It rings once.
I keep quiet.
“Naledi….” he says again.
I take a deep breath. Suddenly I’m not sure if calling him was a good idea.
“I just called,” I say.
I’m a bit emotional.
I think about hanging up but I didn’t come all the way here to call him and hang up and go back.
I can hear him breathing.
“Naledi,” he says again.
“I love you,” he says and immediately takes a deep breath, like he is shocked himself.
What am I supposed to say now? I didn’t expect him to say that. Why is he saying that?
“I’m here,” I say.
I’m not even sure where I am, but I know I came here for him.
“You are where?”
“I don’t know. But I’m here. I took the Alberton off-ramp,” I say.
I shouldn’t have done this.
“You took the what? Where?” he asks, he sounds confused.
“You said you lived in Alberton, so I took the Alberton off-ramp from the N12,”
I had no plan when I left Kimberley, but I knew I was going to him, wherever he is.
He’s breathing fast.
“Where are you? Where are you parked?”
“On the side of the road,” I say.
He sounds like he’s running now.
“Tell me what you see,”
“I see a Spar and an Engen garage,” I say
It sounds like he’s getting inside a car.
“Okay, go and park at the garage,” him.
Why didn’t I think of that? But then again, I haven’t really been thinking straight today, the evidence of that is me being here, what am I doing?
I park and sit and wait.
I don’t know what I’m going to say to him when he arrives. I don’t know what I’m going to tell him when he asks me why I’m here.
That was too quick.
It’s that Range Rover.
He parks a bit further away and comes running to my car.
“Naledi!!” he says pulling my door open.
I just sit and look at him.
“What happened? Hey…..what…?”
I can’t speak.
I’m biting my lips very hard.
I don’t know why I came here but I know it wasn’t to cry. I can’t be crying to a man I barely know. It’s enough that I drove all the way here…..
He pulls me out of the car.
I stagger a little before I find balance by leaning on the car.
I’m wearing leggings and a t-shirt. I look and feel like hell. I didn’t even shower I just grabbed my handbag and phone, got in the car and drove to Joburg.
“Talk to me, what happened?”
He has his hands on my shoulders.
Where do I start? I don’t know why I’m here, but I know I want to be here, with him.
“Okay get in the car,” he says when he gets no answers.
He pulls me by my hand around my car and into the passenger seat.
He gets on the driver’s seat.
We leave his car at the garage. I want to ask but I’m too emotional right now.
He keeps looking at me and the looking ahead at the road.
“Did you drink all these?” he asks looking around the car.
There are empty coffee cups and empty bottles of energy drinks.
He looks worried.
I’m still crying.
I want him to stop talking and I don’t want him to see me like this but I want to hear his voice and I want to be here with him, right at this moment.
We drive to a golf-estate.
This is where he lives?
There are houses, big houses but they are not close together like you’d normally find in estates.
I’m still not sure why I came here.
We stop in-front of a huge house. The walls are mostly glass. I can see the lounge and kitchen from here on the driveway.
He gets out, rushes to my door and pulls me out by my arm.
“Where are your bags?” he asks.
“I didn’t bring any bags,”
He doesn’t look surprised.
“Come,” he says.
He has one arm around my shoulders.
The door is wood but the walls are glass, there are brick pillars here and there but everything is just bare.
Why am I here again?
“Do you need anything? Food?” he asks.
I feel a bit funny. I’m angry actually.
“Why did you leave Chawe? Why did you leave me?”
I’m angry! I feel like shouting at him!
He keeps quiet.
“You just left me like that!” I scream.
He looks confused.
I want to go to him and hug him tight but I want to scream and shout at him too for leaving me like that and torturing me this whole time and for doing this to me, this, this thing that is happening here!
How can he drive me crazy like this when I barely even know him!
“I didn’t…….your boyfriend was there,”
“He’s not my boyfriend!!!!”
He’s looking at me like I’m scaring him.
“You didn’t call! You didn’t do anything! You just left! You were lying, you lied that you wanted me! You lied!!…..”
He takes a few steps towards me. I freak out! But he grabs and holds me tight before I can step back. I’m still screaming! The louder I scream the tighter he holds me.
“I didn’t leave you……..I didn’t leave you,” he keeps saying.
“Why are you doing this to me? Why? I was fine before you!!”
I’m screaming but I’m not trying to break free. I’m angry at him but I want to be in his arms.
It takes a while before my calm returns.
Now I’m a bit embarrassed. Why did I do that? Why did I scream at him like that?
“He’s not my boyfriend Chawe. He’s a friend and colleague, he came to my house that morning because my phone was off and everybody was worried. He’s just a friend,”
I’m sitting now. I still feel a bit drowsy but at least I’m functioning again. I don’t know what happened there, I don’t have temper issues. I don’t know what got into me.
He sits next to me.
“Why didn’t you tell me that?” he asks.
Really? Like he gave me a chance to do that.
I cough a couple of times. I haven’t eaten. I just drank coffee and energy drinks and smoked throughout the trip.
He stands up, comes back with bottled water and hands it to me.
“I missed you,” he says.
I turn to look into his eyes.
“I wanted to call you but I thought you didn’t want me to,” he says.
How could he think that? He’s the one that walked away. After I walked away.
“I waited for your call, for the past three days,” I say. I’m being honest, I was desperate for his attention.
“Why didn’t you call?” he asks.
Why didn’t I?
“I don’t know, I thought you didn’t want me to call,” I say.
I wanted to, but I didn’t.
He shifts closer and puts his arm around my shoulders.
And then I remember.
“I didn’t shower, I just got in the car and drove here,” I say.
We look into each other’s eyes. And then we both burst out laughing.
He pulls my face close to his, he wants to kiss me….
“I didn’t brush my teeth either,” I whisper.
He kisses me anyway.
And then we sit, like this, with my head on his shoulder and his arm around me, in silence.
“Did I hurt you? On Saturday when I just left, were you hurt?” I ask.
He clears his throat and squeezes my shoulder.
“Yes,” he says.
What kind of man is this? He was supposed to say no so that I don’t feel bad. Doesn’t he know that?
“I didn’t mean to,” I say.
I really didn’t mean to hurt him.
“At first I thought you were just being your usual self, as in being mean to me like you always are. I waited and waited and as time went by it started to hurt, especially when I realised I had to come to terms with the fact that you were not coming, that the dinner was not going to happen,”
Now I feel really bad.
“Was it going to be here?”
“No, I didn’t want to bring you to my house, not on our first real date because I know you’re crazy so you were going to assume that I wanted to shag you,” he says.
Our first date was at a mental hospital parking lot. And yes I was going to assume that.
“Is this your house?” I ask.
I know, it’s obvious.
“No, it’s a friend’s, I’m just renting the bedroom,” he says looking at me.
“In case you decide to leave me because I have a big house,” he says with a little smile on his face.
I almost forgot how he is.
“Yes it’s my house. That night I realised I was past that games stage. I wanted us to really talk and be serious,”
I should have stayed.
“Games as in you stalking me for R350 and showing up at my workplace and stalking me at airports?”
“You’re crazy. Those lunatics you hang around all day are rubbing off on you……”
“Chawe, they’re people too…..”
“No, they’re not, they’re crazy,” he says.
How did this conversation get here?
“I thought you were a fake BEE,” I say.
Okay that was a bit random of me.
He raises his eyebrows.
“Yes, because you were stalking me for R350,” I say
“By the way, I’m not a BEE,” he says.
We’re laughing now but I’m going to have to tell him, but I can’t tell him everything, not until I know him better.
“Can I borrow your towel?”-me.
He laughs, stands up and pulls me by my hand across the dining room and some room, the passage and up the stairs.
“I can use the guest bathroom,” I say when we enter the main bedroom.
“You’re not a guest,” he says and walks to the bathroom.
That’s one huge bed!
There’s no headboard, just purple wallpaper from where the bed starts all the way up the wall.
I walk to the window and pull the curtain open. Oh, it’s a sliding door. It takes me out to the balcony. It doesn’t look like he comes out here often. There’s a pool and another structure. I think it’s a pool-house. Not very far is a lake, it looks a bit too big to be in a residential area.
There’s something refreshing about this place. I want to stand here and breathe the fresh air. It’s so serene it’s hard to believe we’re in Joburg.
I turn around to see him standing at the door, watching me.
He smiles when our eyes meet.
There’s something sincere about him when you look deep enough, something warm and safe too. It draws me. I feel like I want to hold him. But I stop myself.
Let me go take that bath.
But he’s standing blocking the entrance. He has this little smile on his face.
“Can I pass please?”
He stands still.
He’s such a kid!
“So are you my girlfriend now?,” he asks.
Just like that? I don’t answer.
“I’m not letting you pass until you answer me,” he says
I’m trying hard not to blush.
“No,” I say
He’s still smiling.
“So you drove all the way from Kimberley to scream at me for I don’t know what and shower in my house?”
He’s still blocking my way.
“I’m not moving until you agree to be my girlfriend,”
What is wrong with this man though?
I wrap my arms around his waist and kiss him.
“Can I pass now?”
“No,” he says, that smile still there.
“Can I pass? My boyfriend,” I say.
The smile gets wider, and those eyes bigger, he’s beautiful.
“Yes you can,” he says and steps aside.
“You can use my toothbrush…” he says walking out of the bedroom.
He’s run me a bubble-bath, but it smells a bit masculine. Everything here is masculine including the towels, they’re all navy and blue.
I look around and I see no pink things, there’s also just one toothbrush.
I hope I won’t be having problems in this union.
I don’t even have clean underwear, but who cares, I’m swimming in a bathtub in the house of a man I know very little about.
This is nice and soothing…….after the day I had, this is all I need.
I hear footsteps and flinch!
Please don’t come in here please please…….
They stop. I hear them again, they fade.
He’s gone. Whew!
I spend another 15 minutes just relaxing in the water.
And then it crosses my mind…….I might have to give something up tonight. It’s been so long since I’ve opened these legs I’m sure there’s a spider-web down there.
He doesn’t seem like the type that would push hard if I said no, but the situation is I’m not sure if I have enough morals to say no to him. The fool is damn sexy!
Oh, this is why he was here! There’s a white robe on the bed and a t-shirt. It’s a bit tight but I have my bra back on so I can work with it.
I still feel naked with no panties on so I tie the robe very tight around me.
This house, I can see everything from up here. I can see him down there in the kitchen walking back and forth. I think he’s cooking.
Isn’t he supposed to have maids and chefs walking around all over this house?
And why is he single? If he’s single.
If he’s not single I feel sorry for that lady because I’m not walking away, not again.
I walk down the stairs.
I feel fresh and more confident, panties or not.
He stops what he’s doing and watches me all the way to the bottom of the stairs.
That thing that draws me to him, it gets stronger.
We stand in the kitchen and just look into each other’s eyes. I drop mine first.
“You can cook?” I ask.
He has this thing of frowning and smiling at once.
“I try. And you?”
I try too.
“I can, nothing fancy but I can make pap and meat and the basics,”
“Uphuthu?” he asks.
“You don’t know what uphuthu is?”
“Google it,” he says.
“And call me love, I’m tired of you butchering my name,”
As if he can pronounce my surname properly.
“Here,” he says placing a plate in front of me.
It has chicken and a creamy sauce.
“You can cook pasta?” I ask.
“I can cook anything,”
I don’t believe this at all.
“Are you sure you’re Zulu?”
He does that smile-frown thing again.
“Why? Do you think all I do is go around shooting and beating people?”
Well…Zulu people haven’t exactly had the best Public Relations. It’s just like us Tswanas. The general perception is we are not generous fellows. People say a Tswana person would rather be hungry with you all day than take out their food and risk having to share it with you.
Come to think of it, I have this aunt……
“No, but pasta I didn’t expect,” I say.
“I can cook, really well……oh and I do shoot people,” he says sitting next to me.
I laugh. He’s crazy.
“What did you mean when you asked why I was doing “this” to you? What were you talking about?”
He’s serious now. I thought we were still laughing and joking.
I don’t know what to say.
He’s staring. He wants an answer.
“I don’t know….” I say.
He puts his plate down on the coffee table and looks at me.
“What did I do Naledi?”
He won’t understand, but let me tell him anyway.
“You made me love you,”
He’s quiet, but he’s still looking at me.
“Is that wrong?” he asks.
Yes it is.
I look down at my plate and keep quiet.
He’s still staring, and I know he won’t stop until I give him an answer.
“He came,” I say, still looking down.
He puts his fork down too, but doesn’t say anything. He wants me to continue.
“Last night, I found him in my house, waiting for me,” I say.
I thought I wasn’t going to tell him this now, not today.
I see that look on his face again.
He hasn’t said anything, but I know I should keep talking.
“He hit me and pulled my hair and tried to……”
I can’t tell him that last part.
“Tried to do what?” he asks.
I keep quiet.
“Tried to do what Naledi?”
I don’t answer.
“He had a gun, he said he was going to shoot me. But the police, the captain, he walked in just as he was trying to…….” I stop.
I want to look at him but I can’t. I feel him, the intensity.
“They got there before he could hurt me more. They arrested him. He’s appearing in court tomorrow and I have to be there, in case he applies for bail. I have to be there so I can tell the court that he’ll kill me if they let him out,”
He’s quiet. But I can feel him, the aura around us is getting heavier and darker.
“It’s fine, we’ll leave very early in the morning, we’ll fly there,” he says after what seems like years.
“I’m going to court with you,” he says.
“I don’t think that’s a….”
“I’m going with you,” he says.
“That will make things worse Cha……love,” I say.
He frowns, a real frown this time.
“Worse for who?” he asks.
“For us, I don’t want him to hurt you,” I say.
He frowns again.
He’s going to go after Qhawe, I know he is. If he sees him in court with me tomorrow he’ll freak out and if he’s released on bail he’ll go after him .
“Chawe you don’t understand, this guy is dangerous and he’s never going to leave me alone. I don’t want to put your life and your family in danger……”
“He’s never going to leave you alone?” -him.
There’s something about the way he asks.
“Naledi, I’m going to court with you,” he says.
I think that maybe this is not negotiable, yes, it’s not. So is the instruction that it’s time for bed. Apparently I have to go to sleep now at 8pm because I didn’t sleep at all last night, that’s the instruction.
“What time are we leaving in the morning?”
He hesitates a little, He looks like he’s thinking hard.
“We’ll get a flight,” he says like it’s nothing major.
“We’re talking about Kimberley remember?” I say.
“Okay, we’ll drive. We’ll leave your car here and take mine,”
“How are you going to come back?” I ask.
He looks at me like I’m asking a strange question.
“Come back? You think I’m going to leave you alone Kimberley?”
What? Is he moving in with me now?
“And I don’t want you working at that crazy people’s hospital…..”
Oh Lord Jesus!! This relationship is over!
He leaves me in bed and goes somewhere in this house. I don’t know where.
I feel my eyes getting heavy. I set the alarm clock for 5am. The captain said the court appearance will be at 11.30 am.
The drive to Kimberley is about five hours but I have a feeling it will take us less than that.
I open my eyes. Where am I?
“Phone,” he says.
Oh. I’m here. In his arms. When did he come to bed?
It’s dark but I can see him and his arms around me.
It must be the alarm clock.
“It’s ringing,” he says.
It’s the captain.
“I just wanted to tell you not to bother coming to court. I’ve been informed that Tlabane is dead, they say he fell and hit his head,”
“That’s all I wanted to tell you. Sorry to wake you. But, don’t bother coming to court today, we have to inform his family now,” he says.
And with that he’s gone. It’s over.
“What’s the matter?”
Where do I start?
“It’s the captain, he says my ex is dead, he fell and hit his head or something like that, I don’t need to go to court,”
There’s no reaction at all on his face.
“Mmmmmmm…” he says, takes my phone from me and puts it on the pedestal behind him.
He wraps his arms tighter around me, kisses my forehead and says: “I love you”.
I understand his reaction, he didn’t know the guy.
I hated him but I didn’t want him to die, he has two kids.
He must have gotten into a fight with the other prisoners, maybe they pushed him and he fell, he was naturally rude.
“And then what?”
“Why are you just standing there……?”
“Why are you just sleeping there? It’s 6am,” he says.
What the heck!!!
He’s just standing here with his hands in his pockets. He’s cleaned up and all dressed.
“Yes, it’s 6am Chawe, normal people are still sleeping. Why aren’t you?”
“Normal people sleep until after 6pm?” he asks.
I don’t know if he’s being serious or sarcastic.
“Wake up, we’re going out for breakfast,” he says.
Is he serious??
“I don’t have clothes,” I say.
He looks like he’s just remembered that.
I’ve also just remembered a lot of things, including the fact that my ex is dead and I’m worried about that.
I have to tell my sisters, I have to tell Tsietsi, I have to check with the captain.
He’s on his phone, he walks out of the bedroom.
“Where are you?” he asks.
“Forget that, Tlabane is dead,”
“Yes, I got a call from the police this morning saying he fell and hit his head in the cells, and died,” I say.
That’s all I know.
“And so? How are you? Must I come over?”
“No, I’m not at my house, I’ll see you when I come back,”
I’m in no mood to explain.
“Where are you??”
“We’ll talk later Tsietsi,” I say and hang up.
“Was that…..that guy?” he asks.
He must not start, the look on his face says he’s about to start.
“I don’t like him,” he says.
Yeah, and he doesn’t like you.
“He thinks he owns you,”
He said the same thing about you.
I stand up and go to the loo.
Strange, he hasn’t tried anything, like touching me or trying to be intimate. I don’t know if I should be worried or not.
I slept in a robe and he didn’t even try to make me take it off.
When I come out he’s still standing where I left him.
“I have to make a few calls,” I say.
He just watches me, all the time. He looks at me like I’m…..a rare precious stone.
“Okay, breakfast will be here soon, meet me downstairs,” he says.
I think he’s going to turn and walk away but instead he comes to me, puts his hand at the back of my neck and pills me close to him. He kisses the top of my head, turns and walks away.
The urge to hold him tight, it’s there every time he comes near me.
So, does this mean I have to get cleaned up too? Yes, I do actually. I feel sticky and all that.
I walk out to the balcony. It has a roof, I didn’t notice the first time.
I’ll have a smoke while I make the calls. I need to sit down for that.
The air is fresh, it must be that lake there.
“Ousie, you won’t believe what…….
Ahhhhhhhhh! What the heck!!
I’m running around the balcony! But the water is all over! It’s coming from the roof! What the heck is this now!!
It won’t stop!
I try to run back inside but he’s standing at the door.
“I see you’ve met my smoke detectors, I had no idea they worked so well,” he says.
“Turn it off!” I scream
He doesn’t move.
I’m dripping wet now, the bloody thing is still raining on me!
I try to run back inside but he’s blocking the way.
“Are you going to stop smoking?” he asks.
“Okay,” he says and pushes the door closed.
“Chawe!! Open the door!!” I scream and bang on the glass sliding door.
He’s standing inside, watching me go crazy and get wet here.
“Are you going to stop smoking??” he shouts.
“My phone is getting wet!” I scream.
“I’ll buy you another one….when you stop smoking,” he shouts.
“Okay,” I say.
“Huh? I didn’t hear that,”
“Okay, I’ll stop smoking, now open the bloody door!” I shout.
He opens the door, the water stops.
I push him aside and walk past him, straight to the bathroom. The robe is literally dripping, my hair too!
I lock the bathroom door.
He is so stupid! I hate him!!!
I take off the robe and throw it in the bathtub. I’m cold now!
“Breakfast is here!” he shouts from outside the door.
“I don’t want it!” I shout back.
I’m shivering now.
I know he’s still here and I’m not talking to him, not anymore.
“Should I wait for you here or go downstairs?” he asks.
I get in the shower. He can go eat that stupid breakfast alone!
He’s gone when I come out.
How am I supposed to dry my weave now? And what am I going to wear?
I’m standing in the bedroom with my hands on my hips. I have no idea what to do.
I’m less angry now but I won’t let him get away with what he just did. He’s such a tall black big eyed kid sometimes!!
I’ve had to SMS my sisters to tell them about what happened to Tlabane. My older sister keeps telling me about counselling and all that stuff, they forget that I’m the doctor here, I know all about coping, and I know how to stop physical trauma from turning into emotional trauma.
I’m okay, I really am. Actually, I think a part of me is relieved, if I may say that. But there is a part of me that is sad, I knew him before he became who he was now. That him, I wish that him had lived. I always believed, or hoped I don’t know, that he’d get help and go back to being that good caring man.
His eyes are wide as I approach, all the way until I sit across him at the small table.
The sun is starting to get warm. The fresh morning air is beginning to thicken.
There’s fruit and yoghurt and croissants and different cheeses and muffins and also, warm breakfast, eggs and all that.
He’s sitting with his mouth open. He’s still holding that half-eaten slice of toast in his hand.
I raise my eyes to look at him once before I take a small bowl and fill it with fruit.
We’re sitting outside on the porch. This is where I found him. This is where we’re having breakfast. The lake is in front of us. I like looking at it.
He won’t take his eyes off me, can he at least close his mouth?
He clears his throat…
Why is he stuttering?
“I left the juice in the kitchen,” he says.
I don’t care.
I turn my chair to face the lake, cross my legs and sit with the bowl of fruit in my hands.
There are voices, sounds like a group of…..
He’s standing in front of me! So quick?
There’s a group of people walking past, a bit far from us but they can see us judging by their greeting. I can’t see them because he’s standing in front of me but I make out that they’re construction workers. The way I see it, he’s trying to make sure they don’t see me.
“Let’s go inside!” he says the moment they disappear.
I did say I wasn’t going to let him get away with what he did.
“Why?” I ask.
“Naledi come on, let’s go inside,”
Oh, he’s begging now? I hope he remembers how I begged him to open that sliding door.
He keeps looking at me, my legs and thighs. I know he wants to intimidate me by being tough and looking me in the eye but his eyes betray him, they keep going to the exposed parts of me.
He runs inside and comes back with a throw. He puts it over me.
Is he serious?
We hear voices again.
“That’s it!” he says and pulls me from the chair by my arm. I’ll let him win this time.
I put the throw on the couch and again I’m left with just the bath towel. He’s standing in the lounge looking like a stupid fool with his mouth open and eyes popped.
“I told you I didn’t have clothes, but you decided to make the only thing I could wear wet,” I say walking past him to the kitchen. I feel his stare behind me.
Now, you have to understand that I’m a big girl. Yes, I have issues with my weight, mostly because I’ve always been that fat kid and all my nicknames are about me being fat. But also, I’ve always been the pretty girl. I may have extra kilos on my thighs and hips and ass and waist but honey, there is not a single drop of cellulite, not even a centimetre of a stretch mark, hell, I’d pay you a lump sum if found a single scar on my body.
I’m fat, but I’m fit, and firm, and fresh and damn sexy!
And yes Chawe, mess with me again and I’ll have you standing there with your tongue out like a little puppy seeing a bone.
“Thank you for breakfast,” I say walking up the stairs. He’s still watching.
He must know that Dr Montsho rules up in here!
But Dr Montsho still doesn’t have any clothes. Now what do I do?
I feel him getting nearer and nearer.
He clears his throat. He’s behind me.
“We can…we must…”
The stuttering again.
“Buy clothes, we can go buy clothes,” he says.
I turn around to face him.
He looks me in the eye but he can’t maintain it, it’s like he can’t control his eyes, they keep going down and coming up again.
“I can’t, what am I going to wear?” I ask.
“Okay, I’ll go,” he says.
“It’s 8am, shops are not open yet,” I say
There seems to be something in my thighs that’s bewitching him because he just can’t control himself, those double-lens eyes just keep going there.
“Do you have another robe?” I ask.
He’s still staring at my thighs.
I raise my eyebrows.
“Yes actually,” he says, like he’s just remembered something and walks out of the bedroom.
It’s a blue one this time. I wonder why he keeps some clothes in the other bedrooms.
It’s long. It covers me up completely.
“So, you never took me on a house tour, I wanna see all of it,” I say.
He smiles and shakes his head. I think he’s back from the world of lust.
“Where do you want to start?”
“Wherever you want,” I say.
I try to touch his arm but his reaction is a bit awkward.
Now he doesn’t want me to touch him?
His hands are in his pockets. Urgh!
“This is the second bedroom,” he says pushing the door open. It’s snow-white. Everything from the walls to the bed linen to the en-suite bathroom, everything is white, even the side-lamp covers.
There’s just a bed with a headboard, a white single-couch on one corner and a fluffy white throw as an overlay on the bed. I like it. But it doesn’t look like anybody ever uses it. It has a balcony too.
I look up, the ceiling is not white, there’s a mural. I can’t make out what it is but it’s black and white.
The next bedroom, it’s standard, brown wooden slay-bed, cream white linen and a big mirror on the wall. It has that African design thing about it, probably because of that huge painting of a woman wearing a Zulu hat, I think it’s called isicholo.
Another one, it has double-bunk single beds, I think about seven. The bed linen is everything from Spiderman to Superman to…..
I look at him.
“I did tell you I had nine kids,” he says defensively.
I know he was lying.
“No you don’t, your brothers combined have nine kids,” I say.
“I Googled you,”
“Mmmmmm Dr-spy,” he says behind me.
He’s starting to lighten up and act normal again, but he’s still careful not to touch me.
“What else did you find out on Google?”
“That you’re not a fake BEE. Oh and that you’re single, because I thought you were married at first,” I say.
He seems surprised by that, but he has this little smile on his face.
“So you believe everything you read on the internet?” he asks, still walking beside me.
“What? About you being single? It doesn’t matter, if you do have a girlfriend, tell her I say ‘hello and byeeeeeeeeeee’,”
He bursts out laughing.
Okay, I didn’t expect that, I was just being my crazy self.
He’s still laughing. I’ve had to stop walking and wait for him.
He stops, looks at me and starts laughing again.
Okay, was it really that funny?
“Is that a gym?” I ask.
“You have a gym in your house?”
He nods. At least he’s stopped laughing but he still has a smile on his face.
“How many TVs do you have?” I ask. I’m seeing yet another one in some random corner.
There’s also a passage around that corner that looks like it’s leading somewhere.
He follows me down the stairs and to that passage.
It’s wide. I can’t see where it leads to exactly because there’s a bend somewhere along it. It’s one of the few walls that are bricks in this house.
It’s lined with pictures, portraits, mug shots, baby pictures, wedding pictures and a whole lot of others……..all in black and white print.
“Is this you or your twin?” I ask. It’s that one that looks exactly like him. He’s wearing a tracksuit jacket and has a lit cigarette in his mouth.
“A twin? I don’t have a twin,” he says frowning.
Of course he does.
“That’s Mqhele, we’re eleven months apart. He’s older,” he says.
Oh. He looks exactly like him though.
So Mqhele is the one whose wife is…
Here she is. Her picture is a close up, just her face and shoulders. She looks very young here, mid 20s I think. She’s smiling but she’s not looking at the camera. There’s something about her in this picture, something deep and consuming. I stare at her picture longer….
“That’s Hlomu,” he says. He’s looking at the picture too. He looks like he cares deeply about her, judging by the look on his face.
“Is this the eldest brother?” I ask.
I recognise him from one of the internet pictures, he has grey hair.
“Yes Nkosana, and that’s his wife Zandile,” he says.
“That’s Xolie and that’s Gugu,” he says pointing at two other women.
He shows me two other brothers but it’s pointless really because they all have strange names, most of them with cliques I can’t pronounce and worst of all, they all look exactly the same.
“These are the kids, this is the eldest, Sbani, he’s a braniac,” he says.
He looks a bit old to be called a ‘kid’.
There’s another one, a teenager and then the rest all look like they are ten and younger.
“This is Niya, she’s almost two now, the first daughter in over 100 years,” he says with a wide smile on his face.
“Oh and that’s Mvelo, my grandson, and that is Shlangu the youngest,” he says.
There’s something beautiful about the way he says the kids’ names.
“And this one?” I ask.
She looks familiar. I think I’ve seen her somewhere. Her picture is the largest. It looks like a random picture, like she had just woken up, but then she’s flawless. There’s a purple wall behind her…..it’s….it’s the main bedroom.
I turn to look at him.
The smile is gone. His face is hard. He looks pained.
I drop my eyes. Why am I heartbroken? I’m just…really hurt. Suddenly I’m not sure about being here. I’m looking down at my feet.
“She died Naledi,” he says in a soft voice.
“She died four years ago,” he says.
I had no idea. So that’s why that picture I saw was an old one.
I don’t know what to say.
I look at the picture again.
“She’s beautiful,” I say.
I don’t know what he’s trying to say by that.
It’s time to move on, to get out of this situation right here.
I walk on. He’s walking behind me but he’s quiet now.
There’s a bend…the passage becomes narrow as we walk
Is that a……?
Oh Lord! It has white leather cinema chairs, three rows.
“You have a cinema in this house?”
He nods. He’s still a bit stiff.
I wrap my arms around his waist and look up at him.
“Mmmmmmmmm exactly how rich are you?” I ask.
He smiles and shakes his head.
“Rich enough,” he says
“And how soon before I hear the words gold-digger next to my name?”
He smiles again.
“The moment you appear,” he says pressing his forehead on mine. He’s not smiling anymore.
It’s like he’s trying to tell me something.
“You know there are things you can’t buy right?” I ask. I’m looking him in the eye. I want him to assure me.
“I know, the most important of them all is standing right in front of me,” he says.
I hope he means this.
“I mean it,” he says.
He must have noticed doubt on my face.
“Should I trust you Chawe?”
I’m still looking in his eyes, his forehead on mine, my arms around his waist, his hands are still in his pockets.
“Allow me to answer that question with my actions,” he says.
I’ll take that risk.
I believe him, but I don’t trust men, it’s going to take a lot for me to fully trust him.
But I do love him, that surpasses my trust issues.
I tighten the hug. He hugs me back.
“So when are we having sex?”
I push him off me.
Did he really just ask me that? Just like that? When we are having sex?
“What did I do now?” he asks with his hands raised.
I’m looking at him, he really sees nothing wrong with what he just asked me.
“Did you really just ask me that? I didn’t come here to have sex with you,” I say.
He’s confused. He doesn’t understand why I’m angry. How many fights have we had again since I got here yesterday afternoon?
Now he has that smile-frown on his face…..
I know he’s about to be stupid.
“I have to shag you soon so you’ll stop fighting with me, and being crazy,” he says.
I’m offended, but why am I being turned on by what he just said?
“You will shag me when I want you to shag me, and that’s not anytime soon,” I say trying to walk out but he blocks and pulls me back with one arm.
“Are you sure?” he says pressing me against the wall.
He raises my arms and holds my wrists together with one hand. He’s untied the robe I’m wearing. I can’t push him off. The robe opens and I’m left naked, my whole front exposed. That look on his face, it’s back again…..
“Let me go…..” I say, softly.
“You don’t want me?” he asks and kisses my neck.
The grip on my wrists loosens. I drop my arms but they end up around his waist, holding him tight.
“I do,” I whisper.
I feel his hands on my thighs and his lips…….