FORKS AND KNIVES – Episode 26
A story by Kennedy C Katongo
∆ LIFE AND EXPLOSIVES ∆
That week, Tandiwe was so occupied with work such that the only contact she had with Mambwe were phones calls. She was good with text messages but that wasn’t the deal with Mambwe. He often would forget to respond or wouldn’t even see her messages.
“Excuse me sir!” Mambwe’s secretary said as she walked up him from behind.
“Hello beautiful, how are the kids?” He asked her with a smile.
“They are fine sir. Is it true you’ve been sleeping in your office again?” She asked him. Mambwe stood, he looked at her with a smile and then spoke, “Don’t believe everything you hear from people.” He said.
“How am I not to believe when it sounds exactly like something you are well capable of doing?” She exclaimed.
“Okay okay! It’s true. But I just get carried away with work and I have a lot of things that need to be reviewed.” “By the way, I need you to book a table for me at Hilton, something near the windows I would prefer.” He added as he continued on his way.
“You need to get some sleep sir!” She said loudly as he walked away.
SECRETARY: ‘Hi sir. You sleeping?’
MAMBWE: ‘I took your advise and napped a bit. Talk to me, what’s happening?’
SECRETARY: ‘I wanted to give you an update on the reservation you asked me to make, unfortunately all the good sits have already been taken for the month.’
MAMBWE: ‘Whats the good news?’
SECRETARY: ‘I managed to talk to the Manager, he made a slot for you but that’s only open after 3 weeks.’
MAMBWE: ‘That is excellent. Thank you very much.’
“So tell me about him, how does it feel to be dating one of the richest men in the country?” He friend that worked from the counter asked.
“Mambwe is just a friend. We not dating.” She responded with a small voice.
“That’s a lie. You think his after you for what? His a man, am sure he wants to get some.” She giggled.
“What! No. His not like that. His a good guy, his down to earth and authentic to himself.” She said defensively.
“Seems like someone has been paying attention.” Her friend said jokingly.
Tandiwe and Jeff were still not in good terms, but for the sake of the job… They put their personal acts aside and worked together.
“I think you need to forgive him.” Her friend said as she gazed at Jeff.
“I’ve already forgiven him. I can’t stay mad at him forever.” She said.
“But why are you being so hard on him?” She asked curiously.
“I love to see him focused and not laughing around with every female that walks into the store.” Tandiwe responded with an evil smile.
“So when are you seeing him?”
“I don’t know. I told him I would be very busy, but am done. I just don’t want to get attached to him… I already know this isn’t going anywhere after all.” Tandiwe said as she help her cheeks as though they were about to fall.
“Don’t tell me it’s about you being a Witness and his not? Tell me it’s something else? I beg off you.” She said as she begged.
“It’s not like there is something I can do about it.” Tandiwe laughed.
“Yes there is, break the rules. Fall in love, it’s not like Jesus is going to be mad at you. Come on girl. Don’t let a fine man like him walk away – you going to regret it for a long time.” Her friend pointed out as she left to attend to a customer.
April was busy passing time when her friend came through to visit her.
“I thought you took the book back?” She said as she sat on the bed.
“Nah! Am going to take it when I go home. Besides he hasn’t asked about it since then.” She giggled.
“So how’s he doing otherwise?” She asked.
“Mmmh. Did you come to see me or ask about my brother?” April frowned.
“I came for both. Come on April, you know I’ve always had a crush on your brother. I just can’t help it.” She said in a small tone voice that made her sound like a baby.
“But you have his line. Text him or something…”
“I’ve tried but he doesn’t respond.” She answered.
“Then call him. My brother isn’t much of a texter. Oh! If you don’t mind you can send him an email…. That one am definitely sure he will respond.” April smiled. She knew her friend really liked her brother, she just didn’t want things to take a bad swing and then messing up their friendship.
“Call him, that’s the last thing I would do. Eish, the way he just makes me feel nervous and petrified when he greets me… What more talking to him.” She giggled.
There little chat went on and on, April told her friend that she was planing on reporting Goodson to the Police because things were just getting worse.
“How do I look?” Tandiwe asked her sister.
“Mmh. Let me think. More like you having a wedding…a bridesmaid I think.” She smiled as she struggled to find a fitting phrase.
“That okay.” Tandiwe giggled.
“So were is he taking you?” Her sister asked.
“Am not sure, he just said it’s a beautiful place.” And just there as they were talking, her phone rang. It was a message from Mambwe. He was waiting for her.
“Why can’t you two just be together… I mean look at this…” Her sister said as she covered her face.
Tandiwe wore a long red dress that had a bit of black at the top – it touched her body so jealously. Her make-up was simple, almost natural as she had once heard him pass a comment on a lady that happened to have heavy make-up on her face. To compliment the dress, her neck was hugged by a gorgeous necklace. If only either of them knew how the day would end… But life went on.
When she arrived at the road side, to where the car was packed. Mambwe rushed out to open the door for her.
“You don’t have to do that… Now you making me feel shy.” She blushed.
“I know I don’t have to, am doing it because I want to… After all, an angel needs wings.” Mambwe chaffed her in a flash.
“You look great.” She complimented him as he sat down.
“Thank you. After seeing you, I feel like I haven’t even bathed.” He said as they began to laugh.
Once at the mall, they got on the elevator. Tandiwe kept wondering were on earth they were going. Once on top, the view looked amazing…Chairs were well arranged at the reception with ladies who seemed not to be waitresses. The matching clothes was the only thing that made them stand out. A young gentleman walked up to them… “Afternoon Sir. My name is Alex, am going to be your waiter.” He said sharply. With those words, the young man walked them to their table which was located to the window, giving them the lovely view of Lusaka from the top.
Mambwe walked up to Tandiwe and pulled the chair for her. She looked at him and blushed. “So, what do you think?” He asked her.
“This place is lovely… I never knew it was this beautiful.” “Do they allow to stand near the glass? She asked him in a whisper.
“Am sure they do.” He laughed. Alex, the waiter was standing by Mambwe’s side as they spoke. He ordered some red wine while they looked at the menu to see what they would start with.
“Hey, what did he mean when he said he was going to be your waiter for the day?” She asked him. “Oh! Can I have this chocolate dipping? It looks nice.” She asked Mambwe excitedly.
“Sure. You can have what you like. Alex is only serving us. More like his our personal waiter.” Mambwe explained.
They ordered food and were busy eating and laughing. Mambwe knew it was now or never, he had to tell her how he felt. But again, he knew something about her which she wasn’t telling him at all.
After an hour of dining and enjoying good food. Mambwe decided to make his intentions known to her.
“I don’t know were to start. There is something I’ve wanted to ask you for a long time now.” He cleared his throat as he spoke. His voice went deep and his breathing had changed.
“You have that look in your eyes. What is it?” Tandiwe asked him. I’m her heart, she hopped he wasn’t going to ask her to be more than just friends.
“I’ve known you for some time, you are an amazing person. What am trying to say is… Would you love to be my girlfriend?” Mambwe asked her, he had held her hand as he spoke to her. She slowly removed his hand from hers, “I don’t know how to answer.” She said.
“It’s okay. You can take your time.” Mambwe said nervously.
“It’s not that I need time. It’s just that… We can’t be together, I like you as well. But I just can’t.” She said as she hugged herself.
“But why…” He asked her, in his mind, he thought maybe it was because of the baby.
“You know why Mambwe. I can’t go against my belief. I thought maybe you had gotten it that day we were together.” She said.
“Belief! So this is all about religion! I see.” Mambwe responded as he stood up to face the glass wall.
Alex, their waiter had excused them so that they could have a private moment together. But now, walls were about to fall as expectations were not being met.
“Maybe there is something else that I don’t know off. Maybe there is…” Mambwe said over and over again.
Tandiwe went on to explain to him that if he had been a Witness, she would have easily accepted him. The fact that they had been seen together by certain members of her church was already bringing problems at her place.
“My uncles are all on me. Am being told not to bring shame upon the family. I can’t go against the word of my uncles nor church for that matter.” She said calmly as she tried to calm him down.
“Then why all the green lights? Why didn’t you push me away?” Mambwe asked her as he took a few steps away from the window.
The argument between them went on and on for a few minutes before Tandiwe got all emotional.
To be continued.