I have a splitting headache and this is all because of all the unsuccessful meetings I have been hopping to every day. No one can help me with the information of where my money went. The stupid bank can’t even trace it for me. I spent the whole day looking for the culprit but nothing is coming through. I regret ever stepping into my office door. I should have stayed at home a little longer and not have to deal with this mess. I should have worked from my home office, I wouldn’t have had a conversation with Muzi.
I get home after six and I am so damn tired. I am mess and I am so hopeless right now. What is going to happen now? My gut tells me Muzi has a little something to do with this, but I don’t want to think low of him. I know I trusted him too early but there were no signs of his bad intentions. He never forced into my life. I forced him into my world and that is my everyday regret. We are not meant to be together. I lost interest.
I throw my handbag on the couch and burry myself there. I am exhausted, so much. I am exhausted from shouting and screaming at my finance team and from thinking of solutions. I even missed today’s meeting with my therapist. She is doing a great job with me but I can’t let go of Khathu. I could do without Muzi but Khathu is a different case. He seems to genuinely care for me, but I have decided to keep distance from him. I pick the remote from the table and switch the TV on. I am now staying at THE HILLS. I now stay in a three bedroom ground floor apartment. It is small but good enough for me, staying all by myself. I took the three bedrooms apartment because I don’t see myself starting a family now and a huge house is really unnecessary. I got Gean a flat and she was thrilled the day I gave her the keys to her flat. She was so happy she even cried tears. Ntate Molefe stayed with me after I requested him nicely to give me time to learn how to drive again. He promised to drive around with me until I get comfortable. I have driven four times since the hospital stay. I drive just a little distance before Ntate Molefe asks me to move back to the passenger seat. I think he knows when I am about to have an episode. I don’t get those episode too often anymore.
I haven’t seen Lucy since the day she left me in my room after an argument. I am fine with her out of my life. She chose to trust her pathetic ex-husband over me. Fine! I would never hurt her to that extent but she chose to kick me out of her life. I have written Masala off as well. The posts she made on Facebook made me realize she was nothing but a hypocrite all my life. She never loved me. Our relationship was broken from the days of Rendani. I just didn’t know. Well, Masindi always checks up on me. I am just not open to converse with her, knowing she used to have separate meeting with Lucy and Masala, discussing about me. I know she meant well, but I don’t trust her anymore. Maybe we can still be friends, but I don’t think we will work out. For now, I am all alone.
I settle on the couch and just when I raise my head, I see my advert playing on the TV. I smile. I have paid a fortune for the ad to play on prime time, always. I crush on ‘me’ being confident on the TV. I looked so elegant and I can’t help to smile at how perfect everything is. That Ad was just so perfect but it always reminds of Khathu. How I miss him dearly. I decided to stay away from him when he didn’t text me back the day he visited me in hospital. He left me wondering for days if he ever regretted visiting me? I held on to his flowers until there was nothing left of them. I kept them in my old house and moved with them the time I relocated. I kept the dried leaves on a vase until the day I decided to let go. He didn’t want me anymore and maybe it should stay that way. My phone beeps inside my handbag. I pull it out from inside, hoping it was Zack or the bank, coming with the best solution to this mess.
‘DO NOT UNFREZE YOUR OTHER BANK ACCOUNTS. DON’T DARE,’ I read an SMS from a number I don’t know. This looks like a warning, but from who?
I am starting to panic because I thought maybe it was a random fraudulent transaction via the bank to my account. I know my personal information is public as it is all over my business cards and websites; however, I thought I was thoroughly protected.
‘Who is this?’ I send the SMS back to the number and I hope whoever it is, responds. I wait for a good 15 minutes until I forward to Zack to look it up. He was working with a fraud specialist and maybe they could be able to pull something up.
I grab my handbag and proceed to my bedroom to have a shower. I get an urge to call Muzi so I call and he answers at the second ring.
“Lufuno, are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes.” I say and keep quiet.
“How are your accounts things going?”
“Serious? Are you serious?” he asks. He sounds a little concerned or relieved, I can’t really tell.
“Yes!” I lie. I have a gut feeling that Muzi has something to do with this. My challenge is knowing how. We met kilometers away from Pretoria and I truly thought fate brought us together.
“Okay…uhm…how did they do it? How did they find…out?” he asks and I hear a beep.
“Let me go. Someone is trying to reach me.” I say and hang up. I slide my screen to open a text. It is an email from a person named Mr Maake. He is requesting that I host his anniversary, a gift to his wife from him. I don’t think I can take clients right now but I will think about it. I am so drained right now. I am about to throw the phone on the bed when my whatsapp tone beeps about four times. I open the pictures to see the unbelievable.
Muzi is in bed with some girl who is wearing her hair in razor cut. I zoom into her to see her face. She is the girl I once saw when I visited Muzi at his cousin’s house. The house he is sharing with his cousin in some township in Centurion. The other picture he was sucking her while she spread her legs wide open on the bed. Tears are now gushing down my face as I keep scrolling to the next picture.
My head tells me to relax because I for sure didn’t know where I stand with him. Maybe he moved on without telling me. Even so, I feel betrayed. We should have communicated this. But how, since I kept ignoring his texts.
‘I thought you should know what your man was up to when you drop him home to me, every day,’ a Whattsapp text says. My head starts spinning as I continue to read the same text over and again.
Muzi betrayed me. I want to call the number back, but I don’t want to get myself hurt. The doctor told me to keep everything easy. He warned me to laugh often and not overwork myself by things around me. But how do I do that when I just found out Muzi was making a fool of me? I throw the phone on the bed and curl myself to cry my lungs out. I am naturally emotional but I am learning to control that. Right now I am crying for more than just Muzi’s cheating. I feel so betrayed and hurt by him and whoever is stealing my money. But Muzi? How could he? I allowed this man in my world whole heartedly. He was just making me a fool all this time? I am just an idiot.
I grab the phone and forward two pictures to ask with a text that says, “Is this what you were hiding from me?”
Khathu’s name flashed on my phone so many times as I decided if whether I want to know the answer. If it is that he knew, then he betrayed me too. He watched me go around like a fool. I am hurt and I need to stay calm for my own sake. I have to be strong for my own good.
I leave the phone on the bed and go on to take a cold shower. I feel so empty, lonely and miserable. I was doing so well before walking back to my office. I shouldn’t have acted strong. I should have taken as much time away from the office as possible. I walk back to my room after the shower to find my phone ringing. It is still Khathu. I honestly need someone to talk to and he might be it.
I pick it up.
“Lufuno, you answered. Please tell me you are okay.”
“You knew he was sleeping with someone else, didn’t you? That’s why you had a fight the other day?”
“Can we just talk. I can come see you?” he asks and I think hard about it. I hang up and send him the location.
I need someone to talk to or else I will go insane. I should trust Khathu, right? The therapist says it helps, it is just that I don’t have anyone around me. I have been a burden to everyone and I needed to change that. I dress into leggings and a long t-shirt, just in case Khathu comes by. I don’t want him to think I want to seduce him. He texted me to say he is on his way and I ask him to buy me a bottle of dry wine from Pick n Pay Woodlands. They open until eight. I had stopped taking alcoholic drinks so I don’t confuse my therapy with ‘alcohol happiness’, but today I need something to make me fall asleep.
The gate controller calls me to give my visitor an access to my apartment. I text Khathu the unit number and unlock the door. I was not going to cook but I now have no choice. I don’t feel like but I have to.
I hear a knock on the door and I tell him to open. He walks in with Pick n Pay plastic shopping bag. I glare at him as he slowly walks in. I missed him but I am not going to tell him. He places the shopping bag on the table and walks to me.
I don’t want him to see me with swollen eyes so I look away. He pulls me into a hug. I feel myself throwing my weight on him. I needed this. I needed someone to just give me a hug and tell me it will be fine. He lets me cling on him for longer than he should have. The thought that he has a girlfriend and this might be inappropriate creeps into my head and I pull out of the hug and he lets me.
“He is an idiot.”
“So you knew?” I ask and he stare at me. “Did you know?”
“I did, but I didn’t find it necessary for me to mingle in your business. I didn’t want drama. I wanted you to find out yourself so that you don’t think I badmouthed you.” He shrugs.
“Is it why he banged your window?” I ask while pouring myself a glass of wine. He picked a perfect blend. Bravo, Khathu!
“Yes,” he says and pulls a bottle of Heineken from the bag. He opens the bottle with his teeth and throws the lid to the bin.
“Do you know how betrayed I feel right now?”
“I don’t think you should stress yourself about that idiot. He is not even good for you, I don’t even know why you love him so much. Oh, I remember now, he makes your heart dance. To hell with that Lufuno I needed you in my life but you never gave me a chance but him. Imagine! He is just some filthy piece of rubbish. Honestly speaking, what do you see in him?” he says without even blinking. I thought he was here to lend me an ear, not to blame me for my stupid choices of life.
I pick the veggies and place them on the table; and then defrost the chicken in the microwave. He picks the knife and starts chopping the green pepper. I didn’t even ask. I sip on my wine, envying his girlfriend. She has found a wonderful man in Khathu. I am done hurting people so I am not going to do anything inappropriate.
“Someone is stealing from my company.”
“How so?” he gulp from his bottle and then goes back to chopping the peppers.
“R350 000 gone, it can’t be traced. My accountant and the bank are working on it but nothing looks promising.”
“What? That’s a hell lot of money.”
“Imagine. I am a mess right now, I don’t know what to do.” I say and cover my mouth. I really don’t know what to do about this. I need money to run my business.
“Uhm…who do you think it is?”
“I have no idea. I received a text from some number telling me not unfreeze my other accounts.”
“What? So it is someone you know.”
“Definitely.” I say and he walks around the room.
“We are going to find them. It is easy. I will make a few calls tomorrow morning.”
“Thank you.” I say. I need as many man-power as possible to get to whoever it is.
“How are you holding up?” he asks while walking back to the counter and back to chopping the onions.
“Khathu, I don’t know. I was doing so fine until today. Today was just a mess. I don’t even know which direction to take.”
“Have you spoken to him? Your boyfriend about the pictures? Who sent you?” He flipped the topics so fast.
“I don’t want to talk to him ever again.”
He keeps his eyes on the veggies he is cutting. I want to ask about his girlfriend but I don’t know where to start. Why is he here anyway?
Why isn’t he with her?
“Khathu?” I call and he raises his head to me. “Where is she? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s heart ever again. That look on her face the other day keeps haunting me.”
“She understood that day was just a misunderstanding but she left me.”
“What? You are perf…uhm…I mean why?”
“She saw the text and she always says I will never love her more than you.” I gasp at his words. It reminds me of Oscar and Lucy. Oh God, I caused their breakup! What is wrong with me?
I gulp on the wine and leave the kitchen to the living room. My apartment is an open plan so Khathu stares at me as I cover my face with my hands. I am exhausted for being blamed of breaking relationships. I just broke another one and I feel guilty about it. Khathu sits on the couch next to mine.
“Come on, it isn’t your fault,” he says and I shake my head. I have been blamed for so long I am starting to believe I am meant to break hearts.
“It is my fault Khathu. Everything is my fault. Always, I am the one who messes people’s relationships.”
“Everything may be your fault but not my break-up with Tshepo.”
“Because it is purely my fault. I was forcing a relationship with her because I was afraid of being alone. I loved her but was not in love with me. She loved me dearly but I wasn’t in love with her the way I was supposed to. I should have tried harder but I didn’t. So stop blaming yourself, it is not you. It is me,” he says and I glare at him. He is the first person to own up to things like these. Everyone else was always ready to judge me.
I stare into his eyes with so many questions. Does he still love me? I am afraid to ask like I don’t care about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. It has been 12 weeks, a good three months, but I don’t trust that he is over her.
“So?” I ask.
“So, I am done dating.”
“You are what?” I ask shockingly and happy that I didn’t give him a hint that I want him.
“I am done dating Lufuno. I am D.O.N.E with relationships. I had tried with Julia years ago. I tried winning your heart. I tried a relationship with Tshepo. I am so taking a good break until I find THE ONE for me.”
What? I thought my chance was coming. I thought we could, you know, maybe he still wanted to try us.
“Why are you here?”
“Why am I here?” he asks and I frown. I thought it is obvious. “Lufuno, you know I am here as a friend, right? I can’t allow myself to see you break down again. I saw things on Facebook. I saw everyone turn their backs on you and called you names. So I am here for you. You know I have accepted that me and you can never be together? Like never! I know. And I have accepted so you can be free with me. The way I am so done with relationships, you won’t believe I even called my mother to find a wife for me in Venda? Maybe an arranged wife will work better for me,” he says and giggles while walking back to his chopping activity.
I turn away from his direction, sip my wine and hide my saddened face.