I Am Woman – Episode 17
A Story By Brian Ngoma
“Your mother overdosed on some pills, she’s lucky you found her earlier otherwise we would have been talking about something else,” the doctor sighed.
“Thank you doctor,” I said.
After finding her, luckily the taxi we came with hadn’t gone far, I ran to it and took mama to the nearest clinic.
“Tinashe mama is calling you,” Kasuli called me.
“Is she awake?” I asked walking towards her.
“Yes she is,” she answered getting into the room.
I got into the room as well and found her awake as told by Kasuli. She looked pale and seemed like she had been sick for months. She lost a lot of weight compared to the last time I saw her.
“Tinashe,” she gave me her hand and started crying.
I watched her cry and I felt sorry for her. It was obvious she had gone through a lot compared to us. I told her not to talk much as it was not good for her in her state. We stayed on her side until the following day when she was discharged. We went back to her house and found it exactly the way we left it.
“I am sorry for the mess my daughters,” she said as she sat down.
“Its fine mama,” I said sitting next to her.
“Can I have some water? I am thirsty,” she cleared her throat.
Kasuli went into the kitchen and brought some water for her. Our suitcases were still in the kitchen. Kasuli took them in the sitting room. When mama saw the suitcases, she told Kasuli to take the suitcases to the other room which they used as a storage.
“The room is dirty Tinashe,” Kasuli whispered in my ear.
“Shut up,” I pinched her.
“We will have a flu,” she continued.
I gave her the shut up stare and she was quiet.
“There is some Kapenta and we have a garden behind, you can get some vegetables and cook something we eat, I am starving,” mama said.
We were all starving. As soon as she said about what to cook, I made myself busy and prepared us some lunch. I told Kasuli to wash some plates and sweep the room we had been given. We had lunch. After finishing and resting for a while, I cleaned up the house and the surrounding. By the time I was finishing, the sun was setting. As I stood on a small veranda watching the sun set feeling its rays, I felt free and at peace with myself.
The days that followed, I avoided asking mama what had happened to her the day we found her because I thought it would be too much for her to explain. Her husband had not showed up and I wondered where he was leaving his wife in that state. Knowing him, I was sure he was the one who had beaten her.
“Tinashe!” She shouted my name.
“Ma,” I answered.
She was in her bedroom. I went to her and found her laying in her bed looking much better. She pointed me to sit on the bed.
“I know you have a lot of questions my dear,” she said staring at me.
“Yes mama, what happened to you?”
She smiled at me and said, “you have grown my daughter.”
I smiled back at her.
“Well, where do I start from,” she paused. “Terry and I have been having fights but not as fierce as the last one. Apparently I found out he is cheating on me with a girl your age. I confronted the both of them and he embarrassed me in front of his friends and the girl.”
She had tears in her eyes and I knew it was difficult for her to tell me her ordeal.
“I left him at the club he hangs at and came home,” she continued. “After I got home, he followed me and we started exchanging words. He got angry and started hitting me. I scre-med and begged him to stop but he didn’t. His face was scary, I feared for my life. After he beat me to a pulp, he left me on the floor in a pool of my blood. I found some strength and reached for my sleeping pills in my purse and took all the pills. I prayed for forgiveness from God.”
“Mama you didn’t think of us?” I wiped my tears.
“Trust me Tina, not a single day passes without thinking of you my girls. Being away from you girls is the best thing I have ever done to you.”
“What does that even mean mama?”
“I am a mess. Look at me Tina. I stay with a man who beats me every chance he gets. I know how embarrassed you are to call me your mom.”
“No mama,” I hugged her.
“I am sorry Tinashe, can you please forgive me for abandoning you.”
“I forgive you mama.”
Mama got better and she started going to work. She still worked as a teacher at a private school. Terry didn’t show up at Mama’s place the few days we had got to Kabwe. When I tried to ask mama, she said before they fought, she told him to pack his things and leave her.
Kasuli started going to school with mama. She managed to find her a place at the school. Even though it was short notice, she used her influence as a teacher at that school and got her an entry. Kasuli was happy and every day she knocked off, she would narrate her wh0le day to me which was pretty annoying and beautiful at the same time.
One day, coming from school, she came with a letter in her hands. She found me in the kitchen and called me. I looked at her and she was smiling. She showed me the letter and as I saw it, my heart beat changed. She gave it to me and we went to the sitting room to read it together as accustomed.
“Open it,” she said impatiently.
“Wait, is it even yours? Who gave it to you by the way?”
“Mail man,” she said looking at my hands opening the envelope. “Read it aloud, I want to hear too.”
I opened the envelope and it was Marlon’s letter as expected.
“Dear Tinashe, I am glad you wrote me back. I was saddened when I heard how your uncle was treating you. I really hope this letter reaches you and you found your mother. I never thought they were that wicked but remember, there’s always light at the end of tunnel.”
“Why have you stopped?” Kasuli asked.
“What’s your problem?” I asked feeling irritated.
I stopped because I was overwhelmed by the letter and how much Marlon cared for me. Kasuli waited for me to compose myself impatiently. I started reading it and Kasuli paid attention like it was a bed time story for her.
“I love you. Take care of yourself and sweet Kasuli.”
“Yes he said my name,” she exclaimed in delight.
“Is that the reason you wanted me to finish reading it?” I asked expressionless.
“Yes,” she shrugged and smiled.
“Whose letter is that from?” Mama asked as she entered the sitting room.
“From Tina’s boyfriend mama,” Kasuli answered.
“Suli shut your mouth,” I told her.
She ran to mama and hid behind her.
“Boyfriend?” Mama asked curiously.
“Yes mama, his name is Marlon and he is in Algeria,” Kasuli laughed.
“Kasuli that’s enough,” I said getting angry.
“Algeria? Hmmm, I need to hear more about this. Let’s eat first and you tell me about this Algerian boyfriend.”
I was nervous telling mama about Marlon but I was happy with the way she handled what I told her about him. I told her everything and what Marlon did for us.
“I’d like to thank this Marlon for taking care of my girls,” she said.
“I will tell him when I write him back,” I smiled.
“Tell him that I miss him too,” Kasuli smiled crookedly.
“Find your own boyfriend too,” I clicked my tongue.
Sitting with mama and Kasuli and feeling happy like I did felt surreal. It felt like a dream because I hadn’t been happy for a while now but the last seven months of staying with mama were great. The three of us even gained some weight. I had forgotten about all the tragedy I went through. Going to bed that night, I closed my eyes in peace and prayed to God thanking him for the good times I was having.
“I love you Tina, goodnight,” Kasuli caught me by surprise.
“I love you too Suli,” I smiled in the dark.
To be continued
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