She heard her cough throughout the night, but Luyando remained quiescent in her sheets not lifting a finger to tend to her dying mother. By dawn the guttural coughing was replaced by wheezing, she could almost hear a faint voice calling her name. Nevertheless, Luyando ignored her and closed her eyes, only to open them at eight o’clock: her normal waking up hours. Fully bathed and dressed with no worries in her mind she sauntered into her mother’s room. It smelt of piss combined with rotten goat meat and the stench almost made her vomit at the door.
In the gloomy room, two eyes looked longingly at her as she rushed towards the window. When she drew open the curtains, six months of dust was reflected by the bright light. Drawing her attention back to her mother, who came across to be dead, with her shrivelled up body propped on a pillow. Growing ecstatic Luyando tread softly on the wooden floor to the bed. On closer inspection she noticed two eyes glaring back at her. “When are you going to die!” She thought to herself.
“Get on with it, old woman!” Luyando spat out choking on the bile in her throat.
“Where are my pills?”
“They’re in my bedroom.” She casually replied maintaining eye contact with her mother.
“Why do you want to kill me?” The old woman finally asked, her voice strained and the words barely tumbled out. Most children adored or even worshipped their mothers, however, Luyando loathed hers. The atmosphere in the room became nervy. She painfully hauled herself to sit up straight and said, “I have always loved you...”
“Shut up! You and I both know the truth about your feelings!” Luyando screamed at the limp body and the coughing started. Not willing to watch her spit blood on her three-month-old pyjamas, she marched out of the room.
Noon came and Luyando’s mother passed on with a bitter heart.
A mop in one hand, a bucket of water in the other, and a huge smile plastered on her face she set out to clean the evidence of negligence. Before her, now deceased mother succumbed to the disease, she had purposely abandoned her in hope that she will be freed. “Freed from what?” You may ask, but only Luyando knows the answer to that question.
She wiped all the surfaces until they shone in the fading light. With the body dumped to the floor, the mattress was switched sides and spread new sheets and blankets. Three months of excrement was hauled from the floor and dumped into the toilet, the dead body was scrubbed and drenched in perfume afterwards laid on the bed. As soon as the dining room clock chimed six o’clock the room, body and her were freshly cleaned. Whistling ”Ndozvireva Kunani" Luyando punched her aunt’s number on the landline and waited for her to pick up.
“Hallo... Who is this? Daniel, please go to the shops. Yes, I’m listening...”
"Maiguruuu!! Our ancestors have turned their backs on us... Maiguruu!!” Luyando wailed into the phone
"Maihwi! Is this you my daughter!? You mean my little sister has died. Lord have mercy!” Her aunt howled out.
“Please tell me you are joking!” She said. Being the skilled actress, she was Luyando briefed her aunt about the events which never happened up to her final hours.
“Hmm, this is very difficult my daughter. Okay let me tell your uncle to come and pick you up and I’ll ring the ambulance. Stay strong. In the meantime, pack all your bags and valuables you’ll be staying with us.”
"Maiguru... Please inform other family members. I don’t think I have the stre...”
“My dear, this is the time for you to mourn not worry about other things ok!” She sternly told her.
“Yes. Yes. Do you think she will go to Heaven.” Luyando asked, beaming brightly at her reflection in the mirror.
“That is for God to know, dear. Bye, please try your best to pack okay.” And she cut the line. Well, her bags were already in place and left at the door. With plenty of time to kill she turned the television on and a rerun episode of *Paraffin* was playing. Within intervals, she rubbed her eyes with VapoRub to make tears continuously run down her face.
When they finally came, she was hysterically crying in her room with a picture of her mother on her lap. ”Nematambudziko, my child.” Her uncle mechanically told her. “Your bags are in the car. You don’t have to worry the ambulance took your mother. Let’s go home now.”
Ndozvireva kunani- Who do I tell?
Maiguru- Older mother/ The older sister of your mother
Maihwi- Oh My Gosh
*Parrafin*- A Zimbabwean 90′s Sitcom
Nematambudziko- I am so sorry for your loss.