THE ONE

INSERT 70

MANDIWANA

My life is back to normal.
I just couldn’t do it in that place. Pretoria is not for me.
I decided to come back to start afresh. Even though when people envy the dresses that I stocked up from Marabastad, they have no idea what I went through to look this good. I had to deal with Khathu’s drama and it was a lot of it.
My hair flies as I walk. I love it and everyone asks where I bought it. I don’t even bother to answer.
I have been running away from Khuliso, my then boyfriend. I thought we were automatically over but looks like he wants us to work and I am not keen. I never liked him in the first place. I just didn’t want to break his heart. I thought he moved on but I was told he still asks for me even if I ignore his phone all the time.
I don’t want to face him. I am scared to be told that I have changed since I went to Pretoria. Ofcourse I changed. I saw better things than men walking around in flip flops.
I got a chance to see the likes of Oscar and Khathu, but heeeyyyy the problem is DRRAAAMMMAA!!!
I am walking up the street to Mrs Nengwenda’s house to see her. she asked for me and I know she wants all the news about what is going on in Pretoria. I promise myself not to say much. I just need to run away from them and their drama, nje!
This is three weeks after the day Lufuno tortured me with her questions.
She asked me if I enjoyed Khathu’s kiss. Her eyes were deep in mine I even thought she is lying about being blind. She didn’t miss to look straight in my eyes. I had no choice but to come.
Mrs Nengwenda is hanging the laundry on the washing line. I put my bag on the chair and help her to hang the laundry.
“Haw Vho Nengwenda, is Michelle here?” I ask as I hang Mrs Nengwenda’s skirt.
“Why do you ask?”
“Those are her shoes right there,” I say while pointing at the pink sneakers by the door.
“Oh yes…she is here. School holidays.”
“So Khathu is back?” I ask. I cannot be here if Khathu is.
Ebo! I will need to leave if Khathutshelo is here.
“Can’t my grand-daughter visit me without Khathu been here?” she asks and focuses on hanging the rest of the clothes.
“Where is she?” I haven’t seen her in a while because her mother is keeping her away from her step-mother to be.
“She will be back soon.”
I cannot wait to see her sweet smile and laugh.
I finish hanging the towels and I proceed to the garage. I take a seat, ready to help her with her sewing for the last time. I am going to be focusing on my school work, plus I have to stay the hell away from this family, forever and ever!
I believe Khathu is not here because the car is not on or outside the garage. At least I can breathe.
I pick the scissor on the table and start cutting the fabric like how we used to do it. It is hot out here but this place is drama-free. I don’t need to Uber ride to the next village. Here we walk for hours. Here we catch cheap buses to town.
Mrs Nengwenda comes to the garage with a tray of tea. It is already after eleven and extremely hot, but she likes her tea. She sets the tray next to me and start brewing her cup of tea.
“Ani ambi uri no vhuya,” she says. Was I supposed to report to her that I am back from Pretoria? I didn’t want her to know so that she doesn’t force me to stay in Pretoria and look after a grown man.
“I thought my mother told you,” I say.
“Why are you back?”
“Hey, Pretoria life is expensive,” I say and she frowns.
“How expensive if Khathu was looking after you?”
Khathu looking after me? Khathu looking after me? I was looking after him instead and I regret doing so. I thought he saw something special between us. I thought he saw how dedicated I was to look after him, but naaahhhhh.
“Khathu was not looking after me. I was taking care of myself and things were expensive for me that side,” I say. This is the reason I give everyone who is shocked to see me back in Venda, as if it is wrong to be back home.
“So Khathu is still going on with the wedding?” she asks.
Why doesn’t she ask her own son? I want to share about the red wedding because I am curious to find out what others think. Red wedding?
“Yes, his fiancée is arranging a red wedding,” I say and sip my tea. I want to laugh at Mrs Nengwenda’s face. She has a disgusted look on her face. But it bothers me that Khathu gave me the very same look a while ago.
“What is a red wedding,” she asks.
“You see a white wedding, ya lishira la white? Lufuno wants a red wedding. So she will be wearing a red wedding gown and everything is going to be red. You are going to wear a red two-piece,” I say and Mrs Nengwenda has her mouth open.
Exactly!
“Red…red like blood?” she asks and I laugh. She is not alone. Call me old-fashion but a red wedding? Haikhona.
“Red, red…apparently she wants everything to be red…everything Mrs Nengwenda.”
“Uya penga,” she says while shaking her head. “She is crazy…very crazy.”
“You should start sewing a red suit for yourself,” I say.
“Hai…never…”
“I even wonder why it matters to her because she won’t even see it anyway,” I say and sip my tea some more.
“What do you mean?”
“Haw! They didn’t tell you?” I say and cover my mouth.
“What didn’t they tell me? Mandiwan?”
“That she is now blind.”
You should see Mrs Nengwenda right now.
“What happened? Why is she blind?” Mrs Nengwenda asks and I think I have dished enough information. I shake my head and try to change the subject, but she is not having it.
“She was fighting with her sister.”
“What kind of a woman is she?” she asks. “What kind of a girl fights with her sister? What kind of a woman wants a red blood wedding? She is just going to bring darkness in my family.”
I shrug.
“Maybe it will be a beautiful wedding.” But I doubt.
“What beautiful wedding. We are not witches…why would we want a wedding in a red blood colour? What is she thinking wanting to make us the talk of town? Red red gown? Ndi vhuloi hezwi…that is witchcraft.”
“I agree,” I say. I thought I was the only seeing this.
I am finishing my tea when Khathu’s car slowly enters the gate. I quickly put the cup on the table and grab my bag from the other chair.
I cannot be here.
I hurry to the door to the kitchen and it is locked.
Tjo!!!!
There is nowhere to run to.
“What is wrong with you?” Vho Nengwenda asks as I stand in the middle of the garage, shaking. Why didn’t she tell me that Michelle is out with her father? I could have ran away long time ago. I swore to never ever see Khathu, ever.
Michelle jumps out of the car and runs to me. She throws herself on me and I give her a hug back.
“You are so grown,” I say and she giggles.
I missed her a lot.
“I missed you,” she says and hugs me before running to the house.
Khathu walks to where we are.
“When were you going to tell me about the red blood wedding Khathutshelo?” Mrs Nengwenda just threw me under the bus. I freeze while Khathu stares at me.
“Mandiwana, sit down,” he says and I want to run. “Put that bag down and sit down.”
“When were you going to tell me that your bride is going to wear a red gown? Asi vhuloyi izwo? Is that not witchcraft?”
“Lufuno is going to get a wedding that she wants and deserve,” Khathu says while grabbing a chair.
“A red wedding? A red wedding Khathutshelo?” his mother yells.
“It is just a colour,” he says.
“No…no…no…”
“Mma, we are not going to discuss this. Lufuno will get a wedding she wants.”
“Oni lisa? Did she feed you korobela or something?”
“No, she did not.”
I sitting here shaking. First, we didn’t talk ever since the last time in his house. I disappeared.
“See, Khathu…I have to go pick some parcel for my mother,” I say.
“I won’t take your time,” he says calmly.
He looks handsome but I don’t want to dwell on that. He gave me a frown when I asked him if he wanted me so I don’t want him anymore.
“I want you two to stop planning things behind my back, please. Stop complicating my life, the both of you. It stops today.”
“We are complicating your life? How?”
“Didn’t you send her to seduce me and kiss me so that I fight with Lufuno?” he asks and I drop my eyes. He didn’t have to mention this part. I am embarrassed about it.
“Haw..no khisana? So you two kissed?” Vho Nengwenda asks. She seem to be glad about it.
“Stop planting ideas into Mandiwana’s mind. Just stop it.”
“You have lost weight since you met that woman. Are you aware?” she asks and I cover my eyes. I didn’t want to mention it. He has lost a bit of weight.
Lufuno is showing him flames. LOL.
“Mma, I am not going to repeat myself…stop meeting up here to discuss ways to destroy my relationship with Lufuno. I made my choice and I want you to respect that. Lufuno is going to get a red wedding…even green if that will make her happy,” he says.
“Granny, I need scones and milk,” Michelle says from the door. Mrs Nengwenda stands and follow her granddaughter.
My heart is raising and my stomach is turning. I move my hair behind my ears.
“I want you to stop coming here.”
“But I am here for…”
“Mandiwana, I said you should stop coming here. You always feed my mother with information about my life. You had no right to discuss about my fiancée and our wedding with my mother…you had no right. You crossed the line and you should be ashamed of yourself,” he says and I keep my eyes to the floor.
I shouldn’t have said anything, he is right.
“I am sorry if I led you on in anyway…stop interfering in my life. Stop coming here if your topics are always about my life…please man.”
I swallow hard.
“You need to leave and you need to stop coming here, are we clear?” he asks and I nod. He should tell his mother the same thing because she will be calling me to come.
I swear to never come here again but I am still curious to know something.
“Did you like the kiss?” I ask for the last time as I stand. Khathu opens his mouth to say something but he doesn’t.
“Stay away from me,” he finally says and stand from his seat.
“Sure,” I say.
This is it! I am done with the Nengwendas.
I repeat, I am done with the Nengwendas.
“Also, you should be ashamed of yourself for wearing that wig you stole from Lufuno,” Khathu says, shakes his head and then disappears.
Mxm!