THE ONE

INSERT 81

LUFUNO

“Lufuno, I need you to leave.”
He is angry. Khathu is furious right now and I wish it wasn’t me causing him all this anger. He is standing by the door, with his hands in his pockets, waiting for me to leave.
I don’t want to go.
We need to talk.
I stand in the middle of the room with an attempt to have him change his mind. I don’t move.
He raises his brows at me and I stand still.
You know what hurts the most? The fact that – I didn’t do anything to hurt him, intentionally. I did not, I really DID NOT, bring Muzi back into our lives. I did what I thought was right, at that moment. I didn’t know the damage. Not everything is about me, if it was, then I wish to apologise. It is painful to know that everything you do is wrong in the eyes of everybody.
“Lufuno, please, I need to get back to my work. I have a lot to do,” he says.
It hurts me that he doesn’t want to hug me. He doesn’t want to kiss me and tell me that he loves me.
“I did not bring Muzi back into my life. I never did anything to intentionally hurt you. Believe me, I never meant to hurt you. I just thought…I was doing the right thing. It does kill me that my choices were wrong – my choice to leave you behind, despite my reasons. I regretted leaving you behind and when I realised it, I thought it was a right thing to have you come….i didn’t think it was selfish of me,” I say walking towards the door.
“Lufuno, I need you to leave.”
“We have a wedding in a month Khathu,” I say and he raises his brows at me.
“No, we don’t.”
“We do.”
“Here we go again…it has to be done your way.” He chuckles.
“Teach me to do things the right way then.”
“I cannot teach you to be what you are not…you are selfish and there is nothing I cannot do about that.”
“Then if you say that is how I am, then why don’t you accept me then?” I say, my voice slightly raised.
“Don’t raise your voice at me.”
“Sorry,” I let out an apology in a whisper.
“I need to get back to my work,” he says.
If it wasn’t for the anger in his voice, I was going to jump on him and squeeze him tight.
“Fine. I will leave,” I say walking out of the door. Seems like there is nothing much I can do. “I will see you on our wedding day.”
“What?”
“I am going ahead with the wedding arrangements. You already paid for the venue…so I will take care of the rest as agreed. If you do not show up on our wedding day, then I will know you want nothing to do with me. If you come, then we will carry on with our lives.”
“Are you crazy. Lufuno, are you crazy?” he hisses at me.
“Call me crazy if you want Khathu.”
“Dare go ahead with the wedding Lufuno and you will regret. You will regret.”
“I don’t know what else to do Khathu…I don’t know.”
“You got your eyesight back. Go live the life you always wanted to live,” he says before closing the door.
Go live my life? Where do I even begin without him?
I will see him on our wedding day.
Gean has been watching us from the car. It shows in the way she is staring at me.
I ask her to drive me home. I need to sleep right now. I will think about this tomorrow morning.
Gean drops me home before leaving for her apartment. It didn’t even take me long to fall asleep. I am drained. This is not how I pictured my ‘coming back’ to be like. I don’t know what I was expecting but it is nothing compared to this. This was supposed to be my happiest time. I should be feeling grateful, but I am hurt.
I tossed and turn until the morning.
The first thing I do before getting out of bed is to call Khathu who hanged up on me. I force myself to get ready for the day. I have been through worse than this…I will come out strong.
I take a quick shower before ordering breakfast. I am still to decide if I should go to work or not. I had always preferred to work when I am stressed but I am willing to do things differently.
“Hey Lufuno, do you want me to bring you flowers and breakfast?” Gean asks from the phone. I take a glance around the living room and it does need flowers.
“Let me get the flowers on my way back from the office,” I say.
“Don’t you want to rest?”
“I have rested for two months Gean, I need my life back.”
“Alright, I will get your office ready for you.”
I finish a cup of coffee and grab my bag and head to the office. We need to discuss the wedding, anyway.

My empire is still standing strong. My team is hustling for a Minister’s wedding. It will take everything in me not to touch anything today. I need to trust them like I did all these time when I was not around. I get the smiles and the nods as I walk past my employees. I still need to arrange a meeting with everyone. I head straight to my office and ask Gean to join me, to discuss my wedding. It is in a month’s time and things should be running and invoices should be settled.
“I called the venue and told them that we will be postponing the wedding,” Gean says while settling on a chair across me. She places her iPad and a cup of tea on the table.
“We are not postponing the wedding,” I say.
“What?” she has shock written all over her face, “I thought you and Khathu…”
“Don’t mind what happened last night. We are going ahead with the wedding. You and Khathu worked on the guest list before right? I need you to get Mulalo to print the invitations and have them sent to the people on the guest list.”
“Lufuno…”
“What? Are you starting to question me?”
“No…but…you guys didn’t finalise the lobola and all those things required by the families. Why would you invite people to the wedding when….?”
“They will do the negotioations in the morning.”
“What if Khathu doesn’t show up on the day?”
“Then I will know that he doesn’t want to be with me. I am giving him time to think about it now and on the day of the wedding, he knows where to find me?”
A soft knock interrupts us. I didn’t have any meetings scheduled today. I glare at Gean and she shrugs.
“Come in,” I say.
Lucy walks in.
“Hi…are you guys busy?” she asks from the door.
“No, come in.” it is time my sister and I have a chat. I wish to have her leave but I will not be doing justice to myself. We both need to do this.
“I will come back when you are done.”
“Go and call the venue and tell them we won’t be postponing my wedding,” I say and Gean hesitantly nods.
“Your wedding?” Lucy asks while grabbing a seat.
“Khathu and I are getting married,” I say.
“Daddy never told me that his family came for the dowry.”
“They will do it in the morning of the wedding day.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes Lucy…I am sure,” I say breathlessly. I am not even sure but this has to be done this way. If Khathu never shows up, then I will give the wedding away to any couple in the room who needs a wedding and can’t afford. Gean will have different gowns and tuxedo’s just incase Khathu doesn’t show up.
I am not sure of what I am doing, but this is it.
“I am sorry for what I made you go through,” Lucy says. This is what I needed to hear.
“I am sorry for ever hurting you,” I say what she also needs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TSHEPO

Cape Town can wait!
I gat my groove back and Matt is better than Cape Town or anything else greater than Cape Town, combined with Cape Town – you what I mean? He has me wrapped around his finger.
I am glad I stayed. He loves me dearly and Kgosi seems to be used to him in such a short period of time. We are in a happy place and I am glad I gave us a chance. He is a lovely man who had some little demons to deal with. His therapy sessions are very helpful but we haven’t tested that yet….because the youth pastor gave us an eye the other day and told us that God sees what we are doing. I bet I gave it away by my everyday glow. If it was long time ago, I would have laughed at the pastor and go do it again but I didn’t. I and Matt respected the advice and we are saving each other for marriage. We do make out on thoossee hectic days but know when to put a limit, I don’t want to go to hell and bring Matt with me, lol.
Matt and I are taking Kgosi for a picnic today. My bpy loves the outdoors. I make sure to take him to a picnic or playgrounds on weekends since he moved in with me. I am doing this parenting job very well.
“Good morning my boy?” I say while picking him from the feeding chair. He just finished his breakfast with his nanny. I am set to go but it will take us a good hour before we do.
“I will bath him now and you will be ready to go,” the nanny says while picking him from me.
I grab a cup of coffee and slide into my favourite couch. I can catch up on a few episodes of my new favourite series.
My phone pings from the table.
“Missing me already?” I say to myself while reaching for the phone. It isn’t a text from Matt but from Khathu.
He needs me to send him pictures of Kgosi.
This is how I know he is stressed. He always does this.
I select a few pictures from the galary and send them through to him.
“Michelle would like to see him. I told her I will hear from you, but she is so eager to play with him?” – A text from Khathu.

Me: Sure thing. We can always set a date for them to meet and play together.
Khathu: Are you busy today? I have Michelle over this weekend.
Me: Does her mother know?
Khathu: Yes she does.
Me: I will let you know if today is possible…Matt and I are taking him to a picnic and if it is fine by him, you can pass by the picnic site.
Khathu: His new father, huh?
Me: His possible step-father, yes Khathu.
Khathu: Let me know so that I can give Michelle an answer.
Me: Sure.

I throw the phone beside me, with the hope of ignoring the request. I want to do this but I don’t want to upset Matt. His happiness comes first, it does.
We promised to be open with each other and he knows that Khathu and I will have to play family sometimes, as long he is aware of it and agrees. I dial him.
“Am I late?” he asks just when he picks the phone.
“You are never late Matt,” I say with a laugh.
“Are you missing me?”
“Maybe yes…maybe not….”
“I will take the first confession. How are you my love?” he says and I am grinning, all alone.
“I am good. I can’t wait to see you.”
“What is wrong?”
“Why should….”
“Your voice is pitchy.” Right it is.
“Okay…Khathu asked if his daughter can meet Kgosi today…so…”
“You want them to join us?”
“Something like that…they won’t stay for long.”
“Well…okay…as long as I am there,” he says and I chuckle at his jealous ass. It is sexy.
I let Kathu know that it is fine. I sent him the location of the picnic site, which is Rosemary Hill Farm. After an hour Matt arrives to pick us up. He carries Kgosi to the car while I follow behind with my and Kgosi’s bags. He buckles the baby in the car seat and drives straight to Rosemary Hill Farm.
Matt is the romantic type. The very romantic type. At first I thought he was just trying to impress me, but I was wrong. He makes sure that he keeps me on my toes.
When we arrive at the farm, he collects the picnic basket from the restaurant and we set out mat in the middle of the garden, under a huge tree. He is doing all these with a perfect smile on his face. This is a man that I can confidently thank God for. I bet he is what I have been looking for. Too soon to tell though, but I am content.
Kgosi is giggling in Matt’s arms. I can’t help but smile at them. My smile spreads even wider when I see Michelle running towards us with a gift bag in her hands. She is still that bubbly, happy girl. Khathu is walking slowly towards us.
“Kgosi?” Michelle says happily while kneeling next to Matt. She drops the gift on the mat and touch Kgosi’s chubby cheeks. She is smiling brightly to her little brother and this moment here warms my heart. Matt positions Kgosi to play with Michelle and he is letting out a chuckle while Michelle plays with his cheeks.
“Thank you for letting us come,” Khathu says when he reaches us. Matt let out his hand for a handshake and they greet each other with a brief shake.
“Babe, let me get us more water,” Matt says, places a baby on my lap, kiss my forehead and pull himself to stand.
“Sparkling, okay?”
“Okay,” he says and thereafter walks towards the restaurant. If it was another man, other than Matt, I would be worried. Matt is genuine and if he didn’t want Khathu and his daughter here, he would have honestly told me.
Michelle turns towards me and play with Kgosi who is eating his teddy toy.
The sitting arrangement doesn’t cater for Khathu so he stays on his feet.
“Can I carry him?” Michelle asks while positioning her arms for me to put Kgosi on her lap. I carefully place the baby on her lap and let them play.
“How are you Khathu?” I ask while standing. He doesn’t look fine. He always doesn’t look fine lately.
“I am good,” he says and giggles nervously. “Thank you for letting her come.”
“Not a problem.”
We stand in silence, watching Michelle and Kgosi.
“How is the business?” I break the ice. “And how is the wedding arrangements?”
“There is no wedding that is happening,” he says coldly. “The business is steady now. Thanks for those contacts again.”
I know when not to snoop into people’s business, and this is the time. Infact, I don’t care if he is getting married or not.
Matt is walking back to us with two bottles of water.
“Khathu, there is a restaurant over there…you can go chill that side and I will bring Michelle when they are done playing,” I say. I hope I don’t sound rude.
He nods and head to the restaurant.
We spend the afternoon with Michelle playing with Kgosi. She is such an adorable older sister. I take the kids to Khathu when Matt and I decided to take a walk. Kgosi and daddy should also bond.
“We are going to get married here, right?” he says. This place is beautiful and yes I can imagine my wedding happening right here.
“Right,” I say.
“You are a wonderful mother, do you know that?”
“Wait until I have three more kids…then you can judge me.”
“I can’t wait,” he says and plant a kiss on my lips.

*****

What happened to the weekend?
It was Saturday just yesterday and already the alarm is beeping for me to start my Monday. I grab my phone and snooze it for fifteen minutes so that I can meditate. This I leant from Matt. After ten minutes of meditating, I actually plan my day in my head. Three meeting before lunch, lunch with Matt, two hotel projects to start working on after lunch, gym and supper with Kgosi – my day in that order.
I switch off the alarm and jump into the shower for a quick one. I pick a simple blouse and a pencil skirt. I pass by Wimpy for a latte and hurry to the office to start the day.
By lunch time, I can feel why I get paid monthly. It is not always easy to make decisions and disapprove some people’s ideas.
“Tshepo, you have a visitor, Miss Lufuno…she says she needs to see you but won’t stay for long,” the secretary says on the phone.
Lufuno? Khathu’s girl?
“Sure,” I say and hang up. Matt will be here any minute so I hope this won’t take long.
What does she want from me anyway? Isn’t she happy that Michelle and Khathu joined us for a picnic? I am just trying to figure out what the purpose of her visit is.
A soft knock on my door and I tell her to come in.
Wow! She looks like her old self – expensive and godly beautiful; and she can see.
“Hi, sorry for not making an appointment,” she says while closing the door.
This is awkward. Do we hug? Do we shake hands?
I walk towards her and give her a hug.
“Glad to see you…you look damn fine…” I say. She honestly does.
“Thank you. You look good too,” she says and I smirk. She is trying to be sweet.
“Please take a seat,” I say and she places her Michael Kors shoulder bag on the table. She opens it and pulls a card from inside.
“I came to hand deliver this to you. An invitation to my and Khathu’s wedding,” she says with a smile. “I know he would love to have Kgosi there…so it will be an honour to have you, Kgosi and your partner.”
What?
It was just two days ago when Khathu said there is no wedding. I don’t know what to say.
“Thank you?” I say and it came out as a question.
“Will you be able to come?”
“I did tell Khathu once that if I cannot make it then I will arrange for the nanny to bring the baby…but that was long time ago,” I say.
“It would be lovely to have you there…but if you can’t make it, then you can opt for that arrangement.”
“Ofcourse!” I say with a smile. I am tempted to ask what is going on…but I think it will be best to ask Khathu rather.
“Thank you…I wish I had made an appointment, I would be asking us to catch up over coffee..but I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“Next time,” I lie. There is no need for a coffee date.
Lufuno leaves my office and I am right here trying to make sense of this situation. Invitation card means I am invited, right?
Matt knocks and walks in when I was just about to call Khathu for clarity.
He settles the food on the table and folds his shirt like how my father does when he is about to eat his food.
“What’s up? Seems like you have seen a ghost,” he says.
“We are invited to a wedding.”
“Another one? People are getting married, huh?”
“The same wedding…Khathu and Lufuno.”
“Didn’t you say they are no longer getting married…or something like that?”
“I just received an invitation from the fiancée.”
“Oh okay…then we are going to the wedding,” he says and shoves a chip in his mouth.

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~
MANDIWANA

Mrs Nengwenda doesn’t take “no” for an answer, does she?
I promised myself that I will never, never, never ever set my foot in her house but here I am. She went to my mother and begged for me to help her with the sewing some church uniforms. I said no so many times, but she insisted that this is the last project with me. She can easily get another person to help her, but it is me she needs.
If she still has her idea of hooking me up with Khathu, she must just forget.
Never.
I don’t like being in her house anymore because I always hold my breath, praying that Khathu doesn’t arrive here without a warning. I don’t trust Mrs Nengwenda to tell me if he is coming back, I don’t trust her ever again.
What I do is to never relax when I am here. No matter how hot it is, I keep my shoes and hat on; and my bag is always under the chair so that if I ever see Khathu’s car driving in, I can run out of here without a warning.
Seriously! That is my strategy.
I get to Mrs Nengwenda’s house and make us breakfast like I always do before we start working. I set our breakfast in the garage. I place my bag carefully under the chair and start eating.
Haikhona! We should settle for something else than tea.. no… it is too hot in here.
“Vho-Nengwenda, don’t you have Oros or Wild Island?” I yell from the kitchen.
She comes to the kitchen with a phone on her ear, supported by her shoulder.
“How come Khathutshelo has not said anything to us? He never said anything to us. No…no…no…that is not how things are done and she should not dare embarrass us,” Mrs Nengwenda yells on her phone. She glares at me and remembers to pull the Oros from the top shelf of the cupboard. She places it on the table and I grab it. I mix myself a glass.
“No…that is not how things are done,” she says and waits for the response. This is when I should be walking out of the room but I don’t. I mean, I am interested to know what is bothering her early so…plus it has Khathu written all over it.
“Okay, let her go on with this….let her go on with it and none of us are going there. If it was what Khathu wants, he would have done the right thing. Let her go on with this stupid wedding,” she says and drops the call.
I take a sip from the glass and wait for her to vent.
I wait for her to vent but she doesn’t.
She punches on the screen of her phone. I know she is sending Khathu a “please call me”.
I wait for her to vent. The phone rings.
“Inwi Khathutshelo…is this how I raised you?” she yells on the phone. “Then what is going on? Why is Mpho given invitation cards to give to us? How come? She is crazy. Sort this out and spare us an embarrassment.”
Yoh!
She drops the phone and walk around the kitchen grabbing things from the drawers.
“I made tea. It is in the garage,” I say.
I know she needs someone to vent on. I am available.
Before rushing out of the kitchen, I mix some more Oros and follow her to our work station. I find her seated on a mat, on the floor, stirring her tea.
I take a seat and wait patiently for news.
“I told him that his woman has no respect,” she says. This woman is Lufuno. Yes, she can continue.
“What did she do this time?” I ask. I didn’t mean to say “this time” – it slipped out.
“She is inviting people to a wedding that khathu doesn’t know about,” she says and bite on her sandwich.
Evho wee!!!
“That red wedding?” I ask. I remember it was a red wedding she wanted.
“Khathu knows nothing. Nahone, how do people get married without finalising the dowry?”
“There were no negotiations done?”
“What negotiations? She said if necessary, the negotiations can be done in the morning of the wedding…is this girl insane?”
Yoh!
“Mrs Nengwenda, Lufuno lost her eye sight remember, and the eye muscle is connected to the brain…maybe she? She? You know?” I say and shrug. Maybe she lost her sense. I have heard about this thing from some TV series…eyes and brains connection.
“Then why is her family not stopping her?”
“Maybe they want to support her. When someone loses their mind, it is always advisable for the family to allow that person to do what she thinks is right.” What other explanation is there? None. Why would her family allow her to go on with this?
“Khathu is good at bringing shame to this family.”
“Haaa Vho Nengwenda, that is not right.”
“Didn’t he divorce his first woman…got another one pregnant…and then this? Hai.”
I don’t know what to say.
“Maybe she will cancel the wedding,” I say to break the silence.
“What if she doesn’t cancel? Imagine people attending a wedding that the groom doesn’t know about? Is she crazy?”
Hey! I wish I knew an answer to this one.
“What is Khathu saying?”
“Khathu says there is no wedding.”
I am wondering how she is doing all these things while blind.
“Mandiwana, is this woman crazy? She has money to waste,” Vho Nengwenda says angrily. I want to say “lots of it” but I don’t. I am sure even if she loses it, it will still be enough to pay for another five weddings if she has to.
Mara, this is outrageous.
Haike! I shrug!
“This is nonsense,” Mrs Nengwenda hisses.
It is.
Yoh! Clap once!