THE ONE

INSERT 63

MANDIWANA

For the first time I wish to know how to drive. Khathu is passing red lights like he is playing that TV game he plays his with his daughter. I am here, holding on to my seat belt for my dear life.
“Inwi Khathu, can you even see where you are going?” I am asking this because he is driving like he is crazy. He has two kids already and I don’t even have any, so please…he has got to chill.
“Will you ever shut up Mandiwana, will you ever?” he yells at me after turning into a sharp curve.
Why is he angry at me now?
What did I do?
He takes a quick glance of me and I shrug. I just want to get out of this car, alive.
“What did they say about Lufuno?” I ask because I still do not know. I still do not know if we are going to collect a corpse or if we are visiting her at a hospital ward.
“What did Lucy do to her?”
“What?” I ask.
He hasn’t responded me. Is Lufuno dead or alive? Why is it so hard for him to give me an answer?
“Mandiwana, what happened after I left?”
See what I meant? Now I have to explain to everyone what happened. He yells at me and I startle.
“They were just arguing and Lufuno got angry the moment Lucy brought her baby into the picture.”
“What?” he asks. He seems shocked. “What exactly did Lucy say to Lufuno?”
Why does it matter what Lucy said?
“I forgot the exact words,” I lie. I am not going to repeat those piercing words to anyone, ever!
“Mandiwana, what did Lucy say?” He parks the car and stares into my eyes. I am not good with reading eyes but I can easily see worry in his eyes. He wants to cry but doesn’t know where to begin. He is also handsome, while at it.
“She didn’t….”
“WHAT THE HELL DID LUCY SAY?” he roars again.
“Khathu…please…”
“Mandiwana…What did Lucy say to Lufuno?” he yells some more.
“She said it is good that Lufuno’s daughter is dead because she would have turn to be a whore like her mother,” I yell out too and Khathu hits the stirring wheel a hundred times before jumping out of the car. I am out here running after him with people watching how crazy I look right now.
Mxm. I should have stayed at home. I should have stayed at Mamelodi.
“Lufuno Mudau…she was admitted here in the afternoon…,” Khathu says to the receptionist.
She searches on the computer and says, “Second floor, ward 2B-8 but it is no longer visiting hours.”
Without saying a word, Khathu storms to the stairs.
Haikhona! I know where he is going so I will wait for the elevator.
Khathutshelo mara…so, all this time he knew she is admitted here? I was here ready to mourn her death because he kept this from me.
By the time I get to the second floor, Khathu is standing with that friend of his who couldn’t make a fire. He has his hands in the pocket and Khathu is walking around the corridor.
Khathu walks to the door of a ward but meets a nurse and a doctor coming from inside.
“Excuse me sir, we cannot let you in right now…” the doctor says.
“I need to see her…she is my fiancée.”
“We stabilized her and she needs to be out for few more hours.”
“Can I just see her?” he begs.
“I said you cannot see her,” the doctor says.
“Are you crazy? Are you really crazy? I need to see her, right now.”
“I am afraid we cannot let you in Sir…please…”
“Look man…I think you should let them do their job…you will see her tomorrow,” Khathu’s friend says while pulling him away from the doctor.
“Can you atleast tell us how she is doing?” Khathu asks calmly.
“She is fine. She will be fine. There was just a little damage in her brain and we are still working on what happened when she hit the floor. We did a scan and nothing is broken but I am not getting a response I desire from her.”
“Do you think she lost her memory?” I ask. I am afraid of head injuries.
“Too soon to tell but I don’t think so. Her skull was not broken. You shouldn’t worry.”
“And, is she breathing?” I ask. That woman was not breathing when they took her to hospital.
“Yes, she is. Let her rest and you will see her tomorrow.”
“Sir, can I please see her? please…I need to apologise for what I did and I want her to know that I was here…please,” he begs and the doctor allows him in. I follow behind him but the nurse stops me.
I stand by the door and Khathu gets inside, leaving the door open so that he doesn’t take time.
“I love you Lufuno…please forgive me for leaving you alone with Lucy. Babe…I was just so angry and I didn’t want to do anything that I would regret. Believe me babe, believe me…I wish I had stayed and help you fight your battle with Lucy. Please forgive me,” Khathu says. His voice is breaking and he sounds sobered up. He mumbles some more words before coming back.
“She will be fine,” the doctor says and he nods while sitting next to his friend.
“Can we wait for her to wake up?”
“I would advise you to come back tomorrow morning. For now, I need her to rest and we won’t be allowing anyone in until them,” the doctor says and walks away.
Oh please, if we really wanted to go in, we would have just walk in. Ohh, not really! The security guy comes and ask us to leave since visitors are not allowed at this hour of the day, on this floor.
“Mike, thanks for bringing her here man,” Khathu says to his friend.
“Don’t mention it…you would have done the same for my family,” Mike says.
“I shouldn’t have walked out of the house….I shouldn’t have.”
“I need a drink…I need a drink, man,” Mike says while lighting a smoke. “Let’s have a few drinks at Levels…just to clear our heads. It was a hectic day for me today.”
No, we have to go so that I can sleep.
“Eish…man…I need to wake up early to see Lufuno.”
“I just need company. I promise to have three bottles only…only three.”
“Three! Fine. I could also need some drink.”
Noooooo.
“Cool, you will drive behind me,” Mike says while throwing the smoke and getting into his car.
“Do you really need to go there Khathu?” I ask, wishing for him to change his mind. I could need some sleep.
“I need a drink Mandiwana. Just a few bottles of Heineken will make me sleep,” says a man who was drunk hours ago.

*****

Heeeee!
Do people ever sleep?
I thought I have seen it all!!!
Pretoria is not for me, angeke!
Clap once!
I am walking beside Khathu and all I see is women wearing t-shirts and skirts that do not cover their butt. Instead, the weaves are covering their butt. Ebo!
The music is playing loudly and everyone is standing on their feet. If we are going to be standing until these guys are done with their drinks, then I am glad I am wearing pumps. Not to mention a dress that would be fit for church. These women are wearing inches of stilettos and dancing wearing them?
“What are you drinking?” Mike shouts in my ear.
“Cream Soda,” I shout back and he frowns. What does he want me to drink? I don’t like Coke. Mike leaves and Khathu stays with me. He is sad and my heart is broken to see him like this.
“You don’t have to blame yourself, you know?” I say and stares into his eyes. From his eyes I could see the innocent boy I used to run around barefooted with. The same boy I got married to, in his mother’s garden. I break a smile and he smiles too.
Good! He looks good when he smiles.
Mike comes back with an ice bucket full of drinks. What happened to two Heineken each and what happened to my Cream Soda?
“I got you this, Brutal fruit 8…very very nice,” he gives me an empty glass.
“I don’t drink alcohol.”
“It is 5 percent cold drink…too little to be effective. Take a sip…if you don’t like it then we will throw away,” he says while gulping from his Heineken bottle.
A five percent cold drink?
He places the ice bucket and Khathu picks his drink. I am not going to drink a five percent cold drink but I don’t want to bother these guys.
I am so tired and sleepy right now. Luckily the ladies who were behind us leave the chairs and we jump on them. Khathu is taking sips after sips of the alcohol. I am here watching both him and Mike look depressed. I think Lufuno’s incident shocked everyone and we are all worked up about it. Khathu is scared to lose her and Mike has seen it all. He played the hero of the day and spent the whole day in hospital.
The girls sitting next to us are drinking the same cold drink, so yes…it should be nice.
I pick one and take a few sips. It is not as bad as I thought! It taste really really nice for a five percent cold drink. Better than the Cream Soda I wanted.
Khathu is gulping the drinks without the care in the world. A part of him is missing. I can see regret in his eyes. I really feel for him. Mike is also just drinking from his bottle. We are all not talking to each other. All three of us are in our own worlds.
I am here watching these party girls dance without a care in the world.
Balance me here??? Are these girls married or ever going to be married?
They are shaking their bodies like those girls on music videos. What is that word they use? Twerking!!!! They are twerking infront of people, wearing dresses as short as t-shirts! Haaii! Clap once.
I turn to look at Khathu. He is not there. I thought he could be enjoying the view infront of him but he is not there. He has his eyes on the floor, just in his wonder world.
He should have just stayed in Venda. He wouldn’t be this stressed and in a middle of a messed up life like this. Things would have been different for him.
“Are you fine?” he asks while staring into my eyes. I didn’t notice he was now looking at me. I was lost in my own thoughts about us, back in Venda.
“Yes, I am fine.”
“Thank you.”
“For?”
“Always been there,” he says and licks his lips. His eyes are a bit closed and he looks too nice right now. I nod at him and quickly look away. I pick the third bottle and pour it in my empty glass.
“Do you want some more?” Mike asks while staring at the bucket. There is only one left.
“Ahhhh…not really,” I say and he stands anyway. It seems like he doesn’t want to go home and buying us these cold drinks is keeping him company.
That song that Dj Tira sings on plays and people start screaming, while others are standing from their chairs.
Heeeee! I have seen this vosho vosho dance on TV and people are doing it right now and it is so nice. I am all smiles and I am clapping my hands it feels so wrong with Lufuno in hospital but haayyy this song is nice.
I thought I would finish the fifth cold drink but nooo man…I feel so sleepy.
“Hey you…when you said five percent cold drink…what did…you mean?” I ask. I feel like I am talking slowly.
“Alcohol.”
“What?”
“What did you think?” he frowns.
“I don’t know…maybe I thought like…fifty percent juice, you know?” I shrug and he shakes his head.
“I think you should get going my man,” Mike says to Khathu, who nods and stands from his chair.
I feel happy, you know? I feel happy and sleepy at the same time. I feel like I can dance. I feel like…I am very very happy.
“Khathu…did you ever love me?” I ask. I feel brave too.
“What are you talking about?” he asks while driving us home. It could have been our home if his life wasn’t as messed up.
“We once got married when we were young…do you ever think what could have happened if you never left Venda?”
“I have…I have never thought about that,” he says and then smile.
“We would be married for real.”
“Most probably,” he says and laugh.
“You are still as handsome as you were years ago.”
“You are drunk,” he says and I laugh. Drunk? I can walk mos.
I don’t remember much when got to the house but Khathu wakes me when the car is already in the garage.
I get to the house and leave for the bedroom. I don’t even have a night-dress as I came here for a braai. I get into one of Khathu’s t-shirts that he kept in the other room. I will wash it fast fast in the morning before he wakes up.
Yazi my head feels heavy? My throat is dry and I need something extremely cold to drink.
Mike should have specified exactly what I was drinking. But that what what 8 drink is too nice to be alcohol, struuu.
I leave for the kitchen to get some water. I notice Khathu sleeping on the couch with his shoes on.
Who does that on a light coloured couch?
I get to the couch and untie the shoes. He jumps when I was pulling the shoes off his feet.
“What the hell?”
“It’s me…Khathu…its me.”
“What are you doing?” he asks while seating on the couch. “I was having a bad dream, sorry if I scare you.”
“You should go to bed,” I say.
“I am worried about Lufuno. I can’t stop blaming myself for what happened. What if she looses her memory? What if she doesn’t remember me?” he says and I get to sit next to him.
“Look…it wasn’t your fault. I don’t blame you…really. You are a good man Khathu and you should stop beating yourself up for what happened. Believe me…you are a good man.”
“Do you mean that?” he asks and rest his hand on my thigh.
Oh God!
We both look at his hand on my thigh. I forgot I was not wearing anything with the shirt. I don’t think Khathu saw that I was half naked.
He doesn’t move his hand away…and I don’t move it away too. It is so warm on my thigh and I am loving the tingling feeling that is consuming me.
“Do you mean that?” he asks and I nod. He stares into my eyes. It is dark but his eyes are sparkling. Seems like he was crying or was about to.
“You are a good man,” I say. He truly is.
He looks down to the floor with his hand still on my thigh.
“I should get going…I need to get to bed,” I say but truth be told, I don’t want to leave for bed. My head is kinda spinning right now.
“Don’t leave me, please,” he says while tracing his hand to my waist.
I am confused by all of this. This is a man I once liked a lot. My crush all of my childhood. This is Khathutshelo Nengwenda. Maybe I can just kiss him like I had always wished before? He won’t remember when he wakes up.
“You will be fine,” I whisper to him and he clears his throat. He moves his hand away and stands from the couch.
“Mandi…I am sorry,” he says while standing up.
I want to do this! Just one kiss that we will both forget.
I turn to him and plant a kiss on his lips. I want it, just this once when I am brave enough to do so.
“Mand…”
“Ssshhhhh…”