© Tisa Phiri
Trying so hard to concentrate on Mattie’s image for me to have a trace of where she was proved to be futile as blank images flashed my mind, i felt irritated. Somehow wishing Joe never insisted on me seeing that pastor.
Memories of my last days at Mrs Numba’s house were still so fresh in my head.
…. Flash back…….
” iwe chi Sali, we want food!” Came mary’s voice screaming at me as i washed their clothes.
I sighed looking at her. ” Mary, you have seen am washing here, i was just from serving you guys breakfast its barely an hour after, can’t you wait for me to finish up so that i can prepare lunch for everyone?” I answered politely trying to reason with her.
She and her Cousin however couldnt heed to reason. Instead they started yelling and shouting for me to give them food until i did so, demanding for me to make chips for them which took a lot of time peeling potatoes and frying them.
By the time i was done washing it was past time for lunch and Mr and Mrs Numba were back. She scolded me for not doing things on time.
Instead of defending me, the kids went on telling their grand mother how i refused to give them food when they were hungry.
” you have to stop being too slow Sali, by now you should be used to working in this house. I dont understand how you always lag behind. You are not a small girl any more. Be glad that i picked you, bare it in your mind that i could have gotten anyone else to work for me..” she went on shouting at me i remained defenceless. Mentioning how i just lived eating the food that i never knew the cost.
That night i couldnt sleep. I walked outside and sat under the tree like i mostly did whenever i had something bothering me.
Tears wet my face as i allowed my self to cry my pain out. Desiring for a moment i could have the power to change my life or even see my future as i managed to see others. The only memories in my head were the pain of my past.
” you have to be strong and put yourself together” came Joe’s voice who i didnt notice was standing behind me.
I turned to look at him wiping the tears in my face feeling ashamed he saw me like that.
” am sorry, i didnt see you coming ” i quickly apologised.
” you don’t owe me any apologies, Sali. I know some things are no easy for you and if i had a way of putting you out of your pain, i swear i would” he said sitting down next to me.
I had no words to tell him. I went quiet letting my eyes clear of the tears and giving me a clear view of the dark night.
The trees surrounding the house making the surrounding even darker but it didnt scare me. The other strange part of myself is that i never feared darkness. Sometimes i felt i enjoyed and i thought clearly whenever i sat in the dark environment.
” Sali” Joe called my name breaking the silence.
” yes” i cleared my throat without turning to look at him.
” what do you think of me?” He asked surprising me i sat up trying to catch a glimpse of his face but all i could see was his dark image.
” i don’t understand” i shrugged
” well, i know you are 19 and am sure you are able to notice someone. Especially the of opposite sex” he spoke almost in a whisper i thanked God it was dark otherwise he could have been disapointed seeing my crazy stare.
” i don’t know Joe. I see you as a good person who has defended me from, you know what i mean…” i scoffed.
” not that,” he responded blankly.
” okey this is harder than i thought but i will say it anyway” Joe this time shifted.
” i like you a lot. Your smile, your body, everything about you amazes me and i have tried to ignore it for a while. Will you be my friend? ” he asked straight up it caught me unawares.
” what? But i … oh Joe you don’t have to pity me because of my life. You are older than me by 5 years, educated and working, look at me, please i know you are a good person and you mean well but no thank you. I can’t ” i told him with all honesty.
He was quiet for a while and i thought i defeated him, but when he extended his hnad to hold mine i almost jumped off my skin. That ticklish sensation rushed through me again i felt like screaming in joy.
” you don’t like me?” He asked this time shifting his eyes in front of me like he wanted to study my face.
” i do like you yes but…” i stammered.
” okey fine, thats all i needed to hear” he patted my palm and stood up to go like nothing had happened leaving me stunned.
” don’t spent the whole night out here okey?” He stopped turning his head, i nodded. Not sure he could see me but he moved on and disappeared behind the door.
From that day, Joe always found time to see me alone, inquiring about school and asking how my days were. He sometimes helped me with house chores especially when his mother wasn’t around.
Belita had gone on a 2 months leave then, and i was the only one working.
I felt good around him. His smiles and little tender gestures just made everything seem so easy. It amazed me how he liked me for me. He never mentioned of how big i was. I was almost certain he liked my body size.
For the first time in my life i started feeling beautiful and wanted it was amazing.
Unfortunately my joy was cut short when one day, Chimba who was a big boy now came to visit as usual influencing his friends and they ganged up to make my life miserable.
Torturing me with all sorts of foolish acts.
One day i sat outside after finishing the afternoon chores. When he walked in with a group of friends. They asked for me to serve juice and obediently i went in to serve them as they played video games.
I don’t really remember what happened but i accidentally spilled some juice on one of his friends. Chimba, without hesitation grabbed the whole container of juice pouring it on my head ensuring all the contents were emptied on my body from head to toe.
I stood there motionless not knowing what to do as the juice dripped down the floor from my dress my hair sticky.
I didnt have time to think through the hurt i was feeling, i turned to stare at him. He was busy laughing hysterically and i twisted his hand with my thoughts sending intense pain to his body he crenched his teeth as he tried to loose himself.
I was so angry i was going to kill him if not for Joe who rushed in to find the dreadful scene.
” Sali what are you doing?!” He shouted shaking me off. I could hear him talk but i wasn’t responding to his call. I kept tormenting Chimba scaring his friend’s away.
” please stop whatever you are doing Sali. ” came a soft pleading voice from Joe’s mouth as he landed his hands on my shoulder.
I felt his touch like always pass in my veins and surprisingly i calm down breathing heavily.
” she’s a damn witch! She wants to kill me !” Chimba cried out holding himself as he moved away from me.
I walked away without a word realising how much trouble i was in. To cut the story short, Joe insisted on knowing what was going on and in my desperation and fear i told him the truth.
He helped me pack out of the house after Thandi told me i could move in with her at her boss’s house claiming she now had a good relationship with Harold after she managed to get a job at his association.
” come on Sali, i need you to see a pastor. This is not safe. One day you will end up hurting someone and it will be too late to be stopped. ” Joe pleaded with me days later. Thandi’s boss had allowed me in their house until the time Thandi was given an apartment.
I was hesitant to see the man Joe talked about but he insisted if i cared about him i had to do it.
I agreed finally and we both attended a series of prayer sessions. With Joe always by my side, I wondered why he went to a different church from where his entire family went and he told me he had made a decision to choose a different way of worshiping God.
After several weeks of prayers i started feeling lighter and most of the night mares i usually hard disappeared. I however never told Joe about the man who died on me on his mother’s field. Thinking i was to tell him when the time was right. The pastor however, knew it all as he asked for private talks with me sometimes.
Well, here i was now, with no powers and even my ability to see the future of someone had completely gone mute. Joe insisted it was for the best, but i still felt i needed it to help my friend Mattie.
” Sali, we now can go. If we delay we may find Kelly has left his house ” Thandi stood before me waving her hand across my face. I could bet she called me before and i didnt hear her.
” yeah sure, Joe said he will drive us there. Am sure he will be here soon” i responded looking at my phone to check time.
” oh there! Right on time!” I exclaimed hearing the sound of a vehicle driving in.
” shall we?” I asked Thandi and she smiled grabbing her clutch bag. She stepped forward leading the way out i wondered why she had made it a custom to wear high heels . She was in a sleeves blouse, red in colour and gray jeggings finishing off with black wedges on her feet looking like she was going on one of those modeling rehearsals she always attended.
” i love that!” she pointed at my short maroon crop dress and flat sandles.
” this issue of fashion police will kill me in this house” i faked a worried face at her. ” i knew you will want me looking like a ten year old even with my size” i laughed as we approached Joe’s Toyota Allion.
” yeah you look sexy and am almost certain Joe wont let you be a virgin for long” she teased me whispering closer to my ears as Joe stepped out of the car wearing his priceless smile.
” yes love!” He pulled me in a hug i held on to him smiling as Thandi gave me a knowing look.
” hey love!” I looked up his face as he stood taller than me.
” you good?” He asked
” yeah. You? ” i held his hand and he opened the door to me as he answered.
” i thought i was the the most noticed person here, how wrong i was” came a laughing voice of Thandi.
” i can’t help it am sorry, my babe looks so sweet ” Joe smiled proudly i blushed.
” can we now go and find Mattie? ” Thandi winced as she got in the car leaving us outside.
I don’t recall a day that Joe proposed for me to be his girlfriend, infact he never did it formally. He just started visiting and inviting me to his place until one day i found myself in his arms as he kissed me. That was the beginning of it all and i was so glad he never asked me. I could almost swear i would have said no. Even when i fall in love with him.
Here we were years later and everyday he seemed to fall more in love with me than i ever imagine anyone would love me.
I smiled at him as he drove us to kelly’ s place. Wondering why a good looking tall and dark guy had to feel that for me. I felt special and even if he was not happy with my postponement of him taking me to his parents until i was established with my business, i knew he understood me.
” so whats your plan guys? If that Kelly guy doesnt know where Mattie is?” He asked us.
” i bet we need to start walking streets or probably go and look for her mother in Kafue. She might have gone there you know” i sighed looking at Thandi who was nodding in agreement.
” i will make sure i slap that girl’s face when i see her. How could she do this to us after everything we have been through?” Thandi complained.
” yeah i hate to feel its all my fault though.” I frowned sadly.
” stop talking nonsense now, will you? ” Thandi scolded me. ” we both know that’s not true. Whatever Mattie went through at the hands of that man is because of his selfishness and this decision ro run away was completely hilarious”
” i hope she’s fine anyways” i sat back and Joe who seemed not to understand what i meant when i said it was my fault but didn’t bother to ask me held my hand rubbing it gently i felt safe.
” turn right” i told him as we came to a T junction.
I felt my heart beat faster i had not met Kelly face to face after the day he overheard us talk. Even the last contact was made by Thandi who just briefed me. Calming myself down, i looked ahead as the man from inside the yard opened the gate for us.
To be continued