THE ONE

INSERT 45

KHATHUTSHELO

Why did I have to complicate my life like this?
If it is not Tshepo and the unborn baby, it is Lufuno and all this mess that got me here.
Damn! Damn! Damn! Allow me, I have to bang the walls in here before I go mad.
It is freaken cold in here and I don’t even have a jacket. The police dragged me out of my very house empty handed, to question me. I didn’t know I will have to spend a night or two in these cold holding cells.
What did I do to deserve this? I gave all my heart to a woman I always desired all my life. She was all I ever wanted since the break-up with Julia. I watched her from a distance and prayed to God to make her my wife. I am inside this cold walls because of my love for her. All I had to do was to help her lift the burden off her shoulders. God knows I pray she doesn’t think I did all these things they accuse me of. How on earth could I use anything that will trace back to me? These police men should be stupid enough to think I did all of these and leave evidence pointing towards me. I mean, scammers should be smart enough to use unrecognized codes when doing their dealings. Why would I use ‘Khathutshelo Nengwenda’ as a reference to a fraudulent transaction?
I have exhausted all my energy trying to explain myself over and over again.
“Hmmm…so you had to get rid of the evidence, didn’t you?” The detective’s voice shakes me out of my thoughts. I quickly stand and walk towards the door. They have locked me in this holding cell with two other men charged for what-I-don’t-know. I fold my arms and walk closer to him.
“What are you talking about?” I ask. I am fricken feeling cold and I am damn hungry. I need to get out of this place and get home to Michelle. Thinking about her pains me a lot. She needs answers, I know she does.
“I thought you said you won’t speak to us without a lawyer,” he says and giggles. I know I said that but I don’t know anyone’s number by heart. Who does that in this time and age? I regret though, because the only number I know is my mother’s and she hardly picks her phone. It is either on voicemail because she didnt pick up or on voicemail because there is no network. A day ago I refused to engage more with the detective as I needed the lawyer. That is what you do when you are wrongly charged for, right?
“I know I said I needed a lawyer…but what do you mean by what you are saying?”
“Can you talk now?” he asks and I think hard about it. Curiosity is killing me.
“Fine,” I hiss and he opens the door for me. He has his gun hugged on his hips and he doesn’t wear uniform like others.
I follow him to a small room they use for questioning. I have been in this room for more than five times in just two days. Atleast it is warmer than the cells. There is a small heater mounted on the wall. There is a glass of water which I thirst for. I also wish for a good warm meal.
“Tell me what you know,” he says. For the hundredth time he asks me this question. I have told them all that I know nothing about the money stolen, what more do they want from me?
“I told you…”
“You said you want to talk. We can take you back to the cell,” he says and I clear my throat. I need the warmth in this room. I need good company. I need anything to keep me away from that cold room with angry strangers.
“Fine, I will tell you what happened,” I say and shift myself to sit on the edge of the chair, “Lufuno complained to me that someone was stealing from her bank account. She said money was withdrew from her company’s account and needed all the help to get these guys caught. I told her I know someone who could help. He is an IT guy who used to work for some bank. I connected them and Lufuno paid him for the services he rendered for her.”
“What was it in for you?”
“Nothing. I was helping my woman.”
“Your woman, you say?” he asks and chuckles, “So the same woman who reported you?”
“What?” I gaze at him. There is no way Lufuno reported me. If she did, then I curse the day I ever laid my eyes on her. She cannot turn her back on me when I am in this mess because of her. I stare at the detective and see something in his eyes. He is lying. He just wants me to get angry and start confessing things that I don’t even know of.
“So, where did this Terence, IT guy stay?”
“Sunnyside.” I know Sunnyside is well-known for all things bad, but I swear he is nothing like what they think.
“So, who else where you working with?” Detective asks while writing on his notepad.
“I was not working with anyone.”
“Okay, who else was Terence working with?”
“No one I know of.”
He picks the newspaper that is on the table and slowly unfolds it. The room is quiet as he reads from the newspaper. He can take all the time he wants, I need the warmth of this room. The brown blanket they gave me in the cell does not do its job.
“So, you had to get him killed so that he doesn’t testify on you?” detective says and drops the newspaper infront of me.
“What happened to him?” I ask. What the hell? What on earth is going on?
“You should tell me…,” he says but is disturbed by a knock and the opening of the door. i am disturbed too. It is his partner, Detective Moloi, the nice one between the two. I remember his name because he begged me to tell him the truth so that he could help me.
“I think we need to let him go for now,” he says and my heart jumps. I need to get home to my daughter, please.
“Why?”
“We just received this information.” Detective Moloi drops a file on the table. He shows his partner some notes and I am here sucking my breath and making a longest prayer.
I watch as they contemplate on the new findings.
“Who is this Zakhele?” the cold detective asks.
“Yah, who is Zakhele?” i ask. I also want to know.
“We cannot tell you much. But we are taking this lead and you are free to go. You are not allowed to leave town until this case is closed. You not allowed to engage with Miss Lufuno until all is solved,” Detective Moloi advised. I need to see her so bad but it can wait until all this is resolved. Anything to keep me with my daughter. “Okay, come with me. Let’s fill in some forms and you will be ready to go.”
Can all these police people be as humble as Detective Moloi? He is so human.
I get to the reception and sign the papers I am told to sign. I get my belt and I am ready to walk outside when I see Lufuno’s driver seated on the bench with another old man. I walk up to them after finalizing with the police.
“Where you here for me?” I ask without a greeting. There is no time for formalities.
“Yes, yes…we came here to inform the police about the news we figured out,” he says. “I am here with Lufuno’s father.”
What a way to meet him.
“How is she?” I still care.
“The doctor said not to worry. She should be discharged tomorrow,” the father says while I shake his hands. I am excited that they are here and I will be seeing Michelle in no time.
“What did you inform the police?” The detective didn’t want to tell me but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t find out from these two. Ntate Molefe tells me about Zakhele and him being Muzi’s friend. It all makes sense now. Sad for Lufuno but this is good news to me.
Without wasting more time, they drop me home. Oscar’s car is parked outside my yard. I haven’t seen this guy in ages.
I open the door without knocking and Oscar is in my house watching soccer. Shouldn’t this guy be bailing me or looking for advise for me? He jumps out of the couch in shock. He puts his finger on the mouth to signal me not to make noise. He rushes out and I follow behind.
“What are you doing here?” I ask. “Shouldn’t you be looking for help to get me out of jail?”
“I know…I was almost on…”
“There is no excuse…what are you doing in my house?” I ask angrily. I had been freezing in that cell and he was here in my house watching TV like the man of the house. “Are you still on Lufuno?”
“What? Come on man…does everything has to do with Lufuno?”
“What do you want me to think? I have been expecting you to come for me but you here chilled as if nothing is wrong.”
“I was here with your wife and kid,” he says and I frown. My wife and kid? “Your mother called me and I had to pick Michelle from school…I was here with your wife and Michelle overheard us talking about you in jail and she didn’t take it well. So I wanted to make sure they are both fine before I leave…so ever since they left for Michelle’s room, they are not yet back. Your wife had to calm Michelle.”
Where is Mandiwana if Lufuno is here calming Michelle from the news? I leave Oscar outside and storm inside the house. Atleast Michelle will be calm and glad to see me. I hurry to her room and softly knock before opening it.
Mxm!
By wife Oscar means Mandiwana. She is sleeping peacefully with Michelle in her arms. It is evident that she fell asleep while soothing Michelle to sleep.
I wish for this peace in my life. I miss it. All I have to go through is Tshepo yelling at me for letting her down or having to deal with Lufuno’s mess. I miss being peaceful like my daughter and her nanny. Trouble seems to be far from them.
I walk in and pick the blanket from the closet. I lay it on top of the duvet and Mandiwana opens her eyes. She closes her eyes and opens them again real quick. She can be dramatic sometimes. I smile as she pulls herself to sit.
“Shhh,” I say quietly to her. I don’t know how much rest they needl so Michele can’t wake up now unless she needs to.
“You are home? Come here…I was worried about you,” she whispers and pulls me into her arms. I didn’t know I needed this until she squeeze me real tight. I feel her heart throbbing hard out of her chest.
“You can get some rest.”
“Are you alright?” she asks instead.
“I am fine.”
“Thank you for taking care of Michelle,” I say while staring into her eyes.
“My job,” she says quietly before pulling me into another warm hug, “You don’t know how happy I am to see you. I am happy you are fine.”
I let go of the hug and cover them with a blanket as Mandi goes back to sleep. I need a long hot shower and to change out of these clothes. I carefully walk out of Michelle’s room and Oscar is here in the corridor in all smiles.
“She makes a good wife, doesn’t she?” he says and I ignore him.
“Remember how you have always wanted someone who would love your daughter as their own?” he asks and raise his brows.
Mxm!
“She is Michelle’s nanny,” I say.
“I will remind you again in two years,” he says.
Remind me what? I am not attracted to Mandi. Am I? No, I have Lufuno. As tough as our love can be, my heart yearns for Lufuno Mudau.
I glare at how cute they look together before closing the bedroom door.
My heart still longs for Lufuno, it does.