“If you keep calling people who talk about you behind your back your friend, people who never seem to support you unless they need your help and people who every time you are in trouble are nowhere to be found then the problem is with you not them. People treat you the way you allow them to treat you and unless you walk away, they always will!” Mike Maphoto
She was not my enemy. There are so many things Rudzani was but she was not an evil person, of that am convinced of. She was just stupid and stupidity unfortunately is hard to get rid of. There was a time in my life when I would have called her a friend and that was what, four days ago? Her going to Cape Town would do nothing to aid her relationship with this mysterious man she loved so much! That much was certain! He simply never existed for her to call her own. I walked out of that office looking like a boss. At times when I thought of this man it felt as though he was married or something. Why would he never call her over to come and see her and what not? This was just dodgy you know.
“When can you come back because we want you in the office tomorrow?”
He asked me.
“Well I can come in but won’t that be awkward like I asked earlier. I would rather come on Monday when everyone has done their shifts!”
I told him.
“The only one that will be here is Susanna. Rudzani went home early today after we told her she was being moved. We did not force it on her as it’s a promotion. She is getting your job in Cape Town meaning more money as well as her own office. She will report to Susanna!”
He explained. I could now not say but Susanna was here as this would be overkill now but I think he noticed. He stopped me by saying,
“You need to thank Susanna because that woman fought for you like you were her own daughter! She even threatened to resign that’s when the company identified her as the perfect candidate for the Cape Town job. This little mess of yours caused a lot of problems that’s why things moved so fast but I am going to keep an eye on you as what happened here was wrong and you know it!”
He said. To say I was beyond stunned was a no brainer. Why would Susanna have fought for me so much? This woman had made my life hell for a long time so what was her end game. I don’t know why in my head conspiracy was written all over this.
“Madam Lawyer are you happy with what we are offering your client as we would like her to sign now!”
He asked Zama. She kept a stern face throughout all this so I was not sure if she had liked it.
“Its fine but we would like to read the contract first!”
“It is a standard contract, the same she was on except different responsibilities. We are not that company that would have time to have an underhanded contract that’s loaded. Please go to H.R. And see Nobuhle she will be expecting you!”
He said. He was actually not that all happy with me. I stood up and he stood up with his hand out stretched.
“Congratulation Miss Mbatha, do not disappoint our faith in you!”
He said and he sat back down as we walked out.
“What just happened?”
I asked Zama as we walked out.
“I don’t know but keep walking to H.R. Before they change their minds!”
She said. I wanted to burst out laughing but I did not because I did not want to draw attention to myself. It was awkward enough being here!
“Lungile I was expecting you!”
Nobuhle said when we walked in. Ah, had he called her to say we coming.
“Hi Buhle how are you?”
I said to her. I knew her but not that well. She was one of those ladies we said hi to. There were not many black people at the company but because she spoke fluent Afrikaans it kind of made her one of them. What kind of Zulu person speaks Afrikaans vele?
“Am good thanks. The contract is ready. You must be the lawyer Mr God mentioned. He says you can go through it and ask me any questions you might have!”
She said as she sat us down. Her phone rang and she said yes sir three times!
“Lungi, Mr Gold asked you to come to his office!”
Zama and I both stared at each other at once but I said,
“You can start on the contract whilst I go see what’s up?”
I won’t lie I felt like I had gotten this job through the back door so walking back to his office made me feel like he was going to break my heart. What did he want to see me about though?
He said after I walked through his door. His PA was not at her desk meaning I had gone right through.
“Is something wrong?”
I asked nervously as I walked in.
“No, I think you forgot your phone that’s all!”
He said. Its true I had. It was where I sat on the desk.
“I didn’t even realize this, thank you!”
I told him. He was not an overly friendly man this guy. He hardly smiled.
“Sir I have a question”
I told him and he said I could ask.
“If I am getting Susanna’s post, Rudzani is leaving, who gets my old post and Susanna’s because I will obviously need support structures!”
I asked him.
“We will worry about that during the week!”
He said and put his nose back into whatever report he was going through. Again the nervous tension came back into me. I was being setup for failure here! All of a sudden it did not seem straight forward anymore.
As I walked out I was not sure what exactly was going on, yes I had gotten the promotion but everything was happening so fast, too fast!
Someone said from behind me as I headed towards H.R. It’s a voice I knew all too well.
I said with a smile on my face. Often it was a fake smile but at this moment I was not sure what it was.
“Is everything sorted?”
She asked me.
“Yes. Thank you so much for the part you played!”
I said to her. I really was confused. How do you embrace your enemy really? How did Mandela do it? He didn’t practise the Madiba dance for 67 minutes in his 27 years of incarceration yet he was willing to forgive where I could not. This woman had given me hell and yet she was standing here with the hero status.
“Word of advice, I know you think I was harsh on you,”
Wow harsh is not the first word that came to me; I had cruel, mean, evil, witch and more but,
“I was not. You were and are my favourite but this company doesn’t treat women nicely especially if you are seen to be soft. Whoever is going to work for you, you must be firm and unfriendly unfortunately especially if it’s a woman. Trust me on this and you will go far!”
She said and she walked away. Funny enough what she said made sense in its own way. When I looked around, most of the women here were doing menial jobs to be honest. I had never thought of it like that even though I call myself a feminist when I am sober. I walked back to H.R. With her words ringing in my head. Was I being hoodwinked?
“That was fast!”
Zama said as I entered. I could see from the way she was looking into my eyes she wanted to know if everything was ok.
“Everything is fine. I left my phone on his desk and I bumped into my old boss imagine!”
I said to her. Buhle was still there so I could not say much. It took another ten minutes before Zama looked and said,
“Everything looks in order, there are no landmines and there indeed is a significant salary increase!”
She said with a huge grin. I looked at it and honestly I must scream right now but I was a professional. I signed and Nobuhle congratulated me.
“Let’s go, we still have things to do!”
Zama said as soon as we were done. We walked out and I asked her,
“What needs doing?”
“Oh nothing, I didn’t know what to say when we were leaving and I didn’t want her thinking you going home to do nothing!”
She said and we laughed. This girl was crazy. As the fresh air hit me in the parking lot it was my first moment to fully reflect on what had just happened. I had actually walked out better off than I was when they first fired me but still I felt sour. I am very big on us all rising together and that was hurting me because it was very certain that Rudzani is the one who would be screwed out of this. Zama on the other hand was so excited.
“Dude this weekend we are celebrating. Friday after work, drinks are on you! I will see if Nthabiseng will come too!”
I laughed and told her it was wishful thinking.
“Did you just call me dude?”
I asked her laughing.
“Who still uses that word?”
“I am old school I guess!”
She said also laughing.
“The weekend is too far shem! Its only two, I want to go have a drink and I don’t want to have it at my house! I want a nice fancy place where they can see us black girls doing it for themselves!”
She said and we actually high fived me. This girl was cool.
“It’s a pity I have to go to work so enjoy and don’t drink too much otherwise I would be coming to bail you out again!”
She said. With that we hugged and she drove off. Don’t ask me why but women just liking hugging. I used to find it uncomfortable but now am so used to it.
I got into my car and started to drive. Melrose Arch was my first choice whenever I needed to celebrate. As soon as I got out of my work complex I screamed with joy. I was so happy. I was playing music when my phone rang. As it was connected on the car it rang the whole car, it was Cindy!
“Hey Cindy my bestie!”
I said cheerfully.
“Best day ever!”
I told her before she could even respond.
She said on the side,
“I lost my baby!”
She said. I didn’t get that.
“I don’t understand, what do you mean?”
“I lost the baby! This morning! I lost my baby!”
All the excitement, the joy…. Gone!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading and posting my letter.
I am a married man. My wife does not work and we have two children together. The problem is that my wife’s family is so involved in our marriage. They tell her what to do and when to do it. Now she wants a third child because he grandmother said two kids are not enough. I don’t have the money for a third child and I have told her this. She has stopped talking to me and has stopped eating imagine! Of all the luck in the world honestly why did this have to me! Who has a wife who goes on hunger strike? My misfortune came in that I work on a mine that happens to be in the same town with where her family is from. I met her when I got a job here. It means she has access to them every day and they have access to her. We never have enough money because her relatives are always at my house! I have complained and have even gone to the extent of calling a family meeting. They called me stingy and unreasonable and still came! I am not a harsh man but I can’t live like this. I am on the verge of telling her that if she thinks her family is better than me then she must go back to them! She won’t die of hunger in our house, a hunger she forced upon herself and she is already destroying my family. After work I don’t even want to go home because the house is always full of her people. I love my wife, I really do but I can’t do this anymore!
Please help me with solutions.