I hurriedly packed my big hand bag, a pair of jeans, two body tops and a black blouse. Adding a container of my lotion, my perfume, roll on and my make up kit, well just in case I needed to do my face, funerals for modern days, you can never tell. The make up kit might come in handy.
I placed my bag in the back seat of my car and walked back inside. I just forgot to park a pair of shoes. All I needed was a pair of pumps and slippers.
” You are going for two days only Jennifer!” I scolded myself as l checked around if I left anything. I sighed recalling I needed to carry something to cover myself with in the night. Knowing my aunty would not have enough to give every relatives some beddings at the funeral, I couldn’t risk going to get myself squeesed in someone’s covers lest it got cold.
” Well that’s it!” I murmered to myself looking at myself in the mirrow. I wore a black body top with black leggings, knowing I will throw over my chitenge when I got to Kabwe. My hair was covered in a gray headsock.
Locking the door to my house, I got in my car and started the engine almost immediately.
Probably wondering who this busy body is?, Well am Jennifer Makasa, a single woman aged 26, working as a banker in Lusaka at NATSAVE bank.
I received a call that the brother to my aunty(Ex wife to my uncle, the young brother to my mother) died the previous day. Having grown up close to my aunty, it mattered less that she and my uncle were no longer together, I needed to be there for her and having a weekend ahead, I knew I could use it to be there.
I knew the man who died, I saw him as I grew up though he never visited my aunty more often. His wife was a good woman and good with hair plaiting, I knew cause I always went to have my hair done before I completed my course.
As I joined Cairo road, driving from my home in Makeni Villa, I fastened the seat belt and raised my head high to have a clear view of the road ahead. It was around 7 in the morning so being a Saturday, the road was not conjested yet.
Increasing the speed as I passed Kabwe round about I let my mind wild off as the slow tracks I was playing in the car got to my ears soothing the emptiness that I was feeling.
” lt’.s not what you think babe” came the voice of my ex boyfriend pushing through the serenity that the songs were bringing to my heart.
My perfect boyfriend, who I thought was the man I would settle with even if I never loved him much, broke my heart by getting intimate and making out in my own house with my best friend.
I had walked in unannounced one afternoon after getting a sick leave from work. Daniel had come to visit me all the way from Choma where he was working from and he was going to stay for a week. Which actually prompted me to fake an illness and sign for some days off.
I was rushing home to give my sweet boyfriend the news just to open the door and blessing my eyes with a scene of my Daniel pushing himself into my friend Chola as they both moarned in pleasure.
” What the hell!” I shouted dropping my hand bag and the sick note I was holding to show to Daniel.
They both startled standing up as Daniel looked at me, his face still filled with his unfinished business.
My friend just bow her head, I wondered what she was feeling, definitely not shame, cause I had assumed a person with a sense of shame wouldn’t bang her best friend’s man especially in her own house.
” Jen, babe it’s not what you think ” Daniel stood before me trying to hold my hand.
” And what is it that you think l am thinking?” I asked pushing his hand away from mine.
He stammered lost for words, I couldn’t make out anything from the whisper that came from his large lips.
” Get out of my house both of you!” I snored angrily.
” Get out! ” I shouted further pushing back the tears that formed in my eyes, even though it was too late as I felt their warmth run down my well made up face.
” Let’s talk about this babe, please. I was just ….”
” Dan!” I cut him short raising my hands.
” I swear to God if l come back here to find both of you still here, believe me I am willing to serve a sentence whilst you rot in hell!” I snapped and pushed him aside making passage for myself as I walked to my bedroom.
I heard Chola talk in a low voice tone and my heart pumped faster with the feel of her betrayal.
A few minutes later I heard Dan’s car engine revving and I quickly grabbed his small laptop bag putting all his small things inside and rushed out before he could drive away.
” Take your cursed things you jerk! And never come back to my house again!” I shouted throwing the bag at him and not minding the cracking of the laptop which was inside.
” As for you” I said pointing my finger at my best friend.” You will surely have a taste of what you have done to me!” I told her off and didn’t wait to hear her response as I ran back inside locking my door like I was scared they might come back.
“Peeeeeeep eeeeeeep!” Came the sound of a vehicle behind me bringing me back to my senses. I didn’t realise the traffic lights had indicated green.
I sighed stepping away from the brakes as l drove on. ” They are not worth of my tears!” I whispered to myself and wiped the tears from my face.
After all I had been a single woman for over 3 months and even though I missed being with both of them, I had decided to move on without them.
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The 2 hours drive to Kabwe came to an end and as I parked my car by the road side, outside the funeral house, I saw a few faces turn my way.
I composed myself getting my Chitenge and wrapped it around my waist before stepping out.
The voice of my aunty calling out my name as I got to the entrance made me remember the tradition of wailing as one visited a funeral house especially that I was considered family.
” Oh my God! Uncle mwayaaa!” I yelled out feeling off as I didn’t feel that much pain Inside myself.
The others welcomed me with their crying and after some minutes it was silent and I could hear people’s voices talking and laughing.
” Well, I whispered in my head. Some funerals are funny huh, a minute ago people were wailing and now they go on discussing some issues like they were in a market place.”
” How was your journey? ” aunty asked making me realise I had gone off again.
” lt was okey aunty, it’s sad uncle is gone I was devastated when I received your call yesterday” I whispered sadly and she went on explaining what happened to him.
Later that night a group of people came and sung some funeral songs. They didn’t come from church though, I was told they were a group of drunks who sung at every funeral in the compound for a reward of Nshima.
I went to sit outside with my aunty and other women as we listened to the songs and people laughing. Then something caught my attention.
A man clad in some covers with PF labels sat silently in the corner near the men’s fireplace.
A plate of Nshima on the ground as he ate slowly.
” Who is he?” I asked my aunty and she looked at the direction my finger was going to..
” Who? ” she giggled
” That man there?” I asked knowing she knew who I meant.
” Oh that man is not well, he is a mad man that goes round and settles wherever there is a funeral and he never leaves unless after burial” she explained
” Oh sad” I sighed honestly feeling bad for him even if I couldn’t see his face.
” l wonder what happened to him to get like that” I said not to anyone in particular..
” never mind abalumendo banomba ifyakuchitachita ( young men of this era are fond of issues” my aunty responded and I murmered casually.
“I think I need to sleep now, l feel tired” I announced and my aunty showed me a reserved space for me.
As I closed my eyes to allow sleep take me over I couldn’t stop thinking of the blurred image of the mad man outside. I started wondering how he was feeling being in his condition. ” Does he feel cold, does he feel any kind of emotion?” I asked myself a series of questions until I felt sleep drowning me as I allowed my body to rest amid the noise around.
To be continued
© Tisa Phiri
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