Kondwani’s Debt of Love – Part 16

(Still in draft – to be edited tomorrow)

Before Kondwani and Chilufya could take full grasp of what had just happened, Claudia went down, her head hitting the floor with a loud thud. Kondwani felt time and the world around him spin in slow motion. He was aware of every sound and everything around the place where his mother had just fallen, including his sister’s shriek that threatened to bring the walls around them down.

Time seemed not on Kondwani’s side as he rushed breathlessly towards his mother’s lifeless body, lifted her head up first, shouting her name and checking her pulse.

“Out of the way” Kondwani shouted at his young brother who had appeared in the room from out of nowhere looking half asleep and half in shock. Gift quickly moved aside to let Kondwani who was carrying their mother in his arms pass. Kondwani carefully laid his mother on Chilufya’s bed and went straight into doctor mode.

“What’s wrong with mum?” A visibly confused Gift asked his sister, wiping the sleep from his eyes. “Is she dead?”

Chilufya gave him a killer look and quickly turned her attention back to Kondwani who was trying to get their mother to regain consciousness.

“Why isn’t she waking up?” Chilufya asked.

“Give her a second,” Kondwani said, sounding surprisingly calm. Chilufya recognized right in that moment that it wasn’t her brother she was looking at, it was Doctor Chileshe. In the space of a few minutes, she had seen him transition from a brother to a man in-love, and from a son to a doctor.

As if she had heard her son’s voice, Claudia slowly opened her eyes.

“Mum.” Chilufya sat down next to her, grabbing her hand.

“Bring some ice Gift.” Kondwani instructed the 17 year old who was now fully awake.

“For what?” Gift asked.

Chilufya shot her brother a warning look and pushed him to the side. “I will bring it.” She told Kondwani, and turning to Gift, “Get back to your room fool!” She spat. “Let me not find you here when I return.” And she rushed out of the room.

“Go to your room.” Kondwani instructed his brother and Gift left the room without hesitation.

“What you said…” Claudia stammered as she winced in pain from the concussion she had obviously suffered.

“Mum, mum,” Kondwani said, sitting down beside her. “Relax for now and let’s talk about that when your head calms down a bit. You are lucky Chilufya’s wig cushioned your fall a bit….” He pointed to the blonde weave on the floor that Chilufya wore during some of her crazy episodes. Claudia tried to follow the direction his hand was pointing but her head would not allow her to make any movement.

Kondwani held her and kept her from making any movement. “You need to stay put for now mum.” He repeated. “And what are you doing up this time anyway?”

“Stop avoiding my question.” Claudia said. “I heard what you were talking about.”

“What do you think you heard that made you fall like that?” Kondwani played it cool. Claudia seemed confused by her son’s nonchalance.

“You said…you said that….” She kept stuttering. “I heard you say that….”

“That I wasn’t ready to introduce my girlfriend yet because her fiancé died in a road accident and I didn’t want you to be reminded of that old accident?” Kondwani asked.

Claudia appeared even more confused now. “No,” she said. “That’s not what I heard…or is it? My head is spinning. I swear that’s….”

“What’s taking Chilufya so long?” Kondwani looked out the door and just then Chilufya appeared with a pack of ice in hand.

Kondwani stood up and Chilufya sat down in his place. “Where should I place it?” She asked.

Kondwani took the pack and laid it on the side of his mother’s head. “She fell on this side so let’s keep her from swelling.” He moved to stand aside once Chilufya took over from him.

“I think the fall was harder than I imagined.” Kondwani remarked casually. “I don’t know what she thinks she heard from our conversation.”

For a second Chilufya had the same look as the one her mother had had earlier but she quickly picked up her brother’s silent cue and caught on to what he was playing after.

“She overheard us talking about my girlfriend and her late boyfriend’s accident and her thoughts went wild.” Kondwani added.

“Oh, yeah…about the accident.” Chilufya nervously chipped in, not sure what to say or what scenario her brother had already given their mother.

Claudia turned her eyes towards her daughter. “You know about that accident too?” She asked.

In response, Chilufya turned pleading eyes towards her brother, still not sure how much their mother was allowed to know.

Kondwani moved closer to their mother, hands in pockets. “She knows about your accident.” He told her. “That’s why you overheard me talking to her about my girlfriend’s issue. I needed her advice on when would be the right time to introduce you two because I didn’t want you hearing her story about how she lost her fiancé and you feeling guilty about the past since the accidents where somewhat similar.”

“What do you mean similar?” Claudia asked. “You said that man died…and now you are talking about this other man…I am confused. Who died? I thought no one died that night but-”

Kondwani laughed. “That’s what you get for walking in on other people’s conversations.”

“But I heard what you said,” Claudia insisted. “If you had called paramedics…did that man die? I thought you said he was okay.”

The fear on Chilufya’s face was enough to give them away but Kondwani somehow still managed to keep his cool. “I was talking about my girlfriend mum. The concussion has really messed up your memory. Relax for now and you will feel better in a bit.

“I still think you need a thorough examination but I need to go for work now…and you need to lie down for a while before you can make any movements.” And turning to Chilufya, “bring her to the hospital after an hour or so.”

“Wait,” Claudia tried to get up to stop Kondwani leaving but Chilufya held her down.

“Mum don’t move.” Chilufya said sternly.

“I will see you later.” Kondwani said and exited the room.

“Is it true that’s what the two of you were talking about?” Claudia turned desperate perturbed eyes to her daughter.

“Of course mum.” Chilufya tried to stifle her nervousness by laughing. “Stop thinking too much so your headache can go away.”

“When…how did you know about the accident?” Claudia asked.

“Mum!” Chilufya chided her mother. “It was a long time ago, I overheard you and Wani talking.”

“Who is this girlfriend of his he’s worried about introducing to me?”

Chilufya froze. She had not covered that part with Kondwani. What was she supposed to tell Claudia about his relationship with Alicia? Knowing her mother so well, she was going to do everything in her power to fish out the woman that had turned the heart of her son and put pressure on her to make him settle down as soon as possible.

But that woman was Alicia. She was Alicia Daka, the fiancé to the man whose life was lost as a result of the accident she caused…the man who could have lived had Kondwani done the right thing…the man whose son was now living without a father…and the man whose woman was living her life in guilt thinking herself responsible for a death she had not caused.

That was the woman her son was in-love with.

Tears welled up Chilufya’s eyes as she looked at the innocence in her mother’s eyes.

“What’s wrong with you?” Claudia’s voice was filled with concern.

Chilufya quickly cleared her throat and smiled. “I was just thinking about how happy Kondwani is right now.” Chilufya said.

“Is he that much in love with her?” Her mother asked. “Who is this girl? What’s her name? Where’s she from?”

Chilufya laughed. “You are asking too many questions mum.” She said. “Just be patient and your son will tell you on his own everything you want to know.”

“But you know her so why not just tell me?” Claudia persisted.

“I need to call my boss first and tell her I will be coming in late.” Chilufya grabbed her phone from the dresser and rushed out of the room.

And that was how she kept evading her mother’s questions; escape until she delivered her safely in the hands of Kondwani later.
Despite the walls moving in closer around him, Kondwani could not keep himself from thinking about Alicia. He had seen her only a few hours ago but he was driving to work like a mad man desperate to lay his eyes on her. It was as if the realization that she could wreck his life and break his family apart made him desire her more and more. Like a curious man standing outside a door with the words ‘do not enter’ written on it, Kondwani’s curiosity and longing for the woman whose love was like a double-edged sword kind of love grew. But even with all the excitement within his heart, two questions burnt at his heart:

how was he to love her without hurting her or those he loved? And just how much pain would their love bring?

“Where are you?” Kondwani called Alicia on her cell the moment he stepped out of the vehicle and headed towards the hospital lobby to get on the lift.

“I just got in, taking the lift up to my office.” He said whilst pressing the floor to his office inside the lift. “Come there now.” He cut the line before she could ask any questions.

Until Mrs Miti the nursing supervisor greeted him, Kondwani had been oblivious to the four other people sharing the lift with him.

“I’m fine thanks Matron.” Kondwani answered in embarrassment, avoiding the older woman’s look of disapproval. “How are you?”

“You look rather distracted today doc.” The elderly woman said. “Is everything okay?” She was the only employee at the hospital that could talk to the doctor in such a casual manner and she didn’t care whether he liked it or not. Fortunately, it was common knowledge that Kondwani had a soft spot for her.

All through the banter, Kondwani’s eyes had not moved from the changing numbers on the wall of the lift. “A bug forced its way into my system and I’m rushing to nurse it right now Matron.” He said with a hint of laughter in his voice.

The three young nurses gave each other quizzical looks while the matron’s face broke into a knowing smile. Right then, the lift came to a stop and when the doors opened, Alicia was standing on the other side.

In her haste to respond to Kondwani’s urgent call, Alicia had forgotten about the possibility of him having company in the lift. The glacial stares she received from the three nurses standing behind Kondwani were enough to freeze hell over.

“Nurse Miti….” Alicia nervously greeted her supervisor from where she was standing.

“Alicia?” Mrs Miti acknowledged her with a knowing smile just as Kondwani stepped out and without warning grabbed Alicia’s hand and led her away.

Not wanting to be the topic of discussion around the hospital, Alicia tried to free her hand from Kondwani’s grasp as she looked back towards the lift to check if the others had seen what Kondwani had just done but she caught the doors of the lift just as they were shutting.

“Behave yourself or I will kiss you right here in the open.” Kondwani threatened her as he refused to release her arm. He flung open the door to his office, pulled her in, quickly shut the door behind her and drew her against it so that her back was now one with the door, one arm pinning her arms on top of her head.

“What-“ Alicia had started to ask but the rest of her question was drowned in Kondwani’s mouth as he went in for a deep kiss, like a very starved man suddenly served with a plate of his favourite meal.

No bone in Alicia’s anatomy was strong enough to stop Kondwani and her will was too faint to force reason from her mind. Alicia reluctantly succumbed to the pleasure, dropping her arms and wrapping them around his shoulders.

“It’s all worth the pain.” Kondwani muttered when he finally released her. He took her arm, led her to the front of his desk, scooped her from off the ground and sat her on top of the desk.

“What do you mean it’s all worth the pain?” A visibly perturbed and curious Alicia asked. “Did something happen?”

Kondwani realized he had said his thoughts out loud when he heard her question. “I missed you too much I thought I was going to go crazy.” He covered his slip.

Alicia gave him a huge smile as she tried to pull her uniform up to cover three quarters of her legs that were left exposed from how she was seated.

Kondwani mockingly raised his eyebrows at her. “Isn’t it a little too late for modesty right now?” He asked, deliberately pushing her skirt back up.

“You scared me on the phone earlier.” Alicia said, grabbing hold of his hands to stop him from running his fingers up and down her legs. “You sounded like-“

“What did I sound like?” Kondwani asked, a smile playing on his face.

“Serious,” Alicia replied. “You sounded very serious.”

Looking at Alicia sitting there in front of him, Kondwani silently wondered how she had the ability to drive all other thoughts out of his mind so that he could only think of her and him in the moment. He knew she would be the death of him and he was well aware of how much hurt he was causing her but losing her seemed to be the most paramount fear of them all. For years he had dedicated his whole life to taking care of his family and this was the only time his heart was taking a break so why should he be scared of losing this happiness even before he got to experience or indulge in it?

“Do you know that I love you with every fibre of my being Alicia Daka?” Kondwani asked as he looked directly into her eyes.

Alicia’s face turned red. “Is that the same look you have in your eyes when you tell women that?”

“What look?” He asked.

“That one.” She said.

“You mean this one?” Kondwani put his hand behind her neck and drew her close to his face, his eyes unflinchingly glued on hers.

As if possessed by some unknown spirit, Alicia surprised Kondwani when she grabbed the sides of his face and went straight for his lips.

“What was that for?” a very pleased Kondwani asked when she released him.

“You are a very beautiful man.” Alicia said, blushing profusely.

“And I thought you were a shy girl.”

“Me too.” She laughed.

“I like this feisty new you…but I also like the shy and timid Alicia. Remember how she desperately tried to hide her feelings for me?” He was busy searching every inch of her face as he talked. Alicia covered her face with her hands in embarrassment.

Kondwani took both her hands into his and drew them to his mouth and laid a kiss on them. “I think I have just lost my mind.”

“Who said there’s anything normal about falling in-love?” Alicia asked. “My mind has been telling me to run as far away from you as possible but look where I am right now?”

“Aren’t you scared I will hurt you?” Kondwani asked. “You know I have done nothing but break women’s hearts ever since I can remember.”

Alicia said nothing in response. Instead, her eyes spoke for her. She had lowered her gaze and fixed it on her hands as if to avoid looking at Kondwani.

“My gosh!” Kondwani said. “Do you actually think I would-“

“I think that there’s something you’re keeping from me.” Her sudden serious tone of voice and the deep look in her eyes caught Kondwani unawares. “Is there something you are not telling me?” the imploring look in her eyes was enough to drive Kondwani’s guilty mind into overdrive.

“What makes you think that?” A flustered Kondwani asked, his eyes looking everywhere but at her.

“See, even now.” Alicia said. “You are avoiding my gaze.”

Kondwani took a deep breath, shut is eyes for a few seconds and when he turned his head, he opened his eyes and was looking directly at her. “What if I said that there is something am keeping from you…and that it’s something I can’t talk to you about because am scared of losing you…what would you do Alicia?”

“Now you’re scaring me.” Alicia straightened her back and was looking at Kondwani with deeply perturbed eyes. “What are you keeping from me that could cause us to break apart?”

“It’s just a rhetoric question baby.” Kondwani said. “But, haven’t you ever kept something from someone because you are afraid of what it would do to them…and to you if the truth ever came out?”

“No.” She answered simply.

“Seriously?” He asked.

She shrugged her shoulders and repeated, “No.”

“What is a woman like you doing with someone like me?” Kondwani asked.

“Why do you make yourself sound like such a terrible person?” Alicia asked. “Of course you aren’t perfect but c’mon…no one on the face of the earth is perfect, including me.”

“Don’t ever think of me as an abnormal man Licia.” Kondwani said. “Just think of me as a man so foolish in-love he can’t think rationally…cause when the day comes when you realize just how imperfect I am…I will need you to remember just how abnormal I am and just how much you mean to me.

“When that time comes, please, I beg of you, you can hate me as much as you want…I won’t even ask for your forgiveness on that day but just please…don’t run away from me.”

“You do know that you’re freaking me out right now ah?” Alicia said. “I will keep imagining all sorts of things. Is Gwen’s child yours? Or are you married to someone else secretly? Do you have kids out there? Or, what else, perhaps, did you kill someone?”

Kondwani choked on his saliva from the unexpectedness of the question.

“Are you okay? Did I scare you that much?” She was trying to examine his face but Kondwani had his hand over his mouth to keep from spitting. “I was only joking. My gosh, I don’t even know why I asked something like that. Are you okay baby?”

“I’m okay.” Kondwani said. “You just caught me off-guard with your question.”

“I think I need to get back to work now.” Alicia tried to get away from him but Kondwani wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Not yet.” He said.

“I think everyone by now must have received the big news from the three big giant mouths in the elevator and they can’t wait to chew me out.” Alicia sighed heavily and dropped her head resignedly.

Kondwani laughed. “Now you’ve finally given them a reason to hate you.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you are enjoying my misery?” Alicia asked.

“Why would you even say something like that?” Kondwani tightened his grip around her. “I’m so thrilled that everyone knows you’re mine, finally!”

Alicia laughed. “What?”

“You think I don’t know about every guy, nurse, or doctor that’s been after you since you came? I know everything that goes on in this place. I own the place my love!”

“You are shamelessly such a brag Dr Chileshe you know that?” Alicia’s voice was filled with laughter.

“So I’ve been told.” Kondwani proudly said and lifted her up into the air.

***

Stephen Malambo took the stairs leading up to his room on campus two at a time, anxious to reach and eat something before his next class. He was about to bust the door open when he remembered that his roommate Damian had recently started dating Mwansa’s roommate Febby. The thought of Febby in his room brought Stephen’s adrenaline to a double zero.

What the hell was Damian thinking dating a blubber mouth like her? Stephen thought as he stood by the door. He could hear voices coming from inside and could tell right away who the owner of that frosty laugh was.

“What do you think Steve will do if he learns about Belinda’s pregnancy?” Stephen heard Damian ask Febby.

Pregnancy? Stephen wondered. Belinda is pregnant!

“What do you mean what will he do?” Stephen heard Febby ask. “You better not say anything to him otherwise Mwansa will kill me!”

“You mean Mwansa knows?” Damian asked.

“Of course not.” Febby answered. “And it should stay that way because the moment she discovers that I am the one behind the abortion news, I will be a corpse.”

Stephen flung the door open. “Abortion?”

Febby and Damian both sat up straight on the bed, both at a loss for words.

“What abortion are you talking about Febby?” Stephen asked. “Belinda isn’t that sort of girl why are you spreading such stories about her?”

“Hey mate relax.” Damian tried to calm his friend down. Stephen looked about ready to blow over.

“Don’t tell me to relax Damian.” Stephen snapped. “Why’s your girlfriend talking about my girl like that?”

“Your girl?” Febby raised both her eyebrows at him. “Did you just hear yourself? Your girl?”

Stephen realized his mistake a little too late. He sighed heavily and ran a hand through his head.

“Umhu.” Febby shot him a look. “I think you forgot that I am Mwansa, your girlfriend’s friend. Belinda is not your girl any more. She is your ex.”

“I know, I know.” Stephen said. “Just a slip of the tongue. But still, it doesn’t change how I feel about the things you were saying about her.”

“Nothing I said was a lie, well, at least I didn’t make it up.” Febby explained. “My cousin works as a receptionist at this fancy private hospital and she said she saw Belinda go in for a check-up some time back and-“

“Some time back?” Stephen asked. “When some time back?”

“When you two were-“ A very reluctant Febby was saying.

“That’s impossible. Belinda would have told me something like that. If your cousin is anything like you…which seems to be the obvious case.” Stephen added under his breath. “I think she mistook Belinda for someone else.”

“I don’t know,” Febby said. “Maybe. But why don’t you ask Belinda yourself?”

“Hey man, I don’t think that that’s such a good idea.” Damian said, getting up from thebed to stand next to him. “And if it turns out to be the truth, what are you going to do? I know you man….”

“Mwansa isn’t going to like that.” Febby reminded him.

“But I can’t just sit here and pretend as if I didn’t hear anything.” Stephen argued. “If there’s any truth to what you said, then there must be a reasonable explanation which means Belinda owes me an explanation. I’m going to see her right now.”

“No Steve!” Both Febby and Damian said at once as Damian tried to stop him by the door but Stephen pushed his hand aside and stormed out of the room.

“Aren’t you going to stop him?” Febby asked her boyfriend who was just standing there aimlessly.

“And after I stop him?” Damian asked. “You know Steve very well, he never changes his mind once it’s made up.”

“Oh am so dead.” Febby lamented as thoughts of what Mwansa was going to do to her played through her mind. She had just blown open a can of worms she had no means whatsoever of containing.
Stephen remembered Belinda’s timetable so well and he knew that she had no classes that day, meaning, if she was not in the library studying, she was at home with her family.

“Where are you?” Was the first question he asked the moment Belinda picked up his call.

“At home. Steve?” Belinda checked the name on her screen and put the phone back to her ear.

“Come outside the gate in thirty minutes. I’m on my way.” He said.

“What? You mean…hello?” Belinda hear the line cut before she could finish talking and checked the screen again. Stephen had indeed cut the line.

“Who was that?” Joseph had stopped watching whatever was showing on the History Channel and was looking at his daughter with suspicious interest.

“It’s nobody dad.” Belinda answered absent-mindedly, her mind playing all the possibilities behind Steve’s unexpected call and desperate tone. Completely oblivious to her father, Belinda stood up and went to her bedroom where she called her sister.

“Steve just called.” Belinda said.

“Haven’t you guys been chatting on and off lately?” Alicia asked. She was aware of her sister’s feelings towards her ex-boyfriend. Despite everything the two of them had been through, it appeared Belinda could not erase him from her heart.

“Yes, via text, on WhatsApp.” Belinda replied. “But he has never called me before! This is the first time. What do you think he wants to talk about sis? My heart is racing right now. I can’t think straight.”

Alicia laughed. “Relax Linda.” She said. “Maybe he just missed you, or there’s something related to school he wants to talk to you about. Or maybe, he had a fight with his girlfriend and just wants to vent to someone familiar.”

“So how should I act around him?” Belinda asked.

“Normal.” Alicia chuckled. “Just be yourself. I’m sure everything will be just fine. Relax. I gotto go sis, I think someone is looking for me. I’ll call you back.”

The moment she was done with the call, Belinda went outside to wait for Stephen who appeared twenty minutes later.

Without getting out of the car, he reached over and open the passenger door for her. “Get in.” He said to her.

Belinda looked confused but she still walked over to the car. “Where are we going?” She asked through the window. “Is everything okay? You look like-“

“There’s something you and I need to talk about and my natural guess is that you wouldn’t want us talking about it here.” He’s emphasis on the two words immediately alerted Belinda of exactly what he was there to talk about…and why he appeared so distraught. Without saying a word, she silently got into the car and Stephen drove off.

“Is it true what I heard?” Stephen asked the moment he found somewhere safe and private to park.

Belinda could not look at him, instead she kept her gaze lowered. “I don’t understand-“

“At first I thought it was just some big misunderstanding.” Stephen said. “But I saw the look in your eyes back there and it confirmed everything. I think I would feel much more insulted if you decided to keep me in the dark any further.”

Immediately, tears started pouring from Belinda’s eyes.

Stephen took that as confirmation of his worst fears. “My gosh Linda!” he banged his hand against the steering wheel.

“I didn’t know what else to do!” She cried.

“But abortion Linda?”

“I know.”

“Couldn’t you have at least-“

“How could I Steve!?” Belinda sobbed. “You changed so fast and I was still struggling when I discovered I was up. I did the only thing I thought was the best solution. Of course I regret it now….I was desperate, and foolish. I didn’t think. It all happened so fast.”

“My gosh Belinda…gosh.” He kept hitting the steering wheel. “You could have just told me.”

“What do you think you would have done Steve?” She asked. “You were suddenly all holy and you didn’t want to have anything to do with me. You made me feel like I was the devil himself…like you were afraid I would taint you with my evil ways or something.”

“C’mon Linda.” Ste[hen said.

“You know am saying the truth. If I came to you and told you I was pregnant, you would have just thought I was trying to tie you down…and my pride wouldn’t let me have you look at me like that.”

“But abortion sure? That’s one sin on top of a sin.” He said.

“See already? I can feel the judgement in your voice.” She said.

“It’s not that.” Stephen relaxed his tone. “I’m just saying that maybe if we had put our heads together, we could have avoided making a second mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I am as guilty of this as you are.

“If anything, I am the greater sinner here. I should have never out you in such a position in the first place…. To think that you went through all that alone…my God. I feel like my head is going to explode.”

“I’m so sorry Steve.” Belinda cried.

“I can’t believe am being such a jerk.” Stephen said, lifting up his head to look at her. “Come here….” He pull her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her. “I am so sorry Linda. Please forgive me for being such a jerk.”

Belinda could feel him pushing back the tears. “You don’t have to apologize,” she said. “You have the right to be upset.”

“No, not that.” Stephen quickly corrected her. “I’m sorry for not being there for you…for not loving you right and for disrespecting you as a woman. I should have protected you instead of hurting you like that.”

Belinda was at a loss for words, his comforting words catching her by surprise. She had expected him to make her feel ashamed and judged but his reaction was the complete opposite.

“Let’s get married.” Stephen said, still holding her in his arms.

Belinda leapt out of his embrace and starred at him. “What did you just say?”

“I said let’s get married.” He repeared.

“Are you kidding me? Why would you ask me such a thing?”

“What’s wrong with me asking you to marry me? I love you, I have never stopped loving you.”

“I don’t want you marrying me out of guilt.” Belinda said. “There’s no different between this and a man asking a girl he’s impregnated to marry him. It’s got nothing to do with love. I refuse to be some form of responsibility to you Steve, you don’t owe me anything.”

Stephen laughed. “Did you even hear what I said?” he asked. “I said I never stopped loving you silly.”

Belinda gaped at him. “What?”

“I am still in-love with you Belinda. My proposal has nothing to do with whatever sense of responsibility you are thinking about. I would have asked to marry you in future…only that this development has quickened things.”

“But you have a girlfriend.”

“I already broke up with Mwansa but she has refused to accept reality. I have already made my feelings known to her…maybe in due time she will accept things and move on.”

“Why did you break up with her?” Belinda asked.

“I can’t go into details but we fought all the time and she just couldn’t seem to trust me, no matter how much I tried. I even seen enemies get along well than she and I ever did. I realised I was grasping at straws after bumping into you at Aunt Mary’s place.

“I was like a mad man after that. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. You looked different, more beautiful…and very mature. There was no trace of the wild girl I used to pass out with or smoke weed behind the club with. I got curious about you…like I was meeting you for the very first time.”

“Steve-“ It was all Belinda could say in that moment.

“Don’t get me wrong, I loved Mwansa…but as you must know, sometimes you need more than love to make a relationship work.”

“I know that very well.” Belinda said. “Which is why am wondering why you would want us to get back together…let alone marry.”

“We were two very wrong people together back then and we had fun dating…so, how about we try doing things the right way this time around? We have both changed, a lot during the past months. I can’t see myself spending the rest of my life with anyone else but you.”

“What about our families?” Belinda asked. “We are already related through Buseko. Won’t that-“

“All am hearing is you thinking up all sorts of excuses why we can’t work. Can you leave me to deal with such trivialities?”

“This is all too sudden Steve….”

“I know.” He said. “But we are going to make this work Linda, I promise you.”
The hospital was buzzing with activity as Alicia took the lift down to the lobby. The message from the intercom said someone was looking for her downstairs so she kept wondering during the ride down who the unexpected guest could be. Only her father and Belinda had ever visited her at work since she started interning there and they always called before coming. More so, she was on the phone with Belinda when the announcement came through.

When the lift finally came to a stop and the doors opened, Alicia stepped out and was immediately accosted by a woman with a face she had seen many times before in Kondwani’s office.

The woman pulled her to the side, away from everyone’s eyes. “You must be Alicia right?” She asked, her eyes beaming with hope.

It was Mrs Chileshe, Kondwani’s mother.

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Happiness after Divorce

I know that for a while, many of you my readers have wondered why I became so inconsistent in my blogging when I had started out so well. I have received a lot of mail from you guys, both good and bad but for me no matter the content; it was a blessing that a lot of you missed my work enough to lament about it.

I should however, state that I found it very encouraging and comforting when some of you wrote messages simply to ask; “Nisha, are you alright?” or “Nisha, is everything okay?” Rather than vent for the delays in updating the stories, you took time to ask about my well-being. I deeply appreciate your love and care. Thank you very much.

I bet many of you are wondering why am writing this.

For me, the year 2016 has been both good and bad. About 89% of it has actually been very very BAD but I choose to take this bit from it all: It was a dame GOOD year overall because I got to re-dedicate my life to Christ! So today, I decided to pen this article to my loyal fans because they’ve been so patient with me during the worst time of my life. I felt I had to explain myself a little bit as to why for a while I had lost my motivation to write:

I got divorced.

I know in reality that I don’t owe anyone an explanation but I woke up today and thought, “oh hell, this year is ending and I plan on leaving every possible dirt and hurt behind as I enter the new year!”

So when 2017 comes, I do not expect anyone to address me as Mrs So-So or Bana So-So. My name is Anisha Namutowe and I am happily divorced. I say happily because all through the drama, I had the strongest arms holding on to me and giving me the strength to carry on. I had never before experienced God as I did during this period. Of course this is not to say that I never cried or that I’ve stopped crying. Believe me, I have days when I wake up in the middle of the night crying over something that doesn’t make sense at all. But all in all, I am a very happy and contented woman.

Even though I cannot divulge the issues that led to my divorce, here’s what I can say; marriage is a very beautiful thing and I enjoyed most of my life as a married woman. Yes I was betrayed by someone I trusted the most but rather than focus my attention on blaming someone, I asked myself; what could I have done better on my part to avoid such an ending? Don’t get me wrong (especially my sisters who I know are reading this very part with goggled eyes fighting the temptation to cuss because they think am taking on the blame for the failure of my marriage)…no, am not taking the blame.

This is merely a reflective moment for me.

My point here is that in order for a marriage to work, all three parts involved in the covenant (God, husband and wife) must all play their parts effectively. Granted, someone pushed the trigger that brought about the divorce, but I still couldn’t help asking myself; what could I have done differently on my part to avoid this somewhat tragic ending? And this is why I am sharing my story today.

***

When my husband…Who’s now ex-husband made his feelings for me known….and later even proposed marriage, it never occurred to me that I had to consult someone or have a deep conversation with someone very important about the decision I was about to make that would affect the rest of my life. That someone is God. You see, I was raised in a Christian home and as I grew older, the default religious setting in me was that of Christianity. I never really had any personal relationship with God and for a while I actually believed my mum’s faith was enough to get me through the gates to eternal life. For me, Christianity was never my own, it was simply something my parents imposed on me and because somewhere in the Bible there’s a book that talks about honouring thy parents, I had to keep going to church for fear of experiencing those things written in the Bible Book of Revelations. For some reason, that book always spooked me as a kid.

The horror.

But of course everything I had learnt under my mum’s constant care withered the moment I left home for varsity. I started noticing the beauty around me…the men mostly and my heart started beating in ways it had never done before. For someone who did not take the Christian values instilled in her personally, it was very easy to edit those beliefs if it meant easing my troubled conscience. Suddenly, it was okay to kiss passionately and fool around physically because I was in-love. Eventually, having sex with people I never even loved but was attracted to didn’t seem like such a bad idea. It was around this time that I met the man who was to become my husband.

Earlier, I did mention that there was someone I never consulted when the proposal came. That someone is God. You see, the issue with some of us women is that we get over-excited over the idea of marriage that we forget about the basics. That very marriage we are celebrating when the proposal comes was instituted by God! So isn’t it natural that we should have a conversation with the Father above about who we are to spend the rest of our lives with. For me it really didn’t matter whether this marriage to this particular man was God’s will for my life or not. All that mattered was that I was engaged!!!!

Yeeeeey.

How foolish of me.

In retrospect, that was my very first mistake: Not seeking God’s guidance.

The second mistake naturally was that because God was never at the center of my life or that of my marriage, I (or we) lived ‘our’ lives freestyle, never guided by the principled that bound us together in the first place  and only once in a while would we mention the name of God…you know, like an unmarried woman would hail praises to the Lord when she falls pregnant and delivers a bouncing baby boy or a beautiful girl because the world will now focus more on the blessing than the sin or… because now the poor man who knocked her up will be forced to marry her. Or like when you take a beautiful selfie and you caption it ‘feelin blessed’ when what you were really thinking was ‘dame I look too hot!’ That kind of praise.

Buy a car, hail ‘am so blessed!’
Buy a house, scream ‘God’s great!’
Get a promotion; shout ‘I serve a living God.’

Like that’s the only time the word God comes out of your mouth and the rest of the time it’s #chikubabe season.

Granted, those things ‘could’ be blessings but clearly, there’s more to life than only praising God when we gain material possessions or when we wish to deceive others.

Naturally, the inevitable happened.

Of course this is not to say that those who are not Christians (or those that are Christians but still living in sin) do not have good marriages. I know some couples that ‘appear’ to have great lasting marriages and yet they have no active working relationship with God. The last time they read the Bible was at Sunday School and the last time they stepped into church was on their wedding day. Until I discovered certain things about my partner, I too was extremely very happily married! Extremely happy I tell you! Every once in a while, one will discover that little comfort they can get from the darkness. The bliss of ignorance or the bliss of not knowing any better. Unfortunately, day will come and the light will shine right through because it was never God’s design for man to be in eternal darkness.

For a while through my marriage, I put my husband in a position that was meant for God. There was nothing on the face of this earth that my husband would not give to me…as long as I asked. A man with the most giving heart, humble, loving and attentive. He adored me and I lacked nothing. What more could I possibly need? Who was God when I had a man to give me all that I desired? He was a baptized Christian quite alright but just like me his faith in God was very moody and selective. I remember looking at him once and thinking;

He might not be such a Godly man but he is kind and caring, better than most men I know claim to know God and go to church every Sunday. They are busy abusing their wives and sleeping around but here’s my man…just look at this package of manliness.

Ooooh…*hides face in palms*

*Shivers*

I was indeed the epitome of foolishness.

If I had died a few months ago, the words engraved on my stone would probably have been:

Herein lies a very foolish woman

Full Stop.

There’s been a lot going on lately in our country concerning women killing their husbands and somehow, I found myself sympathizing with them. A part of me understood why a woman would feel like taking the life of the man she had promised before God to love and cherish forever. This foolishness of some of us women thinking that our source of happiness and loyalty is first from and to our husbands. For everything we want and desire, it’s to our husbands we run. Somewhere along the way, we forget that there’s a grand provider; our heavenly Father Jehovah. Doesn’t the Bible caution us to seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else shall be added onto us?

Of course seeking God’s Kingdom first doesn’t mean going for midnight prayers every day of the week and coming home at 8 in the morning, spending all your time at church whilst neglecting your spouse and children. If truly you say you are of Christ, then how can you keep from reading his Word and praying daily in order that you may be guided all through your life?

The only reason why someone would resort to murder is if they feel they no longer have any reason to live…when they feel the only person they are accountable to does not deserve their accountability. In a fit of rage you think your whole world has come to an end, he has betrayed you, he deserves to die for hurting you like this. He was the reason for your breathing…the very air you breathe. How can he do this to you?

Bang. Bang. Bang.

There goes Ba shi Joe, down to the ground.

Woman, what have you done?

He was not the source of your life, someone else is. You definitely can live without him. How can you not know that there’s a Man out there whose love is unchanging? He laid his life down for you just so you could have eternal life. How can you forsake such a Man just because a mere mortal has let you down?

Here’s something I want my fellow women to remember as we enter 2017: God first, man/husband second. If you love God first, he will take care of everything else for you; your husband, your children, your relatives, your job…everything! Your husband is not the reason you’re breathing, yes he makes life fun and interesting to live but he’s not the source of your happiness. God is. If you think I’m lying, read the Bible. I could quote a whole bunch of scriptures for you but there are just too many!

Your love for God will move you to become the sort of wife you ought to be to your husband. And it is only a man that fears God that will know how he ought to treat his wife and family. The reason why most marriages are failing in Zambia and the world over is because people have chosen to listen to the world more and have forsaken the teachings of God. Because the world tells you that a man’s promiscuity cannot break a home, so you go and sleep with any moving (and sometimes crawling) womb-bearing figure. But is that what the Bible teaches?

Unfortunately, the society we live in has turned sin into law and the Law of God into sin. Those upholding their faith in Christ are considered weirdos, strange people with nothing better to do. Don’t they have anything better to do, they keep asking.

This wicked society we live in has given birth to a generation of men who think that providing financially for their wives and families is their only sole responsibility. They lie and cheat with impunity and brag about how well-taken care of their families are.

Dear men, it is because you are busy bathing your families in gold and diamond soup that they end up killing you with the very weapons your money bought. A woman that is well-fed spiritually and emotionally will not even consider murder as an option to solving her problems. I am yet to hear of a husband who was killed by his wife because she caught him reading the Bible….at least here in Zambia (not sure about other countries).

Let me not forget the real reason I’m writing this piece to you.

A lot of Christians shudder at the mention of the word Divorce. And indeed I’ve had a number of them question my decision to divorce my husband when I claim to be a born-again Christian. I have had scriptures shoved in my face willy-nilly, scriptures that talk about how God hates divorce. To this day I can recite those scriptures even in my sleep! Away from my Christian community is society at large. Society simply refuses to accept that a woman can divorce her husband. Only a wicked woman dares to leave her husband no matter what he does! You are supposed to shipikisha.

“How many women out there are dying to get married and here you are throwing yours away?” They asked me.

“Do you want another woman to come and reap where she did not sow?” They asked over and over again.

“Didn’t your Bana Chimbusa teach you anything?” The women spat their venom into my ears. “Do you think all these women you see married are happy? Their husbands have cheated on them plenty and fathered children with other women and they’ve stayed. So what’s so special about you? Your issue isn’t even a big deal!” They said.

From some Christians I heard:

“God hates divorce.”

“God hates divorce.”

“God hates divorce.”

It really didn’t matter to any of these people what had really happened in my marriage. They were quick to give advice but not quick to inquire about the developments that led us to that point. you can’t offer a solution (no matter how Godly you sound) to a problem you have no idea about.

“So he didn’t impregnate anyone or fall in-love with another woman so what’s your problem?” That’s the question they kept asking me.

I discovered during this period how well society had graded and categorized sin.

I will reiterate this: I cannot divulge the actual reasons for my divorce but I can confidently say that I had biblical grounds to go through with it, not because I was hard-hearted as many have candidly pointed out to me already, but because of reasons best known to the three ‘people’ whose opinions matter the most in this case; God, husband and wife.

My decision to keep silent on certain things and to explain to some relatives the full story has led to them labelling me an uncultured woman. I have been cursed, cussed and screamed at in person and on phone by people who do not even know half the story. Whether in marriage or in divorce my loyalty remains to the man I love, even if it means being misunderstood.

The idea that my friends would get to discover that my marriage had failed was very daunting. It is actually one of the reasons I considered staying in my marriage when leaving would have been the right thing to do.

What will they say? This is so embarrassing? They will know I didn’t have such a perfect marriage OMG. They will laugh at me. They will gossip about me. I will forever be known as having failed in marriage.

I had these and many other fears. If there’s anything I’ve come to learn, it is that sometimes it is the very people we call our friends that will celebrate when we fail in life. And this I proved through my experience. But today I want to talk to someone else that might have gone through what I went through…or someone going through it right now. I want to tell that woman that no matter what your fears are, God will see you right through it. He did for me and He still does take care of me. And he will continue doing so in future.

I was very scared at first. After living a certain lifestyle that my husband enabled, I wondered how I was going to take care of myself if I left his side. Under his care I never lacked much materially. He was a great provider. But there I was, an educated and talented woman worrying about how I would survive without my husband…that’s how dependant on him I had become. Also, the idea of another woman replacing me made me go crazy! That’s the worst really. The idea of him and I no longer together just made my blood freeze.

But one day, it was during one of the classes I was taking from The Alpha Course at church when I heard someone say:

God loves you. God wants what’s best for you. He is the grand provider and he will provide you with all your needs.

I had just started my new journey as a Christian and I was still operating on a very shaken up faith but when I heard those words, something in me moved. It was like my eyes were suddenly opened. All this while, I had been looking up to the wrong person for my provisions.

In just a few seconds, my belief system was shuttered and a new one was birthed in me. It was a simple statement, one I had probably heard many times before but for some reason, in that moment, it meant everything and it changed everything.

Suddenly, all my fears were gone.

From that moment on, I stopped caring about what people might say about me. I made a decision from that point on to seek God in ways I had never done before and to this day, I still shock myself by the things I’ve realized I can do through God’s guidance.

I think the test of faith for me came in the realization that I had to acknowledge for the first time that everything I had, the air I breathed and just my life in general was made possible by God and not by my husband. I also had to realize and trust that even if I walked away, Jehovah God was going to continue taking care of me because I am His child. He was never going to abandon me especially in my hour of desperation.

But for a while I had fears; how could God forgive me when I had been such a terrible person? I had for a very long time turned my back on Him and lived my life however I saw fit. There was even a time when i questioned his existence! Would he even answer my prayers?

My heart was not pure. It was filled with shame, disgust, bitterness, resentment and all other such negative things. It’s like i had created a shrine in my head and heart for the Devil to dwell and he went right in and made himself right at home. I harboured terrible vengeful thoughts towards my husband when I was hurting, wanting to hurt him as much as he hurt me. I hated the way he breathed, the way he chewed or swallowed and a thousand times I killed him in my head. I imagined poisoning his drinking water or lacing his meal with arsenic poison. That’s how angry and bitter I was. What made me even angrier was the fact that he appeared to have absolutely no idea just how much hurt he had caused me. That made me kill him over and over again…in my head of course.

Through the Alpha Course at church, I soon learnt that in order for me (emphasis: on me) to experience God on an intimate level, I had to learn to forgive myself. I had to understand what exactly Jesus’ death meant to me and what I had gained from his death. It was a whole new lesson on forgiveness, something I had embraced as a concept for years but now I got to actually experience it. Let’s just say, it’s true what they say; theory is much easier than practice!

But everything slowly started to change. The more I prayed and the more I read the Bible, a certain kind of peace entered my soul. Sometimes it was so strange that my best friend would ask me if I was normal! I was going through a divorce and yet I could laugh and joke about with those around me easily. I could not explain it to her, for how could I when I could hardly understand it myself!? Of course there were days (and nights) when I cried but I pulled through alright through most of it. I was a woman who never imagined I could live this life without my husband. He was the love of my life.

But here I am. Alive and praising the Lord.

Of course this is not to say my life is perfect now. Far from it! But it is liveable and manageable…and it is certainly most peaceful.

Every now and then I think back to that very first time when I learnt the truth about my marriage; from my bed I fell straight to the floor, gasping for air and reaching out for someone to breathe life into me. I thought I was going to die. In all my twenty-eight years on earth, that was the lowest point in my life, literally. I have heard lovers say ‘you took my breath away.’ On that day, my husband literally took my breath away…and it wasn’t in a romantic sense.

I can laugh about it now…but I think I actually died for a little bit that day. So I guess it’s not that funny…or is it?? Oh well….

I think back to that day and I look at myself now. I am not ashamed of who I’ve become or who I was. What the devil meant for bad, somehow God took that and turned it into something GOOD!

So yes, dear friends, family, and my loyal readers, I am a Divorced Woman.

I will repeat: I am divorced.

It still hurts yes and sometimes it hurts even more when I realize how lonely it keeps getting but somehow am not bitter any more, I can smile more and I laugh easily. I have learnt the true meaning of forgiveness and happiness and I can proudly encourage my baby sister who watched in a front row seat as my marriage crumbled to pieces…now I can look her in the face and tell her; Marriage’s not a bad thing!

***

I know that you’ve wondered (my readers) why I haven’t been finishing up on my stories but you have no idea (until today) the battle I was fighting emotionally. Most of the time I was writing those chapters, I had to force myself because Google kept telling me I was running out of space in my drive cause the complaints just wouldn’t stop coming! LOL.

On a serious note, I am very sorry that my two stories Kondwani’s Debt of Love and An Untimely Love took so long to be finished. I was struggling mentally and emotionally to concentrate on delivering the stories as well as I would have loved them to come out. Still, there were moments during this period when it felt so great to disappear through my characters and forget about all that was happening in my life. And sometimes, I would start writing and somewhere in the middle lose my concentration and give up. It’s been a struggle…one that I am already winning because today I sat down and wrote down this whole long thing!

If there’s anything I want someone to learn from all this, it is that God loves us more than anyone here on earth ever will. For my fellow women I want to say, in all matters relating to the heart, please always seek God’s guidance first before seeking approval from anyone else (here I am assuming that you put all other matters relating to your life before God…but am being deliberately specific on the matter of love). Let us not get swept up by the idea of marriage just because we hear a proposal or see an engagement ring.

Let us forsake this habit we have of ignoring certain traits we see in our potential suitors believing we can change them once we get married. The purpose of courtship indeed is marriage but the intention is that during this period you assess your partnership and your partner to see if indeed you would want to spend the rest of your life with them. Whereas you can compromise on certain things like bad sleeping habits (snoring) or bad breath, you cannot compromise on your principles or character. Human beings on their own have no power to change anyone, only God can change man so do not think for a moment that you have that power over your fiancé who has already cheated on you twice before he’s married you. I know that women too cheat, but my focus today is on the women so forgive me if am coming off too biased.

Don’t just hope to get a husband, pray for a God-fearing, good husband. Just because someone proposes marriage to you doesn’t mean you have to marry them. it is okay to say No even when the ring is right under your nose if you feel deep down your heart you might be making a mistake. There’s also nothing wrong with asking him to wait while you consider his proposal. Always pray for God’s guidance in everything you do, especially in decisions that will bring great change in your life.

For the single woman with no potential suitors in sight, don’t focus on envy too much. Not everything is as it seems on social media. Do not marry just because everyone around you is getting married. I know it’s easier said than done but it is doable. Social media only gives snapshots of people’s lives, it doesn’t tell you their full story. What you are seeing every day are well edited and well-thought out scenes from their lives. Didn’t you know that married folks aren’t supposed to air out their dirty laundry in public? Isn’t that why you only see the good and never the bad on their profiles? So why would you think that couple you are envying has a perfect life just from seeing their Facebook updates?

You will get married and want to re-enact the things you saw on Facebook and when things don’t work out the way you thought they would, you start thinking marriage isn’t all that.

The idea that marriage is a woman’s ultimate achievement is what makes most women desperate to settle down even with mates they clearly know aren’t husband material. Yes being alone can get lonely, it actually is lonely let me not sugar-coat that. However, rather than focusing on the loneliness, how about focusing your energy enjoying your own company by doing things that are uplifting to your spirit (like serving at church, reading the Bible daily, praying, and investing in yourself could be education wise, take up a hobby, hang out with friends, etc). The idea is that you are not supposed to wait for someone else (am talking about a human being here) to come and make your life fulfilling. This is why women end up being too dependent on men and when they are let down, they kill them thinking; my life has come to an end, the source of my happiness is gone.

If you cannot enjoy your own company or love your life enough to want to make it more fulfilling for yourself, why would you want to give that half-baked life to someone else’s son to live with for the rest of his life? I think that’s unfair. In marriage, you do not bring 50% of yourself and expect the other 50% to come from your spouse in order to make a 100. You each bring a 100% to make a complete whole because you are both bringing the whole lot of you and not just half of you.

I think I’ve written enough for today. So far this is my longest article ever!

Maybe I should mention at this point that KDOL and AUL will be back in full force by next week Friday so that we can start new stories in 2017. What do you think?

My name is Anisha Namutowe.

Or you can just call me Nisha.

Thank you for reading and happy holidays!!!