© Tisa Phiri
” lets get inside. I already talked to my boss, she allowed me to have you here for the weekend girls. We can talk from inside” i told Sali and Thandi holding out my hand to help Sali up. She was still crying and we decided to let her calm down a little bit before she could tell us what was going on.
We both had an idea but we didnt dare speak the obvious out. The only comforting thing was that Sali managed to move all the way fron Chilanga to Woodlands were i was. I had thought she wasn’t in such much danger and trouble after all.
Sali sat down on my bed making a big sigh as the bed matress went down were she sat. Despite the troubles she seemed not to loose any weight.
” so how have you been Thandi?” I asked trying to give Sali time.
” oh my dear what can i tell you. That couple is so weird they are two people who fight everytime, i barely sleep at night due to their noise making and the bad part of it all is that Leticia wont let me sleep whenever they fight.
She would wake me up to clean her wounds and stay with her till she falls asleep in the guest room like she’s a child.
Am so tired of all this Mattie. Her husband treats me like trash. Can you believe he threw a glass of juice in my face the other day, just because i mistook his wife’s cup with his.
” can’t you fool do anything right for once? You are just like your pathetic boss i swear i will break your neck one day! He yelled at me imagine.” Thandi shook her head.
” but why did they pretend they want to help you? I mean , i understand that old woman who got Sali, she acts all church and believes she’s doing it for a good cause. My dear late Julia was a saint and we all knew she had a genuine reason for helping me. But those two? I dont get it Thandi. They could have hired anyone out there. They don’t go to church, am just wondering how and why they took the trouble of picking you” i raised my hand and placed it back on Thandi’s laps with wonder.
” my dear, i dont know. I asked Leticia one day and she told me her husband behaves that way because she has failed to give him kids.
She told me they wanted to adopt some baby from the orphanage as suggested by Harold but Leticia wasnt ready to take care of a baby. She however said getting one of us was a deviation. She lied to her husband that there were no babies and she only found some grown girls. Suggesting helping any of us would feel as good as taking up a baby for adoption. ” Thandi exaplained.
” oh my God, they call what they are doing to you helping? Insulting you every day and tormenting you with noise, to add to that they wont even allow you to go to school. What the hell!” I snapped feeling angry.
“The whole purpose of going through that trouble was to go to school look at us. They won’t allow you. Sali here is too tired everyday to even think of studying. She might end up quiting after all, i really hate this guys. Am not complaining much since atleast am allowed to go to school but i have to face that Coloured jerk of my boss most of the times. ” i sighed sadly my eyes filling up.
” well, i wont be going to school any more. I quit as of yersterday. ” Sali responded sitting up.
” what? Why? Did they stop you from going to school?” I asked her , turning to look straight at her swallon eyes from crying.
She sniffed and used the back of her hands to wipe her tears.
” i killed some one guys” Sali started her lips shaking.
” oh no!” We shouted in unison with Thandi.
” i didnt intend to i swear. He just came from no where and hugged me from behind. I tried go fight him off but he held on to me. He was so strong i tried to scream but he wouldnt let me.. i.. i.. i ….. oh Mattie he was going to rape me. Remember you said we have to stand up against such men” Sali shook terribly as she narrated her short cuts to the story.
” okey. Calm down my love, calm down and tell us everything. Who did you kill? Where? And what really happened? say everything from the start” i held her hands controlling myself too.
” say it out already Sali, you can’t keep all that to yourself sweety come on” Thandi chipped it.
” i was sent to go and collect some dry maize from Mrs Numba’s farm which is adjacent to the house.
I was alone in the middle of the dry maize stems working as told, filling the sacks with maize cobs. Belita couldnt come with me cause she was not feeling too well” Sali paused .
” okey” i nodded my head wanting her to continue.
Sali continued..” like i said i was working when i heard foot steps approaching me. I turned to look at who it was but i was too late. A man moarned and grabbed my waist breathing heavily as he pressed hard on my back. i tried to turn and fight him off me but he wouldnt let go.
I tried to scream but he wouldnt stop and the next thing he pushed me to the ground and got on top of me from behind. I couldn’t think of any way out.
I closed my eyes and let my mind imagine the worst for him as the man pulled down my pant his other hand still holding me down.
I felt something on me raise up strongly i was shaking. With everything in me i let a loud shout and i dont know how, but the next thing i was standing on top of the man his neck twisted. He was dead…. he died right in front of me Mattie” she shivered crying loudly.
” oh my God Saliya! That was terrible. We told you to control your feelings and powers. Now what are we going to do?” Thandi cried too
” i tried to fight them off Thandi. I swear i tried. I have endured the insults and teasing from those kids at that house and i knew i was being strong not to do anything bad to them. That…that… that man just.. oh my God what do i do? Am going to jail for murder” Sali stammered, burping as she cried.
” its okey Sali. We know you have tried all these months. You have been strong sweety and we are proud of you. But this man just pushed you to the edge. I understand you sweety” i managed to comfort her. Not believing my own words that things will be okey.
” so who is he?” I asked realising we had no idea who the man was from the story.
” he’s the neighbour’s son. He’s a drunkard, i see him come to the house i work for sometimes. I didn’t even know it was him until he died on me.
I was so scared i ran to the house. Thankfully no one was around and i went to hide in the bathroom for 30 minutes.
Last night i was so nervious i thought everyone would know what i did. I couldnt tell them guys. I lied that i wasnt feeling well too and this morning i asked for a day off so that i could tell you guys ” Sali told us.
We all sat silent . We didnt want our friend in prison and we hoped no one would ever know what was going on.
We were still quiet when Sali ‘ s phone rung.
” who is it?” We both asked her looking at her phone.
” its Belita.. oh my God they know!” She screamed scared.
” wait Sali calm down. You have to act normal. As far as you are concerned you know nothing of that man’s death. Now puck it up and tell her you are here with us ” i spoke up holding the phone to Sali.
” she’s right, you cannot tell anyone else about this Sali we won’t let you go to jail” Thandi patted her hand to take the call. she sighed before answering and she was shaking as she talked on the phone.
” what?” We both asked her when she hang up.
” they found the body. Belita was telling me the man was found dead this morning and the police and his family are suspecting drug over dose and excessive beer drinking as the cause of his death” she explained her eyes wide open.
” thats good Sali. They won’t connect you to that man’s death” i exclaimed relieved.
We discussed hiding the truth between ourselves. We were not going to tell another soul about it. And i knew as long as were were quiet about it. Our Sali would be out of jail and live freely.
I was however overwhelmed the following morning when Kelly called me. He closed the spare bedroom door and asked to sleep with me.
” are you mad! How many times am i going to tell you i will never do that with you. Get it through your head Kelly, am not ever going to lay with you. And if…” i couldnt finish my sentence and he moved closer to me.
” you will sleep with me today, tommorow and anytime i want my Matilda” he teased smiling widely.
” go to hell you Jerk!” I shouted loudly.
” yes dear you are mine now, know why? ” he asked trying to hold my waist but i moved back quickly.
” because i overhead you and those two friends of yours yersterday. I know Sali killed a man and you are planning on hiding the truth from the world. ” he smiled victoriously i felt my inside raise up.
” you don’t know anything you lier. You don’t.” I snapped.
” yes. And trust me i know more than you think. That woman who took your friend were friends with mom and i know where she stays. I took my mother to her place several times. She’s let me see..” he closed his eyes teasing.
” got it! ” he shouted raising his head.
” Mrs Numba, yeah thats it?, right?” He shook his head at me.
” please i beg you in the name of God. She didnt do it deliberately. She’s just 16 please she can’t go to jail. She didnt do it deliberately” i pleaded kneeling down to the floor. But Kelly wouldn’t heed to my plea. He blackmailed me into sleeping with him. Saying if i did it once he was not going to say anything. After that he came again and again threatening me every time i turned him down.
I couldn’t let my friend go to jail. Sali was delicate, she would be broken going to Prison. I had to endure at the hands of Kelly.
Things got even worse when i realised i was pregnant he forced me to abort. Promising he would stop but all was a lie. He kept coming on to me.
One day i refused and i thought he was joking when he told me he was going to tell Mrs Numba about what Sali did. I was cleaning plates in the kitchen when i heard a vehicle outside.
I peeped through the window and saw her walk out of her car heading to the front. You can imagine how i panicked.
Kelly smiled at me as i walked to go get the door. ” i called her to tell her your little secret” he whispered in my ears and i was dumb folded.
” no you can’t do this to me please! ” i cried.
” well i want you to know that i can keep my words” he shrugged and opened the door to allow Mrs Numba in. I was motionless failing to respond to her greeting as she walked in.
” Mattie, are you not answering our visitor’s greeting?” Kelly shook my hand and i looked up my eyes wide open.
” yes mom, you are welcome ” i managed to push my words tears forming in my eyes.
I watched them walk to the living room and heard Kelly start..” so i called you to tell you about Sali , the girl you got from the….” he couldnt finish his sentence and i screamed loudly alerting everyone.
Kelly’s wife came running asking what was wrong and i lied i saw a big rat pass in the kitchen.
” honey you have to get rats killer soon i hate rats” she told her husband who looked at me with a smile on his face.
I waited for Kelly’s wife to walk back and i pulled his hand.
” please don’t i will do whatever you want. Please don’t tell her” i cried.
” you promise?” He smiled biting his tongue. ” yes am yours Kelly. Just dont do it please” i begged like an idiot and he walked away.
I heard him change the story and later on Mrs Numba walked out and i sighed in relief.
” i won’t let you go to jail my Sali. You will be safe as long as i do what this jerk wants” i cried stranding in front of the mirrow tears wetting my face.
Now i was barren, i felt empty inside. The hole inside seemed to be growing everyday that passes.
Thandi and Sali had no idea what i was going through. I didn’t want them worry about me. At least i thought one of us ought to make it out. If i had to sacrifice myself for the girls to live better lives, i promised myself that was what i was to do.
To be continued