© Tisa Phiri
Every time i closed my eyes to sleep i would see images of the man i killed. I re-lived the moment of the incidence over and over in my dreams and i started feeling unease whenever it was night time.
I started making sure i was very tired every day so that i couldnt take time falling asleep and hoping not to dream.
The inner torment and guilty i was feeling was too much. Meeting and talking about it with the girls over time really helped me. Like always they would encourage me and make me feel everything was going to be okey.
I noticed how Mattie had changed over time something about her looked different, she was not the same determined and optimistic mattie i knew. I however, wondered why she kept telling us she was okey.
She tried to paint a picture that she was doing better than all of us but i somehow could see through her pain. One of the gifts that came with my powers was the ability to feel someone’s pain and joy, especially someone close to me.
Just like i was able to detect that Mrs Numba’s last born son had something for me. He looked at me differently even though he never said much to me. He would say one or two words whenever we were found in one place alone and a bit more when Belita was around. I noticed how over the time, he could scold the boys and the girl Maria, whenever they teased me.
” shes not here to amuse you kids. Grow up already and learn to repect people!” He would shout at them and i realised whenever he was around, the kids kept their distance.
Apart from a lot of work and the mockery i usually received from the kids, my stay at Mrs Numbwa’s house was okey. She was strict woman who always wanted things done her way but i learnt to live her way.
Talking of Mrs Numba’s son, one day i walked into the house and found him standing next to the refrigerator doing nothing in particular.
” hey!” He greeted me in his low voice as always.
” “Hey Joe!” I responded straight away going to the kitchen cabinet to get what i went for.
” can i help you with anything?” I asked him as he shly played with his t-shirt like a kid.
” am okey Sali, have you had your breakfast already?” He asked almost immediately before i could leave.
” yes i had thank you.” I sighed holding the basin in my hands.
” um…listen Joe ” i stepped back looking at him and for the first time we met eye to eye. I could see his brown eyes and thick eyelashes noticing the small dark mark on top of his cheek .
I saw him sigh before i could continue. ” i know you have been defending me from the kids and i have never said thank you over the years.” I started hating my own guts but i had to continue.
” i really appreciate it, my past had not been so good and the behaviour of these guys is a constant reminder of the pain i had to endure. Having someone stand up for me means a lot” i tried to smile genuinely.
I saw his lips curving into a smile but i didnt stare enough to see its full view, i somehow felt uncomfortable.
” mom told me partly about your mother, am sorry for your lose” he spoke calmly.
” yeah, its okey” i shrugged.
” don’t worry, the kids will not bother you again. Paul and Mary are easy to control, they only become unruly when Chimba is around. ” he smiled
” ofcourse its been two years and believe me its easier to deal with them now than ever before. I know them”
” Sali, bring the basin man, i have been waiting ” Belita called me out cutting our little chat.
” duty calls” i shrugged and and Joe nodded smiling too.
I surprisngly felt so good. I had not had such a long conversation with him before in over 2 years. He had started working from Lusaka town and i mostly saw him over the weekend and at night.
” what took you so long in there ” Belita spoke up bringing me back from my thoughts of Joe.
” he’s got a good smile ” i spoke unconsciously and closed back my mouth a second later realising what i had said.
” what? ” Belita asked me this time putting down the knife she was using to cut vegetables.
” nothing aunty. I was just saying i went to the bathroom” i quickly defended myself.
” i thought i heard you talking to some one from the kitchen. ” she looked at me accusingly or maybe i just imagining it given the guilty i was feeling not understanding why.
” yeah i met Joe in the kitchen ” i responded this time saying the truth.
” i see, by the way. Joe is always asking about you whenever he comes back from work.
” aunty Belita where is Sali?, is she sleeping, when is she coming back from the weekend?.. ” he asks me.
” well am sure a person like me is easy to spot around , everyone can tell fat Sali isn’t home:” i laughed loudly.
” you are beautiful the way you Sali” Belita smiled at me.
Here i was now a week later. It was my 18th birthday and that morning i woke up feeling rather different. I felt some inner strength i had never felt before.
I went outside very early and sat besides a mango tree the surrounding was quiet and a bit dark i couldnt see clearly past the yard. Something in me was clearly changing and i recalled the words of my mother.
” Saliya you will experience something different when you are 18, that is if you have what i have too” she had told me.
“In all honesty i never wish to have your powers mama”, i told her that night.
” you are my baby Saliya and something you can never run from. Listen to me my child” she held my hand her round white eyes shining in the dark as we both sat in what used to be our bedroom.
” there is some good with this gift. My grand mother taught me how to use it for the good when i turned 18. I learnt to control myself except in extreme circumstances. You can see the future and past of others Saliya, that can help you to warn or even advice your friends or family on how they ought to do for themselves. You can use that to help guide them my child. I know its not going to be easy for you but when that time comes, i hope and sincerly wish you will find a better way to use this gift for the good of mankind” she smiled assuring me.
“But mama, why is it that your negative thoughts and wishes for someone makes something bad happen to them?” I had asked
” well, your great grand mother told me it wasnt always like that with our ancestors, in their time the gift was valued and people were helped until one day one of our amcestors was faced with some evil. She fought hard to defeat it but i was told she failed.
In the process the evil she encouter tinted her spirt with evil to destroy people. The ancestors tried to help her destroy the evil she possed but failed.
You see Saliya, initially it was all good, just the gift to see the future and offer counsel. But partly we all inherited that evil part and the two spirits have passed on to our generation.”
” but mama, how can you have both good and evil inside you? ” i sighed asking her with concern seeing how much we had to suffer because of that evil.
” well my child. One of us has to remain powerful and defeat the evil. You know the good will always win but that will take the strength and determination of the inhabitant. I want you to be the one to defeat that evil Saliya, i have evidently failed because of the constant temptation i have gone through. But i believe you are stronger than me. You are going to fight to have your inner good over come that which causes bad and pain to both you and the people around you. Promise that when you grow up, you will overcome the evil with the good” she pleaded rubbing my hands.
” i don’t think am like you mama, i don’t have your powers you will see” i argued trully not wanting anything to do with it.
” just promise my child. In case you will discover it some day” she asked this time serious.
” i promise mama, ” i told her and felt her sigh as she lay down to sleep.
Here i was now standing alone feeling the fresh breeze of the morning touching my face and my bare feet.
My thoughts had been popping up on different things. I closed my eyes and allowed myself have a deep concentration. My focus went to Mattie and i slowly brought her image to my mind.
She was laying covered on her bed and i saw two babies thrown to the floor. The babies were crying loudly as they shivered like they were cold. Mattie was fast asleep and couldnt wake up to take care of them.
I saw myself walk into her room shaking her and telling her to wake up and take care of her children but she didnt. She was deep in sleep i struggled to get her up.
” i lost my children Sali, its too late to help them now” she finally woke up tears in her face.
” what? Why didn’t you tell me about them?” I asked her.
” i wanted to but i couldn’t” she cried
I was almost asking her why when the door to the room opened and Kelly, her boss walked in. He smiled at her like he couldnt see me there. Slowly he got into bed and whispered something to Mattie which i couldnt get. The next thing Mattie sat up and followed him.
I went after them and found him undressing her and telling her how much he loved her.
” Mattie! ” i tried to shout to warn her to stay away from him but she turned to look at me and smiled.
” dont worry my Sali, this am doing for you” she smiled as Kelly kissed her neck and i startled waking up from the vision. I was practically panting when i realised what just happened.
It was like a dream but only that i wasnt sleeping. The vision felt so real i knew it was true.
I looked around to make sure there was no one watching me and i ran back to the house. Feeling i had to go and see Mattie, she was in trouble and i knew she had been doing it for me. I felt i had to put an end to it and as i rushed inside, i almost screamed out when i felt a hand touch me.
” am sorry i scared you” came Joe’s voice who was standing in the kitchen which was still dark the lights still off.
” Joe, ” i sighed. ” what are you doing here?” I asked looking around the place.
” i heard the door open 30 minutes ago and i came to check it only to see you standing alone outside silent like you were sleeping” he responded calmly.
” am sorry, i was just” i paused not knowing how to explain my weird behaviour.
” i felt hot and i wanted to take in some fresh air, ” i managed a smile at him.
” okey, go back to bed its still so early ” he touched my hand and i felt it, The strong heat burn into my skin but not to hurt me. It felt so good i wanted him to hold on to me. His tender eyes displaying some light that i felt i needed and for a moment i felt like i could hold him close and feel the heat in my hands pass to all my body parts.
” are you okey? ” he cleared his throat and i startled looking at him.
” yes, yes am fine. Am um.. going back to bed” i stammered and quickly left him staring at me. I could inagine he thought i was crazy.
I went to lay down and tried to imagine his face like i did with Mattie but it was blank. I couldnt see anything about him so i gave up.
I decided to think about Mattie instead and how i wasn’t going to let her pay for my sins. I made a mental note to travel to her place to see her the following weekend which was 2 days away
To be continued