since church. I forgot to switch it on when i bumped into Abisola. I am so sorry!”
I told him as i rummaged my bag to look for it.
“I am going to come see you later today when she drops you off. We need to talk!”
He said and just like that dropped the phone. Now i was scared.
“He just dropped the phone!”
I told her.
“Yup, that’s him. Sometimes he behaves like he grew up in a cave. The man cannot say bye for shit!”
She said sounding annoyed but i could see she was used to it.
“I think he is angry at me and he says he wants to come to see me. Should I be scared?”
I asked her.
“No come on. He is not like that!”
She said snappishly.
“Can i also ask, Ada calls me nwa lewa every time we speak. What language is that and what does it mean?”
I asked again disregarding that she had snapped.
“Oh that’s sweet. Its Yoruba, a Nigerian language and it means Beautiful Woman!”
She explained that warmed me up inside.
“He also called me Olori.“
I told her and again she smiled before responding.
“I see the man is pulling out all the big guns. Olori is also Yoruba and it means My Queen!”
She explained. Imagine being charmed by a language you don’t even know. Sigh, o frailty thy name is a woman. Our lunch was nice though and with my phone on now, I saw I had missed 5 calls one of 3 from him, 2 from my mother. We even had dessert. As we stood up to walk to the car I told her,
“I need to call my mum. She hates it when my phone is off.”
I told her and she laughed saying that her mother was like that too. Even before I dialled my phone rang and it was her.
“Why did you not call me back? I was getting worried!”
She started immediately. I can’t blame her. I hardly ever go out meaning during weekends i text her a lot. This weekend because i had been out i had hardly done so! We were already outside walking towards the car.
“I am sorry Ma I…”
I did not even finish the statement. It happened so fast, one minute i had my phone in my hand and the next i was screaming as some phara grabbed it and ran.
“Hey hey …”
I screamed in despair as the thief ran away. Abisola screamed with me but in vein as the phara disappeared as fast as he appeared. My phone was gone. The tears came out immediately.
“I am so sorry!”
She said as she came out to hug me. In my head all i could think about was thy it was not even insured.
“Let’s get in the car, you will call your ma as we drive because she heard all that and she must be worried sick right now!”
She consoled me. I was in so much shock it felt unreal.