“Thank for doing this with me,” Matt says while putting the car on PARK. He looks scared but I have got his back today.
“I am glad you are ready to do this,” I say with a smile. He has been through therapy for more than eight months and today is his last exercise. It makes me happy that he carried on with this healing process.
He picks the car keys and opens the driver’s door.
“Let’s go in,” he says and I open the passenger’s seat and hold his hand before walking into the yard. The family is expecting us. We called them last week to expect us.
A young girl who is playing in the yard runs to the house when she sees us approaching. An old lady walks out of the house and welcomes us inside.
We follow in and settle on the couch across hers.
“Baby, get us coke from the kitchen. Wash the two glasses and bring the tray here,” the old lady says to the young girl. The girl runs to the kitchen to get the drinks.
Matt looks nervous; so I pull his hand and squeeze it to help him stay calm.
“What are your names again?” the old lady asks. She is sweet, very sweet.
“I am Matt and this is my girlfriend, Tshepo.”
“So you said you went to school with Naledi?” she asks and Matt nods.
“I did…I went to high school with her until she moved to North West,” he says. The girl brings the tray and place it on the table next to us. She gets a nod from her grandmother and runs out to play.
“Naledi was a very bright child. Very very bright,” she says with a smile. I squeeze his hand even harder. This can never be easy. “She passed away when she was in university. A young life stolen.”
“That is why we are here,” Matt says and swallows hard.
“Before she moved to North West, I did something bad to her and I think if it wasn’t for me…she would…she would still be alive,” he says and the old lady’s face darkens.
“When I was in grade 11, she was in grade 10…she was my girlfriend…and one day she didn’t want to have sex with me…I slept with her regardless,” he says without looking at her. “I cannot stop…I cannot stop blaming myself for what I did to her those many years ago, pushing her to take her life. I pray every day for God to forgive me but I also need her family to forgive me on her behalf. I cannot bring her back…but I want her to rest in peace. God knows I didn’t know what I was doing but it was wrong. I am…so…sorry.”
The old lady stiffens on her seat. She stands from her seat and disappears to another room.
“Are you alright?” I ask him. My heart is throbbing out of my chest. The grandmother hasn’t said anything at all. She just disappeared to her bedroom. I don’t know if I should follow, to talk to her. i am also getting ready to be chased out.
“I feel like a burden has been lifted out of my shoulder…but I am worried about the grandmother…”
Minutes later the old lady walks back with an envelope. She carefully sits on the couch and unfolds the letter with us watching.
“I don’t believe that is why she took her life,” the old lady says and shrugs. “She was sick and battling to deal with the death of her mother. Her mother passed away and with that, she learnt that she was adopted after her parents left her by the river side.”
Matt turns to me.
“She didn’t see a reason to live if she was meant to die in the first place,” she says, “She said she was hearing voices at night…she was hearing her mother calling her name and she had to follow her. She left this letter.”
I receive the letter. I unfold it and scan at the four lines she neatly wrote on it.
“Gogo, my mother is calling for my name when I sleep. She needs me. I have to go. I have to be there for her. I have nothing else to be here for. Gogo, I was meant to die in the first place. Forgive me for hurting you,” I read out the letter, the suicide letter.
“She had her own issues…and I have made peace with that,” she sadly says. Matt is trembling.
“I always thought it was my fault,” he whispers. He might have added on the pain, but it is better to know he was not blamed by the deceased. I don’t know how we were going to handle it if he was the royally the cause of her suicide.
“Even if it is your fault, you won’t bring her back…so let it go,” gogo says, “Let my angel rest in peace.”
Matt turns to me and then back to the old lady…all in confusion. He was ready to be lashed at, to be shouted at and to spit at.
“Thank you gogo…for lending us an ear,” I say after the silence in the room. She shakes our hands and let the young girl walk us to the gate.
“I feel much better…knowing that I wasn’t exactly the reason she took her life,” Matt says. I pull him into my embrace. This is going to change a lot of things in his life. He blamed himself. He couldn’t forgive himself knowing that the family might still be looking for answers. Now that there are no answers to give to the family, we can now easily move on.
“Thank you for doing this for me,” he says while clinging more for a warm hug.
Honestly…I was doing it for us. Our relationship depended on this closure.
Our life became easier since that visit. We are happy. We are content. He is done with therapy and we can now move on with our lives.
Today is my parent’s wedding anniversary. Unlike the other years where they postpone their celebration, they are hosting a number of family members and friends. Charlotte and I are running with the event. That was the only way to stop Lufuno, my mom’s favourite event planner, to plan this one.
Matt is meeting my parents today. Dad will be in his best mood. A few glasses of champagne and I will tag Matt to my parents and tell them we have decided to take our relationship to the next level…we are serious.
The dinner is starting at five and people are already arriving at the hotel, mostly from my mother’s family. Matt and his brother are also here.
Charlotte and I are only getting ready while my Mom is getting her face beat. We booked a room for her, for the preps.
“Mommy, don’t you get tired of daddy? Maybe someday you realize you made a huge mistake…” I ask.
“He is easy to love,” she says with a smile.
“Daddy is easy to love?” I laugh. Matt is the only man who is easy to love.
“My husband is easy to love…your father is not so easy to handle. He is a bit tough on you guys because he is protective of you and Bokang.”
She is right!
Dad is perfect!
“We are done,” the make-up artist says while handing a close-up mirror to Mom.
She smiles, her smile so contagious. She is happy.
“I love it. I look young,” she says while standing from the chair.
“You always look young,” I kiss her cheek and help her to get to the dining hall. We meet Dad, who takes her hand and walk her to their designated chairs. We are already having our appetizers and starters when we start with the speeches. My parents’ friends share their funny stories. Stories I never knew about. The funniest to Bokang and I is the one where Daddy jumped the fence to sneak into Mom’s room. We could never imagine the great Maake jumping a fence for a lover.
“We have it heard it all from friends…now we are going to hear from the off springs,” the MC says and Bokang stands from his seat.
“Thank you,” Bokang says, sounding formal, “You two have set a great example to us. I admire the way you love her and how she loves you back. I know love exists…because of how you two do ya thing.” Do what thing? I laugh at him. “I wish you many more years of love. I want you to live to many years to see more grandchildren and their children.” I laugh at a thought of Kgosi having his kids. My baby having a baby? Seems unreal. “I don’t have much to say because…every single person who stood here attested to how perfect you two are for each other. I don’t want to repeat any of that so I rather introduce someone to take over from me.”
I look at him with a frown. We didn’t discuss this. I didn’t prepare anything to say.
“Matt, come and say something,” Bokang says.
What did he just say? Charlotte smiles at me. What is Matt doing?
Matt takes the mic from Bokang and man-hug him.
“Thank you,” he says and clears his throat. Everyone is waiting in anticipation. “My name is Matt and I am glad to be in this room. Mr Maake, you have found a good thing and she is so beautiful….the bible does say that, he who finds a wife finds a good thing.”
“What is he doing?” I ask Bokang who is seated next to me.
“Shhhhhh…” he shushes me.
“I have been praying Sir…and I have been praying for a good thing…I have been praying for long to find a good thing…Tshepo is that thing I have been praying for,” Matt continues and people are beaming at him. “You raised a great woman, Mr Maake.”
“A girl…I raised a good girl,” Dad says from his seat.
“Yes Sir, you raised a great woman,” he says, “I brought a ring Sir, I want to propose to your daughter because I love her. She loves me. I love Kgosi. I love us together.” Is Matt proposing to me or my Dad? “Sir, I want your approval. I am hoping from a thumbs up and I will kneel before the most beautiful woman in the whole world.”
Everyone turn to my Dad. Instead of a thumb up, he stands from his seat.
“I have seen her smile grow wider and wider each day. Ooh… you also convienced her not to go to Cape Town…so you get a thumbs up,” he says and raises his thumb.
What if I say NO? These men.
The room is filled with applause while Matt is walking towards my chair. This is not how imagined his proposal. This is perfect.
“Yes,” I say before he even gets on his knee. Everyone burst into laughter. He doesn’t have to kneel. He kneels on his one knee anyway. He picks my hand and slides the ring on my finger.
“That’s why I insisted on a perfect manicure,” Charlotte whispers. She insisted I do my nails. She insisted.
“I love you,” Matt says while standing from the floor. He helps me to stand and hugs me tightly.
“I love you more,” I say.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, right? I am about to receive my good thing today. My Tshepo. I fell in love with Rosemary Hill Farm so we are getting married here. The guests should be seated by now. I am standing outside with my three groomsmen. Bokang is holding Kgosi. We are in our tuxedos and feeling like James Bond – what can I say, we look great.
It is awkward that I am not panicking. Probably because I have been waiting for this for over a year. I kept that engagement ring and I would always look at it when I open my drawers, daily. I have always wanted to marry her. Even she was pregnant with her baby, I was in love with her.
“My man, are you panicking?” Vuyo asks and pats me on my shoulder.
“Not at all,” I say.
“If you want to run away, this is the time,” Bokang says with a serious face.
“My mind is made-up my man,” I say and pick Kgosi from his arms. The baby smiles at me and that is just an approval smile. I am going to make his mother happy, very happy for the rest of my life.
“Gentleman, get ready to go inside,” the wedding planner says while walking towards us. My mother is behind her.
I give Kgosi back to Bokang and get ready to walk inside. Mom is walking me in and Dad is blessing us. The bridemaids join us. I turn around to look for Tshepo. To steal a glance of her.
“You are going to see her later,” Charlotte says and I chuckle. I was just trying my luck. “She looks amazing. Too amazing.”
I believe her.
“Gentleman, get ready…ladies, you will be up next,” the wedding planner says and the guys line up to do their routine. They walk in, with music playing softly, and then follows the ladies. I can hear the excitement from out here. Suddenly, I start to feel anxious. I think it is normal to feel this way. It is a wedding day, for God’s sake.
When Major’s “this is why I love you” track fills the room. I take my mother’s hand and walk in.
Thank you God, thank you for blessing me this much.
This song? I would have picked a gospel song, but this song is the most relevant. I found love in Tshepo and I have learned to love me too. I found love in you and no other love will do? Come on – what could be a better song for this day?
Mom hugs me and walks to take her seat.
This is it! Tshepo is going to walk in with her father.
I look at the guy seated by the piano, waiting for him to start playing “here comes the bride”. Instead, the DJ repeats my favourite song.
This woman! She knows how much I love this song. She had to also choose it. Tears are threatening to fall when she appears on the carpet with her father. The more she walks closer, the more I want to let my tears fall. It is not her beauty that is blowing my mind. It is not the perfect mermaid gown that is making me emotional. It is the chorus that she is singing for me as she walks. She is not wearing her veil so her eyes are on mine. Her beautiful eyes are on me, her lips miming the words. My chest is getting tighter with each step.
“This is why I love you,” she mimes the words to me, with an angelic smile. Oh God!
Vuyo passes a handkerchief. I didn’t know I need it until I chuckled and tears stream down my face.
Dammit! I am not a cry baby.
I quickly wipe my tears before her father hands her over to me.
“Thank you for staying with me,” I say while squeezing her in a hug.
“No, Thank you for staying with me,” she says back.
My father clears his throat and people laugh. We are getting too touchy touchy.
Dad reads from the bible and thereafter request us to face each other.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity,” Dad reads from the bible before closing it. “Can I have the rings?”
Charlotte reaches for the ring bearer and shows her to bring Tshepo’s ring to me. I take it from a little basket.
“Thank you for choosing to stay with me when it was all tough and impossible. You helped me face my demons and never judged me. You held my hand through it all. Thank you. I love you, from the bottom of my heart, I love you and I promise to live for you. I promise to protect you and take care of you. You deserve all good things that are coming your way. All good things,” I say and she laughs at the ‘all good’ part. “I promise to be the best second father to Kgosi. I promise to be there for you the same way you were there for me when I needed a shoulder. I love you.”
The crowd applauds while I put on the ring.
Bokang walks closer to me with Kgosi. Tshepo laughs sweetly while taking the ring from Kgosi’s hands. He hesistatly gives it to her before complaining with a groan.
“He wants to keep the ring,” Tshepo says while laughing. Bokang pats him until he stops. She picks my hand and holds it.
“Matt, I love you. Thank you for walking into my life. Thank you for teaching me how to love God. How to have an intimate relationship with God. You taught me how to pray, even when I could do five minutes while you prayed for us for hours,” she chuckles. “I am grateful. It is easy to love you, baby…it really is. So with this ring, I promise to love you back because you loved me first, forever,” she chuckles with me laughing. “You bring the best in me. You are just the best. Thank you for choosing me to be your helper. I will help you. I will help you pray for hours too,” the crowd laughs. I think it is because she emphasized that she will help me pray for hours.
“Thank you,” I squeeze her hand.
“You are stuck with me, and I am stuck with you…until death do us part,” she says and the crowd goes crazy.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Dad says to us and then let us face the people, “I introduce to you Mr and Mrs Matthew Scott!”
“Don’t we kiss?” Tshepo asks Dad and everyone standing next to us is laughing, tears. The way she asked.
“Ohhh yes…Mr Scott, you can kiss your wife.”
I pull her close to me and kiss her. I kiss her the way a man should kiss his wife.
“Can we have sex now?” Tshepo whispers to me. Without even hesitating, I take her hand and lead her out of the room. The DJ gets the memo and plays a song and we dance out like we rehearsed.
“What are you guys doing? The wedding planner asks the moment we walk out the door.
“Oh, we are going to change. We will meet everyone at reception. Do something…change the programme,” I say while leading Tshepo to my room.
“How do I take this thing off?” I ask while trying to untie her dress. I stares into her eyes while she laughs. I have been struggling to undo the back of her gown.
“Charlotte had to make sure I show a bit of cleavage,” she says. Finally I win! In a minute, the dress in on the floor. I caress her stomach, tracing my fingers to her lacy thong.
“I love you Mrs Matt Scott,” I say while planting kisses on her stomach.
“I love you more Mr Matt Scott.”
THE END OF THE ONE