THE ONE

INSERT 34

KHATHUTSHELO

I have been thinking about her all night. Weird, I know! I remember Nunu very well. We once got married in my mother’s garden when we were playing house. I think I was twelve years, but she was younger. My mother was having tea outside and she brought my father’s camera when she saw us dressed up and dancing with our other friends.
I should ask my mother for my old album, I am sure the evidence of my childhood inclduing the wedding is all packed up in there.
It is hot up here, and I am no longer used to this weather. Honestly speaking, it is winter already but I am feeling hot. I walk to the porch for some fresh air and burry myself on the chair with my iPad. I can see Mandi putting laundry on the washing line. All of it belonged to my daughter. My mother told her to start her job by doing Michelle’s laundry and bathing her before knocking off daily. My mother is such a funny old woman.
“Such a beauty, doing hard labor?” I think to myself as I page through the iPad. I pick to read my online news but I can’t help but to steal glances of her. Of course, she is not my type, not even close, but she is just interesting me with how easy she does her choes.
“Damn! She saw me looking at her.” I think to myself as I wave. After her greeting, she walks to the kitchen and disappear from my stares.
I walk to the back-house and take a shower before putting on some shorts, flip flops and a shirt. It is a lazy day for me and I should take this opportunity to rest and not do much.
Michelle loves being around her grandmother who spoils her rotten every time she is here in Venda. She no longer poses as the princess who does salon and those kiddies spa every month. She now fits in perfectly with the kids wandering around the streets like I used to when I was younger. We are supposed to be leaving for Pretoria soon but she doesn’t want to. She still have another week of school holiday but I need to be at work. I will leave her behind and she will follow next week with Mandi. My mother said to trust her so I am doing just that. All I had to do was book them two Translux tickets and I will leave the money for food.

I left Venda for Pretoria on a Saturday. I had to pick Michelle’s clothes and items from Midrand; and also do a little shopping for the things we are going to need. With the money from MBC’s project I was able to purchase a house in Centrurion Stone Ridge. I am glad I did because we now have Mandi staying with us for a few months. It is a four bedroomed house so I am set for life. I don’t need a mansion so the house I bought is perfect for me and Michelle. I had to put a huge lump sum of deposit so I could be able to afford to make monthly repayments for just a few years.
I manage to have Mandi’s room furnitured. It will be used as a guest bedroom when she leaves after four months. I use the fourth room as my home-office. I can now easily close the door and work my butt off for my money.
Thank God Michelle changed her mind about the trip to Disney Land for her birthday. Instead she wants a fun filled birthday weekend with her friends. Blame it on the model C schools. She wants to have a party at Bounce on Saturday. Talking about Bounce Inc, it reminds me of Tshepo. She loved that kind of fun-filled activities. Yeah, Saturday is Bounce inc and Sunday Michelle wants to have a spa day at Life Day Spa with her five friends. Thank goodness I have a budget for all of these.
It is now Monday and I wake up very early for work. Today is the day to have a chat with Mr Mkhize and also meet up with the IT guy helping to trace the one responsible for Lufuno’s misery. I despise them for tutoring such a hardworking woman. She doesnt deserve the pain.
I get to my glass office and settle. I have two work meetings, including the one with Mr Mkhize, a lunch date with Tshepo and the last meeting is with the IT guy. I am indeed back from a holiday.
Mr Mkhize gets to his office after eight. I can see him because I have an office like his, and I always keep the blinds rolled up so I could see everything happening in the open plan space. I allow him to have a cup of coffe, read his newspaper and open his emails while I get busy with the team running an ad for a new Biking store. This is one of our smallest clients so I don’t waste much time on those. I delegate more often.
Only at ten I go knock on Mr Mkhize’s door.
“Hey, Nengwenda, come on in.”
“Thank you,” I say while grabbing a chair.
“This seemed urgent.”
“Yes, it is. I needed to see you before I take on an offer from some guy,” I say and he untighten the tie.
“What…what offer?” he stutter. This guy can’t hide it when he panics. Maybe I know him too well to read his face perfectly.
“Don’t worry, I might not be taking it. I am here to give you a proposal to make me partner,” I say and he widen his eyes. I am not going to beat around the bush. “I had to pull the financial reports for this one. I made an analysis of revenue we made for the three years including the current year. The revenue from marketing project for this year is almost double of what you used to make yearly. All this is since my promotion. Mr Mkhize, I have worked so hard for you and I made a good name for you and myself. It is time for my step-up. I don’t want another promotion but to partner.”
He grabs the file from the table and page through it. I had noted my terms. I don’t need much more than I deserve.
“You know this is family business,” he says.
“I understand Sir and I believe you will make the right decision,” I say.
“Uhm…yes…I will let you…know.”
“Thank you.”
I already know what his answer is but I will just wait for him to do it formally. It isn’t a train smash. I push more work before heading to Centurion Mall for a lunch with Tshepo. She agreed on meeting up and I’m glad to finally sit with her and catch up. She is already seated so I grab a chair opposite her. She is already feasting on a full plate of hake and chips. I let out a chuckle at how I caught her off-guard.
“Sorry, my hands are untidy for a handshake. I was so hungry I had to order something,” she says and shove three chips in her mouth. She must have been very hungry.
The waiter walks to our table so I order the chicken breast, avo and prawns with a salad. When the waiter asks Tshepo if she needed something else to drink, she asked for a glass of water because everything else tastes like water to her anyway.
Since when? I laugh at her.
What happened to her favourite meat dishes and her wine?
I wonder!
“How is work?” she asks.
“All good. Today I dropped a proposal for Mkhize to make me partner.”
“No, you didn’t,” she gasp and then a smile creeps across her dazzling face. “He is going to give you.”
“I think so too.”
We are catching up but I am failing to concentrate. Tshepo looks a bit different but I can’t tell what it is. She has long corn-rows but still, she looks too different it is not the hairstyle.
Is it that I miss her so much? But her face looks fuller. I want to ask but I know better than to ask a woman if she is gaining weight. Biggest mistake a man can make.
The waiter brings my food and Tshepo is the first one to cut my chicken breast. I see she still has her old habits. She used to help me eat my food and then indulge in hers later while I watch.
“Are you not feeling hot with that jacket?” I ask while cutting my piece of meat. It is already winter, but no, this jacket is so thick.
“No, I am fine.”
“If you were in high school, everyone would swear you are pregnant,” I joke and she frowns. I decide to shut up and eat. I finish my food while she eats dessert.
“Uhm…I bought this for Michelle. I saw it and liked it,” she places a shopping paper bag on the table.
“Oh, wow, thank you,” I pick the bag and pull the white dress out. She will definitely wear this one for my breakfast date with her on her birthday. “Such a perfect early birthday gift.”
“Her birthday is close? Are you still taking her to Disney Land?”
“No, she changed her mind.”
“She is a girl indeed, I like her,” she says and then frown a bit. She stands from her seat and ran towards the toilet.
What? Is Tshepo growing some butt or is just me? I scan at her as she hurries there. What was she expecting, eating a plate of hake with chips, then extra chips, and dessert as well? Haowa banna! Unless she is…no way! What? What if she is…? Hell no.
She comes back minutes later and burry herself on her seat.
“Are you alright?” I ask.
“Yeah…yeah…where were we?” she ask after clearing her throat. “Michelle, what are you doing for her birthday?”
“Uhm…bounce on Saturday and Spa on Sunday.”
“That should be fun.”
“Tshepo, are you pregnant?” my heart is kicking out of my chest. I couldn’t keep the question to myself. What if she is pregnant and it is my baby? Then it changes everything, literally everything.
“What? Are you crazy?”
“No, please…don’t lie to me.”
“I am not pregnant.”
“Stop lying to me and …”
“Leave me the hell alone Khathu. Why are you forcing the pregnancy on me? I told you I am not pregnant and that means I am not,” she snaps and I shockingly stare at her. The girls on the table next to ours turn their heads and she shly looks away.
“Im sorry, I am just asking.”
“And I told you I am not.” She picks the glass from the table and sips her water.
Why don’t I believe her? Maybe she ain’t pregnant.
“Are you sure Tshepo?” I ask after a longest while and she rudely picks her handbag and walks out on me.
Heee banna!