“So Aunty Tamara, you cannot tell me about being a woman.”
“Don’t be stupid Tinashe!” Uncle Richard yelled at me.
“First thing, you made us wait a month and secondly, you are being disrespectful.”
“I made you wait because i wanted you to be reminded of your relative who died on this day. Perhaps you will feel ashamed of how much you neglected his children.”Everyone was quiet with shame written all over thir faces.
“So like i am saying, you people are shameless creatures and you dare ask about Kasuli. Do you know what me and Kasuli went through? Even in the hands of some of you here.”
Enoch stared at the floor.
“Kasuli is my responsibility and no one will ever take her away from me. If anyone has a problem with that, you can sue me. Mr Lubase will provide us with all the necessary tools if this goes to court.”
“Who is Mr Lubase?” Papa’s uncle asked.
“He’s the former boss of her father.” Uncle Richard said.
“Let’s all get something clear now. I know the reason you wanted me so badly. You want to marry me off, isn’t it?” I looked at uncle Richard.He wanted to speak but i cut him.
“No one is marrying off anyone here.” I looked at the young man sitted shocked.
“Tinashe you will do as we say.” Uncle Richard said.
“Says who?” I asked defiantly.
“Listen young lady. I am still your guardian and you will do as i say.”
“Where have you been all this while, Guardian?” I asked sarcastically.
He couldn’t get any word out of his mouth.
“Like I expected. If you want, marry off your child. As far as i am concerned, you people are my relatives and it ends there. No one among alll of you has any authority over us. You get that?”
“Tinashe be calm,” Aunty Tamara said.
I only looked at her and said nothing. A car hooted outside and they all looked at me.
“I guess that’s for me. I am sorry to disappoint you all,” I said as i stood up. “I will be leaving now, so i guess i will see you all around.”
They all looked at Uncle Richard seemingly wanting him to say something but he didn’t. He also let me walk out of the house. As soon as i got outside, i took a long needed breath in and out. I had finally unlocked myself from these people who wanted to take advantage of me. Before going, i was really scared of how i could handle them but i had managed. I was proud of myself. As i walked towards to the car, i found him and Kasuli waiting for me with smiles on their faces.
“I can see you have faced your demons successfully,” He said.
“It wasn’t easy but i put them in their place,” i shrugged.
“Didn’t they ask for me?” Kasuli asked jokingly.
“How could they not?” I asked her back.
“What did you tell them?” She asked sitting in the backseat.
“Well, or i can say is that they will never bother us again.”Kasuli smiled.
“Where to now?” He asked as he drove out of Uncle Richards street.
“To the farm ofcouse,” I said excitedly.
“You miss Shikulu?” Fumbani asked.
“Yes, you’re jealous?” I asked him.
“Of that old man? No. He’s dying soon.”
We all laughed.
The last time i had talked to Clara about Marlon and Fumbani made me realize who i needed. I thought i was still in love with him but in actuality i was in love with the idea of being in love with him. The little time we spent together made me realise he was not the man i needed. I had to make a decision quickly before anyone would be hurt. I talked to Marlon about the whole thing and surprisingly, he didn’t put up a fight. He was so understanding and wished me the best.
The day after talking to Marlon, i decided to go back to the farm. I found Shikulu seated on his chair like always admiring his works. As soon as he saw me, he knew why i had returned. Without saying a word, he pointed me to Where Fumbani was. I hurriedly went there and found Fumbani standing staring at the maize field.
“Fumbani!” I shouted.He turned around. I ran to him and hugged him with tears streaming down my face.
“Wait,” he cut me and went on. “Let me say something Tinashe. I don’t know why you’re here but i have to tell you this. Tinashe i am in love with you and there’s nothing i can do about it. Ever since you left, my life has been miserable. I really miss you and i missed you the first day you left the farm. That day i came to you and found you with Marlon, i had come to tell you how i feel about you.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“You were back with him, that’s why. I have always known about your relationship with him and seeing you holding hands with him, I couldn’t say what i had come to say.”
“Well he’s out of the way. Tell me now.”
“I love you Tinashe and i want you here with your sister. Nothing would make me happier than being around you.”
“Why did it take you so long to say this?”
“You rejected me once and i was scared you would reject me again.”
“I am here now.”
He hugged me. For the first time, i felt him closer to me. The peace i felt was overwhelming and i knew right there and then, i was home. Since that time, we moved back to the farm on a condition that we should be treated like the rest. We would work too like everyone else. With the money i got from Papa’s company, Kasuli started school again. I also started going to night school.Fumbani gave me courage to face my family. Shikulu also did his part. The morning we left to go and meet them, Shikulu gave us his blessings saying that we needed it. Fumbani drove us to Uncle Richards place.
“After an hour, please hoot the car,” I said coming out of the car.
“Won’t that be disrespectful?” He asked.
“No. I am sure i will be done saying everything i have planned to say.”
“Alright love. Do your thing while i chat with Kasuli.”
I was relieved that it was all over. By the time we got to the farm, we found Shikulu had prepared a small party for us. How he did it, we didn’t know. I asked Fumbani and he was equally surprised.
“This old man is full of surprises,” Fumbani said while he held me in his arms.
“I hope you also grow old to be like him,” I looked at him.
“No ways. I don’t want to grow old. I want to stay young with you.” He kissed me.
The party was over and we all went to bed. Going to bed was easy but sleeping was always a struggle. Not that it was something bad but chatting with Kasuli never seemed to end.
“So what do you think happened to Mama?” Kasuli asked me.
“I hope she’s fine and well,” I sighed. “Let’s sleep now it’s late. We have a long day tomorrow.”
“Goodnight baby sis.”
“Bana Gary (Gary’s mother) hurry up Ah!” Fumbani shouted from the other room. “We are already late.”
“Wait Bashi Gary (Gary’s father),” I yelled back.
“You made me drive back here because of your forgetfulness. What kind of a bridesmaid forget the brides vows?”
“Ah Enough. I have found the paper, lets hurry,” I stormed out of the bedroom.
Fumbani drove us to the church at Godspeed, so as he said. We got there and fortunately Kasuli was still in the car waiting for me.
“You found the paper Bana Gary?” She asked nervously.
“Yes baby, i found it.” I handed it over to her.
“You’re clumsy you know,” she said.
“You are the clumsiest,” I pinched her cheek while applying some make up on her face.
“I am nervous Tinashe. Is this how you felt when you married Fumbani?”
“That was a long time ago, i don’t remember,” I laughed.
“I am serious Tina,” She said.
“I know baby but it’s normal. He’s the man of your dreams, right?”
“He’s my life.”
“That’s about it. When i married Fumbani, i knew he was the one and he still is till death do us apart.”
“Thank you big sister.”
“Enough. Lets now go inside. We are making the groom nervous.”
Life had been good. I got married to the man i least expected and we had a child we named Gary. Kasuli was no longer a child but a grown up woman who i was now giving her in marriage. The past months had been hectic especially with the untimely death of mama. Her last wishes were that i take care of Terry Junior. Knowing the father, i took him in and got full custody of him. Terry never showed up. Terry Junior was a good boy and he got along really well with my Gary.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. May the groom kiss the bride,” The pastor said.
Being by Kasuli’s side in this happy moment of her life was the most precious moment i could ever wish for. I stuck to the promises i made to her. Where i go, she would go. This time, she was slipping through my hands but not to the wrong hands. I was happy knowing that Davies would take care of her and protect her. I had done my part and it was now time to let her go.
“I am happy for you.” I said wiping my tears as she was getting in the car on her way to her honeymoon.
“Don’t cry Tina,” she said wiping a tear off my face.
“It’s hard to let you go,” I said.
“I know and it will be difficult to be without you.”
“You will manage.”
“And you too.”
The car with a just married banner on it drove away. I stood watching it in tears. Fumbani and the boys joined me and held my hands.
“Mom, when will aunt Suli return?” Gary asked.
“Soon baby. She has gone to her honeymoon and will come back so that you will be going to her house on holidays.”
“Stop crying now. It’s not like she’s gone forever.” Fumbani said.
“You raised her well and you taught her how to be a woman. You’re her role model, you have been a woman she needed, be proud of that.”
“Thank you and yes i know I am a woman.”
A big thanks to Brian Ngoma for sharing this story with us. Thanks for reading. Please drop your comments