Everyday People

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Summary

A short collection of Zimbabwean stories. A woman in urban Zimbabwe longs for a baby of her own and a Funeral Parlour brings unexpected riches. They may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where there are constant blackouts, and where people know exactly what will be printed in the one and only daily newspaper because the news is always, always good.

Genre:
Other / Drama
Author:
stephaniemuzulu
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
2
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

Nenyasha

Their fingers interlaced as they crossed the road towards their car. A certain air of reverence covered them hindering the fight that was bound to happen. He squeezed her hand for the first time in weeks. Stay calm she told herself as she felt the corners of her mouth contort into a smile. A silent prayer was made thanking God for the third chance.

“Nyasha, are you ok? Don’t get too excited about this, remember what happened last time. I’d hate to see you hurt again.” David spoke softly and she knew he meant well, but she couldn’t help feel as if he was blaming her for the previous mishaps. Two miscarriages were a blow to her, to them and their marriage. She grew exasperated. “But the doctor said I just have to rest and maybe…just maybe…”

“I know but…she said it was difficult to predict if…”

“David please stops!” She shouted at him.

They reached the car the atmosphere around them nervy. When she opened her door he asked timidly, “Are you going back to work?” She looked away and solemnly nodded her head. Seating in the driver’s seat and reversing backwards he continued. “I suppose we need to discuss names then.”

“I guess.” Murmuring in return.

“If it’s a girl Magda…” A disgruntled snort escaped her mouth. “Magda is such an ugly name. You may have to change that.”

“No, it isn’t. it is a beautiful name.” He began to defend himself, she threw a contemptuous look and laughed. “Fine, what do you suggest?” She paused for a moment and said, “I don’t mind you giving our baby a name but I was hoping the first name to be Shona or Ndebele and then the middle name can be (suppressing a laugh) Magda.”

“Why?” he asked already feeling dejected. “Well I just like it that way, wouldn’t you?” she admitted, grinning.

He pouted and shrugged his shoulders, “as long as your mother doesn’t dictate the name, I’m fine. For all, we know she might call him/her Topupuranenyika (we go with the wind) trying to refer to the country.” He laughed revealing his perfect set of white teeth. David and his mother-in-law’s relationship were slowly waning due to their different perspectives. One was pragmatic and the other had a romantic approach to the world. She wondered how her mother was going to survive with David’s “follow the book attitude” if she were to stay with them to take care of her grandchild. Her grandchild. Her child. She felt optimistic as she slowly stroked her belly daydreaming of their life together; listening to David listing his outrageous names.

As they neared 7th street, she quickly closed her window and checked if they had locked the doors. Ever since a colleague told her about his fatal encounter with a street kid, she developed paranoia. He recalled that he had forgotten to lock the doors of his car. When he stopped at the traffic light, he didn’t notice one of the misfits enter his car and hide behind his seat. When he reached his destination, he was frightened to discover a rugged child sleeping peacefully on the floor. Asked by the police officer the child said he wanted to scare my friend into giving him money unfortunately, he was so tired that he instantly fell to sleep as his head hit the plush floor.

She spotted the high rising building of Monomutapa and turned pale. She lost her unborn children by the streetlight. Every day she had to pass through this road; every day she relieved the horror. The blood, her screaming, and the agony all of it comes back. He clutched her hand for comfort however, the pain amassed as they passed the robot. He stopped the car by the gallery, pulled her into his arms for a bear hug. She nestled near him and they remained in their cocoon for minutes until she calmed down. He gave her a peck on her cheek then waited till she entered the building.

The marble floors reverberated her steps as she approached her boss and close friend, who was in a conversion with a fellow artist. Sandra was a beautiful, eccentric and expansive woman. As soon as she noticed her, she excused herself from the gentleman and led her outside. She sat her down on a seat facing a stone sculpture of a naked woman carrying her child.

“Well, how are you?”

“I’m pregnant and there is a good chance I am keeping this one!” she cried excitedly.

Sandra screamed drawing the attention of tourists passing by. “When will you be due and is it a girl or a boy? I hope the baby will be a girl because I would want to teach her the cruelty of the world.” She asked oblivious to the attention they were drawing to themselves.

“Sometime in August. Just because you are becoming a godmother this does not mean you have to give her freakish ideas Sandra.” They laughed.

“Jesus, I am just giving her a heads up because the world is evil Nyasha. I bet David planned when to sleep with you to have the child born in his birth month.” She laughed harshly and Nenyasha rolled her eyes, “we ought to go back to work or you will be in trouble.”

“Good idea. I am taking you two out for dinner with my new boyfriend.” They started on our way to her office.

“You already have a boyfriend! What happened to Fari, I liked him? Is the new guy someone I know?” She held out her hand for support as they climbed up the stairs. “Fari was asking for too much, also his old man attitude was getting in the way. Commitment, imagine! So, I let him go. I am looking for someone who is not disgusted by my freedom and shares my sentiments about life. If you remember the man, I was talking to downstairs he’s name is Fareed. He is my new boo.” Her office is just one flight up but she was already breathless.

The bright colours exploded in her face as Sandra opened the door. No matter how many times she walked into her space she was always in awe with the brushwork and colour composition of the mural that sat on the wall facing the wall. Fari and Sandra had painted the beauty last year. Afterwards, he named it after Sandra because of her explosive character. She sat down on one of the couch’s and drew in a long breath.

“Are you alright you look a bit pale.”

“No, I am fine. I am just thinking about all the portfolios I must approve. Fari is just thirty-eight and he wanted to be serious with you. Didn’t you want that?” She paused waiting for an answer but she was engrossed in the paperwork in front of her and I continued, “Fareed, he looks younger than you. How old is he?”

“That is what I am talking about. Commitment is expecting too much from me. Well, Fareed is just twenty-four but age is just a number. He is mature enough well he already knows how to…” She pronounced “commitment” as if it left a bad taste in her mouth.

“Sandra it is ok, please don’t go any further. I get the picture. But thirty-two … Let me keep my peace.”

“I know you and your values are already condemning me. Dinner tonight so that you get to know him. I know David is going to disapprove but I do not care about his opinion. Refresh my memory why did you marry him again.” Unbeknownst to her Nenyasha was asking herself the same question.

“We will continue this conversion another day. We are coming for dinner which restaurant?” She scrunched her nose and suggested Bottom Drawer at eight.

***

“That was interesting! Sandra is never short of surprises.” David said as they parted ways with the new couple. Nenyasha nodded but was not concentrating on the conversion.

“I forgot to ask how was work?”

“Same old same old. How about you?” She replied. David worked at an insurance firm as a broker.

“Can you imagine a man wanted to claim a lot of money for…”

She just remembered, she forgot to tell her mother and in-law about the good news.

“Shit! I forgot to tell everyone...”

“I settled that this morning. Did not one of our relatives try to call you?”

“I forgot that I’d shut off my phone when we went to the gynaecologist sorry.” They drove in silence towards home. When they reached their apartment, she rushed off into the bedroom and dual called her mother-in-law and mother. After an hour of embarrassing tips, a list of bible verses and healthy food to eat they decided to part ways. When she entered the sheets, David was already snoring. She shut her eyes.

Seven months later,

She slowly opened her eyes and saw David sitting on the bed beside her. “God, no!” She whispered wearily and started to cry. It all started to come back in vague blotches. Luckily, a nurse come in and injected a strange drug into her to stop the pain. A black warm cloud encompassed her as I drifted back to sleep. In the morning neither the empty and unfamiliar surroundings nor stiffness of her side bothered her. At her side, her husband was fast asleep on the couch.

In her drug comatose she watched her friends and family come in and out every day. In the morning, her two mothers, close relatives and a pastor (they always seemed to change faces) came to pray for her. Midday, they retired and Sandra and Fari would visit her. A fidgety and uneasy person replaced Sandra’s usual coolness and Fari would sit quietly in the background. David. David never left her side. He often entertained her, when she was too depressed to respond he would become quiet and hold her. The only time he left her room was to change his clothes.

After residing at the hospital for three weeks, they sent her home declaring that her my body had healed from the miscarriage.

“Hello. Ready to go?” she nodded her head. Placing her hands in his palm they slowly walked to the car.

“Would you want to eat out?”

“That would be nice. Thank you, Dave.”

“Anything for you.” The corner of her eyes began to sting.

She shifted her gaze upon hearing a familiar tune, listening intensely it suddenly clicked, the song… their song. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth and remembered why she loved him. The small moments they had together and how he always made her feel special. She exclaimed, “David, I love you.” And she squeezed his hand which was on the clutch. He lit up and held her hand to his mouth and kissed it.

As weeks passed, she slowly adjusted to the mundane routine with everything slipping back to normalcy. “Honey can you please tell me what happened to… to this one to fail again.” she abruptly asked him one day over breakfast. He didn’t respond. She stopped spreading butter on the toast and looked at him. His gaze never left hers visibly weighing the options to decline the question.

“Please just tell me.” He heavily sighed, “… You were not feeling well in the morning and you wanted to stay in. I occasionally called but you weren’t picking up. When I came home during my lunch break… (he broke off) You were unconscious and bleeding profusely.”

“It’s ok if you don’t want to talk about that. We can talk about other things love.”

They talked after that, every single day and they finally settled on adoption. David and Nenyasha’s life felt complete when, three-day-old Chido, was placed into their arms.


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