The ONE

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LUFUNO

It has been a few days since my date with Lora. She cannot stop singing about how great it was at the Fashion show that we attended together.
With all the hurt, deep down my heart, it made me smile to see her happy face. I am glad I took those Fashion show tickets from Muzi. He just showed up. He placed two tickets on the pedestal next to my bed and left without me confirming if I would attend. I didn’t want to. I was beaten up by how much Khathu is so mad at me. It is all my fault and I know I broke his heart and breaking up with me was the best decision for him.

Muzi walked in, minutes after Lora has given me the phone to speak to Gean. Khathu was still ignoring her calls.
That hit me hard.
It hurt me badly. To know that Khathu wants nothing to do with me.
Muzi walked in, with pity on his face. I don’t talk about Khathu with him, but I bet he had figured that we are not in a good space.
“What’s up? Thought you would still be celebrating the success of the surgery?” he said, standing beside the chair I am sitting on. The doctor is keeping me around for a few days, just to make sure that everything is perfectly fine. I feel perfectly fine because the light doesn’t blind me like it used to. I should be happy but I wish Khathu could just talk to me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. I had told him that he doesn’t need to come here again. If he had stayed away from me, I wouldn’t be feeling like a loser right now. If he had stayed away from me, I wasn’t going to feel guilty that he was the first person I saw immediately after the surgery. It could have been Khathu.
Dammit, it could have been Khathu.
“I came to drop this,” he said. He placed two VIP tickets on the pedestal next to my bed. “Some guy I know needed the tickets for himself and his girlfriend…but he changed his mind. So I thought I could give you so that you attend with that nurse girl.”
I honestly was not interested. Not interested at all but Lora jumped when she saw the tickets while bringing me the medication. I told her she could keep the tickets and take a friend with her, but she insisted I go with her. I ended up warming up to the idea. It was my very chance to attend the New York Fashion show. I might never land in New York ever again. Once I land back home, my focus will be to re-build my empire from foundation. I know in my gut that a lot of work need to be put in place if I still want to be the best event planner in town.
Lora and I went to the Fashion show. She was stunned that the seats were ‘front row’, right there were the perfect models were walking by. Right there were the celebrity presenters engaged with the crowd. It was mind-blowing.
Muzi did a few runaway appearances. He had always had a great body and big ups to him for turning his life around and making his body pay the bills – in a right way. I liked the formal wear but I couldn’t stop laughing when he walked the runaway for the swim-wea. He was charming and he took over the show with his Zulu signature dances somewhere in the middle of the runaway. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was stupid but awesome. It felt good to laugh again. It felt good to have that minute – where you forget about everything and laugh your heart out. I had that moment and it felt good, I needed to keep the feeling.
If it wasn’t for Lora, after the show I was going to get a cab back to the hospital. But because of her, the VIP tickets gave us freedom to mingle with the stars. I even got a chance to genuinely tell Muzi I forgave him for what he did to me. I need to take my eye-sight as a new chance to life. I need to make changes on all things possible.

Back to reality, I feel like crap today. Nothing to laugh about and nothing to be excited about, except flying back to South Africa.
I had Gean organise my parents and Khathu to meet me at the airport. I don’t even know if he will show up.
Lora and the other young nurses hosted a tea-party for a farewell last night. She has been good to me. She promised to come visit me one day after saving enough for a return ticket. I think I will pay for that ticket when I get married – if I ever get married. She listened to my sad stories almost every day. She was more than a nurse to me. I had been a burden to her but she never showed it.

In the flight back home, I am nervous about what I will find back at home. My business. My life. Everything. I am going to start all over again and the thought that I might be doing this without Khathu scares the hell out of me.
Gean has sent me the online portfolio of the wedding she was planning for me. This girl is for keeps. I had my days where I shoved her ideas because I was feeling like a wreck but she kept working on my project. This is beautiful. Not a typical wedding.
I am starting to sweat up as the plane touches the ground. I close my eyes and make a little prayer that Khathu is by the arrival gates. I pray that he is here so that we can start over, start over our relationship again.
People start lining up to get off the plane. I sit still, still praying for my wishes to come true.
It is just after six o’clock in the evening and he should be free to come and see me. I pick my handbag from my lap and head to the door.
It is a bit chilly. I feel myself shivering as I pace to go claim my luggage – still praying.
The gentleman next to me picks his bag, and when he saw me leaning to pick mine, he grabs it for me.
“First time in South Africa?” he asks in an American accent.
“Oh, No,” I chuckle. “I am back home.”
“Right?” he laughs at himself while putting my luggage bag next to me. “You look nervous, that’s why I thought….you know?”
That obvious, huh?
“I just can’t wait to meet my family.”
“Right! Welcome home then,” he says while picking his backpack. He grabs his bigger luggage bag and nods at me.

*****

“My baby…” Mom says while opening her arms for a hug. With a smile, I fell in her arms. She prayed for me. She prayed with me.
Still in my mother’s arms, Dad pats me on the back while my Mom rocks me for longer than normal. I know what she is feeling. She wanted me to regain my eyesight, more than anybody else.
I pull out of the hug and we all laugh. She was suffocating me. Gean also opens her arms for me and I do the same.
“Thank you,” I say while squeezing her. Where would I be without her? “Is he here?”
She breaks out of the hug and shakes her head.
“Am I late?” I hear a voice behind me.
My heart jumps for a second.
Lucy.
She is here.
“Lucy?”
“Don’t say anything,” she says and walks to give me a brief hug.
I remember the words I told my mother in the flight to New York. I also remember that happy feeling which I am longing for.
“Thanks for coming,” I say and she smiles. She turns to greet our parents.
We will deal with our issues some day!
My father picks my bag and wheels it towards the exit. Everybody follow him except me. I look around for Khathu. Maybe he was running late.
He was probably in a meeting and couldn’t get here on time.
Or he might be done with me.
“Come let’s go…Spur ribs are waiting for us,” Dad’s voice jerks me out of my thoughts.
I don’t want to be here, eating. I am not hungry. I am grateful for my family, but I need to find Khathu now.
“Gean, can you drive me to Khathu’s house?” I ask.
“Lufuno,” she whispers. I know that look she is giving me. That pity look.
“What? I can’t just sit here and pretend that everything is fine. Please drive me there.” She finally nods. I promise my parents another dinner date. I need to get my man and I need to get him now.
The drive to Centurion is silent.
“I forgot to tell you…” she says, “Khathu was in a camp for two weeks and he couldn’t pick his phone.”
“Gean? What?” I stare at her.
“I forgot. We were running around, working on the wedding in Zimbabwe and it slipped my mind.”
I feel better though.
But why didn’t he try to reach out after that?
Gean parks outside. I ask her to stay. Incase he doesn’t want me to stay.
Just two knocks and the door flies open.
There he is. I can see him again. My handsome man.
He is astonished to see me. He stares right into my eyes and I keep the gaze.
“Can I come in?” I ask after a piercing silence. Just like me, he doesn’t know what to say, he doesn’t know what to do.
“Uhm…” he makes a way for me, “Sure.”
This is not how I pictured our first time after…. I am longing for his touch. His warm hug. His kisses on my lips. But is that not too much to ask after asking him to stay behind? The guilt that Muzi was the first to hug me is killing me. I am bickering with my heart – whether I should tell Khathu or not.
He looks sad it pains me.
I miss him.
I hug him from the back and he stops on his tracks. I feel that he is tense. My tears without a warning stream down my face. He doesn’t move. I wish for him to turn and pull me into a proper hug but he doesn’t…and it hurts.
“I miss you Khathu,” I say after a longest while. He doesn’t move but I can feel him take out a deepest sigh. I feel his hands unlocking my arms. I let go of him and he walks to the couch and slide into it.
I know he wants to hold me, but he is fighting not to.
“You look good,” he says and I take a sit across him, shivering.
“Thank you. I miss you,” I say and he nods.
How are we going to talk?
“Khathu, I want to apologise for asking you to stay behind…after what we went through together…I just thought I was too much of a burden to you. You were neglecting everything and I was scared that I was making you selfish. You never made time for Michelle or Kgosi…and it was hurting me….”
“It was my choice,” he says coldly.
“Uhm…I changed my mind because I was missing you and I needed you Khathu. I asked Gean to get you to me but she couldn’t get hold of you. She couldn’t get you….but…”
“That is why you got him to be with you?”
“What?”
“You heard me,” he says, clears his throat and rest his back on the couch.
“What are…”
“Your Ex.”
What? Did Gean tell her?
“He just…he just showed up.”
“He just showed up and then?”
“And…”
I don’t know what to say. The question I have in my head are making it impossible for me to get on with giving him the answers.
“Khathu…”
“He just showed up and then what?” he spits out the words.
“And I let him see me.”
“And you let him see you.” He lets out a brief laugh. “So you had to let him back in your life after what he did to us…me?”
“I didn’t let him back in my life….”
“Then what were you doing cheering for him when he was topless?” he says with a disgusted face.
“What?”
“If you did not let him back in your life…what were you doing cheering him on stage?”
I am defeated.
I am trying to think who told him about the fashion show?
Dammit! The magazines or TV or Facebook. It was a biggest fashion show for crying out loud.
“Look…look…he gave us the tickets and I agreed to join Lora…I promise.”
“I bathed you Lufuno. I changed your clothes and your underwears. I fed you. I did everything, everything for you because I loved you…” Loved? “I thought you loved me enough to know where to draw the line in anything you do. you could have moved on with your life because I am not good enough for you…but you could have done it with someone else but him.”
“The…”
“Him? Lufuno? Him? You had to let him back in your life? you allowed him back into your life after everything he put us through? Oh noo…”
“Please…”
“Shut it up and leave my house,” he says walking towards the door.
I am defeated to even say a word to him.
It was wrong but innocent.
It was wrong and I know it.
“I did not let Muzi back in my life Khathu…I needed to forgive him…for my sake…and I did. I am sorry for hurting you. I am so so so sorry.”
“Everything is about you Lufuno.”
“No, it is not.”
“It is…” he walks closer to me, “You didn’t want me to come with you so you left me behind…when YOU wanted me there…you got Gean to jump the bridge for you to get me there….When your EX showed up…YOU decided to forgive him for the things he did to US. You let him back into your life because I dont matter, right?”
It is not like that.
“I am sorry.”
“I lived for you. Biggest mistake of my life.”
I feel my heart pumping out of my chest. He doesn’t mean that.
“I am sorry,” I whisper.
“You are not.”
“I am…please forgive me,” I say and he walks to open the door.
Please?