FORKS AND KNIVES – Episode 18
A story by Kennedy C Katongo
∆ GIVING UP IS EASY ∆
“Malumbo – Come turn off this water!” Mambwe called out from the bathroom. His young brother was busy arranging things properly in his room.
“Just bath man.” He responded.
“I feel like am floating.” Mambwe laughed.
‘Why does alcohol make us stupid.’ Malumbo thought to himself.
After everything, he left the room to look for the maid. It took him a while to find her, and when he did, she was outside roasting chicken.
“Bana Joe, has this man eating anything today?” He asked her.
“No he hasn’t. His just been having polony. Mwati is everything okay with the boss today?” Bana Joe asked.
“Everything is okay. His just having a rough time. Please cook something for him… A ka nshima fast fast. Just call me when you done I will come and get it.” Malumbo said as he went back to his brother’s room.
His fear was having mum arrive home to a drunk Mambwe.
“Ah! I was just waiting for you.” Mambwe exclaimed as he stood butt naked at the bathroom door.
‘And they said am the confused son.’ Malumbo shook his head as he closed the door behind him.
“These girls – you have to be careful with them. Don’t fall in love, just put one foot in love and the other one on solid group.” Mambwe said as he sat on the floor. “I can’t walk. I don’t feel too good.”
“All those bottles and you expect to feel good.” Malumbo said.
“Bro… I want Pizza.” Mambwe said.
There was no way he was going to leave him alone nor allow him to drive, the only problem was that Mambwe never took no for an answer. With the hope of their mum not seeing how wasted Mambwe was, going out for pizza seemed to be not much of a bad idea.
“Bana Joe is cooking nshima for you.” Malumbo said.
“I don’t want. I just want Pizza.” Mambwe said as he crawled his way to the cupboard to get some clothes.
‘No more alcohol for you man.’ Malumbo’s thoughts echoed as he watched his brother get dressed.
“You know what Malumbo, am done with girls. Am just going to be rich and single. That’s all – I tell you.” Mambwe said.
Malumbo gave him a hand as they walked out of the house to the car park. Bana Joe knew that her boss was drunk, nevertheless, Malumbo had to tell her to keep the whole thing a secret.
“Where do you want to get your Pizza from?” Malumbo asked him as they drove out.
“Let’s go to Society Business Park.” The drunken brother responded.
“Am sorry. I was young and just afraid. I wasn’t ready to be a dad.” He said.
“And what makes you think you ready to be a father now?” She asked him.
“I’ve changed trust me on that. I know there is nothing I can use to prove that… But just give me time to redeem myself and I promise I won’t let you down.” He said calmly.
“You already let me down, do you know how embarrassing it was for me… The man I posted and kept telling people was my boyfriend – washes his hands clean; denying bring responsibility. Do you know how it hurts when you have given your all to a man and then you get played for a fool? Stop talking about making things work and your so called redemption.” She sighed in disgust as she spoke to him.
Tandiwe and baby daddy were at Debonairs – Society Business Park. That’s where they were as they spoke about what was best for Peter.
“He can’t grow up without a father.” He said, this was his objection to what Tandiwe had said.
“His grown up just fine without you these past 3years hasn’t he? And what are you trying to say? That am not a good parent, because I don’t see you being a parent at all. You the dude who shamelessly walked away when things got tough.” She said in her mad tone.
Tandiwe’s baby daddy was calm, even when he was almost pocked on the head by Tandiwe he still maintained his cool, “Let me check for the order.” He said.
Just then, Malumbo entered Debonairs with his brother holding him, “I can walk on my own you know…” Mambwe said.
“If that’s the case then find a place to seat am going to order.” Malumbo said as he left.
Tandiwe got up from where she sat, this was her plan to leave without informing Baby Daddy that she was going. After all, she now realized that coming to see him wasn’t a good idea in the first place.
On her way out, Mambwe stood at the door, slowly he turned to avoid falling off or something worse. A step at a time – as he rotated his body he bumped into Tandiwe.
“Hey! What’s your problem?” She exclaimed in a whisper.
“What… Am so, so sorry madam.” She responded as he spoke slowly.
“You!” She said in astonishment, “You drunk?” She asked him.
Mambwe began to laugh, “what makes you think am drunk? Just cause am talking slowly doesn’t mean am drunk.” Mambwe giggled as he spoke.
Without wasting time she got his hand and walked with him outside, they walked till she could find a blind spot. That’s where they stood.
“You look horrible.” Tandiwe said as she looked at him.
“Sorry but I didn’t ask for your compliment. And where do you think you taking me?” He asked her.
“Am not going to leave you alone there acting all mad. Look at you.” Tandiwe said.
“I didn’t say am alone. I wonder why you would make such an assumption. Oh, look – you finally stood to talk to me.” Mambwe said as he began to laugh. “Tables turn huh!”
Back in the shop, Malumbo placed his order, when he turned around his brother was nowhere to be seen.
‘My God, No! No! Please don’t go to Pick n’ Pay.’ He said to himself as he rushed out to look for Mambwe.
For him, if Mambwe had gone into Pick n’ Pay it would mean he was buying more alcohol and he was already very drunk, even though he wasn’t passing out yet.
Tandiwe’s baby daddy return with a medium sized pizza and drinks to an empty table. He got his phone and tried to call her but she wasn’t picking up.
“Hi, sorry… Have you seen a young lady…” Before he could even finish describing her, the young ladies agreed that they had seen her leave with the company of another man.
He didn’t say much, he got his food and left, his emotions had hit rock bottom.
‘Who does such a thing, I took the shouting and all but leaving without a word, that’s just childish of her. Who was the guy?’ His small voice spoke as he walked out. He was now caught up in thought, his heart was aching but such a ruthless display of attitude and also the question of whom the other guy Tandiwe had left with was.
Despite being drunk, Mambwe was well aware of what was happening. “You can go.” He said to Tandiwe.
“I can’t just leave you here… Look at you – you wasted.” She responded.
“Many are the times you left me without even thinking twice about it. Now you worried. That’s strange.” He smiled as he spoke.
“Don’t give me that look. This isn’t even 19hrs and look at you…” Tandiwe said.
Malumbo had walked passed the corner where the two of them stood. Once he Pick n’ Pay he toured the whole shop in search of his brother. To make matters worse, Mambwe’s phone was in the car. He had refused to take it with him, fearing that it would get lost or dropped.
“Oh, there he is…” Mambwe pointed at his young brother as he stood outside Pick n’ Pay. With one glance, Tandiwe clearly remembered seeing him at the hospital when her and Jeff had gone to visit Roderick.
“Wait… You with him?” She asked again while pointing in his direction.
“Yes, the dude in the afro.” Mambwe responded.
As Malumbo was walking back to Debonairs, Mambwe called out to him.
“What are you doing here?” Malumbo asked.
“Sorry. I thought he was alone so I decided to take him with me.” Tandiwe jumped in.
“And who are you?” Malumbo asked her. For some unknown reason, he couldn’t recognize her face.
“Am Tandiwe.” She responded, for some reason she found him to be intimidating when he spoke.
“You took him? And he allowed you?” Malumbo laughed, “Just like that.” He added as he continued to laugh.
“Don’t mind him, his usually weird.” Mambwe commented.
Malumbo went on to thank her for being very thoughtful, he offered her to join them for Pizza but she refused – giving them an excuse that didn’t add up.
“Now you following strange girls? Look what alcohol has done to you.” Malumbo said as they were eating.
“I don’t remember saying she was a stranger. You the one who has assumed she is.” Mambwe said.
“Come to think of it she does look familiar. I don’t know, but I think I’ve seen her before.” Malumbo said.
To be continued.