I Am Woman – Episode 3
A Story By Brian Ngoma
When I turned 15, a year after momma had left us, papa sat me down and we had the daughter father talk about boys. He told me a story about a boy who fell in love with a girl during the 60s. The boys love for the girl was so pure that it was unselfish, considerate, honest, and legitimate. The boy never forced the girl to do what she didn’t want. He waited for her till they got married. I never saw the point of all that till I turned 17. Everyone around me was having sex and they bragged about it. People used to say that if you wanted to keep a boy, you had to have sex with him lest he leaves you. Papa’s words were engraved on my heart, no boy would have sex with me until our wedding night, I vowed to myself.
“Tinashe! Tinashe! Tinashe!” Gary shouted as he ran to my bedroom.
“What is it Gary?” I asked irritated.
“It’s Kasuli, she has gotten my book and doesn’t want to give it back,” Gary breathed heavily.
“Kasuli!” I called out.
“Ma,” she responded.
She came into the bedroom with her face down. Kasuli loved to torment her brother in every possible way she could. She loved and cared about him and would say she was older than him because he acted younger than her.
“Kasuli, give your brother his book,” I adjured her.
“I don’t have his book,” she shrugged.
I wanted to laugh at Kasuli’s reaction because I knew she was playing with him. She always played with his feelings but I had to be on Gary’s side, he told on her and expected me to deal with her.
“Give him the book now,” I grinned.
She removed the book from her back and gave it to him. Gary was now at easy.
“Say sorry to your brother,” I looked at her.
“I am sorry baby brother,” she patted him on the back as they left my bedroom.
They were best friends. They didn’t’ have anyone to play with for they had each other. Gary knew that his sister loved him despite the torments. After they had left, I grabbed myself a newspaper and started reading a love story from a relationship column. The story was beautiful and I was lost in it that I didn’t hear Kasuli calling me.
“Tina! Tina! Tina!” she yelled.
“What again?” I answered angrily.
“There is someone outside. They requested for you,” she lowered her voice.
Who could it be? Who would want me during this time of the day? Diana and Clara were busy at their homes and if it was one of them, they would have entered. I went out to check who it was. Opening the door, it was like light had shined on my face after being in the dark for too long. A tall light skinned boy was standing in front of me. He had worn a grunge style; denim, band tees, and a leather jacket. He looked perfect. But what was he doing at my house? I snapped.
“Hi Tinashe, I am Marlon,” he spoke.
“Marlon? Do I know you?”
“I guess not,” he scratched his head nervously.
“How can I help you Marlon,” I asked keeping my composure.
“I was wondering if I could take you for a movie this Saturday,” his voice had fear written all over it.
Ever since I started thinking about relationships, reading a lot of books about them and hearing songs about them, no boy had ever asked me formally to go out with them. It was only Fumbani who had the guts to do it but he did it wrongly.
“Why would I go to a movie with you? I don’t even know you,” I glared into eyes.
“Because it’s ‘Fools Rush in’ showing,” we both laughed.
Fools Rush in was an impulsive romantic movie that came out on the 14th February of 1997. It was one of the biggest romantic movies of the year. Everyone was talking about it. Those who had seen it would not pour out all the details to their friends. They were stingy with it.
“Tinashe who are you talking to?” Papa asked from the house.
I had completely forgotten that papa was still in the house. It was his day off. He didn’t like me seeing talking to random boys. I quickly grabbed Marlon’s hand and ran to the road with him.
“Wow, are you that scared of your father?” He asked.
“No, I am not. I respect him that’s all,” I answered.
“So Saturday, right?”
“Let me think about it,” I ran back to the house and left him standing on the road.
I wanted to tell papa about Marlon but I was afraid he would disapprove of him. He seemed like a nice boy. The way he talked to me somehow showed that he respected me. He didn’t objectify me as a woman. He didn’t assume that I liked him. He seemed noble and kind. He wanted my approval to go out with him.
A day later, Gary came in with a letter in his hand. He said someone passing gave it to him to give me. I was so anxious to read it. I hurriedly opened it and what I read melted my heart;
“Hello Tinashe. I know you are still thinking about my request. While you are doing that, remember that we are missing out on Fools rush in. I have heard it’s a beautiful movie and the only person I thought of seeing it with is you. I know you don’t know me but I have known you for two years now. I always hoped you could notice me. Please watch Fools Rush in with me. Marlon.”
Saturday came, I was super excited. I had written Marlon back accepting to watch the movie with him. I emphasised in my letter that we were just seeing it as friends, nothing more. I thought he would not reply but he did saying either way, he was happy. I wore my plaid dress with a pair of jellies. I looked in the mirror and envied myself. I grabbed the plaid headband to match the dress I wore and placed it in my hair. I looked stunning.
As usual, papa and Gary would go to work together on Saturday’s. Before I prepared everything, me and Kasuli watched them leave the house. We stood by the door and waved them goodbye. I felt a feeling of melancholy as we watched them leave. We were used to seeing them leave together every Saturday but that Saturday was different. Papa smiled and so did Gary while turning their heads to face us, their smiles so bright and similar. Gary was really my father’s son. There was something about the goodbye, it didn’t feel right. I ignored the feeling and concentrated on my date with Marlon.
To be continued