The night was going down slowly. I walked out of the duty room and went to check on the duty guards and satisfied everyone was working as required, I retired back to the office and grabbed the remote control to try watch some soccer match. The moment I sat down to relax, my phone rung.
“Hello mother?” I responded
“Hello Mario, I waited for you to come pay me a visit today, what happened? Does it mean when you are getting married you forget about your mother?” she went on talking I had to sigh before responding.
Of all people, I knew the kind of person my mother was, there was no denying she was not an easy person to deal with especially if you were not on her good people list. She would say things out without regard you are hurt or not, she never hid her feelings about things and most people found her unpleasant.
“well, mom, I told you am working in the night today and I had to spend the afternoon, of course part of it with ketty she was filling me on what is going on with the wedding plan” I explained calmly.
“What is wrong with you? You used to have time with me but now all I hear is Ketty. That rich girl has you in her grip and I wonder if at all we will ever have you around after you marry her” she went on complaining I had to cut her short.
“mom, stop now please, she is not taking your place you know that, you are and will always be my mother, but she is going to be my wife in a weeks’ time, the earlier you accept that the better for all of us”
“Mario, am not happy but anyways, its time for you to marry and give me grandchildren already” I heard her smile. That was her only concern about me marrying, to give her kids, and I somehow understood Ketty`s concern. She had told me her condition and since she could not have kids, she was burnt on her plan to have us get a baby through another woman, everything I did to make her forget about the issue she found a way of convincing me that was the way out for us.
“Are you still there?” I heard my mother ask, I then realized I was not even listening to whatever she was talking about.
‘yes am here mother, I have heard you” I lied chuckling in the process.
“Well, do that then and this time don’t let me down Mario, your father send his greetings” she concluded and I regretted lying because now I was in trouble. How was I to do what she told me to if at all I didn’t know what she wanted me do for her.
“Oh God, am in deep sh*t” I murmured to myself and lay down my head on the office sofa.
The following day after work, I went straight home. The house I had lived almost half of my working years. I had worked for 7 years in the Zambia Airforce. After staying with my parents for 3 years, I had decided to move out and rent a house in Kamwala as I never wanted to stay inside the camp like many of my friends did.
It was in my 4th year of working that I met Ketty, a tall and beautiful girl that took away my breath the moment my friend introduced her to me as the best friend to his fiancé.
Well, it was on one of the annual balls we usually have at the end of the year, and we sat down on the same table.
“So what do you do Ketty?” I had asked after the chit chats we had with Frank and his fiancé Sera.
“Well, am a writer” she smiled
“Writer?” I asked not really sure if that was impressive of surprising.
“Yes, I write books, you know stories “she nodded her head and I smiled back.
“Wow, I never knew I would cross paths with a writer, Zambian writer to be precise, what an interesting woman you are”
She looked at me in a way that made me feel proud of myself. I could tell she was no ordinary woman and her sense of style and class was evident.
I never wasted any time after knowing her, a few weeks down the line I invited her out for dinner and that was the beginning of our relationship. I realized she talked less about her family and one day when she invited me over to her house, in woodlands, I was amazed to find out she was wealthy. In trying to understand how she lived alone and seemingly had a lot of wealthy judging from the car she used to drive and the house. She then opened up and told me about her parents and how terrible her father turned out dead in his car.
My friends warned me not to get comfortable with a rich, single and independent woman, but my heart had chosen and I knew I was not going to lose her just because my friends felt intimidated by my rich girlfriend.
“She is a good person, guys, she never makes me feel like I am under her, she lets me take my place as a man and that is enough to make me have her.” I told the guys point blank.
“Are you coming here or not?” my mother called me later in the day and I knew I was in deep trouble.
“Yes mom am on my way” I breathed in.
“Good, hurry then” she insisted.
An hour later, I was in Matero to see my mother and she welcomed me with a wide smile I wondered what was going on with her.
“Mom, where is dad and why do you look so happy this afternoon?” I asked her as she led me inside.
“Where is it, first of all?” she asked me.
“mom, am sorry, I don’t know what I was supposed to bring, the thing is I was working late the time you called and I didn’t pay attention to what you said on the phone” I told her the truth she shook her head.
“I told your father you were not going to do it, anyway, thanks to your brother and fiancé, we have it all in place” she smiled leading me inside the house and I was shocked to find the living room filled with people and the moment I stepped in they all shouted a happy birthday to me. Ketty was among them smiling widely.
“Oh dammit, how could I forget my own birthday?” I held my face in my palms.
“Yes it is your birthday dummy and I wanted you to bring a bottle of wine for your father” my mother whispered to me and I laughed.
“Well, mother its seems this room has all the wine and food I had not planned on eating and drinking” I laughed walking away from her to my fiancé.
“Hey there?” I hugged her quick and she smiled wishing me a happy birthday.
She told me how she had arranged for my party at my parent`s house.
“Wow, am so happy baby, thank you, I didn’t expect this at all, all my friends are here?” I looked around at the guys from work and my friend Frank was around. My younger brother and dad all cheerfully welcomed me among other people.
After walking around and greeting everyone receiving their wishes, I decided to take a break outside.
“hello, how are you Mario? It’s been long, your mother told me it’s your birthday” I heard a voice call out and I looked at who it belonged to. My mother`s neighbor was standing over the flower fence.
“Bana Bwalya, long time, am fine” I stood to greet her. We were still talking when a lady walked in her yard she turned to look behind her.
“Chisomo my dear, what brings you here?” she talked to the lady who I could tell was either sick or she had something serious going on.
“Aunty am sorry to bother you, but my mother is very sick I need to take her to the hospital. I was hoping your husband can drive us there and I will pay him when I get the money. Please help, he is the only taxi driver who helps me in times like this. I have nothing with me right now to pay another taxi. ” the lady spoke looking at Bana Bwalya.
“am sorry for that, but today is a bad day, you see my husband who always helps your mother with transport to the hospital is not around, he won’t be back till tomorrow morning”
Bana Bwalya responded.
“oh, God what do I do now?, I have been on the market trying to sell something so I can raise some money for her hospital bills but it’s all failing apart, what do I do now” Chisomo cried I felt my heart reached out to her.
“Maybe I can help. I mean, I have a car here and the young lady looks desperate” I found myself offering help.
“What?” Bana Bwalya asked surprised.
“Yeah, I just feel bad for the lady here Bana Bwalya” I smiled sadly. Bana Bwalya asked about my birthday and I smiled telling her I would be back before people notice I was gone.
“Well, you are still a good child I recall as a boy Mario, go on now Chisomo. My neighbor`s son will help you take your mother to the hospital” she looked at the young lady who nodded without looking at my face.
“Thank you” she looked at me once as we sat in the car and right down. I could see her lips tremble she was either scared or crying I didn’t look close enough to be sure which was which.
“Chisomo! Chisomo! Is that you?” a soft voice came from inside the house when we got to her house a few blocks away from my parent`s house.
“mom, Bashi Bwalya is not home but the neighbor`s son offered to take us to the hospital, come on let me help you up” she spoke to her mother softly. I watched from the door as she led her weak and evidently sick mother to the door.
“Oh, here I got you” I held her other hand seeing them struggle to keep straight.
In the car as I drove to the hospital I realized I had left my phone and no one except Bana Bwalya knew where I was going.
“Young man, May God increase your years and see you through all the good days of your life. God bless you more and more” the woman blessed me I looked back at her in the mirror and noticed she did it with closed eyes laying on her daughter`s laps.
For some reason the two of them got my attention such that on my way back I kept thinking about them and what was really going on, the lady Chisomo wasn’t really interested in talking to me I could see from the short responses and I decided to leave the moment I dropped them at the hospital.
“Mario, finally, my God where did you disappear to?” Ketty asked me the moment I got to the door.
“The hospital” I answered shrugging.
“What? Are you okey? Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked one question after the other and I smiled at her.
“Am okey baby, Come on. I will tell you everything” I held her hand as we matched inside.
To be continued