THE ONE

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LUFUNO

I had to be selfish and focus on my well-being. Khathu and I have been through a lot. Honestly, it is draining and painful. Ever since we have been together, all we do is to hustle for our happiness. Nothing goes simple and well.
Sometimes it feels like a punishment for all the sins I have committed. I just cannot be happy.
I hated myself for choosing to be far away from him, but I had to do this. He deserves to live his life and I cannot expect him to always have me to nurse all the time. He says he doesn’t mind but sometimes I feel like more than a burden to him. He deserves a break.
He didn’t accompany me to the airport and I understand his anger. He has always been by my side but I had to do this with my mother. She must be the one to nurse me than him. He has done enough already and I cannot expect him to move more mountains for me. He needs to mend his relationship with Michelle. She always wants to visit, but because of me, she couldn’t.
“Would you like a cup of coffee?” Mom asks.
“I don’t want to be pee’ing non-stop. I will have pop corns.”
“Alright, I will get you that,” she says and walks away from our chair. We are already sitting at the international departure lounge. We will be flying out of this place in no time.
I pick my iPod and put on my headsets. Hillsong music has been my favourite for months now. Khathu loaded their albums on my iPod and it is them that keep me company when I feel a need for someone to touch my heart.
It is when my head is rested on my chair when I smell a familiar scent. I should say, ever since I lost my eye sight, my other senses work over time. I smell things from afar and can hear noise from a far away distance. I bring myself to sit, trying to breath in the air…to confirm the scent. It is strong to my ears.
I look around and all I can see is shadow of other passengers in the lounge. I am tempted to call out the name, but what if someone is just wearing the same cologne from my past.
“They only have salt and vinegar pop corns…so be careful when you eat this,” Mom say while putting a packet of pop corns on my lap.
“Oh, flip!” I call out with my hand on my chest.
“What is wrong? Did I scare you?”
“No…I was not expecting you back so soon.”
“Oh sorry. The snacks bar is not busy,” she says and opens a packet of pop corns for me. She puts it in my hand and let me feed myself.
I feel like eyes are on me. I am used to these feelings because everybody pity me. I even wonder what I look like when blind and being helped to eat or do everything else. It is normal for people to watch…but this feeling is different. I want to ask my mother to tell me if she sees anyone staring at me. That would be awkward, so I don’t say anything.
“Your father and I didn’t really enjoy when we were in New York…it was too busy and fast for us.” My parents travel all over the world since their retirement. That is just a perfect picture of how I want to see myself someday in the future. To be friends with my partner and travel all over the world.
“I liked it the time I went…I think it is perfect for the youth stars.”
“Tell me…how are things with Khathu?” she asks.
“We are fine.”
“I thought he was going to see you off.”
“He is not happy about me going to New York without him.”
“You should have let him go with you. He loves you. He loved you in your weakest points of life.”
“I feel like his burden Mma…he made me feel like his burden. When his friends called him to join him for drinks…I could tell he was disappointment to tell them that he cant join them. I feel like he cannot leave me because he pities me…so this one month will let him decide if I am the one he really loves.”
“Come on…he loves you.”
“But he keeps chatting to other women. He always hide his phone or shut his laptop when I enter the room. I can see light the of the phone but when he notices me, he quickly hides it. There is something that he is hiding…and I am giving him this time to also reflect on us,” I say. I haven’t told him of his behavior but I notice these things. We haven’t been intimate for a while and I have no courage to ask him what is bothering him. What I know is…there might be something bigger than us. I don’t want him to feel pity for me.
“You are jumping into conclusion if you have never confronted him about this,” she says.
“I know what I am talking about Mma.”
The announcement from the intercorn calls us to line up for departure.
My mother picks our bags and grabs my hand to lead me to the line. In no time we are settled in our flight to America.
Sixteen hours of boredom, that is what it is going to be.
I miss watching the sky from the window. I miss taking perfect shots for Instagram and just living a perfect life.
I keep smelling that scent and it is honestly starting to bother me. Why is this person not saying anything? If it is who I think it is, then they should just say something.
“Your sister called me a week ago,” Mom says.
“Oh,” I say.
I have no interest in what she is doing. She is not my sister anymore. She is not my sister.
“You guys need to sit down and talk…you are sisters and you need each other.”
“I don’t know about her but I don’t need her in my life. She is not my sister.”
“You need to heal from what she made you go through…my baby, I want you two to sit down and fix things.”
“There is nothing to fix. She ruined my life.”
“And I believe it was not intentional.”
“I don’t need her in my life…that’s all.”
“You cannot live this life alone. It is impossible.”
“I have been doing just perfect.”
“Okay, anyway, Lucy said she is sorry for what happened and she forgives you too. What you decide after this is for your own sake…but she does apologise.”
I turn to the chair behind me. I can’t really see but I just had to turn to the seats behind me. that strong scent again.
“What is wrong?”
“Mma…who is siting behind us?” I ask and I felt her move.
“There are a lot of people behind us, why?”
“Uhm…nothing…never mind.”
We chatted up for what seems like hours and she tells me it is after eight in the evening. She asks to sleep so I ask her to play me an audio book before she falls asleep.
Audio books has made my life so easier. I listened until my battery died, I don’t even know the time. Before getting myself to sleep, I pull my headsets out of my ears with my phone on my lap. I raise my hand above my head to switch off my aircon so I that I can sleep. I reached for the ceiling and my phone falls from my lap.
“Dammit!” I softly says while sitting down. I have no idea where the phone landed as I cannot trace the light. I don’t want to wake my mother up.
“Here,” I hear a whisper and someone taking my hand. They place the phone on my hand. That scent is here, close to me.
“Who are you?” I ask but they don’t respond.
I catch my breath when I realise they are gone.
It is him and this is freaking me out.

*****

“Are you ready my baby?” Mom asks with her hands in mine. I don’t remember how many times she has prayed for me. I know I am going to be fine. I know I am going to see again but we still need to pray that nothing goes wrong.
“I am ready,” I say. It is going to be painful but this has to be done. “Mma, thank you for coming with me.”
“Don’t thank me. You are my baby and I want to see you happy again,” she says.
“Ouch! Not even a warning?” I ask when I felt something sting on my shoulder.
“You told them not to tell you when they inject you,” Mom says with a laugh. She squeeze my hand and kisses the back of it.
“Count to five for us ma’am,” a woman says and I take a deep breathe before attempting to count to five. Without another warning, I am wheeled out of the room.
A woke up again with a slight headache. I take it the surgery is done.
“Mma,” I whisper.
“Yes baby…” I hear her voice walking towards me.
“How did it go?”
“Everything went perfectly fine. They are going to keep this bandage for just a few days and the healing process will start.”
“I am scared. What if it doesn’t go according to plan?” I say.
“You are going to be fine. It is often when the doctor is confident about one’s recovery. All the doctors are confident…and we are at the best eye institute.”
“And you prayed for me.”
“I prayed for you…so you will be fine.”

Mom stayed with me for a week before she flew back to South Africa. She helped me call Khathu, to tell him that I am fine. He was not really thrilled to hear from me. I think I broke his trust. I think I hurt him with deciding to do this on my own. I hope he understands someday.
Mom didn’t want to leave but there is no reason for her to be here. I am well taken care off and I don’t need people to stop their lives because of me.
“How are you feeling today?” Nurse Lora asks as she enters the room. She is the one who takes care of me. From the first day I got here.
“Better than yesterday. My eyes feel very heavy though,” I say. I still have the bandage on and it should be off in a day or two.
“The veins are getting stronger by the day. You will get used to the feeling,” she says and a hear a glass land on the table beside me. I can smell fresh roses too.
“What is that?”
“Flowers from your special somebody,” she says in a charming voice.
“Special somebody?”
“Yeah…he dropped them this morning. Such a handsome fella, hey? I didn’t know they make them hella fine brothers in South Africa, huh?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You boyfriend? The one who often comes here…I see him outside your ward sometimes.”
“What? What does he look like?” I ask. It cannot be my boyfriend. Khathu is home, in South Africa unless he came to see me. I think he would have told me.
“Tall with muscles. He has beautiful eyes and a cute smile.”
“Lora, can you have security around my ward? If he ever shows up…have security guards catch him and bring him inside. I think I know who it is but he is not supposed to be here.”
“What?” she sounds shocked. “He is always here and I was sure you knew about it. He will probably be here again during lunch hour visits.”
“Its okay…just get him caught Lora.”
“Okay…okay…I will do that.”
I was sleeping peacefully until I hear adisorder outside.
“I said let me go…I will walk on my own,” I hear a familiar voice outside. I suck in my breathe and get myself ready to have a word with him.
The door flies open and Lora rushes next to my bed.
“He is here…”
“Muzi, what do you want from me?” I boldly ask and there is silence in the room. “What do you want from me? I don’t want to call the police on you so…what do you want from me?”