I had been waiting for a week to get my vacation leave to be approved by my boss. He kept delaying the approval and I was starting to panic because all expenses were paid and Oscar already arranged the other guys to join the vacation. He would never do me any other favour if I failed to fulfil my promise.
It was a birthday-moon of a woman I am in love with. She didn’t know how I felt about her and she did not know who I was. I was going to introduce myself there when the guys arrive hours later after the women. I saw her at Oscar’s traditional party when he took the first step to lobola his woman. We were in Venda at Tshisaulu, at that woman’s home and I could not stop thinking about her since that day. She is sisters with Oscar’s fiancee and she was the one hosting the exclusive event. I have also seen her on TV a few times on some wedding show. She was an event planner and was always featured on a wedding shows where she plans and host the most exclusive weddings ever. I had seen beautiful women before, but she took the cup for me. She was loveable and beautiful but not so friendly. She didn’t drive herself but had a designated driver to do her errands and drive her around. I wanted to know much about her so bad.
I twisted Oscar’s hand to arrange her friends’ partners and join in so that we make her feel special on her birthday. I had a surprise for her on a Saturday afternoon. I planned for a picnic for two down by the river. Lucy gave me ideas of what she liked the most. I was sure she was going to have an awesome getaway.
My boss arrived to the office after 10am. It was a Thursday and my vacation leave was supposed to be approved for Friday and the rest of the following week. My cubicle was stationed not so far from his office so I had full access of him from his glass office. I was able to see when he was having a hectic, a rough or just a normal day.
I watched as he shouted at his personal assistant, a young beautiful girl who was as young as his daughter. She kept her eyes on the floor as he kept shouting and pointing his fingers at her. She always took the bullet and get a bouquet of flower few days later. We were so used to it but it was not pleasing to see her getting attacked for just a small salary.
I stood from my cubicle and walk to the kitchen to refill my mug with more coffee. It was my second cup already.
As I was busy brewing the coffee, I was also trying to make up a story about what I needed the whole week off for. I came back from the kitchen and strode to his office. He noticed my shadow standing by the door so he lifted his head and gestured for me to get into his office. I opened the door and stood there for a while without saying anything. He kept his eyes on the laptop until he asked me what I wanted in his office so early. Imagine, it was already ten o’clock.
“Sir, I wanted to remind you to approve my leave for tomorrow and next week,” I said.
“What leave?” he asked with his eyes fixed on the laptop.
“Remember I told you about the week that I need to go to Venda for…uhm…we have some family issues to solve and…yah.” I could not tell him about the vacation. He valued work more than anything else so I couldn’t tell him I was taking a week off to go on a vacation with a group of friends. It would have been a blasphemy to him.
“Go and amend it for Tuesday until Friday. I need you to meet up with MBC Consultants on Monday.” He said without moving his eyes to me.
“That is not my account sir.”
“I know but James is busy with Love Daze’s account,” he responded.
“But Sir, I should be in Venda tonight after work.”
I knew he was giving me an ultimatum. He needed me to choose between my leave and one of the biggest accounts we have. I was competing for a promotion with James and every decision we made about everything, mattered. I stood in my boss’s office with a mug burning my fingers. I didn’t know what to do.
It took me so long to convince Oscar to make arrangements for the trip. He told me a thousand times to never disappoint him because he was also taking the risk in messing with Lufuno’s business. I could not disappoint him just a day before the vacation. On the other hand, I needed the account to prove myself to Mr Mkhize. If I nailed that account, my promotion was looking promising.
“Sir, I will take care of the account.” I said after deciding between going to a vacation where I was going to please a woman who would kick my balls for wasting her time or to work harder on myself to prove myself for a promotion.
“Good.” That’s all he said and I marched out of his glass office to my small corner.
I glanced at him when I got to my small cubicle. He raised his hand at me and I hurried back to his office hoping he had changed his mind.
“The ad campaign for Pretty Girls is on Saturday morning, I want you to be here to direct the team. I want to see if you have it in you,” he said and then dropped his eyes to the laptop. I walked out of the office swearing under my breath. There was no where I was going during the weekend.
I had been a junior marketing consultant for so long to have deserved a promotion. Mr Mkhize made is so clear that we are going to sweat off for our promotion because it came with so much money. James was my opponent and I was always worried that he would take my position.
The first thing I did when I got to my seat was to call Oscar. He didn’t pick his phone so I wrote a reminder on my phone to call him later when I got home.
My day got busy with head to head meetings with clients. I only got home after seven and remembered to call Oscar. The vacation issue had been playing in my head the whole day.
“Hey man, I am sure your bag is ready…oh, and not forgetting a cooler bag my man,” he said just after answering his phone.
I felt the excitement from his voice. I could not stand to disappoint him. I was seated on a couch instead of packing up my bag for the following day.
“Uhm…yah…hey dude, I will have to drive there tomorrow.” I said. I could not tell him I am supposed to be at work on Saturday and Monday.
“Why? I thought we were using my car and the girls will drive down with Lucy.” He said. I knew I should be telling him I have to stay for a Monday meeting but rather not. It was better when he was clueless than having to judge me for ruining everything. I was also praying for a miracle on the other side.
“I have a morning meeting tomorrow and I will follow afterwards.” I advised.
“As long as you make it by noon. I don’t want these women to chop my head.” He said and I felt my throat dry up. How could I tell him I could not make it until Monday evening? I told him to hang up because I had someone knocking on my door. There was no one knocking on my door. I was just running away from trouble.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Oscar warned me so much about the woman I was dealing with. I was dealing with a broken and a scorned woman. I was ready to give my life to woman who might shove my feelings away to feel better about herself. It was a serious burden to carry. I was even scared to disappoint her by cancelling on that trip. I was not going to hear the end of it for cancelling on the last minute. Apparently she had been planning for that vacation for months.
I threw my phone on the table and myself on a couch. I was regretting ever asking Oscar to twist Lucy’s hand to change the birthday moon to a bae-cation. It would be my fault if the trip failed. I would have been going to work without stress.
Friday morning I was supposed to be driving down to Limpopo for a vacation. Instead, I was wearing a suit and heading to Mkhize’s consultancy. I was wearing a formal shirt and a tie because that was what they required daily. Mr Mkhize had so many meetings booked for me on a day but I was supposed to be on leave. I had no choice but to oblige because I was contesting for a promotion that would change my life for the best.
I only earned enough to pay for rent and pay for my car expenses, the promotion is what I needed the most. I had to impress the boss and his clients.
After work, I got home and glanced at my bags on a corner of a room. I could not afford to drive to Polokwane, drive back to Joburg and then again to Polokwane. It was either I drove to a vacation and miss a meeting with a client, or stay in Johannesburg and only drive to Polokwane on Monday afternoon.
It was 09 o’clock late when I called Oscar to tell him I would only make it on Monday afternoon.
He picked the phone and I could hear the commotion on the background. I heard the voices of women fighting on the background. I knew it was all my fault.
“Dude, where on earth are you?” he hissed on the phone. “These women are about to kill each other because of you. Where are you?”
“Eish, I got stuck at work…and I only got home now.” I said and he screamed at me.
“Come on man…I am not going to look like a fool here. Lufuno is spitting fire because we changed her vacation into this…and you are not even here to take the bullet.”
“I wish I was there man…hey Oscar…can you hear me?” I asked because I could not hear his voice anymore. I could hear the voices shouting at the background.
“No…what the hell are they doing here? I paid for this vacation. This is for my birthday. What are these men doing on my vacation? This is not what I planned for.” I heard Lufuno yelling. I felt my heart break from hearing her voice yelling from the background. That was the woman I was in love with. The one who was roaring like a lioness.
“Relax, Lufuno, we have everything under control.” The other voice responded.
“No, don’t you dare tell me to relax…you guys are just back stabbers. How am I supposed to trust you?” she yelled some more and she was now crying. The voices were starting to fade away because I could not hear clearly anymore.
“Dude, you better be here in the next hour.” Oscar emphasized. It was impossible for me to be at Polokwane when I was needed in Johannesburg hours later.
“What is going on?” I asked.
“Lufuno is throwing chairs at everyone for changing her plans. Where the hell are you? Dude this is not what I signed for.”
“My boss gave me a task to do tomorrow and on Monday. I really want to be there but it looks impossible.”
“Heee Khathutshelo Nengwenda, you better get up and drive up here right now. Right now, if you know what is good for you.”
I wanted to get up in that very same second to drive up to Polokwane but I had no money for fuel to come back on Sunday evening to prepare for my meeting with the big client. I was deciding on skipping the Saturday ad campaign but I had no money to drive up and down. I finished all of it on the damn vacation just to please Lufuno.
I should have stayed on my lane.
I was failing the woman before she could even meet me. Even if I walked in there after an hour, she would hate me for messing with her feelings.
“Damn me Khathutshelo, vacation or promotion?” I asked myself before gulping one glass of whiskey.