I don’t know if anyone has ever heard the sound a gun makes at close range. It’s a fearsome frightful sound that can literally make your heart stop. I am not being dramatic on this point because even if you were anticipating it, the sound is often sudden and nothing an untrained ear can’t prepare for. All the dogs in the neighborhood bark immediately after and the birds scatter. It’s because they have better hearing than us I suppose but the point is it causes so much chaos in that one moment. It happened so fast that even I thought I was hit. Everyone was on the ground including Lintle and Nelisa. I don’t know why, a gunshot is not something you run towards but something that makes you lie on the ground face flat hands on head. Guess that what happens when you grow up watching too much American TV. My immediate concern was my daughter and Nelisa, ironic I know! Where they okay?
“Er mkwenyana you have made your point, let her go?”
One of the braver uncles was asking on his knees begging Sizwe. I was starting to fear other things. What if my husband had snapped and he shot everyone here? I have seen American kids are famous for it! They take guns to school, shoot everyone then their parents come and blame video games when they are the ones who kept guns in the house!
“Please do not harm her. She is our daughter, she has a daughter and we still love her! Please!”
“Stop him before he causes more damage and does something we can all not turn back from!”
A terrified Zethu said besides me. She is the one who had said I must tell him in the first place and now that I had look what had happened. He had been under too much pressure and I should have recognized that.
“Sizwe baby what are you doing? Your daughter is here and you pulling out guns?”
I shouted at him from behind the car where Zethu, my brother and I had dived. I am not so old after all. Don’t ask me how one moment I was standing in front of it egging my husband on and the next I was cowering behind her because I also don’t know. Things had happened so fast but fear can make you perform miracles.
“No Nothabo, this conniving woman must tell them what she did! Nelisa I am sorry for this but your mother is a snake of the worst kind! Tell them before I shoot you!”
He said angrily. Wait a minute, the gunshot; what we had all fail to recognise was that the gun had been pointing skywards. It was more like a warning shot. He had not hit anyone. He had intended on stopping the uncles from attacking him as they were coming for him full force so maybe after his irrationality of pulling her by the hair he had probably saved himself from a beat down.
“I am the one who told the uncles that he must pay for damages!”
“And I then went and told my sister and him that my uncles were being unreasonable in asking him to do that!”
She said. Full confession. There were grunts from the uncles, even face down they could not hide their disappointment.
“There is nothing that cannot be discussed and clearly we were deceived and let into believing that we were doing the right thing when we were not! Killing her however or anyone else really does nothing to move on from this!”
He let go of her hair and he walked away towards us. No one moved even us as he came towards. Suddenly he stopped and turned around. For a moment I thought he was going back to them but instead he said,
“Lintle get in the car now!”
He said. She scrambled to the car, and got in.
“Are we leaving?”
I asked him.
“Zethu I am very sorry for this. I think you should leave too. This fucked family needs to decide what it needs in life before involving all of us!”
He did not apologise to my brother though funny enough. As for leaving, eish, It was not wise because there were still a lot of things that needed doing though but I was not about to dispute him. Even Zethu and my brother got into the car and drove behind us. He took us to my parents’ house and did not say a word, no one did. When we got there he just said,
“I will come back for you?”
This is what made me scared for him.
“Sizwe where are you going?”
I asked him. He said he just needed to drive around to clear his head. I asked if I could come with him and he said no. We got out of the car and my brother and his pregnant fiancé came in. For a moment there my brother did not want to enter the house but in no uncertain terms Zethu told him that if he knew what was good for him he better enter that house. It was so tense!
“Mommy what’s going on with dad? He is the most peaceful person alive and now he is carrying guns?”
My daughter asked. She had just summed up Sizwe to a T and she was right. This was not him. When Nozipho had come to the house he had thrown her out like a dog which was not like him and out of character. He is normally very thoughtful and even when angry, of which he is slow to anger, he is very reasonable in his reaction. The last few days therefore made him look highly volatile and unstable.
“It must be the stress dear but we will get to the bottom of this!”
I told her. She knew not to sit with us fortunately and she went to the room she had slept in last night leaving the adults to ourselves.
“I didn’t see that one coming!”
Zethu said and I can’t blame her either because neither did I.
“So what are we going to do now? Sizwe is driving around with a loaded gun and it’s only a matter of time before he hurts himself or others!”
My brother added. I needed to think and I could not do that with all these bad thoughts in my head as well.
“He will be fine! I can’t hold his hand right now but he will come back when he has blown off steam and we will have a chat!”
I reassured them. I was trying to stay strong and rational but I was petrified now. What if he turned the gun on himself? Should we call the police? Was the gun even licensed?
“We need to go look for him! I am scared he could have gone back to the funeral!”
My brother said finally regaining his balls. I guess the loaded part of the gun was really concerning him.
“Where would we even start though?”
He asked me. How was I supposed to know the answer to that question though?
“I don’t know!”
He walked towards the door and we stood up Zethu and I then he stopped,
“No baby, you and Nothabo can stay! Let me go alone!”
I think he remembered she was carrying his child. I was surprised he had even considered her coming with. This was what they meant by for better or worse. I was not staying. I was going with him where ever it was we were going.
“I did not realize that Sizwe was going through that much stress. He is always quiet and smiling!”
My brother said when we got into the car. He was right about Sizwe. He was always quiet and smiling, reading the paper or something. When you asked him to open up it rarely ever worked because he would either smile it off, brush it off or tell you that don’t worry about it, everything is fine. He is the kind of man who would rather fix all your problems as long as he did not have to look at his. I was partially to blame because over time I had given up on asking. I just let him go through with his own cycles and processes. One day when he was ready, he knows where to find me and he will tell me. I tried to call him but his phone was off. He really wanted to be alone. Maybe we should just go back and wait at the house like he had instructed.
“Sis, I don’t know where to find him, it’s been two hours already and no sign!”
My brother said after two hours of aimless driving.
“Let’s go back home and just wait for him to get over it! I am going to have a strong word with him though when he comes back!”
I said worried yes but also very annoyed at him. How could he do this to us though?
“We must buy food for the ones at home. They haven’t eaten!”
Kgosi reminded me. I just nodded in agreement. We found a McDonalds; it will have to do, buy food and headed home. When we got home everyone was surprised that we had not found him. My mother was back and she was sitting with Lintle and Zethu. This was wrong; she was meeting her daughter in law for the first time under these circumstances.
“I tried everything Mama I can’t find him.”
I said when I walked in. I was crying.
“Your father has already dispatched all his taxis to look for him. Something will come. This is his town after all!”
She said reassuring me. That’s when my father walked in from the bedroom. I had not realized he was there. My brother stood there and they stared each other down for a second like they do in cowboy movies before a shoot out!
My brother then said and extended his hand in greeting. They had not seen each other in years because of their fight.
My father said. It was awkward at first but father suddenly moved my brother ducked as though to protect himself from a punch but my father had no violent intentions. He hugged his son.
“I am sorry son! I am so sorry!”
He said to him. It was a sweet moment which soon was disturbed by my father’s phone ringing. He let go of him and answered.
“Did anyone see anything?”
“Are you sure?”
“We are coming there right now. Call Jackzorro and Plizberry, they are the only crazy people I know who live in that area! Be safe it’s a dangerous place!”
He said and hung up.
“Is it about Sizwe?”
I asked him immediately.
“Where is he?”
We all breathed a sigh of relieved and asked basically at the same time.
“That’s the problem! The driver said he found the car, it looks abandoned, 40km out on the N1 to Cape Town but Sizwe is not there. His phone and wallet are there!”
I was very confused!
“He is not there. There is no sign of him and my driver says he might not have been there for a long time!”
This did not make sense!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
You are a truly talented man. I don’t think we can ever thank you enough for the amazing work you share with us on a daily basis.
May you be eternally blessed and never stop doing what you love the most. You are an inspiration to us all.
I am a dating a guy who is 5 years older than me… We have been dating for 2 years and a couple of months now. We have a daughter who’s a year and 6 months. We have been living together for 7 months now.
My problem is, I feel we are two different me and him. I love him but yhoooo we are just so different. He had a rough upbringing and I think that is now “affecting” his way of expressing love.
I on the other hand grew up in a big loving family. I am a very affectionate person, I love hugging, kissing and cuddling and he doesn’t. I love going out (not necessary club scene) but yeah, and he loves sleeping.
I want more kids (as we are planning on getting married) and he is adamant he does not want any more kids. I have tried talking to him about this but no change has come about. I don’t know what to do anymore. Sometimes, I feel like he is so selfish, in that…I do all the things to him that I want him to do to me but he never does (I buy him gifts, I cuddle him, bend over backwards to help him and I do everything he wants of me to make him happy) but he does not return the favour. When we sit and talk and I ask him if he’s happy with how things are in the relationship he always says yes (which is true because I do EVERYTHING to make HIM happy)…and I am the one who’s not happy…He blames me for everything that goes wrong in the house – if its dirty it’s my fault…He never hesitates to point out the wrong things that I do, but I never get praise for anything that I do right… I am to a point where I have just decided to let things be and my fear is I will start falling out of love with this man and we will eventually break up if we continue like this.
He once told me that he is not romantic , and to him being romantic is buying flowers and running a rose petal bath, all that movie gibberish…and I told him that being romantic is not buying flowers but doing the things that your partner loves because I am also not a flowers type of girl. I love chocolate and biscuits – but he’s not even making an effort to get me those…I don’t know what to do anymore…
What do I do with this man bathong?