© Tisa Phiri
With me turning 18 years old, my hopes and dreams of going to school had started wearing off. Somehow i didn’t feel that motivated anymore. If i had stopped in grade 8 or 9 i would have thought i still had a chance, now the fact that i stopped school in grade 6 didnt do me any justice.
Thinking of what i was to do later on in my life was becoming harder. I knew i couldn’t relly on working as a house help, but what was i to do?
I was lost in my thoughts when i heard the door to my room click open and i quickly turned to look at who was there. I knew Leticia was not going to be home until after 3 days as she told me she went to visit her mother in Eastern province, well, the truth was that she went on one of her wild tours with her boyfriend and she told me the story she told her husband to cement her lies. I felt it wasnt in my place to judge her nor tell her husband.
Living with the Kangwa’s was hard in the beginning with their way of life bothering me and the issue of them denying me the chance to go to school hurting me, but now i wasnt bothered so much by what i couldn’t change, i I had come to a conclusion that maybe its not everyone that needed education to make it in life after all. So i was becoming accustomed to my way of living with them and no matter how much work she gave me to do, Leticia had made it her mission to make me look my best.
She was an ex model and she always said i had the body that could get me to become a good model. I however, never took her serious, it had never crossed my mind to do such things and in all honesty i couldnt dare think i could pull it.
” what is wrong with you Thandi?” I startled when Harold screamed at me bringing me back to the present.
” am so sorry, what was that you asked?” I stood up realising i had not been paying attention to him.
He frowned and shook his head. ” i asked where my food is ” he repeated himself and i wondered why he was acting so calm and composed.
” let me serve it on the table for you, its already done i just placed it in the warmer so that it doesn’t get cold” i spoke whilst walking towards the door which was in the direction he stood his hands in his pocket.
“Excuse me” i stepped aside so that he gives me passage.
” sure” he nodded stepping back and following me behind as i walked out.
Harold was silently watching me as i served his food on the large mahogany table with nicely designed set of chairs i could bet he spent a lot of money acquiring it.
” am done ” i announced standing aside in case he needed anything. Satisfied he was getting busy and seemed to be enjoying his meals, i stepped back to walk away.
” how old are you? ” Harold asked abruptly.
I was stunned, i didn’t aniticipate that from him. The man barely spoke to me in a normal way. It was always scolding me or giving me instructions.
” am 18 ” i responded
” good, there’s a form on my case in the bedroom, i bet you can read and write huh?” He asked after his first statement.
” yes i can” i nodded.
” get the form bring it over here and read it for me” he ordered grabbing his spoon and filling his mouth with the rice i served him.
Without hesitation i walked away to his bedroom and my eyes opened widely when i read the paper.
” Appilcation for modelling classes” the words were boldly encrypted on top of the form.
” what’s this?” I asked myself as i walked back to the dinning room.
” go ahead and read what is there” Harold indicated to me.
I went on reading that the Zambia modelling association was hiring potential models between the ages of 18 and 25. All applicants where to submit their apolications within a given period of 3 weeks.
” what do you think? ” he asked when i finished reading it.
” i …i .. i don’t know” i stammered honestly not knowing what to tell him.
” i think you should give it a shot. That is my association and all successful candidates will start working for me. I venture in advertising and other business ventures that require models. My wife says you have what it takes. ” he concluded without looking at me.
I turned my eyes to look at my body not believing him. As far as i was concerned i was no model. I was a grade 6 drop out and my English was not up to standard.
” no am sorry, i can’t ” i responded without giving it a further thought.
” i have no grade 12 certificate nor any trade like the form says is required” i added seeing the disappointed look on Harold’s face.
” you can skip that part when filling in the form. I will see what i can do” he shrugged now grabbing a glass of water.
“I … i ..” i heard myself stammer.
” go on and give it a thought. You have three weeks before this expires, give me your response whenever you are ready and remember i will never ask this of you again” he answered dismissing me with his hand.
” of course” i sighed out of respect not wanting to disappoint him further but i knew my answer would be the same even after a year.
A week later we were gathered this time, Sali suggested we met in town and booked a room for us to spend our night in. I had initially thought the idea was crazy. We always met at Mattie’s and i wondered why on earth she wanted us to spend money lodging. But Sali insisted so we all agreed to her idea.
” you look great love ” Mattie smiled after we were done greeting each other. Sali was already seated after greeting me. I was the last one to get there.
A look at the two most important people in my life made me feel at home. We all had grown somehow, but Mattie was right. I looked more polished than the two of them, all thanks to Leticia and her fashion correction.
” talk to me Sali” i smiled getting on the bed as i pushed my gladiators off my feet.
” yes Ms Zambia” she exclaimed with a smile, Mattie and i both looked at her in wonder.
I had not yet told them about the application form. I wondered how she knew of it.
” what?” I asked puzzled.
” i felt it Thandiwe , Harold asked you to apply and i can see the good turnout of this ” she shrugged casually leaving my mouth dry. I stared at her my mouth open.
” how..did you..” i started and she smiled cutting me short.
” i can see things guys. All i need is a little concentration and somehow can see partially whats up with you ” she announced casually her round face wearing her usual smile.
” you mean…..” Mattie almost asked and Sali smiled.
” sweety i know what you have done for me and i promise that’s the last you are going to suffer for me. That jerk took advantage of you and you have lost so much Mattie, you didnt have to” Sali held Mattie who was now crying loudly.
I was the only one who seemed lost of what was going on so i looked at both of them questioningly.
“Yes i couldn’t tell you both the truth” Mattie sobbed
” Kelly overheard us talking about that dead man and since then he has been forcing me to have sex with him. He made me abort twice and now i can’t have any children” she summarized her story and i shook my head moving to hold her. She was the strongest amongst us but not this time. She looked so weak and pale i couldn’t help cry with her.
We cried together like we always did. Sali seemed stronger this time around and she sat up.
” that man will have me to answer to!” She shouted angrily.
” no please Sali, you can’t confront him. He knows everything and will tell on us if we do anything. he will report us to that family. I dont want us all to end up in prison for concealing the truth and Sali for that man’s death” she cried shaking her head.
” i don’t care if i go to jail Mattie, i wont have you pay for my sins with such drastic measures, no way. Tommorow am going to confront that fool” Sali snapped.
” no you won’t Sali and am damn serious! ” shouted Mattie this time standing up high.
” no way” Sali sighed sadly as she leaned back the wall her legs spread on the bed.
” what?” I asked wiping the tears that were still in my eyes.
” she’s fallen in love with him” Sali shook her head.
” you dont say” i scoffed looking at Mattie.
” is it true? After everything that monster has done to you ? you fall in love with him?” I asked now feeling pissed and hoping Mattie would say no to the allegations.
” i didnt fall in love with him guys come on, he’s a married man and …. ”
” and what?” Sali asked her this time.
” you guys stop it. Its too late now, why dig up what is already burried?, i lost my womb quiet alright but Kelly is not such a monster, he takes time making love to me, yes he used to force me but he still doesn’t hurt me in the process he’s gentle and……”
She couldn’t finish her sentence and i slapped her across her cheeks angrily. I coulndt stand her. How on earth could she fall in love with a jerk of a man that used her over 2 years and made her loose her womb. I felt my face turn red i was mad.
” stop it dammit!” I yelled in her face and Mattie held her face where my slap had landed.
” you, you… i dont know what to tell you honestly Mattie, you deserve that slap” i heard Sali cut in.
” am sorry guys, you are right to be mad at me, but what do you want me to tell you. I didnt chose to feel this. I hated that man with all my passion i swear, his coloured skin used to irritate me to the core. But i love him now with the same passion that i hated him ” she cried hugging herself as her eyes kept closed her losse long hair covering part of her face.
” am sorry guys, am really sorry but i cant let you destroy him. Besides i will never let any of us go to jail, forget it” she sighed shaking her head.
We looked at her in awe. Lost of words o tell her. Sali played with her finger in her mouth biting her nails and i kept my eyes to the floor. I couldn’t look at Mattie, i swear i felt rage for her for a couple of seconds. But who was i to judge her? She was a year older than us but she always seemed to be in the lead of decisions only this time i hated the decision she had made.
” does he know?” I finally asked breaking the silence that was deep in the room.
” no, i will never tell him that, he’s married remember with a child” she chuckled am sure she felt stupid too.
” yeah thats right, you fall in love with a married jerk who used you !” I snapped making a face and standing up to easy the tension i was feeling.
” i swear i will…..” Sali almost spoke but Mattie stepped forward before her.
” don’t even dare think about it. Kelly will not be touched and i will not let you use your God knows what on him ” she raised her warning hand and Sali restrained back sadly shaking her head.
” fine, that fool better not hurt you no more, he better not!” Sali scoffed moving her body aside.
” thanks Sali” Mattie sighed with relief i looked at her and shrugged before joining Sali back on the bed.
” so Ms Zambia whats your issue too?” Sali looked at me changing the subject.
” am in no mood to talk about it now Sali, tommorow ” i responded pulling off my top to get inside the duvet.
To be continued