What is a man to do when an opportunity to get the woman he’s loved and desired for years presents itself just two weeks before his wedding?
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Well, that situation happened to me.
The drama started during the early morning hours on a Saturday. I had only slept for just a couple of hours after a night out partying with the boys and just when I was getting into the chorus of my sleep, my phone rang. It was the fiancé.
Her name is Rachael. She is literally the epitome of a woman’s beauty; intelligent, witty, curved in all the right places, and a smile to die for. I love Rachael…but sometimes she does and says things that threaten to turn me into Voldemort in a blink of an eye.
You see, Rachael and I were planning what most people would call a short-gun wedding; I must have been too drunk that day I messed up my retreating skills and fired live ammunition straight on. Fortunately, the marriage proposal was not the sentence I received for how events turned out because I had already asked Rachael’s hand in marriage eight months earlier. In the end, we had to move the wedding date to a much earlier date so the pregnancy wouldn’t show by the time she walked down the aisle.
So there I was enjoying my sleep when Rachael’s phone call came. Naturally, I frowned and mumbled a few expletives before answering. During the days leading up to that day, I had developed a sudden phobia; whenever my phone rang and it was a call from Rachael, I would get all sweaty and nervous just thinking about what possible crime or sentence she was going to throw at me. You see, I was faced with two of the worst circumstances any man can ever find himself in; a pregnant woman and a soon to be bride…all packaged in the same container.
“I can’t get any sleep Chola, I want those pumpkins I left in your fridge on Tuesday,” my commander-in-chief roared.
I was flabbergasted! ifipushi, at 04 o’clock imwe bantu sure? Is this woman the love of my life or my mortal enemy? Ey.
“Babe, it’s 4 in the morning,” I protested, looking at the wristwatch which I had neglected to remove before throwing myself into bed. “Can’t I bring them to you when I wake up in the morning?” and I was tempted to add, it’s not like you are going to die if you don’t have them now, but of course I kept my mouth shut because the dead one would obviously be me if I dared utter those words.
And of course I couldn’t tell her that I hadn’t gotten enough sleep because I had forgotten to inform her about my night out with the boys…yes, I said forgotten.
I could picture the heavenly skies turning a shade darker when her response came, “Kanshi I will just come and get them myself.” I could hear her making some movements. “Who cares if something happens to me or my baby while I drive in the dark…what can I do?”
I mouthed a few more expletives whilst kicking my legs in frustration before jumping out of bed. I should have really kept my pull-out game in check that night, damwit. I felt like punching my balls for letting me down but let’s face it, that’s like shooting yourself in the leg and expecting your opponent to feel the pain.
“I will bring them,” I conceded, “just get back in bed and wait for me.”
“You are the best baby! You are my hero! You….” I couldn’t hear the rest of what she was shrieking because I was busy trying to nurse my bruised ego.
I always prided myself on being a macho man but whenever it came to my woman, I had learnt the hard way that if I wanted to be happy, it was best to ensure that the madam was happy first otherwise my independent pursuit of happiness would be futile.
So there I was at Rachael’s place in Kabwata Estates…did I mention that my place was in Avondale? Yeah, that’s the distance I had to drive to deliver her pumpkins.
I was watching her attack the pumpkins like a Lioness that had been starved for a century. I silently wondered what had happened to that classy bank manager I had been dating for the past three years. I could see symptoms of her on this woman’s face and body…but nah, she was slowly disappearing into the hormones that were threatening to engulf her whole body in a few months.
But I was still crazy about her like a teenager watching his first dose of porn….every moment spent with her was endearing. She was my queen.
Anyway, I was just glad she was eating the food I laboured to bring all the way instead of her just picking it here and then saying she’s no longer craving it. That always made me want to punch something.
“Mum asked me to go and help her out at the boutique today since Linda is out of town,” she was saying. Linda was my seventeen year old kid sister and the mum she was talking about was my mother. She and my family seemed to have hit it off the moment I introduced them. For starters, I knew it was because she was an educated and independent woman who wasn’t after me for my money or something like that. Secondly, despite her credentials, she was a very charming and respectful daughter and sister in-law. It was almost impossible for anyone that met Rachael not to fall in-love with her.
“I figured I could help her out since I am off from work this weekend.” Rachael continued, “But I have to collect my stuff for the bridesmaids from Beverly at Mercury. I already spoke to her; she said its fine for you to pick them up in my stead. Do you think you can get them for me before they close? I think they work half day weekends.”
“Sure,” I replied. “I will head there around 10. Anything else you need me to do for you?” This was my defensive mechanism at play. In order to not feel used or cheated or even frustrated, I discovered that it was better to accept my circumstances instead of constantly complaining. It was not like Rachael enjoyed bossing me around and demanding useless things in the middle of the night. I was partly responsible…if not majorly responsible for this kind of plot development.
* * *
So there I was at Mercury carrying boxes from inside and taking them to my car with the help of Beverly when I woman drove passed us and went to park her tiny golf car next to my Range Rover.
Beverly and I were there standing with our boxes in hand waiting for her to get out of her vehicle so we can go about our business when it happened.
I should admit, I am a sucker for good looking women. If you are a beautiful woman or if you have a huge rack or behind, or great looking legs, I will definitely turn around to look at you…and I will look and look again until the image of you is imprinted in my head for future reference. But that don’t mean I want to bed every one of them…I just love appreciating nature. I have my boundaries.
Of course Rachael knew about my weakness (es) and I had been working on it (them) from the time I went steady with her. I am still a work in progress, a good man, but still a work in progress.
I recognized the woman the moment she came out of the car.
Her name was Patricia.
Despite the five years since I last saw her, time seemed to have worked on her side all along. She hadn’t aged a bit. She was still beautiful, except this time it was a mature way…there was just something about the way she carried herself that day.
As if struck by some unknown Star Wars kind of power, my eyes went straight to her hand; she had a ring on. So she was married. I am not sure how that conclusion made me feel or perhaps, I just wasn’t ready to confront it at that particular moment.
She had recognized me too.
“Chola!” She shouted my name and came charging at me. I had to put my piled boxes down to accept her hug while a visibly bemused Beverly watched on the side.
“Oh my God, look at you!” Patricia said, scanning me from head to toe. “You are a man now, aren’t you?”
I blushed. Gosh, did the woman even know what that meant?
I had become a man some good eighteen years ago when she first made an appearance in one of nature-induced steamy productions. Of course my hand was a far cry from the real thing. But who cares?
“Is this your wife?” Patricia had turned to my fiancé’s loyal friend Beverly…emphasis on the world loyal.
Beverly was quick to shake her head, “hell no, he is my friend’s fiancé. He just came to collect some stuff for the bridesmaid…the two are getting married in just two weeks.” She announced a little too excitedly, much to my chagrin… I don’t know why.
Bev was obviously playing the role a typical girlfriend’s friend, very protective…announcing the wedding as if she had stakes in the marriage. Dame woman, sealing my fate on the market like that.
“It’s nice to meet you,” said a smiling Patricia, awkwardly trying to find means to shake Beverly’s hands before giving up. “I’m Patricia, Chola’s friend from way back. We grew up together, him and I.”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Beverly returned. “Sorry I can’t shake your hand,” she said, looking at the boxes
Patricia laughed softly, “I understand, don’t worry about it. I just came to collect something for a friend of mine. I hope it’s still open.”
“Yes, still open…but we’ll be closing a few minutes so if you could rush in and….”
“Oh, thanks,” Patricia said, her focus on the entrance of the building. “Let’s catch up another time,” she was speaking frantically. “I would love to meet the soon to be Mrs Mwansa.” Then she opened her bag, took out her business card and handed it to me. “I am still in town for a month so I expect to get a card! Call me, okay.”
“Of course,” I said, looking at her card; she was a legal advisor. She was still as impressive as ever.
“It was nice meeting you Beverly…you too Chola after such a long time. See you soon!” And with that, off she ran.
See you soon…she had said.
See you soon…. like an addictive pill, her voice kept ringing in my head.
Later that night as I lay awake in my bed, my mind kept replaying the fateful events of that day.
I tried everything possible to keep my mind busy; I had been on the phone with Rachael for close to two hours, I tried watching some soccer, I tried eating…I tried almost everything but the images kept creeping into my thoughts.
I took the business card which was lying on the bedside table and I think I starred at it for close to an hour. It was midnight already, I had a woman I was crazily in-love with, she was pregnant with my child, and our wedding was just a couple of weeks away…so what the hell was I doing thinking about another woman at that time of the night?
Patricia and I had never dated. She was two years older than me and growing up, she always thought of me as her young brother. The kind of attention she gave to me was that of one looking after a sibling but as a man, she never gave me her time of day.
I always hated that.
For many years I loved her from a distance despite growing up in the same neighbourhood. Her house was just two blocks away from mine.
She was my first love…the kind of love that hurts real bad it makes you stay up all night imagining all sorts of things…all sorts of possibilities. I wanted to make that woman mine for so many years, longer than all the years I’ve loved different women put together.
She was the one that got away…the one I couldn’t seem to shake off no matter how many years passed.
But there she was back in my life at the most crucial moment. What the hell was I supposed to think? Did she come as a test before my nuptials or was she a sign that I had to reconsider things?
There I was holding the business card in my hand with my eyes fixed on my phone. I only needed to look away or switch my phone off, throw the card away and force myself to sleep and the rest would have been history.
But my name is Chola…and I have my weaknesses too.
* * *
Look out for Chapter Two to be published soon!!