THE ONE

INSERT 61

KHATHU

“Guess what babe?”
Lufuno is sleeping next to me. She opens one eye and frown at me for waking her up. She looks too pretty even when tries to pick a silly face. She yawns and pull herself to sit.
I am excited to share the good news with her.
“What do you have on the tray?”
“Eggs and bacon sandwich; and juice.”
“Why are you up so early?”
“My mother woke me up with a call,” I say. I am glad she woke me up. “She told me the uncles are going to Tshepo’s house for the damages. So that means that they can meet your family soon.”
“That is great news,” she says while rubbing her eyes.
“Are you going to see an Optometrist for your eyes? You can’t always struggle with them every morning.”
“I am used to it.”
She literally doesn’t like the light in the mornings and I never get used to this. I am kinda worried about her but she isn’t. We had to change my curtains because they were kinda too thin and she could not deal in the mornings.
“Let’s invite a few friends to celebrate next weekend.”
I am super proud that I am marrying a woman of my dreams. The woman I always loved dearly.
“Tea party?” she asks. She likes everything that has to do with flowers but not this time. We are having a simple braai with our friends on a Saturday afternoon, that’s all.
“No tea…or tables…or décor or anything related. We are having a braai. Make some salads and I will braai the meat with the guys.”
“Cool…I will get down with it during the week.”
That is more like it.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah…you know I am not a morning person.”
“I wanted to ask you…when are you calling Lucy?”
“I called her last week but she told me she was going into a meeting and couldn’t chat with me.”
“Invite her…you never know.”
“Oscar?”
“Maybe they will mend things…maybe not. Plus, I have noticed him eyeing Mandi.”
“Ohh…then I wouldn’t want to make them feel awkward seeing each other in this circle. Don’t invite Oscar.”
“He is going to show up anyway…come on…he knows almost everyone I know, and when he finds out about the braai, he is going to show up anyway.”
“Oh…I see.”
“Whats up? Does he make you uncomfortable? You haven’t forgiven him?” I ask. “I am being inconsiderate tagging him in my life, ain’t I?”
“No…no…please…you can’t stop being friends because of me.”
“But I want you to be comfortable around all my friends.”
“Yeah…I am.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am sure,” she says and I kiss her lips before jumping into a shower. I am seeing Michelle today so I am taking her out for breakfast after dropping Lufuno home. I have to respect Julia’s wishes so I promised not to get Michelle attached to Lufuno until we are married. These are some of the sacrifices I have to make until I get my things in order. Thank God Lufuno understands.

I pick Michelle after dropping Lufuno at her apartment. We have a list of things to do today and I am glad I do not have to go to the salon with her. I don’t mind but hey, women gossip in salons. It is either they talk about men and how they treat them and it is always awkward to listen to such conversations. We did a little shopping in Centurion Mall and have lunch at Wimpy.
“Daddy, when am I meeting my little brother?” Michelle asks after licking her ice cream. She always brings him up since I showed her the photos and promised to take her to see him.
“Very soon.”
“Is he really small?”
“He is very small.”
“I bought him a gift. Papa helped me to wrap it.”
“What did you buy him?”
“A shirt and shoes.”
“He is going to love it.”
“When am I going to see Aunty Mandi and Aunty Lufuno?”
“Very soon my baby.”
“Mommy doesn’t want me to see them?”
“No baby…Aunty Mandy is busy and Aunty Lufuno is working…” The lies I have to tell. Julia should just stop being too hard on my baby. I have my own life and she has to make peace with it. I understand though, that I need to marry Lufuno first…so I won’t bring up a fight on this one until then.
I spend the rest of the weekend and the following week with Michelle. That meant I could only see Lufuno during my lunch hour break at work. Thank God her working hours are flexible enough for us to see each other for long.
I drop Michelle home on Friday after school. She cannot be here when the house is full of my alcoholic friends and colleagues. Most of my friends haven’t seen my house, so this is a house warming and engagement party altogether.
I am glad I chose to do this because almost everyone I know is here and is happy for Lufuno and I. My babe only has Gean as her friend but she will be blown away when she notices her sister and Masindi in the crowd later on.
I tried to keep Oscar away from the braai, but just as I thought, he showed up with my other friends. I already told him not make things awkward for Lufuno and her sister when she comes through. I know he is eyeing Mandiwana, but he can rather keep it to himself so that he doesn’t mess the day up for everyone.
Lufuno prepared a lot of salads for the braai and the rest of the work is in my shoulders. We started the fire late so I am the one delaying the lunch. My friends are not helping but complaining.
“Babe, is the meat getting ready?” Lufuno asks from the porch with a glass of wine in hand.
I am marrying a beautiful woman, hey. Her ring blings perfectly with the sun. She is blending well with my friends’ women and I am happy that everything is going on well just perfect.
“We are almost there, babe,” I lie. We are not even close to done.
“Don’t you have some more fire lighters? This fire is not catching,” Mike says while trying to blow on the braai stand.
“Come on man…this fire will catch.”
“I am telling you not,” Mike added.
I know we have a lot of fire lighters in the house but I am lazy to search high and low for it. I want to call Lufuno to do it for me but she is in a middle of a discussion and all those women seem to be having fun.
I tread to the kitchen to look for the lighters. My phone vibrates and I get it from my back pocket.
Pictures of Kgosi. Ncooo…this melts my heart. I asked Tshepo to send me more pictures. I scroll on the ten pic she sent me and I ended up landing on her Instagram. She loves to post a tease of him and damn the pictures she puts up are always dope.
Ohhh…dinner date. Nice! So she has a new man, huh? I chuckle just a bit in misbelief. I am happy for her though. She does deserve some loving.
Hmmmm, I should give a bit of respect to the dude. The romantic table-set I see on this pic here is dope.
“He got the outfit right. A thousand tick for that!!” one caption on her Instagram post with her wearing a dress and matching shoes. Nice.
“Good for you my dear,” I whisper while putting back my phone and walking to the pantry to search for these damn lighters. The door slightly closes behind me. Eish, I still need to fix this door or else it will close on Michelle when I am not around.
So where do I start searching. I haven’t been in this room since Mandiwana started helping with cleaning. Lufuno took over and re-arranged everything.
I hear someone walk into the kitchen. One of the guests, maybe. I stand in the middle of the room, looking around for a sign of braai materials or detergents or some container that doesn’t look like food. I don’t know who moved my things from the garage between Lufuno and Mandiwana.
“Damn you Oscar….you scared me,” I hear Lufuno say from the kitchen.
“What? Why?”
“I told you to stay away from me Oscar,” she whispers and I narrow my brows.
“Where is Khathu?”
“I don’t know… you need to get away from me,” she says. I wanted to walk back to the kitchen but something is not sitting well on me at this very second.
“So you are going to pretend for the rest of your life? Even getting married.”
“Please…”
“I am asking.”
“Just stay away from me Oscar.”
“I have been trying…I tried…I am failing…what should I do? Tell me? What am I supposed to do?”
“You promised me we will die with this…please I have already lost Lucy, I can’t lose Khathu.”
“So, I am nothing to you…huh? You care about the rest and I am nothing to you, huh?” he asks and laughs.
What the hell?
“Look…Oscar me and you were a mistake that evening; and Lucy can never find out. We made a mistake and you promised me you will die with the secret. Why are you bringing this up now?”
“You know why? Because evvveerryyone thinks I am a jerk for loving you and you are here moving on with your life as if I never had a moment with you. I know we were drunk but I told you how I felt that day and you allowed me to fall for you so deep to just let me go like some piece of rubbish.”
“Oscar…we are in my fiancé’s house…please…
“We have to talk about this at some point. I am the jerk here and you get to move on with your life like we never happened? No Lufuno…I am trying to move on for your sake but still I am failing to do so because you are here…and I get to see you everytime.”
“That’s why I told you to stay away from me and Khathu.”
“Hooowwww? When I am in love with you. Don’t pretend like you don’t know how I feel about you? You know I gave up on Lucy because what I feel for you is too deep, I was just going to continue to hurt her everytime.”
“Please Oscar. I am happy with Khathu, I am and I don’t understand why you want to ruin my life right now…can I be happy?”
“So you want me to keep pretending to him that I only forced a kiss on you? That nothing ever happened years ago?”
“What is the point? We were young. I was a mess…you were there…and you promised that we were both going to wipe it out of our minds…what changed now? I am engaged Oscar and please allow me to be happy. God has punished me for my sins…please.”
“Fine…fine…”
“I asked you not to come…why did you even show up.”
“I wanted to see you.”
“Stop Oscar…please…”
Fck!
F**k!
F***k!
“Do you know where the lighters are?” I ask from behind them. Lufuno startles and drops a glass of wine.
“Hey….”
“Get the hell out of my house,” I say to Oscar. Dude better get his stuff and walk out of my house.
“Sure…sure…” he says and walks out. He knows me too well to mess with me at this minute.
“You can follow him,” I say to Luufno while opening the drawers for the fucken damn lighters that got me here. I should have just drove to the mall to buy them.
“Khathu…”
“Follow him Lufuno…Follow him,” I say pointing at the door. I don’t know how I am feeling right now. I think I am fucken numb right now.
“Please…”
“Get out of my house Lufuno…” I raise my voice. She is testing me, isn’t she?
“Please…”
“I can explain.”
“Explain what? Explain how you and Oscar has a secret you chose to keep to yourself. Why did you even bring me into this fucken mess, huh? Why? So Oscar and you have been together at some point in life? Do you know how much I defended you the day you fought with Lucy? Why didn’t you come clean then?”
“No..it is..”
“It is what? So you and Oscar live to make all of us fools huh? You are messed up in your head Lufuno…you see me go around with that man knowing very well that you and Oscar have a secret that you swore to die with?”
“What secret?” Lucy asks while walking into the kitchen. She has a casserole dish in her hands.
Lufuno is standing numb in the middle of the kitchen. Lucy stares at the wine glass on the floor and then back at me.
“Khathu, what is wrong? What is going on?” Lucy asks.
“Your sister will tell you,” I say and pick the car keys on the table.
“What secret are you keeping with Oscar?” I hear Lucy ask before I slam the door shut.
Fuc**n damn lighters!!!