Lumbiwe – Episode 13
© Tisa Phiri
I looked at mbuya, she looked sad and tears formed in her eyes as she narrated the story. I too was shedding tears . She was quite for some time as we watched water flow by the stream. We had finished plucking vegetables from the garden and we sat down by the stream.
looking at the other side of the stream, i admired the smooth green glass. It was plain for a distance and then tress beyond it. I remembered grand ma had told me that beyond the tress was a grave yard. She said she loved siting by the stream and watch that direction, in that way she felt like connecting to her dead parents and relatives, most of all her beloved husband.
I cleared my throat after some minutes.
Mbuya seemed to be deep in thoughts her smooth pale skin looking a bit lighter under her eyes. She was 74 years old but one would tell she really was a beautiful woman as a youth and younger woman. Her silk big strands of hair were still black instead of grey like other old people her age.
Her mouth shape could be perfect but for some missing teeth it was a bit slanty. I moved my eyes down and looked at her feet. Wow! I couldnt help admire her legs, her body was still light toned, in fact lighter than her a bit wrinkled face. I could imagine her legs at my age.
” mbuya ” I finally called her bringing her back to the present.
” tell me what followed, did Tendeka keep his promise? And is uncle Tendeka your first born son the son of Mani? ” I asked
She chuckled..”oh my Zelipa you really have made me travel back to the most painful and happy memories too, let me continued then” she said placing her feet into the clean flowing water.
“Well, My saviour Tendeka kept his promise. He came home with his father and his aphungu (a man to do the negotiations of dowerly and also teach him about marriage.) all was done accordingly, i was called to be asked if I wanted to marry him when they came to see my parents.
At that point I stayed quite for a minute, contemplating what we had talked about. I looked at Tendeka and he gave me an assurance look. He flashed his eyes and I knew he was telling me “am sure I will be with you.” I accepted and as the elderly clapped their hands.They went on to make arrangements for our marriage in 2 weeks time, according to the aphungu the man, meaning Tendeka didn’t want to waste any more time, he wanted to marry his woman even in days.
But my father insisted that we needed more time to prepare a deserving marriage ceremony for his daughter.
In my mind I shook my head, if only he knew I was not as deserving as he put it.
After a happy and wonderful marriage ceremony I was taken to Tendeka’s home, he had even built a new house to prepare for my coming.
After the alangizi did their thing with us that night, we were finally left alone. funny thing a woman was taken to her husband with nothing but a wrapper around the body tied from the under arms. so, I sat shyly my head bowed down. I didn’t know what to expect, the truth was that I didn’t have as much excitment as I should have been under normal circumstances. I was still filled with guity and shame. even when I told my friend Dolika about Tendeka, she insisted marrying Tendeka was a good thing. “he is a good and honourable man he will make you happy ” she said in response when i told her everything.
She even insisted she had a talk with the prince before he spoiled things for me. So she came later on to tell me she had faced him and told him I was not pregnant that I wanted to see how serious his friend was.
I loved her even more, she was a good friend who had vowed to die with the secret.
” I told him to go and tell him he’s not man enough and she has found a real man. I told that idiot off!” explained Dolika.
I was gone in thoughts didn’t hear Tendeka calling my name.
” Lumbi ” he called again.
I stattled.. “sorry ” I apolgised
“I didn’t hear you”
He came and sat in front of me.
” please can you be happy at least for me. I know you have a lot of doubts and probably regrets but try to forget what happened and give us a chance will you?” I smilled at him.
“you are not a man Tendeka” I told him., “because no man can do what you just did for me. You are beyond every man I have heard and seen in my life. I don’t know how am going to repay you for this.’ I whispered honestly.
” oh my beautiful Lumbi, you who is always praised like your name! the only way for you to repay me is by loving me. It’s all i want, your love.” I touched his handsome face and he held my hand on top of it.
“it might be hard for you to believe because of how I treated you in the past, but the truth is you are special to me. You really punished me that day by the tree.” he laughed before I could go on
” and here I was thinking you hated me for that…” he let a laugh
” on the contrary,” I said shly , “since that day I couldn’t stop thinking about you” i told him sincerely.
He shook his head, “so you just wanted to purnish me right?” He sighed shaking his head.
” what can i tell you Tendeka, am just.”
“.shshshshs ” he held my mouth,
“don’t say any more, we have the rest of our lives for you and me to talk about this, now I want to make you mine.” He remarked closing in the gap between us.
I felt a grip in my stomac, the experience with Mani had left a negative impact on me. I was scared and nervous. Luckily he saw my fear,
“come here,” he said lifting me to a springed bed with a small matress he told me he bought from the meat sales. He lay me on the bed and I quickly pulled back the chitenge that had moved up my thighs revealing my soft skin.
He let a laugh,
” you need to lossen up” he spoke removing it once again.
“you are mine now and we are going to see each others nakedness for the rest of our lives.”
I smiled avoiding looking into his eyes fixed on me. He took his time touching and caressing my body, asking if I was okey all the way.
” stop treating me like I will break Tendeka” I winced when I couldn’t take it any longer. The craziness I was feeling was going to kill me. He raised my chin.
“look at me” he ordered.
I looked up his eyes, they looked strange like they were tearly or something.
“are you sure?” he asked finally. “mmmmmmhm” I nodded.
With so much passion and tendernes he made love to me. It was like my first time ever, for a moment I forgot my Pain, forgot that there was Mani, the prince or any other man in the world. It was just him and me and I felt belonging in his strong and muscline arms. I found comfort, love, passion and so much pleasure than I ever imagined I would feel. Being married to a man oloba(one initiated in the nyau) had its benefits too. Well, I was home. With the man that loved me unconditionally and without measure.
With all the skill i learnt from the initiation I drove him to the world he deserved to be. It was his right, he had earned it and I vowed right that moment to make him the happiest man in the entire village. He was my hunter, one who not only danced well as a nyau or caught lots of animals but one who managed to hunt my heart until it got trapped in his trap.
He looked at me still inside me and smilled;
“you were worth the hunt.” he said
“This meat I will eat every day, hunt more when it finishes until I have no more teeth to chew.” I smiled.
“thank you my hunter.”
Days then weeks passed and I would say I was getting better, Tendeka made every thing easy.He would go with me to the stream to fetch water, he would ask me to go with him in the forest to hunt. We where together almost every where, to the extent some villagers started saying I had bewitched him with charms.
“Let them bark” he would tell me.
” if only they were in my shoes they would understand.”
One day as we walked back from the stream I felt sharp pains in my abdomen. I crenched down holding my stomac as the pain increased .Tendeka ran to get the water pot from my head and I cried in pain.
“what is it?” He asked panicking
“I feel sharp pains here” i answered holding my abdomen. I felt some warm staff running my legs, looking down, it was blood.
” am bleeding” i told Tendeka.
” oh no !” he shouted lifting me up.
“I have to get you home immediately.”
At home the bleeding continued,
“am losing the baby Tendeka” i cried.
“please no” he hold my stomach. He ran to call his mother and when she came she looked at me and ran to go call the elderly woman from the neigbour. She inspected me and shook her head too.
“you have miscarried.” She announced.
“Oh no! It cannot be.” I screamed painfully.
Tendeka came closer and held my hand.
“take it easy Lumbi, it’s gonna be okay.”he looked sad and concerned as he watched me cry.
Believe me I loved that baby, despite the way I conceive him I felt connected to the child in my womb and it was almost showing. loosing the baby really broke my heart, even when everyone thought it was just weeks old looking at the Time i married Tendeka. they didnt know that the pregnancy was almost 3 months.
Afterwards the elders performed their traditional cleansing and gave me some herbal medicine to be taking for some time. Tendeka stood by me and comforted me all the more until I was completely healed.
“God will give us more children in future” he had told me.
To be continued