“We are here!”
Linda shouted when we got back. She always likes making an announcement when we got anywhere. That’s how much I knew her meaning that is how much I always got sent around with her.
“You know they can see you walk in right you don’t have to announce it!”
I told her laughing,
“I know that but it means that they give me an audience. I find it awkward to walk into a quiet room and have to say hi from zero. I hate awkward silences!”
She explained. I think I understood where she was coming from. Nonjabulo ran to greet her as my wife walked out of the house. There were already people there. I had the ice and charcoal.
“Babes why didn’t you pick up your phone when I called? I wanted you to buy more alcohol!”
My wife protested as soon as she saw me. She was doing her pouting baby voice.
“Too bad I didn’t get it!”
I told her ignoring her plea because this is exactly what I was talking about.
“Please go back we need the alcohol. She barely has enough and it’s her big day!”
Londiwe protested further dropping her hands on her sides like a gatvol child!
“You are joking right?”
I asked her putting what I was holding down.
“No love I am not joking.”
“She is my sister and I could never joke about trying to make this day special for her!”
I stood for a second confused as to whether I was dreaming. My wife could say things without thinking and regret later. She had always been a shoot first ask questions later person and there are times when it was sexy but today it was not.
“If the day was as big as you say it is she would have saved better. I am not buying her alcohol.”
I told her sternly. I crossed my hands across my chest and stood there as though daring to say the next thing.
“Why do you always try to embarrass me like this? My sister is like your wife. She is me. You should want to help her the same way you would if it was me!”
She said standing in my way preventing me from going forward. I loved her for her feistiness, she kept me on my toes but there is a time and place.
“I don’t have the money. If you ask me one more time I will leave!”
I warned her. I don’t think she believed me when I said that because she went on to fold her arms. I took the charcoal and put it at her feet. Nonjabulo then walked towards us and stood next to us.
“Goodness I was worried about the charcoal!”
She said with a smile on her face. To thank me she hugged me again. I know what she was doing. All the things at the party had been bought by friends and losers like me. When you arrived she asked you to buy one thing until everything was sorted.
In some African cultures, having a close relationship with your sister in law is encouraged with the notion that if your wife dies you then replace her with that sister if she is not married. The aim is to keep the wellbeing of the family intact. I say this because Nonjabulo behaved as though she came from that culture. When she hugged me it was not like I was her brother in law but a lover. My wife did not mind which made me feel like I was the one missing something. She took the charcoal to the back where I am sure there was a pile of things from duped well wishers.
“Vusi what’s going on with you? You seem to be a bit more on edge than usual?”
She asked me sweetly. There was a bit of concern in her voice now because she could see I was not playing the sweet innocent victim I always do.
“Everything is wrong love can’t you see that. You want me to pay for your sisters party when you know we already financially stretched…”
I didn’t even finish that line before she hissed like a snake,
Covered my mouth and said,
“Don’t say such things in front of my family! Are you trying to embarrass me?”
She pulled me aside all the way to the car. Mind you when we came back I had parked rather far because there was no parking.
“Wenzani sthandwa sam?”
“Woman I have just told you what’s wrong! How can you even ask me that again?”
I asked her.
“Don’t call me woman its condescending I know what I am!”
She said defensively. I was not saying it in that manner but I knew it was a fight I would not win.
“What do you want me to call you? Girl because right now you actually are behaving like one! I am not married to your sister. I am not married to your mother! I am married to you so no, I will not buy meat for her braai, she will braai for herself!”
I told her putting my foot down at last. The last two days had been torture so enough was enough. I wanted to go home.
“Ok love you are right. I am sorry. I think I had that coming!”
She said conceding immediately. At times your people surprise you like that.
“I am sorry! Let’s go back inside. I will tell her that your part is done. You are a guest at this party so expectations like such should not be put on you.”
She explained. She moved in closer and gave me a kiss. You know when you are grumpy or angry and someone kisses you don’t want the kiss but because you are relieved that they are trying to make you better. That was me right now trying to conceal the smile.
“Ok then. No more sending me around!”
I reminded her.
“I won’t and they won’t. You know I am weak around my family and that’s no excuse. I know when I am wrong love!”
She said and she held me by the hand and led me back to the house like a lamb to the slaughter. Was this how Isaac felt when he knew he was being sacrificed because I am certain had Isaac known that Abraham was about to kill him on that stake the poor boy would never have agreed. Imagine! Iyhooo Shem!
“What’s happening, I thought Vusi is going to buy the meat?”
Nonjabulo asked when I walked in.
“No he is not. He didn’t bring his card and you never told him that he was buying meat for your braai in any case. He is your guest too remember!”
My wife said sternly. Can I say LOL? I just did. What was happening here? Was I being played at this moment because five minutes ago I am sure my wife had volunteered my wallet to her mother and sister?
“Ah ok then so now what we going to do? We can’t have a braai with no meat and people are already arriving?”
She asked in genuine distress. I see what was happening. They were trying to make me feel guilty.
“If they want meat you can ask them to bring and braai. I don’t see what wrong with that.”
Linda chipped in from the back. She smiled as she said this but did not look at me.
“Are you serious? After they have arrived I start sending them off to buy meat?”
Nonjabulo protested not hiding her annoyance.
“Did you really plan this braai with the notion that I was going to buy the meat?”
I asked her actually shocked now. She was not playing around. What the hell?
“Yeah well we were going to go 50 50 with my sister and she is you so yah!”
She said as a matter of fact. She did not even have any shame in saying it. I think the mother seeing that she was older and more mature realized that this was not looking good at all. She cut in and said,
“Nonjabulo, you can’t do that! Go find your own husband to harass and Londiwe come on, you should know better! A man is not an ATM if you say you love him!”
She reprimanded her daughter. At this stage for me it just felt like a charade. They had not thought about this clearly and I think they had not expected me to actually say no.
“Mum please don’t get involved!”
Londiwe said to her mother.
“Guys I can’t do this. I have work to do as is and us fighting like this does not make the work go any faster.”
I told them. I was not going to stay here and be played like this.
“Ah mkhwenyana the party has not even started. Forgive my girls they don’t have direction!”
The mother pleaded for them. I was tempted to stay because of her but because I had already said it I knew I had stayed firm.
“I will see you tomorrow Mamzala!”
I said to her and I walked out. Londiwe was shocked beyond.
She said running after me.
I said and I walked straight out of the gate. Even then she thought I was bluffing but I was not. I was already tired by virtue of having slept late because of her and truth be told I needed to sleep. I also needed to work on that project.
“Ok I am coming with you!”
She said when we got to the car.
“It’s your sister’s party, go enjoy it!”
I told her.
I needed space to breathe.
Welcome to marriage.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter and for your lovely work.
4 years ago I moved to Gauteng for the EC for university. I am currently a fourth year and I am doing well. When I got to university I went crazy and dated a lot of guys and slept around> I also went away on trips to Dubai like our girl in Blessed. everyone told me I was pretty and because I am light skinned I attracted a lot of rich guys. Some are married but i did not care because the group of friends I was in as long as you had money you were fair game. We did it all for fun and our argument was that because we are young then why not. I have thousands of followers on Instagram and a lot more men asking me out even now. I am not from a poor family either so I dont know what possessed me but I became the IT girl and I loved it. Late last year something made me stop I dont even know what. We had done a head count of all the guys we had slept with since first year with the girls and my number was 2nd from the highest. I had 23 men in 3 years and even a few threesomes all in the name of fun. Whats worse where money, champagne and hotels are involved condoms are very much optional. I just felt ashamed and dirty. I told my friends I was out and at first they did not believe me but now they do.
Here is the hard part, I am 22 years old and last week I found out I was HIV positive. Since I stopped sleeping around I started dating a fellow student. Mike I read somewhere were you said we must own up to our mistakes and I have plenty. Do I now go back and warn all the guys I have slept with to go get tested so that they dont infect their partners. I am telling my boyfriend this weekend but I am certain he will dump me. The relationship is still new so he has no reason to stay. What have i done? When I was posting all those baecation trips I thought I was the one. I mistook all the men I was with’s wealth as my own. Every trip I had all the trips I took were paid for by someone else’s husband or partner. I thought I was clever but take a look at me now. I am crying now because my life is ruined. I allowed all these men to use my youth and beauty but when I look at my reward my question goes back to this, was this all worth it. I messed up. My friends are still in the lifestyle and have recruited even younger girls to party with them. We called ourselves socialites when in truth we were prostitutes with Instagram and degrees.
Must i call up all the men slept with and warn them or keep quiet whilst I watch them infect other people.