Chapter 3: Final Instalment
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.
“Hello…” Racheal had to unglue the phone from my shaking hands.
“Hi Rachael, it’s me Patricia,” came a female’s voice from the other end of the line.
Of course at this point I had no idea what the conversation was about so my imagination was running wild…and off it went!
It was only later when Rachael filled in the blanks that I found out what was being said on the other end of the line.
Forget having peed earlier…I was shaking so hard I could feel the enzymes having a tough time discussing how best to handle the lunch I was just from eating.
Did Rachael just say Oh Patricia…and is that a smile I’m seeing on her face???
Um um…something ain’t right here.
What the hell is going on?
“I am so sorry,” Rachael was saying. “I had forgotten to save your number from the last time we met; I had a lot going on that day.”
“Its fine dear, I understand,” Patricia replied.
“Is everything alright? You sound a bit….”
“Ah, you can tell….”
“Of course I can!” Rachael said rather too enthusiastically. “Occupational hazard I guess. Is it something you can share with me…I could come and….”
“No, it’s fine,” Patricia quickly replied. “I am actually on a cab right now heading to Intercity…that’s why I called….”
“What?” Rachael quipped.
“Something came up suddenly,” Patricia said. “You remember I told you about my husband and I….” her voice was getting shaky by now.
“Yes,” said Rachael, a serious expression enveloping her face as she went to sit by the dinner table on the other side of the living room.
I mentally braced myself for the worst case scenario.
“Well, he finally signed the divorce papers,” Patricia announced.
“Oh no, he didn’t!” Rachael was almost jumping from the chair.
I had frozen on the spot with only my facial features moving in reaction to whatever words came out of Rachael’s mouth.
There was something paradoxical yet comical about the whole situation playing before me. I was literally wrinkling in my fear like an uncircumcised adolescent boy after taking a long cold shower.
It was the first time in my life that I found myself at a loss for what to do.
“Yes,” Patricia went on with her conversation absolutely oblivious to my physical and mental state.
It was as if she was mocking me…carrying on her conversation without throwing hints at me as to whether I was in hot soup or not.
A man needs a strategy before going into battle you know.
“I am afraid I really messed up big this time around.” Patricia cried.
“Calm down sweetie,” Rachael said soothingly.
Calm down sweetie?? Heh.
I wasn’t sure whether to like or hate the direction the conversation seemed to be going. It left me utterly confused and miserable. It looked like the devil had come to collect his dues.
I just had to sit down this time, my hand rubbing my head into near baldness. I couldn’t take the suspense any more and falling down to the floor while my fiancé was having a conversation with someone that sounded like a friend wasn’t going to go down well for my sorry and sinful ass.
“I can only imagine what you must be going through. But, isn’t there a way you can get him to change his mind?” Rachael asked.
Did she already know what had happened? Change whose mind?
Gosh, I hated the suspense! I was dying there…
I am finished…I am ruined.
Those were the thoughts going through my head as I kept listening to one side of the conversation.
“I wish I knew how but I think this time he is really done with me. He found George and me making out on the dance floor at a club and he completely lost it.”
“Oh my gosh!” Rachael exclaimed. “You were making out at a club? Are you insane! You are a married woman for crying out loud.”
Tata Lesa nafwa ine….oy oy…aaaah
I got up from the sofa and started pacing back and forth, pretending to be doing something on my phone when both my antennas were fixed on her.
What about the club? I didn’t make out with her at the club…it was at Nchimunya’s place….
What the hell is wrong with me? Is the venue the issue right now?
This is what happens when you use your balls to make decisions.
And then I was brought to a sudden and very sad realisation;
I had made out with my fiancé’s friend!
Oh dear. Oh Lord.
I am so screeeewed. Mayooo….
As I stood there watching Rachael’s expression turn from sober to grim, a picture of my obituary in the Post Newspaper flashed before my eyes.
Suddenly, there was this strange taste on my tongue…like the kind you get when your teeth suddenly collide with a nasty rotten groundnut after enjoying a steady supply of proteins.
“I understand,” Racheal was nodding.
What did she understand?
“Just pray over it and let’s wait for a miracle. You never know what happens. And don’t worry about missing the wedding; I am sure you will get to meet my husband in the near future. Travel safely and do take care of yourself, okay.”
“Thanks Rachael, you too.”
* * *
I asked the moment the call ended, trying to come off as unconcerned as possible and painfully failing.
I hoped my usually alert fiancé would not notice.
“You are sweating like hell!” She went in for the kill.
I am in hell right now if you must know my lovely woman. What the hell is going on?
Rachael went into the bedroom and came back with a towel which she threw at me.
“I told you to get an AC for this room. One day I will find you boiling in here.”
Boiling, you think? I am getting roasted right now…tsk tsk tsk.
Was she playing games with me?
“Who was that you were talking to?” I asked again.
“That was Patricia….” she let out a heavy sigh after saying the name.
That didn’t sound promising, for me at least.
“We were roomies back at UNZA,” she had come to sit next to me. “She was three years ahead of me but we still got along well…although she used to be in her own little world back then.”
“Did something happen with her?” I was desperately trying to not sound desperate.
“Her husband signed divorce papers.”
This time I was the one almost jumping out of the sofa. “Did she tell you why?” I can swear that that phrase came out more like a whisper than anything else.
Half of me was anxious to hear the reason while the other half was wishing for the whole thing to just go away silently…like it had never ever happened.
“She didn’t tell me why…but I think I can guess why,” my overly confident and unperturbed warden said.
“And what could that be?” I said, feigning disinterest at the same time.
“She cheated on him,”
I think something had cracked inside my head.
Definitely, something had cracked.
Dear bladder, please calm down. If you can hold yourself right at this moment, I promise to listen attentively to your every demand in the future.
“I met her just a few days ago,” Rachael went on. “I had bumped into her by accident while I was getting some groceries at Manda Hill. She was just from having her hair done. We decided to stop by Steers and catch up a little bit. I was so excited to bump into her like that and was busy telling her about the wedding when I noticed she didn’t seem as enthusiastic as I would have liked her to be. I asked her what was going on…at first she kept saying nothing really but when I probed her further, she finally divulged everything to me!”
Oh dear…here we go….
Tata Lesa…Lord Jesus, please take the wheel from this point on and steer it in any other direction away from the direction that will burn me. I promise to increase my tithes and do more volunteer work. I promise.
“Back at Uni,” the warden continued, “Patricia was known for her adventures with men…older men to be more specific. She used to be a hard core playa, stringing along a bunch of rich men both married and single…she didn’t care.”
The more I listened to Rachael, the deeper my heart sunk.
Without knowing it, she was throwing information at me that I would have rather not know. Within such a short space of time, everything I had ever felt, thought, or imagined had come crumbling before my very eyes…or ears in this case.
A part of me wanted to ask Rachael to stop talking…to tell her I had heard enough…but I had no grounds to utter such words when she so desperately and excitedly wanted to share some gossip about an old friend to her man.
On that day, I could have paid the grim reaper thousands of dollars to have his way with me if it meant putting a stop to the oncoming revelations.
Still, there was a part of me that wanted to know…needed to know.
What exactly or who exactly had I fallen in-love with for all those years?
The protagonist in Rachael’s story didn’t sound like anyone I knew. That was not the mysterious yet alluring girl or woman I had pined for ever since my body had awakened to the secrets of manhood.
The woman I knew…my very first love…she had the most beautiful yet innocent smile that could send any mortal man on a journey to unlimited ecstasy. She had a way of looking at someone and making them feel as if they were the only thing that mattered at that moment in the whole world.
She had looked at me like that only a few days ago.
I had believed her.
The revelations that Rachael was heaping unto me made me weak at my knees and broke my heart into pieces over and over again.
The irony of it all struck me to the very core; it just had to be Rachael.
Why couldn’t any other person have enlightened me to such gruesome truths? Why did it have to be my fiancé?
When exactly did I piss off my ancestors for them to hail down on me in vengeance like this?
Is it because I knocked up my girlfriend first before marrying her?
I always knew my weaknesses would one day land me in shit.
Well, congratulations, you have finally succeeded.
You have screwed me up so hard I can barely hear my own thoughts from all this confusion.
If this is some part of an elaborate scheme to engrave on my heart the fact that I needed to leave my past behind and start a brand new beginning as this messenger’s husband, then dear ancestors, point taken. I thought as I braced myself for the onslaught.
“…she would make them buy her whatever she needed,” Rachael continued tormenting me. “We were all shocked when she announced in her fourth year that she was getting married. It turned out that one of her lovers had really fallen in-love with her and couldn’t wait till she graduated to make her his wife. He is a very rich man and owns a number of businesses around the country. I met him only once, a huge looking fella like that. We called him Mr Banks…because you know…he’s loaded.”
I think I met him too, I said in my head.
“What we didn’t know at that time and only got to find out later was that Patricia was already married to someone else!” Rachael reported excitedly.
She was basically taking a selfie in front of a burning house.
Rachael had no idea the hell she had lit in me which was threatening to drive away all my sanity.
“Didn’t Mr Banks know that she was already married?” I asked.
“He obviously knew,” Rachael answered. “He is a well-connected man and he looks like the type that would send private investigators on your tail. We all suspected that he knew all about Patricia’s misadventures…that was probably why he insisted on marrying her that fast. Patricia’s ex-husband wasn’t really that well to do and rumours where that he accepted money from the giant to quietly divorce Patricia. But I don’t know how true that is. It could be a lie…people love a good story.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. I just didn’t want to believe that any of it could be true. Unfortunately, the vessel in which the message came made it even harder for me to simply brush everything away.
“We all hoped that her second marriage would work out since the guy had everything she wanted in a man; money, money, and more money.”
“But what happened?” I asked, nonchalantly rubbing my eyes like a fatigued man when in actual sense I was trying to wipe away whatever feelings in me where threatening to reveal themselves through the windows of my soul.
“According to what Patricia told me a few days ago, she isn’t really in-love with Mr Banks,” Rachael reported. “She was in-love with the financial security he provided which she’s never had since she comes from a very poor family. Unfortunately…or fortunately, she met someone six months ago whom she believes she’s in-love with. As expected, he is jobless and poor thus making it almost impossible for her to leave her millionaire husband for him. So she settled for having an affair with him. The two of them had a rendezvous here in Lusaka but her husband got wind of it and followed her. He found them dirty dancing and kissing on some dance floor at one of the night clubs and he went ballistic! He almost hit her and he’s never hit her before. The next day he left her divorce papers and left. I had really hoped she could come to the wedding but she is on her way back to Kitwe now to see if she can make her husband change his mind…that poor man.”
That poor man indeed.
Would that have been me instead of him?
That thought was the first thing that came to my mind the moment Rachael had finished telling the story.
All along I had been so engrossed in imagining myself as Patricia’s man that I never bothered to get to know her a little better. Everything I knew about her was either a figment of my own imagination or something I had just witnessed from afar and put into a context that I found pleasing.
I had seen Patricia change boyfriends more times than Rachael changes her wardrobe but I had never bothered to ask why. I simply concluded that they were never good enough for her and only I could satisfy her.
Back then, that kind of reasoning is what I needed to gain confidence before I could finally get the courage to tell her how I felt.
This was not how I wanted my first love to end.
Not like this.
“You’ve been too quite my love,” Rachael jolted me from my reverie. “You don’t look so good, are you feeling okay?” she had placed her hand on my forehead to feel my temperature and she started shaking her head. “You are burning Chola,” she sufficed. “Should we see a Doctor? You really don’t look so well.”
I got up and moved to stand by the window for some fresh air. “I guess I have just been too stressed lately working and running around trying to get things ready for our big day.”
Rachael had joined me by the window, closely examining my face with just her eyes. “Maybe we should pass through the clinic baby.” She insisted.
“Just get me a glass of cold water love…and I will go out for some fresh air just to cool off.”
“Need me to come along?” Rachael offered.
“No need babe,” I said. “I just need to clear my head for a little bit. I will be back in no time.”
I was gone for more than five hours, crying and getting drunk at Mubita’s bachelor pad like an absolute fool.
“Calm your ovaries down man,” was Mubita’s way of soothing me.
He unceremoniously threw a roll of tissue at me.
He did not need to tell me that I looked pathetic sitting on the floor and bawling my eyes out like a teenage diva that had just lost her favourite lipstick.
I felt foolish and in that moment, you could have looked up the noun in the dictionary and seen a picture of me crouched on the floor surrounded by used up tissues right next to the word.
“So why exactly are you acting like this?” Mubita asked the billion dollar question.
“My lost youth,” I flashed my nose into the tissue causing Mubita to flinch in reaction, a disgusting look glowing on his face. “I am mourning all those bloody years I spent loving a woman a barely even knew.”
“At the rate you are going, even your child in Rachael’s womb will start crying because he can’t believe he will be under your responsibility once he comes into this world. Stop embarrassing me before my godchild man,” Mubita roasted me.
Mubita is the king of unsubtlety.
He is the type to walk right over to a woman and with a straight face tell her that she had messed up her skirt from her period without so much as blushing from sheer embarrassment. “I would recommend getting an app to keep up with your flow,” he would shamelessly add whilst taking his phone out to show the poor woman what the app looked like. “I have this so I can keep up with my girlfriend…I need to know which days she’s likely to be grumpy so I can stay out of her way.”
I guess his personality was the reason I had chosen to go to his place instead of Nchimunya’s who had more maturity than both of us put together. Dating a woman older than him had forced Nchimunya to grow up faster than all of us.
I needed Mubita to grill into me how foolish I was to be feeling like that. I knew everything, but I just couldn’t stop myself from feeling like that. Nchimunya would have tried to make my feelings justifiable in his effort to comfort me but not Mubita.
If this guy was to trace his ancestry, he would discover that he was some fourth or sixth cousin to Lucifer himself.
“I was happy and content with the picture I had of her so why did I have to find out the truth now? Is this God’s way of punishing me for the sin I almost committed a few days ago?”
“Of course,” Mubita vomited the words with such impunity I had to fight the urge to mentally kill him. “Only a dickhead would cheat on a woman like Rachael,” he continued unleashing his purge unto me. “If my girlfriend was even half as good as Rachael, I would have married her already.”
“You think I don’t know that already?” I asked.
Mubita glared at me, “are you saying that you also think my girlfriend is not good enough?” He was daring me to agree. Even in my foolish disposition, I could smell the trap.
How Mubita-like of him.
“I think her boobs are bigger than Rachael’s,” I said.
A proud grin immediately appeared on his face. “So you noticed.”
“Even Jesus would notice if she walked to him for spiritual healing. Those things are a force to be reckoned with.”
“I guess my work here is done,” Mubita said, catching me off-guard.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“If an image of my girl’s boobs can pop through your head at a moment when you thought your world was crushing to an end, then obviously there are more pressing issues in this world to worry about…such as your wedding in the next couple of days.”
I had been right to stop by Mubita’s place. The guy had the brutality of Shaka but he always had a solution to everything…well, almost everything.
I was more than ready to face the facts.
* * *
If I didn’t know it before, I know it now.
If I had any doubts before, I am now convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the woman walking down the aisle towards me is the love of my life.
Forget the raging hormones that threaten to turn me into a dark Lord whenever they attack…but this woman is carrying in her my very first child…the fruit of my…okay, let me not think about that right now.
And just why are these pants so dame tight anyway? I ordered a slim fit suit for my big day, not a skin tight.
Just look at Rachael glowing like that.
She is the most beautiful when she’s smiling. That smile is probably the reason I lost control of my ammunition and fired…calm down…calm down Chola.
Just think about the future from now on.
I don’t care about the sex of the child…but dear Lord let it be a boy, ah.
“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness….”
From this point on, I promise to be more than just Chola to you my wife.
I hereby leave my past and all my indiscretions behind….
My name is Chola.
I am Rachael’s husband.
I am the father of her unborn child.
And as long as my wife is not moody from pregnancy or facing the woes of biology and nature, I intend to have an absolutely happy marriage life!
Coming Next Week:
Snippet from Echoes of the Heart
Everything around her had come to a standstill and only Veronica’s high pitched voice echoed though the four walls of the now empty restaurant.
“If your mission was to come here and insult me, you could have at least gotten your wardrobe choice right.” The woman’s bloody lips taking up half of her face and the long fake lashes threatening to drown the rest of it made it even harder for Sibusiswe to look at her.
Was that the kind of beauty they kept talking about these days?
“All those pearls and fancy clothes make you look pathetic and ridiculous.” Veronica continued.
Sibusiswe could only shake her heard as she took in the insults. There was something about Veronica’s face that made her look as if she had been born naturally drunk and upset.
“I find it hard to get offended when classy looking people attack me,” the ghetto born diva continued her attack on Sibusiswe.
“I didn’t ask to meet you so I could attack you,” Sibusiswe said, still maintaining her poise – much to Veronica’s chagrin.
“There you go again,” Veronica was close to snapping now, her long reptile-like nails digging into the beautiful expensive furniture of the high class restaurant. She hated everything about the restaurant her nemesis had picked just to reel her in. “That tone of voice,” her venom-like tongue hissed, “how the hell am I supposed to feel offended when you sound so melodic and corny?”
Sibusiswe couldn’t help laughing. “You seem to be under the impression that I came here for an attack,” she said. “I don’t think I have ever given you any reason to feel like that. If anything, I have been more than civil during all our interactions. You on the other hand have done nothing but antagonize me every step of the way. If anyone was looking at us, they would think I was the other woman.”
Veronica rolled her big round eyes, forcing Sibusiswe to move her drink away lest one of her gigantic eye lashes decided to take a dive in protest. It can’t be easy for the pair to try to make a woman like Veronica look beautiful.
Those poor lashes… she silently sympathized.
Perhaps she would have felt a little less offended if her husband had left her for a better woman. She didn’t even have to be good looking. She just had to be easy on the eye and clean. Just how many layers of make-up did the eye have to beat to get to the woman’s actual skin? The make-up was literally wearing her, she wasn’t wearing it.
“I can hear you thinking awful things about me,” Veronica put her arms across her chest defensively. “It must hurt your pride knowing your husband left you for a woman like me, er?”
Sibusiswe scoffed. “As a matter of fact it does, I won’t lie.”
Veronica looked confused, not sure whether to get offended or not. Why did her already tiny IQ shrink every time she was faced with this woman?
“Having said that,” Sibusiswe continued, “I don’t regret the divorce. I only feel bad for….”
Veronica raised her hand to shut her nemesis up. “I am really not a fan of yours Sibu and I would pay any amount of money just to get you to shut up so I can leave. The only reason I agreed to this meeting is because you and I need to come to a conclusion about Jacob. I am not comfortable with this arrangement of my husband constantly having to meet you whenever he is picking up or dropping off Jacob.”
“When are you going to get over your insecurities Veronica?” Sibu asked. “Martin and I have been divorced for over four years now. Apart from Jacob, I have no other business whatsoever with him. Unlike some women, I don’t find married men attractive. They reek of another woman whenever I am talking to them.”
“You might think that but Martin is a very kind man,” Veronica was saying. “He might still have lingering feelings…you are the mother of his child after all.”
“You’ve been with Jacob’s father for eight years now, four of which were during the time he was still married to me…and you are telling me you still don’t know him that well?” Sibu asked.
Veronica shifted uncomfortably in her chair. “What do you mean?” She flapped her lashes at her rival.
“Martin is not a kind man. You can call him anything else…but kind isn’t one of them.” Sibisiswe replied. “Anyway, I didn’t ask to have this meeting with you so we could talk about your husband. I want us to talk about something you might actually find pleasing.”
“And what is that?”
“From now onwards, I would like it if you were the one responsible for Jacobs welfare…and by that I mean bringing him back to my place after his visits to you. I do not wish to have any more contact with Martin.”
Veronica took a moment to mull over what she had just heard. Again, she wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad about such a development. Isn’t that what she had always hoped for? She had been on Martin’s neck the past years trying to get him to let her take charge of that situation but he never relented.
What was really going on here? Something didn’t seem right.
If you even knew half of it, you would be using your fake lashes to hang yourself woman, Sibusiswe thought as she watched Veronica battle her demons.
“Is this what they call in the movies psychology reverse?” Veronica asked.
Sibusiswe had to hold her hand to her mouth to keep herself from laughing out loud. “It’s actually….forget it,” she gave up teaching the vixen. It wasn’t her job anyway. “I am being sincere with you Veronica,” Sibu said.
“Martin might still have a soft spot for you but he would never leave me for you. i am not the kind of woman to get her husband stolen by another woman. I always protect what’s mine.”
Sibusiswe scoffed once again. “You know what’s funny,” she said in a very calm yet menacing tone. “That Martin will not be coming back to me by my own doing. With your own tongue, you will beg him to get back with me.”
“Keep on dreaming,” Veronica hissed. “Over my dead body, you get it? Over my dead body.” She got up to leave.
“If you say so,” Sibusiswe replied nonchalantly, looking out the window towards the blue Jaguar still parked in the same spot.
Was this war ever going to end?
Or should she put an end to it right there and then?
This would not be the first time she was getting blood on her hands. Only this time, she would make it worth her while.
Look out for Part One of Echoes of the Heart coming Next Week!