At school I was quite down the first day. I watched the girls running around shouting and doing all sorts of things trying to catch up. Others sat in groups explaining how the holiday was. some girls sat in their gossip groups,others showing off what they came with from home. I sat quietly on my bed, my mind back home. I really missed my daughter and the burden was large cause I had no one to talk to.
who would understand me? As they say” if you want to keep a secret never tell anybody. ” my best friend Muma tried talking to me and cheer me up but all was in vain. A big part of me was gone.
with each passing day I wondered how I would live without my girl. I felt regret. what was life worth if you can’t sacrifice to be with the one you truly love, your own fresh and blood.
I was called on a Wednesday by our Matron. She asked me how home was. I was surprised by her questions,
” everyone is ok” I said wondering what she was driving at.
“Jenala, I called you here because am concerned about you, last term you didn’t look so well and this term too. Are you sure you are okay? nothing is wrong with you?”
I knew where the questions were leading to, if it was the previous term I could have been very worried I thought to myself.
“am ok Madam” I answered back.
” really? anyway, as per trend I will personally take you to the nurse and make sure you are alright, i mean you aren’t pregnant, you know the rules. The school doesn’t allow any pregnant pupil.” She spoke s she led me to the school clinic.
“if that’s what it will take for me to prove to you that am not pregnant then it’s okey Madam we can see the nurse” I responded confidently.
After seeing the nurse I was asked to give her a sample of my urine and blood and they both came out negative.
The Matron told me she was glad. “you are an intelligent girl I could have been disappointed with you” She sighed dismissing me.
Days passed quickly I got so busy studying for the final exams, after 3 weeks, exams started and I wrote with confidence, it was worth it that i studied so hard.
On the day I completed my high school. Uncle passed through and picked me up, in fact , I was surprised he came he had not given me prior notice that he would come.
“Uncle how did you know we wrote our last paper today?” I asked him after I was called by the Matron to go see him at the head teacher’s office.
” I was coming from Ndola” he smiled” so I decided to call the school and find out if you are done so I drive you home.”
“That’s nice of you ” I pointed out heading to collect my bags.
Uncle drove us to Lusaka, we passed through some eating place and had our lunch.
“So Jena what do you intend to study?” He looked at me as he drove breaking the silence
“Mm, I would like to do Law or Banking and Finance” i told him.
“Well, worry about passing. you know I will help you through your education.”
“Thank you Uncle” I answered honestly ” you have been so good to me I don’t know how to appreciate you.”
” it’s okey and you are welcome uncle looked at me.
” your father was a good man he helped lots of people including myself. The only way I can appreciate what he did for me is to see to it that you complete your education and become independent. ”
“Ok, uncle you sound like you knew my dad.” I wondered loudly.
“yeah” he sighed “not directly though, but through my dad. Did you know your father helped us when my father who was his work mate back then got fired from his job? life wasn’t easy for us, your father sacrificed his house he had on rent in Kabwata and lend it to my father and us all to live in for free. he practically feed us for almost two whole months. To sum it all, your father helped us through when no one else could. I helped your aunty get a job at Lafarge some few years before he died. I then fall in love with her and you know the rest..” He smiled looking at me and then right ahead.
Wow!, that was news to me, no wonder. I now understood why he was so nice to me. The rest of the journey was great we talked about lots of things. College and university life especially.
Uncle told me it was an interesting stage in life but one ought to be careful because some people lost it and never even made it out if they became over excited and lived carelessly. I nodded in agreement as I took in his wise words.
The following day at home uncle called me after work and handed me an envelop. It was addressed to me.
” Jenala chisonga..
then care of Mr Chilufya kenrod.”
I looked at it and uncle. I didn’t understand who could have written me a letter. As far as I knew, no one ever wrote to me. worse still using uncle’s address.
I thanked uncle and went straight to my room. I turned the envelope around and it was quite heavy. Printed behind was an international address. My heart beat increased when I saw Russia.
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“what in God’s name is going on?”I whispered. I had not heard from him for almost a year and now he decides to send me a letter. I tried to open the envelope but stopped mid way. I put it down under my pillow. sighing, i left my room and went to continue cooking. I wasn’t ready to know about the man who changed my life and brought me so much pain.
The whole afternoon i tried to find an excuse to go see my daughter but unfortunately it wasnt easy with aunty around. I gave up hope of seeing Grace that day when it was passed 18 hours.
As though to answer my prayer. Someone was hooting at the gate. I smiled when I saw Chisha coming back in with Mrs Mwape.
“you are welcome aunt” I greeted her..
“thank you Jena, I didn’t know you are back already”
” yeah , I came back yesterday. how is baby Grace” I asked before leaving to call aunty from the bedroom.
” she’s ok, she’s a big girl now. You can go see her outside she remained in the car with her father ” she told me.
” of course” I smiled almost running to call aunty and storming out immediately she came to greet Mrs Mwape.
Grace truly had grown. I touched her fingers and she gave me a big smile.
“It seems my daughter knows you. ” Mr Mwape jocked. ” look at how she smiles every time you are around. ”
“Yeah so it seems” I said bluntly. After a few minutes with her aunt came and I kissed Grace good night
“What a blessing that i kissed her good night” I thought smiled to myself as i entered my room.
later that night in bed I held Ben’s letter. I put it back and picked it up again.
” let me see what he had to say, after all I won’t have to believe him or anything like that..” i comforted myself.
I opened it and gasped, enclosed was a beautiful card wishing me a wonderful festive season. I opened the letter inside and it read.
I pray you are ok. Am fine I just miss you a lot. I wonder why you have not been responding to the letters i sent through aunty Nelly. Anyway, I just figured that maybe she never gave you my letters over the months so I decided to use your uncles name.
I hope you read my letter this time. I miss you and I love you very much. I hope you are keeping yourself well for me. I can’t write a lot cause I am not sure you will get this. Please if you do, call me on the number below.
I read through twice. I couldn’t believe aunty Nelly received letters and never mentioned anything to me. Anyway, I was not so surprised. She obviously read the letters and kept it to herself. No wonder when ever she mentioned Ben she made sure to repeat her story of him marrying a Lusaka woman. I was sure she wanted me to hate him or forget Ben. her plan worked cause after i realised Ben would never contact me i decided to flush him out of my head. though it was hard not to love him. I tried with all my strength to ignore the feelings. With Grace around it was even easy. All my energy was channelled to wanting to be with my daughter. Even if it meant me sneaking on the Mwape’s everyday.
I hugged the letter and fell asleep. Promising myself to buy air time and talk to him the following morning. Thankfully uncle got me a phone on our way back from school.