(Still in draft form, to be edited later)
Alicia needed Kondwani to stop kissing her. She had heard and witnessed for herself what he did with women’s hearts and she knew without a doubt he wasn’t what she was looking for in a man. Her mind needed him to stop.
But her heart wanted him, every part of him and every pull he made towards her, she wanted him badly. Like a surfer braving herself to confront the roaring waves, Alicia threw caution to the wind and in a moment of weakness gave herself up to the burning desire seeping through her lips and sending shivers through every part of her body. In that moment, she had no desire whatsoever to bring to a stop the strange yet wild feelings coursing through her…and how could she when she had never felt anything like that before.
Paradoxically, it was Kondwani that was to drop her forcefully from an ecstasy high to a cold gripping reality; on his bed, naked, yearning and unashamed, but only for a little while.
“Why did you stop?” Alicia asked in a very weak voice, looking up at Kondwani who was now standing away from the bed, away from her, like a man watching a scene unfold before him of all the sins he had ever committed in his lifetime. There was absolute petrification on Kondwani’s face, shirtless, panting, sweaty and shaking his head as if the act itself could erase the past few minutes that would haunt him day and night in the coming days.
Alicia sat up. “Are you okay?” She asked him.
Without responding, Kondwani started looking around for her clothes but quickly remembered they must have been dropped somewhere along the way upstairs in their heat of passion, he went into his bathroom, grabbed a towel and handed it over to her.
Alicia’s face was full of questions that where slowly culminating into embarrassment.
“Put that on.” Kondwani said in a very tight voice.
Quickly, Alicia wrapped the towel around herself. “What’s the meaning of this?” She asked, her voice slightly shaking. “I’m so embarrassed right now I-“
Kondwani surprised her by putting his arms around her. “I’m sorry.” He said. “I know am being a jerk but soon when you come to your senses or when you are no longer mad at your parents, you will thank me for this.”
Alicia said nothing in response. Kondwani was right. What had she been thinking?
“This is so embarrassing.” She said, burying her face in his chest.
Kondwani laughed. “Watch yourself now,” he warned her. “Just because I was able to stop myself doesn’t mean that-“
Alicia stepped away from him before he could even finish his sentence, her gaze narrowing down to his bulged centre. Kondwani innocently shrugged his shoulders and turned to leave the room.
“Will bring your clothes.” He said and disappeared before she could even get her two lips to separate and utter a word.
Alicia dropped on the bed, covering her face in shame as she replayed everything that had just happened.
“Are you still planning on sleeping here?” Kondwani later asked Alicia as they sat down in the dinning room to eat some of the food his mother had left in the fridge.
“Yes.” Alicia replied.
Kondwani raised his eyebrow. “Woman, are you okay?” He asked.
Alicia chuckled. “I know I shouldn’t love you, but I do.”
Kondwani almost chocked on the food in his mouth. “You what?” He asked.
“It’s not like you didn’t know.” She said.
“Well,” he said and stopped to drink some water. “How is something like that so easy for you to say Alicia? I can’t seem to figure you out. You just said that with a straight face. What happened to the stammering Alicia that always-“
“I’m so embarrassed right now that I have to keep acting cool because the moment there’s some silence between us, my thoughts are going to run wild.” She said.
“Why are you embarrassed?” Kondwani asked.
Alicia rolled her eyes and gave him an ‘are you kidding me?’ look.
“That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” He responded. “If anything, I should be the one feeling like that.”
“Why should you feel embarrassed when you are the one who saved the one that tries to act holier-than-thou often?” Alicia asked.
Kondwani laughed. “We all have our moments of weaknesses,” He said, a far-off look in his eyes.
“You are doing it again.” Alicia intently observed.
“That look in your eyes.” She said. “You did that when…when…you know.” She couldn’t bring herself to describe what had just happened between them. “Why do you have that look in your eyes when you look at me sometimes?”
Kondwani busied himself on the plate of food in front of him. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He said whilst chewing.
“I think you know exactly what am talking about.” Alicia said. “You look like a man who’s guilty of something. I am not as naïve as you might think I am Dr Chileshe.”
“I think we are passed honorifics now don’t you think?” He said with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “I’ve told you before, just call me Kondwani, when we are just the two of us.”
“Are you going to just ignore my question?” Alicia refused to barge. “You should stop looking at me like am some innocent little girl you are afraid of defiling. I am someone’s mother Doctor…Kondwani.”
“What do you think would have happened between us if I didn’t stop?” Kondwani asked.
Alicia shook her head profusely as if to wade off the memory. “Let’s not talk about that please. Let’s just pretend nothing like that ever happened.”
Kondwani laughed. “That’s never gonna happen. Thanks to that, I now know without doubt that Alicia is in-love with me.”
“Can you please stop saying that?” Alicia winced in embarrassment, covering her face with her palms.
Kondwani laughed. “You will never hear the end of it.” He warned her. “Tonight is like a trophy am gonna keep and shine every single day as I busk in my glory. But are you sure it’s a good idea you spending the night here?
Alicia shook her head. “I know it’s a mistake but I have nowhere else to go. Just bear with me for tonight please and remain the surprising gentleman you’ve proved yourself to be so far.”
“What if it was just an act to get you to think wonderful thoughts about me?” Kondwani asked.
“I thought about that possibility,” She admitted.
“What?” Kondwani asked.
“I did.” She said. “I know from experience that you are not the type to pass up an opportunity like that one but something about your eyes told me you are battling something more powerful than your desires. Is it because of Gwen?”
“What about Gwen?” Kondwani asked.
“You must miss her a lot.” Alicia muttered under her breath.
“Whatever gave you that impression!?” Kondwani said. “Why should I be missing a woman who’s pregnant with another man’s baby? She’s moved on with her life and so have I.”
“Is that the reason why you and Dr Kayombo don’t talk anymore?”
“What do you mean don’t talk anymore?” Kondwani said. “I talk to that guy almost every day of the week.”
“You know the kind of talking am talking about.” Alicia counted. “The whole hospital has been on edge around the two of you ever since it came out that your fia, ex fiancé is pregnant with his child.”
“And I know exactly what they’re saying behind my back.” Kondwani said bitterly. “I deserve it since am a son of a bitch right?”
Alicia said nothing in response.
“See? I was right.” Kondwani said and pushed his plate aside. “I should fire that bastard but-“
“Hey,” Alicia said. “That bastard is a very good friend of mine if you must know!”
Kondwani gave her a look. “How can you still like him when he was pursuing you at the same time he was sleeping with my fiancé?”
“Because he is my friend.” She answered. “It doesn’t matter who he was or is sleeping with. You don’t stop being friends with someone simply because they made some stupid decision in their life. I happen to-“
As if he had overheard their conversation, Kayombo’s name appeared on Alicia’s phone. “Speak of the devil.” She said smiling, showing the screen to Kondwani whose eyes immediately lit up in anger as he grabbed the phone from her.
“What does he want calling you at this hour?” He asked.
Alicia got up from her chair and rushed over to Kondwani’s side to get her phone back but he had already answered it. “Doctor Kayombo.” Kondwani said sternly.
Alicia continued fighting to get the phone back but Kondwani grabbed her by the waist and forced her down on his laps, both his legs pinning her down and his free arm holding her upper body in place.
“Doctor Chileshe?” Alicia could hear Samuel’s voice through the phone from where her head was pressed against Kondwani’s chest. “What are you doing with Alicia’s phone?” Kayombo asked.
“She’s sleeping so naturally I had to answer her phone since it was disturbing me.” Kondwani said.
Alicia was ready to scream a rebuttal but the warning shot from his eyes made her close her lips tightly.
“Sleeping?” Samuel Kayombo asked. “What do you mean sleeping? Are you at the hospital?”
“No, at my place.” Kondwani said smugly. “Is there any particular reason why you are calling my woman at this hour Doctor Kayombo?”
“Since when have, anyway, never mind.” Kayombo said. “I will talk to her tomorrow.” He cut the line without warning.
Alicia ripped her head away from him and glared at him. “Your woman?” She said, looking him straight in the eye.
“Yes, did I say something wrong?” Kondwani asked with a straight innocent face.
“I thought-“ Alicia started to say.
“I know,” Kondwani said. “I thought I could put a lid on my feelings but just seeing that guy’s name on your phone and hearing your name fall out of his lips almost made me jump through the phone and wring his neck.”
“And what if I don’t want to be your girlfriend?” Alicia asked.
“I don’t think you have a choice in the matter.” He answered. “You should have thought about that before coming to my house and stirring up my emotions. Don’t worry am not gonna ask you to sleep with me, just yet. I still have a few things to take care of and until –“
“Just yet?” Alicia interjected him as she tried to get up from his laps but Kondwani wouldn’t let her go.
Looking down at his pants, “don’t wake him up if you are not going to pat him back to sleep again.” He said with a smirk on his face.
“You are impossible you know that!” Alicia complained. “I need to go to the bathroom anyway.” She added.
“Seriously?” Kondwani asked, looking at her suspiciously.
“Unless you want physical evidence-“
Kondwani lifted her by the waist and helped her to her feet before she could even finish her sentence. Chuckling triumphantly, Alicia went to the bathroom while Kondwani remained behind to think about the decision he had just made. He had not been thinking when he made the call to officially date Alicia. The anger and resentment he harboured towards Kayombo had driven him over the edge and forced him to make a decision he had been struggling to make from the time Alicia had forced herself into his heart and stayed there. And now that the decision had been made, what was he to do? What about the truth he was keeping from her? What would happen to them if…no, when the truth came out?
Now that he had her, he was not ready to let her go. Was it selfish of him to want her so badly despite everything? Why did it have to be Alicia of all women? Why was she the one to melt his stone heart and make him wish for something else other than chasing his economic and political ambitions? How can he so deeply love the woman who had the potential to tear his familiar apart and everything else he had built all these years? Was this what they called karma? Was the universe really that angry at him for a past he could not control?
But Kondwani was not the only one doing the thinking in that house. Alicia too found herself immersed in thoughts about the sudden turn her life had just taken, her hands placed under the running water in the bathroom sink.
There was no doubt in Alicia’s mind that she was in-love with Kondwani, this she had known for some time now. But she was just as sure of this fact as she was about him not being a good match for her. She had once fallen trap to her emotions when she gave in to Nicolas and even though she had been blessed with a very beautiful son, her life after that had not been the same again.
As a doctor, Kondwani trusted more in his own strength and intelligence to heal even the most complicated of ailments rather than in a much higher and greater power. As a man, he pursued his interests based on what benefitted him the most and he was quick to lay aside that which didn’t. But she had also seen him fight for her to get her son back and she had felt his heart beat to near rapture against her flesh.
Kondwani was a lot of things she did not want in a man but he was also a lot of things she had never before seen in a man. Just where would she stand in the life of such a man? Alicia finished washing her hands, dried them and went back into the living room.
“What are you thinking about?” Alicia asked Kondwani who had his back to her, hands in pockets and gaze fixed on something beyond the closed curtains in front of him.
Kondwani turned around. “Nothing,” he lied. “I think we should go to bed now. I’ll sleep downstairs in there.” He pointed to the door right next to the bathroom she had just stepped from. “You can take my room upstairs.”
“Are you okay?” Alicia asked again.
“Yeah, I guess am just realizing now how tired I am.” He said dismissively. “Give me a call if you need anything.”
“Okay.” Was all she could say, afraid to press him for information. It was obvious he was not okay but she just didn’t have the courage to pressure him into talking to her. They might have crossed the huge boundary that had separated them all this while but Alicia was still Alicia; the zeal to put up a fight was still low within her. She found keeping her silence easier than anything else.
“Good night.” Kondwani said and left the room without stopping to look back at her.
“Good night.” Alicia said to his retreating figure.
Suffice to say, none of them got a good night’s sleep that day.
Alicia woke up very early the next morning, hoping to leave before Kondwani was up but her plans were thwarted when she found him immersed in work in the living room.
“Good morning.” She greeted him.
Kondwani looked up at her from where he was seated. “Taking the walk of shame?” He asked, a smile on his face.
“No!” Alicia answered a little too quickly and loudly. “I just didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Are you going home first or straight to the hospital?” Kondwani asked.
“I have to see my son first. He called me crying on my sister’s line in the middle of the night saying he misses me. I was so mad yesterday I left without seeing him because I didn’t want him to see me crying.”
Kondwani finally stood up and went to put his arms around her. “I love you Alicia. Even if it kills me, am gonna love you like a crazy man.”
Alicia hugged him back. “Why do I feel the same Kondwani?”
“How I love the sound of my name from your lips.” He pulled her away from him and kissed her on the forehead. “Better get going now before you are late for work.”
“I’ll see you later.” Alicia said, stood on her toes and quickly planted a kiss on his lips before running out of the house.
Kondwani remained smiling to himself, his hand over the lips she had just grazed.
When Alicia got home, she could hear her mother’s and sister’s voice from the kitchen, obviously preparing breakfast while her father watched tv in the living room.
“Where have you been?” Her father Joseph roared the moment she appeared through the door, getting up from the sofa to confront her before she could fully enter the house. “Do you have any idea how worried we all were?”
“I was at a friend’s house.” Alicia said in a very low voice, her tone void of any remorse. She made a move to walk past him but Joseph pulled her right back by the shoulder to stand before him.
“How old are you that you should be rebelling like this?” Her father asked. Both Henrietta and Belinda appeared from the kitchen.
“Sis?” Was all Belinda could manage amidst the cold air in the room.
Alicia sent a glacial stare her mother’s direction and said; “I’m going to see my son.” She started towards Buseko’s room downstairs but before she could complete her third step away, her mother fell down at her knees in front of her, sobbing.
Shocked by the sudden turn of events, Alicia took a step back, as if to avoid setting her feet on fire.
“Rita!” Joseph rushed to his wife’s side. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“She is going to tell me today what I have to do to make up for what I did.” Henrietta cried. “If she wants me to jump into the ocean and die, I will. If she wants me to drive a knife through my stomach, I will do it, but please…don’t leave home like that again.
“Do you mean it?” Alicia looked stoically at her mother. “Are you going to kill yourself if I ask you to?”
“Licia!?” Belinda gasped.
Joseph could only gape at his daughter in disbelief.
“I will do it.” Henrietta said. “I don’t want you to cripple your life because of this bitterness you have towards me. I am not worth it.”
“Honey, get up.” Joseph tried to take his wife’s hand and help her up but Henrietta wouldn’t budge.
“I won’t get up until Alicia talks to me.” The mother of four stated matter-of-factly. “I can’t live my life in fear like this anymore…wondering what she’s up to whenever she’s upset. You all know what happened the last time she didn’t come home. What if-“
“Where were you sis?” Belinda asked. “Tell her everything is okay and make this stop. I trust you. I know you couldn’t have done anything stupid.”
Alicia scoffed and looked at her young sister. “You trust me?” She asked. “What would you say if I told you that I went and did exactly what I did with Nicolas six years ago?”
Joseph was about ready to hit his daughter again but Henrietta quickly jumped in front of him and instead received the wrath of his hand.
Both girls gasped, their hands to their mouths as Henrietta slowly went down.
“Honey!” Joseph quickly rushed to remedy his mistake.
Little Buseko’s voice had everyone’s gaze I the room turned towards his bedroom door.
“Honey.” Deeply embarrassed, Alicia ran to her son. “What are you doing up so early?” She asked as she put her arms around him.
“Why are you fighting with grandpa?” Buseko asked his mother.
“We are not fighting.” Alicia said as she positioned herself to block the five year old from seeing what was happening behind them.
Joseph and Belinda quickly helped Henrietta to her feet and she rushed to her grandson. Alicia surprised everyone by letting go of the boy so that her mother could get him. Feeling extremely ashamed of her actions, Alicia cried silently as she rushed up the stairs to get ready for work.
When Alicia got out of the shower a few minutes later, she found Belinda sitting on her bed, waiting.
“What are you doing here?” Alicia asked.
“What’s going on with you sis?” Belinda asked.
“What do you mean?” Alicia busied herself by the dressing mirror, her back turned to her sister as she applied lotion on her body.
“Where did you sleep?” Belinda asked.
“I told you, at a friend’s place.” She answered curtly.
“How many friends do you have Alicia?” Belinda said. “They are less than a handful. I called all of them and they said you weren’t with them, you didn’t even call them. Only this girl you work with…Carol or whatever her name is tried to lie to me.
“She said you were at her place but she refused to give me directions, then I remembered that you said she was out of town and you were lonely at work because of that. So who were you with? Did you go to the doctor’s house?”
Alicia’s shocked reaction at Belinda’s mention of Kondwani immediately gave her away.
“Oh my God.” Belinda said. “You were with him. I knew it. I called Nicolas’ friend Kayombo and he suggested you might be with the doctor but I never, oh my gosh. You slept at his place?”
“Calm down, mum and dad will hear you.” Alicia warned her.
“What is going on with you sis?” Belinda asked again, her voice filled with concern.
“Nothing’s going on.” She answered as she started dressing up.
Belinda got up and forced Alicia to look at her. “Sis, talk to me.” She pleaded with her.
“I’m going to be late for work Linda. Let me go.”
“I won’t let go until you tell me what’s going on with you?” Belinda insisted. “I thought that you would become happier when Buseko was brought home but you’ve been the total opposite. You are ever in a tight mood, you look gloomy when you get home from work and you don’t want to be with the family during meals.
“I have never heard you talk to mum or dad like you did. I can’t believe you are the same person am looking at. Just talk to me, please.”
Alicia’s eyes became teary and she quickly looked away from her sister. “I’m really going to be late for work Linda.”
“What can be so bad that you can’t talk to me about it?” Belinda pressed on. “You know I love you right?” Here, Belinda’s voice was shaky, she too fighting the tears threatening to pour.
“If I were to choose between our parents and you, you know that I would choose you right?” Belinda asked.
Those words finally broke Alicia into tears and she gave herself up into her sisters arms, sobbing. And together they cried in each other’s arms.
“It’s Buseko,” Alicia finally confided in her sister as they sat down on the bed. “Him and someone else.” She added.
“I know who that someone else is but let’s talk about Buseko first.” Belinda said.
“He asked me the other day if he was a bad boy,” Alicia said. “He looked me in the eyes and asked me; ‘mummy, do you love me now?’ I asked him why do you ask me that? He said that Grandma Mary told him that she was raising him because she loved him more than I did.” Alicia cried as she repeated the words spoken to her by her son.
“What?” Belinda asked, disbelief registering all over her face. “How can that woman tell a child something like that?”
“I swear to you Linda I cried that day in front of my son. I had all these crazy thoughts running through my mind…i kept thinking; so all this while my child has been thinking he’s not good enough for me that’s why I dumped him at his grandmother’s. How much pain do you think he must have felt every time I left him there?
“My heart broke even more when I realized that my son’s fears and his desperate need to receive acceptance from me was exactly what I went through growing up in this house. But he is only a child Linda.” Alicia cried. “He’s just a child but because of my foolishness he’s had to question my love for him.
“I felt so ashamed Linda.” Alicia continued. “I thought I loved him enough but hearing him say something like that-”
“Licia,” Belinda took her sisters hand. “Why are you even entertaining such thoughts? She asked. “You didn’t give up Buseko because you wanted to. You gave him up because it was the right thing to do at that time.”
“It wasn’t the right thing to do!” Alicia said. “There’s never a good enough reason for a mother to give away her own child. That’s why I’ve been so mad at mum.
“I can’t find the right reasons to defend myself other than that I felt guilty for my boyfriend’s death. At the end of the day I chose my man over my son and mum chose you guys over me. And I can’t punish myself so I keep taking it out on mum because it’s easy to resent her. I feel like she is the reason am such a bad mother and even when I know I can’t really blame her, I still can’t help myself. I Keep-”
“Oh my God Alicia,” Belinda hugged her sobbing sister. “What have you been doing to yourself?”
When Alicia calmed down a bit, Belinda asked her; “Do you honestly think that mum was a bad mother to you?”
Alicia nodded. “Yes.”
“And do you think that you’ve been a bad mother to Buseko?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know…I don’t think so…but maybe I wasn’t.”
“Do you think that Buseko really thinks that you are a bad mother?”
“I don’t know. But i think he knows that I love him, because I love him sis. He’s my whole world.”
“And yet there’s some guilt you feel towards him right?”
“And I bet you are dying to have him know just how sorry you are or how wrong he is to think you don’t love him right?”
“Yeah, very much…but how can I make a five year old understand that?” Alicia asked.
“That’s a good question.” Belinda said. “So don’t you think that, just like you feel you are a good mother and you love your son deeply but still have certain guilt about him, don’t you think mum feels the same about you?”
“The situation between mum and I is different Linda. She willingly and openly put me aside and made you guys her priority. I was always the old one out. In other homes I saw older sisters leave clothes for their younger sisters but in our home mum always bought the latest and most beautiful things for you and only after you used them would they come to me…or if you felt pity for me then you would give them to me brand new without mum knowing.”
“Do you really think that mum didn’t know that I gave you those things?” Belinda asked.
“I don’t know.” Alicia answered. “She never acted like she knew. This one time she saw me wearing your brand new white shoes and she passed a funny comment.”
“What did she say?”
“Eish, I can’t remember,” Alicia said. “Something about white looking better on me than it did on you-”
Alicia froze mid-sentence.
Belinda smiled triumphantly. “Have you realized what I’m trying to tell you?” She asked.
“She had bought those shoes for me right?” Alicia asked, her heart suddenly beating very fast.
“I know for a fact that she did, with those shoes and with most of the dresses that somehow always turned to be slightly loose or too big for me.”
“Oh my God.” Alicia covered her wide open mouth with her hands. “Oh my God.” She kept repeating as she stood up from the bed.”
“Rather than think of mum as always putting us first, can’t you think of her actions as the desperate actions of a widowed mother trying to secure a home for her child?
“By appearing as though she worshiped only dad and I, don’t you think that that was her only way of ensuring that you always had a home to live in and a father to take care of you?
“I was very young when I discovered what she was doing and I could have easily resented her for using me like that but somehow, I understood why she felt she had to act like that. For some strange reason, I was flattered by the fact that she considered me good-hearted enough to share those things with you without even asking me to. She had lost her husband at a very young age and she thought no other man would accept her the way dad had when she already had a child and been married before.”
Alicia dropped down to her knees and started sobbing loudly. Belinda quickly went to her and tried to skiffle her sobs. “Buseko will hear you crying like this and what are you going to tell him?” Belinda cautioned her sister.
“I didn’t know.” Alicia kept crying and shaking her head. “I had no idea.” She kept repeating. And very so suddenly, Alicia leaped to her feet and ran out of the room, taking two steps down at a time shouting for her mother at the top of her voice until Henrietta appeared at the kitchen door, a spatula in one hand and looking deeply perturbed by the desperate sound of her daughter’s calling.
Without warning, Alicia threw herself into her mother’s arms, weeping and repeating the words; “I love you mum,” while the whole familiar looked on in deep shock.
Only Belinda had a knowing smile on her face from the top of the stairs where she was standing, looking down at the miracle unfolding below.
“It’s about time sis.” Belinda said to herself as tears silently cascaded down her cheeks.
Consumed by the disturbing thoughts that always seemed to accompany Kondwani whenever he thought about Alicia, instead of going straight for work, he decided to pass through his mother’s house to see the only person that could help ease the guilt building up inside him.
“Oh my gosh, you scared me!” Chilufya gasped as she came out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her.
Kondwani immediately turned his back to her. Dress up quickly,” he said. “I am going to die young if I don’t get stuff out of my system right away.”
Chiluya immediately rushed to her closet and found something to wear. “What if I walked out of there naked?” She asked her brother as she dressed.
“Are you dressed now?” An impatient Kondwani asked.
“Oh my God what has you all worked up this early in the morning?” Chilufya said. “Give me two more seconds. Okay, you can turn around now.”
Kondwani went straight to sit on the bed. “Mum still sleeps up to 8 in the morning right?”
Chilufya sat on the chair by the dressing table. “I’m not sure.” She said. “I usually leave home at 7 and sometimes she’s awake and sometimes she’s fast asleep. It all depends on where her menopause has taken her that day.”
“I’m in deep shit.” Kondwani said.
“Language bro.” Chilufya said. “What did you do?”
“Alicia slept at my house last night.” He stated plainly.
Chilufya bolted up from the chair. “No way!” She said.
“Sit down,” Kondwani instructed, appearing to get a headache from her excitement. “You are making my head spin even more.”
Chilufya obediently sat back down but her eyes were bulged out wide in anticipation of more riveting news. “What happened?”
Kondwani explained most of the details of what had transpired between him and Alicia and at the end, in a very shaky voice he stated; “I know it’s wrong, I know I shouldn’t love her but.”
“But what bro?” Chilfufya said. “Honestly, I have never seen you like this before and to think that you have to give up on the one woman that has made you alive like this…no, am not going to let you give up on her. Don’t even entertain such weird thoughts.
“A few months ago I would have probably told you to stay away for the good of everyone involved but not after today. Just look at you.”
“I look like a fool like?” Kondwani laughed at himself, quickly wiping away his tears.
“No,” Chilufya comforted him. “For the very first time in your life, you look like a human being.”
“But I can’t afford to be human Chilu.” Kondwani reminded her. “I have a business to run, I have to protect you guys and mum. I can’t do that if am like this.”
“When are you going to realize that we are not kids that need your protection any more?” Chilufya said.
“I am old enough to take care of myself and my younger siblings.” She said. “You’ve done your part very well so it’s my turn now. Give me that opportunity to make you proud as well bro. live your life, be happy.”
“I can do that for you, but what about mum?” Kondwani asked.
Just as he was asking that question, Claudia their mother had just woken up and stepped into the kitchen to drink some water when she spotted her son’s vehicle through the open curtains parked in the front yard.
“Kondwani!” She called out to him and when no response came, she took the stairs up to the only room she knew he would be.
“I can take care of mum from over here so you don’t have to worry about anything.” Claudia heard her daughter say and a proud smile crossed her face.
She was just about to open the door and ask them why they were talking about her behind her back when she heard Kondwani say; “how can I bring Alicia before mum knowing very well the truth that lies between them?”
“You just said it yourself,” Chilufya muttered. “This issue has more to do with mum than it has to do with you so why are you feeling guilty like you were the one behind the wheel?”
Claudia froze by the door, both her eyes and ears opened wide.
“Lower your voice for pete’s sake what if someone hears you?” Kondwani said. “And what do you mean this has more to do with mum? I was right there at the scene!” He placed emphasis on every single word.
“It was me who saw the body first and it was me who disturbed the scene, not mum.” Kondwani continued. “It was me who was supposed to call paramedics but because I didn’t want mum to see what she had just done, I went back to the car and pretended everything was okay. Perhaps if I had called for help in time instead of selfishly worrying about my mother, that man might still be alive. I am guiltier of his death than the poor inexperienced driver that had been behind the wheel that rainy night.”
Claudia pushed the door open and caught the both of them by surprise.
“Mum!” Both Kondwani and Chilufya jumped from where they were sitting.
“What do you mean his death?” Claudia asked, her hands that were hanging loosely to her sides shaking profusely.
“Mum,” Kondwani ran to her side. Claudia turned fully towards her son, the fear written all over her face was the nightmare Kondwani had been avoiding for the past six years.
Was this how it would all come to an end? Kondwani thought as he looked at his mother. Just like that? Before he could even live a little? Not like this.
Dear God, not like this. Kondwani silently prayed to the God he had last recognised when he was a little boy.
Not like this, he kept repeating.