© Tisa Phiri
After going round a few houses and doing some chores, the girls managed to make money for food. They walked to some restaurant and ordered some food.
” you think he’s dead?” Thandi asked no one in particular as they ate silently.
” mnmmmhmh”, murmered Sali.. ” he deserved to die after what he was doing to you all these years” she shrugged her mouth full.
” I don’t know if I really want him to die guys… I mean, i have lived with him for years and even though he’s has been cruel to me, I don’t wish him dead especially from my hands” Thandi shook her head tears forming in her eyes.
” Well, it’s true killing him will not only be bad but it will complicate our lives” Mattie chipped in putting her fingers on the plate of relish.
” I don’t think he’s dead though. He was drunk so the beating left him very weak. But I still feel he will live” she added.
” I don’t get you Mattie, you are the one that made me escape home that my step dad will die, here you are saying otherwise. Why the hell did you want me out of my own house?” Thandi snapped.
” oh my God you are unbelievable, we helped you from that man’s hands and instead of being grateful, you spit in our faces. You know What?, we were fine the two of us before you came. So you can as well find your way back to your abusive father?!” Mattie raised her voice at Thandi.
” oooho guys calm down” Sali raised her hands between the two. ” stop yelling at each other. We all know what we did was to save you Thandi and that your father is an animal. Stop fighting and start thinking of the way forward from here. There’s no turning back from this pact. The three of us now have to figure out a way to survive otherwise if we separate ourselves, life will be harder” she frowned sadly as Thandi and Mattie looked at her face.
” Am serious girls, we are a team and together we can conquer.” She smiled widely making her friends sigh and relax.
” am sorry Mattie, am just confused and I can’t help worry about that man. I guess am being a child taking out my anger on you” Thandi looked at Mattie.
” it’s alright. Sali is right. For some reason God brought us together and so we have to stand together. I don’t know where we go from now or what to do but let’s promise to stick together. Let’s just say, we are ‘The Undisputed!’ ” She exclaimed proudly raising head as her friends laughed along too.
” I have an idea!” Mattie added seriously looking at her friends.
” what’s That?” Sali asked asked as she cracked the bone of a chicken thigh making some noise causing Thandi and Mattie to smile in unison.
” well, Thandi we can’t just be going round and sleeping on the streets. Let’s go back to your house since you said you mother built that house, Right? ” she asked sitting up.
” Yeah, so?” Thandi looked at Mattie with attention.
” so we won’t let your father take away your home. And since Sali and myself here are homeless, we together are going to grab the house from that animal and make it our own. ” Mattie announced her idea excitedly as her friends looked on.
” that’s a great idea Mattie!” Supported Thandi
” but wait ” she frowned sadly sitting back in the chair her hands slamming the table between them.
” what now?” Sali asked
” Well, you guys are forgetting the possibility that my father might be dead. And even if we say he’s not, how are we going to convince him to leave the house for us? He’s older than us remember and he’s a man for that matter a violent one” Thandi shook her head defeated by the thoughts of her step father.
” see, believe me I still feel that man is alive, and if so, he is weak from the beating. Those pots and cooking sticks gave him a great deal of pain. So,” Mattie paused looking at her friends with assurance.
” so?” Asked Sali impatiently.
” so we will go back There, force him to move. We will tell him If he doesn’t we will kill him. Am sure he will obey ” Mattie smiled profoundly.
” Well, am not sure. That idea is crazy Mattie. I don’t think.. .”
” stop doubting and being scared for once in your life Thandi” Mattie cut in.
” you have been used and tormented by that man for years. It’s time you stood up for yourself and face him with newly found courage!” She shouted holding Thandi’s hand.
” oh right let’s try this then. I just hope you are right. Trust me I know that man very well” Thandi sighed..
” well, we will be fine girls” Mattie smiled looking at Sali and then Thandi.
They finished eating their food and walked out slowly heading to the road leading to town.
” you said when we are filled up, I will get to hear your stories too” Thandi spoke up.
” oh God!, the story of my life” Mattie sighed her face turning into a frown.
” I have never really told anyone about this before, Sali only knows a scratch but today since we are together for I dont know…”
” forever! ” Sali cut in with a chuckle.
” sure maybe” shrugged Mattie
” well let’s hear it ” Thandi stood looking at Mattie patiently waiting to hear her story.
Well my full names are Matilda Gambo, I was born 16 years ago in a family of 2. My elder sister was a year older than me.
My parents were not really married, my mother told me she got pregnant with my sister when she was in senior secondary doing her 11th grade.
Her parents were not doing fine financially, her father, was retired from the police force owing to his sickness. My mother wasnt sure of what was wrong with her father but she had noticed how sad and broken their home had become after her father fell sick. She told us some people spread rumours that my mother was sleeping around whilst her father was ill.
The news of my mother getting pregnant added to the sorrow as it led to the death of her father.
My mother’s mom blamed it on my mother that it was her fault her father died and so she chased her to go and stay with the man who got her pregnant.
Lots other issues happened, but all i know is that my mother got pregnant again a year after staying with my father, who was still staying at his parent’s house too.
To cut the story short, my father ran away leaving my mother with two babies at his parent’s house who in turn made her leave claiming their was no reason for her to stay when the man responsible for her children fled.
My mother was cornered, she could go back to her mother who had vowed never to accept her back as her child. Desperation led my mother to start sleeping around bringing men to our house, Years later, after she tried to do some business and failed to keep up with our demands.
We dropped out of School soon after and my mother started coercing my sister and I to sleep with men for money.
The worst was some of those men started taking advantage of me and my sister. My mother was always so drunk she rarely paid attention to us.
Just like you Thandi, I was first raped when I was only 11. I tried to tell my mother but apparently she liked the money she was getting from that man so she scolded me instead. Telling me never to tell a soul or she would throw me out. That was the beginning of her selling us out.
My sister and i were meant to sleep with men by my own mother in exchange for cash. Sadly 2 years ago my sister got sick and like always my dear mother paid no attention to her. I was made to care for her until she gave up her life.
You girls have no idea how much pain I felt loosing my own sister to death and having a mother who gives no damn about it.
I decided enough is enough. Even though my mother insisted I continued prostitution with her so as to help us survive, I made up my mind to run away from home.
One day as I planned my escape, my mother’s man can home when I was alone. He tried like he always did to rape me but guess What?, I was ready for him.
With everything in me I fought him hard managing to escape his grip and grabbing a knife from the kitchen. I stabbed the man in the leg and fled from the house.
That evening when I walked back home, I found my mother waiting for me furious that I made her lose her favourite customer because I was stupid. She blamed me and my sister for ruining her life.
She threw me out of the house and I got my already packed bag leaving not minding the dark night.
I got on a bus from Kafue and travelled here in Lusaka that very night. I was walking around the streets desperate and cold when I bumped into Saliya. She was curled in the corner of the building crying.
I somehow related to her and the two of us spend a night cuddled on some card boards in the street.
We walked around sleeping under the shed we told you about feeding on the little money I got from home. A week later we were walking around the compound waiting for the guard to sleep as he had chased us the other day. That’s when we came to find you. We saw you climb the rails on that cliff and decided to save your life.
So that’s it. We are here now and am sure you now know why I relate so much with you Thandi. I have been where you have as well. Though I had to sleep with several men as compared to you who was only used by one man.
” oh God!” Thandi sighed sadly stopping to look at Mattie. “I dont know what to say. Here I was thinking am the only one whose been through the worst. My God men are cruel” she shook her head tears in her eyes as she saw Mattie sobbing silently.
The girls held each other closely in the middle of the road. Everyone who passed them wondered why they where in that position. Little did they know that they where connecting to each other, somewhat finding solace in each other.
” okey girls enough!” Mattie broke the hug.
” come on, lets continue moving ahead. Remember we have an animal man to deal with” she smiled rubbing Thandi and Sali’s back.
” wait a minute, Sali, I have not heard your story.” Thandi giggled.
” what happened sweet fatty!” She exclaimed with a smile as she wiped a tear from her eyes.
” what has the world thrown on this sweet thing who looks so delicate?” She added
” come on I will tell you the story before we get home. It’s nothing like you guy’s stories. It’s more like, what can I say?” Sali paused holding her round chin.
” a mysterious one” she chuckled narrowing her small eyes.
” well, lets hear the story of a mysterious fatty Saliya” Mattie shouted raising her hand up.
“Stop calling me fatty you girls, it’s not funny!” She yelled back acting furious.
” am sorry love but look at You, you all steak and fat” Mattie giggled making all of them laugh.
” okey, don’t mind this skin girl, She s just jealousy of you” Thandi told Sali with a laugh.
” if you girls don’t stop the fatty thing I will not say anything about myself. You have no idea how much I hate myself because of this very body you teasing me about. It’s like every one sees everything wrong with the way God made me and it hurts” cried Saliya and the girls knew she was dead serious. Something happened that caused her to hate her body in that manner and they knew it’s time to get serious and comfort their friend.
” we are sorry girl, we were just playing with you. You are beautiful the way you are. Come on now, wipe your tears and give us that sweet smile ” Mattie held her shoulders as Thandi nodded her head in agreement.
” let’s get home first then I will tell. I need to sit down” Sali smiled wiping the tears from her cheeks.
” sure sweety, come on” Thandi smiled back and they held hands walking together through the busy road as they got closer to the busy area.
To be continued